Friday, February 24, 2012

Book review: A Will to Murder by Hilary Thomson

A Will To Murder by Hilary Thomson

Death by rap music.

A promising start to an interesting premise and funny story. Unfortunately, I just couldn't get myself into it. It is really hard for me to enjoy a book when I can't relate to at least one character. Before continuing, let me say that I did not finish the book. I read about 40% of it and then gave up. I don't do that very often but with limited reading time these days, I just can't continue with a book I am not enjoying. Perhaps I was just not in the mood for this type of humorous, slapstick mystery.

So, the premise: A family comes together in the large house of their wealthy father, who has just died of a heart attack because someone blasted rap music out of his car during a drive through town. He basically died of embarrassment. The family is there to hear his will and perhaps find out if the music was put in the car as a joke or for the purpose of murder. More deaths and crazy family relations ensue.

I had a hard time making sense of the dialogue. The way these characters speak was unbelievable to me, their reactions seemed forced and unrealistic. It made it hard to sympathize with them or understand them.The family is supposed to come from a wealthy home and so it seemed to me that the author was trying very hard to make them all sound like snobby stuck up rich folk. They seemed more like caricatures of the wealthy crazy East Coast family that you would see in a sitcom.

The things they said sometimes made no sense at all, especially the parents speaking to their kids, or the way they interacted with the help.  It wasn't believable to me and believable dialogue is so important to my reading enjoyment. It is the way I get into a story, relate to characters, and feel a part of what is happening. If this doesn't happen, I lose interest.

Perhaps the caricatures are meant to be, actually I am sure they are. This isn't a serious murder mystery and scenes are definitely there for laughs, but they just didn't work for me. I couldn't find the humour in it, but I am sure this would be perfect for others. My sister would find it hilarious.

Source: Author for review

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Book Review: The Last Letter From Your Lover by JoJo Moyes

The Last Letter From Your Lover by JoJo Moyes

Jennifer Sterling awakes in a hospital bed with no memory of the car accident that got her there or the people around her. She goes home with her husband, now a stranger to her, to a home and a life that seems new and foreign. She tries to act the part of the dutiful wife and socialite but feels lost until she discovers a collection of letters written to her from before the accident.

She finds these letters full of declarations of love and sentiment that are somehow more familiar to her than anything else. The problem- they are not from her husband. She is determined to find the mysterious B and in the process, over many years, learns much about herself, the love she once had, and the lies and unforeseen circumstances that have kept them apart.

Moyes' characters are likable and relevant. I found myself both laughing and crying with them. This was just such an entertaining and encompassing story. It is a bitter sweet love story that spans 40 years. It was the perfect read for my February book group! With Valentine's Day this week, we felt the need for a good love story but not a cheesy romance novel. This was just what we wanted.

Source: purchased ebook

Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 13, 2012

A sweet smelling offer

I will be a part of the blog tour for MJ Rose's The Book of Lost Fragrances in April. In perpetration, here is a great offer available to you...

M.J. Rose is asking if you've ever smelled a story?

“He struggled to separate out the notes he recognized from the ones he didn’t, searching for the ingredients that gave the blend its promise of hope, of long nights and voluptuous dreams, of invitation and embrace. Of an everlasting covenant ripe with possibility. Of lost souls reunited.” —The Book of Lost Fragrances

Discover the perfume inspired by The Book of Lost Fragrances

Pre-order The Book of Lost Fragrances by M.J. Rose and we'll send you a free sample of Âmes Soeurs, the Scent of Soulmates. This exclusive fragrance, inspired by the novel, was created by Joya Studios and is not yet for sale. Joya’s Âmes Sœurs hints of Frankincense, Myrrh, Orange Blossom and Jasmine. It’s smoky uncommon finish suggests the past and the future, and lost souls reunited.

Just use one of the links at and follow the directions there.

Offer ends March 1, but pre-order now since we have a limited number of supplies! US and Canada only.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Blog Tour Stop for Toby Neal's Blood Orchid

"Drowning isn't pretty, even in paradise."

That first line got my attention and what came after kept me reading.

Despite the Hawaiian setting, don't expect mai tais and beautiful sunsets. This story is dark and shows the seedy side of the Hawaiian islands. A few seemingly unconnected crimes pulls a young, ambitious police officer deeper into a murder investigation than she intended.

Leilani Texiera is struggling with separating her past from her current life, yet it seems to help her in the search for a serial rapist and murderer. Her ambition to make detective and her prior acquaintance with one of the victims pushes her to become part of the investigation unknowingly making her a target. Her strength and stubbornness are both an asset and a danger when dealing a with more than one bad guy.

Neal is very good at making everyone Lei comes in contact with seem like the perp. I was sure several times that I knew who the murderer was. Wrong each time. Also, this book doesn't end when you think it should and just continues with the surprises and thrills.

Source: sent for review

Read on for an excerpt from Blood Orchids and see how that first chapter just grabs your attention and makes you want to keep reading.

A Novel by Toby Neal

Chapter 1

   Drowning isn’t pretty, even in paradise. The girl’s features were bloated by water and nibbled on by wildlife. She lay half embedded in silty mud, naked as a seal carcass. Long hair that might have been blonde wrapped around her like seaweed, one sparkly hair tie still in place on the side of her head.
Leilani Texeira grimaced at the sulphurous smell of the mud as she stepped into it, shiny regulation shoes disappearing, and squatted to inspect the body. After three years on the force in Hawaii she’d seen several drowned corpses, and had learned to stay detached as she looked for any signs of violence. Still, she was thankful for the small mercy of the girl’s closed eyes.
   Her partner Pono’s voice was a bass drone interspersed with static as he called in the discovery on the radio. Lei stayed on her haunches, her eyes slowly surveying the entire overgrown area of the small county park. Invasive christmasberry bushes and clumps of tall pili grass competed along the unkempt banks. Midmorning sun leached reluctantly from under cloud cover as she spotted what looked like a bobbing coconut a few yards out. Lei glanced around—no palm trees ringed the pond.
She pushed her pant legs up and splashed forward into murky water warm as blood, clots of yellowish algae dotting the surface.
   “Hey!” Pono called. “What the hell are you doing?”
   “Got another one,” Lei said. The water reached her thighs. Any deeper and she’d have to go back and take off her bulky duty belt. She approached the body, floating face down. Female, small build, brown skinned and nude—Lei mentally composed the report. She extended her baton and poked the corpse, wondering if something might fall off if she touched it, but the flesh was hard. Still in rigor.      These girls hadn’t been dead long.
   “Let the crime techs deal with it. You know you’re not supposed to touch the body—I don’t want you to get in trouble again” She ignored Pono, in the grip of a compulsion she couldn’t put words to.
There was something familiar about this body.
   She grabbed a handful of trailing black hair and gently pulled. There was bit of give, but the hair held and the body moved sluggishly at her tug. Lei steeled herself and, walking backward, slowly towed the body to shore in a parody of rescue. She backed up into the shallows, bringing the girl up onto the muddy bank, and rolled her by flipping the shoulder. The brunette landed on her back with a splash next to the blonde.
   Lei sucked a breath and bit her lip, bile rising.
   The eyes were open this time, and she recognized them.
Haunani Something-or-other—a sixteen year old kid with an attitude. Lei had busted her for possession at the high school a week ago. The girl’s once-brown eyes were cloudy. Her open mouth was filled with water. Rigor kept the arms raised at an angle. Haunani looked as if she were waving for help, the motion frozen forever.
   Off in the distance Lei heard sirens. She staggered out of the mud up onto the grass to stand beside Pono. Her stomach crawled back down her throat as she breathed in through her nose, out through her mouth and touched the tiny cowrie she kept in her pocket.
   “I know her. I mean, I knew her.”
   “Who she stay?” Pono used pidgin, dialect of the Islands, when he was upset. He rubbed his mustache with a finger and she knew he wanted a cigarette.
   “Remember a couple weeks ago? Drug bust at the high school? Her name’s Haunani Pohakoa.”
The last name came to her along with a memory of the girl’s cocked hip and long shiny hair. Haunani had been vain about that hair, tossing it around like a pony flicking flies. Lei wished she could forget the slick feeling of the wet strands as her heart squeezed, remembering the fragile bravado Haunani had worn like armor—an armor they shared. She’d felt an immediate connection to the girl when she met her. Lei rubbed her hands briskly on soaked uniform slacks.

Would you like to read on? 

Luckily for you, I have a copy available for GIVEAWAY. If you are a US resident and enjoy a good mystery leave a comment on this post. Let me know what your favorite mystery novel is for an extra entry!

For more information on the novel and author, Toby Neal, check out the following:


FTC Disclosure: Clicking on title and image links will lead you to my Amazon Affiliate page.