Review: Reining in Murder by Leigh Hearon

May 28, 2016 My To-Be Read List, Mystery, Review 16

LolaReview MyTBRList

My To-Be Read List is a meme hosted by Because Reading is Better Than Real Life where at the beginning of the month visitors can choose which book I’ll be reading this month. On the first saturday of a month the poll will be up, then on the second saturday of the month I’ll announce the book that won and on the last saturday of the month I’ll post my review of the book.

Seem like this wasn’t my month for this meme. The first winner was a DNF and then I picked the second place and ended up with a 2 star. Ah well better luck next month.

Reining in MurderReining in Murder (A Carson Stables Mystery #1)
by Leigh Hearon

Blurb:
When horse trainer Annie Carson rescues a beautiful thoroughbred from a roadside rollover, she knows the horse is lucky to be alive…unlike the driver. After rehabilitating the injured animal at her Carson Stables ranch, Annie delivers the horse to Hilda Colbert–the thoroughbred’s neurotic and controlling owner–only to find she’s been permanently put out to pasture. Two deaths in three days is unheard of in the small Olympic Peninsula county, and Annie decides to start sniffing around. She’s confident she can track down a killer…but she may not know how ruthless this killer really is…

My Review:
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review

I started this book after DNF’ing a sci-fi book that was too gruesome and dark for me, so a nice cozy mystery seemed like it would be the perfect book to read after that. The start of this book was good. Main character Annie cared about animals and the book starts with a mysterious death and she helps rescue the horse that was in the accident. The first chapter was great and I am not exactly sure when I started losing interest, but this book just fell flat for me.

Interesting premise and a cozy mystery focused on animals in this case horses. It sounded like this would’ve been a good one. And I can’t really point out why this one didn’t work for me. Eventually it just started boring me, little things started annoying me and I just got bored. I also didn’t want to put it down, I guess I wanted to know who was the killer. And at the end I am not sure it was really worth it to keep reading. I did like the focus on the horses and it was obvious the author knew what she was talking about.

The mystery wasn’t really a mystery or a big part of the book. the set-up was intriguing and from there it went downhill for me. The police people seemed like nice people with how the sheriff was one of the main character their friends, which was original. Then the police started making really dump conclusions, not investigating leads and making conclusions based on what? Their own theories? There were some conclusion that really didn’t make sense, there was no proof, but everyone was convinced this was what had happened.

There was no mystery, no intrigue and it felt like there was too little focus on the mystery and more on the day to day life of the main characters. And as I didn’t quite cared about the characters it didn’t work for me. Then the main character keep evidence back and instead of actively doing something with it, it just delays the investigation and doesn’t add anything. Only at 70% the main character actively started helping the investigation and half accidentally half on purpose she uncovered all the things the police missed. It wasn’t really a big surprise who was the killer and by that point I simply had lost interest. Then there is another chapter spent wrapping things up, what they didn’t figured out themselves get explained there, which was a lot of holes and I had preferred they figured out more during the investigation. Then an epilogue with a hint of something that might carry over in the next book.

Another issue I has with this book was main character Annie. At first I think I would easily like her with how she cares about her animals, but in the end I just couldn’t relate to her. I didn’t think she was a likeable character. Eventually another character arrives, Lavender was one of the most annoying characters I had encountered. So she wasn’t exactly easy to get along with, but the way Annie treated her wasn’t really nice either. There were just certain scenes where I didn’t quite like Annie her voice. And why did her love for meat even had to make it in the book? Also how did she make a living? We never hear how she makes money.

There is a tiny hint towards something that could be a romance, but it doesn’t really get much attention. There was an instant connection and with how short they knew each other it seemed their feelings were really strong even though they didn’t really spent that much time together. It just left me feeling meh and then with what happened later in the book we don’t see a lot of the romance. And I would’ve liked to get more resolution about a plot line involving the love interest at the end of the book as I don’t plan on reading the next book.

To summarize: this one has a promising start and premise, but it just fell flat for me. I liked Annie and her love for animals, I could relate to that. I liked how the horses aspect was handled and the focus on these animals. The mystery didn’t quite work for me, there wasn’t as much focus on the mystery as I had hoped, the police made conclusions based on theories instead of evidence. The main character only got actively involved at the end and even then half of the mystery got solved by coincidence it seemed. I wasn’t too surprised when we found out who was the killer, but there wasn’t a nice set-up towards it either. There were a lot of little things that annoyed me and I just lost interest eventually. I didn’t really care about the characters and I thought the main character wasn’t really likeable. There is a hint of romance, but it seemed to go to fast and then almost no progress after that. Overall this had some promise and I liked the horse aspect, but the rest fell flat for me.

2-star

Links:
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What was your last 2 star read and why?

16 Responses to “Review: Reining in Murder by Leigh Hearon”

    • Lola

      First a DNF and then a 2 star, luckily the book I read after this one was a 4 star. The romance was done so weirdly, very rushed and building fast and then mostly dropped for the rets of the book, I prefer a slow build when it comes to romance as well. Or if the author at least makes the fast build feel believable.

    • Lola

      I hope you like it more than I did, at least the horse aspect was well done, but the rets just didn’t work for me and I really struggled through this one. Fingers crossed you do enjoy this one! I am looking forward to hear your thoughts about this one.

  1. Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight

    I hate when characters start acting in ways that don’t make sense :-/ And it does seem odd that it was a cozy mystery yet there wasn’t much focus on the mystery and the character only kind of accidentally got involved. And once you don’t like a book, the little things just start to stand out and bother you more. Sorry you ended up disappointed by this one.
    Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight recently posted…Book Review: Girl on a Wire (Girl on a Wire Book 1) by Gwenda BondMy Profile

    • Lola

      Some cozies can be very mild on the mystery as there’s also focus on the normal life stuff, but I do like it when there’s a bit more mystery and when the main character has a bit more active role into solving it. And yes I was struggling through this and all these little things started standing out and annoying me. Certain things the main character did or said I normally would overlook suddenly really bothered me.

  2. Ani

    Well, that’s disappointing. I’m sorry this one didn’t work out for you either. I was really looking forward to this review because I’m interested in this book, too, but I guess I’m going to file it into the “maybe some day” pile for now. It suck when characters are hard to relate with and not very likable–that’s something that usually will ruin the reading experience for me as well.

    Hope next month will be better for you.
    Ani recently posted…Thoughts: Lucky in LoveMy Profile

    • Lola

      Maybe you will enjoy it more than I did. The focus on the horses was interesting, but besides that it just didn’t work for me. It was really hard to get into the book with the main character being hard to like. I hope next months book will be better.
      Lola recently posted…Sunday Post #180My Profile

  3. Vonnie

    Oh no! This looked promising! I’m sorry that it didn’t work out. I hope the next read will be better!

  4. Priscilla

    I just finished a book that doesn’t have much of a mystery plot, so I hear you. It’s frustrating — why categorised it as a cozy mystery in the first place then?

    • Lola

      There was some mystery, I just had hoped for there to be more focus on that and less on her day to day life.

    • Lola

      That happens sometimes that a book just doesn’t work for you. I don’t rate a lot of books 2 star either, but this one didn’t work for me.

  5. Sophia Rose

    I read your review on GR already, but I can understand how this ended up with a 2. Little mystery present in a book that’s supposed to be a mystery, wandering around through the lives of people that you don’t really care about, and then to not even care for the heroine? I think you were a champ for making to the end. 🙂

    Two-stars aren’t very common for me. For some reason I go from three-star to DNF for that range. But, there were a few. I got a batch of freebies as part of a Christmas promotion and they were mostly short. I two-starred a handful of them for being poorly written plot-wise and needed more polishing- they were lazy work is what they were. But generally, no, I don’t finish once I get to the overall do not like stage.
    Sophia Rose recently posted…Bluewater Bay #DelightedBytheSeriesMy Profile

    • Lola

      To be honest I had wished I had DNF’d it, by continuing I just got annoyed at every little thing and at the end I was just done with this book. But hey at least I know who the murderer was, lol.

      The 2 star are rare for me too, I usually DNF a book if I don’t enjoy it so I rarely end up finishing those and rating them a 2 star. Often when I give out a 2 star they are either short stories or books like these where I have hopes it gets better and then it just gets worse.

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