Review: Buried in a Good Book by Tamara Berry

Description (from cover): “Bestselling thriller writer Tess Harrow is almost at the end of her rope when she arrives with her teenage daughter at her grandfather’s rustic cabin in the woods. She hopes this will be a time for them to heal and bond after Tess’s recent divorce, but they’ve barely made it through the door when an explosion shakes the cabin. Suddenly it’s raining fish guts and…is that a human arm?

Tess was hardly convincing Gertie that a summer without Wi-Fi and running water would be an adventure. Now she’s thrust into a murder investigation, neighbors are saying they’ve spotted Bigfoot in the woods near her cabin, and the local sheriff is the spitting image of her character Detective Gabriel Gonzales–something he’s less than thrilled about. With so much more than her daughter’s summer plans at stake, it’s up to Tess to solve this case before anyone else gets hurt.

Put your sleuthing hat on–Buried in a Good Book features:

  • A thriller writer who knows way more than anyone should about death and dismemberment
  • Her young daughter who’s more intrigued by dead bodies than she probably should be
  • An isolated cabin in the woods that’s probably–definitely–hiding something
  • The tiny mountain town that seems less than troubled by a sudden abundance of murders”

My Thoughts:

Rarely is there a debut in a cozy mystery series that really grabs my attention from the get go and doesn’t disappoint. This was such a book. I really enjoyed Tess’s character and found her to be very relatable. She is a an author of thrillers, a mom of teenager, and has just been through a divorce. Dealing with a moody teenager and trying to escape life for a little bit, Tess and her daughter arrive at her grandfather’s isolated cabin in the middle of the woods. Little does she know, her peaceful vacation will be anything but serene. When a lady is found murdered in the pond behind the cabin, Tess cannot help but get herself involved in the murder investigation. With the threat of Bigfoot lurking in the woods, a sheriff who is less than forthcoming, a teenager who is less than thrilled to be in the middle of nowhere, Tess must use her own smarts to outwit a killer.

This book made me laugh. There was one part where Tess is complaining that she needs to wash her hair as she looks like Marie Antoinette from all of the dry shampoo she has used. This resonated with my soul. I am a queen of dry shampoo and made me really enjoy Tess’s sense of humor. Tess is quirky and her sense of justice really drives her to find out what exactly is going on in the secluded woods around the cabin. Odd things just keep happening and nothing is adding up. Tamara Berry is a delightful author and I am glad that there are already additional books in this series. I have just picked up the second book in this series, On Spine of Death, for review and I simply cannot wait to read it.

If you are looking for a cute, whimsical, funny, and engaging cozy mystery, this book will not disappoint. I am curious to see how the author plans to develop the characters throughout the series and will definitely keep an eye out for what comes next. I highly recommend this book to all cozy mystery lovers and others who just want to read an engaging mystery. I simply couldn’t put this book down and hope others will enjoy this one as much as I did.

Overall Rating: 5+ stars

Author: Tamara Berry

Series: By the Book Mystery #1

Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press

Publication Date: May 24, 2022

Pages: 291

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Get It: Amazon

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: Murder on Madison Square by Victoria Thompson

Description (from cover): “Former policeman Frank Malloy is frustrated when a woman requests his private detective services to implicate her wealthy husband in adultery, the only legal grounds for divorce in New York state. Although Mrs. Bing seems genuinely distressed about her marriage and desperate to end it, she refuses to tell Frank the reason she absolutely must divorce her husband and admits she has no legal grounds. Frank explains he won’t manufacture evidence for her and sends her on her way.

The following week, Frank and Sarah happen to be attending the first ever auto show in Madison Square Garden when they meet the woman’s husband, Alfred Bing, who has invested in a company that produces one of the electric motorcars on display. A few days later, the newspapers report that millionaire Alvin Bing has been found dead, pinned beneath one of the wheels of his very own motorcar. But who was driving it? The obvious suspect is Mrs. Bing, but Frank and Sarah find that nothing is as it seems in their puzzling, dangerous search for truth.”

My Thoughts:

Just by taking a look at my blog, you can tell that I have long enjoyed reading this series. I remember when I first started reading historical mysteries and that this series was highly recommended to me. I have followed this series and the characters for many years now, so when a new installment is released, it is like catching up with old friends. This book was no different. We see the world changing in this book with automobiles becoming more popular and replacing the horse drawn carriage and more and more people buying them for their convenience. Frank Malloy has long owned a gas-powered automobile, but he is always curious about how the technology is changing and how advancements are being made. When a woman comes to see him at the detective agency about providing evidence of adultery so she can divorce her husband, Frank sticks to his principles and turns the case down. She leaves upset that Frank won’t help her and he thinks that is the end of the matter. Little does he know that he is soon to be embroiled in a murder mystery involving the same woman and her husband that she wanted to divorce.

Frank and Sarah attend the first auto show in Madison Square Garden and end up meeting the woman’s husband, Mr. Bing. He is an investor in the electric powered automobile and is very eager to show off his investments to customers at the fair. Later that evening, he is ran over by his own automobile and killed at the auto show. Mrs. Bing approaches Frank again and now asks him to help her solve the mystery of her husband’s murder. Frank and Sarah eagerly accept the case and start their investigation. Mr. Bing’s past comes back to haunt him and stirs up more trouble for Frank and Sarah. Apparently, Mr. Bing had a lot of secrets and a lot of people wanted him dead. It is up to Frank and Sarah, along with the help of Gino and Maeve, to find the murderer before someone else ends up hurt or worse, murdered.

This was another smashing read by Victoria Thompson. I simply cannot get enough of Frank and Sarah and love their stories and mysteries. Thompson has a way with making a well-established series seem fresh and never boring. I can never put her books down and always recommend this series for historical mystery lovers as a must-read series. I feel that I am never disappointed with her books and highly anticipate the next release in the series. Another well researched book by a historical mystery master. You will not be disappointed with this book or any of the others in this series.

Overall Rating: 5 stars

Author: Victoria Thompson

Series: Gaslight Mystery #25

Publisher: Berkley

Publication Date: May 3, 2022

Pages: 348

Genre: Historical Mystery

Get It: Amazon

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 Mad Girls of New York by Maya Rodale

Description (from cover): “A gripping and compelling novel based on the true story of fearless reporter Nellie Bly, who will stop at nothing to prove that a woman’s place is on the front page.

In 1887 New York City, Nellie Bly has ambitions beyond writing for the ladies pages, but all the editors on Newspaper Row think women are too emotional, respectable and delicate to do the job. But then the New York World challenges her to an assignment she’d be mad to accept and mad to refuse: go undercover as a patient at Blackwell’s Island Insane Asylum for women.

For months, rumors have been swirling about deplorable conditions at Blackwell’s but no reporter can get in–that is, until Nellie feigns insanity, gets herself committed and attempts to survive ten days in the madhouse. Once inside, Nellie befriends her fellow patients who help her uncover shocking truths about the asylum. It’s a story that promises to be explosive–but will she get out before rival reporters get the scoop?

From USA Today bestselling author Maya Rodale comes a witty, energetic and uplifting novel about a woman who defied convention to become the most famous reporter in Gilded Age New York. Perfect for fans of hidden histories about women who triumph.”

My Thoughts:

This is the beginning of a series featuring intrepid female news reporter Nellie Bly. In this book we meet Nellie and watch her struggle with trying to find a position as a newspaper writer in New York City. Nellie has recently arrived from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and she has been writing for the Pittsburgh Dispatch for several years, but she really aspires to see her name on the front page of a major newspaper. Spending several months trying to find a job on Newspaper Row and being constantly turned away because she is a woman, she is desperate to make a name for herself. When the opportunity presents itself for her to find a way to be committed to Blackwell’s Island Insane Asylum for women, she takes the bull by the horns and takes on the challenge of a lifetime.

At this time, little is known about the treatment and lives of the patients confined to the asylum. No reporter has ever been allowed on the premises and no one knows what the day-to-day life is like. Nellie is determined to report to the world all of the details. She is astonished by the living conditions, how the women are treated and the lack of attention to medical care and basic every day needs. Nellie is determined to expose the asylum for what it is and to shine a light on the injustices of the women confined there. Nellie’s story sends shockwaves through New York City and beyond and she seeks to use her voice to improve the conditions for the inhabitants so that they have a chance for a better life behind the asylum’s walls.

In this book, I felt that the author did a great job of telling Nellie’s story and sticking to the real facts of her life. The author did a wonderful job of creating a voice for Nellie that resonates well with the reader. Nellie was an interesting character to read about and to see how she bucks the constraints against women in the Gilded Age. It’s hard to imagine the struggle in our age as women are heavily engaged in the work force, but this author did a great job of showcasing how Nellie Bly was responsible for helping to break the glass ceiling for women everywhere. A delightful read that I couldn’t put down. I look forward to the future installments in this series and how Nellie continues to make a name for herself throughout history.

Overall Rating: 4.5 stars

Author: Maya Rodale

Series: Nellie Bly #1

Publisher: Berkeley

Publication Date: April 26, 2022

Pages: 334

Genre: Historical Fiction

Get It: Amazon

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: Murder on Teal’s Pond by David Bushman & Mark T. Givens

Description (from cover): “A brilliantly researched reinvestigation into the nearly forgotten century-old murder that inspired one of the most seductive mysteries in the history of television and film.

In 1908, Hazel Drew was found floating in a pond in Sand Lake, New York, beaten to death. The unsolved murder inspired rumors, speculation, ghost stories, and, almost a century later, the phenomenon of Twin Peaks. Who killed Hazel Drew? Like Laura Palmer, she was a paradox of personalities–a young, beautiful puzzle with secrets. Perhaps the even trickier question is, Who was Hazel Drew?

Seeking escape from her poor country roots, Hazel found work as a domestic servant in the notoriously corrupt metropolis of Troy, New York. Fate derailed her plans for reinvention. But the investigation that followed her brutal murder was fraught with red herrings, wild-goose chases, and unreliable witnesses. Did officials really follow the leads? Or did they bury them to protect the guilty?

The likely answer is revealed in an absorbing true mystery that’s ingeniously reconstructed and every bit as haunting as the cultural obsession it inspired.”

My Thoughts:

I am going to preface this review with stating that I know nothing about Twin Peaks and I have never watched the television series. I certainly have heard of Twin Peaks, but didn’t really have any substantial knowledge going into reading this book. I was selected to read an early advanced copy of this book through NetGalley and what really drew me into selecting this book was the fact that it was true crime and based on a real murder mystery. Little did I know that the murder featured in this book was the backstory used in Twin Peaks.

Hazel Drew was in her early twenties when her body was found floating in Teal’s Pond located in Sand Lake, New York in 1908. She was working as a domestic servant for a middle-class family in Troy, New York when she abruptly quit her job. None of her family and friends knew why she quit her job or where she went after doing so. In the next few days, Hazel would travel, see some friends, and ultimately be found dead floating in Teal’s Pond by campers. No one had any clue as to how she ended up dead and who murdered her. Her family and friends were investigated by the police and while there were some promising developments at the time, the case still remains unsolved today.

This is a non-fiction read but flows and reads as fiction. I thought the writing was very well done and engaging and it kept my attention throughout. There were some parts that were repetitive, but nothing that took away from the telling of this story. The authors go further and make their own determinations as to what happened and who killed Hazel Drew. Of course, we really don’t know the real story of what happened to Hazel Drew, but the authors provide a good scenario for what could have happened to her on that July evening in 1908. This was a fun and intriguing true crime novel that I am glad that I have the privilege to read and review.

Overall Rating: 4.5 stars

Authors: David Bushman & Mark T. Givens

Series: N/A

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Publication Date: January 1, 2022

Pages: 335

Genre: Nonfiction

Get It: Amazon

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 Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill

Description (from cover): “In every person’s story, there is something to hide…

The ornate reading room at the Boston Public Library is quiet, until the tranquility is shattered by a woman’s terrified scream. Security guards take charge immediately, instructing everyone inside to stay put until the threat is identified and contained. While they wait for the all-clear, four strangers, who’d happened to sit at the same table, pass the time in conversation and friendships are struck. Each has his or her own reasons for being in the reading room that morning–it just happens that one is a murderer.

Award-winning author Sulari Gentill delivers a sharply thrilling read with The Woman in the Library, an unexpectedly twisty literary adventure that examines the complicated nature of friendship and shows us that words can be the most treacherous weapons of all.”

My Thoughts:

The first thoughts that come to my mind as I write the review for this novel, is “WOW! What a great read!” I was utterly shocked at how much this book grabbed my attention and did not let go until the very end. I read this book in one day because I simply could not put it down. The twists and turns had me literally gasping aloud and on the edge of my seat. This book is a murder mystery with many winding plot twists. All the reader knows is that one of the main characters is a murderer and they all have their own reasons for committing the crime. The reader is left guessing literally until the very last pages of this book. Let me say that I did not see the ending coming even though the author tells us at the very beginning that one of the main characters is the murderer.

This book will stay with me for a while. I read a lot of mysteries. Pretty much every book I read is a mystery, so for me to say that this book took me by surprise, it is a big deal. Gentill is a remarkable writer who engages her readers from the very first page until the very last page. The setup of this book is a little different and it is hard to describe for me in words, but I would suggest that the reader just roll with it and take it for what it is. You will not be disappointed. Basically, there are two different stories in this novel that overlap slightly but together create a mystery masterpiece.

Typically in my reviews, I outline the storyline of the book, but with this one it just wouldn’t feel right for me to detail the story on this blog. I feel like I would be doing the book an injustice and might give away some of the twists and turns that really make this book truly unique. All I can say is when this book is released in June of this year, run and get your hands on this one as it was phenomenal in every single way. I have a feeling this book will be a huge hit and everyone will be talking about it. I am absolutely honored I had the chance to preview it and read it early. From a chronic mystery reader, I give this book a huge standing ovation and cannot wait to see what the author writes next.

Overall Rating: 5+ stars

Author: Sulari Gentill

Series: N/A

Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press

Publication Date: June 7, 2022

Pages: 292

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Get It: Amazon

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: One of Us is Dead by Jeneva Rose

Description (from cover): “Opulence. Sex. Betrayal…Sometimes friendship can be deadly.

Meet the women of Buckhead–a place of expensive cars, huge houses, and competitive friendships.

Shannon was once the queen bee of Buckhead. But she’s been unceremoniously dumped by Bryce, her politician husband. When Bryce replaces her with a much younger woman, Shannon sets out to take revenge…

Crystal has stepped into Shannon’s old shoes. A young, innocent Texan girl, she simply has no idea what she’s up against…

Olivia has waited years to take Shannon’s crown as the unofficial queen of Buckhead. Finally, her moment has come. But to take her rightful place, she will need to use every backstabbing, manipulative, underhand trick in the book…

Jenny owns Glow, the most exclusive salon in town. Jenny knows all her clients’ secrets and darkest desires. But will she ever tell?

Who amongst these women will be clever enough to survive Buckhead–and who will wind up dead? They say that friendships can be complex, but no one said it could ever be this deadly.”

My Thoughts:

Wow! What a read! I really enjoyed this book. Think Real Housewives meets Big Little Lies. I couldn’t put this book down. Shannon, Crystal, Karen, Olivia and Jenny are part of the elite squad of Buckhead. Shannon has just gone through a divorce with politician Bryce. Crystal is his new young wife, who is struggling to fit into the high-stakes of society in Buckhead. Karen is a realtor with a highly successful business who is married to an equally successful plastic surgeon, Mark. Olivia is married to Dean and is known as the mean one of the group. She is determined to be on top at no matter what cost. She is manipulative and snarky and the others just put up with her to save face. Jenny is the owner of Glow, the salon that is the hangout for all of the ladies. She has put her salon and her clients first and she is now eager to carve out a personal life of her own.

This story is told through the characters’ own voices. Each chapter is told through a different character and it was fun to see how their own personal lives and secrets affected each other and the story overall. It seems in Buckhead everyone is out to get ahead and they simply don’t care if they step on each other toes to get to the top. The drama that filled these pages was so intense and engaging, that it made it impossible to want to stop reading. I read this book in one day as it was so good. The author did a great job of entwining everyone’s stories and the conclusion was simply shocking. You know going into it someone is going to die clearly from the title of this book, but you have no idea of who is the victim and the circumstances surrounding the murder until the very end.

Thoroughly captivating and engaging, this story was one that left me reeling at the end with all the twists and turns. I cannot say enough good things about this read and I encourage anyone who enjoys a complex mystery to pick this one up. I have previously never heard of this author or any of her books, but after reading this one, I am going to check out her other books and I encourage other readers to do the same. If you pick this one up, you will not be disappointed.

Overall Rating: 5+ stars

Author: Jeneva Rose

Series: N/A

Publisher: Blackstone Publishing

Publication Date: April 26, 2022

Pages: 354

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Get It: Amazon

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: Hot Time by W. H. Flint

Description (from cover): “For fans of The Knick, The Alienist, and The Last Days of Night, an entertaining, atmospheric crime thriller set in the Gilded Age.

New York, August 1896. A “hot wave” has settled on the city with no end in sight, leaving tempers short and the streets littered with dead horses felled by the heat. In this presidential election year, the gulf between rich and poor has political passions flaring, while anti-immigrant sentiment has turned virulent. At Police Headquarters, the gruff, politically ambitious commissioner Theodore Roosevelt has been struggling to reform his notoriously corrupt department. Meanwhile, the yellow press is ready to pounce on the peccadilloes of the Four Hundred, the city’s social elite–the better to sell papers with lurid stories and gossip or perhaps profit from a little blackmail on the side. When the body of Town Topics publisher William d’Alton Mann is found at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge, any number of his ink-spattered victims may have a motive.

Hot Time is an immensely entertaining, deeply researched, and richly textured historical novel set in a period that reflects our own, with cameos by figures ranging from financier J. P. Morgan to muckraking journalist Jacob Riis. Our guides through New York’s torrid, bustling streets are Otto “Rafe” Raphael from the Lower East Side, one of the first Jewish officers in the heavily Irish force, who finds as many enemies within the department as outside it; Minnie Kelly, the department’s first female stenographer; Theodore Roosevelt himself; and the plucky orphan Dutch, one of the city’s thousands of newsboys, who may have seen too much.”

My Thoughts:

New York in the Gilded Age is an absolute darling time period to read about. The corruption in the city during this time is notorious and even more so in the New York Police Department. Theodore Roosevelt at this time is a police commissioner who has been working diligently to reform the police department and get rid of its corrupt ways. Facing battles from every corner, he is determined to make the police department one that the citizens of New York can respect and trust, which is no easy feat as police officers have been known to take bribes and be involved in crime themselves. Otto “Rafe” Raphael is the first Jewish police officer in a department full of Irish police officers and he is resolved to make a name for himself. When publisher William d’Alton Mann meets with Mr. Roosevelt one evening and is murdered the following day, Rafe is concerned that his mentor and hero may have been involved in the crime. Nevertheless, Rafe is set on figuring out the murder and who may have been involved at any cost.

From the slums of New York to the gilded homes of the Four Hundred, the author takes the reader through New York City in the middle of August 1896 where a “hot wave” has made life unbearable. Horses are dying in the streets, citizens are dying by the hundreds and tempers are easily set off due to the scorching heat with no relief in sight. When Mann’s body is found by the Brooklyn Bridge, Rafe is determined to solve the crime with the help of orphaned newsboy Dutch and no one, even the wealthy and famous, are safe from his suspicions and investigation. In the middle of the tumultuous summer of 1896 and a highly contested presidential election, the author weaves a murder mystery that is thoroughly engaging and highly attentive to details.

This book was a charm to read. The author did a lot of research regarding the main characters and the time period and it really shows throughout this book. Using descriptive details, the author paints a lovely murder mystery set in the middle of one of the worst heat waves in New York City’s history. One can only imagine what it was like for the people who lived during this time and the author does a fantastic job of setting the scene for the reader. I really hope that the author plans to make a series out of this as it was a phenomenal read and the characters were so well-developed and engaging that I hope they make a return in another installment. If you love historical mystery murders, you do not want to miss out on this excellent read by author W. H. Flint.

Overall Rating: 5 stars

Author: W. H. Flint

Series: N/A

Publisher: Arcade Crimewise

Publication Date: April 5, 2022

Pages: 245

Genre: Historical Mystery

Get It: Amazon

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: Wild Irish Rose by Rhys Bowen and Clare Broyles

Description (from cover): “New York Times bestselling author Rhys Bowen, now writing in partnership with her daughter, Clare Broyles, transports and enthralls readers through the incomparable Molly Murphy Sullivan. Wild Irish Rose is the next novel in this beloved mystery series, a cause for celebration for readers and critics alike.

New York, 1907: Now that she’s no longer a private detective–at least not officially–Molly Murphy Sullivan is looking forward to a time of settled tranquility with friends and family. Back in New York, where her own story began, Molly decides to accompany some friends to Ellis Island to help distribute clothing to those in need. This journey quickly stirs up memories for Molly. When you’re far from home and see people from your country, every face looks like a family member.

That evening Molly’s policeman husband, Daniel, is late returning home. He comes with a tale to tell: there was a murder on Ellis Island that day, and the main suspect is the spitting image of Molly. The circumstances are eerily similar to when Molly herself arrived on Ellis Island, and she can’t help but feel a sense of fate. Molly was meant to be there that day so that she can clear this woman’s name.”

My Thoughts:

Molly Murphy Sullivan is a former Irish immigrant who now has a policeman husband, a baby and a family of her own. She has come a long way since she landed in Ellis Island to start her new life in America. When she has the opportunity to assist her friends with providing newly arrived immigrants with coats to protect against the harsh New York winters, she is reminded of her own past and jumps to help. While she is helping on Ellis Island, she is mistaken for one of the immigrants and is forced to prove her identity. Upon arriving at home, she learns that the immigrant she was wrongly mistaken for is a suspect in a murder. Realizing her own struggles and journey, she is drawn to help her husband solve this murder and prevent another wrongly accused woman from being thrown in jail for murder.

As I have stated before on this blog, Rhys Bowen is one of my favorite historical mystery authors. I have long been a fan of her and this series. It has been quite the journey through the years to see what Molly is going to get herself into next and when I had the opportunity to read this new release in advance, I jumped at the chance. While this book was little long in areas and felt like it dragged on more than usual, it still was a good read and new addition to a beloved series.

In this book, we really see Molly struggle with her past and her future. She wants to be a good wife and mother, but she is drawn to her past as a private detective and she cannot help but find herself in the middle of a murder investigation. While Daniel, her husband, is not thrilled with her assisting him in his investigation, he is willing to allow her to assist with a caveat, that she first be a wife and a mother and not put herself in danger. Of course, this is easier said than done and Molly is up to her old antics. This was another fantastic read by Rhys Bowen and her daughter Clare Broyles and I am anxiously awaiting the next release in this series.

Overall Rating: 4 Stars

Author: Rhys Bowen and Clare Broyles

Series: Molly Murphy Mystery #18

Publisher: Minotaur Books

Publication Date: March 1, 2022

Pages: 384

Genre: Historical Mystery

Get It: Amazon

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.