Saturday, June 28, 2014

Ruby Silver


When I was first pitched this book, I thought that it sounded interesting and would give it a try even though it was a little outside what I tend to read. Unfortunately, I had a hard time getting into this book and it took me longer to finish than I had expected.

What I thought Randall Reneau did well was the main character development with respect to their professional background. All of the geological terms and mining situations seemed very realistic, which helped me with the overall plot. However, with this being possibly the third in the series, I did get much general character development, which made them all seem very flat. I was able to get an outline of what each character should be like, and I really like the old snake farmer a great deal, but I found myself wanting specific quirks or details about each one explained more or exposed.
One issue that I had with dialogue in this novel was all of the Texan colloquialisms that were used. It seemed rather heavy handed and about a third of the way through the book I began to get annoyed by them all. The main reason for this is that they were all cliques as well. For example, "like a side of beef" or "pardner", and again, overused multiple times throughout the book. I think that if half of them were taken out and something else put in their place that still helps to give a "cowboy" or "cowpoke" kind of feel it would have helped us "city folk" get into the book more.

I also think that there were some added storylines in it that were unnecessary, like the kidnapping and show down at the Forth of July mine entrance. Those types of things could have been cut out and the story would not have suffered from it. That particular example didn't really have anything to do with the main plot of the novel and sometimes you will need "to kill your Darlings" in order to make a stronger tale.

The other thing that I was a little disappointed with was the overall editing of the novel. There were dialogue quotations missing in places along with some general editing oversights. But the big problem, and this is a huge pet-peeve of mine, is the changing of point of view from first person to third person. You either need to have the courage to keep all in first person or just put it in the more common third person. In this book, all of the chapters or sections in the eyes of the main character Trace are in first person, which is a challenge because you are only able to write what he feels, sees, etc. Everything not in Trace's POV is written in third person, which is needed to understand what is going on. Unfortunately, I am an old-fashioned stickler with respect to this issue and was disappointed to see that it was a mixture of POVs.

Overall thought, I did enjoy the storyline with respect to the mob ties, etc. I thought that could have been developed more and that more action could have taken place from the get go. The start moved quite slowly, which also made it hard for me to get to the end quickly. Usually it is a better idea to start your story in the middle of something that grabs the reader and I did not really find that with this book.

I do hope that Reneau continues writing books in the series because there is a good foundation for it. For me though, I just needed a little more description and depth to become completely invested in it.

If you like trying new readers and don't mind a slower moving plot, then this book would be for you. If you need a little more action, faster plotline, and great character development then you may want to skip this book.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review through Bostick Communitcations; I was not paid to give a review of this book. The image was borrowed from Good Reads.

Brush With Death: A Gray Whale Inn Mystery #5


This is the fifth book in the series and the first one that I have read, which is unfortunate because I will probably not read any of the others in the series. It had some problems right from the start that made it difficult for me to want to finish it. The only thing that drove me toward the end was the need to know that I was right about the villain.

I did think that Karen MacInerney did a good job with setting and I felt like I was really experiencing the harsh winters of Maine. Since the main portion of this tale is set on an island off of the mainland, I also thought she did a good job of showing what island life was like. For example, you could only travel to and from the island by a ferry and it would depend on the weather whether or not you could even travel that day. The other thing that she set up nicely was the artist community feel. I can imagine how cutthroat it is in the business and that would be enhanced further on a small island.

Aside from the setting, where the problems began were with the characters themselves. They all seemed quite flat and this could be partly because I have not read the other books in the series. I didn't really get a good sense of backstory for anyone except the future mother-in-law. Even then, I found it hard to believe that she would be as brazen as to just barge into people's homes unannounced, especially with how her heritage was set up. Natalie, the inn owner and main character, seemed to be a little too eager to get involved with the crimes on the island and I had a hard time believing that she would be that clueless about putting herself in danger with all of the previous sleuthing experiences she has had. The other glaring issue was with the sexuality of some of the characters. It seemed a little unnecessary to be such a main issue, especially when it did not have anything really to do with the overall storyline.

Another issue was the plot. I think that I knew who the killer was the moment they were introduced and why. That was really disappointing. Some of the little side stories seemed a little uninteresting too like the engagement ring being fake. Unless, MacInerney is setting some of these stories up for future books in the series.

Add to all of that, the numerous editing errors, this book was very difficult to follow through with. It was  a recommendation at my local library and since I am trying to find new authors to read, I gave it a chance.

If you like mysteries that are easy to figure out then you will like the book. However, if you are like me and need a little more of a challenge, then you might want to skip this one.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5

I borrowed this from my local library; I was not asked to do a review of this book. The image was borrowed from Good Reads.