Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Review: Murder in Plain English

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my opinion of the book, or my review itself.

Title: Murder in Plain English: From Manifestos to Memes-Looking at Murder Through the Words of Killers
Authors: Michael Arntfield and Marcel Danesi
Publication Date: March 7, 2017
Genre: Non-Fiction/True Crime
Recommended If You Like: true crime, literary analysis, critical thinking

The Book:

Arntfield and Danesi look at true crime and the culture surrounding it through the lens of literary analysis.

What I Liked:

As a former English major (in college), and someone who reads a lot of true crime, this book seemed tailor made for me, and it did not disappoint. This is a unique, well-researched take on a subject that has already had a lot written about it.

Anything I Didn't Like?

I did feel the book occasionally got off track and meandered a bit, but this happened pretty infrequently.


I would definitely recommend this book for anyone interested in true crime, and/or literary analysis, and who is looking for a fresh take on the subject.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Review: This Is Our Story

In This Is Our Story, Elston spins a tangled, eerie web of a story about secrets, lies, and the ties that bind us.

Everyone has heard about the River Point Boys. The five friends went into the woods to hunt, and when the hunt was finished, one of their own lay dead.

Kate is a high school student who works in the district attorney's office. She's already emotionally involved in this case for reasons she doesn't want to discuss with anyone, let alone her mother and her boss. Determined to get to the bottom of what truly happened, Kate starts digging deep, with possibly dangerous results.

I had been wanting to read this book since I first heard about it, and Elston did not disappoint. The book is nicely layered, with twists and turns I did not see coming. The characters are complex, and Kate is a character I definitely found myself cheering for. Elston's use of interview transcripts, and missives from a mysterious second narrator, make the story even more interesting.

This is a young adult mystery done right. I definitely recommend this read.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

What We're Reading Wednesday: March 15, 2017, and Some Mini-Reviews!

My school is doing a reading competition this month, and teachers' minutes count this year! So here's what I'm reading this Wednesday!

I've been wanting to read this book since I first heard about it, and it is living up to everything I hoped it would be! It's such a good, eerie young adult psychological mystery.

I'm starting this one tonight as my before-bed book. It's another one I've been wanting to read for quite a while, and I got my hands on a great hardcover copy at a used book sale.

I love P.D. James, and this is the first in her series featuring a female detective.

These are my current Kindle reads. The first seemed so completely up my alley I had to read it. And the second is actually the first in a cozy mystery series I started reviewing last week.

What are you reading?


I've had this book on my shelf for a while-it's an early reviewer book that didn't actually come in the mail until many months after it was supposed to-and my school's reading competition has bonus points for reading a book about basketball, so I was inspired to pick this up finally and get some extra points for my classroom!

Price tells the story of his year spent attempting to train his body and mind to be able to dunk a basketball. Along the way, he reveals personal stories about his and his family's life, as well as delving into the history of basketball, and jumping in general. 

As a huge basketball fan, I found this book most interesting when it focused on the basketball aspect of things, but in general, this was a good, quick read, with some real impactful emotional moments.

I knew I had to have this book the moment I heard about it, and reading it definitely lived up to my expectations. 

Ricca tells the true tale of a woman detective who took on the case of a missing girl, and ended up taking on her city as well. Ricca also explores the all-important question of how such an important, influential woman could be so little-known nowadays.

This book is fascinating from a true crime viewpoint, but also in the ways it explores the societal and cultural norms of the time. I highly recommend this read.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Review: Crepe Factor

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my opinion of the book, or my review itself.

Title: Crepe Factor
Author: Laura Childs
Publication Date: October 4, 2016
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Recommended If You Like: cozy mysteries, settings as characters, mysteries that make your mouth water

The Book:

It's the holiday season, but scrapbook shop owner Carmela has just seen a man die at her feet. The victim has ties to both the restaurant scene and the local environmentalists, and Carmela's ex is a prime suspect.

What I Liked:

I loved how Childs made the setting of New Orleans absolutely come alive. It made me want to visit there right away, and eat eat eat!

The characters are also very vivid, and Childs does an excellent job of making each character unique and memorable.

Anything I Didn't Like?

The title didn't really make sense. Crepes don't come into the book at all to my memory.

The solution to the mystery seemed a bit out of nowhere, but Childs did still make it work.


I've enjoyed the other books of Childs' I've read more. This one was enjoyable, but merely okay.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Review: The Whole Art of Detection

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my opinion of the book, or my review itself.

Title: The Whole Art of Detection
Author: Lyndsay Faye
Publication Date: March 7, 2017
Genre: Mystery
Recommended If You Like: all things Sherlock Holmes

The Book:

Faye has crafted a collection of short stories centered around Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson. These stories cover the early years of Holmes' career, through his supposed death and return, all the way through to years after he has resumed his life in London.

What I Liked:

Everything! The mysteries are fantastic and varied, and read just like the original canon stories do. Faye truly has a gift for capturing Doyle's spirit and voice within her takes on the tales.

I especially loved the more personal glimpses we get into Holmes' and Watson's hearts and heads. Holmes' return from the dead, and its emotional effects, is really examined here, in a beautiful way that is true to the original characters.

Anything I Didn't Like?

I absolutely loved this collection. I want to run out and own it right now so I can put it on my Sherlock Holmes' shelves. There was nothing I didn't like.


I highly recommend this book for any and all Holmes' fans.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Review: Bradstreet Gate

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my opinion of this book or my review itself.

Title: Bradstreet Gate
Author: Robin Kirman
Publication Date: April 5, 2016
Genre: Mystery/Psychological/Suspense
Recommended If You Like: college settings, ambiguity, complex characters, philosophical ponderings wrapped in a murder mystery

The Book:

Three people enter Harvard as undergraduates, thinking this is the key to making their lives perfect. But an overly charming professor and a murder on campus shake their worlds to the core. As they graduate and grow into adults, the events from those four years continue to reverberate through every facet of their lives.

What I Liked:

I really liked Part 1, and the first half of Part 2. The mystery is highly intriguing, the characters are complex and interesting, and the writing style is excellent. Starting in modern day and flashing back to the events from the past creates a real sense of suspense that made me have to keep reading.

Anything I Didn't Like?

From the second half of Part 2, through the end of the book, I just didn't love it. The mystery I was promised gets lost in the characters' ponderings, and the story really seems to just sort of meander along.

 I'm someone who always wants a mystery resolved, and not having any resolution to this mystery really left me unsatisfied. Reading an essay by the author located in the back of the book, it does seem this was exactly the intention, but it's not an intention I really enjoyed.


To me, this definitely isn't the next The Secret History (one of my all-time favorite books), as some of the blurbs tout it as. This is not a bad book by any means, but the potential of the beginning of the book just seems to peter out about halfway through, and the non-solution left me unsatisfied.

I think Kirman was just trying to do too much. Honestly, if the murder hadn't been included at all, I think the book would have been a tighter read. The author's purpose could definitely have been achieved using the other relationships, dramas, and revelations within the pages.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Review: Never Missing, Never Found

Title: Never Missing, Never Found
Author: Amanda Panitch
Publication Date: June 28, 2016
Genre: Young Adult/Mystery/Psychological/Suspense
Recommended If You Like: twisty young adult mysteries, use of flashbacks, amusement parks

The Book:

Scarlett escaped from her captor once. Determined to put the past behind her, she is now working at a local amusement park. But when another girl goes missing, Scarlett starts to question the choices she made all those years ago.

What I Liked:

I'm going to jump right to the ending-the ending twist is amazing! This is another fantastic twist that made me gasp out loud and flip back pages to see how Panitch pulled off flipping her whole book on its head.

Panitch has a really nice writing style, that flows well and builds suspense for her story. She writes a unique take on a plot (missing girl) that has been written about a lot.

Anything I Didn't Like?

While I loved the ending twist, I did feel the very end came across as a bit melodramatic and didn't necessarily fit with the rest of the book.


I would definitely recommend this book. It's a quick, suspenseful read with a fantastic ending twist.