Sunday, July 14, 2019

Cold Aim by Janice Cantore

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Cold Aim
by Janice Cantore


ISBN-13: 9781496423788
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Tyndale House
Released: July 9, 2019

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description from Goodreads:
Police Chief Tess O'Rourke's small town is still reeling from a devastating fire when the FBI asks for help: Could she shelter a witness in a high-profile human trafficking case? Initially reluctant to put the townspeople of Rogue's Hollow at risk, Tess is swayed after she sees Pastor Oliver Macpherson's genuine conviction to rescue those in need, a trait in him she's coming to love more each day.

Tess's fledgling faith is tested when crews of workmen from out of town come in to assist with the fire cleanup and she worries that one of these strangers might shine a light on things best kept hidden. Neither she nor Oliver knows that Rogue's Hollow is already home to a suspect from a twenty-five-year-old murder case . . . and someone is taking cold aim at those Tess is sworn to protect.


My Review:
Cold Aim is a Christian suspense novel. It's the third book in a series but works fine as a stand alone. One person's actions during a suspenseful event from the previous novel were briefly "spoiled" in this one, so you may wish to read the novels in order.

Tess lives out justice as the police chief, but she's increasingly attracted to the mercy and compassion shown by Oliver. Pastor Oliver admires Tess' courage, but he's also frighten he might lose her to death like he did his wife. Everyone else seems to feel that a romance between a pastor and a cop will never work. Tess deals with these doubts while trying to keep the town safe. A fire sweeps through the area and the crew hired to clean-up afterward contains at least one criminal. A poacher is illegally killing animals. A couple who lost their house in the fire regularly argues--loudly--and Tess fears it may turn into domestic violence. And Tess is asked to help a human trafficking victim who agreed to testify and bring down a trafficking ring, but she needs to be secretly hidden until the trial because assassins will probably be sent after her.

So, constant suspense! The characters acted realistically, and I cared about what happened to them. I liked Tess's compassion and determination to keep her town safe and Pastor Oliver's willingness to show God's love to people, even those that other people thought were hopeless. Several characters question why God doesn't stop every bad thing from happening and if there are people so evil and hard that they're beyond hope. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this engaging, suspenseful 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.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Eye Spy by Mercedes Lackey

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Eye Spy
by Mercedes Lackey


ISBN-13: 9780756413200
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Daw Books
Released: July 9, 2019

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Mags, Herald Spy of Valdemar, and his wife, Amily, the King’s Own Herald, are happily married with three kids. When their daughter, Abidela, senses the imminent collapse of a bridge, she saves many lives. The experience uncovers her unique Gift—an ability to sense the physical strains in objects. Intrigued by the potential of her Gift, the Artificers train her in math and construction techniques. Her Gift may also grant her an advantage as a spy. With the help of her mentors, she must hone her gift to uncover hidden secrets.


My Review:
Eye Spy is a fantasy novel for tweens and teens. While the story works as a stand alone novel, you'll better understand some of the references made in the story if you've read more of the Valdemar series. Frankly, this story felt fragmented--like it was several short stories about Abidela put into one book. She's confronted with a bully but immediately took care of that threat because she's smart and talented. She needed to learn to use her Gift, yet that's more summarized than seen, so not much suspense built up there. Then she helped her dad briefly by working as a spy. So a series of short adventures, and most didn't contain a notable challenge because she's so talented and smart.

The usual underdog fight against dangerous evil people didn't start until the last quarter of the book, so there wasn't a lot of time to develop the conflict, and the ending felt rushed. It was an enjoyable story, there just wasn't a lot of suspense since the problems were resolved so quickly. There was no sex. There was some bad language (including b**ch).


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, July 10, 2019

Framed in Lace by Monica Ferris

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Framed in Lace
by Monica Ferris


ISBN-13: 9780425171493
Mass Market Paperback:
243 pages
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Released: October 1, 1999

Source: Borrowed from my local library.

Book Description from Goodreads:
When the historic Hopkins ferry is raised from the lake, a skeleton is discovered. Unfortunately, the only evidence is a piece of lace-like fabric. But once Betsy Devonshire and the patrons of her needlecraft shop lend a hand, they're sure to stitch together the details of this mystery.


My Review:
Framed in Lace is a cozy mystery. It's the second book in a series. You don't need to read the first book to understand this one, and the whodunit of the previous mystery is not spoiled in this one.

I like how the heroine reasons out the clues (all the clues must fit), is concerned about innocent people's reputations being damaged by her digging up secrets, and realizes that finding a murderer can be dangerous. I like how the characters generally act and react like realistic people. Godwin came across as a cliche character in this story, so it's comforting to know that later in the series (where I started reading) that he turns into a realistic, complex person instead of a stereotype.

The mystery was a clue-based puzzle mystery. It was fun trying to get all the clues to fit into a reasonable sequence and to determine whodunit. I was fairly certain of whodunit before the end, but it took all the clues to unravel the sequence of events.

There was no sex. There was occasional use of bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this enjoyable puzzle 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, July 7, 2019

Season of Darkness by Cora Harrison

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Season of Darkness
by Cora Harrison


ISBN-13: 9780727888761
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: Severn House Publishers
Released: July 1, 2019

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
When Inspector Field shows his friend Charles Dickens the body of a young woman dragged from the River Thames, he cannot have foreseen that the famous author would immediately recognize the victim as Isabella Gordon, a housemaid he had tried to help through his charity. Nor that Dickens and his fellow writer Wilkie Collins would determine to find out who killed her. Who was Isabella blackmailing, and why? Led on by a series of notes discovered by Isabella's friend Sesina, the two men track the murdered girl's journeys from Greenwich to Snow Hill, from Smithfield Market to St Bartholomews, and put their wits to work on uncovering her past. But what does Sesina know that she's choosing not to tell them? And is she doomed to follow in the footsteps of the unfortunate Isabella


My Review:
Season of Darkness is a mystery set in 1853 in London. Wilkie Collins helped his friend Charles Dickens to solve the murder of a maid that Dickens once tried to help educate through Urania Cottage. Wilkie and Sesina, a maid who was best friends with the dead girl, were the main view point characters. They went about solving the murder in their own ways, though Sesina was tempted to blackmail the murderer (since she feels she's very clever) while Wilkie and Dickens wanted to turn whodunit in to Inspector Field. The characters were interesting and well developed. Even the secondary characters had realistic motives for why they acted as they did (hiding information, searching for answers, etc.).

Historical details about what London was like at the time were woven into the story and played a role in the mystery. Suspense was created by the danger to Sesina as she tried to uncover several people's secrets in her attempts to discover whodunit. While I correctly guessed whodunit early on, it was very reasonable that the characters didn't see it. I read this book out loud read, and the other two "readers" didn't think I was right even up to the reveal, so whodunit isn't obvious. We all enjoyed the story. There was no sex. There were a few uses of bad language. Overall, I'd highly recommend this enjoyable 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.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Cold Case Secrets by Maggie K. Black

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Cold Case Secrets
by Maggie K. Black


ISBN-13: 9781335232212
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense
Released: July 2, 2019

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGally.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Solving his sister’s murder is Mountie Jacob Henry’s only priority—until his daring helicopter rescue of Grace Finch leaves them stranded in the Canadian wilderness. Now with a storm raging and escaped convicts in pursuit, Jacob and Grace must rely on each other for survival. But when Jacob discovers Grace’s deadly secret, can he look past it in the fight for their lives?


My Review:
Cold Case Secrets is a Christian romantic suspense novel. It is the 4th in a series, but it works as a stand-alone. The hero feels guilt over not being there to stop is little sister's (unsolved) murder when they were children, so he chose a job involving rescuing people. The heroine is a smart and capable journalist who's determined to be the opposite of her secret, biological father--a criminal and murderer. Only he's threatening to ruin her career by exposing their relationship, so she's traveled deep into the wilderness to retrieve evidence that he says is there and will prove his innocence. But three killers just made a prison break and are armed and roaming free in that same area.

The hero seemed determined to force the heroine into the damsel in distress role by removing her means of defending herself. I'm not convinced that he wouldn't have immediately allowed a man trained to use firearms to keep the extra gun given the situation. I understand he's a strict rule follower and didn't quite trust her, but the convicts were armed and trying to kill her. Still, she refused be a helpless victim and rescued him as much as he rescued her. It took him a while, but he started trusting her and treating her more like a competent partner even as he worked to protect her.

Suspense was created by the continuous physical danger from the wilderness and the killers. I enjoyed the characters and cared about what happened to them. The romance developed as they got to know each other. They became better people and found healing through what they went through together. The hero freely prayed to God for help and protection, and the heroine started doing so after having been angry at God for years. 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, July 3, 2019

The Doorbell Rang by Rex Stout

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The Doorbell Rang
by Rex Stout


ISBN-13: 9780553237214
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Bantam
Released: 1965; June 1992

Source: Borrowed from the library.

Book Description from Goodreads:
When Rachel Bruner sends out copies of a book critical of the FBI to 10,000 influential people, the agency begins harassing her. Then she hires Nero Wolfe to make them stop, and once he's discovered the bureau's weak spot, he sets in motion a scheme guaranteed to force the FBI to leave both him and Rachel alone.


My Review:
The Doorbell Rang is a historical mystery set in New York City (though it was a contemporary mystery when it was written in 1965). This story was more a challenge to Nero Wolfe to do the impossible rather than a complex mystery. A murder mystery was involved, but Archie Goodwin figured out whodunit fairly quickly. I enjoyed the humorous tone of Archie as he told the story, and Wolfe did, indeed, come up with a clever way to best the FBI.

There was no sex. There was some bad language. I'd recommend starting with one of the actual mystery novels if you've never read a Nero Wolfe story since Wolfe is usually about solving complex mysteries. However, this book is certainly worth reading if you're a fan.


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, June 30, 2019

Sup with the Devil by Barbara Hamilton

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Sup with the Devil
by Barbara Hamilton


ISBN-13: 9780425243206
Trade Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Released: October 4, 2011

Source: Bought from Half.com.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
After an attempt on the life of her young nephew Horace, Abigail Adams, wife of attorney John Adams, travels to Harvard to investigate. A mysterious woman hired Horace to translate some Arabic, then left him at the mercy of her henchmen. He survived-with a tale of pirate treasure...

Meanwhile one of Horace's fellow students--loyal to the King--is murdered. The Sons of Liberty are desperate to find the rumored gold, but Abigail wants the truth. For the Devil's treasure comes with a curse that could bring down anyone, regardless of where their allegiance lies.


My Review:
Sup with the Devil is a historical mystery set in (and around) Boston in the spring of 1774. This book is the third 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.

My enjoyment of the previous two Abigail Adam's mysteries was mainly due to the nicely portrayed political tension--and yet personal respect--between Abigail and Coldstone as they worked to solve the mystery. But there is no Coldstone in this book. I also previously liked how Abigail was a part of everything and yet could view people as being real people instead of simply "us" and "them." Yet in this book, Abigail has gone from sympathy toward slaves to very anti-slavery with no explanation beyond the anti-slavery theme of the book. I was also surprised at Abigail's sudden change from troubled by Sam Adam's actions to practically vilifying him (and for fictional actions, too). I found this sudden change confusing.

The author also frequently combined two sentences into one in a disjointed way, which made Abigail come across as scatterbrained or distracted. There were sentences like, "Her mind returned to Johnny as she made ready for bed ("Now I've a clean hairbrush that I keep for those who're taken by circumstances unexpectedly...[and more chatter, presumably from the innkeeper])." or "While waiting for Mr. Metcalfe's reply--he had assured John of the occasion of their last meeting that any help I can be, to you or any of yours--Abigail walked from the Golden Stair to the town jail, only to be told by Sheriff Congreve that Diomede, still half-stupefied, had slipped back into a heavy sleep."

However, as in the previous books, the vivid historical details about the everyday life and politics were skillfully woven into the story. The characters reacted realistically to the situations, and I always understood their motives. The mystery was an interesting clue-based puzzle. Whodunit was guessable, and I was absolutely certain who it was long before Abigail even considered the option.

There was no sex. There was a very minor 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.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Friday, June 28, 2019

No Ocean Too Wide by Carrie Turansky

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No Ocean Too Wide
by Carrie Turansky


ISBN-13: 9780525652939
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Multnomah Books
Released: June 25, 2019

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Between the years of 1869 to 1939 more than 100,000 poor British children were sent across the ocean to Canada with the promise of a better life. Those who took them in to work as farm laborers or household servants were told they were orphans–but was that the truth?

After the tragic loss of their father, the McAlister family is living at the edge of the poorhouse in London in 1908, leaving their mother to scrape by for her three younger children, while oldest daughter, Laura, works on a large estate more than an hour away. When Edna McAlister falls gravely ill and is hospitalized, twins Katie and Garth and eight-year-old Grace are forced into an orphans’ home before Laura is notified about her family’s unfortunate turn of events in London. With hundreds of British children sent on ships to Canada, whether truly orphans or not, Laura knows she must act quickly. But finding her siblings and taking care of her family may cost her everything.

Andrew Fraser, a wealthy young British lawyer and heir to the estate where Laura is in service, discovers that this common practice of finding new homes for penniless children might not be all that it seems. Together Laura and Andrew form an unlikely partnership. Will they arrive in time? Will their friendship blossom into something more?

Inspired by true events, this moving novel follows Laura as she seeks to reunite her family and her siblings who, in their darkest hours, must cling to the words from Isaiah: “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God”.


My Review:
No Ocean Too Wide is a romance set in 1908 in England and Canada. This is the first novel in a series, and it appears that this family's story will continue throughout the series as the family was not completely reunited by the end of this book. Historical details about the immigration of British orphans to Canada were the focus of the story as Andrew and his boss were carefully investigating the system. I cared about what happened to the characters and liked them. However, everything that could go wrong did go wrong...repeatedly. I started to dread picking up the book because I knew something even worse was going to happen to these nice people.

I was baffled by some things in the story, though. Katie saw the people that took her sister, Grace, and knew where they were at when it happened, but she later said that she had no idea where Grace was or how to find her. Also, by the end, it's like the insurmountable issues standing between Andrew's and Laura's romance never existed.

I believe this was meant to be Christian fiction, but the story seemed to show a God that did not care about the orphan and the widow. The presumably Christian people running the orphan homes were harsh, judgmental, and exploited the children. Worse, when Laura lied and later stole something, it turned out to be a good thing that she did. Every time she did the right thing, it seemed like she encountered obstacles because she had done so. Basically, the story seemed more depressing than uplifting. There was no sex or 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.


Wednesday, June 26, 2019

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie

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The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
by Agatha Christie


ISBN-13: 9781579126278
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers
Released: 1926; September 2006

Source: Borrowed from my local library.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Village rumor hints that Mrs. Ferrars poisoned her husband. When she commits suicide, she sends a letter to Roger Ackroyd--the man she was going to marry--revealing who the blackmailer is. But before the blackmailer is publicly revealed, Roger Ackroyd is also murdered. The local inspector is convinced the butler did it, but luckily Hercule Poirot is there to investigate.


My Review:
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd is a historical mystery set in England in 1926 (though it was a contemporary mystery when it was written).

It's a clever, clue-based puzzle mystery. I had suspects but no clear idea of whodunit until the final clues were revealed at the end. Everything fell into place perfectly, and I knew whodunit before whodunit was revealed. I love it when my knowing and the "big reveal" are so close together. (I like to be able to correctly guess, but I don't like spending half a book knowing while the "smart" characters blunder around.)

While the whodunit mystery was brilliant, I didn't find the ending very satisfying. I don't like it when Poirot decides to take the law into his own hands.

There was no sex. There was a very minor amount of bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this 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, June 23, 2019

A Sword Named Truth by Sherwood Smith

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A Sword Named Truth
by Sherwood Smith


ISBN-13: 9780756409999
Hardcover: 576 pages
Publisher: DAW
Released: June 11, 2019

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGally.

Book Description, Modified from NetGalley:
Long-dormant magical forces are moving once again in Sartorias-deles. Agents of Norsunder, a mysterious bastion of incredible dark power, have reappeared in the world, amassing resources and sowing instability.

But with numerous nations led by young rulers, the world is hardly ready to defend itself. Atan is still uncomfortable with her new queenship, gained after her country was freed from a Norsundrian enchantment that left it frozen outside time for a century. Senrid strives to establish rule of law, after deposing his brutal and cruel uncle, seeking to exert control over rebellious jarls and a distrustful military academy. Jilo never expected the responsibility of leading his nation, but when its dictator vanishes after a Norsundrian attack, Jilo finds himself stepping into the power void, taking the reins of a country so riddled with dark magic that its citizenry labors for mere survival. Clair and CJ lead a band of misfits against magical threats that overshadow their tiny country, including a direct incursion from the Norsundrians.

Those in power are not the only individuals working to subvert the plans of Norsunder. Liere, a young shopkeeper’s daughter, battles her own debilitating insecurities to live up to her reputation as a former savior of the realm. Hibern, a mage’s apprentice, must act as a liaison between national leaders, negotiating politics still foreign to her. Rel, a traveling warrior, stirs powerful allies to action encourages common folk to take up arms.

These leaders soon realize that any significant victory against Norsunder will require an alliance between their nations. Yet good intentions may fracture in the face of personal grudges, secrets, and inexperience.


My Review:
A Sword Named Truth is a epic tween/YA fantasy novel. While technically the first in a series, the characters very frequently talked about the events had that just happened. (This is set immediately after "Fleeing Peace" and overlapped "A Stranger to Command.") I haven't read "Fleeing Peace" and I read "A Stranger to Command" 10 years ago, so I felt like I was thrown into the middle of a story and had to sort out who all of these many, many characters were. The story also frequently switched between viewpoint characters and different events, which was disorientating. There were over 12 young royals (ages 10-15) and several young main characters that helped form the alliance, plus assorted adults and bad guys were also viewpoint characters. The story was mostly people talking about things rather than actual scenes where things happen. For example, we had two characters talk about going to learn at a soldier's academy, then about a year later (as the story covered about 5 years) one briefly remarked that they had done so.

The first half of the story (about 280 pages) was telling the reader who everyone was, either by the historian narrator who summarized events or through the characters endlessly talking about what had just happened and their life now. They also occasionally met the other young rulers, often taking an instant dislike to the other because of the (deeply developed) culture differences or because the other didn't like one of their friends. The second half involved the bad guys attacking several of the good guys, providing a few, brief battle scenes. Much of the conflict focus was on how the allied young royals had trouble getting along. Then, finally, we got an extended, daring undercover raid by the young allies to save a foolish friend.

There was no sex. There were 20 uses of bad language. I have greatly enjoyed some of this author's earlier work (like "Crown Duel"). However, I found this slow-paced and with too many characters who do very little "on screen." I ended up wishing it'd been cut into several short books that followed only a few characters at a time rather than trying to stuff everyone into one 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.


Friday, June 21, 2019

The Heart of a Vicar by Sarah M Eden

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The Heart of a Vicar
by Sarah M Eden


ISBN-13: 9781523308619
Paperback: 268 pages
Publisher: Covenant Communications
Released: June 1, 2019

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Young love is all too fleeting, as Harold Jonquil painfully discovered years ago when Sarah Sarvol, the niece of a neighboring landowner, captured his heart. After an idyllic few weeks in the throes of blossoming love, reality intervened. They could have no future. Following their disastrous parting, Harold attempted to push aside thoughts of love and regret, but Sarah has never left his heart. Now, years later, he has achieved his lifelong aspiration of becoming the local vicar. However, the role proves more difficult than he imagined. He feels hollow and uninspired—until the most important person in his past returns, challenging him as no one ever has.

When Sarah’s ailing uncle summons her back to the family estate in England, there is only one person from her past she is reluctant to see again: Harold Jonquil, the only man who has ever claimed her heart. But when she comes face-to-face with her former beau, she hardly recognizes the aloof and dull man before her. She is determined to help Harold rediscover the passion he once felt toward his chosen profession. Is it too late for second chances?


My Review:
The Heart of a Vicar is a romance set in 1816 in England. While it works as a stand alone, the previous novels' married pairs show up in this novel, which may entice those who want to know how they're doing.

Harold has always wanted to be a vicar. He's trying his best to be the perfect vicar, but he feels like a failure at it. Was he wrong to choose to become a vicar, especially since he enjoys odd hobbies like climbing walls? When Sarah, the girl he never topped loving, returns to the area, she's disappointed to see how distant and uncaring Harold now seems to be. She understands that he doesn't have a sufficient income to allow them to marry, but she wants to see him happy--and more like his old, caring self again. So she tells him that she's better at being a vicar (in caring for the congregation) than him and challenges him to prove her wrong.

The characters were engaging and acted realistically. The brothers enjoyed teasing each other, so there was some humor as well. Harold and Sarah brought out the best in each other and were better people for knowing each other. The historical details were woven into the story, making it come alive in my imagination. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this 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, June 19, 2019

Evil Under the Sun by Agatha Christie

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Evil Under the Sun
by Agatha Christie


ISBN-13: 9781579126285
Hardcover: 220 pages
Publisher: Black Dog & Leventhal
Released: 1941; 2006

Source: Borrowed from my local library.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
The Jolly Roger is a posh vacation resort on the southern coast of England. When a gorgeous young woman is strangled to death on a remote beach and the obvious suspects have solid alibis, only Hercule Poirot can unravel the macabre mystery.


My Review:
Evil Under the Sun is a historical mystery set in 1941 in England (though it was a contemporary mystery when it was written). It's a clue-based puzzle mystery, and there were plenty of clues. There were enough clues that whodunit was on my suspect list. The critical clues that narrowed that list down to whodunit and how weren't reveled by Poirot until the very end. Still, it was interesting to read and puzzle over. The characters were interesting and varied.

There was occasional use of bad language. There were no sex scenes. Overall, I'd recommend this book to Christie fans.


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, June 16, 2019

Lone Witness by Shirlee McCoy

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Lone Witness
by Shirlee McCoy


ISBN-13: 9781488040467
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense
Released: June 1, 2019

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGally.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Were it not for Tessa Carlson, Special Agent Henry Miller’s daughter would have been abducted. But rescuing the little girl has thrust Tessa—a woman in hiding—into the media’s spotlight…and into a criminal’s crosshairs. Now her survival depends on putting her faith in widowed single father Henry if she wants to live to see another day.


My Review:
Lone Witness is a Christian romantic suspense novel. The characters were nice people who struggled with realistic fears. Tessa changed her identity (illegally) to escape her dangerously abusive boyfriend, and she took some jewelry that he had given to her to fund her escape. She doesn't trust her judgement in people and is afraid he's still after her, but she risked her safety to stop a kidnapping. The kidnapped girl's widowed father happened to be on the FBI team tracking this serial kidnapper. He's determined to keep his sole witness safe (partly from gratitude), and his loving family comes to know and care about her.

The author focused mainly on the periodic suspenseful events (where various people attempted to scare or kill Tessa), but the story covered over a month of time. This gave the hero and heroine some time to get to know each other and fall in love. He's attracted to her character as well as her beauty. She feels safe with him and that he brings out the best in her. He builds her up, unlike the ex-boyfriend that tore her down. He's kind, caring, and supportive. She's courageous and good at finding ways to survive. I enjoyed the characters and cared about what happened to them.

The heroine struggled with believing that God could have good things in store for her future due to her bad childhood and an abusive ex-boyfriend in her past. 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.


Friday, June 14, 2019

Wherever You Go by Tracie Peterson

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Wherever You Go
by Tracie Peterson


ISBN-13: 9780764219030
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Bethany House
Released: June 4, 2019

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGally.

Book Description from Goodreads:
Mary Reichert is one of the best sharpshooters in the country, and in the Brookstone Wild West Extravaganza her skills are on display in every performance. But unless the man responsible for her brother's death is brought to justice, Mary's fame and accomplishments seem hollow. She feels helpless in the face of the murderer's money, power, and connections. The only bright spot in her days is the handsome journalist who keeps attending their shows.

Christopher Williams has been assigned to follow the Brookstone show on its 1901 tour of England and write a series of articles for his magazine. As he gets to know the cast he quickly finds himself irresistibly drawn to the show's sharpshooter. But getting close to someone would threaten to bring his past to light. How could he ever win Mary's heart if she knows the truth? Mary and Chris will both have to trust God if they are to heal from the wounds of the past and chart a new future together.


My Review:
Wherever You Go is a Christian romance set in 1901 in America and England. There were two main romances in this book, with the focus more on Lizzy, Wes, and Jason rather than Mary and Chris. The conflict in the story was created by Jason wanting Lizzy to marry him and going to great lengths to separate Lizzy and Wes. Jason felt that Lizzy would naturally fall for him once she saw his family's wealth when the show traveled to England, so he felt justified in creating discord between her and Wes.

Mary knew who killed her brother, but the law wouldn't touch them. Chris sent a friend to investigate, but the point of the story was for Mary to trust that God cared and would ultimately bring justice. Chris had to learn that God (and Mary) didn't hold him responsible for the sins of his father and brothers.

The characters were engaging and reacted realistically to events. Historical details were woven into the story and brought the Wild West show alive in my imagination. The relationship tensions and the physical danger from the tricks added suspense. There was no sex or bad language. 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.


Wednesday, June 12, 2019

The Hollow by Agatha Christie

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The Hollow
by Agatha Christie


ISBN-13: 9780007121021
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins
Released: 1946, 2002

Source: Borrowed from the library.

Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Lady Angkatell, intrigued by the criminal mind, has invited Hercule Poirot to her estate for a weekend house party. The Belgian detective's arrival at the Hollow is met with an elaborate tableau staged for his amusement: a doctor lies in a puddle of red paint, his timid wife stands over his body with a gun while the other guests look suitably shocked. But this is no charade. The paint is blood and the corpse real!


My Review:
The Hollow is a historical mystery set in 1946 in England (though it was written as a contemporary mystery).

It's written mainly from the viewpoint of various members of the house party. I found the start of the story a bit boring as it was mostly the odd thoughts of some characters to establish their personalities before the murder. After the murder, the story became more interesting. I could see two ways the mystery could play out, and I wasn't sure until near the end which way it was headed. Whodunit could be guessed from the clues.

There was no sex. There was a minor amount of bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this 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, June 9, 2019

Death in Kew Gardens by Jennifer Ashley

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Death in Kew Gardens
by Jennifer Ashley


ISBN-13: 9780399587900
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Released: June 4, 2019

Source: review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
In return for a random act of kindness, scholar Li Bai Chang presents young cook Kat Holloway with a rare and precious gift--a box of marvelous tea. Kat thinks no more of her unusual visitor until two days later when the kitchen erupts with the news that Lady Cynthia's next-door neighbor has been murdered.

Known about London as an "Old China Hand," the victim claimed to be an expert in the language and customs of China, acting as intermediary for merchants and government officials. But Sir Jacob's dealings were not what they seemed. When the authorities accuse Mr. Li of the crime, Kat and Daniel find themselves embroiled in a world of deadly secrets that reach from the gilded homes of Mayfair to the beautiful wonder of Kew Gardens.


My Review:
Death in Kew Gardens is a mystery set in Sept. 1881 in England. This is the third book in the series. While the characters did briefly refer to a events that happened in the previous novels, they did not spoil whodunit. You do not need to read the previous novels to understand this one.

The mystery was a clue-based puzzle. The main characters did a good job of spotting things that were going on and asking relevant questions. I mildly suspected whodunit from early on, and the clues that they gathered slowly narrowed down the suspects until I was sure about whodunit. Kat figured it out at about the same time. The main characters were interesting and likable. The historical details (mostly about cooking, acceptable servant behavior, and exotic plants) were woven into the story. There was no sex. There were a couple uses of bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this enjoyable 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.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Friday, June 7, 2019

The Old Man in the Corner by Baroness Orczy

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The Old Man in the Corner:
The Teahouse Detective, Volume 1
by Baroness Orczy


ISBN-13: 9781782275237
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Pushkin Press
Released: Nov. 15, 2018

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Mysteries! There is no such thing as a mystery in connection with any crime, provided intelligence is brought to bear upon its investigation.

So says a rather down-at-heel elderly gentleman to young Polly Burton of the Evening Observer, in the corner of the ABC teashop on Norfolk Street one afternoon. Once she has forgiven him for distracting her from her newspaper and luncheon, Miss Burton discovers that her interlocutor is as brilliantly gifted as he is eccentric - able to solve mysteries that have made headlines and baffled the finest minds of the police. As the weeks go by, she listens to him unravelling the trickiest of puzzles and solving the most notorious of crimes, but still one final mystery remains: the mystery of the old man in the corner himself.

The Old Man in the Corner is a classic collection of mysteries, featuring the Teahouse Detective.


My Review:
The Old Man in the Corner is a collection of short story mysteries that was originally published in 1901. Those short stories are framed around the amateur detective telling a reporter about his solution to various mysteries (not only murders) which baffle the police. He investigates the details and attends the trials, but he doesn't give the solutions to the police because he admires the cleverness of these criminals. He wants to brag to someone, though, so he tells the reporter in the teashop the details of the case, the clues, and his solution. She never passes on the information.

These were clue-based puzzle mysteries. There were enough clues that the reader can guess his solution, especially since the clues were more obvious due to the shorter format. I correctly guessed the whodunit and how for all but one mystery. That one story was somewhat confusing, so I'm not sure that my solution didn't work as well as his. Anyway, it was fun to read and guess the solutions. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this collection to fans of puzzle mysteries.


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, June 5, 2019

The Clocks by Agatha Christie

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The Clocks
by Agatha Christie


ISBN-13: 9780425173916
Paperback: 257 pages
Publisher: Berkley
Released: 1963; March 2000

Source: Borrowed from the library.

Book Description from Goodreads:
Sheila Webb expected to find a respectable blind lady waiting for her at 19 Wilbraham Crescent—not the body of a middle-aged man sprawled across the living room floor. But when old Miss Pebmarsh denies sending for her in the first place, or of owning all the clocks that surround the body, it’s clear that they are going to need a very good detective.


My Review:
The Clocks is a historical mystery set in 1963 in England (though of course it was written as a contemporary mystery).

This was a clue-based puzzle mystery. Yet it felt to me like the author went back after finishing and changed whodunit and why. Some clues that hint certain things as a part of the original storyline turn out to be false. Yet conclusions based on those clues are spoken as fact at the end even though they no longer have a basis. Some actions that make sense in one storyline are baffling in the new one--why do that action when a simpler action was available and more effective?

The romance was just plain odd as I didn't get why Colin chose the girl as his future wife. It wasn't a "romantic" love, and it's not like he simply decided he needed a wife. Anyway.

There was a very minor amount of bad language. There was no sex. Overall, I'd recommend this mystery to Agatha Christie fans. The "Masterpiece Mystery!: Poirot: The Clocks" (2009) actually did a better job making the story believable.


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, June 2, 2019

The Number of Love by Roseanna M. White

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The Number of Love
by Roseanna M. White


ISBN-13: 9780764231810
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Bethany House
Released: June 4, 2019

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGally.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Three years into the Great War, England’s greatest asset is their intelligence network—field agents risking their lives to gather information, and codebreakers able to crack every German telegram. Margot De Wilde thrives in the environment of the secretive Room 40, where she spends her days deciphering intercepted messages. But when her world is turned upside down by an unexpected loss, for the first time in her life numbers aren’t enough.

Drake Elton returns wounded from the field, followed by an enemy that just won’t give up. He’s smitten quickly by the too-intelligent Margot, but how to convince a girl who lives entirely in her mind that sometimes life’s answers lie in the heart?

Amidst biological warfare, encrypted letters, and a German spy who wants to destroy not just them, but others they love, Margot and Drake will have to work together to save them all from the very secrets that brought them together.


My Review:
The Number of Love is a suspenseful Christian romance set in the Fall of 1917 in England and Spain. The hero was an undercover spy in Spain who was trying to stop the things that German spies were doing there. So there were some spy versus spy suspense scenes. His sister worked as a secretary at the naval building where intercepted German coded messages were decoded. She's friends with the heroine, a super smart mathematician and code-breaker who prized logic while denying emotions. The hero was wounded and returned to London to heal, and so he got to know the heroine through his sister. They worked well together when they realized that a German spy was attempting to steal a British codebook.

The main characters acted realistically, were engaging, and I cared about what happened to them. The hero and heroine were a good match who respected and supported each other. The heroine was afraid that marrying someone would mean giving up using her gift for mathematics as she'd dreamed. She was also mad at God for once asking her to pray for an unknown person instead of someone that she cared about who needed help. She came to recognize that she was asking the wrong questions of God. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this enjoyable spy and code-breaking 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.


Friday, May 31, 2019

Murder at Morrington Hall by Clara McKenna

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Murder at Morrington Hall
by Clara McKenna


ISBN-13: 9781496717771
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Kensington
Released: May 28, 2019

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Spring, 1905: Enjoying freedom like the Thoroughbreds she rides across the Kentucky countryside, Stella is excited to travel to England when her father agrees she can come along to attend a mysterious wedding. But once she arrives at the lush Morrington Hall estate, her cold and ambitious father confesses that he won't only give away his best racehorses as gifts--he has also arranged to give away his daughter as bride to the Earl of Atherly's financially strapped son . . .

Stella refuses to be sold off like a prized pony. Yet despite a rough start, there's something intriguing about her groom-to-be, the roguish Viscount "Lyndy" Lyndhurst. The unlikely pair could actually be on the right track with each other...until they find the vicar who was to marry them dead in the library.

With culture clashes mounting between families and a scandalous murder case, Stella and Lyndy must go from future spouses to amateur sleuths as they team up to search for the truth--and prevent an unbridled criminal from destroying their new life together right out of the gate...


My Review:
Murder at Morrington Hall is a mystery and romance set in 1905 in England. The characters seemed somewhat cliche--the brash, outspoken Americans and the arrogant, reserved, perfectly proper English. Much of the tension came from misunderstandings created by the culture clash. Despite this, the hero and heroine decided they're each other's best option. Seriously: He wanted a gal who's "different" and her horses and needed her money. Her father threatened to cut her off if she refused marriage plus abused her, so anyone who showed her consideration was better. The hero and heroine were enjoyable characters, though.

The first half of the book was mostly about their romance while the second half focused on collecting clues and solving the murder. It was a clue-based mystery, and whodunit was guessable though there were multiple possibilities until near the end. But I'm still baffled how a father who knew his daughter was going to object to the marriage thought that leaving her to find out about it from others the day before the ceremony was going to bring about the end he desired. There was no sex. There was some bad language. 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.


Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Murder, She Wrote: Murder in Red by Jon Land

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Murder, She Wrote:
Murder in Red
by Jessica Fletcher
& Jon Land


ISBN-13: 9780451489333
Hardback: 320 pages
Publisher: Berkley Books
Released: May 28, 2019

Source: review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Jessica Fletcher's favorite gin rummy partner, Mimi Van Dorn, has started going to Clifton Care Partners, a private hospital that's just opened up shop in town, for a anti-aging clinical trial--one that leads tragically to her death. On the trail of what initially appears to be medical malpractice, Jessica digs deeper and learns her friend was actually a victim of something far more sinister. Death is bad for business, but murder is even worse, and Jessica will find plenty of both as she races to bring down Clifton Care Partners before someone else flatlines...


My Review:
Murder in Red is a cozy mystery (#49 in the series). At first, this book seemed more like the earlier stories: friendly, nosy Jessica Fletcher asked questions about suspicious deaths and tracked down clues. But the new author has re-written some of the series history, like "J.B. Fletcher" is no longer Jessica's author name but the name of the heroine in her novels. The characters were closer to what I expected, but "smart" Jessica didn't catch on to some very obvious things. She also did some very illogical things to add suspense opportunities, like run after a man with a gun who'd just shot at her (and, no, she had no weapon).

Also, it was obvious who was involved in the murders and even the "surprise" twists. The only reason a reader can't figure out all the details is because some information is held back until Jessica explained everything. Other (critical) details made no sense if you think about them but you're just supposed to accept them. Finally, the author didn't know some basic things relevant to the story, like he has everyone in the story act like Type 2 Diabetes and pre-diabetes are the same thing and like Type 1 Diabetes is a worsening of Type 2 to the point of needing insulin (rather than an autoimmune disease).

There was no sex. There were a few uses 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.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Flights of Fancy by Jen Turano

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Flights of Fancy
by Jen Turano


ISBN-13: 9780764231674
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Bethany House
Released: Jan. 1, 2019

Source: Read using Amazon Unlimited.

Book Description from Goodreads:
Miss Isadora Delafield may be an heiress, but her life is far from carefree. When her mother begins pressuring her to marry an elderly and uncouth duke, she escapes from the high society world she's always known and finds herself to be an unlikely candidate for a housekeeper position in rural Pennsylvania.

Mr. Ian MacKenzie is known for his savvy business sense and has built his reputation and fortune completely on his own merits. But when his adopted parents are in need of a new housekeeper and Isadora is thrown into his path, he's unexpectedly charmed by her unconventional manner.

Neither Isadora nor Ian expected to find the other so intriguing, but when mysterious incidents on the farm and the truth of Isadora's secret threaten those they love, they'll have to set aside everything they thought they wanted for a chance at happy-ever-after.


My Review:
Flights of Fancy is a romantic comedy set in 1885 and takes place mainly in or near Philadelphia. The characters got into silly situations (mainly involving farm animals, children, and the heroine trying to learn chores that she's never had to do before). Happily, this time the humor was in the banter and silly situations rather than in ridiculous, unbelievable behavior. The main characters were quirky but kind, and I cared about what happened to them. Both the hero and heroine needed to discover God's purpose for their lives. They got along well together. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this humorous 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.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Friday, May 24, 2019

Living Lies by Natalie Walters

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Living Lies
by Natalie Walters


ISBN-13: 9780800735326
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Revell
Released: May 21, 2019

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
In the little town of Walton, Georgia, everybody knows your name--but no one knows your secret. At least that's what Lane Kent is counting on when she returns to her hometown with her five-year-old son. Dangerously depressed after the death of her husband, Lane is looking for hope. What she finds instead is a dead body.

Walton's newest deputy, Charlie Lynch, must uncover the truth behind the murder. But when that truth hits too close to home, Lane will have to decide if saving the life of another is worth the cost of revealing her darkest secret.


My Review:
Living Lies is a Christian romantic suspense/mystery. The heroine literally stumbled across the body of a murdered girl, and the hero was the officer assigned to investigate and solve the murder. He's drawn to the compassion and kindness shown by the heroine to Vietnam vets and others that are struggling. She can relate to them because she's struggled her whole life with depression and anxiety, plus she still mourned her husband's death and carried guilt about it.

The characters acted realistically to events and came across as real people with genuine struggles. The suspense came from a shady character who kept lurking about the heroine's business and then the threat of another murder at the end.

Since the heroine felt like she was made broken due to her depression, she struggled to accept that God loved and cared about her. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd highly recommend this exciting 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.


Sunday, May 19, 2019

Murder on Trinity Place by Victoria Thompson

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Murder on Trinity Place
by Victoria Thompson


ISBN-13: 9780399586637
Hardback: 336 pages
Publisher: Berkley Book
Released: April 30, 2019

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
The year of 1899 is drawing to a close. Frank and Sarah Malloy are getting ready to celebrate the New Year at Trinity Church when they notice Mr. Pritchard, a relative of their neighbor's behaving oddly and annoying the other revelers. Frank tries to convince Pritchard to return home with them, but the man refuses and Frank loses him in the crowd. The next morning Sarah and Frank are horrified to learn Pritchard was murdered sometime in the night, his body left on Trinity Place, the side street near the church.

The police aren't too interested in the murder, and the family are concerned that the circumstances of the death will reflect badly on Pritchard's reputation. To protect the family from scandal, Nelson asks Frank to investigate. Frank and Sarah delve into Pritchard's past and realize there may have been a deadly side to the dawning of the new century.


My Review:
Murder on Trinity Place is a historical mystery set in New York City in 1899 (around New Years) into 1900. This is the 22nd book in the series. You don't need to read the previous books to understand this one, and this one didn't spoil the whodunit of the previous mysteries.

This was a clue-based puzzle mystery. Frank and Gino did most of the investigating, though Sarah came across some information as well. They asked good questions and followed up clues until they all fit together. While I correctly chose whodunit about halfway through, there were still other viable suspects and I didn't feel certain until closer to the end.

Interesting historical details were woven into the story. The main characters were nice, engaging people and had realistic reactions to events. There were no sex scenes or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this interesting 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.

Friday, May 17, 2019

The Queen's Secret by Jessica Day George

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The Queen's Secret
by Jessica Day George


ISBN-13: 9781547600892
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Books
Released: May 14, 2019

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Anthea knows the truth about horses. They're not carriers of deadly disease like everyone in their kingdom thinks; they're majestic creatures who share their thoughts and feelings with her through The Way. Anthea has convinced the king of this, but at a cost--he demands that horses and riders with The Way do his bidding.

But when a deadly plague breaks out, the people believe that horses are the cause. As more fall ill, it's up to Anthea and her friends to transport medicine, all while keeping out of reach from Anthea's wicked mother.

Continuing the sweeping storytelling of The Rose Legacy, bestselling author Jessica Day George delights readers--especially horse lovers--once again.


My Review:
The Queen's Secret is a tween fantasy novel involving horses. This novel is the 2nd in the series, but you don't need to read the first book to understand this one as this book referred back to and described the main events in the previous book. This second book ended on a bit of a cliffhanger, though, with no one in immediate danger but like this was the first half of a longer book.

The main characters acted realistically and were engaging. Suspense came from a plague breaking out and the riders trying to help while being blamed for it. The world-building gave the story a unique feel--cars, trains, and warships, but also horses and gift that allows people to communicate with horses. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd highly recommend this enjoyable fantasy adventure.


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, May 12, 2019

The British Brides Collection by Jill Stengl, Bonnie Blythe, Kelly Eileen Hake, Tamela Hancock Murray, Gail Gaymer Martin, Pamela Griffin

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The British Brides Collection
by Jill Stengl,
Bonnie Blythe,
Kelly Eileen Hake,
Tamela Hancock Murray,
Gail Gaymer Martin,
Pamela Griffin


ISBN-13: 9781643520247
Paperback: 480 pages
Publisher: Barbour Publishing
Released: May 1, 2019

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Spanning over 200 years of history in the British Isles, nine inspiring romance stories take readers through English gardens, around London ballrooms, and within Scottish castles. Follow along as each of the brides-to-be encounter high drama and epic romance on the way to the altar. Will they survive with their faith intact?

Woman of Valor by Jill Stengl
England 1631 - Helen has come to Marston Hall to care for three neglected children and a household in disarray. The gardener admires her inner beauty.

A Duplicitous Fa├žade by Tamela Hancock Murray
England 1812 - In obedience to her father, Melodia agrees to marry a man she has never met. But after a masquerade ball, Melodia suspects she has more enemies than friends.

Love’s Unmasking by Bonnie Blythe
England 1814 - Matthew is certain a godly girl does not exist among London’s money-grubbing debutantes. He imitates a fop at society functions to repel them, but his own ruse traps him in an engagement.

A Treasure Worth Keeping by Kelly Eileen Hake
England 1832 - Paige is thrilled to hear her father has been hired to restore one of the country’s largest collections of antique volumes—until she learns the earl is hosting a house party during their stay.

Apple of His Eye by Gail Gaymer Martin
England 1851 - Sarah is spoiled, independent young woman, which leads her to force her attentions on the interesting new gardener at the family manor. He comes to admire her.

Moonlight Masquerade by Pamela Griffin
England 1865 - Letitia, usually the unassuming lady’s companion to her cousin, attends a country party as her equal. They're robbed by highwaymen along the way, and she recognizes their leader as the arrogant noble holding the ball! Or maybe the kind footman?

Fayre Rose by Tamela Hancock Murray
Scotland 1358 – Fayre was brought to Kennerith Castle to tend the duke’s rose garden in payment for her father’s taxes. When the Laird Kenneth falls ill with plague, only Fayre is brave enough to play nursemaid.

Fresh Highland Air by Jill Stengl
Scotland 1748 – When Hermione’s stepfather takes over Kennerith Castle, he retains Allan for Hermione’s bodyguard. She is determined to think the worst of Allan, until someone is out to get rid of him and the true heir of the castle comes into question.

English Tea and Bagpipes by Pamela Griffin
Scotland, 1822 - Fiona races after her eloping sister because she's marrying an English noble, the past enemy of her Highland family. The man's brother is also in pursuit, and Fiona learns to overcome her prejudice.


My Review:
The British Brides Collection is a collection of nine short Christian romance stories set in England and Scotland between 1631 and 1865. Many of the stories focused on the character's desire for a Christian spouse and their growing faith as they faced difficult circumstances. The stories also had the romantic couple come to appreciate the character of their partner as much as their looks. The historical details were mainly just creating a setting backdrop for the story. The Scottish stories all occurred at a specific castle with unusual rosebushes. The English stories often included a certain masquerade mask with a legend of true love found by those who wore it. Overall, the characters were engaging and acted realistically. I didn't like how the spoiled girl in "Apple of His Eye" initially forced her attentions on the gardener, but I liked the other stories a lot. I always enjoy the stories by Jill Stengl, so I was happy that there were two in this collection. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this historical romance collection.


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, May 10, 2019

Lone Star Standoff by Margaret Daley

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Lone Star Standoff
by Margaret Daley


ISBN-13: 9781335232083
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Love Inspired Suspense
Released: May 7, 2019

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description from Goodreads:
Presiding over the trial of a powerful drug cartel member, Judge Aubrey Madison finds her life threatened, and Texas Ranger Sean McNair isn’t taking any chances. Protecting the widow and her twins comes naturally to Sean—maybe too naturally for a guy who’s convinced he shouldn’t have a family. But he can’t help wishing for a future with Aubrey…if he can keep her alive.


My Review:
Lone Star Standoff is a romantic suspense novel. The suspense came from repeated attempts to hurt the heroine and derail the trial. The hero protected her while also working to solve who is attacking her and who killed her husband and his brother two years ago. She doesn't want to get involved with a man in dangerous work like police work, but she falls in love with him over the weeks they spend together. He had no intention of getting married, but he falls in love with her. Except, I kinda got the feeling he fell in love with her cute, twin kids and she fell in love with how well he got along with them. Anyway, the hero and heroine got along and worked together well. There was no sex or bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this exciting 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.


Sunday, May 5, 2019

The Scent of Murder by Kylie Logan

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The Scent of Murder
by Kylie Logan


ISBN-13: 9781250180612
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Released: May 7, 2019

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
The way Jazz Ramsey figures it, life is pretty good. She’s thirty-five years old and owns her own home in one of Cleveland’s most diverse, artsy, and interesting neighborhoods. She has a job she likes as an administrative assistant at an all-girls school, and a volunteer interest she’s passionate about—Jazz is a cadaver dog handler.

Jazz is putting Luther, a cadaver dog in training, through his paces at an abandoned building. When Luther signals a find, Jazz is stunned to see the body of a young woman and even more shocked when she realizes that beneath the tattoos and the piercings and all that pale makeup is a familiar face. The lead detective on the case is an old lover, and the murdered woman is an old student. Jazz finds herself obsessed with learning the truth.


My Review:
The Scent of Murder is a cozy mystery which uses the fact that the heroine is a cadaver dog handler as the reason why she discovers bodies. The police have the investigation under control, but Jazz can't mentally move on after finding the body of a girl she knew. She decides to ask questions in an attempt to process what happened. While she does uncover some information, she largely asked the same things that the police did and didn't really add anything to the investigation until the very end. While asking questions, though, she managed to anger several people by basically accusing them of having affairs or murdering the girl.

This was a clue based mystery, and you can guess the identity of the murderer before the police or Jazz. The information about search and rescue and cadaver dog training was interesting, but it was not the main focus of the story. The characters didn't really engage me. Probably partly because Jazz thinks her relationship with the detective was "so good" (which we see no evidence of--it seems more antagonistic) yet she won't make him a priority in her life even when he's trying to.

There were no sex scenes. There was a fair amount of bad language of all sorts (including b**ch). Overall, I'd recommend this interesting mystery to dog lovers.


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, May 3, 2019

Duplicate Death by Georgette Heyer

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Duplicate Death
by Georgette Heyer


ISBN-13: 9781492677154
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Released: May 1, 2019

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
When a game of Duplicate Bridge leads to a double murder, things are not as they seem. The two crimes appear identical, but were they carried out by the same hand? Inspector Hemingway has his work cut out for him, especially when the fiancee of the inspector's young friend Timothy Kane becomes Hemingway's prime suspect.


My Review:
Duplicate Death is a mystery set in England and originally published in 1951. It's the seventh book in a series, but it works as a stand-alone. It's a clue-based puzzle mystery. It wasn't too difficult to guess "whodunit" since there weren't many people who had an opportunity. The trouble was uncovering a motive strong enough for murder.

The first murder happened at 23% of the way in. Inspector Hemingway noticed important clues and kept asking good questions until the pieces all fell into place. The characters were interesting and had a sense of humor, so it was a fun read. 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.


Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Esther's Gragger by Martha Seif Simpson

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Esther's Gragger
by Martha Seif Simpson


ISBN-13: 9781937786755
Hardback: 40 pages
Publisher: Wisdom Tales
Released: Jan. 7, 2019

Source: Review copy from the publisher.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Young Esther is given a special gragger (a noisemaker) to celebrate the fun, and sometimes raucous, Jewish festival of Purim. An older boy bullies her to get it for himself, but Esther reacts with great courage and intelligence, her actions reflecting the biblical story on which Purim is based.

The appendix helps readers understand the history of Purim, how it is celebrated today, what a "gragger" is, and how to make a simple noisemaker. Following the award-winning The Dreidel That Wouldn't Spin, author Martha Seif Simpson and illustrator D. Yael Bernhard have again created a new toyshop tale of playful language and images that hint at ancient roots and hidden meanings, which are just waiting for young readers to find.


My Review:
Esther's Gragger is a children's fiction about Purim celebrations. Several children want the same gragger, or noisemaker, for the children's parade. When a bully tries to take it away from the girl, Esther, she stands up to him. The story provided information about the Jewish festival of Purim as well as a nice story about standing against bullies. The illustrations were colorful and of the same style as the cover. There was nonfiction information at the back of the book about what Purim is, Purim practices today, what graggers are and how to make one. Overall, I'd recommend this charming 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.


Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Friday's Child by Georgette Heyer

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Friday's Child
by Georgette Heyer


ISBN-13: 9781402210792
Trade Paperback: 423 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Released: 1944; April 1, 2008

Source: Bought through Half.com.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
When the incomparable Miss Milbourne spurns the impetuous Lord Sherington's marriage proposal, he vows to marry the next female he encounters. This happens to be the young, penniless Miss Hero Wantage, who has adored him all her life. Whisking her off to London, Sherry discovers there is no end to the scrapes his young, green bride can get into due to her lack of social knowledge. When Sherry decides that her social education is more than he can handle, she runs away in despair. His friends decide on a scheme to make Sherry realise if he loves Hero or not.


My Review:
Friday's Child is a Regency romance novel. The first part focused on the comedy of the situation, but, near the end, the author added the falling in love. The main characters were likable and good-hearted. The comedy came from the "do as I say, not as I do" situations. Sherry spends time doing things that wouldn't be proper for his wife to mimic, but she doesn't know better and follows his example. The process reforms Sherry into a more respectable and responsible fellow. I really enjoyed the humor.

Sherry doesn't think that he loves Hero, but he's fond of her. Hero thinks that he still loves Miss Milbourne (who turned down his marriage proposal). Miss Milbourne loves a friend of Sherry's that is highly romantic but unsuitable, yet she finds her wealthy and respectable suiters dull. It's a romantic tangle that needs a friend's help to get sorted out! Or does it?!

There was no sex. There was some bad language (mainly the swearing use of "God"). Overall, I'd recommend this humorous romantic comedy.


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 28, 2019

The Mortal Blow by Elizabeth Bailey

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The Mortal Blow
by Elizabeth Bailey


ISBN-13: 9781913028329
ebook: 374 pages
Publisher: Sapere Books
Released: April 13, 2019

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description from Goodreads:
1791, England. Lord Francis and Lady Ottilia Fanshawe are on their way home when their coach comes to a sudden stop. A woman is standing in the middle of the road — covered in blood. The woman refuses to speak but on further investigation they find the body of a man hidden in the woods. Ottilia insists on bringing the woman home to find out what occurred. But the more she finds out the more complicated the case becomes… Who was the man in the woods? Did the blood-covered woman murder him? Or did someone else strike The Mortal Blow…?


My Review:
The Mortal Blow is a mystery set in 1791 in London. This novel is the 5th in the series, but you don't need to read the previous novels to understand this one. This story didn't spoil the whodunit of the previous books.

Lady Fan finds a girl covered in blood and clearly in shock. With her firm but caring manner, she quickly discovers that the girl was defending herself from a man who was trying to rape her. The man is dead, and a jury is sure to convict her for killing her attacker. Lady Fan believes an earlier blow was the true cause of death, and she's determined to save the girl by finding out who dealt that blow.

This was a clue-based mystery, though it was more about trying to build a strong enough case to save the girl than difficulty discovering what happened. Lady Fan asked plenty of questions and used her observational skills, but she also got help from her husband and from a niece with some ideas of her own.

The characters were interesting, and I cared about what happened to them. Historical details were woven into the story to create the feeling of a specific time and place. There was a minor amount of of bad language. There were no sex scenes. Overall, I'd recommend this enjoyable 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.


Friday, April 26, 2019

An Artless Demise by Anna Lee Huber

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An Artless Demise
by Anna Lee Huber


ISBN-13: 9780451491367
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Berkley Books
Released: April 2, 2019

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
November 1831. After fleeing London in infamy more than two years prior, Lady Kiera Darby's return to the city is anything but mundane. A gang of body snatchers is arrested on suspicion of imitating the notorious misdeeds of Edinburgh criminals, Burke and Hare--killing people from the streets and selling their bodies to medical schools. All of London is horrified by the evidence that "burkers" are, indeed, at work in their city.

Kiera receives a letter of blackmail, threatening to divulge details about her late anatomist husband's involvement with the body snatchers and wrongfully implicate her. Not only is she in danger, but also her new husband and investigative partner, Sebastian Gage, and their unborn child.

Meanwhile, the young scion of a noble family has been found murdered a block from his home, and the man's family wants Kiera and Gage to investigate. Is it a failed attempt by the London burkers, having left the body behind, or the crime of someone much closer to home? Someone who stalks the privileged, using the uproar over the burkers to cover his own dark deeds?


My Review:
An Artless Demise is a mystery set in 1831 in London. It is the seventh book in a series, and the author repeatedly referred back to events in the previous books. It can be read as a standalone as the author provided plenty of detail about things that have happened in the past.

It seemed like all of the women were pregnant and talking about it in public situations. Anyway, the author focused the book around several "burkers" and included extensive details about their trial, from their arrest to their hanging. The sensation of this trial motivated someone to blackmail Lady Darby about her past, even though she had nothing to do with her husband's acquisition of bodies for his anatomy textbook. She's distracted by the snubs, rumors, and blackmail so that she and Gage didn't spend much time investigating the death of the heirs of several lords. They did ask questions and there were several clues, but the information needed to narrow down the suspects was not provided until nearly the end.

There were no sex scenes or bad language. 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.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

A Modest Independence by Mimi Matthews

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A Modest Independence
by Mimi Matthews


ISBN-13: 9780999036488
ebook: 400 pages
Publisher: Perfectly Proper Press
Released: April 23, 2019

Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.

Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Solicitor Tom Finchley has spent his life using his sharp intellect to solve the problems of others. As for his own problems, they’re nothing that a bit of calculated vengeance can’t remedy. But that’s all over now. He’s finally ready to put the past behind him and settle down to a quiet, uncomplicated life.

Former lady’s companion Jenny Holloway has just been given a modest independence. Now, all she wants is a bit of adventure. A chance to see the world and experience life far outside the restrictive limits of Victorian England. If she can discover the fate of the missing Earl of Castleton while she’s at it, so much the better.

From the gaslit streets of London to the lush tea gardens of colonial India, Jenny and Tom embark on an epic quest—and an equally epic romance. But even at the farthest edges of the British Empire, the past has a way of catching up with you…


My Review:
A Modest Independence is a romance set in 1860 and follows a couple as they travel from England to India and then around India. This is the second book in a series, but it can be read as a standalone. The author has clearly deeply researched the time period and about traveling along this route. She wove this information into the story, creating a distinct sense of time and place.

The characters were complex and reacted realistically to events. Things that happened in Jenny's and Tom's childhood now stand in the way of their getting married. Jenny no longer trusts men with control over her life, so she's determined to remain unmarried even if that means fighting her attraction to Tom. Tom grew up an orphan. He's reluctant to leave England, where he now has contacts, influence, and some control over his life. Still, he accompanies Jenny to India, using his knowledge and protection to help her track down information about the missing Earl.

Tom respected Jenny's desire to have control in her life and tried to protect her reputation by claiming to be her half-brother. They still found ways to do a lot of intense kissing, which nearly got them in trouble – both their reputations and with things nearly going further than they intended. There were no sex scenes. There was some bad language. Overall, I'd recommend this story, especially if you're interested in the history or setting.


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.