Fiction Review: Dorothy Cannell’s “Goodbye, Ms. Chips”

There is a lot going on in this title. Many different characters, already established relationships from previous books in the series, several different settings to navigate. It would be easy for the story to waver under the weight of everything it is carrying – but there was no faltering to be found!

As to the different settings – there are many literary takes on a boarding school backdrop, but this one stands alone for me in comparison to the others. No rosy glasses-d romanticism, nor ‘underdog against the odds’ conflict – the school space and the students and teachers who inhabit it come alive in a very real, natural way.

The author’s language style and vocabulary choices are what make her book come alive. The characters are brought out in dazzling detail, with each nuance and personality quirk deftly defined. By the middle chapters, you know how a certain character is going to react, and you await expectantly for events to unfold. This was not a predictable work, far from it, but it felt natural, as if the next twist was the most logical thing to occur. Rather than the sharp turns, and edge of your seat danger of other mysteries, this one makes you pay attention, think, and with Ellie, try to outwit the culprit.

Are you up to the challenge?

I received a review copy of this work from the publisher through NetGalley

Fiction Review: Heron Carvic’s “Picture Miss Seeton”

This is my first Miss Seeton mystery – and I am completely hooked. I will definitely be getting into this series! 

This book was wonderful. The amazingly unique characters stay with you, as the author’s unique flavor lingers long after you’ve consumed the last page. My two favorite, besides Miss Seeton, of course, are the Oracle and Sir George. The gentlemen take over the narrative at certain points, but they are so drastically different in their thinking and speaking style, that the reader knows exactly where they are and what is going on. The author’s skill here in character creation is something younger authors can learn a lot from!

Also, I like mysteries that the reader can’t figure out from the first page. In this one, we had different pieces to what was going on – but Miss Seeton figures things out about the same time as the reader, which kept me engaged in the work.

In all, a very fun read that I will be highly recommending!

I received a review copy of this work from the publisher through NetGalley

Fiction Review: Le French Book – “Tainted Tokay”

This is a book about getting to know the “Cooker’s Guide” clan a little better. We get to know Alexandrine, of whom we’ve heard so much, but met very little. Benjamin has voiced very high opinions of her throughout the series, so putting a character to the name, so to speak, was a nice rounding out of this story world.

Along the same veins, we get a deep dive into the character of Virgile. Previous works have allowed us the perspective of the bright, hard-working assistant, but now the reader learns his passions, and his habits. I came away liking him even more than I already had, and once again wishing I could step into these books and hang out with the characters.

I love Elizabeth, and whenever she enters the scene, you know the story is going to amp up a notch. With her wit, her banter with Benjamin, and her zest for life, she compliments Benjamin as a team, yet also holds her own. You don’t want to cross her, but I feel that once a friend, you would have a friend for life!

Finally, we get to see the sarcastic side of Benjamin! In previous works, he’s always been so careful to maintain the reputation and poise that comes with being such a renowned and requested individual throughout the region. But when faced with a stressful situation, in which he has very little control, he lets loose to do battle with his razor-sharp wit, and it never fails to entertain.

I look forward to the next!

I received a review copy of this work from the publisher through NetGalley

Fiction Review: Roseanna M. White’s “The Reluctant Duchess”

Reluctant Duchess

Are you looking for a work that will challenge you to think deeply about large concepts, while also holding on tight to the coattails of plot, as it dashes along? This is the book for you.

What a great read. The pace is fast, relentless even, but the story is well told – keeping you invested until the very end. I enjoyed the depth of the author’s language, as her characters come alive through her expert writing.

Best though, I loved the deep discussions of faith between the characters – which are much broader than I have found in other books with this setting. You wouldn’t initially expect a mystery love story to leave you lingering over the spiritual points discussed after you finished reading! But how each character relates to their faith, and how they deal with superstitions are integral to the plot, creating a one-of-a-kind read that I absolutely recommend.

I also can’t wait to get to know these characters more! The next book releases in September 2016!

I received a review copy of this work from the publisher through NetGalley

Fiction Review: Jill WIlliamson’s “Kings Folly”

This book? Simply fantastic. 

Ms. Williamson’s style is very fun to read. In this work, she titles each chapter with the point-of-view character, which helps transition the reader’s mind to where we’ve left them last in the story. This is something I have seen done in other works, but here I felt it worked much better than I have encountered elsewhere. Ms. Williamson weaves her story so tightly together that it feels natural, no jerky transitions.
Also, there is a lot of world-specific vocabulary throughout, but it is used so naturally and consistently that the reader is very quickly able to get the hang of it.

When you pick up this book, buckle up for a ride – it is action packed! There are some quiet moments, but they are never dull or boring. This is one of the best examples of great pacing, and expert mixing of different plot threads I’ve seen in a story!

I really enjoyed the “Note from the Author” at the end which helped to round out my understanding and appreciation for the story by hearing her intent with writing it. I still have many questions of “what happens next?!” and am looking forward to rest of series!

I received a review copy of this work from the publisher through NetGalley

Fiction Review: Shelley Freydont’s “A Golden Cage”

This review is a stop on the Great Escapes Blog Tour for A Golden Cage.

A GOLDEN CAGE Freydont

I really need to get and read the first of this series! And all subsequent, of course! I’m definitely hooked.

Incredible depth of language. That’s how I can sum up this work in one sentence. The author’s use and mastery of description, dialogue, and story is amazing. The characters are given more and more facets with each scene, which brings amazing depth to this “cozy mystery” – a genre where many authors often focus on the plot and only scratch the surface of their subjects.

The author also does a great job of setting the time period through character dialogue and actions – one of the best “show, don’t tell” examples I’ve read in a while. It is very easy to become immersed in the story!

I’ll admit, it would be fun to hang out with Dee, and have adventures, but she definitely needs a partner, someone to go with her and keep her out of the worst of her dangerous investigations. Perhaps there are hints this will come in future books? We shall see!

You have the chance to win your own copy! Enter here, and good luck!

I received a review copy of this work from the publisher through NetGalley

Non-Fiction Review: Ruth A. Tucker’s “Extraordinary Women of Christian History”

This book challenges expectations and assumptions – growing and stretching the reader’s notions of history, the church, and legacies left behind.

As promised in the introduction, this work is definitely no sugar-coated look at an interesting collection of women from the church’s history. At the same time however, the author is neither condemning nor gossipy in her overview of each individual. This is a great example of a straightforward, honest look deeper beneath the surface of each woman, while still emphasizing Christ’s redemption as the central focus. 

This book is best used as a study text – definitely not a one-sitting read. With the questions at the end of each chapter, and the extensive bibliography included that the reader can use to find companion texts for deeper context, I would highly recommend this book for any Bible study group!

I am absolutely going to have to read through this fantastic work several times again to get deeper, and see what I missed.

I received a review copy of this work from the Publisher through NetGalley