Review: A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas

Description (from cover):

USA Today bestselling author Sherry Thomas turns the story of the renowned Sherlock Holmes upside down…
With her inquisitive mind, Charlotte Holmes has never felt comfortable with the demureness expected of the fairer sex in upper class society. But even she never thought that she would become a social pariah, an outcast fending for herself on the mean streets of London.
When the city is struck by a trio of unexpected deaths and suspicion falls on her sister and her father, Charlotte is desperate to find the true culprits and clear the family name. She’ll have help from friends new and old–a kind-hearted widow, a police inspector, and a man who has long loved her.
But in the end, it will be up to Charlotte, under the assumed name Sherlock Holmes, to challenge society’s expectations and match wits against an unseen mastermind.’

My Thoughts:

I simply adore Sherlock Holmes. I have long been a fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s beloved detective and I enjoy reading stories that continue the famed detective’s legacy. I think that Sherry Thomas did a wonderful job of creating an alternate universe where Sherlock Holmes is female. I liked that the author stayed true to Sherlock Holmes’ character but added her own twist on the legendary character. I found this novel to be quite clever and a very entertaining read.

Charlotte Holmes is not your normal upper class lady. She doesn’t care about society, she doesn’t care what others think of her and she is determined to not to let society dictate her life. She does the unthinkable in an effort to escape the tight bounds of society and she sets out using her brilliant mind to solve a trio of mysterious murders that have recently plagued London. She has some friends of hers to help guide her along her way and she makes some new friends along the way as well. I loved Charlotte’s spunk, her quirks that make “Sherlock” Holmes famous and the way that the author plants in the reader’s mind that question: What if Sherlock Holmes was female?

This book was a good read. I enjoyed it and found it to be entertaining. I think the author used particular items from the Sherlock Holmes we all know, but that she put her own spin on the character that at the same time made it unique. If you are a fan of Sherlock Holmes and love a good, well-planned mystery, this is a book worth your time. I thoroughly enjoyed it and will definitely be back for more.

Overall Rating: 4.5

Title:  A Study in Scarlet Women
Author:  Sherry Thomas
Series:  Lady Sherlock #1
Publisher:  Berkley
Publication Date:  October 18, 2016
Pages:  336
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.

Review: Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson

Description (from cover):

‘From the bestselling author and master of narrative nonfiction comes the enthralling story of the sinking of the Lusitania
On May 1, 1915, with WWI entering its tenth month, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were surprisingly at ease, even though Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone. For months, German U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era’s great transatlantic “Greyhounds”–the fastest liner then in service–and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack.
Germany, however, was determined to change the rules of the game, and Walther Schwieger, the captain of Unterseeboot-20, was happy to oblige. Meanwhile, an ultra-secret British intelligence unit tracked Schwieger’s U-boat, but told no one. As U-20 and the Lusitania made their way toward Liverpool, an array of forces both grand and achingly small–hubris, a chance fog, a closely guarded secret, and more–all converged to produce one of the great disasters of history.
It is a story that many of us think we know but don’t, and Erik Larson tells it thrillingly, switching between hunter and hunted while painting a larger portrait of America at the height of the Progressive Era. Full of glamour and suspense, Dead Wake brings to life a cast of evocative characters, from famed Boston bookseller Charles Lauriat to pioneering female architect Theodate Pope to President Woodrow Wilson, a man lost to grief, dreading the widening war but also captivated by the prospect of new love.
Gripping and important, Dead Wake captures the sheer drama and emotional power of a disaster whose intimate details and true meaning have long been obscured by history.’

My thoughts:

Very rarely do I delve into the realm of nonfiction, however, when it comes to Erik Larson, I am always ready to read one of his books. Larson has a way with weaving a story and using the people who dance across his pages to tell history’s greatest tales. The author uses their stories to tell the story of whatever subject he is writing about. In this case, the topic was the sinking of the Lusitania. I had learned about the Lusitania in school, but it was very brief overview of the situation and how important this disaster was to bringing America into WWI. 
After reading this book, my view of the situation as I learned it in school has changed. The sinking of the Lusitania  was two years before America decided to engage itself in the conflict. The Lusitania disaster certainly was a triggering event, but not the only factor that drew America into the first World War. I found it interesting that the common misconception was that it was because this happened that America joined the Allied forces in the war that shaped modern warfare. In fact, I had even believed the same. It is an accurate description in the blurb of this book that “It is a story that many of us think we know but don’t…”
Nonfiction is a genre that sometimes seems foreign to me as I read a lot of fiction books. However, Erik Larson is one of my favorite nonfiction writers hands down. I always engage in the story and learn so much when I read one of his books. The man could probably write about dirt and I would enjoy it. Another phenomenal read by a nonfiction genius.

Overall Rating: 5+

Title:  Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania
Author:  Erik Larson
Series:  N/A
Publisher:  Crown Publishers
Publication Date:  March 10, 2015
Pages:  430
Genre:  Nonfiction
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.

Review: Inspector of the Dead by David Morrell

Description (from cover):

‘The year is 1855. The Crimean War is raging. The incompetence of British commanders causes the fall of the English government. The Empire teeters.
Amid this crisis comes opium-eater Thomas De Quincey, one of the most notorious and brilliant personalities of Victorian England. Along with his irrepressible daughter, Emily, and their Scotland Yard companions, Ryan and Becker, De Quincey finds himself confronted by an adversary who threatens the heart of the nation.
This killer targets members of the upper echelons of British society, leaving with each corps the name of someone who previously attempted to kill Queen Victoria. The evidence indicates that the ultimate victim will be Victoria herself. As De Quincey and Emily race to protect the queen, they uncover long-buried secrets and the heartbreaking past of a man whose lust for revenge has destroyed his soul.
Based on actual attempts to assassinate Queen Victoria, Inspector of the Dead brilliantly merges historical fact with fiction, bringing a bloody chapter of Victorian England to vivid, pulse-pounding life.’

My thoughts:

Thomas De Quincey has returned in this thrilling and fast-paced Victorian historical thriller! I absolutely love this author and his writing style. This book was a great sequel to Murder As a Fine Art, which I have read and loved. This author has tried to remain as true to historical fact as possible and it is amazing to read at the end how much actually happened versus what was invented by the author. I remember how ecstatic I was to learn that this author was planning a trilogy featuring these characters and now I am sad because there is only one book left to read if rumor holds true. 
Thomas De Quincey has outlasted his stay in London and Lord Palmerson cannot wait to see the opium addict and his daughter, Emily, out of his house. However, before this can happen, Thomas De Quincey’s detective skills are needed a little bit longer. Someone has murdered a whole house full of people and leaves clues behind suggesting that someone might be planning an assassination attempt on Queen Victoria. The murders continue and the killer gets braver. De Quincey and company race against the clock to make sure that the Queen remains safe, while at the same time trying to solve these grisly murders. 
This book was simply one that I could not put down. I was immediately drawn into the fast pace of the novel and the author’s writing style and characters keep me intrigued. I simply cannot say enough things about this book other than you should read it soon!

Overall Rating: 5+

Title:  Inspector of the Dead
Author:  David Morrell
Series:  Thomas De Quincey Mystery #2
Publisher:  Mulholland Books
Publication Date:  March 24, 2015
Pages:  342
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.

Review: Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew'd by Alan Bradley

Description (from cover):

‘Hailed as “a combination of Eloise and Sherlock Holmes” by The Boston Globe, Flavia de Luce returns in a much anticipated new Christmas mystery from award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Alan Bradley.
In spite of being ejected from Miss Bodycote’s Female Academy in Canada, twelve-year-old Flavia de Luce is excited to be sailing home to England. But instead of a joyous homecoming, she is greeted on the docks with unfortunate news: Her father has fallen ill, and a hospital visit will have to wait while he rests. But with Flavia’s blasted sisters and insufferable cousin underfoot, Buckshaw now seems both too empty–and not empty enough.
Only too eager to run an errand for the vicar’s wife, Flavia hops on her trusty bicycle, Gladys, to deliver a message to a reclusive wood-carver. Finding the front door ajar, Flavia enters and stumbles upon the poor man’s body hanging upside down on the back of his bedroom door. The only living creature in the house is a feline that shows little interest in the disturbing scene.
Curiosity may not kill this cat, but Flavia is energized at the prospect of a new investigation. It’s amazing what the discovery of a corpse can do for one’s spirits. But what awaits Flavia will shake her to the very core.’

My thoughts:

The Flavia de Luce series has been one that I have loved and followed over many years. I always anticipate the newest release and cannot wait to read it when it is released. Flavia is a character that the reader can relate to. Alan Bradley has a way with words and wit that make reading these books a pleasure. I simply cannot say enough good things about this series and author, you must simply read the books for yourself. I typically do not read young adult books, but this series is one that I return to over and over again. This series is like no other. The author is creative in his writing and the characters are such that they endear themselves on your heart. 
Flavia has returned from her schooling in Canada. As she disembarks from the ship, she is greeted by Dogger and learns that her father is ill and in the hospital. Flavia wants to go visit him right away, but is told that she cannot. She distracts herself with her normal chemistry pursuits and when the vicar’s wife asks her to run an errand, she jumps at the chance. When she arrives at the house to deliver a message, she stumbles across a murdered man hanging upside down on the back of the bedroom door. She investigates the scene in her typical “Flavia” way and then leaves letting the police determine their own investigation. Of course, Flavia is about ten steps ahead of the police and she sets out to discover who the victim was and why someone wanted him dead.
This book was a treat to read. It was refreshing and engaging. I won’t say too much about this book, but I was shocked by the ending and I mean utterly shocked. This book ends with a cliffhanger and I simply cannot wait to read the next one.

Overall Rating: 5

Title:  Thrice the Brinded Cat Hath Mew’d
Author:  Alan Bradley
Series:  Flavia de Luce Mystery #8
Publisher:  Delacorte Press
Publication Date:  September 20, 2016
Pages:  352
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.

Review: The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches by Alan Bradley

Description (from cover):

‘On a spring morning in 1951, eleven-year-old chemist and aspiring detective Flavia de Luce gathers with her family at the railway station, awaiting the return of her long-lost mother, Harriet. Yet upon the train’s arrival in the English village of Bishop’s Lacey, Flavia is approached by a tall stranger who whispers a cryptic message in her ear. Moments later, he is dead, mysterious pushed under the train by someone in the crowd. Who was this man, what did his words mean, and why were they intended for Flavia?
Back home at Buckshaw, the de Luces’ crumbling estate, Flavia puts her sleuthing skills to the test. Following a trail of clues sparked by the discovery of a reel of film stashed away in the attic, she unravels the deepest secrets of the de Luce clan, involving none other than Winston Churchill himself.
Surrounded by family, friends, and a famous pathologist from the Home Office–and making spectacular use of Harriet’s beloved Gipsy Moth plane, Blithe Spirit–Flavia will do anything, even take to the skies, to land a killer.’

My thoughts:

I love this series. I love Flavia. I love her quirkiness and her intelligence. This series is one of my favorites of all times. I love Alan Bradley’s writing style and I love how this series is so different from the rest of the cozy mystery series. Flavia is eleven years old and she is smarter than most people. She has a serious knack for chemistry that makes my eyes cross. Bradley has a certain intellectual writing style that makes you feel smarter by just reading one of his books. This book is the one that lovers of this series has been dreading. Harriet has been found and is being brought home in a casket. This story walks the readers through a grieving process and you can’t help but feel for the characters. This book is really a stepping stone for the next installments of the series and sets the future path for the characters. 
This book was a little slow going for me. If you love the mystery part of the series, well you won’t find it in this book. There is a little mystery, but nothing like the others in this series. This is more of a character and story development installment. I have to say that I did struggle with this one more than the others. I felt like it really didn’t have the same “flair” that the others had in the series previously. I was a little disappointed, but I do understand what the author was trying to do here so I cannot be too disappointed. The ending of this book was a little shocking, but it was a good cliff hanger and I cannot wait to read it. In fact, I am glad that I do not have to wait and I will be starting the next book right away.
Overall, this book is not the usual for the series or for the author, but if you truly love this series, you will stick with it because it clears up the past and opens so many doors for the future. Flavia is certainly in for some new adventures and I am anxious to get started.

Overall Rating: 3.5

Title:  The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches
Author:  Alan Bradley
Series:  Flavia de Luce Mystery #6
Publisher:  Bantam
Publication Date:  December 30, 2014
Pages:  352
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.

Review: Arsenic with Austen by Katherine Bolger Hyde

Description (from cover):

‘When Emily Cavanaugh inherits a fortune from her great aunt, she expects her life to change. She doesn’t expect to embark on a murder investigation, confront the man who broke her heart 35 years before, and nearly lose her own life.
Emily travels to the sleepy coastal village of Stony Beach, Oregon, to claim her inheritance, centered in a beautiful Victorian estate called Windy Corner but also including a substantial portion of the real estate of the whole town. As she gets to know the town’s eccentric inhabitants–including her own once-and-possibly-future love, Sheriff Luke Richards–she learns of a covert plan to develop Stony Beach into a major resort. She also hears hints that her aunt may have been murdered. Soon another suspicious death confirms this, and before long Emily herself experiences a near-fatal accident.
Meanwhile, Emily reads Persuasion, hoping to find belated happiness with her first love as Anne Elliot did with Captain Wentworth. She notices a similarity between her not-quite-cousin Brock Runcible, heir to a smaller portion of her aunt’s property, and Mr. Elliot in Persuasion, and her suspicions of Brock crystallize. But as she and Luke continue to investigate and events speed towards a climax, Emily realizes that underneath the innocent-looking rocks of Stony Beach lurk festering jealousies that would have shocked even the worst of Jane Austen’s charming reprobates.’


My thoughts:

This is the first installment in a new cozy mystery series set in a small coastal town in Oregon. Emily Cavanaugh is a literature professor in Seattle who has reached the end of her rope with her career. She is not happy and is starting to feel burned out and wants more from life. Her husband passed away a few years ago and she is ready for something different. She is surprised to learn that her aunt has passed away and left the majority of her vast estate to her. Emily travels to Stony Beach, Oregon to handle her aunt’s affairs and she falls in love again with the small coastal town of her childhood summers.
Emily is surprised to learn how vast her aunt’s estate was and to find out that she is now a very wealthy woman who will never have to work again. She meets her strange cousin, Brock, who inherited a smaller portion of her aunt’s estate and immediately takes a dislike to him. He is greedy for money and that is not who Emily is. She also meets the mayor of Stony Beach and a real estate agent who both want her to sell her aunt’s property and help them with developing the small town into a more beach resort destination. Emily is immensely opposed to their plans and she soon has a target on her back. On top of all of this, she learns that her aunt died under mysterious circumstances and it appears that she had been murdered. 
This book was a good start to a new series that I hope that I will continue to read in the future. I really enjoyed Emily’s character. She is wealthy, but she doesn’t let her new-found wealth determine who she is. She is really down to earth and has no plans to change. The book was a little slow in places and a little too fast in others, but I am hoping that now the author has laid all of the ground work and that the next installment will be just right.

Overall Rating: 3

Title:  Arsenic with Austen
Author:  Katherine Bolger Hyde
Series:  Crime with the Classics Mystery #1
Publisher:  Minotaur Books
Publication Date:  July 12, 2016
Pages:  320
Genre:  Cozy 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: A March to Remember by Anna Loan-Wilsey

Description (from cover):

‘Traveling secretary Hattie Davish is taking her singular talents to Washington, D.C., to help Sir Arthur Windam-Greene research his next book. But in the winding halls of the nation’s capital, searching for the truth can sometimes lead to murder…
Hattie is in her element, digging through dusty basements, attics, and abandoned buildings, not to be denied until she fishes out that elusive fact. But her delightful explorations are dampened when she witnesses a carriage crash into a carp pond beneath the shadow of the Washington Monument. Alarmingly, one of the passengers flees the scene, leaving the other to drown. The incident only heightens tensions brought on by the much publicized arrival of “Coxey’s Army,” thousands of unemployed men converging on the capital for the first ever organized “march” on Washington. When one of the marches is found murdered in the ensuing chaos, Hattie begins to suspect a sinister conspiracy is at hand. As she expands her investigations into the motives of murder and closes in on the trail of a killer, she is surprised and distraught to learn that her research will lead her straight to the highest levels of government…’

My thoughts:

I have been reading historical fiction and historical mysteries for quite some time. I find it very rare that I stumble across a book that features an event that happened that I don’t know anything about. This book was one of the books where I got to learn something about history that I didn’t already know a lot about. It was nice to see how events played out with a fresh perspective. The author focuses on Coxey’s march on Washington, D.C. in this latest installment of the Hattie Davish mysteries. According to the author’s portrayal and historical note, this was the first “march” on Washington in American history. It was interesting to see how political protests were enacted in the past and compare it to today. I think that it is remarkable how there were so many similar things, yet there are things that are very different.

Hattie is in Washington, D.C. during political turmoil. The city is on edge because Coxley and his “army” are marching towards the nation’s capital to demand that their complaints be heard. Nevertheless, Hattie has a job to do and she cannot let the events swirling around her affect her livelihood. She is determined to do a good job for Sir Arthur Windam-Greene. She is surrounding by famous politicians and she is exposed to the daily ins and outs of the government. Hattie is out walking early one morning when she witnesses a devastating carriage crash. Hattie watches as both of the passengers land in the carp pond. One resurfaces and runs away and the other passenger is left to die. Hattie frantically tries to save the passenger, but to no avail. Hattie wants to know who the man who left the scene of the accident is and why he would just leave a poor woman to die in such devastating circumstances. Hattie is determined to see justice done at no matter the cost.

This is the fifth installment in the smashing Hattie Davish mystery series. I have enjoyed all of the previous books in this series and I enjoyed this one as well. I really connect with Hattie’s character and enjoy solving murder mysteries with her. If you haven’t discovered this series yet, I highly recommend it. I enjoy the author’s portrayal of historical events and how she makes her own story with vivid historical detail and characters the reader can’t help but love. I simply cannot wait until the next book is released.

Overall Rating: 4

Title:  A March to Remember
Author:  Anna Loan-Wilsey
Series:  Hattie Davish Mystery #5
Publisher:  Kensington
Publication Date:  September 27, 2016
Pages:  304
Genre:  Historical Mystery
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble
 

About the Author:

Anna Loan-Wilsey lives in a Victorian farmhouse in the Iowa countryside with her patient husband, inquisitive six year old daughter and her old yellow dog.  She was born and raised in Syracuse, NY but has lived in Finland, Canada and Texas. She has a BA in Biology from Wells College in Aurora, NY and a MLIS from McGill University in Montreal.  She is a biologist, librarian, information specialist and now with the Hattie Davish Mysteries Series, a novelist.  She is a proud member of Sleuths In Time, Mystery Writers of America and Sisters-in-Crime.
 

This has been a stop of the A March to Remember blog tour hosted by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. Make sure that you stop by the other stops as some of them are hosting giveaways of this book!

September 27 – Brooke Blogs
September 28 – Grace. Gratitude. Life
September 28 – Island Confidential
September 28 – The Power of Words
September 29 – StoreyBook Reviews
October 1 – A Holland Reads
October 2 – Shelley’s Book Case
October 3 – Pulp and Mystery Shelf
October 4 – Queen of All She Reads
October 5 – LibriAmoriMiei
October 6 – Girl Lost In a Book
October 7 – A Blue Million Books
Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the publisher, through Netgalley and Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, in exchange for my honest review. I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

Review: Murder in the Secret Garden by Ellery Adams

Description (from cover):

‘Things really go to seed in the newest novel in the New York Times bestselling Book Retreat mysteries…
There is a hidden garden bordering the grounds of Jane Steward’s book-themed resort–a garden filled with beautiful but deadly plants such as mandrake and nightshade. Tucked away behind ivy-covered walls and accessible only through a single locked door, as described in the pages of Frances Hodges Burnett’s classic novel, the garden is of special interest to Jane’s current group of guests, The Medieval Herbalists. But when one of them turns up dead, Jane must discover whether a member of the group has come to Storyton Hall to celebrate their passion for plant lore or to implement a particularly cruel means for murder.
With thousands of books at her disposal, Jane believes she has the property materials to solve this deadly problem. If she’s wrong, however, she may lose something far more precious than the contents of Storyton’s secret library…’


My thoughts:

When you find a cozy mystery series that you really enjoy, you tend to get excited when a new book releases in the series. When this book released recently, I was excited to read it. I really have come to enjoy reading any book by Ellery Adams as she is a fantastic cozy mystery writer. This series and the Books by the Bay series have to be some of my favorite cozy series. I love reading mysteries with a bookish theme. I am a book lover after all. It was nice to return to Storyton Hall. In this installment, Jane is hosting a group of guests who have labelled themselves as The Medieval Herbalists. The guests in this group all have a fierce passion for plants and this includes poison. When one of the guests is poisoned and dies, Jane has a whole house full of suspects. All of the suspects have worked with poisonous plants and it seems all of them are acting suspiciously. 
Jane is determined to seek out the killer before the reputation of Storyton Hall can be damaged. She uses the help of her friends to find out who had motive, means and opportunity and the list is quite long. She must weed out the killer before she finds herself or someone she cares deeply about hurt or worse. With a slew of suspects, she must race against the clock to find a devious killer. 
I enjoyed this book, but not quite as much as the others in this series. I had a little harder time getting into this one. I felt that the other books in this series focused more on the books and this one did do that, but not quite as much. There is a lot of story line and character development in this book which is setting up the series to move forward. Not my favorite in the series, but still a series that I enjoy very much. I am curious to see how things happen moving forward and what the author has in store for Jane and her sons.

Overall Rating: 3.5

Title:  Murder in the Secret Garden
Author:  Ellery Adams
Series:  Book Retreat Mystery #3
Publisher:  Berkley
Publication Date:  August 2, 2016
Pages:  304
Genre:  Cozy 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: Murder at Rough Point by Alyssa Maxwell

Description (from cover):

‘In glittering Newport, Rhode Island, at the close of the nineteenth century, status is everything. But despite being a poorer relation to the venerable Vanderbilts, Emma Cross has shaped her own identity–as a reporter and sleuth.
Fancies and Fashion reporter Emma Cross is sent by the Newport Observer to cover an elite house party at Rough Point, the “cottage” owned by her distant cousin Frederick Vanderbilt, which has been rented as a retreat for artists. To her surprise, the illustrious guests include her estranged Bohemian parents–recently returned from Europe–as well as a variety of notable artists, including author Edith Wharton.
But when one of the artists–an English baronet–is discovered dead at the bottom of a cliff, Rough Point becomes anything but a house of mirth. After a second guest is found murdered, no one is above suspicion–including Emma’s parents.
Even as Newport police detective Jesse Whyte searches for a killer in their midst, Emma tries to draw her own conclusions–with the help of Mrs. Wharton. But with so many sketchy suspects, she’ll need to canvas the crime scenes carefully, before the cunning culprit takes her out of the picture next…’

My thoughts:

I do adore a historical mystery. I would have to say that this genre is my most favorite to read and enjoy. Alyssa Maxwell does not disappoint. This latest installment of an already fantastic series, is just the icing on the cake. Maxwell has a way with words and creating a mystery that will leave you guessing until the very end. I adore Emma’s character and how she struggles with her famed family and being a poor relation having to make her own way in the world. Emma has gumption and doesn’t take anything sitting down. She is out to make a name for herself and if she solves a few murders along the way, well then she has left her mark.
There is an element of this book that really brings to mind the quintessential British manor house cozy mystery, where the guests are from all different backgrounds and there is a slew of clues and suspects. I always find myself enjoying these types of mysteries. I love seeing how every person could have had an opportunity or motive to commit murders. Maxwell delivers the same premise in this novel. The only element really linking the guests together are that they are all artists of some sort and that they are friends. Edith Wharton makes an appearance in this novel. I don’t know a lot about Wharton, nor have I read any of her novels, but Maxwell makes me inquisitive about Mrs. Wharton and I want to learn more about who she was and what her life was like. The author gave me a glimpse into Mrs. Wharton’s life in this book and her somewhat tumultuous relationship with her husband. I hope that the author plans to weave Mrs. Wharton into the future installments of this series as I would definitely like to see more of her character. 
I honestly have to say that there is nothing really that I want to to critique with this book. The characters were delightful, the story captivating and the sense of sadness when finishing an entertaining read certainly still lingers. Maxwell is a phenomenal writer and her stories are always delightful and thrilling to read.

Overall Rating: 5+

Title:  Murder at Rough Point
Author:  Alyssa Maxwell
Series:  Gilded Newport Mystery #4
Publisher:  Kensington
Publication Date:  August 30, 2016
Pages:  304
Genre:  Historical Mystery
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

About the Author:

Alyssa Maxwell is the author of the Gilded Newport Mysteries and, beginning January 2016, A Lady and Lady’s Maid Mysteries. She lives in South Florida in the current year, but confesses to spending most of her time in the Victorian, Edwardian, and post WWI eras. If she only had a TARDIS… In addition to fantasizing about wearing Worth gowns and strolling the gardens of her manor house, she loves to watch BBC and other period productions and sip tea in the afternoons. She and her husband are the proud parents of two beautiful twenty-something daughters.
This has been a stop of the Death Among the Doilies blog tour hosted by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. Make sure that you stop by the other stops as well!
September 12 – Booklady’s Booknotes
September 12 – Girl Lost In a Book
September 13 – Back Porchervations
September 13 – A Holland Reads
September 14 – Celticlady’s Reviews
September 14 – Island Confidential
September 15 – Shelley’s Book Case
September 16 – The Editing Pen
September 16 – The Girl with Book Lungs
September 17 – Cassidy Salem Reads & Writes
September 18 – Cozy Up With Kathy
September 19 – LibriAmoriMiei
September 19 – deal sharing aunt
September 20 – View from the Birdhouse
September 21 – Brooke Blogs
Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the publisher, through Great Escape Virtual Book Tours and 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: Death Among the Doilies by Mollie Cox Bryan

Description (from cover):

‘For thirty-something blogger Cora Chevalier, small-town Indigo Gap, North Carolina, seems like the perfect place to reinvent her life. Shedding a stressful past as a counselor for a women’s shelter, Cora is pouring all her talents–and most of her savings–into a craft retreat business, with help from close pal and resident potter Jane Starr. Between transforming her Victorian estate into a crafter’s paradise and babysitting Jane’s daughter, the new entrepreneur has no time for distractions. Especially rumors about the murder of a local school librarian…
But when Jane’s fingerprints match those found at the grisly crime scene, Cora not only worries about her friend, but her own reputation. With angry townsfolk eager for justice and both Jane’s innocence and the retreat at risk, she must rely on her creative chops to unlace the truth behind the beloved librarian’s disturbing demise. Because if the killer’s patterns aren’t pinned, Cora’s handiwork could end up in stitches…’

My thoughts:

Crafting is totally not my thing. I just don’t understand it or have the patience for it. Sure there are numerous times where I wish I was crafty, but it just seems that I don’t have that gene. I decided to go out on a limb here and read something a little different than the norm. Not too far from what I am used to, but just enough to take me out of my reading comfort zone. Two things drew me to this book. First, the author has some clout in the mystery world. I have seen Bryan’s name pop up a few times lately and I wanted to find out what all the hype was. Second, this book takes place in my home state of North Carolina. Nothing too exciting happens in North Carolina (if you exclude the whole bathroom issue) and I like to see how authors can portray the state in their books. Needless to say, Indigo Gap, North Carolina, seems like a place I would love to explore and spend time in.
I didn’t really know what to expect when I started reading this book. I have to say that I really did enjoy reading it. Cora is a tough cookie, but she is a very down to earth and easy to relate to. Jane is also the same way. I love that Jane has a past and that she has conquered her past struggles to become a better and stronger person. I couldn’t help but like Jane and Cora’s characters and the other townspeople the author introduces us to in this first installment of the new Cora Crafts Mystery series. I have to say that the mystery was well-developed and not easy for this veteran mystery reader to figure out. I always love that in a mystery book. The thing that I liked a lot about this book was that the point of view isn’t always Cora’s. Jane takes over a certain points in the story and I really enjoyed that because most mysteries stick with the main character’s point of view. I thought that in itself was very clever.
Usually the first installment of a mystery series determines whether or not I will continue with the series. This is one that I most definitely will be checking out in the future. I like the characters and the small town setting and even though crafting is not exactly my forte, it is nice to read about something different from time to time. I think every reader enjoys going out on a limb and trying something new every once in a while. I think that this book was a well-done debut in a series that has a promising future.

Overall Rating: 4

Title:  Death Among the Doilies
Author:  Mollie Cox Bryan
Series:  Cora Crafts Mystery #1
Publisher:  Kensington
Publication Date:  August 30, 2016
Pages:  320
Genre:  Cozy Mystery
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

About the Author:

Mollie Cox Bryan is a writer of women’s stories.  Her stories have many forms: cookbooks, articles, essays, poetry and fiction.  Mollie grew up near Pittsburgh, Pa., and attended Point Park University, where she received a B.A. in Journalism and Communications. Her first real job out of college was as a paste-up artist at a small newspaper, where she was allowed to write “on her own time” and she did.
Mollie moved to the Washington, D.C. area, where she held a number of writing jobs, and has written about a diverse array of subjects, such as construction, mathematics education, and life insurance. While working in the editorial field, Mollie began taking poetry classes at the Writer’s Center in Bethesda, Md. Soon, she was leading local poetry workshops and was selected to participate in the prestigious Jenny McKean Moore Poetry Workshop.
In 1999, shortly after the birth of her first daughter, Emma, Mollie and her husband moved to the Shenandoah Valley of Va. (Waynesboro), where he took a job at the Frontier Culture Museum and she stayed at home to take care of Emma and start a freelancing career.
She was honored with an Agatha Award nomination for her first novel, SCRAPBOOK OF SECRETS.

This has been a stop of the Death Among the Doilies blog tour hosted by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. Make sure that you stop by the other stops as well!
September 5 – The Broke Book Bank
September 5 – MysteriesEtc 
September 6 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies
September 6 – Laura’s Interests
September 7 – The Power of Words
September 7 – The Cozy Mystery Journal
September 8 – Shelley’s Book Case
September 8 – deal sharing aunt
September 9 – Melina’s Book Blog 
September 9 – A Date with a Book
September 10 – Girl Lost In a Book
September 11 – Ashleyz Wonderland
September 12 – A Blue Million Books 
September 12 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews 
September 13 – The Book’s the Thing
September 13 – Booth Talks Books
September 14 – Pulp and Mystery Shelf 
September 14 – The Girl with Book Lungs
September 15 – Brooke Blogs
September 15 – A Holland Reads
September 16 – Socrates’ Book Reviews
September 17 – LibriAmoriMiei
September 17 – Island Confidential
September 18 – Community Bookstop
Disclaimer: This book was selected given to me by the publisher, through Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours and Netgalley, in exchange for my honest review. I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.