Friday, September 13, 2019

Cozy Review: Ring-a-Ding Dead

Ring-A-Ding Dead! (The Myriad Mysteries) by Claire Logan


About Ring-A-Ding Dead!

Cozy Mystery, 1st in Series 
Independently Published (May 29, 2019)  
Print Length: 244 pages  
Digital ASIN: B07SG1XXM6

Just married! It's time for a ... murder?
When checking into the posh Myriad Hotel on their honeymoon, Hector and Pamela Jackson discover a dead body! All the couple wants to do, though, is keep out of the commotion and enjoy some well-earned rest.

But another person dies, and they happen to appear at the crime scene. When a third person falls right in front of them, the police begin to wonder why.

Who's responsible for the murders? Why are they happening? Are the couple under suspicion? Where does the little stray dog hanging around the hotel entrance come from? And when are Hector and Pamela finally going to have a proper honeymoon?

My Review: 
Ring-A-Ding Dead! is two mysteries for the price of one. While Mr. and Mrs. Jackson are investigating the murders at the Myriad Hotel, the reader, or at least this reader, is at least as interested in the mystery of the couple's past. It's an interesting way to design a book, with the main characters (the couple form an almost equal team, with just a little more attention paid to Hector) very much an unknown to the reader for much of the book. It kept me reading.

The setting is a great one--1920s Chicago offers a  lot of scope for atmosphere, and the author handles it well. I did catch one or two linguistic slips that didn't feel quite in the era, though I can't be sure (and can't find them again). Overall, the speech, clothing, and manners fit the period well, suggesting the author has done her research.

I greatly enjoyed the story, and found the solution to the murders satisfactory, if not wholly unexpected. I did peg the murderer well short of the end, but the motives were a surprise for me. The mystery of the couple's past was given just enough explanation to keep me from dying of frustration. I hope that further books in the series will flesh out that story and satisfy my curiosity.

Although the ARC I received was an unedited proof, I found the writing to be clean and thoroughly edited, with few to no errors.

My Recommendation:
A good fun read for lovers of historical fiction. The story is clean and, despite multiple deaths, non-violent. 

FTC Disclosure: I received an ARC of  Ring-A-Ding Dead! from Great Escapes Free Book Tours, and received nothing further from the writer or publisher in exchange for my honest review.  The opinions expressed are my own and those of no one else.  I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising." 

About Claire Logan

I've loved reading since I can remember! I love puzzles and mysteries and intrigue, and of all the cities I've been to, Chicago is my favorite. My four years of living in Chicago during grad school were wonderful. Plus I love history. And wasn't the 1920's wild? I've always wanted to write a series set in Chicago and now here's my chance.

Author Links:  

Purchase Links 
  Amazon:  (on Kindle Unlimited)

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Tuesday, September 10, 2019

On the Road... Again?

Yup, we're off again to go play! Headed to Colorado for some fun with my backpacking posse, then on to New England to take another look at the fall foliage. Internet access will be spotty, and while I have some pre-scheduled posts, I have no idea when I'll be able to check on them, respond to comments, etc. On the up side: Death By Library has gone to the proof-reader!

See whenever I have the chance!
On the road to find fall!

Monday, September 9, 2019

Middle Grade Monday: Refugee

33118312. sy475  

Title: Refugee
Author: Alan Gratz
Publication Info: Scholastic, 2017. 352 pages, Kindle version
Source: Library digital resources

Publisher's Blurb:
Three different kids.

One mission in common: ESCAPE.

Josef is a Jewish boy in 1930s Nazi Germany. With the threat of concentration camps looming, he and his family board a ship bound for the other side of the world…

Isabel is a Cuban girl in 1994. With riots and unrest plaguing her country, she and her family set out on a raft, hoping to find safety and freedom in America…

Mahmoud is a Syrian boy in 2015. With his homeland torn apart by violence and destruction, he and his family begin a long trek toward Europe…

All three young people will go on harrowing journeys in search of refuge. All will face unimaginable dangers–from drownings to bombings to betrayals. But for each of them, there is always the hope of tomorrow. And although Josef, Isabel, and Mahmoud are separated by continents and decades, surprising connections will tie their stories together in the end.

My Review:  
I read this because it was the July (!) selection for our Goodreads "Great Middle Grade Reads" group. While I think it is a valuable and important book (though maybe more important for the grown-ups to read than the kids!), I can't say I liked it a lot, or thought it was the best I've read. Maybe more accurate would be to say that I had some issues with the book, but think it was powerful.

One thing I found was that the structure--short chapters cycling among the three main characters--kept me reading. Almost every chapter ended with a cliff-hanger, and I had to read about the other two characters before I could get back to the first, and so on. That was undeniably effective story-telling. The chapters were short, however, and that made it harder to connect with the characters. Maybe I didn't want to, knowing what they might suffer (and I had a niggling memory about Josef's situation, and was correct).

I also had some reservations about the ways in which the stories connected, which felt a bit contrived. One sadly real thread that connected them was the efforts of too many nations (including, yes, the US) to reject refugees, even at the cost of their lives.

In essence, then, I found the powerful storytelling to be a bit diluted by structural choices, which still leaves this both a pretty good read and an excellent wake-up call.

My Recommendation:
At the risk of getting political, I think that those who are ruling our country right now might benefit from an empathetic reading of this book. More realistically, I would recommend it for anyone over about age 12, maybe older. I think this one teeters on the brink of YA, not juvvy, thanks especially to the descriptions of what happened in the concentrations camps of WWII.

FTC Disclosure: I checked Refugee out of my library, and received nothing from the writer or publisher for my honest review. The opinions expressed are my own and those of no one else. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."