Review: Arsenic With Austen by Katherine Bolger Hyde

cover82927-mediumArsenic With Austen is my first book by Katherine Bolger Hyde. The novel starts with the return of Emily Cavanaugh to the little town of Stony Beach, Oregon to inherit a fortune from her great-aunt Beatrice. What Emily is not counting on is having to solve a murder mystery and face and old flame, Luke, who she hasn’t seen in 35 years.

Hyde’s novel has a great premise with a whodunit style of crime and a love story. There is, however, very little Austen in the book except for the fact that each chapter opens with a quote from Jane Austen’s more famous novels (Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, Northanger Abbey, Sense and Sensibility…). I’m a huge Austen fan and I think that had a lot to do with my first interest in this book, however, the Austen connection ends there. The characters although nice are a bit flat and stereotypical, the love story between Emily and Luke seems unrealistic and the murder mystery, although cozy, is quite predictable.

Arsenic With Austen is book number one in a series called Crime With The Classics, and although I couldn’t rate it more than 3-stars I’m definitely looking forward to reading the next books in the series.

I’d like to thank NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. This book is scheduled to be published on July 12, 2016.

3 star

Review: The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins

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The Moonstone, a priceless Indian diamond which had been brought to England as spoils of war, is given to Rachel Verrinder on her eighteenth birthday. That very night, the stone is stolen. Suspicion then falls on a hunchbacked housemaid, on Rachel’s cousin Franklin Blake, on a troupe of mysterious Indian jugglers, and on Rachel herself. The phlegmatic Sergeant Cuff is called in, and with the help of Betteredge, the Robinson Crusoe-reading loquacious steward, the mystery of the missing stone is ingeniously solved.

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins is considered to be the first detective novel in the English Language. And being a huge fan of detective stories I had long wanted to read it, but had never gotten around doing it. So a couple of months ago I joined The Classics Club Challenge and added this book to my list.

What I absolutely loved about this novel, and perhaps the reason it’s considered a classic, is how well Collins developed the plot. The twists, the suspects, the idea of the super detective who comes in to save the day–all of this pretty much from scratch, no template or recipe to follow. The language, naturally, gives it away. This novel was first published in 1868, and the fact that he wrote it as an epistolary novel (written as a series of documents, such as letters or diary entries) made it much easier to read. It changed the pace of the book and kept it interesting.

This novel should be required reading for fans of detective novels. It is almost impossible to think of books by Agatha Christie, P.D. James, or even Arthur Conan Doyle without referring to The Moonstone. Great read!

5 star

Book Details:

Title: The Moonstone/Author: Wilkie Collins/Genre: Fiction/Crime / ISBN:9781593083229/Publisher:Barnes & Noble Classics/Rating: 5-Stars/Read: May, 2015.

Review: Broken Promise by Linwood Barclay

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Title: Broken Promise: A Thriller

Author: Linwood Barclay

Pages: 488

Genre: Crime/Thriller

ISBN: 9780451472670

Publisher: NAL

Rating: 4-Stars

Read: May 2015

After his wife’s death and the collapse of his newspaper, David Harwood has no choice but to uproot his nine-year-old son and move back into his childhood home in Promise Falls, New York. David believes his life is in free fall, and he can’t find a way to stop his descent…

David Harwood is a widowed father who moves back to his hometown of Promise Falls, NY with his young son Ethan. Life is at its low for David, he loses his job at a local newspaper shortly after moving back and has to move in back with his parents. When David’s mother asks him to take some food to a nearby cousin, he finds out that his cousin Marla is raising a baby. The problem is that Marla does not have a child. David starts to snoop around to try to get to the bottom of the story, and hopefully find the actual mother of the baby. When he learns that the mother of the baby has been murdered, he starts his own investigations, leaning on his experience as a reporter, to find out what happened and what role–if any, his cousin played in the crime.

Linwood Barclay is indeed a master of suspense. Broken Promise was a delight to read. A real page turner. I love the way Barclay developed his characters! The plot was very well written, full of twists and unexpected events. A fantastic thriller! My only complaint was the fact that although the ending was really good, there were a few loose ends that were not explained. I’m hoping there will be a sequel. Overall, it is a great read for fans of this genre.

I received an early copy of this book for free from Penguin Random House in exchange for my honest review. This book is scheduled to be published on July 28, 2015.

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5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars

Review: What You Left Behind by Samantha Hays

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Title: What You Left Behind

Author: Samantha Hayes

Pages: 309

Genre: Crime/Thriller

ISBN: 9780804136921

Publisher: Crown Publishers

Rating: 3-Stars

Read: May 2015

Two years after a terrifying spate of teenage suicides, the remote village of Radcote has just begun to heal. Then a young man is killed in a freak motorcycle accident and a suicide note is found among his belongings. When a second boy is found dead shortly thereafter, the nightmare of repeat suicides once again threatens the community.

This is the second installment of the Detective Inspector Lorraine Fischer’s series. I haven’t read the first book, but I was able to read this story as a standalone. The book begins with D.I. Lorraine Fischer’s visit to her sister Jo in the remote village of Radcote, where a series of apparent teenage suicides are happening. Lorraine soon learns that there is more to this vacation than it meets the eyes. She arrives in town with her daughter Stella to find her sister Jo having an extra-marital affair, and her nephew Freddie acting moody and withdrawn. When another teen suicide happens shortly after Lorraine’s arrival, the detective can’t help but start her investigation into what is happening in Radcote.

What You Left Behind is one of those books with a fantastic premise, but gets lost somehow half-way into the story. There were too many subplots and red herrings. The characters were a bit dull, the dialogue was boring and clunky, and although towards the end the novel perks back up leading to a surprising finale–overall this book didn’t do it for me.

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

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3 star

Review: Don’t Turn Around by Caroline Mitchell

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Title: Don’t Turn Around

Author: Caroline Mitchell

Pages: 318

Genre: Paranormal Thriller/Crime

ISBN: 9781909490970

Publisher: Bookouture

Ratings: 3-star

Read: April 21, 2015-April 24, 2015

As D.C. Jennifer Knight investigates a routine stabbing in the quiet town of Haven, she is shocked at what seems like a personal message from beyond the grave. When more bodies are found, Jennifer is convinced the killings are somehow linked.

What she discovers is more chilling than she could possibly imagine. The murders mirror those of the notorious Grim Reaper – from over twenty years ago. A killer her mother helped convict. Jennifer can no longer ignore the personal connection. Is there a copycat killer at work? Was the wrong man convicted? Or is there something more sinister at play?

In this book, Caroline Mitchell introduces us to D.C. Jennifer Knight a well-written and complex character. She is more than just a cop; she hears voices inside her head. Her paranormal abilities have helped her solve cases in the past, and she will have to rely on them one more time in order to solve a string of crimes and stop a killer.

This is book number one in the Detective Jennifer Knight crime thriller series, and it was also my very first book in the paranormal/crime/thriller genre. I truly enjoyed the plot and storyline.

This novel had some extremely creepy and scary moments that worked really well together, and still kept me very interested. I particularly liked the narrative from the serial killer’s perspective–chilling and well-written. A great glimpse into a murderer’s mind.

I definitely recommend this book, and my only wish was that there was a bit more romance weaved into this great story. I’m hopeful that the next books will explore the relationship between detective Jennifer and Will.

I’d also like to thank Bookouture and NetGalley for allowing me to read an early copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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3 star