#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.

#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!

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! 
 
 

#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.  

#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 NetGalley 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.

#NetGalley #BookReview A Murder of Crows (A Nell Ward Mystery #1) by Sarah Yarwood-Lovett #CozyMystery #Crime #Ecology

A Murder of Crows

(A Nell Ward Mystery #1)

by Sarah Yarwood-Lovett

Release date: July 1st, 2022  

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(3.5 rounded up)


I received a complimentary ARC copy of A Murder of Crows (A Nell Ward Mystery #1) by Sarah Yarwood-Lovett from Net Galley and Embla Books in order to read and give an honest review.  

Intelligent, authentic, and quirky, A Murder of Crows really had some great moments where the story did shine .

While Dr. Nell Ward is doing an ecological survey of an estate by herself; she stumbles across the body of the estate’s owner bludgeoned in a tunnel. Nell inevitably becomes a prime suspect in the investigation and when her past which she has taken extreme care to keep hidden comes to light, the evidence against her piles up. With her friend and colleague Adam as well as a few connections Nell tries to get to the bottom of the murder herself before she is incarcerated or becomes the real murderer’s next victim.

I really wanted to love this book and it had a lot of things I did enjoy but it did not work for me in a few ways. Very much a write-what-you know type of book this debut from author Sarah Yarwood-Lovett, -draws from her personal vocation. Yarwood-Lovett created an intelligent likeable protagonist, Dr. Nell Ward who, like the author, is an ecologist. I love learning about ecology and although I did find some of the information interesting at times it seemed a bit too much to the point where it detracted from the mystery at hand, which often caused me to skim over passages.

Intelligent, authentic, and quirky, A Murder of Crows really had some great moments where the story did shine but unfortunately in my opinion it was dulled a great deal by a rambling prose, the overuse of red herrings and the dreaded, often overdone love triangle. I really enjoyed Nell’s character and the interactions between her and Adam but the last third of the book felt a bit over the top for me. Although I was disappointed in parts I feel this has the potential to be a really fun series and I will give this author another shot.

#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 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. 

#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.

#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.

#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.