Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Snow White Red-Handed by Maia Chance

Title: Snow White Red-Handed

Author: Maia Chance

Published: 4 November 2014, Berkley

Pages: 336

Series: Book 1, Fairy Tale Fatal Mysteries

Summary: 1867: After being fired from her latest variety hall engagement, Ophelia acts her way into a lady’s maid position for a crass American millionaire. But when her new job whisks her off to a foreboding castle straight out of a Grimm tale, she begins to wonder if her fast-talking ways might have been too hasty. The vast grounds contain the suspected remains of Snow White’s cottage, along with a disturbing dwarf skeleton. And when her millionaire boss turns up dead—poisoned by an apple—the fantastic setting turns into a once upon a crime scene.
 To keep from rising to the top of the suspect list, Ophelia fights through a bramble of elegant lies, sinister folklore, and priceless treasure, with only a dashing but mysterious scholar as her ally. And as the clock ticks towards midnight, she’ll have to break a cunning killer’s spell before her own time runs out… (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts:   I've been going on a cosy mystery frenzy lately and so when I saw this one recommended to me on Goodreads I jumped at the chance to read it so purchased it immediately.  The premise of this book sounds so intriguing and makes the book split into two mysteries of sorts.

The first mystery is that of the strange cottage found in the woods and the dwarf skeleton found there.  I felt like this mystery wasn't as looked into as the second mystery but I really loved what there was of it.  The history of what happened to Snow White after the story everyone knows was quite interesting too.

The second mystery is the murder mystery aspect and I felt that this was quite interesting.  There are so many suspects in the book and I'm not sure why but I found it hard to keep track of who each of the people were and it made it harder to figure out who the murderer was.  In the end, the reveal was a surprise to me.

One other thing that sticks out in my mind is that I really love the cover of this book.  There's just something about it that makes me want to pick up the book.

I felt like this book took me a lot longer to read than the usual cosy mystery does and I can't tell if that's because I felt the book switched between characters too quickly so it was hard to follow the story or I just wasn't really feeling the book so much.

Overall, I feel like I liked Snow White, Red-Handed as the premise was really intriguing and I do enjoy mysteries, however, I feel like it could have been a lot more interesting.  I'll be picking up the next book in the series when it comes out however, and we will see what that one is like.

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami

Title: The Strange Library

Author: Haruki Murakami

Published: Harvill Secker, 2 December 2014

Pages: 88

Summary: On his way home from school, the young narrator of The Strange Library finds himself wondering how taxes were collected in the Ottoman Empire. He pops into the local library to see if it has a book on the subject. This is his first mistake. Led to a special 'reading room' in a maze under the library by a strange old man, he finds himself imprisoned with only a sheep man, who makes excellent donuts, and a girl, who can talk with her hands, for company. His mother will be worrying why he hasn't returned in time for dinner and the old man seems to have an appetite for eating small boy's brains. How will he escape?  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: Lately I have been hearing amazing things about Murakami's books and when I read the synopsis of this one I thought that it definitely seemed like something I would be interested in reading.  When the book arrived, I was blown away by how gorgeous it is.  The cover actually has a little card pocket on the front, it isn't just a picture.  Scattered, throughout the book are so many beautiful illustrations and they match up with what's being told in the story.  Not to mention, quite a few of the pages are made up to look like pages of an old library book.  It's definitely really nice to look at.  Ever since I got the book I've been showing to my friends and they too have marvelled at how pretty the book is.

As far as the story goes, I thought it was interesting and reminded me a little bit of Neil Gaiman's books, as it had some dark undertones and the main character was in a situation that he didn't want to be in.  I thought I knew the direction the story was going to be headed in and when I got to the end I was kind of left speechless a little bit.  It definitely left me with something to think about.

The book is really short so it doesn't take too long to fly through but I also found myself going through it a little bit more slowly than what I normally would have, just because I was enjoying it and wanted to savour the story.

I don't have a lot more to say about this book as I feel that would give the story away, but what I can say is that I really enjoyed reading The Strange Library and would highly recommend giving this book a read.

Source: Penguin Random House for review

Friday, December 5, 2014

Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

Title: Dead Until Dark

Author: Charlaine Harris

Published: Gollancz, 2011

Pages: 326

Series: Book 1, Sookie Stackhouse

Summary: Sookie Stackhouse is a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. She's quiet, keeps to herself, and doesn't get out much. Not because she's not pretty. She is. It's just that, well, Sookie has this sort of "disability." She can read minds. And that doesn't make her too dateable. And then along comes Bill. He's tall, dark, handsome - and Sookie can't 'hear' a word he's thinking. He's exactly the kind of guy she's been waiting for all her life.

But Bill has a disability of his own: He's a vampire. Worse than that, hangs with a seriously creepy crowd, with a reputation for trouble - of the murderous kind.
And when one of Sookie's colleagues is killed, she begins to fear she'll be next ...  (Taken from Goodreads)

Thoughts: I've had this book for a few years and the other day I just picked it up off the shelf and started reading it.  Needless to say, I couldn't put it down and so I continued on through the book because I was intrigued by the story.

I know the television show, True Blood is based on this series but I've only seen the very first episode of the show.  It did seem pretty similar though.  I think I'll be picking up the television series some point soon though and I believe I'll also be carrying on with the book series at this point too.

One thing that I really loved was that Sookie is a mind reader and it's something I'm always fascinated with.  I really liked how it worked for Sookie too and it made it seem quite realistic too.  There was also another supernatural being in the book and I actually had my suspicions about that character and then it turned out to be right.  I'm interested to see as the series progresses, what other supernatural creatures make an appearance.

The mystery aspect was really interesting.  I was really curious about the murders and while I had some suspicion about who it could possibly be, I felt like I couldn't be completely sure.  When the reveal happened though, I was pleased to see that I was right in my suspicions.

The vampires are very interesting.  I like Bill, it's interesting to see how he's just a casual kind of vampire and then he's friends with some of the more well-known type of vampire, the killer vampires who don't care about humans and separate themselves from humanity.  I also found Eric to be an interesting character, he was very mysterious which just made me want to know a bit more about him.

I really enjoyed Dead Until Dark and can't wait to read the next book in the series.