Review Of Schooled for Murder

Title: Schooled for Murder
Author: Cindy Muir
Publisher: Black Rose Writing, 200pgs
Genre: Mystery, Cozy Mystery

This was just an okay read for me. The mystery aspect was all right if somewhat predictable (I was able to guess the culprit fairly early on due to writer telegraphing), some of the descriptions were good and I did like some of the cast of supporting characters.

I was not overly fussy for the amateur sleuth Laurel. Which when one is reading a mystery that centers around said sleuth, can be a problem. Without giving away plot points, she seemed to make mountains out of molehills over mundane things and then react in an underwhelming fashion to larger issues.

The biggest problem for me however was the writing style. The issues I had somewhat improved in the second half of the book, though they were still present. Specifically, there’s a lot of unnecessary, mundane information that feels like filler, slows down the story and makes it a boring read at times.

There’s also way too much repetition and rewording of the same idea. Examples: In a seven sentence paragraph there are these lines: “Sherry was always ready to hear and spread any kind of news.”, “And whatever she heard, she was quick to spread the news.” and “Everyone who knew Sherry was aware that she could always be counted on to share whatever she’d heard in a matter of minutes.” Plus two of the other sentences in that paragraph also relate back to that same general concept. The dog is nearly always referred to as “Chuy the chihuahua”, the cat as “Sheba the glamour cat”. I will never be able to forget that Laurel drives a red Suburban and speaking of Laurel, although she’s alone quite often, her proper name is used 500 times… in 200 pages. I admit the overuse of proper names in place of pronouns is a pet peeve of mine, but I still feel that’s too many no matter what.

It’s too bad because there were some good ideas, a good setting, a decent start at developing characters and some promising bits. But overall this book could have benefited a good deal from more editing and polishing.

Rating: 2/5 Carrots Carrot

Thanks to Netgalley for my copy of this book.


Quick Reviews

Title: It’s in His Kiss (Brew Ha-Ha, 0.5)
Author: Caitie Quinn
Publisher: QPub Books, 42pgs
Genre: Romance, Contemporary Romance

This short story is getting a two carrot “okay” rating from me because I did enjoy the author’s humor (witty, sarcastic) and writing style which was breezy, light and easy to get into. Stylistically, this was my type of book.

Unfortunately I did not particularly like any of the characters or the plot. Shy awkward girl (Jenna) with mean yet amazingly gorgeous friend (Lisbeth) meets snarky, rude, yet awesomely good looking guy (Ben). Speaking of which, there were far too many mentions of how wonderful looking they were for a 42pg story. I wanted Jenna to stand up for herself more, I wanted Ben to stop being such a total jerk earlier on, I wanted Lisbeth to get her comeuppance. The story was too short for any of this to really happen.

The result of not liking the characters meant that I didn’t especially care what happened at the end and I was left feeling vaguely dissatisfied. More so because there were good elements to this story with the writing and humor, it just failed to grab me.

Rating: 2/5 Carrots

Title: Unbound Desires in Seattle (Unbound Desires-Adventures Book 1)
Felicia Tatum
Publisher: ?, 34pgs
Genre: Romance, Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance

I won’t give this short story a rating as I don’t think it would be fair. I will say that I wish that anywhere on either the Goodreads or Amazon page it mentioned that it follows characters (and presumably plot points) from the author’s White Aura series (a fact I only know now from reading reviews here).

Without having read that series, I felt confused as though I was thrust into the middle of a story with characters and traits that I should have known but didn’t. I’m guessing the world building occurred in the White Aura series which would have made everything in this story make more sense.

As it was, I didn’t enjoy this at all. That said, the writing style and plot seemed okay. I might check out the White Aura series. And I suspect that readers familiar with that series would probably have liked this a lot more than I did.

Review of Stop Press Murder

Title: Stop Press Murder (A Crampton of the Chronicle Mystery, Book Two)
Author: Peter Bartram
Publisher: Roundfire Books, 320pgs
Genre: Mystery, Cozy Mystery

Stop Press Murder is the second in the A Crampton of the Chronicle Mystery series by Peter Bartram. Set in 1960s Brighton, it follows crime reporter Colin Crampton as he tries to solve a theft, a murder and scoop his rival.

The story gets off to a quick start and doesn’t disappoint. From one fateful encounter to another, crime reporter Colin is ran off his feet as he tries to solve the murder, keep his editor off his back and stay one step ahead of his chief rival at the opposing newspaper.

Speaking of Colin, he’s a likeable and engaging protagonist. I found myself becoming more and more invested in the mystery because I wanted to see him succeed and trump the much hated Houghton from the Argus newspaper. I will say that a few of his conjectures took a bit of a leap of faith to follow, but I’m not against suspending belief a little with a well written cozy such as this one.

The accompanying cast of characters is what really made this mystery for me though. Bartram has a full set of quirky supporting characters that genuinely add to the story. The scenes set in the newspaper office were especially well done and entertaining, giving a reader a real feel of the mayhem and urgency surrounding making deadlines and getting the big story.

The pacing was good and the plot moved along well. There’s a little bit of everything going on from theft to murder to blackmail and more, but the different plot threads were woven together quite cleverly and in a way that was never confusing. I did guess at a part of the solution, but that’s part of the fun of these books, to try to solve along with the amateur sleuth.

While I enjoyed the setting, I did think that a bit more could have been done with the 1960s era. At times I felt like it could have been set in another time period nearly as easily. If there was a downside to this book, that was it. Nevertheless, the descriptions were good and did help set the overall mood of the novel.

In closing, this was an entertaining and fun novel, good for some light reading. I will definitely be looking for other books in this series.

Rating: 4/5 Carrots Carrot

Thanks to NetGalley for my copy of this book.

I Finally Did It!

I’ve been thinking about starting a read and review blog for a long time and finally, at long last, I’ve actually done it!

I love to read, I love to talk about what I read, so why not right? I hope that most of the books I review here will be ones I enjoy but I’m not afraid to say when I don’t like something and why either.

So come along with me as I ramble about books.