Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Carols and Chaos
by Cindy Antsy

When Kate Darby’s eyes first set upon Matt Harlow, it alighted a little spark.  What she wanted to keep to a fun holiday flirt slowly turned into a warmth that would run through her whole being.  As the two are tossed into a week of chaotic holiday preparations, they are also taxed with ferreting out the disappearance of a fellow staff member and the mystery surrounding a counterfeit coin.

I’m not sure if this will continue to be a series, but it certainly is a fun duo.  In Antsy’s first installment, Suitors and Sabotage, she introduces us to the Chively, Beeswanger, and Steeple families.  She follows that fun, romantic mystery with this lively addition giving us a peek at the people that run the three households of these families.  It’s a bit Downton Abbey and Upstairs, Downstairs.  Though the teen audience won’t have any recollection of Upstairs, Downstairs, they will delight in this story.  Filled with budding romance and nail-biting tension it will certainly be a great read during the holiday season.  Pour the hot chocolate and bundle up for a very satisfying read.
#CarolsandChaos  #NetGalley

I wish to thank the publisher and NetGalley for generously providing an Advanced Reader’s Copy for my honest review.

PUB:  Macmillan Children’s Pub/Swoon Reads
PUB DATE:  October 9, 2018
ISBN:  9781250174871

GENRE:  Historical Romance/Mystery

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Little Shop of Found Things
By Paula Brackston

The exciting thing about finding special items in a vintage shop is knowing that item has been around long before you found it and it has a past.  We often must make up a past or imagine what travels the item has been on, but not so for Xanthe.  She has a special gift that allows certain items to ‘speak’ to her.  When she attends an estate sale with her mother, a silver chatelaine calls to her. While exploring the grounds of their new shop, she discovers a small shed like building towards the rear that fills her with the feeling of dread and despair.  Crossing through the door, she is pulled into the past and witnesses the cries of a young girl being spirited away in a coach.  Upon Xanthe’s return to the present, she is confronted by the ghost of Margaret Merton, mother to the young girl Xanthe has just seen.  Margaret threatens Xanthe’s mother’s life if she doesn’t return to the past and help save her daughter.  Carrying the chatelaine with her, she must go back to 1605 and figure out what led up to the arrest of Margaret’s daughter and discover a way to save her, to keep Margaret from harming her mother.
For fans of time travel fiction, this one even mixes in the theme of the ghost.  Filled with adventure and romance, Brackston has managed to check many boxes in the fiction genre. I’m a huge fan of scouring vintage marketplaces for treasures and she even checked that box for me.  This is a very satisfying book to escape into and I will gladly recommend it to teen readers as well as adult. 
#LittleShopOfFoundThings    #NetGalley

PUB:  St. Martin’s Press
PUB DATE:  October 2, 2018
ISBN:  9781250072436

Genre:  Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Mystery, Romance

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Hollow of Fear
by Sherry Thomas

Charlotte Holmes, Lady Sherlock, finds herself embroiled with Lord Ingram again as a body is discovered on his estate, Stern Hollow, while playing host to a house full of unexpected guests.  

This is my first foray into the Lady Sherlock mysteries and though I enjoyed the overall story, I found myself at a loss often.  This is the third volume and there are references to previous occurrences that are not made clear, leaving the reader to their own devices to fill in the blanks.  The mystery at the root of this volume is cleverly plotted and engaging, but again, it has history in previous installments.  As much as I enjoyed this, I would encourage others to begin at the beginning with A Study in Scarlet Women.  I personally would like to learn what is at the bottom of the animosity Charlotte holds against her parents.  Guess I’ll be adding two more titles to my ‘To Be Read’ list.  This should be added to library collections that contain the first two volumes.
#HollowOfFear  #NetGalley

I would like to thank the publishers and NetGalley for their generosity in allowing me access to the digital Advanced Reader’s Copy for my honest review.

PUB:  Berkley Publishing
PUB DATE:  October 2, 2018
ISBN:  9780425281420

Genre:  Historical Fiction, Mystery

Witch of Willow Hall
by Hester Fox

From the bustling society of Boston, the Montrose daughters find themselves hurried off into the country and the quiet confines of their new home, Willow Hall.  Vain, self-centered, selfish Catherine. Quiet, kind Lydia and spoiled, sweet little Emeline.  Lydia, ever the peace keeper, tries to keep everyone content and thankful for their lovely new home.  Is she happy?  She thought she was, at least content, until disaster befalls them all.  Will Lydia be the one to once again bring peace to her family?  She just isn’t sure if she has the strength to make this happen or the power. 

Fox delivers a highly entertaining and tantalizing story in the Witch of Willow Hall.  Her novel begins with the underlying story of family in disgrace and a family with dark secrets.  There is hidden history that has been kept from those who need to hear it.  Though you might figure it out yourself, it doesn’t matter.  Fox keeps the story hooked into you with plight of sweet Lydia and her efforts to extract herself from the toxic influence of Catherine and become her own person.  The hints of the supernatural are subtle and slowly take their place within the storyline.  Older teens who enjoy escaping into a book will gladly crawl into Lydia’s world.  This is one of those novels that sneaks up on you, grabs you and immerses you within the pages so that you have difficulty just putting it down to get a snack.  Pick it up and enjoy the immersion. 

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

PUB:  Harlequin/Graydon House
PUB DATE:  October 2, 2018
ISBN:  9781525833014

Genre:  Historical Fiction/Supernatural Fiction

The Spellbook of Katrina van Tassel
by Alyssa Palombo

After reading or listening to the timeless tale of the Headless Horseman, has it ever left you wondering what happened to everyone after the storied events? 

Palombo’s telling gives us the female point of view through the eyes of Katrina van Tassel.  Filling in the blanks with details of events leading up to the eventful night and follows through with a story that I enjoyed.  I’m not sure where the spellbook fits in but the expanded story is not rushed and is filled with details of Katrina’s life after that storied night of horror and rumor.  Perhaps the spellbook is the journal where Katrina writes down the tales of the village and her own story with Ichabod.  The love triangle of Ichabod, Brom and Katrina will hook romance readers from the beginning but the after story is what gives this book its meat. Giving us an in-depth look at true friendship and how it can carry you through the worst that life can throw in front of you.  The book will be a popular one with older, mature teens and the New Adult readers.  Though the story of the Headless Horseman is one of America’s oldest horror stories, this one will dig further to reveal the reality and horror of human nature and the strength of family and friends.
#TheSpellbookOfKatrinaVanTassel   #NetGalley

PUB: St. Martin’s Press
PUB DATE:  October 2, 2018
ISBN:  9781250127617

Genre:  Historical Fiction, Mystery

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Read and Gone: A Haunted Library Book
by Allison Brook

Organizing programs for adults is fun and challenging for Carrie Singleton.  Everyone loves sparkling jewels and the presentation by local jeweler, Benton Parr, has an extensive waiting list.  The problems arise when Parr is found murdered in his store and Jim Singleton, Carrie’s wayward father shows up in search of a cache of diamonds that Parr supposedly is holding on to for Jim.  

Brook’s second installment of her Haunted Library series is a feel-good holiday story.  This is a perfect book for a light read during the hectic holiday season that you can immerse yourself into to escape.  Don’t be fooled though.  This is a well plotted mystery but it moves quickly.  Pure guilty pleasure.  #ReadAndGone #NetGalley

I wish to thank the generosity of the publisher and NetGalley for providing the advanced reader’s copy for my honest review.

PUB:  Crooked Lane Books
PUB DATE:  September 21, 2018
ISBN:  9781683317340

Genre:  Cozy Mystery

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Deadly Dram:  A Whiskey Business Mystery
by Melinda Mullett

It’s been a year since Abigail Logan put down roots to help run Abbey Glen distillery.  It’s not easy being a woman in the distilling business but she has earned the respect of the men and the industry.  Now Abbey Glen is participating in a prestigious competition to be held at a high-end Scottish resort.  The first night is filled with good food and better spirits, the liquid kind.  As the next day dawns, one of the judges is discovered dead with a bottle of the Japanese whisky next to him.  Abi finds herself mixed in yet another murder and she discovers she is no longer the only woman working in the distillery industry.

This series continues to strengthen as it goes.  Mullett’s knowledge of distilling and the business of whiskey is extensive.  I don’t care for whisky and her descriptions of the aroma and flavor make me want to go pour a dram.  This cozy series is one of the more serious ones and I continue to tell anyone and everyone about it. #DeadlyDram  #MelindaMullett    #NetGalley

I wish to thank the publisher and NetGalley for generously providing an Advanced Reader’s Copy for my honest review.

PUB:  Random House/Alibi
PUB DATE:  September 4, 2018
ISBN:  9781984817198

Genre:  Cozy Mystery