I love to curl up with a nice, steaming cup of tea and a free book to review. In fact I subscribe to three book review sites: Book Crash, Book Rooster and The Bookplex just so I can indulge in my favorite leisure activity. What’s even better is when an author contacts me for a review. If you’re an author looking for someone to review your book or short story, check out my Request a Review page.
Because I like to share the great reads I’ve found (and warn readers of the not-so-great finds), I developed a system:
- One cup — worse than a cup of luke warm black pekoe
- Two cups — it may be hot, but you’ll need plenty of sweetener just to tolerate it
- Three cups — it’s not my favorite, but it beats going without
- Four cups — nice and hot and only needs a smidge of sweetener to be perfect
- Five cups — loose leaf vanilla Earl Grey, yummy
Sometimes a book or story doesn’t warrant a five cup rating, but it’s so good it can’t be missed. For those I include the “Must Read” starburst in front of the cup rating. You’ll find my cup rating above the picture of the cover. Enjoy!
The Caves of Etretat, Book One of Four (The Sirenne Saga) by Matt Chatelain
Canadian bookstore owner Paul Sirenne is thrust into a quest for answers when his parents are found murdered, their bodies cut up into the letters H.N. A note sent before his father’s murder drives Sirenne to seek out the roots of a long-forgotten family secret.
He heads to the town of Etretat, France, on the trail of a hundred year old mystery hidden in the pages of ‘The Hollow Needle’, by Maurice Leblanc. Together with Leblanc’s great-granddaughter, Sirenne unearths puzzles, codes and historical mysteries, exposing a secret war for control of a cave fortress in Etretat’s chalk cliffs.
‘THE CAVES OF ETRETAT’ is the first in a four-book epic adventure following Paul Sirenne, an average man unknowingly manipulated into becoming the key in the final phase of a complex conspiracy spanning millennia. Inextricably woven into history, the series re-writes everything we know in a non-stop rollercoaster of a ride where nothing is ever as it seems.
This story starts with a bang. The first chapter pulled me in and I couldn’t wait to read the rest of the story. The mystery of the caves is interesting and often begs to be solved throughout the book.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not interested in romance novels and this book is a good example of why. Not only do the main characters fall in love extremely fast, but it’s mushy, as in Romeo-and-Juliet-can’t-live-without-each-other mushy. These are two adults on a quest to beat a killer to the answer about a mysterious cave. Falling in love isn’t what’s bad it’s that it’s awkward and rushed.
Which brings me to another flaw: for a man who just lost his father and step-mother, Paul seems rather pulled together. In fact, the whole serial killer angle seems to be a McGuffin that’s dropped less than half-way through. Sorry, but if I just lost my folks in such a horrendous way I doubt I’d easily forget it. It would be front and center in my mind and I have a feeling it would often get in the way of solving the mystery.
Last of all is the often awkward dialogue. I don’t know many people who use their friends names so often in a brief conversation. Nor do people generally speak in such stilted language. Cliche characterizations aside, there is very little delineation between each character’s way of speaking. I was also a bit put off by the large amount of info dumping monologues. I realize there was a need for the information to be revealed and only certain characters had that information, but it might have made for a more intense reading if those characters were more reticent about giving their information.
Despite the rushed romance, awkward dialogue and McGuffin-like murders, the mystery was enough for me to continue reading and even enjoy the story. So long as the price remains low, I would recommend The Caves of Etretat, Book One of Four (The Sirenne Saga) by Matt Chatelain to anyone wanting a light adventure to escape into.
- Free for Review