Blame It on the Mistletoe (Blame It on the Mistletoe #1) by Eli Easton

ee mistletoe

When physics grad student Fielding Monroe and skirt-chaser and football player Mick Colman become college housemates, they’re both in for a whole new education. Mick looks out for the absent-minded genius, and he helps Fielding clean up his appearance and discover all the silly pleasures his strict upbringing as a child prodigy denied him. They become best friends.

It’s all well and good until they run into a cheerleader who calls Mick the “best kisser on campus”. Fielding has never been kissed, and he decides Mick and only Mick can teach him how it’s done. After all, the physics department’s Christmas party is coming up with its dreaded mistletoe. Fielding wants to impress his peers and look cool for once in his life. The thing about Fielding is, once he locks onto an idea, it’s almost impossible to get him to change his mind. And he just doesn’t understand why his straight best friend would have a problem providing a little demonstration.

Mick knows kissing is a dangerous game. If he gives in, it would take a miracle for the thing not to turn into a disaster. Then again, if the kissing lessons get out of hand, they can always blame it on the mistletoe.

*****

Just one of those feel-good winter warmers m/m love stories to help you through those winter blues.  😀

Wonderfully written by Eli Easton, and beautifully narrated by Jason Frazier.

4 Stars****

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Murder Most Malicious by Alyssa Maxwell

am maliciousARC honest review for Kensington Books via Netgalley.

In post–World War I England, Lady Phoebe Renshaw and her lady’s maid, Eva Huntford, step outside of their social roles and put their lives at risk to apprehend a vicious killer. . .

December 1918: As a difficult year draws to a close, there is much to celebrate for nineteen-year-old Phoebe Renshaw and her three siblings at their beloved family estate of Foxwood Hall. The dreadful war is finally over; eldest daughter Julia’s engagement to their houseguest, the Marquis of Allerton, appears imminent; and all have gathered to enjoy peace on earth, good will toward men.

But the peace of Foxwood Hall is shattered on the morning of Boxing Day, when the Marquis goes missing. Not entirely missing, however, as macabre evidence of foul play turns up in gift boxes given to lady’s maid Eva Huntford and a handful of others. Having overheard her sister and the Marquis in a heated exchange the night before, Lady Phoebe takes a personal interest in solving the mystery.

As the local constable suspects a footman at Foxwood Hall, Phoebe and Eva follow the clues to a different conclusion. But both young women will need to think outside the box to wrap up this case–before a cornered killer lashes out with ill will toward them. . .

*****

Another Great start to a New Historical Murder/Mystery series!

This was one of those books that you pick up as interesting, and are not sure about whether you are going to like it or not…but are pleasantly surprised!

Post-World War I brought a lot of social changes, the breakdown of class distinction, women’s rights, etc…

I liked the fact that the author has brought together 2 young women from different social classes that they work so well together.  The Upstairs & Downstairs of the murder/mysteries.

This was a well written and plotted book.  With characters that you get to like…and would like to see more of at a later date.

Alyssa Maxwell also writes the Gilded Newport Mysteries series…which I have the first 2 books on my TBR list.  Hopefully they are as good as this Lady & Ladies Maid series.

Can’t wait for the next instalment of Lady Phoebe Renshaw & Eva Huntford adventures.

5 Stars****

 

The Readaholics and the Falcon Fiasco (A Book Club Mystery #1) by Laura DiSilverio

ld  falconAmy-Faye Johnson’s book club, the Readaholics, enjoys guessing whodunit in mysteries like The Maltese Falcon. But when a murder happens in their midst, they discover that solving crimes is harder that reading about them…

Amy-Faye has always loved her idyllic Rocky Mountain town of Heaven, Colorado. Her event-planning business is thriving, her fellow book-obsessed Readaholics are great, and her parents live only a few blocks away. But lately her hometown has felt a little less heavenly. First, she agrees to plan a wedding without realizing the groom is her ex-boyfriend. Then, Ivy, one of her fellow Readaholics, dies suddenly under mysterious circumstances.
The police rule Ivy’s death a suicide by poisoning, but Amy-Faye and the remaining Readaholics suspect foul play. Amy-Faye soon discovers that Ivy was hiding dangerous secrets—and making deadly enemies. Taking a page from her favorite literary sleuths, Amy-Faye is determined to find the real killer and close the book on this case. But finding the truth could spell her own ending…

*****

A Great start to a New series!

Love the ladies of the Readaholics group.  And the fact that they are a reader’s group that read mainly crime/mystery books…just like we do.

Laura has created a great set of characters.  Amy-Faye, the organiser.  Maud, the conspiracy theorist.  Lola, the plant nursery/florist.  Brooke, married money and animal shelter volunteer.  Kerry, a realtor and part-time Heaven’s Mayor.  And the late Ivy.

A well plotted and written novel.

5 Stars*****

The Ghost Hunters by Neil Spring

ns ghostARC honest review for Quercus Books via Netgalley.

Welcome to Borley Rectory, the most haunted house in England.

The year is 1926 and Sarah Grey has landed herself an unlikely new job – personal assistant to Harry Price, London’s most infamous ghost hunter. Equal parts brilliant and charming, neurotic and manipulative, Harry has devoted his life to exposing the truth behind England’s many ‘false hauntings’, and never has he left a case unsolved, nor a fraud unexposed.

So when Harry and Sarah are invited to Borley Rectory – a house so haunted that objects frequently fly through the air unbidden, and locals avoid the grounds for fear of facing the spectral nun that walks there – they’re sure that this case will be just like any other. But when night falls and still no artifice can be found, the ghost hunters are forced to confront an uncomfortable possibility: the ghost of Borley Rectory may be real. And, if so, they’re about to make its most intimate acquaintance.

*****

This is not a ghost/horror story as such,  so if you have picked it up or thinking of reading it as such, you will be disappointed!

This is a novel based on 2 central factual figures, the infamous Harry Price (ghost hunter) and Borley Rectory ‘the most haunted house in England’.

I found that the story was more about the characters inner ghosts, than just the recording of paranormal activity.

An interesting read, weaving a fictional story within factual happenings.  The story moves along at a steady pace.  But did drag in some places.  Could have really done with better editing!

3 Stars***

Death in Room Five (Chief Inspector Littlejohn #24) by George Bellairs

gb room 5ARC honest review for Endeavour Press via Netgalley.

We begin with a group of tourists from a typical Bellairs town, on holiday in France.
One of their number inevitably gets murdered and Chief Inspector Littlejohn is brought in to help the french police investigate.

*****

I was please to see this come up on Netgalley and even more pleased to be allowed to read and review it.  These Bellair books have long been out of circulation and needed to be re-aired for public consumption.

One of the classic British detective series from the 40’s through to the late 70’s.

This was my first taste of Detective Inspector Thomas Littlejohn…and won’t be my last!

I’m pleased to know that Endeavour Press have re-published a number of the George Bellair books…although they are lacking in the earlier ones from before Dead March for Penelope Blow. Luckily I have a lady friend of discernible age who has all but 2 of the 50+ book set, who is willing to loan me them to read.

Littlejohn and his wife are holidaying just outside of Cannes, when he is asked to attend to a English tourist who has been stabbed.

Kept me guessing right up until the end!

A tour de force, and one worth investigating.

5 Stars*****

Yarned and Dangerous (Tangled Web Mystery #1) by Sadie Hartwell

sh yarnedARC honest review for Kensington Books via Netgalley.

Time has not been kind to sleepy Dorset Falls, Connecticut, where an erstwhile resident is hoping to bring a tattered yarn shop back to life—but with a murderer on the loose, the whole town is in knots…

Josie Blair left Dorset Falls twelve years ago in hopes of making it big in New York City. But after earning an overpriced master’s degree and getting fired by a temperamental designer, she finds herself heading back to her hometown. Her great-uncle was injured in a car accident, and newly unemployed Josie is the only person available to take care of him. Uncle Eb’s wife didn’t survive the crash, so Josie is also tasked with selling the contents of her Aunt Cora’s yarn shop. But the needling ladies of the Charity Knitters Association pose a far bigger challenge than a shop full of scattered skeins…

Miss Marple Knits is one of the few businesses still open in the dreary downtown. Josie can’t imagine how it stayed open for so long, yet something about the cozy, resilient little shop appeals to her. But when one of the town’s most persnickety knitters turns up dead in a pile of cashmere yarn, Josie realizes there’s something truly twisted lurking beneath the town’s decaying façade…

INCLUDES ORIGINAL KNITTING PATTERNS!

*****

I enjoyed this first Tangled Web mystery by Sadie Hartwell, and hope that she brings us more adventures from Dorset Falls.

I like the fact that Dorset Falls isn’t all ‘sweetnes ‘n’ light’!

Josie doesn’t want to be there, but has no choice in the matter.  Her Great Uncle Eb’s not to thrilled either….and neither are a few of Dorset Fall’s residence.

I found the book well plotted and the characters full, humorous and well rounded.

I for one can’t wait for the next instalment.

5 Stars*****

 

A Seditious Affair (Society of Gentlemen #2) by K.J. Charles

kjc seditiousARC honest review for Loveswept books via Netgalley.

K. J. Charles turns up the heat in her new Society of Gentlemen novel, as two lovers face off in a sensual duel that challenges their deepest beliefs.
 
Silas Mason has no illusions about himself. He’s not lovable, or even likable. He’s an overbearing idealist, a Radical bookseller and pamphleteer who lives for revolution . . . and for Wednesday nights. Every week he meets anonymously with the same man, in whom Silas has discovered the ideal meld of intellectual companionship and absolute obedience to his sexual commands. But unbeknownst to Silas, his closest friend is also his greatest enemy, with the power to see him hanged—or spare his life.

A loyal, well-born gentleman official, Dominic Frey is torn apart by his affair with Silas. By the light of day, he cannot fathom the intoxicating lust that drives him to meet with the Radical week after week. In the bedroom, everything else falls away. Their needs match, and they are united by sympathy for each other’s deepest vulnerabilities. But when Silas’s politics earn him a death sentence, desire clashes with duty, and Dominic finds himself doing everything he can to save the man who stole his heart.

*****

KJ Charles pulls another rabbit out of her hat!

From her faultless storylines and endearing characters, that just leap from the pages.  You are transported to Regency England and into the world of  the Society of Gentlemen.

I simply worship at her feet, awaiting anything that she deems to proffer to her eager salivating fans.

If you have never read anything from KJ Charles…I suggest you do so!

From her Magpie Lord series, Society of Gentlemen series, The Secret Casebook of Simon Feximal series, plus one off books (at the moment).

I promise you that you will not be disappointed.

5 Stars*****

 

 

 

Darkness Brutal (The Dark Cycle #1) by Rachel A. Marks

ram darknessARC honest review for Skyscape Books via Netgalley.

Aidan O’Linn’s childhood ended the night he saw a demon kill his mother and mark his sister, Ava, with Darkness. Since then, every three years the demons have returned to try to claim her. Living in the gritty, forgotten corners of Los Angeles, Aidan has managed to protect his sister, but he knows that even his powers to fight demons and speak dead languages won’t keep her safe for much longer.

In desperation, Aidan seeks out the help of Sid, the enigmatic leader of a group of teens who run LA Paranormal, an Internet reality show that fights demons and ghosts. In their company, Aidan believes he’s finally found a haven for Ava. But when he meets Kara, a broken girl who can spin a hypnotic web of passionate energy, he awakens powers he didn’t know he had―and unleashes a new era of war between the forces of Light and the forces of Darkness.

With the fate of humanity in his hands, can Aidan keep the Darkness at bay and accept his brilliant, terrifying destiny?

****

I really enjoyed this YA Urban fantasy novel (the first in a series).

Rachel A. Marks rich storyline and characters draw you into Aidan & Eva’a worlds with a pull like a magnet.

Aiden soon learns that he can’t save everyone.  And not everyone wants to be saved!

4 Stars****

Lord Byron’s Secret Obsession by H. C Brown

hcb lord byronARC honest review for Momentum Books via Netgalley.

Can he regain his lover’s freedom?

Lord Byron Wilton leaves England for the Americas after a public argument with his secret lover, Lord David Litchfield. On his return, he finds, Lord David has become an unwilling sex partner for the reprobate Mr. Hale and his cohorts, due to unpaid gambling debts. After Mr. Hale refuses his offer to settle the debts, Lord Byron makes an outlandish and dangerous plan to outwit the trio. He must use every trick in the book, and a considerable amount of his fortune, in an effort to regain his lover’s freedom.

*****

Although a nice read and a relatively so-so story line, I found the main characters lacking in fibre.

It didn’t fire up my imagination and could have done with a little less lord/lady this or that throughout, and could’ve have done with a twist in the tale to liven it up more.

Reminded me a bit of the old Mills & Boon books of the 70’s (so that’s aging me!)…predictable and not memorable enough to liven up a conversation or pass onto a friend as a ‘you must read this’.

3 Stars***

Murder on the Last Frontier (Charlotte Brody Mysteries #1) by Cathy Pegau

cp frontierARC honest review for Kensington Books via Netgalley.

There’s many who feel the Alaska Territory is no place for a woman on her own. But Charlotte Brody, suffragette and journalist, has never let public opinion dictate her life choices. She’s come to the frontier town of Cordova, where her brother Michael practices medicine, for the same reason many come to Alaska—to start over.

Cordova is gradually getting civilized, but the town is still rougher than Charlotte imagined. And when a local prostitute—one of the working girls her brother has been treating—is found brutally murdered, Charlotte learns firsthand how rough the frontier can be. Although the town may not consider the murder of a prostitute worthy of investigation, Charlotte’s feminist beliefs motivate her to seek justice for the woman. And there’s something else—the woman was hiding a secret, one that reminds Charlotte of her own painful past.

As Charlotte searches for answers, she soon finds her own life in danger from a cold-blooded killer desperate to keep dark secrets from seeing the light of day…

*****

We have a fresh new voice in the Historical Mystery/Crime section.

Cathy Pegau brings alive the Alaskan frontier at the beginning of the 20th century…with a plucky new heroine in Charlotte Brody.

With a good storyline/plot and well formed characters.

If you like historical murder/mysteries, this is one to put on your reading list!

And Book 2 – Borrowing Death – is coming out in July 2016!

4 Stars****