No Saving Throw

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 14 May 2019

Member Reviews

When I saw this book on Netgalley I immediately wanted to read it. The main character owns and runs a gaming store, and there were lots of nerd references in many genres. (I personally really like that it's a female too, and that both males and females are represented as loving to play.)

No Saving Throw has a lot of the familiar cozy mystery elements, but instead of tons of references to food, or quilts we get references to nerd culture. 

When a customer is murdered during a gaming event, Autumn wants to find out the culprit and clear her store from suspicion. She has a good group of friends to help.

I liked that Autumn wasn't stupid, and (mostly) involved the police where appropriate - which is one of my pet peeves about many cozies. I also LOVED that there wasn't a love triangle. The mystery was good, and it took me at least awhile to figure out the answer.
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Autumn is home after earning her MBA and owns a gaming store in a mall.  The store "Ten Again" specializes in LARPs (Live Action Role Playing) and Autumn is making a good existence and is looking into getting a grant will give her some room to breathe.  However, when a gaming night sponsored by the store finds a young person dead then all bets are off.  The police arrest some of her store employees and Autumn sets out to prove them innocent.  Her best friend Jordan is a police officer so that helps and her gamer friends all jump into the mystery.  This was a definitely a world and terminology that I was not familiar with coming into this story.  I did enjoy this story and Autumn.  She is a good main character who has heart and spunk.  I would definitely pick up the next in the series.
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A different mystery, this is set in a gaming store.  The owner is trying to win a grant, as is another storeowner, who is dating her ex.  Throw in a dead body, and you have a really great mystery, and a great set of characters.  Hope there will be more in this series.
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Cozy Mystery With Role Playing Games
This fun cozy mystery has role-playing games at its epicenter. Much of what was said and references made sailed right over my head. That did not take anything away from my enjoyment of the story. The story has a good plot and a good cast of characters. The mystery has lots of good angles and a surprising ending that I never saw coming. Very good book! I received this ARC book for free from Net Galley and this is my honest review.
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What a delightful, amusing and unique little tale “No Saving Throw” by Kristin McFarland was! It is a cozy mystery novel with a difference - it is set in the world of gaming.

‘Ten Again’ is a tabletop gaming store that attracts nerds of every kind and nurtures a community that the owner, Autumn is pretty proud of—a community that also keeps her business afloat. And now that Autumn is in contention for a grant, ‘Ten Again’s’ future is looking brighter. However, audacious Autumn has some quirky friends and some surprising problems. As the problems get worse, she has to get solving.

Then one of Autumn’s gamers is mysteriously murdered. With everyone in the mall as a suspect and accusations flying, Autumn is going to have to do some sleuthing of her own to save her shop and her gamers from a fate more dangerous than having no saving throw.

Kristin McFarland’s story is engaging and fast-paced. Although I did not find it laugh-out loud-funny it still had a highly comedic aspect for me in parts. I don’t think you need to be a computer geek to enjoy this novel, but I do think it helps! 

If cozy mysteries are one of your favoured genres and you fancy one with a bit of a twist then I highly recommend “No Saving Throw.”

Thanks to NetGalley, Diversion Books and the author, Kristin McFarland for my complimentary copy of No Saving Throw. My honest review is entirely voluntary.
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No Saving Throw:  A Ten Again Mystery
By Kristin McFarland
Diversion Books
May 2019

Review by Cynthia Chow

Seeing vampires and space aliens run around the Independence Square Mall is not an unusual experience for Ten Again tabletop gaming store owner Autumn Sinclair.  She doesn’t enjoy mediating between players who claim to have been unfairly assassinated due more to being obnoxious than their strength levels, but Autumn loves making her store a safe place for her nerdy customers.  It’s also why Autumn is so distraught when she learns that one of the Live Action Role Players is found murdered during a vampire quest, stabbed with two holes in his neck and thrown off a balcony.  Two of his fellow LARPers are quickly questioned in the death, making Autumn fearful that the hysteria and deaths once blamed on Dungeon & Dragons will be directed towards Ten Again.

Autumn had felt that her chances for a business grant were in jeopardy even before the death, and she worries that media reports will pressure from the mall owner will force her to close entirely.  When her best friend, White Lake Police officer Jordan Hansen, is taken off the case due to her connection to Autumn, the game store owner is forced into doing a little discreet breaking-and-entering and espionage in order to uncover an additional motive for the death.  Complicating the investigation is that one of the witnesses not only is in competition with Autumn for the grant, but that Meghan Kountz was the Mean Girl who tormented Autumn all through high school and is currently dating her ex-boyfriend.  It looks as though Ten Again’s curse jar will be filled with a lot of bills before Autumn manages to fight her way to the truth.

This is a fun and original new series that makes the most of the gamers and nostalgic setting.  It’s refreshing to think that there still are people who prefer to compete in face-to-face competitions rather than online videogames, although hopefully there are usually less-fatal results.  Autumn’s loyalty to her gaming customers is admirable, and while she really hopes that Meghan’s the murderer Autumn’s practical enough to suspect everyone.   Readers will find themselves empathizing with Autumn, who finally found herself happy being a successful business owner and a nerd and has been able to encourage others to be more open with their inner geeks.  The mystery is thoroughly compelling and steers towards a surprising and exciting conclusion, one that challenges the suspense levels of the most adventurous video games.  This debut mystery introduces readers to a world filled with likable characters who show admirable growth and development, and whose enthusiasm for gaming is contagious.
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No Saving Throw by Kristin McFarland is the 1st book in A Ten Again Mystery series. I really enjoyed reading this book.  The mystery was very interesting.  I would have enjoyed this book more if I was a gamer, but I still enjoyed it.  

I reviewed a digital arc provided by NetGalley and the publisher.  Thank you.
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No Saving Throw is a cozy mystery set in the nerdy world of Dungeons & Dragons. If the D&D term “No Saving Throw” is unfamiliar, it means you can’t roll the dice to prevent or mitigate the awful thing that just occurred. Also, it means this book may not be a good choice for you.

Autumn is the owner of a gaming store especially role-playing ones like Dungeons & Dragons. When a gamer dies, Autumn decides to protect her gaming friends, and her store’s reputation, by finding the murderer herself.

No Saving Throw’s setting in high school makes the book seem very young adult. Descriptions of scenes are scant and similar to Adventure games like you enter a dark room. For old school nerds like me, it was fun to spot the old television, movie and game Easter eggs. The mystery was easy to solve—but not Scooby Doo level easy. I wanted to understand the core group’s motivations, which were only here almost as an afterthought. Since this is only book one of a planned series, I hope that issue will be addressed in the next book. If you are into gaming or just can’t stomach another knitting or bookstore cozy, this book will be a pleasant read. 3 stars!

Thanks to Diversion Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
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Kristin McFarland
No saving Throw 
This book is mostly about gaming which I am not into , some of the wording I didn’t understand, but saying that I did enjoy the story line and mystery . I sort of guessed who the killer was near the end.
Many thanks to Diversion Books and Nettgalley for advance copy for honest review.
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In book One of the Ten Again Series, McFarland introduces the reader to the world of gaming.  Autumn speaks to us in first person, sharing her insights as a gaming shop owner in White Lake, a town in rural Wisconsin. 

The book opens with a frenzied scene, involving LARP's, RPG vampires, a draft for Spellcasters,  a shop filled with a hundred preteens plus a creepy guy in a suit brandishing a letter opener.  Presenting a calming influence is Jordan, Autumn's best friend since elementary school.  She is now the first black woman on the White Lake Police Force, an irony she enjoys sharing.  The galloping pace and rollicking banter set the tone for this debut mystery. Further complicating Autumn's life are Meghan and Craig, two thirds of the high school triangle that is still a part of Autumn's painful memory.  However,  Autumn is not a shy daisy.  Rather she is protective of her customers, and is willing to take a stand against perceived injustice.  A reader unfamiliar with the world of gaming will still appreciate the turns and twists of this murder mystery. 

Full disclosure: I received an e copy from netgalley and Diversion Books in exchange for an unbiased review.  Thank you for the opportunity.
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This likeable mystery has a fun setting- a fantasy, Dungeons and dragons type game store called Ten Again.  I was never sure if that was some gaming reference or if you were supposed to feel ten years old again when you went into the store!

The book opens with a bang on a busy Friday night at the store- an eagerly anticipated new edition of a tournament card game is being released, and the vampire LARP ( live action role-playing) group is gathering to start their adventure.  Soon enough, a 
sweet geek is dead, and the female owner of Ten Again, her two employees, and her cop best friend are on the case.  

I never played any games like DnD, but I was able to understand everything and thoroughly enjoyed the references to Buffy, Veronica Mars, and other pop culture icons.  This is an enjoyable read that doesn't follow all the usual tropes.  I hope this is the beginning of a series.

I was given a copy of this book by Netgalley and chose to review it of my own free will.  All opinions are my own.
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A very good cozy! I enjoyed the unusual setting, the cast of characters and the plot.
The book is well written, the character fleshed out and the mystery keep you guessing till the end.
I look forward to reading other books by this author.
Highly recommended!
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
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I was looking forward to this new series being a Tabletop Board gamer myself. But, when I started reading, I was highly disappointed.  
The writing was off, no character development. I didn’t care for any of the characters. The reason why the killer killed someone made no sense. 
I wish the author took more time with character development and did more research on nerds in the gaming community. 
Thank you goes out to Netgalley and Diversion Books for providing me with an advanced digital read. The opinions expressed on this review are my own.
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This was a really fun hobby cozy. I was attracted to reading it because it featured a different kind of hobby that I normally don’t see a mystery written about. It’s everything you want a cozy mystery to be!
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This book was not quite as expected.  It felt every much like a YA novel, and will definitely interest a particular group of readers, as opposed to a wider group.
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I'm not sure what the title has to do with the story but I enjoyed the story. It's different than most cozy mysteries in the settings and the characters and that definitely made it a pleasure to read . #NoSavingThrow #NetGalley
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In a fun twist on the usual cozy mystery, this one is set in the gaming world of nerds and geeks. Autumn has returned to her hometown after earning her MBA and has opened a gaming store, specializing in Live Action Role Playing games (LARPs). Returning home, she has also returned to old grudges from high school...and old friends. Things are going great until a young role player is murdered in the mall. Was it his fellow gamers? Or is more involved? If you like Dr. Who, Scooby Doo, and games, give this one a try!
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In this new release, Autumn owns a gaming store.  This store is located in an indoor mall.  During a game night sponsored by the store, one of the young people is found dead.  The police arrest some of the store employees and Autumn sets out to prove that they didn't do it.  We then taken through several days of sneaking around and searching for proof.  I  found this book very interesting.  I think I am older than most people who LARP for fun.  I  did, however catch every TV or movie geeky reference to sci-fi or fantasy.  There were many.  If you aren't into that, then these references will mean nothing to you.  I liked the action in the book and how it incorporated so many characters.  At times, though, I would have liked to have a bit more description of the setting or of people, as some of my assumptions were later changed.  Perhaps a few more details at the beginning would help to understand them.  I thought the ending was well crafted, with a bit of a surprise.  I would be on the look out for a second book if this is a series.
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Autumn's tabletop gaming store is doing well, until one of her LARPers is murder, his friends are suspected and a rival wants to see her thrown out of a grant competition and the mall.
So many nerd culture references. I enjoyed almost everything about this book. The mystery is well plotted, the characters are people I would (mostly) like to get to know better. Highly recommended for anyone interested in gaming and roleplay.
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All through this book, I kept thinking to myself: "This book is missing something". 

The whole book just felt very disconnected, but at the same time, there was a lot of detail so it was strange why I was feeling that way about it.

The writing kind of flowed (flowed in a good way but that also became boring) in paragraphs like "I got to the store...", "I walked up the sidewalk...", "I dug in my bag..." "I fished out the card...". 

Now thinking about it more, I feel like the author wasn't brave enough with their writing to explore more ways to write. It was just too textbook perfect. We have had millions of perfect stories with no faults and perfect writing, we need something new, something better, and this just wasn't better. 

This has been labelled as a mystery/thriller but it is definitely missing "YA" from that description. For me, this was just way too basic and "YA" for me to really get hooked. If you can't get me to like the characters after at least 10% then I'm probably not going to enjoy the rest of the book. Maybe i21t's because I'm too "grown-up"? I don't know.
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