Sunday, 24 January 2016

Book Review: DEATH OF AN AVID READER BY FRANCES BRODY


DEATH OF AN AVID READER
(The sixth book in the Kate Shackleton series)
BY
FRANCES BRODY

Published:  Oct 2014

A lady with a secret
Kate Shackleton's sterling reputation for courageous sleuthing attracts the attention of the venerable Lady Coulton.  Hidden in her past is a daughter, born out of wedlock and given up to a different family.  Now, Lady Coulton is determined to find her and puts Kate on the case.
A mysterious killing in the library's basement
But as Kate delves deeper into Lady Coulton's past, she soon finds herself thrust into a scandal much closer to home.  When the body of the respected Horatio Potter is found in the Leeds library basement, the quiet literary community is suddenly turned upside down with suspicions, accusations and - much to Kate's surprise - the appearance of a particularly intelligent Capuchin monkey!
The most puzzling case in Kate's sleuthing history yet
Convinced an innocent man has been blames, Kate sets out to discover the truth.  Who would want Dr. Potter dead?  Does Lady Coulton's missing daughter hold a vital clue?  As the stories start to emerge in the seemingly quiet Leeds library, Kate is learning fast that in this case, she can't judge a book by its cover ......



The year is now 1925 and amateur detective Kate is once more tasked with a tricky case to solve.  

Narrated by Kate, she is summoned to London from her home in Yorkshire to meet Lady Coulton, who wants her to find the daughter she had to give up over twenty years ago.  Not an easy case but, with the help of former policeman, Mr Sykes, she is determined the find her daughter and bring some peace to Lady Coulton.

But, as they start digging for clues, Kate's local library has a murder mystery that she becomes involved in as well.  So now she's looking for the truth about a murder, a missing daughter, a library book thief, and a wronged young woman ....... there is so much going on that the story never gets boring, it's fully of quirky, interesting characters, elusive ghosts in the basement, the organ grinder's monkey, all in all this is an entertaining read with period detail on every page.

People trust Kate, they talk to her and she never misses a chance to question anyone even when buying a paper from the newspaper seller on the street corner or purchasing hot chestnuts from the chestnut seller on cold, foggy Yorkshire evenings.  

I love these quirky mysteries - this is the fourth book in the series I've read and I've thoroughly enjoyed them all -  this is probably my favourite story.  The plot kept me guessing, I didn't have a clue who the murderer was, I kept changing my mind throughout as Frances Brody kept up the twists and turns.

If you haven't discovered this series yet, this can be read as a standalone, but I'd recommend you read them all, as they do follow on in years.  Whichever one you read first I'm sure you'll love it if you love cozy mysteries.

Here's what I thought of the other books in the series:

Dying in the Wool
A Medal for Murder
Murder on a Summer's Day

Website of Frances Brody
Follow Frances on twitter



Share on twitter:  

Follow me on twitter:  





Sunday, 13 December 2015

Book Review: CHRISTMAS WISHES AND MISTLETOE KISSES BY JENNY HALE


My Thoughts on this story of a Cinderella who meets her Prince Charming .....


CHRISTMAS WISHES AND MISTLETOE KISSES
BY
JENNY HALE


Published:  Oct 2015
Publisher:  Bookouture.com


Single mother Abbey Fuller loves her family more than anything, and doesn't regret for a moment having had to put her dreams of being an interior designer on hold.  But with her son, Max, growing up, when a friend recommends her for a small design job she jumps at the chance.  How hard can it be?

Nick Sinclair needs his house decorating in time for his family's Christmas visit - and money is no object.  What he doesn't need is distractions - festive or otherwise - from his multi-million dollar business.

When Abbey pulls up to the huge Sinclair mansion, she has a feeling she might be out of her depth.  And when she meets the gorgeous, but brooding Nicholas Sinclair, she knows that she's in real trouble.......

With the snow falling all around, can Abbey take the chance to make her dreams of being a designer come true?  And can she help Nick to finally enjoy the magic of Christmas?




The fabulously wealthy but cold Nick Sinclair and Abbey's lives could not be more different. She's a single mother to six year old Max, she's a nurse who dreams of being an interior designer, and has to account for every penny she earns: Nick's only focus in his busy life is his work.

The theme of the story is showing us what is possible in life if you can only take a risk, do something different, step out of your comfort zone, feel the fear and do it anyway, just don't sit back and do nothing while life passes you by.

Nick collects cars, plays polo, his house is cold and unfriendly, just like him.  He wants Abbey to decorate it so that it's ready for the festive season when his family arrive for Christmas.  He doesn't care what it looks like, he leaves it up to Abbey, his grandmother trusts her, so he does too.


Twenty-six - that was the number of windows across the front of the house.  Four - it had four chimneys, Abbey had only just counted them all as the enormous, Georgian-revival-style mansion came into view at the end of the mile-long driveway. She'd had to be let in via an intercom at a pair of iron gates bigger than her apartment building.

I enjoyed this story enormously, I liked Abbey's no nonsense approach to Nick, and how she revelled in her task of designing this huge house.

Nick was intrigued by her, he'd never met anyone quite like Abbey before and she'd definitely not met anyone like him!  She showed him how other people live, how they have fun and how simple pleasures in life can be enjoyable, instead of work, work, work all the time.  She loves to make people happy, he loves to make money!

The only minor issue I struggled with was in the middle of the story where I thought it dragged a little and nothing much happened, but it soon picked up the pace again.....I never thought of giving up with the story though.

In general, a lovely, heart-warming festive story, with romance, marvellous characters, a beautiful mansion, and a little Christmas magic.

*************************

Follow Jenny Hale on twitter:  @jhaleauthor
On facebook:  jennyhaleauthor
Website:  www.itsjennyhale.com


******************************

Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses is available to buy from

Amazon.co.uk
Amazon.com

*****************************





Sunday, 22 November 2015

Book Review: THE EMPIRE OF NIGHT BY ROBERT OLEN BUTLER


My Thoughts on this clever and fast moving WWI spy thriller .......


THE EMPIRE OF NIGHT  (3rd in the Christopher Marlowe Cobb series)
BY
ROBERT OLEN BUTLER


Published:  Oct 2014
Pages:  401  (Paperback)


It is 1915 and "Kit" Cobb is working undercover in a castle on the Kent coast owned by a suspected British government mole, Sir Albert Stockman.  Kit is working with his mother, the beautiful and mercurial spy, Isabel Cobb, who also happens to be a world-famous stage actress.
Isabel's offstage role is to keep tabs on Stockman, while Cobb tries to figure out his agenda.
Following his mother and her escort from the relative safety of Britain into the lion's den of Berlin, Kit must remain in character, even under the very nose of the Kaiser.





The third instalment in the Christopher Marlowe Cobb series sees our protagonist following a British spy, Sir Albert Stockman, to Berlin to discover whether he is actively aiding the German cause at a time when the allies are struggling against the Germans. He is still a war correspondent but is also working for the US Secret Service.  

But this time his mother, the very famous stage actress, Isabel Cobb, is also working for the US Secret Service and she is also travelling to Berlin on the arm of the British Government man.

As a native German speaker he easily slips into disguise and fools not only Stockman but also those closest to him as he tries to discover his plans, which turn out to be shocking.

This is a tale of betrayal, treason, acting, pretending to be someone you're not.

Though mention is briefly made of past missions this is a stand alone novel.

I really like Robert Olen Butler's writing style, Cobb is very observant, every detail, every conversation, is noted and stored in his memory.  He thinks a great deal and I enjoyed reading his thoughts and wondering where he would go and what he would do next, I found it very compelling and easy to read.  I wanted to know more, to find out where the story was going, where it was leading and Robert Olen Butler did not disappoint as the pace quickened towards the exciting conclusion.

A fantastic, well researched read which I hugely recommend to fans of intelligent spy novels.

Looking forward to the next instalment of this series.


Follow Robert Olen Butler on twitter: @RobtOlenButler
Check out his website



Sunday, 1 November 2015

BOOK REVIEW: BLOOD AXE BY LEIGH RUSSELL

My Thoughts on this serial killer thriller ......


BLOOD AXE
BY
LEIGH RUSSELL
(The 3rd book in the DI Ian Peterson series)


Published:  26 Nov 2015  (Paperback)

"Silently dipping his oars in the water he made his escape.  It was a weary journey, with few spoils to show for it.  Next time he would do better.  He looked back over his shoulder.  The bridge had disappeared, swallowed up by the darkness.  From its walkway he too had become invisible.  Only the bloody body of a woman showed he had been roaming the streets that night".
DI Ian Peterson investigates a series of gruesome and brutal murders in York.  As the body count mounts, the case demands all Ian's ingenuity. These are murders seemingly committed at random, and this is a killer who leaves no clues.







I've read several Leigh Russell stories before so I knew what to expect, with a killer, a puzzle, the detectives lives, the victims stories and a good storyline that's easy to read, and this followed a similar pattern.  

This is the third book in the Detective Inspector Ian Peterson series and we get to know more about him, this thoughts and feelings and his increasing marriage problems.  He's intelligent and caring and I really liked him as a main character as he tries to discover why anyone would kill random people who seem unconnected.

With a Viking theme throughout, the story moved along at a swift pace and interspersed with the murder investigation were the killer's thoughts which made for chilling reading.

Overall a good read which I enjoyed.


Saturday, 10 October 2015

Book Review: TRUST IN ME BY SOPHIE MCKENZIE


My Thoughts on this psychological thriller that I found a little too unbelievable .....


TRUST IN ME
BY
SOPHIE MCKENZIE

Paperback - Published - Sept 2014


 Julia has always been the friend that Livy turns to when life is difficult. United fifteen years ago by grief at the brutal murder of Livy's sister, Kara, they've always told each other everything. Or so Livy thought. So when Julia is found dead in her home, Livy cannot come to terms with the news that she chose to end her own life. The Julia that Livy knew was vibrant and vivacious, a far cry from the selfish neurotic that her family seem determined to paint her as. Troubled by doubt but alone in her suspicions, Livy sets out to prove that Julia was in fact murdered. But little does she realise that digging into her best friend's private life will cause her to question everything she thought she knew about Julia. And the truth that Livy discovers will tear the very fabric of her own life apart.



Overall I thought this was an engrossing read, as Livy tries to find out the truth about her friend Julia's suicide, she doesn't believe she killed herself, but everyone else thinks she did.

I liked Livy, I liked her honesty, her loyalty to her friend and her suspicious nature.  

The theme of the story is 'trust' ...... Livy is learning to trust her husband again after his affair, can she trust her instincts about her friend, she thought she knew Julia better than anyone else and, above all, can she trust Julia's boyfriend.

Although I did enjoy the story, there were certain elements that I struggled with.  The more I read it the more unbelievable some of the parts sounded.  Particularly the fact that her so-called best friend, the friend she trusted above everyone else, had a secret boyfriend that she didn't tell anyone about, a boyfriend that asked her to marry him (or so he told Livy).  I just found it difficult to believe that she didn't confide in her best friend Livy.  Of course, this all added to the mistrust and suspense built up throughout the story.

Sadly, because of my disbelief, this did spoil my enjoyment and I would only give this a 3/5 rating.

*************************************************************

Find out more about Sophie McKenzie at www.sophiemckenziebooks.com


Follow her on twitter @sophiemkenzie_


************************************************





Saturday, 22 August 2015

Book Review: THE TELLING ERROR BY SOPHIE HANNAH


My Thoughts on this ingenious psychological thriller .....


THE TELLING ERROR (Culver Valley Crime 9)
BY
SOPHIE HANNAH


Published:  April 2014

Genre:  Crime / Mystery / Thriller

Stuck in a traffic jam, Nicki Clements sees a face she hoped never to see again. It's definitely him, the same police officer, stopping each car on Elmhirst Road. Keen to avoid him, Nicki does a U-turn and makes a panicky escape. Or so she thinks. The next day, Nicki is pulled in for questioning in connection with the murder of Damon Blundy, controversial newspaper columnist and resident of Elmhirst Road. Nicki can't answer any of the questions detectives fire at her. She has no idea why the killer used a knife in such a peculiar way, or why 'HE IS NO LESS DEAD' was painted on Blundy's study wall. And she can't explain why she avoided Elmhirst Road that day without revealing the secret that could ruin her life. Because although Nicki is not guilty of murder, she is far from innocent ...




All she wanted to do was take her son's forgotten sports kit to school

Nicki is an anxious person, an anxious mother, a liar and she has a secret which makes her do stupid things.

When a local newspaper columnist is murdered Nicki is under suspicion as she's spotted on CCTV cameras passing his house several times during that day.  Even though she's totally innocent she lies to the police about her reasons for travelling and the more she lies the bigger the hole she's digging for herself.

Interspersed with her story are recent comments made by the controversial journalist, Damon Blundy, which I found long winded and boring.

I was glad when the story went back to Nicki and her life, she has an addiction, she enjoys the excitement, the thrill of nearly getting caught, she thinks "being bad and getting away with it: there's no feeling like it."

The journalist had many enemies, his column was very popular, he was very opinionated.
Which one of them loathed him enough to murder him is the problem facing the Culver Valley police including the two detectives from previous novels, Sergeant Charlie Zailer and DC Simon Waterhouse who are now married and I do find their relationship weird, I'm not sure if I like them.

There is a lot going on in this thriller ...... who killed Damon Blundy, the journalist, and why kill him in such a strange way, what are the secrets that Nicki doesn't want anyone to find out, why is she on such bad terms with her mother and brother, is there someone following her?

I enjoyed this story overall, it was full of twists and turns, I didn't guess whodunnit, though I thought there were too many coincidences in the end.


*****
The Telling Error is available from AmazonUK - Amazon.com - Book Depository



Follow me on twitter:


Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Cold Revenge by Jo A Hiestand Book Blast



Cold Revenge


by Jo A Hiestand


August 4 Book Blast





Synopsis:

coverOne year ago, Marta Hughes won a purse-choking sum of money at a local casino. She never returned home. Her body was discovered in a ditch twelve miles from her home; her car was back in her driveway. Linnet Isherwood cannot let her friend's unsolved murder rest. She convinces ex-cop Michael McLaren to return to the work he loves. He sifts through a confusing web of lies, misconceptions and veiled motives. Are anonymous late-night phone calls, a vanished hitchhiker, and a stalker wielding empty beer bottles somehow related to the case? Or maybe the woman he broke off with is seeking revenge.




Book Details:


Genre:  British Mystery


Published by:   The Wild Rose Press, Inc.


Publication Date:   March 20th 2015


Number of Pages:  360


ISBN:   978-1628308907


Purchase Links: Amazon  Barnes & Noble  Goodreads





Read an excerpt:


He brought the photo closer so he could stare at the woman. She appeared to be in her mid-forties, a brunette with hazel eyes that looked amusingly at the photographer. She came up to her husband’s chin. The husband was a graying brunet and while her son had inherited her eye color, he was blond. McLaren had no time to comment on this.

Linnet said, “The others…” She leaned forward, her left arm bent and supporting her, and tapped each photo as she mentioned their names. “The group shot is Marta, her boss, and the vet for the shelter. This…” She skipped over the others in the photograph and pointed to the woman to the extreme left. “That’s Verity Dwyer.”

“The wrongly suspected coworker.” The woman in the photo had auburn hair that shone in the sunlight; her blue eyes smiled at him.
Linnet nodded. “Yes. Suspected of killing Marta, though that wasn’t proved. But she was convicted of stealing money from the shelter. She’s three months into her sentence. She was… Oh, it’s extremely involved.”

“I’ve got more time than money. Tell me.”





Author Bio:

authorA true Anglophile, Jo Hiestand wanted to capture the traditional flavor of a detective crime novel and the intimate atmosphere of a British cozy. The result is the McLaren Case mystery series featuring ex-police detective Michael McLaren who now investigates cold cases on his own. 
Jo has combined her love of writing, board games and music by co-inventing P.I.R.A.T.E.S., the mystery-solving game that uses maps, graphics, song lyrics, and other clues to lead the players to the lost treasure.
In 2001 she graduated from Webster University with a BA degree in English and departmental honors.
Peter Lovesey, author of the Sergeant Cribb and Peter Diamond series, praises Jo’s writing: “Immaculate research, attention to detail and an elegant style are the hallmarks of Jo Hiestand’s writing. (Horns of a Dilemma is) an atmospheric novel.” 
Jo founded the Greater St. Louis Chapter of Sisters in Crime, serving as its first president. She is also a member of Mystery Writers of America.


Catch Up:
author's website author's twitter author's facebook



Tour Participants:






 


 

Giveaway:

This is a giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Jo A Hiestand. To win you must be a US resident and be able to provide a US mailing address within 24 hours of receiving an emailing notification of winning. The giveaway begins on Aug 3rd, 2015 and runs through Aug 15th, 2015.
a Rafflecopter giveaway


 


Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours


 



 



Friday, 31 July 2015

Book Review: THE PALE HOUSE BY LUKE MCCALLIN


My Thoughts on this intricate tale of corruption .........


THE PALE HOUSE
BY
LUKE MCCALLIN


Published:  27 Aug 2015
Publisher:  No Exit Press



German intelligence officer Captain Gregor Reinhardt has just been reassigned to the Feldjaegerkorps - a new branch of the military police with far-reaching powers. His position separates him from the friends and allies he has made in the last two years, including a circle of fellow dissenting Germans who formed a rough resistance cell against the Nazis. And he needs them now more than ever.
While retreating through Yugoslavia with the rest of the army, Reinhardt witnesses a massacre of civilians by the dreaded Ustaše - only to discover there is more to the incident than anyone believes. When five mutilated bodies turn up, Reinhardt knows the stakes are growing more important - and more dangerous.
As his investigation begins to draw the attention of those in power, Reinhardt’s friends and associates are made to suffer. But as he desperately tries to uncover the truth, his own past with the Ustaše threatens his efforts. Because when it comes to death and betrayal, some people have long memories. And they remember Reinhardt all too well.
*****
This is a follow up novel to The Man from Berlin which I haven't read and many references to that are made in this book.  
A decorated war hero and former detective, Gregor Reinhardt is a perfect fit for the new branch of military police who answer to no-one.
WWII is coming to an end and in Sarajevo Reinhardt discovers a civilian massacre but something doesn't add up and it niggles him but he doesn't know why.  Then, other murders are committed and Reinhardt really comes into his own when he digs deeper.
Although I thought this was a well written story, I struggled at times to remember all the characters, there were so many.  It is intricate and detailed with a good strong plot and, especially towards the end, fast-paced.
*****
Available from AmazonUK - AmazonUS

Monday, 20 July 2015

Book Review and Giveaway: CHEF MAURICE AND THE WRATH OF GRAPES BY J.A LANG Blog Tour


My Thoughts on this culinary cozy mystery ......

CHEF MAURICE AND THE WRATH OF GRAPES
(Chef Maurice Culinary Mysteries Book 2)
BY
J.A. LANG

Genre
Cozy Mystery (English Village, Culinary)
File Size: 489 KB
Print Length: 168 pages
Publisher: Purple Panda Press (July 13, 2015)
ASIN: B00WET7X64
goodreads-badge-add-plus





An invitation to dinner at the home of renowned wine collector Sir William Burton-Trent soon finds Chef Maurice in the middle of an all-too-real murder mystery party, when Sir William is found dead in his own wine cellar.
The guests are acting all innocent, but which one is only playing the part? The pushy Californian film director? The seductive French winemaker? 
Or could it be, against all narrative decency, the butler who did it?
With the help of food critic friend Arthur Wordington-Smythe, a large kipper sandwich, and the newly formed Cochon Rouge Wine Appreciation Society, Chef Maurice must get to the bottom of matters before events turn decidedly sour...




"If you were to describe body shapes via the medium of vegetables, Chef Maurice would be an extra large turnip"

I think it's fair to say that Chef Maurice loves his food!

This is the second in the Chef Maurice series, I haven't read the first but I think this can be read as a stand alone novel.

This was an enjoyable and quirky cozy mystery, full of possible suspects in an old English country house where the owner was found murdered in his own locked wine cellar.

I also liked the touch of romance with one of Chef Maurice's kitchen staff, and his 'sort of' girlfriend, the local PC Lucy.

I think this is the sort of fun cozy series that will be very popular with anyone who loves British mysteries that don't take themselves too seriously.

Looking forward to the next!

**********

About the Author


J.A. Lang is a British mystery writer, and author of the Chef Maurice Mysteries series.
She lives in Oxford, England, with her husband, an excessive number of cookbooks, and a sourdough starter named Bob.
Author Links
J.A. Lang on Facebook

*********

TOUR PARTICIPANTS
July 14 – Book Splurge – Review
July 15 – The Ninja Librarian – Review
July 16 – readalot – Review
July 17 – Shelley’s Book Case– Review
July 19 – Sapphyria’s Book Reviews – Spotlight
July 20 – Carole’s Book Corner – Review
July 21 – MysteriesEtc – Review
July 22 – LibriAmoriMiei – Review
July 23 – Frankie Bow – Spotlight
July 24 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – Review
July 25 – StoreyBook Reviews – Spotlight

To win your very own signed copy of Chef Maurice and the Wrath of Grapes and a cool looking mug click on the picture below, where you'll be taken to the author's website
Open to US and UK residents over 18 only
Giveaway ends on 30 July 2015 at 11.59 PM GMT






Follow me on twitter: 



LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...