Gone But Knot Forgotten (A Quilting Mystery #3) by Mary Marks

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An ARC honest review for Kensington Books via NetGalley.

The third book in Mary Marks Quilting Mysteries.

Finds Martha Rose being made executor to an old school friend estate.  Problems arise when she finds out that her old school friend spent 10 months dead in the closet in her house!

On top of that there are items missing from the estate.  Most dating back to the Declaration of Independence, including a quilt.

Can Martha Rose, Lucy and Birdie piece together the clues to find the murderer?  Before the murderer puts paid to their quilting days!

Love this series.  Great set of characters and storyline.  Well plotted and written.

Can not wait for the next book…Something’s Knot Kosher.

4 Stars****

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Sorting through the estate of a wealthy recluse may sound like a fascinating task, but when the skeletons in the closets turn out to be real, Martha and her quilting pals wish they’d stuck to basting and batting. . .

Martha Rose is stunned when she hears that her best friend from high school has passed away. Her shock doubles when she learns that Harriet Oliver made her the executor of her estate. But when investigators determine that Harriet was murdered, Martha recruits her fellow quilters to help find the culprit. She’s mastered the art of piecing together blocks to create intricate quilts, but piecing together her friend’s murder will prove far more challenging. . .

The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #1) by Rick Riordan

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The first book in the Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series.

After loosing his mom in a mysterious fire at their apartment.  Magnus has lived alone on the streets of Boston for a number of years, surviving on his wits.

When a fire giant kills him and he falls in the Boston river, he feels comforted that he will be joining his mom.  Only to find that he has been saved not from death, but from an afterlife on the bottom of the Boston River, for the afterlife in Valhalla.

This story is the start of Magnus’s journey in discovering who he is and what he is capable of.  With only the help of a Valkyrie, a dwarf, an elf and the sword of summer aka ‘Jack’.  Magnus only has a few days to find the new rope to rebind Fenris the wolf, so Ragnarok (the end of the 9 worlds) doesn’t take place.

It took me a little while to get into this new series on the Norse Gods.  But once I got in to the swing, I enjoyed it.

The characters start to grow on you.  Look forward to seeing what happens in the next book.

4 Stars****

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Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers.

One day, he’s tracked down by a man he’s never met—a man his mother claimed was dangerous. The man tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god.

The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years.

When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision.

Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die . . .

The Harder He Falls (Kick #1) by Lynda Aicher

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An ARC honest review for Random House Publishing Group – Loveswept Books via NetGalley.

The story starts with Grady’s cousin Finn in hospital in a coma, due to a mistake Grady made while white water rafting.  When Grady goes to visit his cousin, he finds a sexy guy he doesn’t know reading erotica to him.  Grady is carrying a lot of guilt and takes it out on the visitor Micah.

Micah a bartender at a local BDSM club, and has his own problems to deal with, of which he still has side effects from an illness he suffered.  An illness that had put him in a coma a few years back.  So he understands what Finn is going through.

The sexual chemistry fly between Micah and Grady.

Overall I found the angst between the two main characters too much, and lost interest in the story to wade through till the end.

3 Stars***

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Expert whitewater-rafting guide Grady Kelley lives for that rush of adrenaline: at work, as the newest employee of a Portland-based outdoor-adventure sports company, and off the river, where liaisons with anonymous men keep him satisfied. Grady prefers no drama and no strings attached, but when tragedy strikes, fate leads him to Micah Swaine. He’s hot, masculine, distracting—and offers the kind of deeper connection Grady has sworn off, no matter how badly he craves it.

Working at a leather bar, Micah meets a lot of guys, but Grady’s different—and he seems to feel the same way. The trouble is, anything beyond casual sex is too risky for Micah. He’s got secrets he doesn’t know how to share, secrets that would make any relationship a battlefield. No man, even one as compassionate as Grady, would stick around for that kind of trouble. And yet, as physical desire melts the walls they’ve put up, Micah and Grady discover that trusting each other is the most exhilarating adventure of all.

 

Miss Seeton, By Appointment (Miss Seeton #6) by Hampton Charles

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An ARC honest review for Farrago Books via NetGalley.

This is the sixth instalment of the Miss Emily D. Seeton parody mysteries.

And Miss Seeton receives a Royal invitation to attend the garden party at Buckingham Palace, luckily for her, so have the Colveden’s…

but not all is as it seems, as MI5 has set it up so she will meet someone there, to later do a drawing for them.

On top of that the Colveden’s have agreed to having a photo shoot at their family home Rytham Hall by the famous photographer Cedric Benbow, a fashion shoot for Mode magazine, with pieces of the famous Lalique jewellery as the centre pieces on a newly discovered model Marigold Naseby.

With spies, thefts and blackmail and as usual, where Miss Seeton and her brolly is, madness and mayhem are bound to be close by!

This is the first book that was written after the death of Heron Carvic, by James Melville writing under the name of Hampton Charles.  And I don’t think that he has made too bad a job of it.  He has still managed to keep it light and a fun read.

4 Stars****

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Who should be hobnobbing with the great and the good at a Buckingham Palace garden party but little Miss Emily Seeton, retired teacher and artistic sleuth. It seems there may be a traitor amongst HM’s faithful retainers.

But while Miss Seeton is viewing shrunken heads and other royal treasures with Sir Wormelow Tump, a plan is being hatched by a titled crook to steal valuables of a different kind – a fabulous set of Lalique jewellery. So the battling brolly must make the most of her royal appointment and literally ‘use her head’ to save the day.

Serene amidst every kind of skulduggery, this eccentric English spinster steps in where Scotland Yard stumbles, armed with nothing more than her sketchpad and umbrella!

 

 

Murder at the Breakers (Gilded Newport Mysteries #1) by Alyssa Maxwell

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First in the Gilded Newport Mysteries by Alyssa Maxwell.

This was the audio version that I brought along side of the Kindle edition, and is narrated by Eva Kaminsky.

Introducing Emmaline (Emma) Cross, a poorer relation and second cousin to Cornelius Vanderbilt II.  Who lives in Gull Manor, a cottage in Newport, Rhode Island her feisty aunt Sadie left to her, and earns her way by writing about society events for the Newport Observer.

Attending a grand ball to celebrate the newly rebuilt splendour of The Breaker, the Vanderbilt’s four-story, 70 roomed ‘summer cottage’ and her cousin Gertrude’s coming-out party.  Emma witnesses a man fall to his death from the balcony of her uncle Cornelius’s private rooms.

And Emma’s older half-brother Brady (not a Vanderbilt) is found drunk and out cold up in uncle Cornelius’s bedroom and is arrested for the mans murder.

Emma knows that Brady did not kill the man, and sets out to find the murderer that the police won’t look for!

This was a great start to a New series.  Loved the mix of historical fact and creative fiction that melded so well together.  Well plotted and written.  Can not wait to read/listen to more of Alyssa Maxwell’s Gilded Newport mysteries, with Eva Kaminsky’s well balanced narration.

5 Stars*****

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Newport, Rhode Island, August 1895: She may be a less well-heeled relation, but as second cousin to millionaire patriarch Cornelius Vanderbilt, twenty-one-year-old Emma Cross is on the guest list for a grand ball at the Breakers, the Vanderbilts’ summer home. She also has a job to do—report on the event for the society page of the Newport Observer.

But Emma observes much more than glitz and gaiety when she witnesses a murder. The victim is Cornelius Vanderbilt’s financial secretary, who plunges off a balcony faster than falling stock prices. Emma’s black sheep brother Brady is found in Cornelius’s bedroom passed out next to a bottle of bourbon and stolen plans for a new railroad line. Brady has barely come to before the police have arrested him for the murder. But Emma is sure someone is trying to railroad her brother and resolves to find the real killer at any cost…

 

A reader’s journey…in the beginning

When I started reading and collecting books in my early teens, I started with children’s books with the likes of Nancy Drew, The Hardy Boy and The Three Investigators.  All of which Armada (paperback) books (children’s imprint of William Collins & Sons publishing group) here in the UK was printing at the time.

But as I was devouring them quicker than they were printing them, I went onto the hardback copies published by Collins.  There were more books available in these series, but they were published in the USA and not available to us here in the UK, due to territorial restrictions (International Copyright Law), and unless I could manage to get over the ‘Pond’ to purchase them, I would have to wait until Collins got the publishing rights before I could get some more.

Even they dried up at the rate that I was reading them.  So I needed to find something else that would grab my interest to read and keep me sated.

Then I discovered Patricia Wentworth’s Miss Silver mysteries, and it opened up a whole new world of what our American cousins call ‘Cozy’ mysteries…a lighter, more gentle adult mystery…in the same vein as the ‘Golden Age of Crime’ classics such as Christie, Sayers, Allingham and Marsh.

But just as I discovered the ‘cozy’ mysteries, the UK publishers decide en masse to discontinue publishing them, as according to them…there wasn’t a market for them anymore in the UK, and readers wanted books with more grit, blood, guts and gore, to sink their teeth into.

That is fine, if that’s what you like to read.  And each to there own.

But there were many readers, myself included who were not enthralled with this new darker genre that was flooding the book market, and wished that the publishers had retained at least in a small amount some of the ‘cozy’ mysteries.

Instead they wiped the genre out completely within a few years, to the point that people under the age of 40 (for the most part) have never heard or read any of these classic mystery authors, except when they are made into tv series or films.

But did the cozy genre die out here in the UK?

Yes, in the sense of the buying public of generations to come.  Because what can not be seen, can not be brought.

And No…not for my generation and older.

Who back in the 80’s, we had to go looking back through past authors and publications to satisfy us, or travel to the USA.  Who at the time, still had a ‘cozy’ publication market with publishers such as Pocket Books, Jove, Avon and the new up-and-coming Berkley Books (who later were to retitle the brand to Berkley Prime Crime) an imprint from Penguin USA.

Which by the way, Penguin Books started out in the UK in the 1930’s, but Penguin UK was one of the top publishers to discontinue ‘cozy’ mysteries here in the UK…go figure!

In 1981, I made my first trip to the USA with my parents (I was 17), and my first visit to a mall was mind blowing!  Unfortunately where as I roamed around at home quite freely on my own, over there my mum decided that I needed to be kept close at hand.  So I only managed 15 minutes in a bookstore (thought I had died and gone to heaven!) before being pulled out…empty handed!

Fortunately, both my aunt and her mother-in-law May, worked at the largest department store within the mall.  And with a little persuading, I managed to get permission to go with her to work, have lunch with them both and spend the day wandering around the mall…parent free!  To top it off, the department store they worked for had a book department (which they got discount off in-store)…so I spent a pleasant day book shopping, drinking coffee and reading in the department stores coffee shop…for me, the best day of the holiday, except for Disney Land, of course! 😀

PS…California is bloody hot!  Especially for someone who isn’t used to that type of heat.  Walking out of an air conditioned area, made you feel like the chicken being shoved into the oven…cooked alive in your own skin!  Probably why I prefer the East Coast USA, more than the West!

With only limited funds, I still came home with about 20 books! lol

Marriage, Monsters-in-Law and Murder (A Mom Zone Mystery #9) by Sara Rosett

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An ARC honest review for Kensington Books via NetGalley.

This is the 9th book in the Ellie Avery – Mom Zone books,  but my first introduction to the series.

Ellie Avery’s sister-in-law Summer is about to tie the knot on a beautiful barrier island in Georgia.  The only problem is that she needs Ellie’s help to keep her fiancé Brian’s mother and step-mother from each others throats!

When Brian’s crazed ex-girlfriend joins the wedding party on the arm of his cousin and best man Graham, it looks like a storm has arrived in paradise.

After a bunch of nasty pranks are played on the bride-to-be.  Then the photographer dies in a buggy accident…that was no accident!

Ellie has not only to keep an watchful eye on the kids and monster-in-laws, but now has to keep an eye out for a killer!

I really enjoyed this book and will be going back to read others in this series.  I liked the characters.  It was well plotted and written.  And will keep you guessing right through till the last minute.

5 Stars*****

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Ellie Avery is a professional organizer, not a diplomat. But by agreeing to help organize a family wedding, she’s basically signed on to prevent two mothers-in-law from killing each other. It comes as a complete surprise, then, when another member of the wedding party is the one who’s actually murdered . . .

Ellie’s sister-in-law, Summer, has planned a four-day destination wedding at a posh private resort on one of Georgia’s beautiful barrier islands, but it won’t be a vacation for Ellie. Summer has asked her to assist with the last-minute details, which includes keeping the peace between the groom’s mother and stepmother.

The ladies are a handful, but the real problems are the ones Ellie and Summer haven’t anticipated–like mysterious pranks directed toward the bride. When the best man shows up with the groom’s gorgeous if unstable ex-girlfriend, she seems like an obvious suspect for the practical jokes.

But when a suspicious death occurs, Ellie realizes there’s more going on than mean-spirited pranks. Is Summer the killer’s real target? And what could possibly be driving someone to murder? Ellie vows to get to the truth so the blushing bride can walk down the aisle without fearing she’ll never reach the altar . . .

Oliver Twisted (An Ivy Meadows Mystery #3) by Cindy Brown

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An ARC honest review for Henery Press Books via NetGalley.

Ivy and Uncle Bob have gone undercover on the S.S. David Copperfield to find a gang of thieves, only to find her new cabin mate dead in the wardrobe!

Ivy is to play Nancy in the on-board musical version of Oliver Twist, on the Charles Dickens themed ship of Get Lit! cruises.  While Uncle Bob is posing as a rich Texas rancher on holiday.

When a second death occurs, the stakes get high.  Can Ivy solve the case before the killer drops the final curtain?

Highly entertaining Ivy Meadows mystery.  Filled with a bunch of weird and wonderful characters for real and from Dickens novels.  Will keep you guessing right until the end.

4 Stars****

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Orphans. Thieves. Murder. And an All-You-Can-Eat Buffet!

When Ivy Meadows lands a gig with the book-themed cruise line Get Lit!, she thinks she’s died and gone to Broadway. Not only has she snagged a starring role in a musical production of Oliver Twist, she’s making bank helping her PI uncle investigate a string of onboard thefts, all while sailing to Hawaii on the S.S. David Copperfield.

But Ivy is cruising for disaster. Her acting contract somehow skipped the part about aerial dancing forty feet above the stage, her uncle Bob is seriously sidetracked by a suspicious blonde, and—oh yeah—there’s a corpse in her closet.

Forget catching crooks. Ivy’s going to have a Dickens of a time just surviving.

The Somnambulist and the Psychic Thief(The Curious Affair Of #1) by Lisa Tuttle

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An ARC honest review for Quercus/Jo Fletcher Books via NetGalley.

The Curious Affair of – The Somnambulist and the Psychic Thief.

After leaving the Psychical Society after witnessing a fraud.  Miss Lane has a career change and joins forces with Mr Jasper Jesperson, to become Jesperson and Lane consulting detectives.

There cases at the moment are a sleep walker, the strange disappearance of mediums and jewel thefts.  Plus there are 2 new mediums in town.  Are any of these connected?

Will Jesperson and Lane discover the answers, before it is too late?

Quite an enjoyable first mystery in the Jesperson and Lane series.  Well plotting and written.  And I like the ending, where you get a very small glimpse of what’s to come in the next book.

4 Stars****

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Should you find yourself in need of a discreet investigation into any sort of mystery, crime or puzzling circumstances, think of Jesperson and Lane . . .

For several years Miss Lane was companion, amanuensis, collaborator and friend to the lady known to the Psychical Societs only as Miss X – until she discovered that Miss X was actually a fraud.

Now she works with Mr Jasper Jesperson as a consulting detective, but the cases are not as plentiful as they might be and money is getting tight – until a case that reaches across the entirety of London lands in their laps.

It concerns a somnambulist, the disappearance of several mediums, and a cat stuck up a tree . . . the links with the cat are negligible, but there is only one team that can investigate the seemingly supernatural disappearances of the psychics and defy the nefarious purpose behind them.

Jesperson and Lane, at your service.

Books can be Deceiving (Library Lover’s Mystery #1) by Jenn McKinlay

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The first of the Library Lover’s mysteries by Jenn McKinlay.

Lindsey Norris is the new director of the Briar Creek Public Library.

When a top editor to a New York children’s publisher is visiting Briar Creek, Lindsey’s best friend and children’s librarian Beth is persuaded to show the editor her children’s book she had been working on for a number of years.  Only to find out that Beth’s ex boyfriend has stolen her work and calling it his own!

When Beth goes out to his island with Lindsey and Sully, on Sully’s boat to confront him.  She finds him dead, with the word LIAR written on his forehead.

Now Beth is in deep water with the Chief of police, who is determined to arrest her for murder!

Can Lindsey find the murderer and save her friend?

I loved this well crafted mystery.  With its great set of characters that will be fun to watch grow.

5 Stars*****

 

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Lindsey is getting into her groove as the director of the Briar Creek Public Library when a New York editor visits town, creating quite a buzz. Lindsey’s friend Beth wants to sell the editor her children’s book, but Beth’s boyfriend, a famous author, gets in the way. When they go to confront him, he’s found murdered-and Beth is the prime suspect. Lindsey has to act fast before they throw the book at the wrong person.