Sunday, March 26, 2017

Blog Tour Post, Review & Giveaway: Elementary, She Read by Vicki Delaney

Description (from cover):

'Gemma Doyle, a transplanted Englishwoman, has returned to the quaint town of West London on Cape Cod to manage her Great Uncle Arthur's Sherlock Holmes Bookshop and Emporium. The shop--located at 222 Baker Street--specializes in the Holmes canon and pastiche, and is also the home of Moriarty the cat. When Gemma finds a rare and potentially valuable magazine containing the first Sherlock Holmes story hidden in the bookshop, she and her friend Jayne (who runs the adjoining Mrs. Hudson's Tea Room) set off to find the owner, only to stumble upon a dead body.

The highly perceptive Gemma is the police's first suspect, so she puts her consummate powers of deduction to work to clear her name, investigating a handsome rare books expert, the dead woman's suspiciously unmoved son, and a whole family of greedy characters desperate to cash in on their inheritance. But when Gemma and Jayne accidentally place themselves at a second murder scene, it's a race to uncover the truth before the detectives lock them up for good.

Fans of Sherlock Holmes will delight in the sleuthing duo of Gemma and Jayne in Elementary, She Read, the clever and captivating series debut by nationally bestselling author Vicki Delaney.'

My thoughts:

I love everything Sherlock Holmes. I love the characters and the stories and have to say that they are some of my favorites. I love to read anything and everything about Sherlock Holmes and when I learned that a new cozy series was coming out that deals with Sherlock Holmes, well I was ecstatic to say the least. This was also my first read by the author Vicki Delaney.

I really enjoyed this book. I loved the Sherlock Holmes theme, but really liked how the author used the theme but didn't overwhelm the reader with all things Sherlock Holmes. There certainly were a lot of similarities, but the author created her own story and characters that made them uniquely different from Sherlock Holmes. I liked that. Gemma's character has similar tendencies that are like Sherlock Holmes, such as her keen observation and deduction skills, but they don't quite top those of the famous detective, which makes her more relatable to the reader. Gemma, herself, is not a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes, she just runs the bookshop and emporium for her uncle and her best friend, Jayne, runs the Mrs. Hudson's Tea Room. 

Gemma feels that she has a responsibility to investigate the murders as the magazine was located in her bookshop. She is frustrated with the local police and their determinations that she had motive and opportunity to commit the murders herself. This book was a great read that I found all too enjoyable. A wonderful debut to a series that I hope continues to for a long time to come.

Overall Rating: 5

Title:  Elementary, She Read
Author:  Vicki Delaney
Series:  Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery #1
Publisher:  Crooked Lane Books
Publication Date:  March 21, 2017
Pages:  320
Genre:  Cozy Mystery
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

About the Author:

Vicki Delany began her writing career as a Sunday writer: a single mother of three high-spirited daughters with a full-time job as a computer programmer. Sunday afternoon was – and at that, only now and again – the only time she had to spend all by herself, with a single candle on her desk for a bit of atmosphere, a Bruce Springsteen tape in the tape deck, and a nice cup of tea at her elbow. When she felt like really letting loose, the tea might have turned into a glass of wine.

The years passed, as they tend to do, and the three daughters, somewhat hesitantly, flew the coop, leaving Vicki more time to devote to her writing.  She was able to write three novels of suspense, set in Ontario, two of which, Scare the Light Away and Burden of Memory were published to critical acclaim by Poisoned Pen Press of Scottsdale, Arizona.

In 2007, Vicki took early retirement from her job as a systems analyst with a major bank and sold her house in Oakville, Ontario.  At that time In the Shadow of the Glacier, the first book in a police procedural series set in the British Columbia Interior was published. After travelling around North America for a year with her dog, Shenzi, she bought a home in bucolic, rural Prince Edward County, Ontario, where she rarely wears a watch and can write whenever she feels like it.

Since settling in Prince Edward County, Vicki has continued with her writing career, publishing books in several different sub-genres as well as a book for adults with low literacy skills.

This has been a stop of the Elementary, She Read blog tour hosted by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. Make sure that you stop by the other stops and enter the giveaway for a chance to win a print copy of this book!

March 13 – The Bookwyrm’s Hoard
March 14 – Laura’s Interests
March 15 – Back Porchervations
March 15 – Valerie’s Musings
March 16 – Rainy Day Reviews
March 16 – A Holland Reads
March 17 – Reading Is My SuperPower
March 17 – Books,Dreams,Life
March 18 – Shelley’s Book Case
March 18 – Girl with Book Lungs  
March 19 – The Book’s the Thing
March 20 – Bibliophile Reviews
March 21 – Melina’s Book Blog
March 21 – View from the Birdhouse
March 22 – Carole’s Book Corner
March 23 – fundinmental
March 23 – StoreyBook Reviews
March 24 – Cozy Up With Kathy
March 25 – Moonlight Rendezvous
March 25 – Island Confidential
March 26 – Brooke Blogs
March 26 – Girl Lost In a Book

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: This book was selected from the library by myself and I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Review: A Terrible Beauty by Tasha Alexander

Description (from cover):

'In this gripping new novel in the New York Times bestselling series, Lady Emily travels to Greece where a ghost from her past returns to haunt her amid the ruins.

On a quest to distract her lifelong friend Jeremy from his recent heartbreak, Lady Emily organizes a holiday in Greece. As a lover of all things Greek, she quickly finds herself occupied with tours of ancient ruins, lively debates with Margaret, a devoted Latinist, and slightly more scandalous endeavors with her dashing husband, Colin Hargreaves. But the pleasantries are brought to an abrupt halt when a man long believed dead greets the party at their island villa. Lord Philip Ashton, Colin's childhood best friend and Emily's first husband, has returned. But can Philip really be who he claims, even if he has the scars and stories to prove it? where has he been for all this time? And will his undying love for Emily drive him to claim what's his?

Intrigue mounts as Philip reveals that he has been plagued for the past few years by an illegal antiques trader who believes he is in possession of a piece of Achilles' helmet, a priceless relic that was stolen from him moments after he unearthed it on an archaeological dig. Emily must employ all of her cunning and expertise to thwart thieves who threaten not only her own safety, but that of those precious artifacts she holds so dear. A trail of overheard conversations, murderous assailants, and dead bodies leads her on a chase to uncover more than one buried truth.'

My thoughts:

I began my love for historical mysteries with a couple of series. This was one of them. I love a good historical mystery with a lot of suspense and this series delivers. I have long followed this series and I am always anxiously awaiting the next installment. If you are new to historical mysteries, this is a series definitely worth your attention. This book is the 11th installation of the series and one that weaves backstory into new tales. If you are familiar with the series, this book will shock you. If you are new to the series, do not start with this one. You will be confused. This is your warning that spoilers are ahead.

Emily and her husband, Colin, have decided to go on a holiday to Greece and have taken Emily's friends, Jeremy and Margaret with them. The intent is to escape reality a little and forget about the things left behind in London. However, they are in for a surprise when Lord Philip Ashton, Emily's dead first husband, greets them upon their arrival to the villa. Emily cannot believe her eyes. Is he really Philip? Or is he an imposter? Philip tells Emily about his struggles over the years and how someone is hunting for him. Emily must use her smarts and detective skills to discover exactly is going on. 

I think that this book was a little predictable at times and a little less action packed than the others in the series, but it was still a good read. I felt that it was just okay. It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't the greatest either. I hate to feel like that because typically I love this series, but something just felt off with it for me this go around. I was a little disappointed, however, I am not yet ready to throw in the towel with this series. Fingers crossed!

Overall Rating: 2.5

Title:  A Terrible Beauty
Author:  Tasha Alexander
Series:  Lady Emily Mystery #11
Publisher:  Minotaur Books
Publication Date:  October 11, 2016
Pages:  304
Genre:  Historical Mystery
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for my honest review. I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Blog Tour Post, Review & Giveaway: Purr M for Murder by T.C. LoTempio

Description (from cover):

'Sydney McCall left behind an ex-fiance and a New York advertising job to return home to Deer Park, North Carolina and help her sister, Kat, run the local animal shelter, Friendly Paws. Determined to save the shelter from financial trouble, Sydney and Kat organize a cat cafe fundraising event at a local coffee shop. Things are looking up until their landlord, Trowbridge Littleton, threatens to shut down the event. When Sydney drops by his art gallery to make peace, she finds Kat--along with Littleton's dead body.

Local homicide detective Will Worthington--who just happens to be Sydney's old high school crush--is highly suspicious of the sisters' involvement. Desperate to clear their names from the suspect list, Sydney pounces on the investigation. With the help of one of the shelter cats, a savvy orange tabby named Toby, Sydney begins poking her nose into other local businesses whose owners may have benefited from Littleton's death--until the killer notices she's pawing a little too closely at the truth.

Delightfully clever and charming, Purr M for Murder, the first in a new series from nationally bestselling author T.C. LoTempio, will leave readers clawing for more.'

My thoughts:

I love animals. I always have. Not much of a cat person, but nevertheless, still an animal lover. I love to read mysteries with animals featured in them. For some reason, I really enjoy cat mysteries. One of my favorite mystery series of all times is the Lillian Jackson Braun The Cat Who series. Ms. Braun has unfortunately stopped writing cat mysteries a long time ago and has passed away. I am always on the hunt for a series that reminds me of one I love so much. This cat mystery series has a lot of potential. I enjoyed this book a lot. 

I found that I was drawn in by the characters and their stories from very early on with this book. I felt that I could relate to Sydney's character and I love that she has a past that the author only gives us a little glimpse into. I would love to learn more about Sydney and her past. Sydney has just ended a relationship with her ex-fiance and is looking to find some solace and escape from her troubles. She lands in Deer Park, North Carolina where she grew up and where her sister, Kat, still resides. Kat works at the local animal shelter and offers Sydney a job. Sydney and Kat's passion for animals show through every page in this novel.

I really enjoyed this first installment in this all new series. I thought it was well-written and very engaging. I found that I was eager to pick this book up every chance that I got. I will definitely be keeping my eye on this series. It was a light and engaging read that I highly recommend.

Overall Rating: 4.5

Title:  Purr M for Murder
Author:  T.C. LoTempio
Series:  Cat Rescue Mystery #1
Publisher:  Crooked Lane Books
Publication Date:  March 14, 2017
Pages:  304
Genre:  Cozy Mystery
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

About the Author:

While Toni LoTempio does not commit – or solve – murders in real life, she has no trouble doing it on paper. Her lifelong love of mysteries began early on when she was introduced to her first Nancy Drew mystery at age 10 – The Secret in the Old Attic.  She (and ROCCO, albeit he’s uncredited) pen the Nick and Nora mystery series from Berkley Prime Crime – and debuting March 14 2017, the new CAT RESCUE mysteries from Crooked Lane!   She, Rocco and Maxx make their home in Clifton, New Jersey, just twenty minutes from the Big Apple – New York. Catch up with them at

This has been a stop of the Purr M for Murder blog tour hosted by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. Make sure that you stop by the other stops and enter the giveaway for a chance to win a print copy of this book!

March 8 – Girl Lost In a Book
March 8 – Moonlight Rendezvous
March 9 – Bibliophile Reviews   
March 9 – Must Read Faster 
March 9 – Celticlady’s Reviews 
March 10 – Book Babble 
March 10 – Cozy Up With Kathy
March 10 – Classy Cheapskate
March 11 – Babs Book Bistro
March 11 – Island Confidential
March 12 – Shelley’s Book Case
March 12 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews  
March 13 – My Journey Back
March 14 – Brooke Blogs 
March 14 – View from the Birdhouse 
March 15 – Texas Book-aholic
March 15 – Books Direct
March 16 – Melina’s Book Blog
March 16 – Laura’s Interests
March 17 – The Book’s the Thing
March 17 – Jersey Girl Book Reviews
March 17 – A Holland Reads 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for my honest review. I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Review: The Hidden Man by Robin Blake

Description (from cover):

'The year is 1742, and the people of Preston are looking forward to their ancient once-every-twenty-years festival of merriment and excess, the Preston Guild. But the prospect darkens as the town plunges into a financial crisis caused by the death of pawnbroker and would-be banker Phillip Pimbo, shot behind the locked door of his office. Is it suicide? Coroner Titus Cragg suspects so, but Dr. Luke Fidelis disagrees. To untangle the truth Cragg must dig out the secrets of Pimbo's personal life, learn the grim facts of the African slave trade, search for a missing Civil War treasure and deal with the machinations of his old enemy Ephraim Grimshaw, now the town's mayor. Cragg relies once again on the help and advice of his analytical friend Fidelis, his astute wife Elizabeth and the contents of a well-stocked library.

As in his previous Cragg and Fidelis stories, Robin Blake brings a vivid cast of characters to the page in this third historical mystery about the dramas that breeds below the surface of life in a provincial Georgian town.'

My thoughts:

The third book in the Cragg and Fidelis mystery is just as good as the other two in the series before it. I love Robin Blake's writing style and his characters. His main character Titus Cragg and his friend Dr. Luke Fidelis are a treat to read about. They are educated and smart and determined to figure out the murder mystery in front of them. When pawnbroker Phillip Pimbo is found dead in his office, Titus is happy to write it off as a suicide, but Fidelis is determined to see the bigger picture and declares that it was a murder instead. Based on his friend's strong convictions, Cragg joins in the murder investigation as well as his duties as coroner. 

The pair uncover a lot of clues involving the slave trade, financial irregularities and an old treasure during the course of the investigation. All of these instances seem to be separate from the main investigation of the murder, but the pieces slowly fall into place. It seems there was a lot more to Phillip Pimbo than what met the eyes of the townspeople. The way that Blake weaves his story left me wanting more and hard-pressed to put this book down. 

I thought that this book was a great read and I am currently reading the fourth and latest installment in this series, Skin and Bone, as I am not quite ready to let this series go. I always look forward to reading about Cragg and Fidelis' adventures and simply cannot get enough. The author does a fantastic job of creating a historical element in his books that make this historical mystery lover swoon.

Overall Rating: 5

Title:  The Hidden Man
Author:  Robin Blake
Series:  Cragg and Fidelis Mystery #3
Publisher:  Minotaur Books
Publication Date:  March 3, 2015
Pages:  352
Genre:  Historical Mystery
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

Disclaimer: This book was selected from the library by myself and I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Netlix Effect...

I came across the post that I did earlier in the year about changing the vision of this blog. After taking somewhat a break from it, I find that I am starting to find that passion again, but in a different way. I feel that I want to write more about books, reading habits and the culture of books and authors more than reviewing books all the time.
I come across ideas all the time, I just have a hard time of actually following through and writing about them. The latest one was how ironically my reading habits mimic my Netflix habit. I find myself getting drawn more and more to voluminous book series to kind of "binge" on a series for a while. I tend to find a series and hunker down for a few weeks and read them in order until the very last one and I do the exact same thing with Netflix. I binge one show at a time and apparently that holds true for my books as well. It seriously blew my mind for a little bit. 

Another one: Am I the only bookaholic who hates the smell of books? I think I might just be. I recently saw a Facebook post or something advertising candles for book lovers. I love candles and books. You think I would like candles that smell like books. Nope. And used books and old books, I would love to read you, but you smell so bad. I see book lovers all the time talking about how they love the smell of a musty old book and I really don't understand. My allergies will not let me.

I have been reading a book lately The Hidden Man by Robin Blake. I love Blake's writing and I have already decided that I will be writing a review on it. Make sure you stop by later this week for my take on this book.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Review: A Study in Scarlet Women by Sherry Thomas

Description (from cover):

'USA Today bestselling author Sherry Thomas turns the story of the renowned Sherlock Holmes upside down...

With her inquisitive mind, Charlotte Holmes has never felt comfortable with the demureness expected of the fairer sex in upper class society. But even she never thought that she would become a social pariah, an outcast fending for herself on the mean streets of London.

When the city is struck by a trio of unexpected deaths and suspicion falls on her sister and her father, Charlotte is desperate to find the true culprits and clear the family name. She'll have help from friends new and old--a kind-hearted widow, a police inspector, and a man who has long loved her.

But in the end, it will be up to Charlotte, under the assumed name Sherlock Holmes, to challenge society's expectations and match wits against an unseen mastermind.'

My Thoughts:

I simply adore Sherlock Holmes. I have long been a fan of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's beloved detective and I enjoy reading stories that continue the famed detective's legacy. I think that Sherry Thomas did a wonderful job of creating an alternate universe where Sherlock Holmes is female. I liked that the author stayed true to Sherlock Holmes' character but added her own twist on the legendary character. I found this novel to be quite clever and a very entertaining read.

Charlotte Holmes is not your normal upper class lady. She doesn't care about society, she doesn't care what others think of her and she is determined to not to let society dictate her life. She does the unthinkable in an effort to escape the tight bounds of society and she sets out using her brilliant mind to solve a trio of mysterious murders that have recently plagued London. She has some friends of hers to help guide her along her way and she makes some new friends along the way as well. I loved Charlotte's spunk, her quirks that make "Sherlock" Holmes famous and the way that the author plants in the reader's mind that question: What if Sherlock Holmes was female?

This book was a good read. I enjoyed it and found it to be entertaining. I think the author used particular items from the Sherlock Holmes we all know, but that she put her own spin on the character that at the same time made it unique. If you are a fan of Sherlock Holmes and love a good, well-planned mystery, this is a book worth your time. I thoroughly enjoyed it and will definitely be back for more.

Overall Rating: 4.5

Title:  A Study in Scarlet Women
Author:  Sherry Thomas
Series:  Lady Sherlock #1
Publisher:  Berkley
Publication Date:  October 18, 2016
Pages:  336
Genre:  Historical Mystery
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for my honest review. I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Review: Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson

Description (from cover):

'From the bestselling author and master of narrative nonfiction comes the enthralling story of the sinking of the Lusitania

On May 1, 1915, with WWI entering its tenth month, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool, carrying a record number of children and infants. The passengers were surprisingly at ease, even though Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone. For months, German U-boats had brought terror to the North Atlantic. But the Lusitania was one of the era's great transatlantic "Greyhounds"--the fastest liner then in service--and her captain, William Thomas Turner, placed tremendous faith in the gentlemanly strictures of warfare that for a century had kept civilian ships safe from attack.

Germany, however, was determined to change the rules of the game, and Walther Schwieger, the captain of Unterseeboot-20, was happy to oblige. Meanwhile, an ultra-secret British intelligence unit tracked Schwieger's U-boat, but told no one. As U-20 and the Lusitania made their way toward Liverpool, an array of forces both grand and achingly small--hubris, a chance fog, a closely guarded secret, and more--all converged to produce one of the great disasters of history.

It is a story that many of us think we know but don't, and Erik Larson tells it thrillingly, switching between hunter and hunted while painting a larger portrait of America at the height of the Progressive Era. Full of glamour and suspense, Dead Wake brings to life a cast of evocative characters, from famed Boston bookseller Charles Lauriat to pioneering female architect Theodate Pope to President Woodrow Wilson, a man lost to grief, dreading the widening war but also captivated by the prospect of new love.

Gripping and important, Dead Wake captures the sheer drama and emotional power of a disaster whose intimate details and true meaning have long been obscured by history.'

My thoughts:

Very rarely do I delve into the realm of nonfiction, however, when it comes to Erik Larson, I am always ready to read one of his books. Larson has a way with weaving a story and using the people who dance across his pages to tell history's greatest tales. The author uses their stories to tell the story of whatever subject he is writing about. In this case, the topic was the sinking of the Lusitania. I had learned about the Lusitania in school, but it was very brief overview of the situation and how important this disaster was to bringing America into WWI. 

After reading this book, my view of the situation as I learned it in school has changed. The sinking of the Lusitania  was two years before America decided to engage itself in the conflict. The Lusitania disaster certainly was a triggering event, but not the only factor that drew America into the first World War. I found it interesting that the common misconception was that it was because this happened that America joined the Allied forces in the war that shaped modern warfare. In fact, I had even believed the same. It is an accurate description in the blurb of this book that "It is a story that many of us think we know but don't..."

Nonfiction is a genre that sometimes seems foreign to me as I read a lot of fiction books. However, Erik Larson is one of my favorite nonfiction writers hands down. I always engage in the story and learn so much when I read one of his books. The man could probably write about dirt and I would enjoy it. Another phenomenal read by a nonfiction genius.

Overall Rating: 5+

Title:  Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania
Author:  Erik Larson
Series:  N/A
Publisher:  Crown Publishers
Publication Date:  March 10, 2015
Pages:  430
Genre:  Nonfiction
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for my honest review. I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.
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