#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 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 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! 

#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.

#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.  

#NetGalley #BookReview of A Poisonous Page (Sweet Fiction Bookshop #2) by Kitt Crowe #CozyMystery #CrookedLaneBooks

A Poisonous Page

Sweet Fiction Bookshop #2

by Kitt Crowe

Release date: July 12th, 2022  

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of A Poisonous Page (Sweet Fiction Bookshop # 2) by Kitt Crowe from NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books in order to read and give an honest review.  

…an intriguing, fun, cozy mystery replete with a cleverly crafted complex plot, an abundance of red herrings…  

In A Poisonous Page, the second entry in the Sweet Fiction Bookshop mystery   we pick up with Lexi after recovering from the events of Book One, Digging Up Trouble.  

Lexi, the manager of the Sweet Fiction Bookshop, gave up a prestigious editing job in Seattle for her hometown of Confection Oregon. Although she had a successful career in the big city, she missed her small hometown, her family and her best friends Teri, Teri’s brother Dash and Cat. Since her return Lexi has managed to reconnect, train her wayward pup Cookie, and has earned quite a bit of fame after her and her book club aka ‘the Macaroons’ solved a murder months earlier. Recovered and a little bored Lexi is craving excitement and when Marilyn Freeman a prominent middle aged real estate agent dies unexpectedly Lexi is curious. When the autopsy rules the victim died of natural causes, Lexi is not convinced but she cannot get anyone to agree with her especially not “Iceberg” or Detective Berg who has become her nemesis. After Marylin’s co-worker Rachel is found murdered in the back yard of Dash’s home, and all evidence points to him, he is arrested, and Lexi realizes it is up to her and the Macaroons to get to the bottom of things.  

 If you are looking for an intriguing, fun, cozy mystery with a cleverly crafted complex plot, an abundance of red herrings, a touch of romance and a quirky cast of fun characters this is for you. Although I felt the first book dragged a bit, the author made up for it in her second outing in the series, I highly recommend.  

#NetGalley #BookReview Death on the Isle (Astrid Swift #2) by M.H. Eccleston #Mystery

Review

Death on the Isle

Astrid Swift #2

by M.H. Eccleston

Release date: July 7th, 2022

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Death on the Isle (Astrid Swift #2) by M.H. Eccleston from Net Galley and Head of Zeus Publishing in order to read and give an honest review.

…I enjoyed this entry with its new and quirky cast of characters, including a sociopathic antagonist…

After the events of The Trust, book one of the Astrid Swift series recently separated and, on a mission to find oneself in Death on the Isle, art conservator Astrid Swift decides to leave Dorset to take on a freelance gig on the Isle of Wight. Finally getting used to living on the boat Curlew’s Rest bequeathed to her by her favourite uncle, Astrid is seeking out a change. A far cry from the materialistic and entitled person she was when she arrived. Astrid’s hoping for some time to process what has happened and find what she is seeking in life. When she is given the opportunity to work on an estate’s art collection, Astrid eagerly sets sail to start her new assignment.

When she arrives she lucks out finding a slip in the harbor during Cowes Week, one of the biggest sailing events of the season. As she did in book one, it does not take long for Astrid to connect with the locals, become the focus of a stalker and stumble across a dead body….or two. Add in a missing woman connected to Astrid’s new job and this book keeps one guessing until the end.

Having enjoyed the first book in the series I was concerned that she was leaving Dorset and her new friends behind, but I grew to understand Astrid’s motivation for moving on. Although I enjoyed this entry with its new and quirky cast of characters including a sociopathic antagonist, at times it felt a bit muddled with a feeling of uncertainty as the story ends, which I am guessing could continue and add intrigue to the next book in the series. I really enjoy this well-written and quirky series and look forward to reading more of Astrid’s adventures. I highly recommend!

 

#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 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. 

#BookReview Death of an Eye by Dana Stabenow #NetGalley #HistoricalFiction #Mystery

 

Review

Death of an Eye Cover

Death of an Eye

by Dana Stabenow

Release date: December 6th, 2018

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Death of an Eye by Dana Stabenow from NetGalley and Head of Zeus Publishing in order to read and give an honest review.

…an original, quick and entertaining read which I enjoyed…

Fans of Dana Stabenow’s Kate Shugak’s series set in Alaska will be surprised by her new series Eye of Isis. In her first instalment in this series Death of an Eye seems to be a more cosy mystery than historical fiction. Not quite as gritty as her Shugak series but still quite enjoyable.  

Set in 47 BCE. A pregnant Cleopatra is the ruler of Alexandria when her trusted spy or “Queen’s Eye”, Khemit, is murdered while secretly investigating the theft of a fresh mint of royal coins.  With Julius Caesar away, Cleopatra is vulnerable and needs someone she trusts to help her so she calls upon her most trusted childhood friend Tetisheri (Sheri ) to help her get to the bottom of it. Although a merchant, Sheri has left a horrible marriage and become a partner in her Uncle Neb’s importing business. Being well educated, having the ability to speak many languages and having connections allow Shari to obtain the information she requires without seeming suspicious. One of the Cleopatra’s trusted guards, Apollodorus, sets out to help Sheri as she navigates a murder investigation rife with politics, sociopaths and danger.  Sheri becomes a target for Cleopatra’s power hungry and wicked brother Ptolemy, Roman diplomats not pleased with women in power, bloodthirsty pirates and her abusive ex-husband, Hunifer all trying to thwart her every move.  

Although Stabenow’s work is set in ancient Alexandria and has historical elements this novel it is more of a clever fun mystery with a touch of romance and humour. I was expecting a perhaps darker more sinister story but her strong, educated, honourable and feisty characters mixed dangerous devious villains make this an original, quick and entertaining read which I enjoyed.