Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Yard: A novel

When I picked up this book, I was instantly intrigued by what the jacket covered boasted, "London, 1889. Jack the Ripper's reign of terror is finally over - but a new one is just beginning". I am interested in the conspiracies surrounding Jack the Ripper, so it seemed like this novel would be a intensely macabre and fun romp around Victorian London, but it wasn't what I was expecting or hoped for.

I had a hard time understanding why Alex Grecian decided to go with two storylines involving murder within this novel. It would have been a much more satisfying read if he would have stuck with one of them and developed that as much as possible. With the new inspector being added to the Scotland Yard, the murder of a fellow inspector, the Beard Killer murders, to the missing boys, there was just too much to keep track of. On top of all of this you have a wonderfully quirky doctor that is working with introducing forensics into solving these cases with an intense back story of his own that introduces several other new characters into the novel.

Grecian also had some issues with the editing of his book. There were several instances where the point of view had problems, which made it a little hard to follow. Going into italics for the main killer's thoughts and experiences was okay, but I felt it took a little away from reality and made it feel more like fiction or surreal in a way. The killer's grandeur is well within the scope of a serial murderer, but he almost seemed a little too brazen and that didn't really work for me. Some of the vocabulary and spoken language didn't seem fitting for the time being written about either.

However, I appreciated what Grecian was trying to do with this novel and thought that some of it was very good. What was promised by the book jacket was never really brought to fruition. I was expecting something as gruesome like the Ripper murders that would be equally hard to solve. What I got were many different storylines that never really lived up to that.

If you are looking for a great historical murder mystery that is the same caliber as the Jack the Ripper murders, then you will most likely not enjoy this book. If you enjoy novels that have many storylines going on at one time but still capture the spirit of historical murder mysteries, then you may enjoy this book.

Rating: 2 out of 5

I checked this book out of my local library; I was not paid or asked to do this review.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Stains on the Gavel

*Could be some spoilers in this review.*

This is the second book in this series by Charles Massie and I have yet to read the first. What interested me the most about this book was the premise that it told the story about a man that was wrongly imprisoned in Kentucky and how he was able to fight from the inside for his freedom. What I was expecting was a storyline filled with conspiracies, mystery, and intense scenes from the view point of a Sothern prison. What I got was something that reminded me of a prisoner's journal chronicling their incarceration.

Massie does do a very good job at detailing life within the prisons walls and develops his main character, Mark Casey, but outside of that, it was a little, well, boring. Once wrongfully incarcerated, the book is basically a log of his constant transfers between the different county jails and state medical facilities along with flashbacks of his life with the woman who caused all the problems. There was also a great deal of information that doesn't really seem to have any bearing on the main points of the book. One main instance is the intensive IQ testing that Casey is put through at the one medical facility he is transferred to. I didn't really understand the importance of this for the plot. 

I did enjoy the way that Massie created very believable characters within and without the walls of the various prisons and courtrooms being talked about. There were some very good dialogue sequences and some moments that did make me laugh a little with several witty comebacks within some intense situations. But the one thing that made me a little irritated was that there seemed to only be a handful of honest individuals within the legal system that Casey dealt with. I had a hard time believing that the judge from Casey's first trial would first conspire with the prosecutor AND defense attorney to convict on the evidence that was shown in the trial, let alone be so vindictive by a complaint that he would kick start all the problems Casey had while incarcerated.

However, even with all the issues I had with his plotline, I could and would have overlooked some of them if it did not also suffer from a poor editing job. The main bulk of this story is written in first person, which is very difficult to do for long pieces of literature, (I have stated this in previous reviews of other works...often). Within this point of view, the main challenge is to introduce things that the main character is not experiencing, which is difficult because you can only write about what this individual is experiencing, feeling, etc. and nothing else. Massie goes into third person several times with regards to other characters in several chapters. That is a huge pet-peeve of mine. You are not able to switch point of views within a story. If you start out in first person point of view, the entire piece needs to be written in this view point. The other issues I had with this book dealt with the actual proof reading of the piece. There were quotations missing from dialogue in places and at other times too many quotation marks when they were not needed. Some other structure and punctuation issues popped up throughout the book as well and I will not go in to great detail here.

Overall, I thought that the main character was extremely detailed and believable, but the ending was something to be desired. There was no expansion on the part of Massie as to what happened to the woman who was the reason Casey was brought up on drug trafficking charges to begin with. I was at least expecting something terrible to befall her after her new location was discovered, not that she was unhappily married and living in a nice home in New York. Then there was the fact that the judge that caused all the problems Casey had within the prison system just dies. I kind of wished that there was a little more development with respect to the legal ramifications for his actions against Casey. Maybe even a little blurb about how the judge was incarcerated in the same prison system he seemed to have such a great deal of power over. I think that if even a mere fifth of all the prison transfers had been cut out and some of these other unresolved issues explored, it would have seem like a more complete work of fiction.

If you are like me and need a little more detail, mystery, and fun within the pages of the fiction you read, then this book is probably not for you. If you enjoy any type of prison related fiction regardless if it is a mystery or not, then you may like this book.

Also, if you do not like a great deal of foul language or some scenes with strong sexual content, then you may not want to read this book.

Rating 2 out of 5.

I was given a copy of this book by the author per Bostick Communications; I was not paid to give this review.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Cakes of Wrath

The Cakes of Wrath (Piece of Cake Mystery, #4) 

This is the first book that I have read by Jacklyn Brady and I picked it up initially due to the title. I found the title quirky and fun since it is a play on the title "The Grapes of Wrath". It also has some recipes at the back of the book. which I loved since I am also an avid baker. I was also intrigued by the story premise: Rita, the owner of Zydeco Cakes, almost gets run over by a van right after the business town meeting, but is saved by the local motorcycle shop owner Moose. Was the van aiming for her or was it a case of mistaken identity? When the wife of Moose is found dead a couple of days later, it looks like there is more to the hit and run. Rita takes it into her own hands when a detective comes round accusing her of killing Moose's wife. Will she be able to figure out who the murderer is before she is arrested or someone else gets killed?

In regards to the story in terms of writing, I felt it was an average read. This book is number four of the "Piece of Cake Mystery" series, so the characters have probably already been well established in the previous mysteries. However, I will say that the characters all seem to be interesting and have wonderful little idiosyncrasies. I wish I would have started at the beginning  of the series though to get a better feel for the main character Rita and her life in New Orleans as the owner of Zydeco Cakes. The tension between her mother-in-law and her is very apparent, but I am now curious as to what the back story of these two is.

I would also like to applaud Brady for sticking with the first person point of view throughout the entire book. It is not easy to do, especially for longer pieces. If it were me, I would struggle with trying to show parts of the story through the eyes of the other characters, which you cannot do with first person. This book does not suffer by having this limited point of view and I found that the story still moved very smoothly from chapter to chapter.

The main problem that I had with this book was how many tangents the main storyline had. At times it felt like there was a little too much going on, especially with the addition of Edie's and Pearl Lee's passages. But I will say that it helped to flesh out Rita's character in terms of her humanity for me, so I tried to let it slide. There may have also been a little too much misdirection with regards to the murderer itself. Sadly, I had a suspicion as to who the killer was early on and was right on the money. Having said that though, I am not easily misled or fooled and thought that Brady did do an okay job at trying to keep the identity hidden until the very end.

Overall, it was a pleasant read and I enjoyed it. If I have the time, I might even go back and start at the beginning some day. For the moment however, I think I will move on to the next book in my "To Be Read" list. If you enjoy mysteries that are part of a series and are easy reads, then you will most likely like this book. However, if you need a little more of darker, richer mystery that keeps you guessing the whole time, then you may not like this book.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

I got this book from my local library; I was not asked to do a review of this book.

 (Image was taken from Good Reads).

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Dead Dreams Excerpt # 9

On Tour with Prism Book Tours...

Dead Dreams (Dead Dreams, #1)Dead Dreams
by Emma Right
250 Pages

Eighteen-year-old Brie O’Mara has so much going for her: a loving family in the sidelines, an heiress for a roommate, and dreams that might just come true. Big dreams--of going to acting school, finishing college and making a name for herself. She is about to be the envy of everyone she knew. What more could she hope for? Except her dreams are about to lead her down the road to nightmares. Nightmares that could turn into a deadly reality.

Dead Dreams, Book 1, a young adult psychological thriller and mystery

Each Stop Reveals another section of Dead Dreams

Follow the tour and START READING NOW!! 


Chapter Five


So, Sarah stayed a loner, refusing my attempts to include her when I asked her out for ice cream with my co-workers one rare afternoon. Only once did she accept my invitation for her to work out as my guest at Stay Fit. She came to exercise but forgot her gear and had to borrow my yellow sweats.

One of my co-workers, Susan Summers, saw her back, mistook her for me, and complained to Thao that I’d gone Zumba-ing during my official hours. Even Peter came to Susan’s defense saying we looked alike, so it was an understandable error.

But after that, Sarah never wanted to step inside Stay Fit.

To be continued... 

Emma Right

Emma Right is a happy wife and homeschool mother of five living in the Pacific West Coast. Besides running a busy home, and looking after too many pets, she also enjoys reading aloud to her children and often has her nose in a book. Right was a copywriter for a major advertising agency during her B.C. years. B.C.meaning “Before Children,” which may as well have been in the B.C.era, as she always says. Please feel free to contact Emma. She’s always happy to hear from her readers.

Tour-Wide Giveaway:

October 29 - December 3
Paperback Copy of Dead Dreams (US Only)
5 eCopies of Dead Dreams (Int'l)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Excerpt Tour
Each day will reveal another piece of Dead Dreams...

10/29: Launch
10/30: My Seryniti - Excerpt #1
10/31: My Devotional Thoughts - Excerpt #2
11/1: Mel’s Shelves - Excerpt #3
11/4: The Bookish Fairy - Excerpt #5
11/5: My Love for Reading Keeps Growing - Excerpt #6
11/6: Tressa’s Wishful Endings - Excerpt #7
11/7: Nocturnal Predators Reviews - Excerpt #8
11/8: The Pensive Chronicler - Excerpt #9
11/10: kimberlyfaye reads - Excerpt #10
11/11: Min Reads and Reviews - Excerpt #11
11/13: Colorimetry - Excerpt #13
11/14: fundinmental - Excerpt #14
11/15: Bookworm Lisa - Excerpt #15
11/17: Sylv Jenkins Author - Excerpt #16
11/18: The Wonderings of One Person - Excerpt #17
11/19: Buried Under Books - Excerpt #18
11/20: Grand Finale