Sunday, July 24, 2016

Review: Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas by Stepahnie Barron

Description (from cover):

"Jane Austen turns sleuth in this delightful murder mystery set over the twelve days of a Regency-era Christmas party.

Christmas Eve, 1814: Jane Austen has been invited to spend the holiday with family and friends at The Vyne, the gorgeous ancestral home of the wealthy and politically prominent Chute family. As the year fades and friends begin to gather beneath the mistletoe for the twelve days of Christmas festivities, Jane and her circle are in a celebratory mood: Mansfield Park is selling nicely; Napoleon has been banished to Elba; British forces have seized Washington, D.C.; and on Christmas Eve, John Quincy Adams signs the Treaty of Ghent, which will end a war nobody in England really wanted.

Jane, however, discovers holiday cheer is fleeting. One of the Yuletide revelers dies in a tragic accident, which Jane immediately views with suspicion. If the accident was in fact murder, the killer is one of Jane's fellow snow-bound guests. With clues scattered amidst cleverly crafted charades, dark secrets coming to light during parlor games, and old friendships returning to haunt the Christmas parties, whom can Jane trust to help her discover the truth and stop the killer from striking again?

My thoughts:

Jane Austen is one of my favorite authors of all times. Period. I love her writing style and the lasting impression she left on the literature world. I have long been a fan of anything having to do with Jane Austen and her books and when Stephanie Barron began writing this series long ago, I was an avid reader. It is very interesting to read about Jane and her personal life that she kept so secluded and add in a twist of a murder mystery, well I am instantly hooked. This book is the 12th installment of the long-beloved Jane Austen Mysteries. For some reason, I feel that I have read somewhere that this series is coming to an end, but I might be wrong. In fact, I hope that I am wrong, because this series has been one that I continuously return to time and time again.

In this book, Jane and her family have been invited to stay with friends for the Christmas festivities. Jane is eager to spend time with her friend and enjoy the holiday season. Of course, with Jane around, there is a murder and a puzzle that she must use her sharp wits and intelligence to solve. When one of the guests is found dead in what appears to be an accident, Jane's sharp eye determines that this was no accident. She is determined to find out what happened and who wanted this guest dead and why. With the help of her family and friends, she seeks out a murderer. 

As I stated before this is the 12th installment in this series. I found that this book was just okay in comparison with the others in the series. I enjoyed this book, but the mystery seemed to lack the enjoyment for me as the previous books. Not a bad read, just not exactly what I was expecting. I enjoyed returning to this series and am currently reading the next installment, Jane and the Waterloo Map. It has been a couple of years since I have read this series, and maybe that is why I felt that the story in this one was just okay. I am hoping the next installment will be better.

Overall Rating: 3

Title:  Jane and the Twelve Days of Christmas
Author:  Stephanie Barron
Series:  Jane Austen Mystery #12
Publisher:  Soho Crime
Publication Date:  October 27, 2015
Pages:  352
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, June 14, 2016

Blog Tour Post, Review & Giveaway: A Golden Cage by Shelley Freydont

Description (from cover):

'The author of A Gilded Grave returns to Newport, Rhode Island, at the close of the nineteenth century, where headstrong heiress Deanna Randolph must solve another murder among the social elite.

With her mother in Europe, Deanna is staying with the Ballard family, who agree to chaperone her through the summer season and guide her towards an advantageous marriage proposal--or so her mother hopes. Relishing her new freedom, Deanna is more interested in buying one of the fashionable bathing costumes, joining a ladies' bicycling club, and befriending an actress named Amabelle Deeks, all of which could scandalize her mother.

Far more scandalous is the discovery of a young man bludgeoned to death on the conservatory floor at Bonheur, the Ballards' sumptuous "cottage." Deanna recognizes him as an actor who performed at the birthday fete for a prominent judge the night before. But why was he at Bonheur? And where is Amabelle?

Concerned her new friend may be in danger--or worse--Deanna enlists the help of her intrepid maid, Elspeth, and her former beau, Joe Ballard, to find Amabelle before the villain of this drama demands an encore.'

My thoughts:

This is the second book in the Newport Gilded Age Mystery series by Shelley Freydont. The first book in the series, A Gilded Grave, was a read that I quite enjoyed as I previously rated it at 5+ stars. This book was also a fantastic read and one that I read in two days. I really have come to enjoy reading this series and cannot wait to see what happens next. Deanna is a character that I find to be well-developed and well-rounded and one that I cannot help but like. You root for her throughout the book and you become to care about what happens. Sometimes that connection that the reader has with the character is hard to find in books but the author has no problem connecting the characters and relating them to her readers.

I love this time period. In Newport, Rhode Island in the 1890's, society reigned supreme. Rules dictated women and what they were allowed to do, but there were new inventions being made such as the bicycle and other contraptions that were forcing the boundaries of society. Deanna is a character that likes to push the boundaries and try new things. She is intrigued by the bicycle and knows that if her mother was around that she wouldn't be able to try these new things. I like this about Deanna. I like that she is willing to push the envelope even though she lands herself right in the middle of a murder investigation.

I really enjoyed this book and cannot wait to see what the author has planned for the characters moving forward with the series. A great read for lovers of cozy mysteries with a historical theme. I highly recommend this one!

Overall Rating: 5+

Title:  A Golden Cage
Author:  Shelley Freydont
Series:  Newport Gilded Age Mystery #2
Publisher:  Berkley
Publication Date:  June 7, 2016
Pages:  368
Genre:  Historical Mystery
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

About the Author:

Shelley Freydont is the author of several mystery series, including the Newport Gilded Age Mysteries (beginning with A Gilded Grave) and the Celebration Bay Mysteries, as well as those featuring Lindy Haggerty and Katie McDonald. She is also the author of several novels under the name Shelley Noble, and her books have been translated into seven languages.




This has been a stop of the A Golden Cage blog tour hosted by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. Make sure that you stop by the other stops as well!

June 7 – A Holland Reads

June 7 –   Community Bookstop 

June 8 – Back Porchervations

June 8 – Nadaness In Motion

June 9 – Shelley’s Book Case

June 10 – Cozy Up With Kathy


June 11 – Laura’s Interests

June 12 – Melina’s Book Blog


June 13 – Student of Opinions

June 14 – Island Confidential

June 14 – Girl Lost In A Book

June 15 – The Ninja Librarian

June 16 – Deal Sharing Aunt

June 17 – Brooke Blogs

June 18 – I Read What You Write


Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the publisher, through Netgalley and 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.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Blog Tour Post & Review: Eclair and Present Danger by Laura Bradford

Description (from cover):

'The first book in the delicious new Emergency Dessert Squad Mystery series from national bestselling author Laura Bradford.

With her rent rising faster than her pie crust, bakery owner Winnie Johnson had hoped to be rescued by an inheritance from her wealthy friend and neighbor Gertrude Redenbacher. Instead all she inherits is the widow's hostile hissing tabby, Lovey, and a vintage ambulance, restored by Gertrude's late husband. As her dream crumbles, Winnie makes her final delivery--a peach pie to an elderly widower. But she finds Bary Wagner lying on his kitchen floor, smothered by a pillow.

To comfort her frightened and grieving neighbors, Winnie comes to the rescue with her baked goods--and an idea is born: dessert delivery via her ambulance and a new business called the Emergency Dessert Squad. When she's not speeding to the scenes of dessert emergencies, Winnie is also racing to track down Bart's killer--before she needs to call a real ambulance for the next victim...'

My thoughts:

I enjoy reading Laura Bradford's Amish mystery series and I was excited to learn that she has written a new series. In this book, Winnie Johnson is the owner of a bakery and she loves what she does. However, the landlord is increasing his rent and Winnie cannot afford to keep her business open. She has to shut the doors of her bakery and she is at a loss to determine what to do with her life. She has to have money in order to pay her bills. A neighbor that has died has left Winnie a vintage ambulance as her inheritance and genius strikes. Winnie uses her baking skills and the ambulance and the Emergency Dessert Squad is born. Her neighbors are senior citizens and her best friend is a little quirky but the author uses these characters to make an interesting read.

I enjoyed this book. It was a little hard to follow at the beginning trying to keep up with all the characters, but eventually I got into the lull of this book and the story started to come together. The murder mystery was a little easy to figure out, but I still enjoyed reading this book. I feel that this series is the beginning of a series that has a lot of potential. I would say that this isn't the best debut, but it is a good start. I enjoyed the characters and I am curious to see how things turn out for them in the next book. I think that the concept of the Emergency Dessert Squad is brilliant and I am anxious to see how the business progresses throughout the series. I truly enjoyed the scenarios that the author created and thought that they were very clever. This is a series that I will be sure to continue to look into in the future.

Overall Rating: 3

Title:  Eclair and Present Danger
Author:  Laura Bradford
Series:  Emergency Dessert Squad Mystery #1
Publisher:  Berkley
Publication Date:  June 7, 2016
Pages:  304
Genre:  Cozy Mystery
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

About the Author:

Laura Bradford (aka Elizabeth Lynn Casey) is the author of several mystery series and a handful of romance novels. She is a former Agatha Award nominee and the recipient of an RT Reviewer’s Choice Award.  In her free time, Laura enjoys making memories with her family, baking, playing games, and catching up with friends. In addition to the Emergency Dessert Squad Mysteries, Laura writes The Amish Mysteries and The Jenkins & Burns mysteries, as well as The Southern Sewing Circle Mysteries (as Elizabeth Lynn Casey). For more information, visit Laura’s website: www.laurabradford.com  or get to know her even better on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/laurabradfordauthor, and on Twitter:  @bradfordauthor



This has been a stop of the Eclair and Present Danger blog tour hosted by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. Make sure that you stop by the other stops as well!

June 1 – Girl Lost In a Book
June 1 – MysteriesEtc
June 2 – cherylbbookblog
June 3 – Texas Book-aholic
June 3 – Cozy Up With Kathy
June 4 – Brooke Blogs
June 5 – Island Confidential
June 6 – fuonlyknew
June 7 – Classy Cheapskate 
June 7 – Books Direct
June 8 – A Holland Reads
June 8 – Community Bookstop
June 9 – Melina’s Book Blog
June 9 – deal sharing aunt
June 9 – Mystery Playground
June 10 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews
June 11 – LibriAmoriMiei
June 12 – Book Babble
June 12 – I Read What You Write


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

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.
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