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#NetGalley #BookReview the Medici Murders (The Venetian Murders #1) by David Hewson #Historical #Mystery 

REVIEW

The Medici Murders

THE VENETIAN MYSTERY SERIES #1

by David Hewson

Release date: October 4th, 2022

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Medici Murders, The Venetian Murders #1 by David Hewson from NetGalley and Severn House in order to read and give an honest review.

” … Hewson’s writing is brilliant, his descriptions of Venice are rich and atmospheric, his prose beautiful, his cast of characters authentic, it has an intelligent complex plot that seamlessly blends historical fiction and fact …”

Recently widowed and retired archivist Arnold Clover keeps his recently deceased wife’s wishes to move to Venice. When his friend Luca entices him to assist with a freelance job for famed television historian Marmaduke Godolphin (Duke) his leisurely retirement becomes more than he bargained for. Arnold remembers Godolphin who once a renowned academic of his alma mater traded his ethics for the spotlight. Brash and Duke and his entourage, also known as the Gilded Circle from back in the day descend on Venice to solve of a historical mystery that Duke hopes will reinvigorate his fledging career. A mysterious benefactor has bequeathed documents that contain the secret, but nothing is as it seems. The Gilded circle consists of some of Arnold’s former classmates making it a reunion of sorts.
When the body of Godolphin is found floating in a Venice canal, the retired archivist is asked to assist the Carabinieri to offer a concise view of what happened. At the police station Capitano Valentina Fabbri questions Arnold for hours using his version as the truth to measure against the multiple suspects. The story unfolds as Arnold tells his version of events to Capitano Fabbri.

This book is somewhat difficult to review, there was so much to love about this book. Hewson’s writing is brilliant, his descriptions of Venice are rich and atmospheric, his prose beautiful, his cast of characters authentic, it has an intelligent complex plot that seamlessly blends historical fiction and fact. My one complaint is that it was marred by almost too much historical detail that could have been toned down a bit. You can tell the author is passionate about history and the book is thoroughly researched but I almost abandoned it in the beginning as it moved too slowly for me, but I am glad I did not it turned out to be an intriguing mystery with a twist at the end that makes it worth the read. I will definitely read any further books in the series, and I recommend it to lovers of classic whodunits with a historical bend.

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#NetGalley #BookReview of Fatal Rounds by Carrie Rubin #Thriller #Medical #Psychological

Review

Fatal Rounds

by Carrie Rubin

Release date: September 20, 2022

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Fatal Rounds by Carrie Rubin from NetGalley and Indigo Dot Press in order to read and give an honest review.

…Well-written, cleverly plotted with interesting and multifaceted characters, author Carrie Rubin gives you a brilliantly executed, clever, page-turning psychological medical thriller…

Being a fan of Carrie Rubin’s Dr. Benjamin Oris series I was thrilled to get to read and review the first of her new series, Fatal Rounds.

When first year medical student Liza Larkin embarks on her journey to be a pathologist, she has her reasons. Diagnosed with a schizoid personality and having her schizophrenic mother in an institution, Liza is determined not to be defined by the label. Liza also has another motive, while putting together a photo album together for her mother she sees a stranger hovering in several of her photos. Two pictures, one at her father’s funeral and another at her graduation, convince her that her family is being stalked, making her determined to get some answers. When she figures out who the stranger is she changes her residency to Titus McCall hospital where the famed trauma surgeon Sam Donavan works and thus the stalker becomes the stalked. Preferring her introverted life with a close-knit circle, Liza struggles to bond with her colleagues but she has a mission, and she will do what she can to get answers. When she starts uncovering secrets about Sam, secrets that point to her father’s death Liza is drawn into a cat and mouse game that pushes her both physically and mentally to the edge. Well-written, cleverly plotted with interesting and multifaceted characters, author Carrie Rubin gives you a brilliantly executed, clever, page-turning psychological medical thriller. I cannot wait to read the next in the series. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would highly recommend it!

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.

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#NetGalley #BookReview ~ Beautiful Writers: A Journey of Big Dreams and Messy Manuscripts–with Tricks of the Trade from Bestselling Authors by Linda Sivertsen #Writing #Inspiration

Review

Beautiful Writers

A Journey of Big Dreams and Messy Manuscripts–with Tricks of the Trade from Bestselling Authors

by Linda Sivertsen

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Beautiful Writers: A Journey of Big Dreams and Messy Manuscripts–with Tricks of the Trade from Bestselling Authors by Linda Sivertsen from Net Galley and Ben Bella Books in order to read and give an honest review.

… I loved this book, I found it insightful, interesting, and engaging, and would highly recommend it to both novice and experienced writers…

Unique and brilliant, Beautiful Writers is not just any other book on writing. The author intertwines her thoughts into a brilliant and diverse collection of vignettes from authors including Elizabeth Gilbert, Ann Patchett, Terry McMillan, Lee Child, and Danielle LaPorte just to name a few. Every author generously shares their lives, and challenges alongside the reader on their journey. This book is such a wonderful blend, part memoir, part guide on the writing life. Each author shares an intimate and often humorous look into the good, the bad and the ugly sides of “the writing life” and offers sound advice and wisdom that is vulnerable, honest, and yet truly inspirational.
This is a wonderful read for anyone looking for inspiration and advice. I loved this book, I found it insightful, interesting, and engaging, and would highly recommend it to both novice and experienced writers alike.

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.  

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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.