Saturday, February 24, 2018

Murder in Bloomsbury
by D. M Quincy

Atlas Catesby is busy planning his next adventure in hopes to escape to the far reaches of the globe to help him get Lady Lilliana Roslyn out of his mind and his heart.  Before he can leave he is summoned to the home of the lady’s brother.  Dreading a confrontation with the gentleman, he is surprised to discover it is Lilliana who wishes to speak to him.  The brother of her beloved lady’s maid has died from arsenic poisoning and the maid believes he has been murdered.  Thus, Atlas is pulled back into Lilliana’s company which delights him and worries him as they work together to get to the truth of the young man’s death.

One of the best perks of reading is the knowledge and tidbits you can discover from reading. Not just non-fiction but within the pages of a nice cozy mystery.  In the second offering in this series, Quincy’s research into the common practices of arsenic usage is jaw dropping.  I personally had no idea how much it was used in day to day practices.  It was so interesting I found myself reading further about the poison.

Quincy surrounds his murder with the ins and outs of the titled and the very real dilemma Atlas faces as his feelings for Lilliana continue to grow though he is not of her social status and considered to be beneath her.  This storyline is as pivotal to the plot as is the murder.  Lilliana is a woman who thinks for herself.  This series is highly enjoyable, and I eagerly await to see who Lilliana and Atlas chafe against in their next adventure.

I wish to thank the generosity of the publisher and NetGalley for the Advanced Reader’s Copy for my honest review.

PUB:  Crooked Lane Books
PUB DATE:  February 23, 2018
ISBN:  9781683314653

Genre:  Historical Mystery

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Woman in the Water
by Charles Finch

He’s a young gentleman settling into his independence in London and trying to make everyone happy and not embarrass his family but also do what makes him happy.  However, private detective does not fit within his social circle’s classification as acceptable.  Charles must do something to keep his mind off the fact that he allowed the love of his life slip through his fingers.  Plans of traveling to Russia for an extended period are shelved when a distasteful and revolting murder sparks his deductive mind and with his friend, assistant and valet (with a hard t), Graham, they begin to tie clues together much to the aggravation and resentment of Scotland Yard.

Charles Finch has put a lot on his protagonist in this prequel to his Charles Lenox series.  There are several story lines going on throughout this novel, yet they do not get tangled.  Finch’s talent of slowly but methodically laying out each detail feels natural without getting wordy or over descriptive. Lenox has real life issues he must deal with as he works the case, but they do not drag down the story.  Fans of this series will recognize many recurring characters from the previous titles. This is an outstanding addition to the series.  New readers will be hooked and want to read more of Lenox’s adventures.  I wouldn’t mind reading more from the early days of Lenox’s detective cases. 

I wish to thank #netgalley and the publisher for generously providing an Advanced Readers Copy for my honest review.

PUB:  Minotaur Books/St. Martin’s Press
PUB DATE:  February 20, 2018
ISBN:  9781250139467

Genre:  Historical Mystery

Monday, February 19, 2018

Lost Book of the Grail
by Charlie Lovett

Arthur Prescott is happiest when surrounded by the ancient books within the library at the Barchester Cathedral.  Having to teach at the university is just a necessity of life and he gladly escapes to the library every free moment he has.  He isn’t happy one bit when his sanctuary is invaded by a loud, talkative, woman (an American no less), bearing electronic equipment, she informs him, will make his beloved books available to anyone online via the internet.  Arthur is a mild luddite and abhors this turn of events.  However, as work progresses, Ms. Bethany Davis comes across a startling find that will entice Arthur to join her in the perusal of these books and will lead them and their friends on an adventure that will push their boundaries and open a whole new world for Arthur.   

I love books that take you in search of lost treasure but not all adventures need to happen in exotic locations with blood flowing and bullets flying.  This book reminded me a bit of the movie Ball of Fire which stars Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck or A Song is Born with Danny Kaye and Virginia Mayo which is a later remake of Ball of Fire.  You insert a modern, young, beautiful woman into the lives of men who live together and devote their lives to certain research with little regard to what is going on beyond their world.  Lost Book of the Grail is similar to these movies as the lovely young lady comes in and stirs things up and challenges the staid gentlemen.  There are some chuckles, not belly laughs, and exciting discoveries.  The writing is steady and you get a good feel of each character.  It’s not a fast-paced story by any means but well worth the slow stroll through the pages.  

I wouldn't recommend this to teen reluctant readers but true book lovers might gladly embrace it for the good read it is.  

PUB: Viking Publishing
PUB DATE:  February 28, 2017
ISBN:  9780399562518

Genre:  Fiction

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Case of the Deadly Doppleganger
by Lucy Banks

When you work at an establishment for an extended period, your fellow employees become to feel like a family to you.  For Kester Lanner his fellow employees at the supernatural agency are the closest to family he has, not to mention his boss is his newly discovered father, Dr. Ribero.  And, like many families, they bicker and pick on one another relentlessly but will defend each other if an outsider decides to pick on one of their own.  As it happens, when several elderly citizens of Lyme Regis die under questionable circumstances, they must partner with their rival supernatural agency run by Dr. Ribero’s nemesis, Larry Higgins, and their patience and fortitude will be tested.

This is the second installment of Dr. Ribero’s Supernatural Agency and can stand on its own.  The series is unusual and stands out from other mysteries with its paranormal storylines.  Banks characters are completely human, flawed and could be anyone you bump into on the street. The stories are interesting and engaging and the characters compliment the story.  The descriptions of the surrounding locale are well defined, and you feel the damp and smell the musty air.  I would give this to older teens looking for something different as they will be able to relate to the insecurities felt by Kester and his eagerness to please his peers.

I wish to thank the generosity of the publisher and NetGalley for the Advanced Reader’s Copy for my honest review.

PUB:  Amberjack Publishing
PUB DATE:  February 6, 2018
ISBN:  9781944995478

Genre:  Paranormal Mystery

Monday, February 5, 2018

Funeral Platter: Stories
by Greg Ames

As it happens, I’m not a big fan of contemporary story lines.  Nor am I a fan of short stories in general.  However, I do like to stay up on what is current and if someone comes to me asking for something quirky I like to be able to talk up a book or give them an idea of what is available. 

Funeral Platter is a book filled with a collection of wickedly irreverent stories that will captivate readers who love to look at life through the pen of someone like Ames.  He gives his readers a skewed look at life’s day-to-day trials and challenges.   From the challenge and risk of online dating in I Feel Free, backing out on one’s decision to begin a responsible future as in Quagmire, even the challenge of retirement and aging as in Before the Burial.  Yeah, we’ve all had some of the thoughts and rough feelings regarding life within these stories, hopefully handling them better than some of the characters. Read them, laugh and cheer, gasp and flinch.  Believe it or not, there is a little something for everyone within covers of Funeral Platter.

I wish to thank Skyhorse Publishing for providing a copy of this title for my honest review.   

PUB:   Arcade Publishing/Skyhorse Publishing
PUB DATE:  Available for purchase now
ISBN:  9781510725812

Genre:  General Fiction/Short Stories

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

All Things Bright and Strange
by James Markert

Michael Ellsworth Newberry, wonder boy of Bellhaven, South Carolina.  His life is peppered with stories of his multiple life survivals, but he is fed up with his life.  As he tastes the metal of the gun against his mouth life steps in again.  The loss of his wife, his leg in WWI and his dreams of playing professional baseball have worn him down.  However, the discovery of a mysterious chapel beyond the boundary of the painted trees will put him on another path.  Things are changing in Bellhaven and the quiet little town is about to have its citizens questioning their neighbors, their friends and themselves as to what is right and what is wrong.

I believe this is one of those books that you either hate or you love.  It has been listed as ‘Christian Fiction’ and I must disagree.  There is a lot of faith woven within this story.  However, there are many faiths and races within the city limits of Bellhaven which make it an unusual town of its time and all get along, but that is why it is vulnerable.  At one point, I was worried it was headed down Stephen King lane.  Luckily, it turned before it got to that point.  It is not bogged down with gratuitous sex or gory violence.  Notice I said, no ‘gory’ violence.  There is violence.  A story about a battle between good and evil cannot be told without violence.  The redeeming quality in this book for me were the characters, not the storyline.  I liked the citizens of Bellhaven. Even those that cross the line.  There are some truly nasty characters within this story that are not easily liked but unfortunately, there are many still like them today.  As the saying goes, leopards don’t change their spots.  Overall, it’s a good story and though I wasn’t thrilled with the ending, I understand it.   I really liked the dedication of the book.  Nice one, Mr. Markert. 

I wish to thank #NetGalley and the publisher for generously providing an Advanced Readers Copy for my honest review.

PUB:  Harper Collins/Thomas Nelson
PUB DATE:  January 30, 2018
ISBN:  9780718090289

Genre:  Historical/Supernatural Fiction
Blood Sisters
by Jane Corry

Corry’s story of a dysfunctional and damaged family is haunting and gritty.  As Allison’s story slowly unfolds, the dark truth of the accident that left her sister severely injured and unable to communicate also unfolds.  The reality of jealousy and envy are starkly portrayed in this novel and the very real horrors of a woman working in a men’s prison is gripping.  Readers who enjoy stories with plots that twist and turn and leave the reader unsure who to trust will eagerly dive in. 

I wish to thank the generosity of the publisher and Edelweiss for the Advanced Reader’s Copy for my honest review.

PUB: Pamela Dorman Books/Penguin Random House
PUB DATE:  January 30, 2018
ISBN:  9780525522188

Genre:  Mystery/Suspense/General Fiction