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.