A Subtle Murder

A Subtle Murder
by Blythe Baker

Murder and intrigue on the Arabian Sea…

When Rose Beckingham sets sail for England in the summer of 1926, she brings more than souvenirs from her years in India. She carries the memory of a family tragedy and a secret so terrible it could destroy the new life she hopes to build in London.

But Rose isn’t the only passenger aboard the RMS Star of India with something to hide. Halfway across the Arabian Sea, death strikes and a murderer begins a deadly game only Rose can hope to end. 

With a mysterious Frenchman haunting her steps, can Rose outrun her past? And can she stay alive long enough to decipher the clues left by a taunting killer? Or will murder call again before the first port?

NOTE: This is the first of the three cozy mysteries to be shared this week. It is also my least favorite. Read on for more info…

Every summer I find myself desperate for new books that fulfill the following criteria:
1. summer mystery
2. fun story

I can feel you roll your eyes, but hear me out. I am a fan of dark thrillers and deep-thinker stories, but lying on the beach sand under a blazing sun in 100+ degree heat is not the time to be reading that stuff. No. I want to read a light fun story where, typically, our quirky female heroine captures the bad guy before afternoon tea. These types of stories are perfect for reading while listening to waves crash on to shore. I specifically search for these stories (hence the theme week) and found A Subtle Murder.

I was disappointed. A Subtle Murder wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t that great. I almost always feel guilty writing these types of reviews, but in this case…I know Blythe Baker could have done so much more.

The plot was good. It was well developed and planned out. I liked Rose Beckingham: her past, her secrets, and her personality. But that was where my enjoyment of the story ended. Nothing else seemed to be developed past the initial draft stage. The setting needed more description. The supporting characters were rather one-dimensional, with their negative traits overshadowing any positive attributes. I can not remember any of their names and I just finished the book last month!

I know Blythe Baker is a decent story teller, because I easily found myself drawn to Rose and her journey. She did a decent job writing that one specific character. And yet, here I am giving A Subtle Murder a resounding meh. This is my main issue with cozy mysteries. They are typically published while still needing one to two good draft edits where the author works on developing the background ‘fluff.’

I’d like to say I am tempted to continue the series just to find out what happens to Rose….but let’s be honest…I won’t be reading the next book in the series.

Are you a Blythe Baker fan? Does the series get any better? Do you have any vacation themed mysteries I should check out instead? Hit me with up any info you have!

Lindsay

Talk Like a Pirate Day!

Do you know what stinks about a pirate ship?

The poop deck

HAPPY TALK LIKE A PIRATE DAY!

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In honor of one of my favorite cultures, this week will be dedicated to swashbucklers, privateers, buccaneers, pirates! You can expect a couple of pirate book reviews. (Next year I would like a whole month to discuss pirate books and movies!)

Feel free to share your love of piracy, and let me know which books/movies/shows are your favorites. So grab a glass of dark rum with a sliced lime, kick back, and set sail with me this week!

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Check out more pirate jokes here!

Changes

Hello fellow readers! Sorry its been so long, but I have some exciting news! Sand Between the Pages is getting a makeover!

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I have had a wonderful time sharing book reviews over the last couple of years, but its time for a change. Don’t worry; you’ll still get to read reviews, but I will be focusing on specific genres from now on. See, just days ago I realized it was officially two years since this happened…

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And I realized how much I missed history and reading nonfiction. I have been ignoring what I loved most about grad school: HISTORY! So I decided it was time to getting back to my passions.

Sand Between the Pages will now be History and Mystery: Book Reviews by Lindsay. I will be sharing reviews on nonfiction and historical fiction. I will also be sharing video reviews on my new YouTube channel, History and Mystery. (It is still under construction but will be up in the next couple of days!)

I will also have a set schedule for posts:

Monday: A once a month post about period tv shows or documentaries. 

Tuesday: My written book review. 

Thursday: A link to my YouTube review. 

Friday: Posts about historic events. 

I can’t tell you how excited I am about the new direction! It’s nice to get back to be aspect of what makes me me! Welcome to History and Mystery!

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The Sea of Monsters

The Sea of Monsters

by Rick Riordan

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The heroic son of Poseidon makes an action-packed comeback in the second must-read installment of Rick Riordan’s amazing young readers series. Starring Percy Jackson, a “half blood” whose mother is human and whose father is the God of the Sea, Riordan’s series combines cliffhanger adventure and Greek mythology lessons that results in true page-turners that get better with each installment. In this episode, The Sea of Monsters, Percy sets out to retrieve the Golden Fleece before his summer camp is destroyed, surpassing the first book’s drama and setting the stage for more thrills to come.

Well, I’m pretty much hooked on Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. The Sea of Monsters is book two in the series and I was excited that our heroes travel to the same lands in one of my favorite stories by Homer, The Odessy. Camp Halfblood ‘s defenses are failing and monsters are attacking in droves. It is up to Percy, Annabeth, and Tyson to save Grover and recover the only item that can restore the camp, the Golden Fleece.

My favorite aspect of this series is the well rounded main characters. They are kind, strong, and intelligent but also maintain more flawed characteristics. We are introduced to the Cyclops, Tyson, who is treated rather unkindly by fellow campers due to his species and slow speech. We watch Percy come to terms with the nature of his relationship with Tyson and it was refreshing to see him struggle with both shame and irritation at his situation, as well as eventually overcoming those feelings in the end. Headstrong and confident Annabeth must even deal with the knowledge that her fatal flaw is hubris. Riordan’s well developed characters are why I recommend this series to young readers. He makes his characters deal with mentally and physically difficult situations and shows readers how to grow and overcome personality flaws. Great lessons for today’s youth!

Once again, Riordan also expertly melds the modern and Ancient Greek worlds. This history buff could barely contain my excitement at Percy battling Odysseus’ Cyclops and I am secretly hoping the crew eventually returns to the Sea of Monsters! I wish Grover was more involved with the story but reading about him running around in a dirty wedding dress was worth it! And I LOVED Riordan’s use of the historic Civil War Iron Sides!

I really don’t have any negative thoughts about The Sea of Monsters except I wish I knew more about the driving factors for both Clarisse and Luke. These two characters do read a tad two dimensional, but I am hoping Riordan continues to develop them as the series progresses. Luke is still a mystery for me, but it was refreshing to learn about the tense relationship between Clarisse and her father.

I love how The Sea of Monsters ended and I’m going to leave it at that. No hints kids! Which means you need to read it! I can’t wait to finally get the third book on audio so I can listen to it during my work commute.

Have a great weekend guys!

Lindsay