Sunday, March 26, 2017

The Endicott Evil by Gregory Harris

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The Endicott Evil
by Gregory Harris


ISBN-13: 9781617738890
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Kensington Books
Released: March 28, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
In Victorian London, there exists no greater investigative team than master sleuth Colin Pendragon and his loyal partner, Ethan Pruitt. But it will take all their powers of deduction to determine if a fatal fall was a result of misery or murder . . .

Adelaide Endicott—elderly sister of Lord Thomas Endicott, a senior member of Parliament—has plummeted to her death from the third-floor window of her bedroom at Layton Manor. Did she take her own life—or was she pushed? Although Scotland Yard believes it is a clear case of suicide, Adelaide’s sister Eugenia is convinced otherwise . . .

Pendragon and Pruitt look into the victim’s troubled mental state while simultaneously exploring who might have had a motive to push Adelaide to her death. As they search for the truth, they uncover a family history involving scandalous secrets, abuse, and trauma.


My Review:
The Endicott Evil is a mystery set in London around 1895. It's the fifth book in a series. They're trying to wrap up the loose ends on the Connicle case (from book 3), so that case was thoroughly discussed. I probably would have enjoyed that part of the story more if I'd read the beginnings of the case. They're also investigating the Endicott case, which worked as a stand-alone mystery.

Pendragon and Pruitt seem intended to be a Holmes and Watson duo, only they're gay (as indicated by a few comments and actions; it's not a major aspect of the story). Pendragon is a brilliant detective that sees clues that others completely miss and solves mysteries that seemed unsolvable. Pruitt managed to spot a few critical clues without realizing what they were until Pendragon explained their significance. However, Pruitt's main role seemed to be to manage Pendragon, usually by smoothing over his socially incorrect or rude behavior with others.

The Endicott case was clue-based. I could see where it was going, but the critical clues to whodunit were not revealed by Pendragon until the big reveal at the end. The Connicle case mainly involved tracking a woman down. I was a bit baffled why the duo didn't anticipate what happened at the end since they knew she was dangerous.

There was no sex. There was a fair amount of bad language.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Monday, March 20, 2017

The Elusive Miss Ellison by Carolyn Miller

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The Elusive Miss Ellison
by Carolyn Miller


ISBN-13: 9780825444500
Trade Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Kregel Publications
Released: Feb. 28, 2017

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Pride, prejudice, and forgiveness... Hampton Hall's new owner has the villagers of St. Hampton Heath all aflutter--all except Lavinia Ellison. The reverend's daughter cares for those who are poor and sick, and the seventh Earl of Hawkesbury definitely does not meet that criteria. His refusal to take his responsibilities seriously leaves her convinced he is as arrogant and reckless as his brother, who killed Lavinia's mother in an accident.

Nicholas Stamford is shadowed by guilt: his own, his brother's, the legacy of war. A perfunctory visit to this dreary part of Gloucestershire wasn't supposed to engage his heart, or his mind. Challenged by Miss Ellison's fascinating blend of Bluestocking opinions, hoydenish behavior, and angelic voice, he finds the impossible becoming possible--he begins to care. But Lavinia's aloof manner, society's opposition and his ancestral obligations prove most frustrating. Can Lavinia and Nicholas look beyond painful pasts and present pride to see their future?


My Review:
The Elusive Miss Ellison is a Christian romance set in 1813 in England. After experiencing war, Nicholas has decided that caring brings too much pain, so he hides behind rudeness and pride. He's also burdened by guilt for things in his past. Lavinia has been raised to look down on those who neglect the poor, so she frequently scolds Nicholas for his pride and lack of interest in his poor tenants. She soon realizes that her behavior is also rooted in pride, so she attempts to remind Nicholas of God's love instead of pointing out Nicholas' failures.

Nicholas and Lavinia quickly became likable characters who had some depth and complexity. They generally mean well even though they sometimes behaved poorly, and they helped each other to see the pride and prejudice they had in their hearts. They were better people for having met each other.

The historical details acted as a backdrop to the story, though the social expectations of the time played a vital role. Nicholas was expected to marry a rich woman from the higher classes, and Lavinia's father is too poor for her to be acceptable.

There was no bad language or sex. Overall, I'd recommend this enjoyable story.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Mistaken Identity by Shirlee McCoy

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Mistaken Identity
by Shirlee McCoy


ISBN-13: 9780373456925
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense Large Print
Released: March 7, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
Mason Gains creates prosthetics for war veterans--prosthetics that contain a tracking chip. When a key witness in a military trial goes missing, both sides of the case want to use that tracking information to find the witness but Mason refuses to give it up.

Trinity Miller has tracked down the reclusive Mason Gains to ask him to fit her best friend's son with a prosthetic. She's shocked when she's attacked and nearly kidnapped by a man who mistakenly believes she's Mason Gains's girlfriend.

Now Trinity must work with the former army pilot while he finds a way to take down the men trying to break into his computer system and keep Trinity safe.


My Review:
Mistaken Identity is a Christian suspense novel. It's the seventh book in a series, but you don't need to read the previous books to understand this one.

The characters were nice people who struggled with realistic problems. Trinity feels like she needs to prove her worth after a failed relationship and doubts about her career choice. Mason also has past relationship traumas which have led to his refusal to make prosthetics for kids, the very thing that Trinity wants from him. With bad guys determined to kidnap Trinity and kill anyone who gets in their way, there's plenty of suspense. They have to fight off the bad guys while trying to track down exactly who they are.

The Christian element was their coming to understand that God has a good plan for their lives. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this enjoyable suspense novel.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Found: Psalm 23

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Found: Psalm 23
by Sally Lloyd-Jones
Illustrated by: Jago


ISBN-13: 9780310757504
Board book: 20 pages
Publisher: Zonderkidz
Released: Feb. 21, 2017

Source: Review copy from the publisher through BookLook.

Book Description, Modified from BookLook:
Found is based on Psalm 23. Written by Sally Lloyd-Jones and illustrated by Jago, little ones will fall in love with this padded cover board book that reminds them of God’s never stopping, never giving up, unbreakable, always and forever love.


My Review:
Found: Psalm 23 is a board book for young children (suggested for 4-8 years old). It loosely translates Psalm 23 using simple words and ideas so that a child can understand it. It has the reader (as a lamb) and God (as the shepherd) as the main characters. The lamb and shepherd have very expressive body language despite the somewhat loose illustration style. (It's clear what everything in the illustrations is meant to be, yet it's not highly detailed.) The colors used and the body language of the characters reinforced the peaceful or frightening moments.

I've been looking for a book that would help to describe God to a very young child. This book clearly shows how God cares for us by providing us with food and everything we need. How he guides us, protects us, etc. And it ends with "Wherever I go, I know // God's never stopping, never giving up, unbreaking, always and forever love will go, too."

My favorite part is the illustrations and text for the "Even when I walk through the dark, scary, lonely places... // I won't be afraid. Because my Shepherd knows where I am. He is here with me." I'd highly recommend this comforting and engaging board book.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.
(Amazon's "Look Inside" feature shows more of the book.)

Sunday, March 12, 2017

A Pilgrimage to Murder by Paul Doherty

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A Pilgrimage to Murder
by Paul Doherty


ISBN-13: 9781780290966
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Creme de La Crime
Released: March 1, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
Summer, 1381. The Great Revolt has been crushed; the king’s peace ruthlessly enforced. Brother Athelstan meanwhile is preparing for a pilgrimage to St Thomas a Becket’s shrine in Canterbury to give thanks for the wellbeing of his congregation after the violent rebellion.

But preparations are disrupted when Athelstan is summoned to a modest house in Cheapside, scene of a brutal triple murder. One of the victims was the chief clerk of the Secret Chancery of John of Gaunt. Could this be an act of revenge by the Upright Men, those rebels who survived the Great Revolt?

Then Athelstan and others start receiving menacing messages from an assassin who calls himself Azrael, the Angel of Death. Who is he – and why is he targeting a harmless friar?


My Review:
A Pilgrimage to Murder is a historical mystery set in 1381 in England. It's the 16th book in a series. You don't need to read the previous novels to understand this one, and this novel didn't spoil the previous mysteries. Much time was spent describing setting and historical details. The pilgrimage didn't start until nearly 60% of the way into the story, and they only traveled one day before it came to a halt.

Since people were being mysteriously murdered throughout the story and Athelstan was a target, it could have been very suspenseful. But so much time was spent describing the setting that it slowed the pace and dulled that suspense.

There were clues as to whodunit, but Athelstan kept some of the clues to himself until the big reveal. Still, I was able to guess whodunit (and was mostly correct). There was enough complexity to what was going on that there will be surprises as Athelstan describes who did what.

There were no graphic sex scenes or bad language. However, the many dead bodies were described in detail, from strangulation to decapitation to rotting heads on pikes. I enjoyed the historical detail and the characters, but I would have preferred less graphic detail about the corpses.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Friday, March 10, 2017

Pekoe Most Poison by Laura Childs

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Pekoe Most Poison
by Laura Childs


ISBN-13: 9780425281680
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Released: March 7, 2017

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description from Back Cover:
When Indigo Tea Shop owner Theodosia Browning is invited by Doreen Briggs, one of Charleston’s most prominent hostesses, to a “Rat Tea,” she is understandably intrigued. As servers dressed in rodent costumes and wearing white gloves offer elegant finger sandwiches and fine teas, Theo learns these parties date back to early twentieth-century Charleston, where the cream of society would sponsor so-called rat teas to promote city rodent control and better public health.

But this party goes from odd to chaotic when a fire starts at one of the tables and Doreen’s entrepreneur husband suddenly goes into convulsions and drops dead. Has his favorite orange pekoe tea been poisoned? Theo smells a rat.

The distraught Doreen soon engages Theo to pursue a discreet inquiry into who might have murdered her husband. As Theo and her tea sommelier review the guest list for suspects, they soon find themselves drawn into a dangerous game of cat and mouse...


My Review:
Pekoe Most Poison is a cozy mystery. It's the 18th book in a series. You don't need to read the previous books to understand this story, and this book didn't spoil the previous ones.

The main characters acted fairly mature and respectable in this book. They asked good questions and found a number of people who had motives and opportunity. I suspected whodunit from the moment we're introduced to that character, but whodunit was not obvious. Afterward, I had to think a bit to identify why I was suspicious of whodunit and no one else.

I know I grumble about heroines who nearly end up victims of whodunit, and this ending really flipped things. But I was really baffled as to why the heroine didn't just call the police when she realized whodunit as her behavior was unnecessary and could have landed her in trouble.

There was a minor amount of "mild" bad language and no sex. Overall, I'd recommend this enjoyable story.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

The Cheltenham Square Murder by John Bude

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The Cheltenham Square Murder
by John Bude


ISBN-13: 9781464206696
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Released: March 7, 2017

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
In the seeming tranquility of Regency Square in Cheltenham live the diverse inhabitants of its ten houses. One summer’s evening, the square’s rivalries and allegiances are disrupted by a sudden and unusual death – an arrow to the head, shot through an open window at no. 6.

Unfortunately for the murderer, Superintendent Meredith is visiting his friend, the crime writer Aldous Barnet. Three days after his arrival, Meredith finds himself investigating the shocking murder two doors down. Six of the square’s inhabitants are keen members of the Wellington Archery Club, but if Meredith thought that the case was going to be easy to solve, he was wrong…


My Review:
The Cheltenham Square Murder is a mystery novel that was originally published in 1937 and is set in England. The mystery was a clue-based puzzle.

Meredith and the local detective interview people and follow up on clues. I was certain of whodunit at a little over halfway through. I enjoyed the story, but I was disappointed that the normally observant and smart Superintendent Meredith overlooked what seemed a pretty obvious clue or two until the end. However, part of howdunit did come as a surprise to me.

There was no sex. There was a fair amount of bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this enjoyable mystery.


If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.