Monthly Archives: April 2011
Accomplished in Murder, is the first in a series of historical mysteries featuring heroines of the Victorian era. To be clear, this is a novella, not a full length novel, though the story does not seem rushed or lacking in any way for it.
Drucilla is troubled by a letter she receives from her friend Celeste. Celeste has married and moved to a remote area of Cornwall, and she asks Drucilla to come for a visit. But when Drucilla arrives, to her dismay she discovers that Celeste has died under mysterious circumstances. But was the death an accident or murder? Drucilla vows to find out.
While reading this novella, I was first taken by the author’s grasp of the language and nuance within the Victorian era. The tone felt very realistic without being overly “flowery” or hard to read. Dara England is truly gifted in this regard. Her plotting was excellent, and a few of the twists I didn’t see coming, which is rare for me. Overall, I enjoyed this mystery and I look forward to reading more from England.
The only minor thing I just have to pick at is that I would have liked to have seen more of Celeste before her untimely demise. Grounds for a prequel perhaps, starring Celeste as she solves another mystery?
Before I even read this book I knew I was going to like it., and I was right. The cover is engaging and suits the tone of the novel perfectly, and the synopsis was tight and piqued my intrest right away. The novel was all I’d expected and then some. Concise, evocative writing made this novel read like a movie- I could picture it in my mind, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t made into a movie at some point. The Hellish Happenings is a mostly one of Dark Humor, mixed with a little light paranormal, a smidgen of suspense with a dash of romance– and all of these are perfectly balanced into a stellar first novel.
Jack, a quirky vampire with an extensive music collection, made a deal with the devil exactly 300 years ago. Still, 300 years is a long time and Jack had almost forgotten about the agreement, that is, until the Devil’s second in command shows up to inform him that a desk job awaits him in Hell, and Jack will soon be escorted to the place where he will live and work for the rest of eternity. From there, Jack is ushered to his new life and given a crash course in the rules, expectations and even the fiery politics of Hell.
Rainey does a terrific job creating her own detailed, original version of Hell, complete with adminitrative offices, hierarchy and company picnics. And like the armed forces, Hell even has their own verson of Recrutiers. The cast of characters is rich and so well “humanized” that I felt as if I really knew each and every one of them. I read this novel quickly, devouring it . I do hope that the author turns this one book into a series, because I will gladly buy the next novel too!
This book is a fast-paced, quick read that will keep you up past your bed time if you’re not careful. There is an underlying romance, but I didn’t find that aspect as captivating as I’d normally like- but perhaps that fault is mine ( I’m used to fiction that’s a little more PG-13) but while I wished there had been a little more depth in the relationship, the rest of the novel was very well plotted. Part thriller, part mystery, this book succeeds in melding genres with finesse. The characters are rich and detailed, and coupled with the exceptional writing, the story as a whole sings true and clear.
I was pulled to this book multiple times by the fantastic cover alone, and the description on Amazon clinched it for me. For less than the cost of a latte, I was treated to a great paranormal YA read. I do have to qualify that I don’t normal read YA unless it pushes the boundaries into adult fiction. However, The Book of Lost Souls was a pleasant, refreshing surprise.
The Book of Lost souls is PG enough for the younger YA audience, yet still an intriguing and complex enough of a book to satisfy adults as well. The surrounding cast of characters is eclectic and fun, the interactions between characters is spot on. Although this book has a classic struggle between good and evil, it is one that skirts the gray area in between with finesse and insight.
Michelle Muto is a first class writer with a flair for creative and original ideas. I mean really, a senile werewolf! Little gems like that are sprinkled throughout this book, and Muto has turned out an original novel in a time when the paranormal market is saturated with stereotypical plotting and devices. This book is not one of those carbon copies and I will certainly be on the lookout for the next book from Muto!
What would you do if you found out your whole life might be been a lie? Would you set off an a journey to find out not matter the danger, or would you turn your back to the truth and pretend to believe in the beautiful lies you’ve been told? That’s the crux of this story, a suspenseful novel of family secrets buried long ago, and a far reaching conspiracy that started out as a noble cause but quickly got out of control.
I enjoyed this novel, and stayed up later than I should have to finish it. It was at times funny, full of mystery and suspense, and I found myself highlighting more passages than normal. The writing was tight and beautifully crafted. I did feel, however, that the reveal of some of the secrets didn’t have the initial emotional “punch in the gut” for the main char. and I would have like to have seen a little bit more anger, outrage, etc. That could just be me though. Overall, I’d rate this book at a 4 out of 5 Turtles. (read the book and you may get that!)
After finishing this book, I feel like I’ve been offered a rare glimpse into the whole life of the main character. I felt every acute blow by love-gone-wrong, every self-realization as if they were my own experiences. It’s a bit like watching an entire season of a show back to back in one day. I’m tired, and contemplative, and so very glad that I read this book. The only slight disappointment I have (and it’s minor in the grand scheme of things really) is that the ending felt a little too tidy, of course that may be me just not wanting it to end!
“Honey, was that really your Mother?” Dave probed.
Nell shot him a playfully nasty look.
“Yes, but no,” Nell replied, flopping in an overstuffed armchair the color of the caribean sea. Despite the fact that it was eight degrees outside, she reached for a nubby lime-green throw and shrouded herself with it.
“Come again?” said Dave removing his reading glasses and setting them on the side table. He patted the couch beside him, and Nell obliged by getting up and crossing the room to take a seat beside him.
Nell snuggled into the weight of her husband and rested her hand on his chest. “She sounded like my mother, said she was my mother, but…” Nell started, then lapsed into deep thought. “But my mother would never call me out of the blue after all this time. The last thing she said to me before I left…Well, how can she pretend everything is ok?”
“Now, babe.” Dave started, as he put his index finger to her lower lip– she hadn’t even realized that she’d been chewing on her lip until he’d pointed it out.
“Nora is six now, it’s been over six years!” Nell interrupted. “Nothing from her until now. Then it’s Hello, Merry Christmas, and why don’t you load up your family and come see Grandmother for the holidays?”
Dave leaned away from Nell, angling his body to face her. “Did she say why?”
Too agitated to sit still any longer, Nell got up and crossed the expanse of the living room, through the kitchen and into the laundry room. She reappeared within a few seconds toting a basket of laundry. Some people drink when stressed, but Nell folded clothes.
“No, but there has to be a reason.” Nell dumped the laundry in the floor and began lifting out clothes, folding and sorting it into three piles. “My mother never does anything without a reason.”
“Why didn’t you just say no?” Dave picked up a bag of chips, and his mostly-cute of devouring snack foods made just enough noise that for a few minutes no talking was possible.
Which was good, Nell needed time to process the phone call and come to terms with what it meant. So much time, so much living had gone into the years since she’d last spoken to her Mother. The last few years had taken Nell down a completely different path in life, but something told her that Eleanor hadn’t changed nearly as much.
Mouth still half-full of fried potato goodness, Dave repeated himself, breaking Nell’s chain of thought, “Well, why didn’t you just tell her no?”
“I don’t know, she sounded odd.” Nell picked up the pile of precisely folded clothes belonging to her daughter and stood to go put them away. “I started to… I wanted to.” Nell headed down the hall where their bedrooms lay, saying over her shoulder. “Before I could say anything, she just gave me all the flight details. I didn’t have time to say no.”
Dave chuckled, his voice carrying down the hall after Nell. “I don”t buy it,” he said playfully, “you find a moment to tell me no all the time.”
If you enjoyed this preview and would like to read more you can visit the Memories for Sale’s Amazon page .
This novella is also included in my collection, Reflections on Motherhood .