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#NetGalley #BookReview Outside by Ragnar Jonasson #Mystery #CrimeFiction #NordicNoir

Outside

by Ragnar Jonasson

Release date: June 28th, 2022  

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(3.5 rounded up)


I received a complimentary ARC copy of Outside by Ragnar Jonasson from Net Galley and St. Martin’s Press /Minotaur Books in order to read and give an honest review.  

the author takes you on a clever psychological journey.

A reunion of four old friends turns deadly in this entry from one of Nordic Noir’s most popular authors Ragnar Jónasson.  

While on a ptarmigan hunting trip in Iceland’s Eastern Highlands organized by former bad boy turned successful wilderness guide Armann. When Armann, his friends Daniel, Gunnlauger and Helena are caught in a brutal whiteout their lives turn upside down. In order to survive they break into a shelter to ride out the storm but are met with a menacing surprise. Told from four points of view it becomes apparent that there is more to this trip than meets the eye, murder, mayhem, and betrayal keep the reader on the edge of their seat. The cold desolate setting also adds an interesting twist to the emotional state of the characters.  The characters are dynamic, well-written and realistic, however in my opinion not really likeable. Although the author takes you on a clever psychological journey my major disappointment is the build to a very flat, unfinished, unsatisfying ending.  

Although I enjoyed the book for the most part but felt dissatisfied, I probably will read more from Ragnar Jonasson. 

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#NetGalley #BookReview A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons (A Saffron Everleigh Mystery) by Kate Khavari #Historical #Mystery #CrookedLaneBooks

A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons

A Saffron Everleigh Mystery#1

Kate Khavari

Release date: June 7th, 2022  

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons (A Saffron Everleigh Mystery #1) by Kate Khavari from Net Galley and Crooked Lane Books in order to read and give an honest review.  

… atmospheric and filled with thrills, humor, romance and an intriguing plot A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons is a brilliant historical mystery with a cozy quality to it. …  

Set in 1923, we are introduced to the very spirited Saffron Everleigh, the first female research assistant in the Botany Department of the University College of London. As with most females in a traditionally male field, she endures the usual academic “old boys club” attitude amongst her colleagues. Her late famous botanist father leaves her a huge legacy to live up to. As assistant to her mentor Botanist Dr. Maxwell, Saffron is determined to make her mark and earn the respect of her peers.

While attending a formal dinner to launch an expedition to the Amazon, we are introduced to the quirky cast of characters including the dapper biology researcher Alexander Ashton. Overhearing conversations between various attendees, Saffron learns of scandals that are brewing below the surface of the stodgy academic world. During a toast when Mrs. Henry, the wife of Dr. Henry the expedition leader is poisoned, and Dr. Maxwell is arrested, Saffron and Alexander work together to figure out who was behind the poisoning and why.

Atmospheric and filled with thrills, humor, romance and an intriguing plot, A Botanist’s Guide to Parties and Poisons is a brilliant historical mystery with a cozy quality to it. I love Saffron, a brilliant, quirky, and brave woman, she is definitely a character to admire. Although it tends to drag a bit in the middle it more than makes up for it with a chilling climax. I cannot wait to read more about Saffron’s adventures! I highly recommend it.

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#NetGalley #BookReview The Woman in the Library A Novel by Sulari Gentill #Mystery

Review

The Woman in the Library

A Novel

by

Sulari Gentill

Release date: June 7th, 2022

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill from Net Galley and Poisoned Pen Press in order to read and give an honest review.

…A cleverly crafted, interesting, unique, and unexpected whodunit that keeps the reader flipping pages to a surprising and satisfying ending…

A story within a story, this cleverly crafted, intelligent, and unconventional novel features two main plotlines. The main plotline is the inside story written by the protagonist, Australian author Hannah Tigone and in the form of draft chapters shared with a beta reader. Hannah’s novel focuses on a murder in the reading room of the Boston Public Library and a friendship that forms after four strangers bond over hearing the dead woman’s screams. Hannah’s story focuses on twenty-seven-year-old aspiring author Winifred Kincaid a native Australian on a scholarship to the states who is inspired by the events that occurred at the library and her three new friends. As she studies her three friends “Freud Girl,” Marigold Anastas, a twenty-three-year-old psychology student with tattoos and a nose ring, “Heroic Chin” aka Whit Metters Harvard law student and son of a famous lawyer and “Handsome Man” Cain McLeod a well-known best-selling author. As Winifred begins drafting her novel and her friendships begin to blossom, the murder investigation begins to focus on one of her new friends. When another murder connects to one of the four the hunt is on to find the culprit before an innocent person is accused.

The second plotline focuses on one-sided correspondence between “Leo” and Hannah. Leo is thrilled when the author uses his name as a character in her novel. At first the correspondence is no more than constructive criticism from a fan and “beta reader” but evolves into something deranged as the outraged, racist fan disagrees with the direction the author has taken. These letters pepper each chapter and end up connecting to Hannah’s story in ways no one could have foreseen.

A cleverly crafted, interesting, unique, and unexpected whodunit that keeps the reader flipping pages to a surprising and satisfying ending. A read that I highly recommend.

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#NetGalley #BookReview A Fatal Booking (A Booklover’s B&B Mystery #3) by Victoria Gilbert #Cozy #Mystery

A Fatal Booking

A Booklover’s B&B Mystery #3

Victoria Gilbert 

Release date: June 7th, 2022  

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of A Fatal Booking (A Booklover’s B&B Mystery #3) by Victoria Gilbert from NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books in order to read and give an honest review.  

… a fast-paced mystery, replete with an abundance of twists and turns, quirky characters. …  

In this third entry in the Book lover’s B & B mystery series, Charlotte, the owner, and operator of the inherited Chapters B&B in North Carolina is hosting an old friend’s book club retreat featuring fairy tales and classic children’s literature. What should have been a fun time turns tragic when one of the members is murdered. Long held grudges and the questionable business practices of the victim provides an abundance of suspects. True to form Charlotte and her neighbor Ellen, a former spy both decide to offer the police some inside help since the suspects are asked to stay in town, most harboring at Chapters. When Charlotte’s attic is broken into it becomes obvious that there is more to the story, more that connects the history of Chapters throwing Charlotte and her friend into the path of a killer. Gavin makes a reappearance in this entry and the three endure a nail-biting adventure. 

I enjoy the series, each book is better than the previous, however, this entry felt like a finale of sorts which I truly hope is not the case. A Fatal Booking is a fast-paced mystery, replete with an abundance of twists and turns, quirky characters. It is a fantastic and fun cozy mystery read which I definitely recommend.  

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#NetGalley #Book #Review Peril at Pennington Manor (Avery Ayers Antique Mystery series #2) by Tracy Gardner #Cozy #Mystery

Review

Peril at Pennington Manor

Peril at Pennington Manor

Avery Ayers Antique Mystery series #2

by Tracy Gardner

Release date: June 7th, 2022

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Peril at Pennington Manor (Avery Ayers Antique Mystery series #2) by Tracy Gardner from Net Galley and Crooked Lane Books in order to read and give an honest review.
…Murder, mayhem, antiquities, and quirky characters make up this fast paced and fun cozy…
Author Tracy Gardner does it again with her second entry in Avery Ayers Antique Mystery series. Peril at Pennington Manor was another fast-paced fun cozy mystery filled with family drama, murder, and stolen antiquities. Having read and reviewed the first in the series, Ruby Red Herring, this entry did not disappoint. Protagonist Avery Ayres works at her family’s business, Ayers Antiquities and Artifacts Appraisers. Aunt Midge asked Avery and her father to do an appraisal for her dear friend Duke Nicholas, who is ready to put his estate Pennington Manor up for sale. As he gives Avery and her father, William, a tour of the manor, they discover that some of the artifacts have been replaced by fakes and a rare antique pocket watch has been stolen. When the manor’s housekeeper, Suzanne Vicks, is pushed off the roof and falls to her death. Avery believes the thefts and the murder are connected and former flame and police detective Art Smith joins the appraisal team in an undercover capacity, to keep his eyes open while the team works through the manor room by room. When another murder happens at the manor the hunt is on but not before a blackout makes the situation more perilous, leaving both Avery and Art fighting for their lives. Murder, mayhem, antiquities, and quirky characters make up this fast paced and fun cozy. Tracy Gardener has once again crafted a clever fast-paced mystery that is intriguing, highly entertaining and I can’t wait to read more in this series.
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#NetGalley #BookReview Death by Beach Read (Lighthouse Library Mystery # 9) by Eva Gates #Cozy #Mystery #CrookedLaneBooks

Death by Beach Read 

Lighthouse Library Mystery # 9

Eva Gates 

Release date: June 7th, 2022  

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(4.5 Rounded up)


I received a complimentary ARC copy of Death by Beach Read (Lighthouse Library Mystery # 9) by Eva Gates from NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books in order to read and give an honest review.  

… a fun, intriguing, cozy mystery replete with a cleverly crafted plot, great atmosphere as well as a brilliant and quirky cast of characters…  

A fan of The Lighthouse Library Mysteries, this ninth entry, Death by Beach Read was another wonderful addition to the series.

We open with Lucy and Connor settling into their new home and in the process of planning their wedding, life for them is good although so much work is still to be done. Since their home had stood abandoned for years and with the legend that had surrounded scaring people away, the house had fallen into a neglected state. When Connor is on a business trip and Lucy is woken up in the middle of the night by Charles the cat alerting her to the sound of footsteps in the house, a whirlwind of events begins. From a ghostly legend, family secrets, the return of a troublesome character and a body in their kitchen, Lucy is on the case trying to put the pieces together in order to preserve her sanity…and her life.

This was a fun, intriguing, cozy mystery replete with a cleverly crafted plot, great atmosphere as well as a brilliant and quirky cast of characters. Although I miss Lucy living in the lighthouse, I feel the character is growing along with the changes, making the series feel fresh, in my opinion. My one criticism and not to give spoilers, it felt there were loose ends that were not really addressed which left the reader hanging just a bit. Overall, I love this series and I thoroughly enjoyed Death by Beach Read, I would highly recommend it!

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#NetGalley #BookReview The Secret of Karabakh by Fidan Bagirova #Thriller #LiteraryFiction #History

The Secret of Karabakh

by Fidan Bagirova

Release date: April 14th, 2022  

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Secret of Karabakh by Fidan Bagirova from Net GalleyLume Books in order to read and give an honest review.  

a brilliantly intricate blend of mystery, thriller and historical fiction that takes you on a journey

Alana Fulton, has it all, the only child of a self-made, jet-setting, wealthy couple, she is a well-respected student finishing her PhD in Archaeology at the illustrious Cambridge University and is in a relationship with a movie star…she is living the Dream. Her reality is shifted when out of the blue she is chased by a strange man, her dorm room is viciously ransacked, and it becomes clear she was the intended target of a terrorist attack at her dorm. During the investigation it becomes clear that both her and her movie star boyfriend are prime suspects in the case. After a mysterious encounter with a hooded figure a note is pressed in her hand that reads…

“You are not who you think you are.

Your future is not what you think it will be.

You are in danger…”

When the accumulated events become surreal, and fractured memories begin to surface, Alana’s dream life begins to become a nightmare. Alana becomes driven to stay alive and protect those she loves while unravelling the mystery of who she really is.

The Secret of Karabakh by Fidan Bagirova is a brilliantly intricate blend of mystery, thriller and historical fiction that takes you on a journey from London, to Cambridge, to Switzerland and finally to Azerbaijan. Rich with detail the author seamlessly blends the challenging history and rich culture of Azerbaijan with the page-turning plot keeps the reader reading into the wee hours of the morning. Filled with multifaceted, authentic characters including a refreshingly portrayed female protagonist who is intelligent, driven, strong and resilient. All in all, this book was a wonderfully original and engaging read, that I highly recommend.

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#NetGalley #BookReview The Burning Pages (Scottish Bookshop Mystery #7) by Paige Shelton #Cozy #Mystery

The Burning Pages

(Scottish Bookshop Mystery #7)

by Paige Shelton

Release date: April 5th, 2022  

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Burning Pages (Scottish Bookshop Mystery #7) by Paige Shelton from Net Galley and St. Martin’s Press /Minotaur Books in order to read and give an honest review.  

Filled with intrigue, red herrings and incredible characters, The Burning Pages is a classic cozy that will keep you guessing in the end...

I am a fan of Paige Shelton, I have read her Dangerous Type, Alaska Wild and this, the Scottish Bookstore Series, and to be honest she has never disappointed me. The Burning Pages, the seventh book in the Scottish Bookshop Mystery is no exception, it is definitely one of my favorites in the series to date.

When Protagonist Delaney Nichols, a bookseller at the Cracked Spine Bookshop, is invited to attend a Burns night dinner held annually in honour of poet Robert Burns. Not a fan herself, Delaney asks her co-worker and Burns fan Hamlet to join her. Hosted at the “Burns House” by a close-knit trio of Burns devotees. Delaney suspects ulterior motives at play when she gets the feeling there is more than meets the eye with her hosts. Hamlet begins to act strange when meeting Neil, one of the members, although according to appearances the two had never met. It soon becomes clear that Delaney had been conned into attending the dinner in a misguided attempt to repair a long-held feud between Malcolm, one of the members. and her boss Edwin. Malcolm has been accusing Edwin of burning down his bookshop for twenty years. Once upon a time Malcolm and Edwin had been best mates, however when an argument between the two had been followed by a deliberately set fire that destroyed Malcolm’s livelihood, the suspicious fire sealed a grudge. Malcolm carried that grudge for years to the point of Edwin needing a restraining order against him. A disgusted Delaney and Hamlet leave the dinner, and later learn that the Burns House had been deliberately burned down and Neil’s body had been found. When the police confirm it was foul play and a witness gives a description of the perpetrator, Hamlet becomes prime suspect, and Delaney is determined to clear his name but in doing so learns more than she bargained for about Hamlet’s past. The further Delaney digs the more she catches the killer’s attention evident in the fact that fires seem to follow Delaney as she follows the clues. 

Filled with intrigue, red herrings and incredible characters, The Burning Pages is a classic cozy that will keep you guessing in the end. I loved the inclusion of Wyatt, Delaney’s brother in this installment, he adds the “Big Lug” component to the cast of characters. This was a wonderfully enjoyable installment in the series, and I cannot wait to read more of Delaney’s adventures. I highly recommend.

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#NetGalley #BookReview The Art of the Decoy (Scandal Mountain Antiques #1) by Trish Esden

The Art of the Decoy

Scandal Mountain Antiques #1

by Trish Esden

Release date: April 5th, 2022  

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Art of the Decoy (Scandal Mountain Antiques #1) by Trish Esden from NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books in order to read and give an honest review.  

A brilliant series debut! The Art of Decoy is a fun read with a clever, intriguing, suspenseful plot, as well as a cast of quirky interesting and dynamic characters, which made this an entertaining read

When art and antiquities appraiser Edie Brown returns to her hometown of Scandal Mountain in Northern Vermont to help her uncle with the family business while her mother is imprisoned for art forgery. Her mother’s incarceration further tarnishing the family name after Edie had been caught up in an illegal deal as a juvie. Edie recovered having had her record expunged but not before the damage was done to her and her family’s reputation. She left behind her family, Shane, her old parole officer and old flame opting to leave town and branch out on her own. She went to school and landed a position at the prestigious Christie’s Auction house. 

Once back in Scandal Mountain she does not plan to stay too long, just long enough to salvage what is left of the family business. Joining her Uncle Tuck along with an intern appraiser/computer expert Kala they try to get the family’s Antique shop back on its feet. While at an event, Edie is approached by recent divorcee, Nina, with a folk-art waterfowl decoy that belongs to her father-in-law Claude who she and her daughter are currently living with. Edie recognizes the decoy as being a piece of work from a famous Quebec folk artist whose works are displayed in Canadian Museums. Edie sees a huge opportunity to earn some cash when Nina asks her to evaluate her father-in-law’s enormous collection. After a series of suspicious circumstances leads to the collection mysteriously vanishing, it looks like the past will come back to haunt Edie. When Nina points the finger at Edie, she gives her the ultimatum to find the collection in five days or she will go to the police and Edie and her mother could be cellmates. While tracking down the stolen collection Edie gets more than she bargained for, connections to murder, a museum robbery and vengeance put Edie deeper than she expected and under the microscope of the FBI Art Crime Team. As they collect more and more clues Kala uncovers disturbing news on the Darknet that makes Edie doubt all that she knows.  
 A brilliant series debut! The Art of Decoy is a fun read with a clever, intriguing, suspenseful plot, as well as a cast of quirky interesting and dynamic characters, which made this an entertaining read. Another perk is it acts as a great primer into the world of appraising antiquities. Overall, I enjoyed the book, I did feel it dragged a bit in parts, but the author more than makes up for it with a suspenseful and satisfying conclusion. I cannot wait to read more in this series, I highly recommend it.  

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#NetGalley #BookReview Long Overdue at the Lakeside Library (Lakeside Library Mystery #2) by Holly Danvers #Cozy #Mystery #CrookedLaneBooks

Long Overdue at the Lakeside Library 

Lakeside Library Mystery #2

by Holly Danvers 

Release date: February 8th, 2022  

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(3.5 Rounded up)


I received a complimentary ARC copy of Long Overdue at the Lakeside Library (Lakeside Library Mystery #2) by Holly Danvers from NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books in order to read and give an honest review.  

… overall, a fun cozy mystery featuring a good plot and touch of romance. Having read the first book, I enjoy the way this series is developing…  

In the second book in the series, Rain Wilmot has settled into her new life back in Lofty Pines Wisconsin and finally feels at home. In book one she moves there after the death of her husband and reconnects with the friends she grew up with. Back in the swing of things with her best friends, Julia, Nick and Jace by her side, life seems almost perfect. The family’s log cabin library has opened for the winter for the first time and the community couldn’t be happier. Winters in Lofty Pines can be dark, stormy, and dismal so reading materials are at a premium, especially since there are no other libraries in the area. When a patron Wallace Benson comes in for some cookbooks hoping to win the chili cook-off at the annual ice-fishing tournament, Rain comes to his rescue. The next morning tensions flare when Wallace gets to the lake early and steals Rain’s friend Nick’s prized fishing spot. A few hours in when Wallace’s body is found in his shanty, his distraught wife begins calling Nick a murderer. Things deteriorate when a knife believed to be the weapon is found in Nick’s tackle box and he is arrested for the murder. With Julia’s police officer brother Jace removed from the case, Rain and Julia decide to take it upon themselves to prove Nick’s innocence. The two of them begin digging where they shouldn’t and when Rain is driven off the road and another victim barely escapes with their life it is up to Rain and Julie to find the culprit before someone else dies.

Overall, a fun cozy mystery featuring a good plot and touch of romance. Having read the first book, I enjoy the way this series is developing. I love the protagonist Rain but if I was being honest Julia isn’t a character, I have warmed up to yet. Julia is somewhat abrasive, and a tad irritating, for reasons I can’t put my finger on, but hopefully as the series progresses, she’ll develop into someone I can tolerate. If you are looking for a quick fun read set in snowy Wisconsin this is a great read for you.