Sunday, May 8, 2016

Review: The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder by Rachel McMillan

Description (from cover):

'In 1910 Toronto, while other bachelor girls perfect their domestic skills and find husbands, two friends perfect their sleuthing skills and find a murderer.

Inspired by their fascination with all things Sherlock Holmes, best friends and flatmates Merinda and Jem launch a consulting detective business. The deaths of young Irish women lead Merinda and Jem deeper into the mire of the city's underbelly, where the high hopes of those dreaming to make a new life in Canada are met with prejudice and squalor. 

While searching for answers, donning disguises, and sneaking around where no proper ladies would ever go, they pair with Jasper Forth, a police constable, and Ray DeLuca, a reporter in whom Jem takes a more than professional interest. Merinda could well be Toronto's premiere consulting detective, and Jem may just find a way to put her bachelor girlhood behind her forever--if they can stay alive long enough to do so.'

My thoughts:

This book initially piqued my interest because it is a genre that I love and well it was in a different city that what I normally read. It looked like something that I would enjoy, so I was thrilled when I was offered a chance to read this one. This one started off a little slow, but by the ending it had me intrigued. I think that this book was a good debut to a promising series and cannot wait to see how Jem and Merinda move forward in the series. 

Merinda and Jem are bachelor ladies living in 1910 Toronto. Society requires them to act a certain way, and well that is something that neither of them is really good at. The girls are good friend and even live together and share a deep love for all things Sherlock Holmes. Both girls are very smart and attentive to detail and they begin a detective consulting business. When a case comes their way where Irish girls are turning up dead, they set out on the trail of a murderer. They become involved in high society and the back streets of Toronto to fish out their murderer. They use some help along the way, but they have to be careful because someone is after them that wants to keep everything quiet.

I enjoyed reading about Merinda and Jem and enjoyed their friendship and their differences. Both of the main characters bring something different to the duo and that is what makes their relationship work. I felt that the story was good, even if it was a little slowing going at first, and that there is a good chance for this series. I do think that the author needs to bring it a little more however. There are a lot of similar books out there and this series will really need something different to set it apart from the rest. Nevertheless, a good start to a promising new historical mystery series.

Overall Rating: 3.5

Title:  The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder
Author:  Rachel McMillan
Series:  Herringford and Watts Mystery #1
Publisher:  Harvest House Publishers
Publication Date:  April 1, 2016
Pages:  224
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.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Review: The Divorce Papers by Susan Rieger

Description (from cover):

'Sparkling and sophisticated, this sometimes hilarious, sometimes heartbreaking debut novel tells the story of a very messy, very high-profile divorce and the endearingly cynical young lawyer dragooned into handling it.

Twenty-nine-year-old Sophie Diehl is happy toiling away as a criminal law associate at an old-line New England firm, where she very much appreciates that most of her clients are trapped behind bars. Everyone at Traynor, Hand knows she abhors face-to-face contact, but one week, with all the big partners out of town, Sophie is stick handling the intake interview for the daughter of the firm's most important client.

After eighteen years of marriage, Mayflower descendant Mia Meiklejohn Durkheim has just been served divorce papers in a humiliating scene at the popular local restaurant, Golightly's. Mia is now locked and loaded to fight her eminent and ambitious husband, Dr. Daniel Durkheim, Chief of the Department of Pediatric Oncology at Mather Medical School, for custody of their ten-year old daughter Jane. Mia also burns to take him down a peg. Sophie warns Mia that she's never handled a divorce case before, but Mia can't be put off. The way she sees it, it's her first divorce, too. For Sophie, the whole affair will spark a hard look at her own relationships--with her parents, colleagues, friends, lovers, and, most important, herself.

A rich, layered novel told entirely through personal correspondence, office memos, e-mails, articles, handwritten notes, and legal documents, The Divorce Papers offers a direct window into the lives of an entertaining cast of characters never shy about speaking their minds. Original and captivating, Susan Rieger's brilliantly conceived and expertly crafted debut races along with with, heartache, and exceptional comedic timing, as it explores the complicated family dynamic that results when marriage fails--as well as the ever-present risks and coveted rewards of that thing called love.'

My thoughts:

Not many of you know, but I am a family law paralegal. I have been doing this job for about nine years now. Day in and day out, I deal with families that are going through divorces and see firsthand how that effects people. I normally tend to stay far away from reading about these kind of issues in my free time as I deal with it on a regular basis, but this book caught my eye. It actually was on a book-lover's calendar that I have on my desk at work and what initially drew me in was the fact that this book is nothing but correspondence. It is written in emails, memos, letters, notes and articles. I liked that because it was something different. Another thing that drew me in was the story. I wanted to see how an author would take something that I do on a daily basis and how it would compare to the real thing. This book was spot on!

This story is about a high-profile divorce and and custody case. As a family law paralegal, I could relate a lot to this book from the way the client was acting to the things that came up during the case. This book does not sugarcoat the family law experience and I felt that it was an accurate depiction of what I see everyday. Sophie is a criminal law associate at a prestigious law firm and when the partners are out of town for a conference, she is asked to sit in on a family law consultation. Thinking that she would just take notes about the situation and hand the case off to a more experienced attorney, she is shocked when the client wants to hire her to represent her even though she has no family law experience. 

This book was nice read and very enjoyable. I found that it remained true to real life and that the story had its ups and downs just like a real divorce case would. It was nice to see Sophie struggle with the issues that arose during the case and how she learned from her colleagues and just by doing research. I felt that this book was engaging and I particularly loved the fact that it was written in correspondence. I found that was what set this book apart from the others and that it wasn't overly unrealistic or mushy. A fantastic read all around!

Overall Rating: 5+

Title:  The Divorce Papers
Author:  Susan Rieger
Series:  N/A
Publisher:  Broadway Books
Publication Date:  October 28, 2014
Pages:  496
Genre:  Fiction
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.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Times Are Changing...

If you've followed this blog for some time, you will notice that there have been some changes around here. Mostly, I haven't been posting reviews for every single book that I have read and that the reviews are getting fewer and more far between. There is a reason for this.

I started this blog back in 2012 as a way for me to write about my passion, books and reading. I wanted to also remember the books that I have read and when you read as much as I do, that can be a hard task. I also wanted to share my love of reading and how I felt about a particular book with others who share the same passion. And so Girl Lost In a Book was launched. It quickly became an outlet for me and a way to expound on my writing skills and to share with the world my views on the books that I came across. Quickly, I found an outlet to showcase mostly historical fiction, historical mysteries, cozy mysteries and a few other genres.

I remember how excited I would be after I finished a book and how I wanted to share my thoughts right away. I was actively involved in reading other blogs that had similar tastes and I was shameless promoting my blog. I thought it was all fantastic and exciting. However, I've noticed here over the last year or so that my passion has drastically dwindled. I still share the same fanatical love of books and reading, but my passion for writing  a review about every book has changed. It has become a chore for me and I feel like I am constantly repeating myself in different words with every blog post that I have. I feel that my light for writing reviews has slowly been diminishing. 

I have racked my brain to try to figure out how to get back to the excitement that I first had when this blog started. I love reading, that will never change. I love books and find that they make up a huge part of my life. I am never not reading something. I am always looking for new and exciting reads despite the fact that I have about 600+ books on my Kindle, a home library with about 500+ books on the shelves and a local library that continues to entice me with their new and old titles. My love and passion is first and foremost for books. However, this blog has taken a second chair to that. I find myself wanting to read a book, just to read a book and not having to write a review about the same. I was starting to find it tedious and almost draining to have to boot up the computer to write a review on some nights. 

Let's be clear. No one is forcing me to write reviews about the books I read. I am most generously given many titles and participate in many blog tours because I simply want to. I fully plan to keep my commitments to blog tour promoters and publishers alike. With deep thought and consideration, I have decided to limit the books that I review on this blog to blog tours, books given by publishers/authors/etc. in exchange for reviews and those books that I simply feel compelled to write about. I find that if I do this, I might bring back some of the excitement that I originally had when I started this blog. 

I hope that you as a reader, follow blogger or follower will understand and respect this choice. I know a lot of book blog followers like blogs that regularly feature books, reviews and giveaways, but I can't find it in myself to carry on quite as I did before. I feel a loyalty to myself, my readers and the books that I review to do my reviews with justice and passion and I feel that I haven't been quite doing that here lately. I will still be blogging on this blog and posting reviews, it just won't be as quite as frequent as before. I sincerely hope that you will continue to check back and see what is happening on this blog and that even though I am not writing as many reviews as before that you will enjoy my view on the books that I am reading. You might even see some freestyle writing about my thoughts about books, authors and the emerging world of reading from time to time. I want to change it up a little bit and make this exciting again. I have no intentions at this time of quitting Girl Lost In a Book, but making it a little more enjoyable for you and myself as well. I hope that you will continue to follow this blog and be a part of my passion even though it might be a little different moving forward.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Review: Murder in the Queen's Wardrobe by Kathy Lynn Emerson

Description (from cover):

'A female spymaster will face mortal danger to protect her queen and husband...

London, 1582: Mistress Rosamond Jaffrey, a talented and well-educated woman of independent means, is recruited by Queen Elizabeth I's spymaster, Sir Francis Walsingham, to be lady-in-waiting to Lady Mary, a cousin of the queen. With her talent in languages and knowledge of ciphers and codes, she will be integral to the spymaster as an intelligence gatherer, being able to get close to Lady Mary just at the time when she is being courted by Russia's Ivan the Terrible.

However, there are some nobles at court who will do anything they can to thwart such an alliance and in her quest to protect her ward--and her estranged husband--Rosamond must put herself in mortal peril.'

My thoughts:

I remember stumbling across this author years ago. I had just gotten my Nook e-reader and was discovering e-books and came across Emerson's Lady Appleton historical mystery series. I immediately fell in love with the author's writing style and flair for historical fiction. I soon began reading all of the books in the series and it quickly became one of my favorites. I have read the majority of that series, but soon it became hard to be able to find the books as the local library stopped carrying them. I try to catch up with that series as I come across the books, but it seems like it is harder these days. When my local library announced that it would be carrying this new series that is a spin-off of the Lady Appleton series, well I knew that I would love it. I was correct.

Rosamond Jaffrey is an independent noblewoman in Elizabethan England. She is stubborn and knows a little too much for her own good. She is content with her life and is surprised when she comes to the attention of Queen Elizabeth I's spymaster, Sir Francis Walsingham. He wants her to become a lady-in-waiting to the queen's cousin, Lady Mary. Lady Mary is currently being wooed by Ivan the Terrible of Russia for her hand in marriage and there are many plots afoot to prevent the marriage from happening. When Rosamond stumbles across a dead body, well that changes everything. She is determined to seek justice for the victim and to protect Lady Mary from people who want to do her harm at any cost.

This book had just the right amount of mystery and plot twist and turns to keep the reader begging for more. I couldn't put this one down and in a lot of ways it reminds me of the caliber of my beloved Lady Appleton mysteries. Although it isn't the same series, some familiar faces make their way into this book. I am anxious to continue reading this series as it is a good one. I am currently going to be starting the next book in this series, Murder in the Merchant's Hall and it seems that Lady Appleton makes an appearance in that book. Another fantastic historical murder mystery by an already fantastic author.

Overall Rating: 4.5

Title:  Murder in the Queen's Wardrobe
Author:  Kathy Lynn Emerson
Series:  Mistress Jaffrey Mystery #1
Publisher:  Severn House
Publication Date:  September 1, 2015
Pages:  256
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.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Blog Tour Post, Review & Giveaway: An Unhappy Medium by Dawn Eastman

Description (from cover):

'Psychic Clyde Fortune and her zany family are back in the fourth in the national bestselling series from the author of A Fright to the Death.

Former cop and novice psychic Clyde Fortune finds herself in a race for justice when a Zombie Fun Run turns deadly...

All of Crystal Haven, Michigan, is psyching up to participate in a Zombie Fun Run organized by Clyde's nephew Seth, but Clyde is fretful about the undead festivities. For one thing, her sister, Grace, has unexpectedly returned to town after fifteen years. For another, Clyde has the nagging feeling that something is about to go wrong...

When one of her zombie runners is found murdered and then Grace disappears, Clyde realizes her grim premonition is dead-on. Now, she and her police detective boyfriend Mac must find a ghoulish murderer before someone points the finger at Grace. And when a tangled web of family secrets and old grudges combined with a mysterious case of stolen diamonds, even someone as quick-witted as Clyde might not be able to outrun a killer...'

My thoughts:

It was quite the nice surprise to see that my review for another book in this series was published at the front of this book and was printed also on the back cover. I have been published before, but never on the cover. That was exciting! It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to read another book in this series. I really enjoy this series because it is a little different. I read a lot of cozy mysteries and in order for a series to really catch my attention there has to be something different. This series has an exciting theme of the supernatural and  the psychic. I'm not one usually for the supernatural, but this author does a fantastic job of not overdoing it and keeping the reader interested. Clyde's whole family claims to be psychic in a small town that is known as a psychic tourist attraction. I really like Clyde's uncertainty about her "gift" and I like the struggle that the author has her face when she has to learn to either ignore the gift or embrace it. 

Clyde is a former police officer that has returned to her eccentric hometown of Crystal Haven. She has settled in pretty well and is adjusting to using her own talents and has helped to solve several murders along the way. Clyde's nephew, Seth, is organizing a charity run for the local animal shelter and the theme is zombies. Not quite everyone in town is on board with the idea, but they make the most of it. The day of the run has arrived and all is going according to plan. That is until one of the runners is found dead with a knife sticking out of his chest. With all of this going on, Clyde's sister, Grace, has returned back to town for a visit and turns out to be missing right after the murder. Clyde knows that her sister could never harm someone much less kill them, so she sets out to find a killer and clear her sister's name. 

I enjoyed this read. It was funny in the right places and suspenseful just when I needed it. I really like the setting and the characters in this series and always enjoy reading about their adventures. This author does a good job of creating a story with enough twists and turns and making it not easy to figure out the solution. I have come to enjoy this quirky series over time and can't wait to read the next one. I really enjoy how each character has a different set of psychic talents and how they all weave together to help each other out. Another fantastic addition to an already wonderful series.

Overall Rating: 4

Title:  An Unhappy Medium
Author:  Dawn Eastman
Series:  Family Fortune Mystery #4
Publisher:  Berkley
Publication Date:  April 5, 2016
Pages:  304
Genre:  Cozy Mystery
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

About the Author:

Dawn Eastman is the author of the Family Fortune mysteries. She lived in Michigan for many years, in a house full of animals, unusual people, and laughter. She now lives in Iowa with her husband, son, and daughter.

This has been a stop of the An Unhappy Medium 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!

April 4 – Bubble Bath Books
April 6 – fuonlyknew 
April 8 – Texas Book-aholic 
April 9 – Girl Lost In a Book 
April 10 – A Holland Reads 
April 11 – Musings and Ramblings 
April 12 – A Chick Who Reads 
April 13 – The Bookwyrm’s Hoard 
April 14 – Booklady’s Booknotes 
April 15 – Shelley’s Book Case 
April 16 – Laura’s Interests 
April 17 – Cozy Up With Kathy 

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the publisher, through Great Escape 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.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Review: Time of Fog and Fire by Rhys Bowen

Description (from cover):

'Molly Murphy Sullivan's husband, Daniel, a police captain in turn-of-the-century New York City, is in a precarious position. The new police commissioner wants him off the force altogether, so when Daniel's offered an assignment from John Wilkie, head of the Secret Service, he's eager to accept. Molly can't draw any details of the assignment out of him, not even where he'll be working.

But when she spots him in San Francisco during a movie news segment, she starts to wonder if he's in even more danger than she had first believed. And then she receives a strange and cryptic letter from him, leading her to conclude that he wants her to join him in San Francisco. Molly knows that if Daniel's turning to her rather than John Wilkie or his contacts in the police force, something must have gone terribly wrong. What can she do for him that the police can't? Especially when she doesn't even know what his assignment is? Embarking on a cross-country journey with her young son, Molly can't fathom what's in store for her, but she knows it might be dangerous--in fact, it might put all of their lives at risk.

New York Times bestselling author Rhys Bowen brings 1906 San Francisco to life in the next rich, thrilling Molly Murphy Sullivan mystery.'

My thoughts:

I have been reading this series for what seems to be years. I adore the characters and must snatch up the latest installment in the series right around when it is first published. I love this author and have enjoyed her other series as well. I also love learning about the Great Earthquake of San Francisco in 1906 and this book puts Molly and Daniel right smack in the middle of all the chaos. I can't imagine what San Francisco was like in the aftermath of an earthquake that killed hundreds and burned most of the city down. Rhys Bowen does a fantastic job of weaving historical detail into this wonderful mystery.

Molly's husband Daniel has been given an assignment from the head of the Secret Service and has to travel across the country to San Francisco. The whole case is hush-hush and Daniel can't even tell Molly where he is going. Molly happens to see Daniel in a news clip at the movie theatre and learns his destination. She is concerned about his well-being but knows Daniel can take care of himself. She is fine until she receives a letter from Daniel cryptically asking her to come to San Francisco. Knowing her husband, Molly fears that he has gotten in over his head and she sets off to San Francisco almost immediately. When she finally arrives in the burgeoning San Francisco she feels that something isn't quite as it should be and she begins her search to find her husband.

Sometimes I feel that I simply cannot get enough of this series. This series never gets stale and I always enjoy reading them and catching up with the characters. The reader gets a nice little surprise at the ending that bodes very well for the series. I hope Bowen is writing the next one as soon as she can because I am already waiting for that one to release. Another fantastic read written by a fantastic author!

Overall Rating: 5+

Title:  Time of Fog and Fire
Author:  Rhys Bowen
Series:  Molly Murphy Mystery #16
Publisher:  Minotaur Books
Publication Date:  March 1, 2016
Pages:  288
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.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Blog Tour Post, Review & Giveaway: Deadly Scandal by Kate Parker

Description (from cover):

'Olivia Denis is a contented young wife with a carefree life in late 1930's London. Then her world is shattered with the violent death of her husband, Reggie. The police want to call it a suicide and close the case, but Olivia knows Reggie couldn't possibly have fired the fatal shot.

Further mysteries surface surrounding her husband's death. Did the trustworthy Foreign Office employee betray government secrets? Was his murder linked to the death of a German embassy clerk the same night? And who searched their flat?

Her desire for answers and her need to support herself cause Olivia to break away from the pampered life she's known and take a job. But with the much-needed paycheck as a society reporter for a newspaper comes a secondary assignment--one that involves her in the increasingly dangerous world of European politics as the continent slides towards war.'

My thoughts:

What a breath of fresh air this book was. A lovely new addition to the historical mystery genre which has lately taken the literary world by storm. This genre, historical mystery, seems to be all the rage these days and one can find an abundance of the genre lining bookstore shelves. It is very hard to be recognized in such a burgeoning new genre, yet this author has done so very brilliantly. This book starts off with the apparent suicide of Olivia Denis' husband, Reggie. Olivia knows her husband very well and knows that he would never do something so terrible and drastic no matter the cause. Olivia begins to investigate her husband's last movements and finds evidence that her husband didn't commit suicide. He was in fact murdered!

Olivia continues to investigate and learns some interesting facts about her husband's job at the Foreign Office. Was Reggie killed because someone was leaking government secrets to the Germans in a Europe on the cusp of World War II? How deep was Reggie involved in the treason of his country? Olivia determined to find justice for her husband and to clear his name searches for clues in diplomatic circles and high society all while maintaining a reporting job for a newspaper and fending off her judgmental father. Olivia Denis is in the ranks of historical mystery super-heroines such as Lady Emily Ashton, Maisie Dobbs and Molly Murphy.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. There were a lot of twists and turns that kept me intrigued. I loved the setting of England sliding towards World War II and how tense diplomacy was during that time. The author set the stage of the book well and made a story that was hard to put down. I'm so glad that this book is the first in a series and cannot wait for the next installment. Kate Parker has hit this one of the park and I am eagerly awaiting the release date of the next. A well written book to a series that I am sure will quickly become a favorite of mine.

Overall Rating: 5+

Title:  Deadly Scandal
Author:  Kate Parker
Series:  Deadly Series #1
Publisher:  JDP Press
Publication Date:  January 14, 2016
Pages:  338
Genre:  Historical Mystery
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

About the Author:

Kate Parker has held a variety of careers, including microbiologist in two hospitals, insurance fraud investigator, office clerk, telephone line repairer, and emergency medical technician, but her favorite is writer. Only as a writer can she travel to different locales and centuries. In the last four years, since she switched from Romantic Suspense to Historical Romance, she has finaled three times in RWA’s Golden Heart® contest with three different manuscripts. Now she’s made the switch to historical mysteries with romantic elements, featuring the twists and turns and dead ends of her favorite mystery writers, including Robert Barnard, Simon Brett, Margaret Frazer, Susanna Gregory, and Deanna Raybourn. When she comes back to the present day, Kate finds herself near the coast of North Carolina with her real life hero, nineteenth century architecture and twenty-first century comforts.

This has been a stop of the Deadly Scandal 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!

February 29 – Deal Sharing Aunt – Review, Interview
March 1 – Shelley's Book Case - Review, Guest Post, Giveaway
March 2 – Queen of All She Reads - Review, Guest Post, Giveaway
March 3 – Back Porchervations - Review
March 4 – Booklady's Booknotes – Review 
March 6 – Cozy Up With Kathy - Review, Interview
March 7 – Student of Opinions - Review
March 8 – Girl Lost In a Book - Review, Giveaway
March 9 – Brooke Blogs - Review, Guest Post, Giveaway

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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.
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