Day: June 6, 2018

Book Review: Death Comes to Dogwood Manor by Sandra Bretting

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Death Comes to Dogwood Manor is the 4th book in the Missy DuBois cozy mystery series, written by Sandra Bretting and published in June, 2018. I won an ARC of this book through a cozy mystery group I subscribe to and have previously read the 3rd book in the series. At some point, I’ll go back to read book one and two once my TBR is a bit shorter this year!

dogwood

In this book, Missy, a milliner in Louisiana, is distracted and accidentally sideswipes another car. She attempts to do the proper thing by notifying the owner, a rich man sweeping up local mansions and converting them into mini-hotels. She’s met him before, and he’s not a very kind person, but in this instance, he himself seems distracted by the renovation going on at the house. A few days later… she finds him dead. At the same time, Missy’s trying to build up her business and lands a potential big win when a magazine wants to publish an article about her shop. As she stumbles upon several people connected to the deceased man, and works with a designer to freshen up her shop before the photo shoot, everything starts to fall apart and come together in very interesting ways.

I see great improvement from the third book to this fourth book in the series, particularly around the writing style and assemble of the potential suspects. There is more balance and less formal language around Missy’s dialog and relationships, which is a great step forward for the series. I enjoyed reading each of the pages and consumed the whole thing in about 2 hours one evening. Missy is very likable and doesn’t put herself in harm’s way to try solving the case. She is a bit nosy, but its endearing and often just part of who she is rather than an issue of getting in the way of the police. She works with them, as the detective is an old-friend.

Lots of detail, descriptions and research went into building the setting for this edition. Between the various wedding veils and hats Missy’s designed, the decor in her own renovated shop, and the design style of the homes-converted-into-hotels, we can see a wonderful backdrop of southern architecture and beauty. There’s also a few steps forward in Missy’s relationship status, as in the last book, there were two potential suitors. It’s a nice small arc rather than a major piece of the story, but seeing her friendships is also one of the more sweeter aspects in these books, too. Bretting’s settling in well with this series and I will definitely be interested in reading the first two and the next when it comes out.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

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Book Review: The Bone Curse by Carrie Rubin

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I’m very excited to share a review on a book I read while in Italy last month. From the moment I saw the first few postings or social media messages, I was interested… and when I learned it was from a blogger I follow and respect, it was all the more intriguing. If you aren’t following her blog, please check it out. Let’s get into my thoughts on this fantastic book…

bone

When The Bone Curse by Carrie Rubin appeared on my news feed earlier this year, I was excited to devour such a thriller. I purchased the novel and scheduled it for my May vacation while I was out of the country visiting various Italian cities, especially since one of the tours included the crypts and catacombs of Rome. What a perfect way to align my reading with my physical setting, right? Well, it gets even scarier… I’ve previously visited the Paris Catacombs where the story kicks off, and at some point during my current trip, I scratched my finger (I believe while trying to load luggage on a bus when it stopped to pick me up in Amalfi on the edge of a cliff) just like the main character in this book, and within two days I had a nasty bug and infection. For a moment, I thought the The Bone Curse might be coming to life and I was gonna call Ms. Rubin for some advice! Thankfully, I did not cause people around me to die, so all in all, I handled it with aplomb — just like this great new author I’ve found!

The novel is categorized as a medical thriller, but it goes beyond that initial genre with the introduction of educational backstory on Voodoo / Voudo practice (different types depending on the interpretation), a young doctor learning how to make a name for himself during his initial hospital training, some fantasy elements when ancient bones seemingly come back to life, and a bit of romance and family drama to round out the story’s depth. I am always excited when a book crosses genres and this one did not disappoint. Life’s sometimes ordinary, and if you can push the boundaries with a little bit of mystery and a strange curse, I’m all for it. Bring it on!

Rubin’s story is top notch. It combined all the elements of my favorite movies and stories covering ancient mummies with revenge on their mind, mass graves of people who were victimized and need to heal, a fine line between medicinal cures and that of the occult. The story drags you in from the beginning and throws out many well-calculated twists and turns. You’re never quite sure if the truth will add up in the end with a logical and natural explanation like some weird virus that caused it all, or if it’s an honest-to-god ancestral curse come back to life seeking vengeance. That’s what made it such a page-turner… you felt tossed back and forth and feverishly thrashed while reading and savoring each of the words to figure it out all.

It helps that the characters were distinct, admirable and endearing. But oh, the deaths… an author is brave when she goes after the ones likely to be a fan favorite. A few times, I wanted to punch the main character, Ben, for being such a dunce. Rubin offers more than enough detail and reasoning for why he might choose not to believe in such a curse, but when enough people are impacted around him, the dude needs to wake up! If I’d been his friend, I would have locked him up much sooner… but that’s what makes the story such an intrigue. Ben is human and torn from what his scientific experience tells him and how his interesting upbringing has shaped him. He’s a product of all the things that keep him wary and cautious of the truth, so he seeks to eliminate all the rational before allowing himself to accept the non-tangible. It was a well-crafted approach and makes readers attach strongly to the entire cast and plot.

I am fond of the author’s writing style and the world she’s built in Ben’s personal life. Though he may have a ‘solution’ with answers at the end of this book, his travels are far from over… this is the kick off of a new series, and there’s plenty more to explore coming out of what’s happened to him in this book. Between death, changes to his family situation, and the upcoming impacts of his life at the hospital, I’m excited to continue being part of this adventure. Rubin’s enamored a new fan and I might even need to take a peek at a few of her earlier unrelated books while I wait for book two in this series. Kudos!

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.