Review: Scandal Above Stairs by Jennifer Ashley

Description (from cover): “A mystery of stolen antiquities has Kat Holloway setting aside her apron once again for the intrigues of the upper echelons of Victorian London.

Priceless artwork has gone missing from the home of a wealthy baronet, and his wife stands to take the blame. When Kat’s employer asks for help in clearing her friend’s name, Kat trades her kitchen for the homes of Mayfair’s wealthiest families. Soon antiques are disappearing not only from the extravagant households of connoisseurs and collectors, but from the illustrious British Museum.

As the thefts increase in frequency, Kat calls upon her friend Daniel McAdam, who has already set himself up in a pawnshop on the Strand as a seedy receiver of stolen goods. When a man is murdered in the shop, Kat must use all of her wits to see that the thieves are caught and justice is done.”

My Thoughts:

Kat Holloway is a cook in a wealthy household in London who has a penchant for solving mysteries and finding herself involved in dangerous situations. When her employer Lady Cynthia, asks for her help with clearing her friend’s name of theft of antiquities, Kat is eager to be of assistance. She uses her connections with the households of Mayfair and her mysterious friend Daniel McAdam to investigate the thefts and finds herself promptly in the middle of a murder investigation. Using her connections and her bright wits, she must help her friends and solve the case before someone ends up getting hurt or worse.

This is the second installment in the Below Stairs mystery series and there is a lot of potential for this series. I have come to love the characters, however, the ending of this book left much to be desired. I felt the ending was a little rushed and was confusing. Everything didn’t come together as smoothly as I would have hoped and I was left scratching my head at the head trying to figure everything out. The author did provide some character development in this book, as the reader is not entirely sure of Daniel McAdam’s mysterious past. The author gave us some clues into his past, but did not give away everything. That alone keeps me hooked on this series.

While this wasn’t my favorite read, it wasn’t absolutely horrible either. I really enjoyed the author’s attention to historical details and her knowledge of food and cooking. As a cook and foodie myself, I found that to be very interesting. I am not quite ready to give up on this series and will see what the future of the series holds. As of the writing of this post, there appears to be five books in this series. As this is only book two, I am hoping that the series shows some improvement. The characters are really what brings me back to this series and I am curious to see what the author has planned for them in the other books. If you have read this series, let me know your thoughts in the comments. I am eager to see how others feel about this book and this series.

Overall Rating: 2.5 stars

Author: Jennifer Ashley

Series: Below Stairs Mystery #2

Publisher: Berkley

Publication Date: July 3, 2018

Pages: 316

Genre: Historical Mystery

Get It: Amazon

Disclaimer: This book was selected by myself at the library, and I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

Review: A Rogue’s Company by Allison Montclair

Description (from cover): “In Allison Montclair’s A Rogue’s Company, business becomes personal for the Right Sort Marriage Bureau when a new client, a brutal murder, two kidnappings, and the recently returned from Africa Lord Bainbridge threatens everything that one of the principals holds dear.

In London, 1946, the Right Sort Marriage Bureau is getting on its feet and expanding. Miss Iris Sparks and Mrs. Gwendolyn Bainbridge are making a go of it. That is until Lord Bainbridge– the widowed Gwen’s father-in-law and legal guardian–returns from a business trip to Africa and threatens to undo everything important to her, even sending his six-year-old son away to a boarding school.

But there’s more going on than that. A new client shows up at the agency, one whom Sparks and Bainbridge begin to suspect really has a secret agenda, somehow involving the Bainbridge family. A murder and a subsequent kidnapping sends Sparks to seek help from a dangerous quarter–and now their very survival is at stake.”

My Thoughts:

This book is the third installment in the beloved Sparks & Bainbridge Mystery series. I have recently discovered this series and have immensely loved each book. Sparks and Bainbridge have their own backgrounds, yet they find themselves embarking on a new adventure together–running a bureau that helps people find love and marriage. Sparks is a former operative who used her skills in British intelligence during WWII. Bainbridge is of the upper class and is a widow as her husband lost his life in the war. I won’t go into too much detail about their pasts here, but if you read the books in order, the reader will delve into their pasts and how they came to be where they are now. Montclair does a fabulous job of weaving the characters’ stories and leaves enough intrigue to keep the reader involved and wanting to learn more. The reader doesn’t know the extent of Sparks’ previous spy work and with each book, the reader learns more and more about her interesting past.

Bainbridge has been struggling to find her own way after the death of her husband. She has opened the Right Sort Marriage Bureau with Sparks and she is learning how to support herself and her six-year-old son, Ronnie. When her father-in-law, Lord Bainbridge, returns unexpectedly from Africa, he turns the household upside down. His behavior is belligerent, and everyone in the house is walking on egg shells. He upsets Gwen by demanding that her son be sent to a boarding school that has a bad reputation and she fights to keep her son by her side. When Gwen and Lord Bainbridge are kidnapped together, they must learn to try to resolve their differences in order to survive. In a story with an interesting twist, nothing is as it appears be.

Sparks and Bainbridge must use their own unique skills to solve a murder and the kidnappings while at the same time trying to protect their own interests before they find themselves as the next victims. They use their connections with gangsters and high society in order to advance their investigations. This book and this series is a great read for anyone who loves historical mysteries set in post-WWII England. The author does a great job of describing what life was really like in that time period and how people had to learn to coped with rationing and rebuilding after the bombings of London. Another fantastic read by Montclair and I cannot wait to see what the author has in store for these two wonderful characters.

Overall Rating: 5+ stars

Author: Allison Montclair

Series: Sparks and Bainbridge Mystery #3

Publisher: Minotaur Books

Publication Date: June 8, 2021

Pages: 342

Genre: Historical Mystery

Get It: Amazon

Disclaimer: This book was selected by myself at the library, and I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

Review: Triple Jeopardy by Anne Perry

Description (from cover): “Daniel Pitt, along with his parents, Charlotte and Thomas, is delighted that his sister, Jemima, and her family have returned to London from the States for a visit. But the Pitts soon learn of a harrowing incident: In Washington, D.C., one of Jemima’s good friends has been assaulted and her treasured necklace stolen. The perpetrator appears to be a man named Philip Sidney, a British diplomat stationed in America’s capital who, in a cowardly move, has fled to London, claiming diplomatic immunity. But that claim doesn’t cover his other crimes…

When Sidney winds up in court on a separate charge of embezzlement, it falls to Daniel to defend him. Daniel plans to prove only a competent enough defense to avoid a mistrial, allowing the prosecution to put his client away. Bur when word travels across the pond that an employee of the British embassy in Washington has been found dead, Daniel grows suspicious about Sidney’s alleged crimes and puts on his detective hat to search for evidence in what has blown up into an international affair.

As the embezzlement scandal heats up, Daniel takes his questions to intrepid scientist Marriam fford Croft, who brilliantly uses the most up-to-date technologies to follow an entirely new path of investigation. Daniel and Miriam travel to the Channel Islands to chase a fresh lead, and what began with a stolen necklace turns out to have implications in three far greater crimes–a triple jeopardy, including possible murder.”

My Thoughts:

This is the second book in the Daniel Pitt mystery series. Anne Perry has many notable series, including the Thomas and Charlotte Pitt mysteries, which may sound familiar as they are Daniel’s parents. Unlike his father, who was a police detective and now is the head of Special Branch, Daniel is a lawyer who uses his talents and experiences in the courtroom as a defense attorney. If you love the Thomas and Charlotte Pitt mysteries, Daniel will be a familiar character that you have spent time with and watched grow up into his own person. His older sister, Jemima makes her return to England in this novel and the family is together once again, doing what they do best, solving mysteries and making sure justice is properly served. Jemima’s husband, Patrick, is a police officer back in Washington, D.C. and a case has followed them across the pond and they have requested that Daniel and his family assist them with their investigations.

While the Pitts appear in this novel, Daniel is a character in his own right. I am glad that Perry has decided to make a separate series featuring Daniel as a young lawyer, trying to make a name for himself in defending cases that seem hopeless. Perry uses her skills as a phenomenal writer to draw the reader in with the richness of details and characters to create a book that is impossible to put down. Anne Perry is one who is not without controversy herself, as I recently learned in a podcast that I listen to frequently. I won’t spoil the details for you here, but I highly recommend that you learn more about her own past if you do not already know about it already. I always wonder if her real life experiences help her with her writing as her books are so aptly on point with police investigations and the legal system. While this book was a little slow at times, overall it was a very exciting and enjoyable read.

There is a lot of character development in this book for Daniel and I am anxious to see where Perry is going to lead him next. I have my own suspicions, but a reader never really knows where the author plans to take the characters. I have found that anything that Perry writes, I usually tend to enjoy immensely and this series is no different. At the time of the writing of this blog post, there appears to be four books already in this series, and as this is the second book in the series, it looks like I have more reading to do. I highly recommend this series, and while you do not have to read the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt books to fully understand this series, I also recommend that you read that series so you can evolve with the characters. I promise you won’t be disappointed. I couldn’t put this one down and I was anxious to get to the end to see how everything would resolve.

Overall Rating: 4.5 stars

Title: Triple Jeopardy

Author: Anne Perry

Series: Daniel Pitt #2

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Publication Date: April 9, 2019

Pages: 338

Genre: Historical Mystery

Get It: Amazon

Disclaimer: This book was selected by myself at the library, and I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

Review: The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman

Description (from cover): “Elizabeth, Joyce, Ron and Ibrahim–the Thursday Murder Club–are still riding high off their recent real-life murder case and are looking forward to a bit of peace and quiet at Cooper’s Chase, their posh retirement village.

But they are out of luck.

An unexpected visitor–an old pal of Elizabeth’s (or perhaps more than just a pal?)–arrives, desperate for her help. He has been accused of stealing diamonds worth millions from the wrong men and he’s seriously on the lam.

Then, as night follows day, the first body is found. But not the last. Elizabeth, Joyce, Ron and Ibrahim are up against a ruthless murderer who wouldn’t bat an eyelid at knocking off four septuagenarians. Can our four friends catch the killer before the killer catches them? And if they find the diamonds, too? Well, wouldn’t that be a bonus? You should never put anything beyond the Thursday Murder Club.

Richard Osman is back with everyone’s favorite mystery-solving quartet, and the second installment of the Thursday Murder Club series is just as clever and warm as the first–an unputdownable, laugh-out-loud pleasure of a read.”

My Thoughts:

This book really has it all: spies, murder, missing diamonds, and the return of Elizabeth, Joyce, Ron and Ibrahim–the loveable grandparents we wished we all had–solving crimes at their posh retirement community. The group recently solved a murder mystery and have called themselves the Thursday Murder Club and are expecting to have some downtime to recover from their last adventure. Alas, this is not the be the case. Elizabeth, a former spy, is contacted by her ex-husband Douglas, who is also a spy and he informs her that he needs her help. He is suspected of stealing two million dollars worth of diamonds from a operation he was participating in and now the guy he stole the diamonds from wants him dead. He is now in confined at the same retirement community for his own safety. Trusting only Elizabeth to help him, she enlists the help of her retirement community friends Joyce, Ron and Ibrahim to assist her again with another investigation. The investigation has twists and turns that no one sees coming and they are all in extreme danger.

This book is the second book in a series with the first book being The Thursday Murder Club which was published back in 2020. I thoroughly enjoyed that book when it was released and knew I had to get my hands on this new installment in the series as soon as I could. Osman has a way with making the reader fall in love with the characters. Elizabeth, Joyce, Ron and Ibrahim all have different backgrounds and circumstances that led them to living in the retirement community and it is interesting to see how the author weaves them all together. Each has their own quirks and brings their own personalities to the overall story. I don’t know which one I love more. They are all equally fabulous characters in their own right.

I also love how everything isn’t quite so clean and cookie cutter in these mysteries and sometimes the group does things that are not quite legal to further advance their investigations. I find that quite refreshing as I read a lot of mystery novels and it is nice to see an author do something different every once in a while. This book only made me love the series even more and I cannot wait for the next book to be released. Another fantastic read by Osman and one you do not want to miss if you love a good comedic mystery that will leave you on edge trying to figure out what is going to happen next. Please check out the first book in this series as well if you are intrigued. Both were great reads that I couldn’t put down.

Overall Rating: 5+ Stars

Title: The Man Who Died Twice

Author: Richard Osman

Series: Thursday Murder Club #2

Publisher: Pamela Dorman Books

Publication Date: September 28, 2021

Pages: 365

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Get It: Amazon

Disclaimer: This book was selected by myself at the library and I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

Review: Murder on Wall Street by Victoria Thompson

Description (from cover): “Midwife Sarah Brandt Malloy and her detective husband, Frank, must discover who killed a prominent–but despised– society banker before an innocent family is destroyed in Murder on Wall Street, an all-new Gaslight Mystery in the USA Today bestselling series.

Reformed gangster Jack Robinson is working hard to bolster his image in Gilded Age New York City society as he prepares to become a new father. But when Hayden Norcross, the man who nearly ruined his wife, is shot in cold blood, Jack knows the police will soon come knocking on his door. Frank Malloy has to agree–things don’t look good for Jack. But surely a man as unlikeable as Hayden had more than a few enemies. And it’s soon clear that plenty of the upper echelon as well as the denizens of the most squalid areas of the city seem to have hated him.

Sarah and Frank have their work cut out for them. As the daughter of the elite Decker family, Sarah has access to the social circles Hayden frequented, and the more she learns about his horrific treatment of women, the more disturbed she becomes. And as Frank investigates, he finds that Hayden had a host of unsavory habits that may have hastened his demise. But who finally killed him? Sarah and Frank must put the pieces together quickly before time runs out and Jack’s hard-won new life and family are ripped apart.”

My Thoughts:

This book is #24 and the most recent release in the beloved Gaslight Mysteries series by Victoria Thompson. I have always highly recommended this series and have reviewed other books in this series on this blog. If you haven’t read this series and love historical mysteries, I suggest you look into these books as they have never disappointed this reader. I do, however, recommend reading them in order for character development and context. While reading this book I felt like I was reuniting with old friends. Sarah and Frank have now found themselves involved in yet another murder mystery when a family friend is the top suspect in an investment banker’s murder. Investment banker, Hayden Norcross, wasn’t a very pleasant person and had numerous enemies who all had motives for his murder. Frank and Sarah use their connections to investigate the murder and hunt for the killer and character favorites Gino and Maeve make appearances to assist them in their investigations.

This novel takes the reader through New York City during the gilded age where automobiles are first being seen on the streets competing with horse drawn carriages. Where society is struggling to find new norms in a new world where women and the lower societal classes are starting to make a voice and name for themselves. Sarah has always defied the social restrictions of the era, but it is interesting to see how society as a whole is starting to move in that direction as well. I find that Thompson is highly attentive to historical details and that delights this historical mystery reader. I personally like to get a sense of how people really lived during the historical period that the author is writing about and Thompson is stellar in achieving this in her books and you get a real sense of how things really were.

This book was an engaging and enjoyable read. I could hardly put it down, but then again that goes for all of the books in this series. The plot was well written and while there wasn’t as much character development in this new book as there have been in previous installments, it still was fun to read. I am anxious to get my hands on the next book in this series. I have found in my reading experience that some of the series that have numerous books in them tend to get stale as you continue to read along in the series. That is definitely not the case with this series. Thompson does a good job of keeping her series readers engaged and coming back for more. The only bad thing about this book was when I was finished, I wanted more.

Overall Rating: 4.5 stars

Title: Murder on Wall Street

Author: Victoria Thompson

Series: Gaslight Mysteries #24

Publisher: Berkley

Publication Date: April 27, 2021

Pages: 331

Genre: Historical Mystery

Get It: Amazon

Disclaimer: This book was selected by myself at the library and I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

The Long Hiatus

I started this blog in 2012 with the intention of reviewing books that I have read and to share my own thoughts and opinions about those books. Never in my wildest dreams did I even fathom how many people I would reach and was surprised by what my hobby and passion could do. I had the pleasure of connecting with many different authors, reading many different books, participating in many book tours for publishers and I even got to see my reviews published in books several times. With all that being said, in 2017 I started to find myself burned out and not reviewing books on this blog and if I did review any books, it was definitely sporadic. I knew at that time I had to take a step back and reevaluate this blog, my passion for reading and my personal life at that time. I was working a full-time job as a paralegal and trying to find time to read books and review them at the same time and it was just so overwhelming. Life seemed to be so busy, and I thought it would be best to put the blog on a “hold” and focus on reading for personal pleasure only. Somehow here we are almost five years later.

During the “long hiatus” as I call it, I met the love of my life, got engaged, got married, and gained two stepdaughters. While life certainly doesn’t seem to have slowed down any, I never forgot this blog, the followers, and my love of reading. During the past five years, I have continued to read and always knew that I would find my way back to blogging about books. So here we are again. I knew coming back to blogging would be a decision I wouldn’t take lightly. I made mistakes the first time around by taking on too much and stretching myself too thin. I wanted to read all the books and review each and every single one, but I learned the hard way that simply is not realistic. With that being said, I wanted to make sure that my return to blogging would be fun for myself and for the followers of this blog. My husband and I redesigned the look of the blog and made it look more modern and made it simpler. The blog was transferred from the Blogger platform to WordPress, which was a process all in itself, but I think overall it will this switch will be better for everyone in the long run, and I am excited to see what the future holds.  

If you stuck with me throughout the “hiatus” I appreciate you and your patience and hope you will welcome me and this blog back into your lives. I hope that time will bring the blog back to its former glory and hope that you will continue to come back for more. I won’t be blogging every single book I read, I just simply cannot do that anymore, but I hope that you will enjoy learning about the books I do choose to blog about. As always, I welcome comments, feedback and book recommendations. I never gave up on this blog and always knew I would return one day. I am glad to be blogging again and hope to see you around.

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallari

Description (from cover):

The first book in a witty, suspenseful new trilogy about a brilliant crime-solving duo: the teen descendants of Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. This clever page-turner will appeal to fans of Maureen Johnson and Ally Carter.
Jamie Watson has always been intrigued by Charlotte Holmes; after all, their great-great-great-grandfathers are one of the most infamous pairs in history. But the Holmes family has always been odd, and Charlotte is no exception. She’s inherited Sherlock’s volatility and some of his vices–and when Jamie and Charlotte end up at the same Connecticut boarding school, Charlotte makes it clear she’s not looking for friends.
But when a student they both have a history with dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Danger is mounting and nowhere is safe–and the only people they can trust are each other.’

My thoughts:

Well it certainly has been a long time since I have read anything or even thought about writing on this blog. Real life it seems has gotten in the way. After going months without even thinking about reading, I suddenly had the urge to read something again and what better book to get back into reading with then one about my some of my favorite characters, Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. While this book doesn’t directly involve Holmes and Watson, it does involve their descendants, Charlotte Holmes and Jamie Watson. The pair are teenagers attending a boarding school in Connecticut and they live under the shadow of their famous family relatives. The pressure is on for the teenagers to live up to their famous relatives.
Charlotte is in her own right a great detective and she has her own quirks just like the famous detective. Jamie is happy to go along with Charlotte in her investigations and journals their adventures all along the way. I really enjoyed reading this book, even though the audience is intended for young adults. I like how the author used the Sherlock Holmes stories that we are all familiar with and incorporated them into her novel. I think the author had a unique balance of those stories and used her own creativity to make these characters shine in their own right.
This story is a little too romanticized for my taste, but I guess that might have something to do with it being geared to a younger audience. Nevertheless, this was a great read and it introduced me to a new author. As this was the first book in what appears to be a trilogy, I will be reading the second book. This book was interesting enough to make me want to explore the characters and see what happens next for them.

Overall Rating: 4

Title:  A Study in Charlotte
Author:  Brittany Cavallari
Series:  Charlotte Holmes #1
Publisher:  Katherine Tegan Books
Publication Date:  March 1, 2016
Pages:  336
Genre:  Young Adult
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

Disclaimer: This book was purchased by myself and I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

Blog Tour Post, Review & Giveaway: Elementary, She Read by Vicki Delaney

Description (from cover):

‘Gemma Doyle, a transplanted Englishwoman, has returned to the quaint town of West London on Cape Cod to manage her Great Uncle Arthur’s Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium. The shop–located at 222 Baker Street–specializes in the Holmes canon and pastiche, and is also the home of Moriarty the cat. When Gemma finds a rare and potentially valuable magazine containing the first Sherlock Holmes story hidden in the bookshop, she and her friend Jayne (who runs the adjoining Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room) set off to find the owner, only to stumble upon a dead body.
The highly perceptive Gemma is the police’s first suspect, so she puts her consummate powers of deduction to work to clear her name, investigating a handsome rare books expert, the dead woman’s suspiciously unmoved son, and a whole family of greedy characters desperate to cash in on their inheritance. But when Gemma and Jayne accidentally place themselves at a second murder scene, it’s a race to uncover the truth before the detectives lock them up for good.
Fans of Sherlock Holmes will delight in the sleuthing duo of Gemma and Jayne in Elementary, She Read, the clever and captivating series debut by nationally bestselling author Vicki Delaney.’

My thoughts:

I love everything Sherlock Holmes. I love the characters and the stories and have to say that they are some of my favorites. I love to read anything and everything about Sherlock Holmes and when I learned that a new cozy series was coming out that deals with Sherlock Holmes, well I was ecstatic to say the least. This was also my first read by the author Vicki Delaney.
I really enjoyed this book. I loved the Sherlock Holmes theme, but really liked how the author used the theme but didn’t overwhelm the reader with all things Sherlock Holmes. There certainly were a lot of similarities, but the author created her own story and characters that made them uniquely different from Sherlock Holmes. I liked that. Gemma’s character has similar tendencies that are like Sherlock Holmes, such as her keen observation and deduction skills, but they don’t quite top those of the famous detective, which makes her more relatable to the reader. Gemma, herself, is not a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes, she just runs the bookshop and emporium for her uncle and her best friend, Jayne, runs the Mrs. Hudson’s Tea Room. 
Gemma feels that she has a responsibility to investigate the murders as the magazine was located in her bookshop. She is frustrated with the local police and their determinations that she had motive and opportunity to commit the murders herself. This book was a great read that I found all too enjoyable. A wonderful debut to a series that I hope continues to for a long time to come.

Overall Rating: 5

Title:  Elementary, She Read
Author:  Vicki Delaney
Series:  Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery #1
Publisher:  Crooked Lane Books
Publication Date:  March 21, 2017
Pages:  320
Genre:  Cozy Mystery
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

About the Author:

Vicki Delany began her writing career as a Sunday writer: a single mother of three high-spirited daughters with a full-time job as a computer programmer. Sunday afternoon was – and at that, only now and again – the only time she had to spend all by herself, with a single candle on her desk for a bit of atmosphere, a Bruce Springsteen tape in the tape deck, and a nice cup of tea at her elbow. When she felt like really letting loose, the tea might have turned into a glass of wine.
The years passed, as they tend to do, and the three daughters, somewhat hesitantly, flew the coop, leaving Vicki more time to devote to her writing.  She was able to write three novels of suspense, set in Ontario, two of which, Scare the Light Away and Burden of Memory were published to critical acclaim by Poisoned Pen Press of Scottsdale, Arizona.
In 2007, Vicki took early retirement from her job as a systems analyst with a major bank and sold her house in Oakville, Ontario.  At that time In the Shadow of the Glacier, the first book in a police procedural series set in the British Columbia Interior was published. After travelling around North America for a year with her dog, Shenzi, she bought a home in bucolic, rural Prince Edward County, Ontario, where she rarely wears a watch and can write whenever she feels like it.
Since settling in Prince Edward County, Vicki has continued with her writing career, publishing books in several different sub-genres as well as a book for adults with low literacy skills.

This has been a stop of the Elementary, She Read blog tour hosted by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. Make sure that you stop by the other stops and enter the giveaway for a chance to win a print copy of this book!

March 13 – The Bookwyrm’s Hoard
March 14 – Laura’s Interests
March 15 – Back Porchervations
March 15 – Valerie’s Musings
March 16 – Rainy Day Reviews
March 16 – A Holland Reads
March 17 – Books,Dreams,Life
March 18 – Shelley’s Book Case
March 18 – Girl with Book Lungs  
March 20 – Bibliophile Reviews
March 21 – Melina’s Book Blog
March 22 – Carole’s Book Corner
March 23 – fundinmental
March 23 – StoreyBook Reviews
March 24 – Cozy Up With Kathy
March 25 – Moonlight Rendezvous
March 25 – Island Confidential
March 26 – Brooke Blogs
March 26 – Girl Lost In a Book

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Disclaimer: This book was selected from the library by myself and I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

Review: A Terrible Beauty by Tasha Alexander

Description (from cover):

‘In this gripping new novel in the New York Times bestselling series, Lady Emily travels to Greece where a ghost from her past returns to haunt her amid the ruins.
On a quest to distract her lifelong friend Jeremy from his recent heartbreak, Lady Emily organizes a holiday in Greece. As a lover of all things Greek, she quickly finds herself occupied with tours of ancient ruins, lively debates with Margaret, a devoted Latinist, and slightly more scandalous endeavors with her dashing husband, Colin Hargreaves. But the pleasantries are brought to an abrupt halt when a man long believed dead greets the party at their island villa. Lord Philip Ashton, Colin’s childhood best friend and Emily’s first husband, has returned. But can Philip really be who he claims, even if he has the scars and stories to prove it? where has he been for all this time? And will his undying love for Emily drive him to claim what’s his?
Intrigue mounts as Philip reveals that he has been plagued for the past few years by an illegal antiques trader who believes he is in possession of a piece of Achilles’ helmet, a priceless relic that was stolen from him moments after he unearthed it on an archaeological dig. Emily must employ all of her cunning and expertise to thwart thieves who threaten not only her own safety, but that of those precious artifacts she holds so dear. A trail of overheard conversations, murderous assailants, and dead bodies leads her on a chase to uncover more than one buried truth.’

My thoughts:

I began my love for historical mysteries with a couple of series. This was one of them. I love a good historical mystery with a lot of suspense and this series delivers. I have long followed this series and I am always anxiously awaiting the next installment. If you are new to historical mysteries, this is a series definitely worth your attention. This book is the 11th installation of the series and one that weaves backstory into new tales. If you are familiar with the series, this book will shock you. If you are new to the series, do not start with this one. You will be confused. This is your warning that spoilers are ahead.
Emily and her husband, Colin, have decided to go on a holiday to Greece and have taken Emily’s friends, Jeremy and Margaret with them. The intent is to escape reality a little and forget about the things left behind in London. However, they are in for a surprise when Lord Philip Ashton, Emily’s dead first husband, greets them upon their arrival to the villa. Emily cannot believe her eyes. Is he really Philip? Or is he an imposter? Philip tells Emily about his struggles over the years and how someone is hunting for him. Emily must use her smarts and detective skills to discover exactly is going on. 
I think that this book was a little predictable at times and a little less action packed than the others in the series, but it was still a good read. I felt that it was just okay. It wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t the greatest either. I hate to feel like that because typically I love this series, but something just felt off with it for me this go around. I was a little disappointed, however, I am not yet ready to throw in the towel with this series. Fingers crossed!

Overall Rating: 2.5

Title:  A Terrible Beauty
Author:  Tasha Alexander
Series:  Lady Emily Mystery #11
Publisher:  Minotaur Books
Publication Date:  October 11, 2016
Pages:  304
Genre:  Historical Mystery
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for my honest review. I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

Blog Tour Post, Review & Giveaway: Purr M for Murder by T.C. LoTempio

Description (from cover):

‘Sydney McCall left behind an ex-fiance and a New York advertising job to return home to Deer Park, North Carolina and help her sister, Kat, run the local animal shelter, Friendly Paws. Determined to save the shelter from financial trouble, Sydney and Kat organize a cat cafe fundraising event at a local coffee shop. Things are looking up until their landlord, Trowbridge Littleton, threatens to shut down the event. When Sydney drops by his art gallery to make peace, she finds Kat–along with Littleton’s dead body.
Local homicide detective Will Worthington–who just happens to be Sydney’s old high school crush–is highly suspicious of the sisters’ involvement. Desperate to clear their names from the suspect list, Sydney pounces on the investigation. With the help of one of the shelter cats, a savvy orange tabby named Toby, Sydney begins poking her nose into other local businesses whose owners may have benefited from Littleton’s death–until the killer notices she’s pawing a little too closely at the truth.
Delightfully clever and charming, Purr M for Murder, the first in a new series from nationally bestselling author T.C. LoTempio, will leave readers clawing for more.’

My thoughts:

I love animals. I always have. Not much of a cat person, but nevertheless, still an animal lover. I love to read mysteries with animals featured in them. For some reason, I really enjoy cat mysteries. One of my favorite mystery series of all times is the Lillian Jackson Braun The Cat Who series. Ms. Braun has unfortunately stopped writing cat mysteries a long time ago and has passed away. I am always on the hunt for a series that reminds me of one I love so much. This cat mystery series has a lot of potential. I enjoyed this book a lot. 
I found that I was drawn in by the characters and their stories from very early on with this book. I felt that I could relate to Sydney’s character and I love that she has a past that the author only gives us a little glimpse into. I would love to learn more about Sydney and her past. Sydney has just ended a relationship with her ex-fiance and is looking to find some solace and escape from her troubles. She lands in Deer Park, North Carolina where she grew up and where her sister, Kat, still resides. Kat works at the local animal shelter and offers Sydney a job. Sydney and Kat’s passion for animals show through every page in this novel.
I really enjoyed this first installment in this all new series. I thought it was well-written and very engaging. I found that I was eager to pick this book up every chance that I got. I will definitely be keeping my eye on this series. It was a light and engaging read that I highly recommend.

Overall Rating: 4.5

Title:  Purr M for Murder
Author:  T.C. LoTempio
Series:  Cat Rescue Mystery #1
Publisher:  Crooked Lane Books
Publication Date:  March 14, 2017
Pages:  304
Genre:  Cozy Mystery
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

About the Author:

While Toni LoTempio does not commit – or solve – murders in real life, she has no trouble doing it on paper. Her lifelong love of mysteries began early on when she was introduced to her first Nancy Drew mystery at age 10 – The Secret in the Old Attic.  She (and ROCCO, albeit he’s uncredited) pen the Nick and Nora mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime – and debuting March 14 2017, the new CAT RESCUE mysteries from Crooked Lane!   She, Rocco and Maxx make their home in Clifton, New Jersey, just twenty minutes from the Big Apple – New York. Catch up with them at

This has been a stop of the Purr M for Murder blog tour hosted by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. Make sure that you stop by the other stops and enter the giveaway for a chance to win a print copy of this book!
March 8 – Girl Lost In a Book
March 8 – Moonlight Rendezvous
March 9 – Bibliophile Reviews   
March 9 – Must Read Faster 
March 9 – Celticlady’s Reviews 
March 10 – Book Babble 
March 10 – Cozy Up With Kathy
March 10 – Classy Cheapskate
March 11 – Babs Book Bistro
March 11 – Island Confidential
March 12 – Shelley’s Book Case
March 12 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews  
March 13 – My Journey Back
March 14 – Brooke Blogs 
March 14 – View from the Birdhouse 
March 15 – Texas Book-aholic
March 15 – Books Direct
March 16 – Melina’s Book Blog
March 16 – Laura’s Interests
March 17 – The Book’s the Thing
March 17 – A Holland Reads 

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Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for my honest review. I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.