Tag Archives: January 2015

Death of A Dishonorable Gentleman by Tessa Arlen

From GoodReads

Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman is another ARC review. This is a historical mystery with a lot of Downton Abbey vibes. I love that this book was told from multiple perspectives in both narration and class. Clementine Montfort, the lady, and Edith Jackson, the head housekeeper, have such distinct voices it was easy to bounce between them. Arlen’s style of writing was dense but not overly flowery. The tone that she set really helped solidify the setting and her massive vocabulary was refreshing. She used the word vixen to talk about an actual fox, it was marvelous.

The mystery here settles around Lady Montfort’s murdered nephew, Teddy Mallory. By all accounts, Teddy was a scoundrel so naturally there are plenty of suspects. Thankfully the author included two other mysteries to go along with the main plot-a maid and a young lady, apparently unconnected went missing. With the cunning of Mrs. Jackson, and the determination of Lady Montfort, the mystery plays out in a very entertaining way. I did enjoy the resolution of this mystery much more than Dubiosity.

The historical timeline entwined with this book was very informative and relative. I enjoyed the history lesson and the multiple opinions that were explored. I also loved the dedication of the character to morality and manners. There was just something very noble about characters that actually cared about honor, loyalty, and respect.

Lady Montfort was handled well. The slow unraveling of her character’s developed help hold interest when the narrative became too dense. I enjoyed her wit, not over whelming but present, and her tenacious demeanor. The way she interacted with her husband and son really highlighted her intelligence. Her confrontations with Mr. Barclay and Gertrude were fantastic.

My favorite character was Mrs. Jackson. She was proper and intelligent. She did the legwork of this investigation which turned up many interesting tid bits. I can just picture her put in some sort of put in some sort of life or death circumstances and still managing to keep her principles while making it out in one piece. One of my favorite pieces of her depth was her fascination with the talented gardener she kept at a distance and lack of mention to Mr. Jackson. This mystery about her really balanced out her sometimes severe personality.

Arlen was able to add depth to the story with the other character’s backstories, though not all were developed and I admit to having a small problem keeping all the young bachelors straight at times. While some supporting character’s were developed well like Gertrude, others were not. Lord Haversham, while explored moderately, was not nearly as developed as I hoped.

There were some issues I want to address. The narrative was too rich for my tastes, it made the plot drag a bit even if it was skillfully done. The author showed wonderful bouts of dialogue that were beautiful and pieced together well but that did not permeate the entire book. The side story with Barclay and Mallory was not quite believable, nor did it seem to serve a purpose to the story other than making it politically correct. The chapters told from Lord Montfort’s perspective lacked the distinct voice that the chapters from Lady Montfort’s perspective and Mrs. Jackson’s perspective had.

Overall this was a good read and I would recommend it for fans of Downton Abbey, there were many similarities to this book and that show. A very strong four out of five footmen.

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Dubiosity by Christy Barritt

Image from GoodReads

Dubiosity is my first ARC review and boy, it was a good one! This book centers around Savannah Harris and unraveling her town’s mysterious disappearances and how they link to other crimes. It was very easy to slide into because of the author’s charming writing style.

The author takes her time with the Savannah’s character development and despite early signs the MC might develop into a Mary Sue, does a good job connecting with the audience. At first, I thought Savannah’s grief fell a little flat but I changed my mind. Savannah is a rare female lead that can distance herself from her emotions to a certain extent. Savannah is balanced in the sense that she makes important decisions based on both logic and emotions. Savannah was also very candid about her short-comings and lack of moral fiber. This was so refreshing than the normal justification process that so many main characters go through. Savannah goes through a lot of changes in this book, from guilty to free, reclusive to curious, and cold to welcoming. As good as Savannah was developed, there were inconsistencies. I did find it strange that she didn’t freak out more about a strangers being in her house and that a creative journalist would name her cat “Tiger” for such obvious reasons.

Clive, is not handled as skillfully as Savannah. He comes off as an obvious good guy very early in the book. The first obvious clue-he drives a Jeep! It is a well known fact villains are not capable of driving such a fun vehicle. Plus having the bad guy living on the property just would have made it too easy to be bad and not romantic. Clive is suddenly revealed to be a fake name about 80% (or more) of the way through the book and suddenly his name changed to Jack. It was jarring and strange. I don’t think the author should have changed the narration like that so close to the end of the book.

That brings us to the mystery. The mystery element was more complex than usual but I loved it. I really enjoyed the chasing the answers down to each piece. Barritt engaged me and kept me guessing for most of the book. I did not loose interest in plot and the romance/subplots did not over power the main mystery. While I won’t ruin the ending of the mystery, I will say that the conclusion wasn’t dazzling.

The spiritual turning point for Savannah felt sudden and rushed at the end. It sort of hit me out of left field, especially the intensity. There was a little bit of gradual change but it was like walking into the surf and you get about 6 inches in, then suddenly with one step you are blindsided by a drop off and in over your head. Everything else spirituality-wise was wonderful and I could appreciate Savannah’s and Clive’s struggles. The spiritual element balance in this book was also done extremely well. I was very worried at the beginning that either the spirituality in this book would be “cafeteria Christian” style or every single thing would be “over spiritualized” but everything was well balanced. (There was one cheesy moment, but I’ll let it slide.) This was my best experience with Christian literature so far.

I give Dubiosity, four apples of five and would recommend this book those that enjoy tasteful mysteries.

Reading Challenge 2015

Hello!!!

This year I decided to create myself I a reading challenge. For the purpose of this challenge “read” can mean reading traditionally with text or listening to audio books. Also, some books can fall into multiple categories. For example, if my Cita wants me to read “How To Win Friends and Influence People” in January that also counts a a non-fiction. (He does). 

Book

Reading Challenge 2015

Total Books: 75

Books Of My Cita’s Choosing: 12  

NonFiction: 4

Read 15 Books from the Old Testament (Counts as 1 Book toward the 75)

Only While Exercising: 12

Classics, no rereads: 4

Set In Florida: 2

Set In Prague: 1

Pulitzer Prize Winners: 3 

ReRead: 2

From the Following Genres: 

Historical Fiction-1
Christian Literature-3
Adult Fantasy-4
Horror-2

Non Direct Goals:

Write Reviews: 21

Now this might be a bit sketchy as far as “reading” but I am going to put it in here anyway-

Complete Zombie, Run App

  (Don’t know what that is- review: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIG9ZlY1vNY)

To Diversify: 

This year I really hope to read more books told from a male prospective. It feels like every book I pick up in YA has a female lead protagonist. So I quantified my readings for 2014 regardless of audience: 33 were told from a female perspective, 12 from a male, and 23 from both/neither. The both/neither category was strong but I would really like to see stronger representation from the male perspective.

Wish Me Luck!