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Book Review: Mayhem at the Orient Express by Kylie Logan

I won this book in a silent auction basket at my local library.  I mean, I had to bid on it since it was nothing but books about cats, right?  I also happen to like cozy mysteries, so this was an easy entry on my To Read list.

The first thing I have to say about Mayhem is that it’s not quite as cozy as other books in the genre that I’ve read.  While I’ve really only gotten into this type of book over the last few years and I can’t say I’ve delved extensively into the genre, I was surprised to find that there were quite a few cuss words.  There’s also the mention of condoms and more than an insinuation that two characters are having sex.  I’m not offended by any of this, but it stood out to me as unusual.

Mayhem is written in first person in a very casual, sarcastic style that I really enjoyed.  Bea Cartwright is sassy and a little crabby, and she doesn’t hesitate to talk about it.  The book is fast-paced and well put together with a good mystery.  The clues and the red herrings are intermixed, keeping the real mystery for the very end.  Along the way, we discover that Bea has a secret of her own, which just adds to the plot.

At the beginning of the book, the main characters have been in court far too many times complaining about each other.  The local judge sentences them to join the library’s book club.  While this seems pretty far-fetched and made for a bit of a bumpy start to the book, it was a good way to draw the characters together.  Things picked up quickly, and then I couldn’t put it down.

As you may have guessed, Murder on the Orient Express is featured in this mystery.  While I think the book would still be enjoyable if you haven’t read Christie’s classic, I think it’s better for having done so.  I just read MOE a few months ago, so a lot of the elements were still fresh in my mind.

Overall, I highly recommend this book.  My one disappointment is that the cat on the cover was only a very minor part of the book, mentioned maybe two or three times.  If you’re expecting a cat mystery, this isn’t it.  But it was a quick, fun read, and I’ll definitely read more by the same author.

 

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A Review of Out of Time by Monique Martin

I truly believe that you should read in the genre in which you want to write.  My most recent foray into this principle concerns time travel.  Once I finish up the sequel to The Wanderer’s Guide to Dragon Keeping, I have an outline that I’ve started for something a little different.  I don’t have a title for it yet, but it’s based on a dream I had once and revolves around (you guessed it) time travel.

During a quick little shopping trip to Amazon, I found Monique Martin’s Out of Time.  Since I always try to support other indie authors and it had good reviews, I decided to download it.  I haven’t regretted it.

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Elizabeth and Simon find themselves transported to 1920’s Manhattan.  While they search for a way back to their own time and place, they have to face some major challenges.  Not only do they have to blend into this new world, but there are vampires to fight as well.

The characters are well developed and experience genuine arcs as the plot progresses.  Martin lets the reader into the minds of both of the main characters throughout, bringing their emotions right to the forefront of the story.  Martin fully employs her descriptive powers, whether she is letting us in on the in’s and out’s of what life was like in the 1920’s or simply waxing literary.  One of my favorite lines from the book:  “Umbrellas blossomed like black flowers in a potter’s field.”

I noticed that another reviewer on Amazon stated that the vampires seemed to come out of nowhere in the story and were a bit misplaced.  I humbly disagree.  I think the problem is simply that Ms. Martin plunges the reader so thoroughly into the time period of the story, that the reader forgets what the book is actually supposed to be about.  It’s a rare occasion that the author does such a good job that we forget what’s going on.

I highly recommend Out of Time to anyone looking for a great sci-fi romance! I look forward to reading further into this series!

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