Pass, Fail, Promise: Books

I ticked volumes nine and ten off of my “Books to Read in 2014” list (yes, I have a list. Yes, I’m following it for the most part. No, I don’t expect that to be the case come December). I’m pretty shocked by this, but also chuffed since it means that rather than averaging a book a week so far, I’ve been averaging two.

…And now that I’ve put it in writing, I probably won’t read a thing for the next three months.

I already told you about 80 Days and The Victorian Internet, so I’ll skip those. 

Pass: Curtsies and Conspiracies by Gail Carriger
I’m a long-time fan of Ms. Carriger. I first hear about her when she was doing guest spots on the Brass Needles podcast, and as soon as her first novel, Soulless, was announced I ran out to snap it up. Like all of her work, C&C is witty and charming, full of well dressed women and delightful deserts. Also, there is a mechanical dog. That alone makes it worth reading.

Genre: Young Adult
Sub-Genre: Steampunk (Victorian)
Page Count: 320
Amazon link

Notes: Second book in a series. First book can be found here.


Fail: Haunted on Bourbon Street by Deanna Chase

I admit it: part of the reason I disliked this book is because I had already formed an idea of what it was going to be about, based on the description and the cover (the over that came up on my kindle was actually this one.) Looking at that, I thought it would be a cozy mystery.

Great, I thought. A quick read, another light paranormal series that I can pick up.


This book is a straight up romance. The amount of actual plot in this book could be condensed to about five chapters. The rest involves characters in various states of undress. That might be okay for some people, but there really just wasn’t enough story in it for me. I thought that what plot there was, was extremely weak, and most of the characters were bland with shaky motivations and unrealistic thought processes. (Woman you don’t know suddenly falls unconscious! Do you A) call an ambulance, or B) take her to bed with you? Normal people pick A. The characters in this book choose B every. Single. Time.)

Anyway, if you’re into romance, it might be your thing. Clearly, it wasn’t mine.

Genre: Romance
Sub-Genre: Paranormal
Page Count: 262
Amazon link

Notes: First book in a series.


Promise: The Murdoch Mysteries (series) by Maureen Jennings

First of all, let me begin by saying that if you go into this series expecting it to be like the television show, then you are in for a surprise. While the 2004 series of television movies staring Peter Outerbridge is based on the novels, the current CBC drama is merely inspired by it. In the first volume, there is no Dr. Ogden, Brackenreid is wholly unlikeable, Crabtree is a seven foot tall wall of a man whom Murdoch respects for his “shrewdness” and has four kids at home with another on the way, and the detective himself is six feet tall with a black mustache. Somehow, I don’t think that the casting director has  read the books.

Anyway, Except the Dying is one of the best mysteries I’ve read in a long while. Secrets abound and there are lots of twists and turns. Every character has a well thought out background, speech pattern, and motive.

Except, that is, the killer.

Maybe I missed something in my reading, but I simply can’t find the link between the murderer and the victim. As far as I can tell, he had no reason at all to kill her, and would have only seen her in passing.

This little detail is the only thing that kept me from listing this one as “Pass.” I’m holding out until I’ve read at least one or two more books in the series before I make my final judgement.

Genre: Mystery/Crime
Sub-Genre: Historical fiction (Toronto)
Page Count: 368
Amazon link

Notes: First book in a series.