Tag Archives: Mystery

Release Day Review- Run Away by Harlan Coben

Run Away

Title: Run Away

Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Thriller

Author: Harlan Coben

Publisher: Grand Central Publishing

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 384

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 0

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

You’ve lost your daughter.

She’s addicted to drugs and to an abusive boyfriend. And she’s made it clear that she doesn’t want to be found.

Then, by chance, you see her playing guitar in Central Park. But she’s not the girl you remember. This woman is living on the edge, frightened, and clearly in trouble.

You don’t stop to think. You approach her, beg her to come home.

She runs.

And you do the only thing a parent can do: you follow her into a dark and dangerous world you never knew existed. Before you know it, both your family and your life are on the line. And in order to protect your daughter from the evils of that world, you must face them head on.
***
Harlan Coben gives us, once again, a well plotted, suspenseful thriller. Simon, a financial analyst, doesn’t know how his life has fallen apart all he knows is that he must save his oldest daughter, but he can’t find her. There is his beautiful wife, Ingrid, a pediatrician and his three children; the two younger kids are on the right path but the oldest went off to college and ended up drowning in drugs. Simon takes many paths to find Paige, most very dangerous. Coben gives us some seeming unrelated events that all coalesce into a heart pounding surprising ending. I highly recommend this book for anyone who loves a can’t-put-it-down read.

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Recent Release Review- Lady Notorious by Theresa Romain

Lady Notorious

Title: Lady Notorious (Royal Rewards book #4)

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Theresa Romain

Publisher: Zebra, Feb. 2019

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 368

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

Cassandra Benton has always survived by her wits and wiles, even working for Bow Street alongside her twin brother. When injury takes him out of commission, Cass must support the family by taking on an intriguing new case: George, Lord Northbrook, believes someone is plotting to kill his father, the Duke of Ardmore. Decades before, the duke was one of ten who formed a wager that would grant a fortune to the last survivor. But someone can’t wait for nature to take its course—and George hopes a seasoned investigator like Cass can find out who.

Cass relishes the chance to spy on the ton, shrewdly disguised as handsome Lord Northbrook’s notorious “cousin.” What she doesn’t expect is her irresistible attraction to her dashing employer, and days of investigation soon turn to passionate nights. But with a killer closing in and her charade as a lady of the ton in danger of collapsing at any moment, Cass has no choice but to put her life—and her heart—in the hands of the last man she ought to trust . . .

***

This book was unique in that we have an Alpha heroine and a Beta Hero. I did enjoy the fact that Cass was so intelligent and capable as a detective but George, Lord Northbrook was just a bit too Beta for my taste. He seemed to be so set on his camera obscura experiments to the ignoring of the task he hired Cass to do. He even took his experiments along on their trip to the seaside. Still the romance was fun with Cass playing the seductress. The mystery was solved (although it was a bit obvious). I do recommend this book for that twist of Alpha and Beta, it is well done.

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Recent Release Review- A Christmas Revelation by Anne Perry

A Christmas Revelation

Title: A Christmas Revelation: A Novel
Genre: Historical Mystery/ Victorian
Author: Anne Perry
Publisher: Ballentine, November 6, 2018
Source: Free for review from the publisher
Pages: 177
Rating: 4
Sexy Rating: 0
Violence Rating: 5
Christmasy feeling: 4
Description from Amazon.com:
Formerly a river urchin living on the banks of the Thames, nine-year-old Worm has never experienced a family Christmas. But thanks to a job at Hester Monk’s clinic in Portpool Lane, he’s found a makeshift family in kindly volunteer Miss Claudine Burroughs and curmudgeonly old bookkeeper Squeaky Robinson.

When Worm witnesses the abduction of a beautiful woman by a pair of ruffians just days before Christmas, he frantically turns to Squeaky for help. A one-time brothel owner, Squeaky knows the perils of interfering in nasty business, but he can’t bear to disappoint Worm—or leave the boy to attempt a rescue on his own. What neither of the would-be saviors expects, however, is that the damsel in distress already has her dilemma well in hand . . . and is taking steps to bring her captors to justice for crimes far worse than kidnapping. But the rogues, as cunning as they are deadly, are not to be underestimated. The aid of cynical old Squeaky and hopeful young Worm just might make the difference between a merry triumph over evil and a terrible yuletide tragedy.
**
This is a short novel, more a novella. The mystery is a bit thin but the story is heartwarming and at times heart-pounding. Ms. Perry brings to life the Victorian seedy side of London and those decent people as well as ruffians who reside there. I was won over by sweet, nine-year-old Worm and not quite sweet, 60-year-old Squeaky as they do there best to save the beautiful lady (Eloise). Christmas comes into the story as the two also are bringing Christmas décor and festivities to the clinic where they live.

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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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Advance Review- The Duke by Kerrigan Byrne

the-duke-kerrigan-byrne

Title: The Duke (Victorian Rebels, book #4)

Genre: Historical Romance/Victorian/Mystery

Author: Kerrigan Byrne

Publisher: At. Martin’s Paperbacks, Feb. 7, 2017 (preorder available)

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Pages: 384

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

He is noble, notorious, and takes no prisoners… Strong as a Viking.  Handsome as Adonis.  Rich as Midas. Collin “Cole” Talmage, Duke of Trenwyth, is the stuff that legends are made of.  He’s the English Empire’s golden son–until fate has its way with him. Cole’s family is killed and his closest comrade betrays him on the battlefield, leaving him gravely injured. But Cole is not one to dwell on misfortune. He is a man of duty, honor–and desire. And now he’s ready for the fight of his lifetime… Imogen Pritchard is a beautiful lass who works in a hospital by day and as a serving maid at night. Years ago, when she was young and penniless, she ended up spending a scandalous night with Cole, whose tormented soul was matched only by his earth-shattering passion. Imogen entered a marriage of convenience–one that left her a wealthy widow–but she never forgot Cole. Now that her long-lost lover has turned up in her hospital, injured and with no memory of her, Imogen is torn: Is it a blessing or a curse that their past remains a secret to Cole, even as his new passion for her leaves him wanting to protect and possess her…at all costs?

***

When it comes to Historical Romance, Kerrigan Byrne is right up at the top of the list of best of the best.  This her fourth novel in the Victorian Rebels Series is as mesmerizing and filled with heart pounding action as the other gems in this series.  We are treated to characters we cheer for, villains that make us hold our breath and love scenes that are filled with sizzling passion.  In this book we also have the mystery of a serial killer who seems to be fixated on our heroine, Imogen.  The Duke, Collen Talmage, is a shadow of the man Imogen once knew.  He has suffered extreme torture but is bent on fighting back to his former strength.  All of the other “Rebels” from the previous books in the series play important roles in this book. This is a standalone book but I feel you will enjoy it even more if you read the previous books in the series. This is what is now referred to as a “dark historical romance”; filled with violence and characters that are not always moral or even polite.  There are scenes of sex that border on violence and I mention this since some may find this difficult to read.  That said, this is a well written book filled with description that will have you underlining passages.  You will not be able to put this book down until you reach the last page.

The Victorian Rebels Series:

  1. The Highwayman (Dorian and Farah)
  2. The Highlander (Liam and Mena)
  3. The Hunter (Christopher and Millie)
  4. The Duke (Collin [Cole] and Imogen)

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Advance Review- A Change Of Heart by Sonali Dev

Title: A Change of Heart

A change of Heart 2

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Author: Sonali Dev

Publisher: Kensington, Sept. 27, 2016, pre-order available

Source: Free for review from the Amazon vine Program

Pages: 352

Rating: 3

Sexy Rating: 5

Violence Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

Dr. Nikhil ‘Nic’ Joshi had it all—marriage, career, purpose. Until, while working for Doctors Without Borders in a Mumbai slum, his wife, Jen, discovered a black market organ transplant ring. Before she could expose the truth, Jen was killed.

Two years after the tragedy, Nic is a cruise ship doctor who spends his days treating seasickness and sunburn and his nights in a boozy haze. On one of those blurry evenings on deck, Nic meets a woman who makes a startling claim: she received Jen’s heart in a transplant and has a message for him. Nic wants to discount Jess Koirala’s story as absurd, but there’s something about her reckless desperation that resonates despite his doubts.

Jess has spent years working her way out of a nightmarish life in Calcutta and into a respectable Bollywood dance troupe. Now she faces losing the one thing that matters—her young son, Joy.  She needs to uncover the secrets Jen risked everything for; but the unforeseen bond that results between her and Nic is both a lifeline and a perilous complication.

**

After loving Ms. Dev’s first two romances I was truly disappointed in this book. Yes, she can write a good story and this one has a huge mystery going on but I never liked Jess and thought Nik was taken in by her. If I can’t get behind a main character then the book is not one of my favorites. I expected more romance. In the past I have enjoyed learning about the culture of India in this author’s books and that continues in this offering, so that it garnered 3-stars instead of two from me.

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Advance Review-A Certain Age by Beatriz Williams

Title: A Certain Age

A Certain Age

Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance/Mystery

Author: Beatriz  Williams

Publisher: William Morrow, June 28, 2016, pre-order available

Pages: 336

Source: Free for review from the Amazon vine Program

Rating: 5

Sexy Rating: 5

Description from Amazon.com:

As the freedom of the Jazz Age transforms New York City, the iridescent Mrs. Theresa Marshall of Fifth Avenue and Southampton, Long Island, has done the unthinkable: she’s fallen in love with her young paramour, Captain Octavian Rofrano, a handsome aviator and hero of the Great War. An intense and deeply honorable man, Octavian is devoted to the beautiful socialite of a certain age and wants to marry her. While times are changing and she does adore the Boy, divorce for a woman of Theresa’s wealth and social standing is out of the question, and there is no need; she has an understanding with Sylvo, her generous and well-respected philanderer husband.

But their relationship subtly shifts when her bachelor brother, Ox, decides to tie the knot with the sweet younger daughter of a newly wealthy inventor. Engaging a longstanding family tradition, Theresa enlists the Boy to act as her brother’s cavalier, presenting the family’s diamond rose ring to Ox’s intended, Miss Sophie Fortescue—and to check into the background of the little-known Fortescue family. When Octavian meets Sophie, he falls under the spell of the pretty ingénue, even as he uncovers a shocking family secret. As the love triangle of Theresa, Octavian, and Sophie progresses, it transforms into a saga of divided loyalties, dangerous revelations, and surprising twists that will lead to a shocking transgression . . . and eventually force Theresa to make a bittersweet choice.

Full of the glamour, wit and delicious twists that are the hallmarks of Beatriz Williams’ fiction and alternating between Sophie’s spirited voice and Theresa’s vibrant timbre, A Certain Age is a beguiling reinterpretation of Richard Strauss’s comic opera Der Rosenkavalier, set against the sweeping decadence of Gatsby’s New York.

**

This is a wonderful book. It has romance, mystery, a philandering husband and a cheating wife, an innocent young woman, a flapper, a hunky ex war pilot, a murderer, a scandal along with the flavor of society in the 1920’s.  The chapters are Alternating between the voices of Theresa, the society wife who has taken a lover and Sophie, the innocent young woman engaged to Theresa’s brother.

There are multiple surprises and twists throughout the book that keep you turning pages.  Most questions are resolved in the end but I was left wanting to know more about Sophie’s sister and Theresa’s brother. How did all of the characters fare in the aftermath of all the choices that were made. I didn’t want the book to end.

I can highly recommend this book to fans of mystery and Historical Romance.

 

 

 

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Release Day Review- Named of The Dragon by Susanna Kearsley

Title:  Named of the Dragon

Named of the Dragon

Genre: Contemporary Romance (mystery, suspense, paranormal, history)

Author: Susanna Kearsley

Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark, Oct. 6, 2015

Pages: 322

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 4.5

Sexy Rating: 2

Description from Amazon.com:         

SOMEWHERE IN THE HEART OF LEGEND LIES THE KEY TO HER TERRIFYING DREAMS

The charm of spending the Christmas holidays in South Wales, with its crumbling castles and ancient myths, seems the perfect distraction from the nightmares that have plagued literary agent Lyn Ravenshaw since the loss of her baby five years ago.

Instead, she meets an emotionally fragile young widow who’s convinced that Lyn’s recurring dreams have drawn her to Castle Farm for an important purpose–and she’s running out of time.

With the help of a reclusive, brooding playwright, Lyn begins to untangle the mystery and is pulled into a world of Celtic legends, dangerous prophecies, and a child destined for greatness.

**

This is very much a romantic suspense novel with touches of the paranormal just like most of Kearsley’s books.  The setting is Wales and the characters are for the most part English.  Not only do we get a mystery but also some insightful looks at Welsh history. Once again Kearsley touches on all of my favorite tropes; romance, mystery, suspense and learning something new.  The author has combined a real life setting with fictional characters and plot.  Once you start reading you are immersed in the setting, time and place.  It is not apparent that there is evil lurking but there is something that is just a bit off.  As an involved reader you will try to help Lyn figure it out but it is often elusive and difficult to know who to trust. This is truly a wonderful book from a supremely accomplished author.

I recommend this book to all who like a good mystery and a happy ending with doses of history thrown in for good measure.

This edition is a re-issue of the book first published in 1999.

 

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Advance Review- The Curiosity Keeper by Sarah E. Ladd

Title: The Curiosity Keeper

The curiosity Keeper

Genre: Historical Romance

Author: Sarah E. Ladd

Publisher: Thomas Nelson, July 7, 2015(preorder available)

Pages: 338

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: Chaste kiss

Description from Amazon.com:

It is not just a ruby, as you say.

It is large as a quail’s egg, still untouched and unpolished.

And it is rumored to either bless or curse whomever possesses it.”

Camille Iverness can take care of herself. She’s done so since the day her mother abandoned the family and left Camille to run their shabby curiosity shop on Blinkett Street. But when a violent betrayal leaves her injured with no place to hide, Camille has no choice but to accept help from the mysterious stranger who came to her aid.

Jonathan Gilchrist never wanted to inherit Kettering Hall. As a second son, he was content working as a village apothecary. But when his brother’s death made him heir just as his father’s foolish decisions put the estate at risk, only the sale of a priceless possession—a ruby called the Bevoy—can save the family from ruin. But the gem has disappeared. And all trails lead to Iverness Curiosity Shop—and the beautiful shop girl who may or may not be the answer to his questions.

Curious circumstance throws them together, and an intricate dance of need and suspicion leads the couple from the seedy backwaters of London to the elite neighborhoods of the wealthy to the lush, green Surrey countryside—all in the pursuit of a blood-red gem that collectors will sacrifice anything to possess.

Caught at the intersection of blessings and curses, greed and deceit, two determined souls must unite to protect what they hold dear. But when a passion that shines far brighter than any gem is ignited, each will have to decide how much they are willing to risk for their future, love, and happiness.

**

Well…not so much passion, but certainly a slow building affection that becomes more and more romantic. Eventually binding Camille and Jonathan, this closeness will see Jonathan as Camille’s protector.

I enjoyed this novel. It is part suspense, part mystery and part romance and Ms. Ladd gives us all three with some surprises thrown in also. This is sold by Harper Collins Christian so there is no sex which is welcome to some readers. The extent of physical interaction is a kiss. There are nice characters, there are not so nice characters and then there are really down and dirty characters. This makes for some interesting interactions in the book.

This is a charming, story with some angst and I recommend it to those who want their romance on the sweet side.

(I thought the cover of this book was especially pretty.  What do you think?)

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Recent Release Review- As Chimney Sweepers Come To Dust by Alan Bradley

 

 

Title: As Chimney Sweepers Come To Dust (A Flavia de Luce mystery)

As Chimney Sweepers Come To dust

Genre: Mystery

Author: Alan Bradley

Publisher: Bantam, Janury 6, 2015

Source: Free for review from the publisher

Rating: 4

Sexy Rating: 0

Description from Amazon.com:

Flavia de Luce—“part Harriet the Spy, part Violet Baudelaire from Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events” (The New York Times Book Review)—takes her remarkable sleuthing prowess to the unexpectedly unsavory world of Canadian boarding schools in the captivating new mystery from New York Times bestselling author Alan Bradley. Banished! is how twelve-year-old Flavia de Luce laments her predicament, when her father and Aunt Felicity ship her off to Miss Bodycote’s Female Academy, the boarding school that her mother, Harriet, once attended across the sea in Canada. The sun has not yet risen on Flavia’s first day in captivity when a gift lands at her feet. Flavia being Flavia, a budding chemist and sleuth, that gift is a charred and mummified body, which tumbles out of a bedroom chimney. Now, while attending classes, making friends (and enemies), and assessing the school’s stern headmistress and faculty (one of whom is an acquitted murderess), Flavia is on the hunt for the victim’s identity and time of death, as well as suspects, motives, and means. Rumors swirl that Miss Bodycote’s is haunted, and that several girls have disappeared without a trace. When it comes to solving multiple mysteries, Flavia is up to the task—but her true destiny has yet to be revealed.

**

This is my third Flavia de Luce mystery and I have to say Flavia is just a delight. She is precocious, borderline genius, fears nothing and is the bane of all adults.   A dead body greets her first night arrival at Miss Bodycote’s Academy, and the body falls out of the fireplace in her room. The event has traumatized another student who was in the room also but it has only fueled Flavia’s desire to solve the mystery.

I thought this offering in the Flavia de Luce series was a bit slower then the others I have read although I still enjoyed every moment of Flavia’s shenanigans. As with most mysteries there are red herrings and just when we think we have outsmarted our twelve-year-old heroine she outsmarts us once again. An enjoyable page turning read. I’m sure you will love Flavia like I do.

The Flavia de Luce novels in order (Although each is a standalone):

THE SWEETNESS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PIE

THE WEED THAT STRINGS THE HANGMAN’S BAG

A RED HERRING WITHOUT MUSTARD

I AM HALF-SICK OF SHADOWS*

SPEAKING FROM AMONG THE BONES*

The Dead in Their Vaulted Arches.    

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