Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Dragon Raider by Ava Richardson

book cover
Dragon Raider
by Ava Richardson


ISBN-13: 9781986793100
ebook: 294 pages
Publisher: Relay Publishing
Released: March 24, 2018

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Far from the kingdom of Torvald, on the Western Isles near the coast, Lila is the daughter of the Raider leader, destined to take his place one day aboard their plundering ships. But Lila wants the Raiders to become Dragon Mercenaries, dragon riders who help protect merchant fleets and navies from attack. Her father Kasian is skeptical, but a young mage named Danu—with a quest of his own—comes bearing a prophecy claiming that Lila is the lost heir of Roskilde.

With Danu’s guidance, Lila finds the dragon she’s destined to bond with—but the mismatched pair soon learn that much more than just their futures is at stake.


My Review:
Dragon Raider is a young adult fantasy novel. The heroine is a young woman who was adopted as an orphaned baby by the leaders of the Sea Raiders, a group of people reminiscent of the Vikings. She wants to bond with a dragon and create a Dragon Raider group because the Sea Raiders' ships are getting destroyed by an evil, neighboring, usurper King. But the heroine no longer quite fits in with the Sea Raiders once she tries to forge a new path, even if it's one that will save them.

Danu is a young man with the ability to do magic and speak with dragons. He was training with the witches when the leader of the witches had a dream prophecy. Now Danu is committed to finding the rightful heir to the throne of Roskilde, who will stand against the returning darkening. However, convincing the heroine that he is trustworthy and that she is the princess is the least of his problems. Not everyone is convinced that a Sea Raider heir can ever be on the right side of a war.

The characters were interesting and acted realistically. The world building was woven into the story. There was a lot of action and suspense, including several battles. There was no sex. There was a very minor amount of bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this interesting and exciting fantasy.


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.


Sunday, April 22, 2018

Shot in the Dark by Cleo Coyle

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Shot in the Dark
by Cleo Coyle


ISBN-13: 9780451488848
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Released: April 17, 2018

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
As Village Blend manager Clare Cosi attempts to finalize a date for her wedding, her ex-husband becomes addicted to making dates through smartphone swipes. Clare has mixed feelings about these quickie matchups happening in her coffeehouse. Even her octogenarian employer is selecting suitors by screenshot! But business is booming, and Clare works hard to keep the espresso shots flowing. Then one dark night, another kind of shot leaves a dead body for her to find.

Now, with the help of her ex and crew of quirky baristas, Clare starts "swiping" through suspects in her own shop, determined to find the real killer before another shot rings out.


My Review:
Shot in the Dark is a cozy mystery about drugs and dating apps. This novel is the 17th in the series. You don't need to read the previous novels to understand this one, and this story didn't spoil the whodunit of the previous books.

The story mainly focused on a dating app that encouraged people to casually hook up and dump each other. A woman uses Clare's shop to dramatically threaten to shoot a man who verbally abuses women after dates. Videos go viral. Clare tries to save the coffee shop's reputation while solving two murders. Clare asked good questions and noticed things that didn't seem right, so there were clues. You can tell who were bad guys. However, what's going on is complex enough that it was difficult to know precisely who did what until the end.

There was a fair amount of bad language. Clare and her boyfriend frequently headed for the bedroom, but it was fade-to-black style; there were no graphic sex scenes. Overall, I'd recommend this interesting 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.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Friday, April 20, 2018

In Prior's Wood by G. M. Malliet

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In Prior's Wood
by G. M. Malliet


ISBN-13: 9781250092809
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Released: April 17, 2018

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Newly returned from investigating a murder in Monkslip-super-Mare, handsome Max Tudor wants nothing more than to settle back into his predictable routine as vicar of St. Edwold’s Church in the village of Nether Monkslip. But the flow of his sermon on Bathsheba is interrupted when the lady of the local manor house is found in a suicide pact with her young lover.

Lady Duxter’s husband rallies quickly from the double tragedy―too quickly, it is murmured in the village. When a young girl goes missing and a crime writer becomes a target, DCI Cotton asks Max to lend his MI5 expertise to the investigation.


My Review:
In Prior's Wood is a mystery set in England. This is the seventh book in a series. You don't need to read the previous books to understand this one, and this one did not spoil the mysteries of the previous books.

Details about the setting were woven into the story, making the village seem a distinct, unique place full of interesting people. The point of view was distant rather than deeply in someone's head, so we got the background and thoughts of a number of characters. Max, an Anglican priest married to a Wiccan, was the main point-of-view character. People came to him to share their concerns about things that happened, and Max gleaned clues from these conversations. He helped his detective friend solve the mystery. We're not told everything that Max hears, thinks, or does, so some things came as a surprise and were explained only at the end. Even so, there were enough clues that I strongly suspected whodunit.

There were no sex scenes. There was occasional use of bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this interesting and relaxing 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.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

A Death of No Importance by Mariah Fredericks

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A Death of No Importance
by Mariah Fredericks


ISBN-13: 9781250152978
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Released: April 10, 2018

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
New York City, 1910. Invisible until she’s needed, Jane Prescott has perfected the art of serving as a ladies’ maid to the city’s upper echelons. When she takes up a position with the Benchley family, dismissed by the city’s elite as “new money”, Jane realizes that while she may not have financial privilege, she has a power they do not—she understands the rules of high society. The Benchleys cause further outrage when their daughter Charlotte becomes engaged to notorious playboy Norrie, the son of the eminent Newsome family.

But when Norrie is found murdered at a party, Jane discovers she is uniquely positioned—she’s a woman no one sees, but who witnesses everything; who possesses no social power, but that of fierce intellect—and therefore has the tools to solve his murder. There are many with grudges to bear: from the family Norrie was supposed to marry into, to the survivors of a tragic accident in a mine owned by the Newsomes, to the rising anarchists who are sick of those born into wealth getting away with anything they want. Jane also knows that in both high society and the city’s underbelly, morals can become cheap in the wrong hands: scandal and violence simmer just beneath the surface—and can break out at any time.


My Review:
A Death of No Importance is a mystery set in 1910 in New York City. I loved that the lady's maid was able to solve the mystery because of her skill set. Jane knew a wine stain from a blood stain, how different stain patterns might happen (jostled elbow, etc.), and noticed things that were out of place, all because it's her job to clean these things up. She was wise in how she gathered clues and intelligent in her ability to put the clues together. Since so many people had motive and opportunity, it wasn't an easy task to narrow things down. While one character seemed the most likely murderer to me, I wasn't certain about whodunit until the very end.

Vivid historical and setting details were woven into the mystery, and the writing immersed me in the story. It felt like this really could have happened and that these people once lived. The characters acted realistically and were interesting and varied. I cared about what happened to the various characters, even the less likable ones. I understood why they acted as they did.

There were no sex scenes, though a past rape was described in vague terms by one character. There was a minor amount of bad language. Overall, I'd highly recommend this historical 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.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

The Leavenworth Case by Anna Katharine Green

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The Leavenworth Case
by Anna Katharine Green


ISBN-13: 9780486823508
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Dover Publications
Released: April 18. 2018

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description from Goodreads:
Horatio Leavenworth, a wealthy merchant and pillar of nineteenth-century New York society, has been found shot to death in his Fifth Avenue mansion. Circumstances point to a member of his household as the killer and particularly to his lovely nieces, one of whom will inherit his fortune. The idea of a lady murderer, especially one of the Leavenworths' social stature, is almost too shocking to entertain, although the evidence — a broken key, an incriminating letter, and an overheard snatch of conversation — points toward the young nieces. But which one?

This brilliantly plotted tale of love, greed, sacrifice, and betrayal introduced the first American series detective, Ebenezer Gryce, and is widely considered the first full-length detective story written by a woman. The suspenseful bestseller is credited with attracting writers to a genre previously considered unworthy of serious literary attention. It remains not only a fascinating whodunit but also an absorbing look at nineteenth-century mores and manners.


My Review:
The Leavenworth Case is a mystery set in New York City that was first published in 1878. A rich man is found murdered in a locked library, and a niece who will inherit little is caught destroying evidence along with the key to the library. The clues soon point suspicion instead toward someone who has much more to gain from the death, but did that person commit the murder or get someone else to do it?

While I initially correctly guessed whodunit, the clues pointed first here and then there, so I was no longer certain about who did it until the confession at the end. The main character was a gentleman in whom the ladies and others trusted and confided. He helped the official detective to gather clues, but the detective was the one to provoke the confession.

The characters were interesting and a product of their time, but they weren't highly developed. There was no sex or bad language (beyond a few exclamations referring to God by people who believed in God). Overall, I'd recommend this interesting and complex 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.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Cinco de Murder by Rebecca Adler

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Cinco de Murder
by Rebecca Adler


ISBN-13: 9780425275955
Mass Market Paperback:
304 pages
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Released: April 3, 2018

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
It's fiesta time in Broken Boot, Texas, and tourists are pouring into town faster than free beer at a bull roping for the mouthwatering Cinco de Mayo festivities. Tex-Mex waitress Josie Callahan, her feisty abuela, and even her spunky Chihuahua Lenny are polishing their folklorico dances for Saturday's big parade, while Uncle Eddie is adding his own spicy event to the fiesta menu: Broken Boot's First Annual Charity Chili Cook-off.

But Uncle Eddie's hopes of impressing the town council go up in smoke when cantankerous chili cook Lucky Straw is found dead in his tent. And when Josie's beloved uncle is accused of fatal negligence, she, Lenny, and the steadfast Detective Lightfoot must uncover who ended the ambitious chilihead's life--before another cook kicks the bucket.


My Review:
Cinco de Murder is a cozy mystery. It is the third in a series, but you don't need to read the previous novels in order to understand this one. This book did not spoil the previous mysteries.

I enjoyed the characters more than the mystery. The people were interesting and full of personality while still acting realistically. Josie had integrity about not sharing information that she'd been asked not to share, which I appreciated. I liked how the growing attraction between Josie and Lightfoot was portrayed.

The detective wasn't sure that the death even was a murder, but Josie kept coming up with possible murder scenarios. She changed her scenario every time she learned new information, so it's not surprising that she didn't solve whodunnit until that person basically confessed when confronting her. At least she managed to get free and help stop that person from fleeing justice. However, I never was clear exactly how the murder was done, though the general method was given.

There was no sex. There was one use of mild bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this fun 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.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

The Bengal Identity by Eileen Watkins

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The Bengal Identity
by Eileen Watkins


ISBN-13: 9781496710581
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Kensington
Released: March 27, 2018

Source: ARC review copy from the publisher through Amazon Vine.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
With no ID for his pet, an agitated young man shows up at Cassie's Comfy Cats claiming his house has burned down and he needs to board his big, brown cat, Ayesha. But after a bath washes dye out of the cat's coat and reveals beautiful spots, Cassie suspects the exotic-looking feline may in fact be a valuable Bengal show cat, possibly stolen. At the same time, there are rumored sightings of a "wild cat" in the hills of Chadwick, New Jersey. Could there be a connection?

When Ayesha's alleged owner turns up dead, it looks like whoever wants the beautiful Bengal is not pussyfooting around. Working with the police, Cassie and her staff need to be careful not to reveal the purloined purebred's whereabouts while they discreetly make inquiries to cat breeders to find her real owners. But after a break-in attempt rattles Cassie's cage, it's clear someone let the cat out of the bag. And when a second body is found, it's up to Cassie to spot the killer, who may be grooming her to be the next victim .


My Review:
The Bengal Identity is a cozy mystery. It is the second book in a series, but you don't need to read the previous book to understand this one. The previous mystery was not spoiled in this book.

The main character was a nice person who cared about others. She asked intelligent questions and was good at spotting things that should be investigated. The mystery involved exotic cats and illegal breeding operations. There were only a few possible suspects, so it wasn't too difficult to figure out whodunit. However, the story still kept me interested all the way to the end.

There were no sex scenes. There was some bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this enjoyable and interesting cat-related 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.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.