Cheri Reviews The Quiche of Death by M. C. Beaton

I found out about this book from the Daily Deal email I get from Audible. I read the blurb, saw the star rating was pretty good, listened to a sample, and dropped my $2.95.

Agatha Raisin, an advertising professional who has taken an early retirement and moves to the country, decides to enter a local baking competition. She figures she’ll make some friends and get a little notoriety when she wins. She’s pretty sure she’ll win since she cheats by purchasing her quiche from a well-known quichery in London. Unfortunately, someone dies after eating it. Who the murderer was isn’t too tough to figure out – and the author doesn’t really try to hide it – but figuring out how it was done is main point of the book. That and laying the foundation for a series.

I was pretty quickly engaged and found the various characters inhabiting the small village in the Cotswolds great fun to get to know. I loved the secondary characters, even the most snooty of them. I laughed out loud several times. The narrator did a fantastic job of bringing them to life. I can certainly see how the series could become addictive. The humor and the personalities of the residents alone make me want to read the next one right away.

The only thing that really pulled me out of the story is the way the POV style changed. For probably the first half of the book, we’re getting Agatha’s POV in a third person but that eventually changes to more of an omnipotent POV. First it’s just Agatha, then it was Agatha and whomever was in the scene with her, and toward the end, characters not in a scene with her were featured. I found it distracting but it may not be something that other folks even recognize.

All in all, it was a fun read and I’m likely to eventually read the next in the series. And try to find the TV movie that was made based on The Quiche of Death.

You can download a sample or purchase a copy of The Quiche of Death by clicking here.

Cheri Reviews Still Missing by Chevy Stevens

I first heard about Still Missing from a really good friend who heard about it from a good friend of hers who was turned on to it by a good friend of hers. I know the friends in question but not really much about their tastes in reading material. But my really good friend had just started reading it and we enjoy reading things together so I was in! Here’s the Amazon blurb:

On the day she was abducted, Annie O’Sullivan, a thirty-two year old realtor, had three goals—sell a house, forget about a recent argument with her mother, and be on time for dinner with her ever- patient boyfriend. The open house is slow, but when her last visitor pulls up in a van as she’s about to leave, Annie thinks it just might be her lucky day after all. Interwoven with the story of the year Annie spent as the captive of psychopath in a remote mountain cabin, which unfolds through sessions with her psychiatrist, is a second narrative recounting events following her escape—her struggle to piece her shattered life back together and the ongoing police investigation into the identity of her captor.

The truth doesn’t always set you free.

Still Missing is that rare debut find–a shocking, visceral, brutal and beautifully crafted debut novel.

I thought most of the book was fantastic. Truly great. My friend and I would only have to type a word or two and immediately know what scene was being mentioned. We were both thrilled with how well the suspenseful and emotional scenes were written. Yeah, Annie’s voice when directly addressing the “Doc” got old very quickly but everything else about her descriptions of her abduction and what happened afterward felt authentic and drew me in. I couldn’t stop reading.

Unfortunately, once the mystery of who The Freak was and how he came to find Annie started unfolding, I had a hard time not putting the book away. Instead, I spent the last couple of hours of reading time highlighting some of the most ridiculous passages, rolling my eyes, grimacing, and uttering things that sounded like “ugh.”

I SO wanted to love the book from start to finish. The author did a great job of keeping me on the edge of my seat with well constructed, suspenseful scenes and made me cry several times while describing some of the most heartbreaking things a woman could experience. But the unfolding of the reasons behind the abduction just killed it for me. There were still some good scenes toward the end but I was pretty well disgusted by then. Maybe disgusted is too strong. Disappointed would probably be a better word.

Knowing that this is her debut novel does help and I rated it 3 stars over on Goodreads. I’m pretty sure I’ll read her second book and hope that Ms. Stevens came up with a story that will be more satisfying to me. Because, really, the woman can write some suspense and doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to laying on the pain, fear, and anguish.

I have to say that while there are some plot issues, there are parts of this book that won’t leave me. The author created a couple of characters who felt incredibly real to me and she wrote scenes that were so clear in my head, I felt like I was standing in the same room. I’m certain that I’ll keep revisiting Annie and The Freak and the cabin in my head for awhile. If you think you can just grin and bear the unbelievable bits toward the end of the book, and you like this genre, you will still get some serious enjoyment out of the experience.

You can download a sample or purchase Still Missing by clicking here..