Monday, November 24, 2014

Blog Tour Post, Review & Giveaway: Death Comes to London by Catherine Lloyd

Description (from cover):

'A season in London promises a welcome change of pace for two friends from the village of Kurland St. Mary--until murder makes a debut...

With the reluctant blessings of her father, the rector of Kurland St. Mary, Lucy Harrington and her sister Anna leave home for a social season in London. At the same time, Lucy's special friend Major Robert Kurland is summoned to the city to accept a baronetcy for his wartime heroism.

Amidst the dizzying whirl of balls and formal dinners, the focus shifts from mixing and matchmaking to murder when the dowager Countess of Broughton, the mother of an old army friend of Robert, drops dead. When it's revealed she's been poisoned, Robert's former betrothed, Miss Chingford, is accused, and she in turns points a finger at Anna. To protect her sister, Lucy enlists Robert's aid in drawing out the true culprit.

But with the suspects ranging from  resentful rivals and embittered family members to the toast of the ton, it will take all their sleuthing skills to unmask the poisoner before more trouble is stirred up...'

My thoughts:

This book is set at the height of the Season in Regency-era London. Lucy Harrington, along with his sister, Anna have arrived in London to enjoy the carefree manner that is well known as the London Season. They are both looking for a husband among the masses of the ton. However, while looking for husbands, they suddenly stumble across a murder on the dance floor at a ball. Of course, Lucy's friend Major Kurland, just so happens to be in London at the same time and witnesses the murder as well. Lucy and Robert team up to discover just who wanted to murder a Countess and why. 

I just got finished reading the first book in this series, Death Comes to the Village and I enjoyed that one a lot. I, however, did enjoy this one a lot more. For some reason the excitement of the Season in London versus the English countryside setting made this one seem more thrilling to me. I thoroughly enjoyed this book a lot and had a hard time putting it down. I love Lucy's character and I even love the dashing, yet formidable, Major Kurland. Just when I thought something was destined to happen at the end of the book, the author frustrated me and left me hanging. But don't misconstrue that as a bad frustration. No, it is the good kind that begs me to keep reading this series just to find out what happens next.

This book was overly exciting and thrilling and kept me on my toes until the very last page. I love how this author uses plot twists and turns to make characters in this book seem suspicions and then changes how the reader sees them. It takes a special type of author to make me really sit up and pay attention and this author does just that. I thought that this was a fun read and I know that I will find my way back to this series over and over again. I love historically themed mysteries and this series is just what I was looking for.

Overall Rating: 5

Title:  Death Comes to London
Author:  Catherine Lloyd
Series:  Kurland St. Mary Mystery #2
Publisher:  Kensington
Publication Date:  November 25, 2014
Pages:  273
Genre:  Historical Mystery
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

About the Author:

Catherine Lloyd grew up in London, England in the middle of a large family of girls. She quickly decided her imagination was a wonderful thing and was often in trouble for making stuff up. She finally worked out she could make a career out of this when she moved to the USA with her husband and four children and began writing fiction. With a background in historical research and a love of old-fashioned mysteries, she couldn't resist the opportunity to wonder what a young Regency Miss Marple might be like, and how she would deal with a far from pleasant hero of the Napoleonic wars.

This has been a stop of the Death Comes to London blog tour hosted by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. Make sure that you stop by the other stops as some of them are hosting giveaways of this book!

Monday, November 24
Review & Giveaway at Girl Lost in a Book

Tuesday, November 25
Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Wednesday, November 26
Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Thursday, November 27
Guest Post at Jorie Loves a Story
Guest Post at Boom Baby Reviews

Friday, November 28
Spotlight & Excerpt at Austenprose

Saturday, November 29
Spotlight at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Monday, December 1
Review at Book Nerd
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Guest Post at Madame Gilflurt

Tuesday, December 2
Review & Giveaway at Mina’s Bookshelf

Wednesday, December 3
Review at Editing Pen
Review at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
Spotlight & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Connection

Thursday, December 4
Review & Guest Post at Latte’ Da!

Friday, December 5
Review at Becky on Books

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Review: Death Comes to the Village by Catherine Lloyd

Description (from cover):

'A wounded solider and a rector's daughter discover strange goings-on in the sleepy village of Kurland St. Mary in Catherine Lloyd's charming Regency-set mystery debut...

Major Robert Kurland has returned to the quiet vistas of his village home to recuperate from the horrors of Waterloo. However injured his body may be, his mind is as active as ever. Too active, perhaps. When he glimpses a shadowy figure from his bedroom window struggling with a heavy load, the tranquil facade of the village begins to loom sinister...

Unable to forget the incident, Robert confides in his childhood friend, Miss Lucy Harrington. As the dutiful daughter of the widowed rector, following up on the major's suspicions offers a welcome diversion--but soon presents real danger. Someone is intent on stopping their investigation. And in a place where no one locks their doors, a series of thefts and the disappearance of two young serving girls demands explanation...

As Robert grapples with his difficult recovery, he and Lucy try to unearth the dark truth lurking within the village shadows, and stop a killer waiting to strike again...'

My thoughts:

I absolutely love cozy quaint English mysteries and this book was such a book. I loved the small village of Kurland St. Mary and the eccentric Major Kurland and devoted Lucy Harrington. These characters really made this book and I thought that it was a great debut to a new cozy mystery series. I like the author's writing style and was a little surprised by the ending. That is always a plus when it comes to a mystery. The only thing that was a little different about this one is that the murder is discovered towards the end of the book. There is the suspicion of the murder, but no confirmation until later in the book, almost towards the end. It was a little odd, but really didn't take anything away from the overall storyline.

Lucy Harrington is the local rector's daughter. Her mother has passed away and her father has come to rely heavily on her for the managing of the household. Lucy is tired of not being able to discover life and become a wife and being tied down to the rectory. So when Major Kurland describes something he seen in the dark of the night, she decides that she will investigate. Soon she learns of two missing serving girls and a string of thefts that keep occurring in the village. She is determined to discover the secrets and learn what is going on in her beloved village with the help of the moody Major Kurland.

I thought that this book was a light and fun read. I enjoyed this one a lot and see myself continuing with this series. I love the fact that this book takes place in England, in a small village and is set in the Regency-era. I absolutely adore historical themed cozies and this one was no different. If you are looking for something fun and different, then this is a series you should definitely check into.

Overall Rating: 4

Title:  Death Comes to the Village
Author:  Catherine Lloyd
Series:  Kurland St. Mary Mystery #1
Publisher:  Kensington
Publication Date:  November 26, 2013
Pages:  288
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.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Review: One Potion in the Grave by Heather Blake

Description (from cover):

'Carly Bell Hartwell's love potions are always in demand in Hitching Post, Alabama, the wedding capital of the South.

When Katie Sue Perrywinkle walks into the Little Shop of Potions, Carly is surprised and delighted to see her old childhood friend. Katie Sue fled her hometown and a troubled family over a decade ago. But she's not back for a social visit. She's come to settle a score with Senator Warren Calhoun, who is in town for his son's high-profile wedding.

But before Katie Sue has a chance to voice any objections, she's forced to forever hold her peace. After finding her friend dead, Carly voes to find her murderer. Were the corrupt Calhouns willing to go to any lengths to avoid a scandal? Did Katie Sue's family take the term "bad blood" to a whole new level? And why did the bride-to-be come to Carly for a love potion? As Carly gets closer to the truth, a killer is planning a very chilly reception.'

My thoughts:

I enjoyed the first book in this series and couldn't wait to read this one. However, when I did read it, it was very disappointing as it was so obvious as to the solution. I was a little upset that the main character couldn't figure out the obvious. From the onset, I had it figured out and nothing to me is more disappointing in a cozy mystery. I loved the characters and the setting in this book and to be honest that was really the only thing that keep me going. I wanted to bang my head on the wall, why couldn't someone figure out the complete obvious?

I like Carly's character and the hint of witches and magic that the author wove into this story, however, it simply wasn't enough to distract me from the fact that for a character I thought was so intelligent, she really couldn't see what was right in front of her. I was disappointed because I really did like the first book in this series and was expecting something more in this installment. 

Overall, I hope that the author comes up with a little more puzzling mystery for the next book in this series. I would hate to see great character get overwhelmed by an obvious solution. I will hold out on this series and wait to see how the next one turns out, hoping that Carly can pay attention to the obvious a little more next time.

Overall Rating: 2.5

Title:  One Potion in the Grave
Author:  Heather Blake
Series:  Magic Potion Mystery #2
Publisher:  Signet
Publication Date:  October 7, 2014
Pages:  336
Genre:  Cozy 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.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Blog Tour Stop & Review: The Ripper's Wife by Brandy Purdy

Description (from cover):

'A suspenseful, spellbinding novel of love, jealousy, and murder, The Ripper's Wife reimagines the most notorious serial killer in history through the eyes of the woman who sealed his fate.

Love makes sane men mad and can turn a gentle man into a fiend...

It begins as a fairytale romance--a shipboard meeting in 1880 between vivacious Southern belle Florence Chandler and handsome English cotton broker James Maybrick. Courtship and a lavish wedding soon follow, and the couple settles into an affluent Liverpool suburb.

From the first, their marriage is doomed by lies. Florie, hardly the heiress her scheming mother portrayed, is treated as an outsider by fashionable English society. James' secrets are infinitely darker--he has a mistress, an arsenic addiction, and a vicious temper. But Florie has no inkling of her husband's depravity until she discovers his diary--and in it, a litany of bloody deeds...'

My thoughts:

I've said it before on this blog and most likely this will not be the last time that I say it: I love everything to do with Jack the Ripper. I love the gothic Victorian serial killer and how he was never captured. Of course, I am not condoning murder, but I find the hype and mystery of Jack the Ripper to be very entertaining. I also love to read anything that has to do with Jack the Ripper or his victims. Of course, when I heard that this book was being released, I knew that I just had to read it. I always like to read different portrayals of the events that took place in 1889 in Whitechapel and like to see how different authors put their own spin on such a famous story.

I will begin by stating that this book is graphic and very sexual in nature. It is not for people who don't like to read vulgar books. While I understand that the author had to do so as Jack the Ripper was portrayed as a sex fiend, it was a little excessive. Nevertheless, this book is mainly told in the character of Florence Maybrick who is the wife of Jack the Ripper. Although history gives us multiple suspects as to who really was the serial killer, it was nice to see this point of view and how someone married to the serial killer might have lived her life. I found Florence's character to be very likeable and engaging.

I really enjoyed reading this book and encourage readers to pick it up. It does have some strong language and vulgar things in it and a lot of violence towards women, but if you can look past that, I would say that you should so that you don't miss out on something quite entertaining. This book ended up being a little different than I imagined, but I don't mean that in a bad way. Overall, this book was an entertaining read that kept me on the edge of my seat waiting to see how things would turn out next.

Overall Rating: 4

Title:  The Ripper's Wife
Author:  Brandy Purdy
Series:  N/A
Publisher:  Kensington
Publication Date:  October 28, 2014
Pages:  368
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

About the Author:

Brandy Purdy is the author of several historical novels. When she's not writing, she's either reading or watching classic movies. She currently lives in Beaumont, Texas. Visit her website at http://www.brandypurdy.com for more information about her books. You can also follow her via her blog at where she posts updates about her work and reviews of what she has been reading.

This has been a stop of the Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours blog tour of The Ripper's Wife. Make sure you check out all the other stops on the tour!

Monday, October 27
Review at A Bookish Affair

Tuesday, October 28
Review & Giveaway at Historical Fiction Obsession
Interview & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair

Wednesday, October 29
Review at Kinx’s Book Nook
Review at The Maiden’s Court

Thursday, October 30
Review at Book of Secrets

Friday, October 31
Review at WTF Are You Reading?
Feature at Passages to the Past

Monday, November 3
Review at A Chick Who Reads
Interview & Giveaway at Mina’s Bookshelf

Tuesday, November 4
Review at 100 Pages a Day – Stephanie’s Book reviews
Interview at A Chick Who Reads

Wednesday, November 5
Review at JulzReads

Thursday, November 6
Review at History & Women

Friday, November 7
Review at A Book Geek

Monday, November 10
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews

Tuesday, November 11
Review & Giveaway at Historical Tapestry

Wednesday, November 12
Review & Giveaway at Broken Teepee

Thursday, November 13
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews

Friday, November 14
Review at Girl Lost in a Book

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

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Review: My Notorious Life by Kate Manning

Description (from cover):

'Inspired by a real midwife who became one of the most controversial figures in Victorian New York City, this "daring page-turner" (O, The Oprah Magazine) is an unforgettable tale--a love story, a family saga, and the confessions of a charismatic and passionate woman who changed the lives of countless others.

Meet the incomparable Axie Muldoon. Axie's story begins on the streets of 1860's New York. The impoverished child of Irish immigrants, she grows up to become one of the wealthiest and most controversial women of her day. In vivid prose, Axie recounts how she is forcibly separated from her mother and siblings, apprenticed to a doctor, and how she and her husband parlay the sale of a few bottles of "Lunar Tablets for Female Complaint" into a thriving midwifery business. Flouting convention and defying the law in the name of women's rights, Axie rises from grim tenement rooms to the splendor of a mansion on Fifth Avenue, amassing wealth while learning over and over never to trust a man who says "trust me."

When her services attract outraged headlines, Axie finds herself on a collision course with a crusading official--Anthony Comstock, founder of the Society for the Suppression of Vice. It will take all of Axie's power to outwit him in the fight to preserve her freedom and everything she holds dear. Inspired by the true story of an infamous physician who was once called "the Wickedest Woman in New York," Kate Manning is "writing in the venerable tradition of Stephen Crane...those social reformers knew that a powerful tale with memorable characters could draw us into the heat of social debates like nothing else" (The Washington Post).'

My thoughts:

I simply couldn't put this one down. It captured my interest at the very beginning and held it until the very last page. This book was a marvel to read and I highly recommend it to all readers. Axie's character is strong-willed and determined to stand her ground and for what she believes in. The story begins with Axie living in the tenements of New York with a mother who can barely afford to put food in her children's mouths. Axie's mother, knowing that she cannot provide for her children, turn them over to a well-meaning preacher who takes the children on a train out West in hopes of finding families to adopt them. Axie is adamant that she will stay with her brother and sister and that they shouldn't be split up. Unfortunately, this is exactly what happens and soon Axie is living with a doctor and his wife who practices the ways of midwifery.

Axie learns a lot in her time with the doctor's wife and is apprenticed to her for several years. When the doctor's wife dies, Axie finds herself stuck in a position where no one wants her. She decides to return to New York, but she has to do so without her brother and her sister. Axie soon finds herself landing on her own two feet and begins to peddle some prescriptions to help females in dire straits. Soon Axie has a wealthy business and she is content with helping the less fortunate with their troubles. As soon as she finds herself comfortable, people are out to get her and to destroy all the good that she has done.

I really enjoyed reading this book. It wasn't just a story about a wealthy midwife who raised herself up from nothing and made something of her life. It was the story of family struggles and morality and women's rights. I think that the author did a fantastic job of telling Axie's story. It was captivating and engaging and utterly enjoyable. If you love reading about strong female characters, then this is definitely a book worth checking out. A fantastic read that left me sad when it was over.

Overall Rating: 5

Title:  My Notorious Life
Author:  Kate Manning
Series:  N/A
Publisher:  Scribner
Publication Date:  September 10, 2013
Pages:  448
Genre:  Historical Fiction
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

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

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Blog Tour Post, Review & Giveaway: Chorus Lines, Caviar, and Corpses by Mary McHugh

Description (from cover):

'There's no pussy-footing around murder..

It's never too late to kick up your heels. Just ask Tina, Janice, Pat, Mary Louise, and Gini--aka the Happy Hoofers. After posting a video of their tap-dancing routine on the Internet, the leggy ladies find themselves booked to perform on a Russian river cruise up the Volga from Moscow to St. Petersburg.

But when murder cuts in, the five fabulous friends find it's not so easy to tap their troubles away. A crew member has been killed, and a passenger is missing. With a killer on board, the Hoofers need to watch their step. But with a little fancy footwork, these soft-shoe sleuths may get a leg up on a killer who's cruising for a bruising...'

My thoughts:

I am always on the lookout for a new cozy mystery series to love, so I jumped at the chance to be a part of this blog tour when I was offered the opportunity. However, sad to say, but I really didn't enjoy this book all that much. It was sort of corny at times and it just wasn't anything that really stood out to me. Sure the idea of the book taking place in Russia, which seems so intriguing especially to me, wasn't enough to really make me really enjoy this one. I hate when I am a part of a blog tour and I read something that really doesn't appeal to me. It makes me feel bad. 

I did like the fact that the author seems to me that she is going to be writing these books in a different world location. That is interesting. I love reading about different places and learning about culture. The author did a wonderful job of creating Russia for me in this book, but the mystery was a little lacking. I liked the main character Tina, but I had a really hard time keeping up with all of the characters. It was a little overwhelming to me as a reader and made it hard for me to remember who was who. 

This book will appeal to people who like to escape through reading to different places in the world. The author created a beautiful scenery in Russia, but sadly to say, not that great of a mystery book. It's not something that I would recall later and it just was an okay debut. I am curious to see where the characters go next, but have to say that if it doesn't improve, this more than likely will be a series that I will be skipping.

Overall Rating: 2

Title:  Chorus Lines, Caviar, and Corpses
Author:  Mary McHugh
Series:  Happy Hoofers Mystery #1
Publisher:  Kensington
Publication Date:  November 4, 2014
Pages:  304
Genre:  Cozy Mystery
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

About the Author:

Mary McHugh is an award winning author and journalist. A contributing editor for many years at Cosmopolitan, her work has also appeared in The New York Times, Family Circle and Woman's World. She lives near New York City. Readers can visit her website at

This has been a stop of the Chorus Lines, Caviar, and Corpses blog tour hosted by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. Make sure that you stop by the other stops as some of them are hosting giveaways of this book!

November 4 – Melina’s Book Blog
November 5 – Shelley’s Book Case
November 6 – Socrates’ Book Reviews
November 7 – Cozy Up With Kathy
November 8 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews
November 9 – Girl Lost In a Book
November 10 – Tea and A Book
November 11 – Griperang’s Bookmarks
November 12 – Kelly P’s Blog
November 13 – Brooke Blogs 

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

Monday, November 3, 2014

Review: The Skeleton Takes a Bow by Leigh Perry

Description (from cover):

'And the best performance as a skull goes to...

After years of hiding in the Thackery family house, Sid the skeleton is delighted to finally have his moment in the spotlight. He's starring in a high school production of Hamlet. Well, not so much starring in as being a prop. At least part of him has a part--he's using his heard to play Yorick of 'Alas, poor Yorick' fame. Every day, Georgia Thackery's daughter, Madison, who's also in the play, brings in his skull, and every night, she takes him home...

Until one night when he's accidentally left at school--and hears the sounds of someone being murdered. But the next day, there's no body and no one seems to be missing.

Sid is not a numbskull--he knows what he heard. Georgia thinks he imagined it--until a week later when a body is found. Now Georgia and Sid will both need to keep their heads as they stick their necks out and play sleuth to catch the conscience of a killer.'

My thoughts:

Who would have thought that I would enjoy a book about a skeleton that helps solve murders. Leigh Perry has done a fantastic job with creating a series that is a little different from the norm. I mean that in a good way. I find that the author uses a creative and unique idea and turns it into something worth reading. I also find the somewhat corny skeleton and bone jokes amusing. The author makes this book a fun read because it is something so drastically different. I love Sid's character and without him this book and this series just wouldn't be the same. 

This time around Sid finds himself playing a part in the local high school's performance of Hamlet. Although he doesn't having a speaking role, he does make a fantastic skull to be used as a prop in the play. Of course, Georgia and Madison have to go through some rigamarole to make sure that Sid is kept a secret, but Sid always finds a way to save the day. Sid overhears a murder taking place one night when he is left inside Madison's locker. However, the next day there's no clue that anything sinister ever took place. Sid is determined to prove that he heard something out of the ordinary occur and he doesn't let anything get in his way.

I enjoyed this book as much as I did the first in this series. As I stated before, Sid's character really brings a lot to this series and makes it so much more amusing. Not that the other characters pale in comparison or anything, I just enjoy Sid and his wisecracking ways. I highly recommend this book and this series to readers who love a different type of cozy mystery. I simply cannot get enough of these characters and hope that you can't either.

Overall Rating: 4.5

Title:  The Skeleton Takes a Bow
Author:  Leigh Perry
Series:  Family Skeleton Mystery #2
Publisher:  Berkley
Publication Date:  September 2, 2014
Pages:  304
Genre:  Cozy Mystery
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

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