Friday, March 2, 2018

Beloved Poison (Jem Flockhart #1)

Title: Beloved Poison (Jem Flockhart #1)
Author: E.S Thomson
Type: Fiction
Genre: Crime, Historical, Mystery
Rating: 5 stars

This isn't the kind of book I'd normally pick up these days. But while I was at my library on Sunday, I saw this book with a card sticking out that said "Pick Me!"  Intrigued, I looked at the rest of the card.  "Riveting historical detail along with horrifying anecdotes create an almost dismal, yet strangely fascinating tale that will have many readers glad to be living in the 21st century." (This is also attributed to the library's review of the book found on Goodreads.)

I checked out the book, despite the book flap that read: "And then six tiny coffins are uncovered..." because I don't care for books where children have been murdered. But this book... wow. It's not at all what it seems. In fact, this book is addicting.

Apothecary Jem Flockhart has been raised inside the walls of St. Saviour's Infirmary. However, it's been slated to be demolished.  The doctors live in the past, using crude surgeries and uncleanly conditions as a normal part of their workday.  Young architect, Will Quartermain, has been sent to St. Saviour's to prepare for it's destruction. He's been given the awful task of cleaning out the mass graves that reside inside the infirmary's walls.

Jem, with a secret of her own, gives Will a tour and together they find those six tiny coffins as mentioned above.  When one of the coffins gives a clue about Jem's own mother, she cannot help but dig deeper to find the meaning of it all.  However, opening the locked doors to the past causes great pain - murder of her friends and allies, as well as her own heartbreak as she watches her father slowly slip into the madness that has haunted her family for generations.

19th century London is described with fog, pollution, brothels, slums and antiquated medical practices that really do make me glad I did not live during that time. The author does a fantastic job of describing it all - and allows the reader to feel as though she is right there with Jem and Will in their dangerous task of finding a murderer.

Monday, December 18, 2017

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

Title: The Wife Between Us
Author: Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen
Type: Fiction
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Rating: 5 stars

I haven’t read a great thriller like this in quite some time! It was not at all the book I thought it would be, due to the many twists and turns. Vanessa is struggling with the knowledge that her ex-husband is getting remarried. But this does not turn into the typical “man leaves woman and woman finds a new life” story.  It’s hard to write much more, because I don’t want to inadvertently give away too much! I will recommend clearing your schedule before sitting down to read this book as it’s certainly a page-turner and you will not want to put this down for any reason! It’s a very engrossing story that will suck you in quickly.

Two authors wrote this book, and I must say, they did a phenomenal job. I’m not a big fan of co-authored books, but these two work together so cohesively that you’d never realize there was more than one person writing. 

Many thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for sending me an ARC of this book.  

Monday, October 23, 2017

Blood Brothers (Sign of Seven #1) by Nora Roberts

This is my fourth time reading this series.  I tend to pick it up around Halloween, when I want a spooky story with romance. Well three spooky romance stories, as it's part of a trilogy.

Cal Hawkins, and his 2 best friends, Gage and Fox, were barely 10 years old when they let loose a demon.  Every seven years, the demon comes back to Hawkins Hollow to cause damage, destruction and death. This year, Quinn Black, writer and paranormal investigator, has come to town to write a book about the phenomenon.  But it's not as simple as it seems. As Quinn becomes more involved with the history of the town, and begins to have feelings for Cal, the danger increases. The two of them, along with Gage, Fox, and two more women (typical storytelling for Nora Roberts in these sorts of trilogies), get ready for the fight of their lives. 

This story is filled with creepiness, danger, excitement and romance - the perfect blend of characteristics to make this the perfect book to read on a chilly October night!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

The Return of the Black Widowers by Issac Asimov

I've loved the Black Widowers mysteries ever since I found an old copy at my local library's book sale 20+ years ago. (OMG has it really been that long since I was in high school?!?!) As I was perusing the library a few weeks ago, looking for a good mystery, I came across The Return of the Black Widowers, by Issac Asimov and grabbed it immediately!

This anthology did make me sad as it was published after Mr. Asimov's death, the stark reminder there are no more Black Widower stories to tell (at least from Mr. Asimov's point-of-view).

Every story has the same premise: a group of men who call themselves the "Black Widowers" gather monthly in a private room at a restaurant. One of the members brings a guest, who is asked to justify his existence after dinner.  In each case, the guest presents a mystery - a puzzle to which neither he nor the members cannot solve.  At that point, Henry, the trusted and beloved waiter, steps in with his thoughts - and the mystery is solved!

These stories are great for fans of old-fashioned mysteries.  The puzzles are always intriguing and entertaining.

Charmed at Christmas (Christmas at Castle Keyvnor Book 1)

Charmed at Christmas is one of four books revolving around the weddings of Lady Tamsyn Hambly and Mr. Gryffyn Cardew,  and Lady Morgan Hambly and Harold Mort, Viscount Blackwater at Castle Keyvnor.  These books are related to a previous release of four books: The Haunting of Castle Keynvor.

The first novella is "Lord Locryn and the Pixie's Kiss" by Deb Marlowe. What a sweet story! A Pixie accidentally curses a young man, and both his and the pixie's life are changed for 8 years.  Now, as Lord Locryn comes back to the place where he was unknowingly cursed, he finds love with Lady Gwym Hambly, sister to the two brides.  They must work together to undo the curse so they can be together. They use the magic of Christmas, along with the help of a pixie, to get their happily-ever-after.

The second novella is "The Determined Duchess" by Erica Monroe.  I did like this story, but it was darker than I had expected due to the aspects of alchemy. Miss Felicity Fields, mourning the death of her guardian, wants to use magic to bring her guardian back to life. But first she must deal with Nicholas Harding, the Duke of Wycliffe, who is determined to find a marriage match for Felicity.  However, he finds himself intrigued with Felicity. I enjoyed this story, but I'm not sure it's everyone's cup of tea.

The third novella, "A Duke By Any Other Name" by Claire Delacroix, is the story of the Alexander, the Duke of Inverfyre and Daphne Goodenham.  Daphne wants to marry a duke so she can take care of her and her sister, but she meets Alexander, who is on a mission of his own. This was a charming  and entertaining story.

I received a copy of this book from one of the authors in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

How the Finch Stole Christmas by Donna Andrews

I am a huge Meg Langslow mystery fan! I binge-read the entire series up through book 20, then had to wait (rather impatiently) for books 21 and 22.

How the Finch Stole Christmas is another delightful story in the series. I really enjoy the Christmas-themed mysteries, and was glad to see Meg's husband continue on with his "Dicken's A Christmas Carol" show.  This time, he changed from a one-man show to a full production, with Meg as the stage manager (while still working for the mayor) and their twin boys with parts in the play.  An actor who is past his prime was hired to play the role of Scrooge, and while he could play the part well, he's an alcoholic who'd prefer to be drinking rather than acting.  Despite help from the town to keep him sober, Meg finds herself struggling to find out where he gets his booze. At the same time, we've got animal smuggling, exotic finches, an overzealous fan who may be just a tad crazy, and a dead body (or two)!

I felt like Meg's family was more on the sidelines this time around, but I did enjoy the ending and the Christmas-feel of the book. I can't wait to read this one again at Christmastime!

I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Miss Cavanaugh by Jody Kaye

What a great novella to get my Kingsbrier fix! Miss Cavanaugh tells us about Daveigh and Cris' wedding. We saw the progression of their relationship in Daveigh, book three of the Kingsbrier series. This story wraps up their love story nicely (although I can't wait to see babies in their future!!!) We also got a sneak peek into the background of Daveigh's parents, which I thoroughly enjoyed. This book can be read as a stand-alone, but it would be best for background and reference to read the others in the series as well.

I received an ARC of this novella in exchange for an honest review.

Other books in The Kingsbrier Quintuplets series include: