Books

#NetGalley #BookReview Crime Writer by Dime Sheppard #Mystery #Suspense #RomanticComedy

Crime Writer

by Dime Sheppard

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Crime Writer by Dime Sheppard from Net Galley and Ruby Books in order to read and give an honest review.  

…Quirky, charming, and all-encompassing in “the feels” department, you will laugh, and cry as you take a ride on an emotional and lively rollercoaster ride…  

When I first began reading Crime Writer by Dime Sheppard, I was expecting a mainstream mystery novel, but I was so pleasantly surprised. Brilliantly unique, fun, and completely unexpected, this mixture of mystery, thriller and romantic comedy has such a unique and engaging plot, that although I had my reservations in the first chapter, I was completely hooked minutes later.  

When Crime writer Evie Howland gets a brutal case of writer’s block on the overdue sixteenth book in her bestselling series, her confidence takes a nose-dive. Although introverted her social life has become incredibly busy, especially since she is in the midst of planning her wedding to billionaire Daniel Bradley and she wonders why she is struggling so. Desperate to finish her book Evie tries everything to get her characters NYPD detectives Carolyn Harding and Jay Ryan to speak to her, but maybe she tries a little too hard getting more than she bargained for. This is one of those books that is difficult to give a detailed review without giving away any of those plot gems that are scattered throughout the book. 

Quirky, charming, and all-encompassing in “the feels” department, you will laugh, and cry as you take a ride on an emotional and lively rollercoaster ride of a read. I highly recommend it! 
 
 

Books

#NetGalley #BookReview Bound by Murder (An Antique Bookshop Mystery #3) by Laura Gail Black #CozyMystery #CrookedLaneBooks

Bound By Murder 

An Antique Bookshop Mystery #3 

by Laura Gail Black 

Release date: September 6th, 2022 

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Bound by Murder (An Antique Bookshop Mystery #3) by Laura Gail Black from NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books in order to read and give an honest review.  

… is a cleverly plotted cozy mystery with complex, unique characters some of which you’ll love to hate …  

In Laura Gail Black’s third installment in the Antique Bookshop Mystery, we pick up with Jenna Quinn finally comfortable in Hokes Folly after a traumatic few years. Acquitted of murder and embezzlement charges, she finally has settled into the small town as owner of her uncle’s antiquarian bookstore and is enjoying her new life. With the bookstore doing well, new friends, a cute pup Eddie and wonderful boyfriend Keith, life is close to perfect, and she finally feels at peace. When her ex-fiancé Blake unexpectedly turns up in the store with his new fiancée Missy Plott clinging to him, her perfect peaceful life takes a turn for the worse.

The incredibly cruel and devious Missy enjoys flaunting her relationship in front of Jenna, but Jenna has happily moved on, her feelings for Blake disappeared the same as he had after her false arrest. When Blake corners Jenna a few nights before his wedding he begs her to take him back and he will not take no for an answer.
After witnessing a volatile scene with Blake, Missy, and the wedding party, a love triangle reveals itself and Jenna begins to see that all is not well in paradise. While Jenna and her best friend Rita are taking Eddie for a late-night walk, they discover Missy’s dead body, and no one is safe from being a suspect. Jenna’s relationship is put in jeopardy when boyfriend, police detective Keith Logan insists Blake is the prime suspect in Missy’s murder, but Jenna just doesn’t believe it. When Jenna keeps stumbling across information and her past reputation has inspired a vendetta against her, Jenna must get to the bottom of it before her life is once again turned upside down.

Laura Gail Black’s excellent Antique Bookshop Mystery Series keeps true to form. This is the best book in the series, in my opinion, The author does it again, Bound by Murder is a cleverly plotted cozy mystery with complex, unique characters some of which you’ll love to hate, clever red herrings leading to a very unexpected ending. A wonderful read I would highly recommend, and I am looking forward to reading future books in this series! 

Books

#NetGalley #BookReview Dewey Decimated (The Haunted Library Mysteries #6) by Allison Brook #Cozy #Mystery 

Dewey Decimated

The Haunted Library Mysteries #6

by Allison Brook

Release date: September 6th 2022  

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Dewey Decimated (The Haunted Library Mysteries #6) by Allison Brook from Net Galley and Crooked Lane Books in order to read and give an honest review.  

…a fun, and intriguing, cozy mystery with a quick-witted protagonist, cleverly crafted plot, filled with red herrings, a touch of romance and a quirky cast of fun characters …  

A fan of Allison Brook’s The Haunted Library Mysteries, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to read and review Dewey Decimated, the newest entry in the series. Dewey Decimated picks up slightly after the last book and life is looking good for Carrie Singleton. With the expansion of the Clover Ridge Library finally getting underway, Carrie is still trying to settle into her new life. Life is busy with her new fiancé Dylan, good friends, quirky family, a wonderful position at the library, a recent appointment to town councilor, a cute cat named Smokey Joe and a ghostly library dwelling friend named Evelyn.  

While the construction crew working on the library expansion begins breaking through the wall of the neighboring building, they uncover a body in the basement. No one knows the identity of the victim, but he appears to Carrie and Evelyn in his ghostly form and cannot remember anything. When it is revealed that the victim is Alec, her fiancé’s estranged uncle, Carrie and Evelyn need to find his murderer so that he can move on. Carrie, known as the town’s “Nancy Drew“, gets in the crosshairs of reporter Julie Theron who is looking to launch her career and is desperate to team up with Carrie in order to solve the murder and get the scoop of the century. Trying to juggle her job, solve a murder, evade a pushy reporter, deal with two pestering ghosts and decide on a contentious council issue, Carrie has her hands full. When Sean, a council member, friend, and the library’s contractor is murdered Carrie’s investigation goes on the front burner and once again she puts everything at risk to solve the crimes.  

 If you are looking for a fun, and intriguing, cozy mystery with a quick-witted protagonist, cleverly crafted plot, filled with red herrings, a touch of romance and a quirky cast of fun characters this book is for you.

Books

#NetGalley #BookReview Death at the Manor (Lily Adler Mystery #3) by Katharine Schellman #Historical #regency #Mystery 

Review 

Death at the Manor

(Lily Adler Mystery #3) 

by  

Katharine Schellman  

Release date: August 9th, 2022

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Death at the Manor (Lily Adler Mystery #3) by Katharine Schellman from Net Galley and Crooked Lane Books in order to read and give an honest review. 

… well-written, clever, and classically crafted locked room mystery keeps this book engaging leading to an ending that caught me by surprise (which is hard to do) … 

The third entry into this mystery series begins with widow Lily Adler bidding bon voyage (albeit perhaps temporarily) to her dead husband’s best friend and her mystery solving partner Captain Jack Hartley as he takes leave aboard a ship. In his absence, Lily decides along with her newlywed friends Lord Edward (Ned) and Lady Ofelia Carroway to get away for a nice peaceful visit with her aunt Eliza and her partner Susan in Hampshire.  

While visiting, rumors circulate about a ghost referred to as the Grey Lady who has driven out the staff of Belleford Manor and tormented the Wright family. When a friend of the Wrights widower Matthew Spencer entices them to see the ghost for themselves, they all go for a visit. Upon meeting the quirky Wright family, it is evident that not all is as it seems and they appear to thrive on the reputation of the manor, getting the fame and notoriety that they seem to seek. The group gets more than they bargain for when the matriarch of the family is found dead in her bed behind a locked door. While the family is insisting that Grey Lady is the spectral culprit, Lily and her party know differently. With the bizarre and questionable behavior of both the family and staff Lily has her work cut out for her. Lily and her friends go on a mission to find the true culprit before they strike again.  
 

A well-written, clever, and classically crafted locked room mystery keeps this book engaging leading to an ending that caught me by surprise (which is hard to do). Having read and reviewed the previous two books: The Body in the Garden and Silence in the Library, this felt quite different to me, it lacked the quick-witted banter between Jack and Lily which made the books uniquely fun. Although good as a standalone, as a dedicated reader of the series it was disappointing and felt very removed from the author’s usual style. In my opinion, it feels like this is perhaps a book laying the groundwork for a spin-off series of some sort. I love the series in general and hope the next book gets back its mysterious yet fun feel.  

Books, Information

#NetGalley #BookReview the Dark Circle by Robert J. Mrazek (Jake Cantrell #2) #Mystery #Suspense #CrookedLaneBooks

The Dark Circle

Jake Cantrell #2

by Robert J. Mrazek

Release date: August 9th, 2022  

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Dark Circle by Robert J. Mrazek (Jake Cantrell #2) from Net Galley and Crooked Lane Books in order to read and give an honest review.  

…an extremely fast-paced, well-written and intriguing mystery/thriller, the Dark Circle takes the reader on a nerve-wracking adventure…  

When ex-Army Ranger Jake Cantrell is fired from his security job at a local campus, he wonders how he is going to make ends meet. When Lauren Kennsiton, the editor of the Groton Journal comes to him for help finding missing college student Deborah Chapman, Jake signs up. When Deborah is found in bad shape the investigation leads to a mysterious opioid that is making a deadly appearance and when it appears there are more missing women, it puts them on a path that leads to sex trafficking, drugs, police corruption, conspiracies, and the inner sanctum of a deadly order. The investigation takes them behind the scenes with powerful players who will do anything to silence the truth.   

An extremely fast-paced, well-written and intriguing mystery/thriller, the Dark Circle takes the reader on a nerve-wracking adventure. I did not realize it is the second book in a series but honestly it works incredibly well as a standalone and I will go back and read book one.  

Overall, I enjoyed the book but a warning…it was very violent, for my taste anyway, but reading is subjective, and the mystery and romance plotline were well done, and I could not help but to keep reading. It does have triggers such a sexual assault, sex trafficking, drug use and extreme violence.  

Books, Information

#NetGalley #BookReview of Making It Write by Betty Hechtman #CozyMystery

Making It Write

by Betty Hechtman

 

 

Release date: August 2nd, 2022

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Making It Write by Betty Hechtman from Net Galley and Severn House Publishers in order to read and give an honest review.

…a good cozy mystery with a uniquely intriguing plot and quirky cast of characters which made it a fun fast-paced cozy…

When “writer for hire” Veronica Blackstone discovers the body of Maeve, a woman she was hired by to write a memoir of sorts although it looks like an accident, certain clues make the death look suspicious. Armed with a really rough and incomplete draft from Maeve, Veronica is instructed by the publisher that she is to honor the contract and finish the memoir based on the materials she received from Maeve. Thing is, Maeve wanted to save the ending for last, keeping it a secret until Veronica was ready to write it. The memoir is about life with her husband Michael Angel, a famous artist who has received sudden acclaim and all the trappings that come with it. With an upcoming documentary, celebrity status and an award ceremony around the corner Michael and his daughter are desperate to put a stop to the memoir but to what lengths will they go to make sure it does not see the light of day. The more she delves into finishing the memoir, the more Veronica learns about Maeve’s life and what might have led to her demise.

Having read the previous books in the series, “Making it Write” was a fun, action filled entry although perhaps not my favorite. We see the return of a unique and quirky cast of characters including a crazy client, her writing group, Ben, her best friend, Tizzy and Tizzy’s husband Theo. I was not crazy about the storyline with Ben and their rocky romance, but I really enjoyed reading more about Tizzy and Theo this time around it gave the story a three musketeers’ feel. It also feels that this time there was quite a bit of repetition when describing “cliches” and her tea and crochet ritual, I feel they were brought up too often and really did not add to the story, once, maybe twice would have been suffice.

Overall, it was a good cozy mystery with a uniquely intriguing plot and quirky cast of characters which made it a fun fast-paced cozy that I highly recommend.

Books

#NetGalley #BookReview of A Poisonous Page (Sweet Fiction Bookshop #2) by Kitt Crowe #CozyMystery #CrookedLaneBooks

A Poisonous Page

Sweet Fiction Bookshop #2

by Kitt Crowe

Release date: July 12th, 2022  

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of A Poisonous Page (Sweet Fiction Bookshop # 2) by Kitt Crowe from NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books in order to read and give an honest review.  

…an intriguing, fun, cozy mystery replete with a cleverly crafted complex plot, an abundance of red herrings…  

In A Poisonous Page, the second entry in the Sweet Fiction Bookshop mystery   we pick up with Lexi after recovering from the events of Book One, Digging Up Trouble.  

Lexi, the manager of the Sweet Fiction Bookshop, gave up a prestigious editing job in Seattle for her hometown of Confection Oregon. Although she had a successful career in the big city, she missed her small hometown, her family and her best friends Teri, Teri’s brother Dash and Cat. Since her return Lexi has managed to reconnect, train her wayward pup Cookie, and has earned quite a bit of fame after her and her book club aka ‘the Macaroons’ solved a murder months earlier. Recovered and a little bored Lexi is craving excitement and when Marilyn Freeman a prominent middle aged real estate agent dies unexpectedly Lexi is curious. When the autopsy rules the victim died of natural causes, Lexi is not convinced but she cannot get anyone to agree with her especially not “Iceberg” or Detective Berg who has become her nemesis. After Marylin’s co-worker Rachel is found murdered in the back yard of Dash’s home, and all evidence points to him, he is arrested, and Lexi realizes it is up to her and the Macaroons to get to the bottom of things.  

 If you are looking for an intriguing, fun, cozy mystery with a cleverly crafted complex plot, an abundance of red herrings, a touch of romance and a quirky cast of fun characters this is for you. Although I felt the first book dragged a bit, the author made up for it in her second outing in the series, I highly recommend.  

Books, Information

#NetGalley #BookReview A Rip Through Time by Kelley Armstrong #Mystery #Historical #TimeTravel

A Rip Through Time

by Kelley Armstrong

Release date: May 31st, 2022  

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of A Rip Through Time by Kelley Armstrong from NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press /Minotaur Books in order to read and give an honest review.  

Intriguing, well-written and filled with an incredible cast of captivating characters….

Being a fan of Kelley Armstrong I was thrilled to be given the honour of reading and reviewing the debut of her newest series, A Rip Through Time, and I definitely was not disappointed.  

 In 2019 Canadian police detective, Mallory Atkinson, is in Scotland to be at the beside of her dying grandmother. While going for a jog she hears a woman’s cries coming from an alley and is shocked to see a faint image of a woman with blond hair in a blue dress. While she runs to assist the woman, she is attacked and strangled to the point of unconsciousness, when she awakens, she finds herself in the body of Catriona Mitchell a housemaid in 1869 Edinburgh.  

While recuperating in her employer Mr. Duncan Gray, an undertaker and medical examiner’s home where he resides with his sister Isla and other staff, begins to learn that Catriona is not well liked, has a felonious past and has betrayed everyone she has crossed paths with.  

As Mallory tries to navigate her new life as an amnesic Catriona claiming that she has been given a second chance after her brush with death and desperately tries earning the trust from her boss and co-workers. When Dr. Gray loses his assistant, Catriona begins to impress her boss with her understanding of forensics, especially since the real Catriona was illiterate before her attack. When two more people are murdered and there is another attempt on Catriona’s life, the hunt is on to capture the killer before the body count goes up.  

 Intriguing, well-written and filled with an incredible cast of captivating characters, A Rip Through Time is a page-turning historical mystery with a supernatural touch that I highly recommend. I am looking forward to reading more in this new and exciting series. 

Books

#NetGalley #BookReview of In the Garden of Spite: A Novel of the Black Widow of La Porte by Camilla Bruce #HistoricalFiction #Mystery #TrueCrime

In the Garden of Spite

A Novel of the Black Widow of La Porte

by Camilla Bruce

 

 

Release date: January 19th, 2021

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of In the Garden of Spite:A Novel of the Black Widow of La Porte by Camilla Bruce from NetGalley & Berkley Publishing Group in order to read and give an honest review.

… the author does an excellent job at getting inside the mind of this infamous serial killer…

This will be a challenging book for me to review I’m giving it a 3.5 but rounding it up to 4 stars. Part of me loved this book, but part of me, well…

For the positives, Camilla Bruce does such a fantastic job fictionalizing the story of a real-life serial killer Little Brynhild / Bella Sorenson / Gunnes aka “The Black Widow of La Porte”. Well-written for the most part, the author does an excellent job at getting inside the mind of this infamous serial killer. Bruce’s characters were brilliantly brought to life, perhaps in the case of Bella, a little too well. On the negative side, although I do not shy away from dark books this was even a bit much for me. Warning for those faint of heart, this novel contains graphic violence, murder, dismemberment, sex, arson, child abuse and infanticide. I also found at times it was slow and repetitive which made it a struggle to get into.

The novel follows Little Brynhild/Bella through her young teenage years and into her middle age. We learn about a heartbreaking ordeal she experiences as a young teenager in Norway that leaves wounds that fester driving her to inflict damage onto all those who get close to her. The disconnect she feels towards her family and a rage that she cannot contain, drives Little Brynhild to leave the misery of Norway to join her sister Nellie in America. In America she takes the name Bella Sorenson and is disappointed in her first experience. Bella longs to make a happy and successful life for herself, constantly seeking acceptance from those in her adopted community. Having struggled for respect in Norway she knows what she wants and what she must do to reach the status she desires for her future. Bella is determined to be the perfect self-made, powerful woman and will go to any length, taking matters into her own hands in order to get what she feels she is due.

Being a fairly famous news story, many people who follow true crime are aware of this famous female serial killer, but the author manages to get inside this monster’s head offering the reader a glimpse of what could have driven this woman to such destruction.

It is a well-written engaging fictional interpretation of the workings of this woman’s mind, but it was a little too graphic for my taste, nevertheless an intriguing read.

 

Books

#NetGalley #BookReview of Portrait of Peril (#AVictorianMystery No.5) by Laura Joh Rowland #Historical #Mystery

Portrait of Peril

A Victorian Mystery #5

by Laura Joh Rowland

 

Release date: January 12th, 2021

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Portrait of Peril, A Victorian Mystery Book No. 5 by Laura Joh Rowland from NetGalley & Crooked Lane Books in order to read and give an honest review.

…an entertaining fun read I would highly recommend…

I love Rowland’s Victorian Mystery series, each are fast-paced, suspenseful whodunits set in Victorian England, and I have been fortunate enough to read and review all of the books in this series. Although I found this book very entertaining, I didn’t enjoy it quite as much as the previous books in this series.  

In this story, we join Crime Scene Photographer Sarah Bain and her new husband Detective Sergeant Thomas Barrett getting ready to start their lives together as a married couple. They face some expected challenges, Sarah and her new Mother in-law are at odds, they are trying to traverse living together for the first time but when Sarah’s mentor is found dead at the church on the day it’s hosting their wedding it might just end their marriage before it begins. The victim Charles Firth helped Sarah when she was just starting out. In the years since he’s become a fairly well-known spirit photographer with a healthy book publishing contract but not without his critics. Firth is known for his portraits of ghosts and spirits of the dearly departed, often swindling the deceased’s loved ones. When a second murder occurs and her dear friend and colleague Mick is arrested for the crime, Sarah, Barrett, and her half-sister Sally, are compelled to find how who the real murderer is and clear his name.  

The usual cast of characters are present…. for the most part. Hugh, Sarah and Mick’s friend and colleague is taking his break-up from Tristan very poorly, becoming self-destructive with bouts of disappearing, leaving everyone to worry in an already challenging time. Sarah and Sally are also trying to clear their fugitive father’s name but not without their nemesis Inspector Reid watching their every move and waiting to pounce.  

Although I found this one a bit slow to start and I really didn’t find Hugh’s story line appealing I really enjoyed the twists, turns which this series is well known forThe book is an entertaining fun read I would highly recommend. It would work as a stand-alone however I really recommend reading the books in order.