Category Archives: Mystery

Advance Review- Kiss Me At Christmas by Valerie Bowman

Kiss Me At Christmas

Title: Kiss Me At Christmas: Playful Brides (book#10)
Genre: Historical Romance/Regency
Author: Valerie Bowman
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks, October 30, 2018
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Pages: 320
Rating: 4
Sexy Rating: 5
Violence Rating: 5
Christmasy feeling: 4
Description from Amazon.com:

A spirited lady facing spinsterhood. A common man with a noble mission. And a surprise that just might be waiting for them under the mistletoe in Kiss Me At Christmas by Valerie Bowman.
Bow Street Runner Daffin Oakleaf abhors Christmas. Carol singing and holiday cheer only remind him of a dark time. When a close friend calls on him for help, Daffin is happy to capitalize on the distraction. But when he learns the lovely Lady Regina is the one in danger, he’s to become bodyguard to the captivating woman…
Regina has one mission: to find a night of passion in the arms of a gentleman. Considered firmly on the shelf, Regina has given up on marriage—but that doesn’t mean she wants to be denied the pleasure married ladies experience. Daffin has long captured her attention…and when a threat calls him to her side, the sparks between them ignite. But how can a hired bodyguard find his way into Regina’s noble heart?

**
When someone wants to hurt Regina, her cousin the Marquess hires Daffin to protect her. That means that Daffin will be spending the holidays with the Marquess and his family. Not a prospect Daffin relishes but he is fond of his good friend the Marquess. Being together with Regina is another problem since Regina has made untoward advances and Daffin tries to keep his presence on a professional Bow Street basis. But this is an HEA so we know that love will win out, that is if Daffin can find out who wants to hurt Regina.

This is a romance wrapped up in a mystery and actually a better romance than mystery. There was a bit too much coincidence involved with the mystery. It takes place during the December holidays and there is a bit of Christmassy fun. I enjoyed both the Hero and heroine, they were well developed with interesting back stories, especially for Daffin. Side characters have appeared in previous books in this series but this is a standalone novel.

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Recent Release Review- A Lady’s Guide To Passion and Property by Kate Moore

A Lady's Guide to Passion and Property

Title: A Lady’s Guide To Passion and Property
Genre: Historical Romance
Author: Kate Moore
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: Lyrical Press, July 3, 2018
Pages: 239
Rating: 4
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 5
Description from Amazon:

Lucy Holbrook has recently inherited her father’s south London inn, the place she’s always called home. Now her fashionable friends, arming her with The Husband Hunter’s Guide to London, are urging her to sell the establishment and become a society lady, just as her father always hoped. Lucy would rather toss the little book into the hearth—she could never desert the alehouse or its patrons, including an elderly blind man who depends on her care. But she may need every bit of good advice when a handsome stranger arrives with a secret agenda and a baffling crime to solve . . . and Lucy finds herself navigating a most dangerous attraction!
**
If you want to feel like you are actually a part of the Regency era then Kate Moore is your go-to author. Her dialog sets the scenes and feels so authentic. Captain Clare is perfect for Lucy. Lucy is a kind caretaker of Adam. It is only surprising that Lucy’s father didn’t give her more information about Adam and her own history. But then there wouldn’t have been a book with such a page turning mystery and romance.

This is the second book in the series and can standalone but it does make you want to read the first book.

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Review- The Battered Body by Ellery Adams

The Battered Body

Title: The Battered Body (Supper Club Mysteries book #5)
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Author: Ellery Adams
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: Beyond The Page, May 2018
Pages: 328
Rating: 3
Sexy rating: 0
Violence rating: 5
Description from Amazon:

Librarian James Henry and the supper club will have more than enough food for thought trying to count calories and catch a killer . . .

Reluctantly visiting humble Quincy’s Gap to create a special wedding cake, celebrity chef the “Diva of Dough” is not nearly as sweet as her delectable confections, and it’s just a matter of time before she alienates everyone she meets. When her corpse is discovered, covered in cake batter no less, there are more than a few locals who think she got her just desserts. And despite their own distaste for the woman, James and his friends know they have to rise to the occasion and solve the murder.

With clues and suspects few and far between, the supper club members realize that catching the culprit will be anything but a cake walk. And when a second victim turns up dead, they’ll have to quickly discard any half-baked notions about the killer . . . before they all get iced.

**
This is my first book by this author. I really like to read a good whodunit especially in the “Cozy Mystery” genre because although there is usually a murder there is not an abundance of gore. This was book #5 in the series and it did standalone. We do meet characters from previous books and there seems to be an ongoing storyline. At times I did want to know more about characters from previous books so my recommendation is to start this series from book one for a more immersive experience. But you will not be lost if you start with this book.

You will like James and his friends who help local police deputy, Lucy, solve crimes. Lucy is also James’ on-again-off-again girlfriend. The victim had many enemies so figuring out the murderer is some work but saying that, I did wish for an earlier and more detailed introduction to the criminal. I thought the 24 year-old twins who worked at the library were rather immature and I didn’t understand that immaturity. Perhaps that was explained in a previous book.

I recommend this book with some reservations. I think it can be enjoyed more fully if the series is started from the beginning. For me coming in at book #5 it was only just “okay”.

 

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Release Day Review- Wallflower Most Wanted by Manda Collins

Wallflower most wanted

Title: Wallflower Most Wanted: A Studies In Scandal Novel (book #3)
Genre: Historical Romance/Mystery
Author: Manda Collins
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: St. Martins Press
Pages: 320
Rating: 4
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 4
Description from Amazon:

THE PICTURE OF ROMANCE
A dedicated painter, Miss Sophia Hastings is far more concerned with finding the right slant of light than in finding Mr. Right. But when an overheard conversation hints at danger for another local artist, Sophia is determined to get involved. Even if it means accepting help from an impossibly good-looking vicar who insists on joining her investigation—and threatens to capture her heart…
Reverend Lord Benedick Lisle knows that Sophia is no damsel in distress. But he won’t allow her to venture into peril alone, either. . .especially since he finds Sophia’s curious, free-spirited nature so alluring. But protecting her from harm is becoming more difficult than the vicar could have expected as he and Sophia confront their fiery mutual passion. Who could have known that the art of love would prove so irresistible?
**
I have enjoyed the two previous books in this series; Duke With Benefits and Ready, Set Rogue. You do not need to have read those to appreciate this standalone novel but an introduction I feel is necessary. Four bluestocking young women have inherited an estate from a woman who believed that each had talents that needed nurturing. The woman who fulfilled her goal at the end of a year would inherit the estate free and clear. The heroine in this book is one of those women, Sophia, an artist. Each book has a mystery and a romance. Benedict is our romantic hero and the local vicar who Is enamored of Sophia and when they, together overhear conversations, and are included in talks of an art forgery ring they both are intent on solving the mystery. Romance blossoms while in the midst of sleuthing.
Once again Manda Collins gives us a page turning romance/mystery. Benedict is a wonderful romantic hero and Sophia is determined to paint her art, we keep reading to find out if marrying Benedict will allow her to continue with the subjects she prefers to paint. Yes this is a bit predictable but the mystery is a good one.
I can recommend this book along with the others in the series.

(I love the covers on this series.  My favorite color blue.)

 

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Heads Up- Audible limited time sale

Deal Audible

Go to http://audible.com  for a year’s worth of audio books on sale now and ending on the 28th of January.

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Advance Review- The Graves A Fine And Private Place by Alan Bradley

The Graves a Fine and Private Place

Title: The Graves A Fine And Private Place: A Flavia de Luce novel
Genre: Mystery
Author: Alan Bradley
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: Bantam, January 30,2018
Pages: 384
Rating: 4
Sexy rating: 0
Violence rating: 5
Description from Amazon:

In the wake of an unthinkable family tragedy, twelve-year-old Flavia de Luce is struggling to fill her empty days. For a needed escape, Dogger, the loyal family servant, suggests a boating trip for Flavia and her two older sisters. As their punt drifts past the church where a notorious vicar had recently dispatched three of his female parishioners by spiking their communion wine with cyanide, Flavia, an expert chemist with a passion for poisons, is ecstatic. Suddenly something grazes her fingers as she dangles them in the water. She clamps down on the object, imagining herself Ernest Hemingway battling a marlin, and pulls up what she expects will be a giant fish. But in Flavia’s grip is something far better: a human head, attached to a human body. If anything could take Flavia’s mind off sorrow, it is solving a murder—although one that may lead the young sleuth to an early grave.

**
Don’t get me wrong, I love Flavia novels, every single one of them but the ick-factor in this one was really high. Flavia is still remarkable and really far beyond precocious, she is a genius chemist for such a young girl. She is undaunted by a dead body even as her older sisters are retching and definitely daunted. Flavia’s old family retainer, Dogger, is at her side both protecting her and encouraging her. This is truly another page turning read from a remarkable author.

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Review- Deadly Engagement by Lucinda Brant

Deadly Engagement

Title: Deadly Engagement
Genre: Historical Mystery/Romance
Author: Lucinda Brandt
Source: Purchase
Publisher: Sprigleaf 2011
Pages: 328
Rating: 5
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 5
Description from Amazon:

Spring 1763. Career diplomat Alec Halsey returns to London to the shocking news his estranged brother, the Earl of Delvin, has not only killed his friend in a duel but is engaged to the woman Alec hoped to marry. The dead man’s mother wants Alec to investigate, so he reluctantly attends a weekend house party celebrating the engagement. Houseguests get more than they bargained for when a lady’s maid is murdered, the bride-to-be is attacked, and a guest is shot dead. Uncovering a connection between these sinister acts and his brother’s duel, Alec confronts a cruel twist of fate and why his brother will go to any lengths to ruin him in Polite Society.
Lucinda Brant’s mysteries explore the darker side of her richly authentic 18th century world. Along with her trademark wit and high drama there are deeper subplots and even quirkier characters that will have you shuddering and laughing in equal measure.

**
There are some unflattering reviews of this book online, don’t pay attention to those. This book is full of well developed characters, a well crafted plot, an intriguing mystery and to top it off a hero, Alec Halsey, to give any reader swooning palpitations. The book blurb gives you the gist of the plot so I don’t find it necessary to repeat. If, like me, you find delight in figuring out who-done-it and like handsome, intelligent, down to earth heroes and you like your historical settings well researched then by all means get this one. Oh yes, Alex Wyndham narrates this book in audio, he is absolutely the best.

Other books in this series:

Deadly Affair

Deadly Peril

 

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Advance Review- Duke With Benefits by Manda Collins

Title: Duke With Benefits (Studies In Scandal, book #2)

Duke with Benefits

Genre: Historical Romance/ Mystery
Author: Manda Collins
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks, June 27, 2017 (preorder available)
Pages: 320
Rating: 4.5
Sexy rating: 5
Violence rating: 5
Description from Amazon: Lady Daphne Forsyth is a brilliant mathematician with a burning passion for puzzles. When she learns that the library belonging to her benefactress houses the legendary Cameron Cipher—an encrypted message that, once solved, holds the key to great riches—Daphne is on the case. Unfortunately, her race to unlock the cipher’s code is continually thwarted by a deliciously handsome distraction she hadn’t counted on. . .and cannot resist.
Dalton Beauchamp, the Duke of Maitland, is curious as to why Daphne is spending so much time snooping around his aunt’s bookshelves. He’s even more intrigued by her bold yet calculating manner: She is unapologetic about her secret quest. . .and the fiery attraction that develops between them both. But how can they concentrate on solving a perplexing enigma once the prospect of true love enters the equation?

***
This is the second book in the Studies in Scandal series that was introduced in book #1, Ready Set Rogue. The series deals with four highly intelligent young women who together inherit a country estate from a benefactress who believes in their bluestocking leanings. To keep their inheritance the women must live at the estate for a year.
Daphne Forsyth has an inability to tell a white lie, she takes most everything spoken literally, which often causes others to have hurt feelings. This distresses Daphne since she is really a nice young woman who does not mean to hurt her friends. Dalton finds her entertaining and tries to help with her social faux pas. He is also falling in love with her and meets resistance from Daphne who has no desire to marry. She is content to be a bluestocking mathematician. There are evil villains who will stop at nothing to secure the treasure for themselves.
I thoroughly enjoyed this addition to the series. The romance is fun and certainly steamy, the mystery kept me guessing and the characters are well developed. I do think the reader will enjoy this book more if they read the first book in the series. That book gives a true foundation for the mysteries and the young women. However this book can be read as a standalone.
I can recommend this book to all Historical Romance readers. I certainly look forward to the next book in the series.
.

 

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Recent Release Review- All The Little Liars by Charlaine Harris

all-the-little-liars

Title: All The Little Liars (An Aurora Teagarden Mystery, book #9)

Genre: Cozy Mystery

Author: Charlaine Harris

Publisher: Minotaur, October 2016

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 240

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 0

Violence Rating: 2

Description from Amazon.com:

Aurora Teagarden is basking in the news of her pregnancy when disaster strikes her small Georgia town: four kids vanish from the school soccer field in an afternoon. Aurora’s 15-year-old brother Phillip is one of them. Also gone are two of his friends, and an 11-year-old girl who was just hoping to get a ride home from soccer practice. And then there’s an even worse discovery—at the kids’ last known destination, a dead body.

While the local police and sheriff’s department comb the county for the missing kids and interview everyone even remotely involved, Aurora and her new husband, true crime writer Robin Crusoe, begin their own investigation. Could the death and kidnappings have anything to do with a group of bullies at the middle school? Is Phillip’s disappearance related to Aurora’s father’s gambling debts? Or is Phillip himself, new to town and an unknown quantity, responsible for taking the other children? But regardless of the reason, as the days go by, the most important questions remain. Are the kids still alive? Who could be concealing them? Where could they be?

With Christmas approaching, Aurora is determined to find her brother…if he’s still alive.

**

I am delighted that Charlaine Harris has written another Aurora Teagarden mystery.  I have read all of the Teagarden books and have enjoyed every one and this one is no exception.  These are “cozy mysteries” in that there may be violence but it is not graphic and gory.  These are more in the who-done-it variety.

In this addition we find Aurora newly married and expecting her first child. She and new husband Robin set out to solve the mystery of her missing half-brother, Phillip. It is not too difficult to figure out who the villain is in this book.  I wish we had a few more red-herrings thrown in, but it is still a page turner and also a standalone in the series.

If you like figuring out the bad guy and don’t want gore then I recommend this book for a very entertaining read.

 

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Review- The Headmaster (Shivers) by Tiffany Reisz

the-headmaster

Title: The Headmaster (Shivers)

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Author: Tiffany Reisz

Publisher: Harlequin Digital, April 2015

Source: Purchase

Pages: 135

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 2

Description from Amazon.com:

A fever dream of desires fulfilled.

Nestled in the shadow of the Appalachians is where Gwen Ashby stumbles upon the William Marshall Academy, and she’s given a trial position as a literature teacher. The gothic boarding school seems trapped in time yet it feels like home the moment Gwen arrives.

She’s charmed by the lovely buildings, bewitched by the eager students…and utterly seduced by the headmaster. Edwin Yorke is noble, handsome and infuriatingly proper. But his tweedy exterior and courtly manners conceal a raw sensual power that Gwen longs to unleash.

It’s strangely thrilling to be the only woman on campus—save one other. An eerie white-clad figure roams the grounds by night. She never speaks. She leaves no trace. But this ghostly blight on Gwen’s new dream life is the key to the Marshall Academy’s mysterious allure.

RITA® Award nominated title from International Bestselling Author Tiffany Reisz.

**

It’s that time of year when there is bubble, bubble toil and trouble.  But it isn’t easy to come across a romance that can give you a few shivers without also being a bit terrifying.  This one is shivers not terrors. I have wanted to read this author and since Harlequin is now having a big $1.99 sale this seemed the perfect time to pick up one of Ms. Reisz’ books.  This is a novella so it is a quick read but I started it late in the evening and was up until the wee hours because I had to finish it.  There are ghosts and mystery and twists and surprises along the way. Truly a delightful read.  The romance is sizzling. Gwen is intelligent and beautiful.  Edwin is a hot and hunky headmaster. The side characters are a delight. I highly recommend this book to all romance lovers and especially to paranormal fans.

 

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