Book Review: The Burglar’s Ball (Jane Austen Investigates, #2) by Julia Golding

About the Book:

Nancy Drew. Enola Holmes. Sally Lockhart. Move over girls, it’s Jane’s time!

Join young budding detective Jane Austen in her second investigation to uncover a devious diamond thief at the glitziest, most scandalous ball of the year! Inspired by Sense and Sensibility.
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‘No one who had ever seen Jane Austen in her infancy would suppose her to be born to solve crimes. From her early love of sugar plums, and cleverness in hiding her expeditions into the pantry, her mother declared her far more likely to commit them. However, as Jane would counter, there was no better person to identify the culprit than the thief turned thief-catcher.’

When the headmistress invites her past favourite pupil to attend their end of term ball, Cassandra brings her younger sister, Jane, along too. Cassandra plunges into the feverish excitement of preparing for the biggest event of the year – the dresses, the dances and the boys expected from the neighbouring school.

Feeling rather excluded, sharp-witted Jane unearths the reason for the fuss – the headteacher wants to impress a rich family returned from India as the school is at risk of going bankrupt. Jane also befriends the dancing master’s assistant, a former slave, called Brandon, who is as quick to notice things as she. At the ball, a diamond necklace is stolen from a locked room and they are propelled into a race to uncover the burglar and save Brandon from gaol.

With the ever-present Austen spirit, Jane with notebook in hand, boldly overcomes the obstacles to finding the truth.

Perfect for readers aged 9-109, and for fans of Katherine Woodfine and Lucy Worsley.

My Thoughts:

Note: I received an ARC of the book from NetGalley. A huge thanks to the publishers and author.

This is the second book in the Jane Austen Investigates series that follows a young Jane Austen on another of her adventures to solve a mystery. Cassandra Austen is invited to attend a ball at her old school and asks Jane to come along. The headmistress of the school has a soft spot towards Cassandra, her favourite pupil. However, Jane’s presence is quite unexpected and received with some reluctance.

What follows is a series of friendships, some cricket and a theft that leads to Jane stepping in to investigate once again. We also meet Arjun and Deepti again, characters from Book 1 who are delightful and add some wonderful color to the book. I enjoyed the different perspectives in the book and everyone’s lives.

I found that this book was a little less impactful when compared to Book 1, but I still enjoyed it thanks to some of the newer characters, a talking parrot and some circus friends. The mystery was well thought out with a simple plot of theft which moves quickly ensuring the reader is engaged. In an attempt to solve the mystery, Jane uncovers many truths that shed light on the various characters of the book including the headmistress. This is the perfect book for middle graders and will give them a thrill to read it. Let’s not forget the cricket match that has to come to some kind of conclusion with the girls all showing off their amazing skills in a “boys game”! Not to be outshone, the boys also show off their skills in dancing at the ball! It’s all fun and more fun until things go wrong!

I am delighted to have read the books in this series so far and am looking forward to reading more of Jane’s adventures and her witty, sarcastic letters. She had a gift for writing and the author of this series does her justice in my opinion!

Book Review: Cruel Stakes (Vampires and Vices #2) by Nina Walker

About the Book:

56965807._SY475_

Cross your heart and hope to live.

I should leave them alone and be done with vampires. I finally have my mother back, I’m dating the perfect guy, and I’ve parted ways with Adrian Teresi.

But I have an opportunity to help the hunters and hopefully learn something that could save more humans. Not to mention, I need answers about the venom burning through my veins.

So I go back to The Alabaster Heart to strike another deal with the vampire prince. The game of cat and mouse that follows is expected, and maybe even a little fun, but nothing prepares me for the day that our games end—and the consequences begin.

My Thoughts:

Cruel Stakes picks up where Blood Casino ends. Eva is at odds with what is happening and no longer wants to trust the vampires, especially Adrian Teresi. However, having been bitten, she is driven to find out more regarding her newly heightened senses. In the hope that this information will help with her position among the hunters, Eva once again strikes up a deal with none other than Adrian.

This story was a little less exciting than the first, but it drew me in none the less. There was more action and so much more romance in this book. The author focused a lot on the workings of the vampires giving us a glimpse into their minds. Eva is her usual rebellious self, torn between her long time crush on Felix and her growing attraction to Adrian.

This book shows us some rather negative sides of some of the characters and is filled with some unexpected twists. All this in the end ensures that the reader is in for a BIG shock thus justifying the title and everything that happens in Book 2. There are some unlikely friendships and bonds that form that the reader just wont see coming. This is what I liked most about the book, the elements of surprise which were very well executed!

I am truly excited for and looking forward to Book 3 which I am sure will take us on a big roller coaster ride if these two books are anything to go by!

Cover Reveal: Twilight’s Temptation by Shilpa Suraj

Book Blurb:

The ace photographer and the supermodel, they should have been a match made in heaven. Instead, they fought like the demons of hell.
Complicated, surly, and sexy, Manav Apte was probably the only photographer who resented his muse. From the day he’d seen her, there had been no other. Unfortunately, she was the one woman he could never have.
Passionate, talented, and gorgeous, Diana Severes refused to give the temperamental ass behind the camera the satisfaction of knowing he got under her skin. It was, however, impossible not to notice him or his glowering disapproval that trailed her everywhere she went.
Their dislike and distrust of each other is legendary in the fashion industry and yet, the sparks that fly when they come together for work are enough to light the sets on fire.
Will the Golden Girl of India’s fashion scene be able to see beyond his hatred to the love he’s desperately trying to mask? And will the country’s most talented photographer realise that his true talent lies not in what he views through his lens but what he sees through the filter of his heart?
About the Author:

Shilpa Suraj wears many hats – corporate drone, homemaker, mother to a fabulous toddler and author.

An avid reader with an overactive imagination, Shilpa has weaved stories in her head since she was a child. Her previous stints at Google, in an ad agency and as an entrepreneur provide colour to her present day stories, both fiction and non-fiction.

Contact the Author:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram * Newsletter

Book Review: A Baffling Murder at the Midsummer Ball by T.E. Kinsey

About the Book:

56822637

A locked room. A mysterious death. Just another gig for the Dizzy Heights.

When London’s finest jazz musicians, the Dizzy Heights, are booked to play the glitzy Midsummer Ball at a country house in Oxfordshire, they expect a weekend filled with flappers and toffs having a roaring good time.

But the festivities at Bilverton House take a turn for the worse when the group are stranded by a summer storm. And when a member of the Bilverton family turns up dead in a locked room in an apparent suicide, Skins, Dunn and Ellie realise this is going to be a much tougher gig than they thought.

But here’s the lick. What if it was in fact cold-blooded murder? And what if the killer is still at large? It’s up to the Dizzy Heights to once again put down their instruments and get improvising if they want to solve this confounding mystery.

My Thoughts:

Note: A huge thank you to NetGalley and Amazon Publishing UK for providing me with an ARC of the book.

This is  the first book that I have read by author T.E. Kinsey. Of course this is the second book in the Dizzy Heights Mystery series, but it can be read as a stand alone book. This story follows the Dizzy Heights band as they arrive at Bilverton House to play at the Midsummer Ball. What is expected to just be a band performance for an evening turns into a situation of house arrest due to the rains. With the Bilverton family members and the Dizzy Heights band stuck together, the plot becomes more interesting when there is a death – in a locked room that is almost ruled a suicide.

As the story progresses, we are introduced to the various members of the band as well as the Bilverton family. It is indeed quite a mix of interesting characters, each with their own quirks, personalities and habits. It also looks like everyone in the Bilverton family is up to something and is keeping secrets. When Ellie hears a gunshot and finds the dead body, she along with Skins and Dunn agree that the circumstances are suspicious and suspect murder.

This turns into an interesting investigative few days for them while the band also plays music and mingles with the family to pass the time. I love how the plot unravels and Ellie’s perceptive nature. She is one of my favourite characters in this story. The author has done a great job in building up the atmosphere and describing each situation and person to the readers! It feels as though we are involved in the investigations and discussions along with the band. I would also like to point out that there are some great references to music from the time period of the setting ( a lot of which I don’t even know), but I felt like I could relate anyway due to how it was described.

This is one murder mystery I would recommend to all fans of the genre and I cannot wait to join the Dizzy Heights band on their next performance and adventure!

Book Review: Nine Lives by Kevin McManus

Book Blurb:

Nine Lives Book Cover

In Western Ireland in 1979, Hazel Devereaux, a student of Trinity College in Dublin, goes missing while working at a summer job. Six months later her body is discovered in a shallow grave. A line from a poem by Edgar Allan Poe entitled “A Paean” is discovered in an envelope at the house Hazel was renting.

Could this be a calling card of the murderer?

Thirty years later, Detective Ray Logue discovers that a series of murders in Boston appear to be connected to the killings in 1979. Each victim also received a line from the poem by Edgar Allan Poe delivered to their homes.

It becomes evident that a serial killer is at work and has claimed seven lives so far.

The murderer kills two victims every ten years, always on a year ending in nine and always on the same dates in June and December. If he follows the same pattern, he will kill again in less than a fortnight.

Ray Logue is dispatched to Boston to work alongside Detective Olivia Callaghan and Inspector Sam Harper to discover the identity of the murderer and to stop him before he strikes again. Logue’s ‘bull in a china shop’ policing method brings him into conflict with Sam Harper’s more calculated and measured approach.

As a result, trying to work together becomes almost as challenging as catching the serial killer.

But catch a killer they must.

Buy the Book:

About the Author:

Kevin McManus Author Photo

Kevin McManus is an Irish author. He primarily writes Crime Fiction novels but also delves into writing poetry and short stories. He lives in County Leitrim in Western Ireland with his wife Mary and their dog Jack. He works by day as a secondary school teacher. Kevin has produced a series of novels featuring an Irish Detective called Ray Logue and a series based around a New York Detective called John Morrigan. His debut novel published in 2016 was “The Whole of the Moon”. In a previous incarnation, Kevin was a bass guitarist in several rock bands for over twenty year. Kevin is a supporter of Aston Villa FC which has caused him to age prematurely.

Follow him at:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Books-by-Kevin-McManus-1075444599167606
Twitter: https://twitter.com/bassbreeze
Amazon : https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kevin-McManus/e/B01E4GF0GY/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

My Thoughts:

Nine Lives by Kevin McManus is a wonderfully well-written detective story that takes the reader into the heart of cold cases that seem to resemble the current string of murders. Detective Ray Logue travels to Boston to work on the case alongside two fine and rather interesting people, Detective Olivia Callaghan and Inspector Sam Harper.

I found the working dynamics of this group of people to be quite interesting and each character’s personality was quite different. The plot is well thought out and will definitely hold your attention until the very end. Be prepared to go on a roller coaster ride as we try to find the serial killer alongside some rather fine detectives.

The author brings a unique spin to the plot with the Edgar Allan Poe messages and the patterns behind the killings. With time running out, the detectives are in a race to catch a killer and prevent more murders! This is one worthwhile read and having read this book first, I am going to now go back and read the book that came before this! I have indeed been won over and am a fan of the author’s works!

Note: This review is a part of the blog tour planned by Zooloo’s Book Tours as a part of the promotion leading up to the release of the book.

Nine Live Book Tour Poster

Zooloos Book Tours

WWW WEDNESDAY – 21/07/2021

This is a fun weekly meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words.

All you need to do is answer the following three questions:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Also, do follow the host and other bloggers who participate!

It is wonderful to know what everyone is reading and recommendations are always welcome!

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What are you currently reading?

A variety of genres actually!

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

I am hoping to get started with my brand new copy of The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna. The book has an amazing cover and spray painted edges! Considering that this is one of the most talked about books, I am excited to join the fan club!

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Do stop by to share your thoughts or posts!

Cover Reveal: A Small Hotel by Suanne Laqueur

I am super excited to be a part of the cover reveal for the latest book by one of my favorite authors! Suanne’s books are totally worth reading and I suggest that you give them a go if you haven’t already! Read on to know more about her latest book!

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A Small Hotel

A new novel from Suanne Laqueur, author of the Fish Tales Series

Release Date: September 28, 2021

SYNOPSIS

It’s the summer of 1941. Europe is at war, but New York’s Thousand Islands are at the height of the tourist season. Kennet Fiskare, son of a hotel proprietor, is having the summer of a lifetime, having fallen deeply in love with a Swedish-Brazilian guest named Astrid Virtanen. But the affair is cut short and the young lovers permanently parted, first by Astrid’s family obligations, then by America’s entry into the war.

The rigors of military life help dull his heartache, but when Kennet’s battalion reaches France, he is thrown into the crucible of front line combat. As his unit crosses Europe, from the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium to Mauthausen concentration camp in Austria, Kennet falls into a different kind of love: the intense camaraderie between soldiers. It’s a bond fierce yet fragile, vital yet expendable, here today and gone tomorrow. Sustained by his friendships, Kennet both witnesses and commits the unthinkable atrocities of warfare, altering his view of the world and himself. To the point where a second chance with Astrid in peacetime might be the most terrifying and consequential battle he’s ever fought.

With her signature blend of soul-stirring prose and emotional complexity, Laqueur takes readers on a journey through events that shape an American family’s weakest moments and finest hours. A Small Hotel illuminates the experience of ordinary people thrown into extraordinary circumstances, and their once-in-a-generation camaraderie, courage and resilience. It’s a novel for the world, a heartbreaking, uplifting story of family, love and human endurance.


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AUTHOR BIO

suanne-laqueur

A former professional dancer and teacher, Suanne Laqueur went from choreographing music to choreographing words, writing stories that appeal to the passions of all readers, crossing gender, age and genre. As a devoted mental health advocate, her novels focus both romantic and familial relationships, as well as psychology, PTSD and generational trauma.

Suanne Laqueur’s An Exaltation of Larks won the Grand Prize in the 2017 Writer’s Digest Book Awards. Her debut novel The Man I Love and its follow-up, Give Me Your Answer True, won gold medals in the 2015 and 2016 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards. Both were finalists in the 2015 and 2016 Kindle Book Awards, and Laqueur was named a gold medal Debut Author with Feathered Quill Book Reviews.

Laqueur graduated from Alfred University with a double major in dance and theater, and taught at the Carol Bierman School of Ballet Arts in Croton-on-Hudson for ten years. An avid reader, cook and gardener, she started her blog EatsReadsThinks in 2010. She lives in Westchester County, New York with her husband and two children. Visit her at http://suannelaqueurwrites.com. All feels welcome. And she always has coffee.

AUTHOR LINKS

Email |Website |Facebook |Goodreads |Instagram | Pinterest |Amazon

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Cover Reveal: Guilt by Michelle Kidd

I am excited to be a part of the cover reveal of this book. The cover is scary but intriguing and the blurb is just wow! I cannot wait to read this book!

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Book Blurb:

Guilt Book Cover

Guilt
Is a killer born…. or created?

A missing child.
A killer on the loose.
A past that refuses to die.

When a six-year-old boy disappears from a local fair, every parent’s worst nightmare is about to come true.
And for Detective Inspector Nicki Hardcastle, twenty-two years after her own nightmare began, the past she thought was buried starts catching up with her – and fast.
Leading the hunt for the missing child, Nicki soon finds the chase takes on a personal twist, with her own memories haunting her every move.
With time set against them, and a killer following his own chilling agenda, can Nicki and her team stop history from repeating itself?
Only time will tell.
But it’s time they don’t have.

About the Author:

Michelle Kidd Author Photo

Michelle Kidd is a self-published author best known for the Detective Inspector Jack MacIntosh series of novels set in London. She has also recently begun a new series which is set in her home town of Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk – starring Detective Inspector Nicki Hardcastle.

Michelle qualified as a lawyer in the early 1990s and spent the best part of ten years practicing civil and criminal litigation.

But the dream to write books was never far from her mind and in 2008 she began writing the manuscript that would become the first DI Jack MacIntosh novel – The Phoenix Project. The book took eighteen months to write, but spent the next eight years gathering dust underneath the bed.

In 2018 Michelle self-published The Phoenix Project and has not looked back since. There are currently four DI Jack MacIntosh novels, with a fifth in progress, and the first DI Nicki Hardcastle novel is due for release in August 2021.
Michelle now works full time for the NHS and lives in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. She enjoys reading, wine and cats – not necessarily in that order.

Follow her at:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/michellekiddauthor
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/michellekiddauthor/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthorKidd
Website : http://www.michellekiddauthor.com

Pre Order Links
Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B099FMGZ16
Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B099FMGZ16

Zooloos Book Tours

Book Review: Earth 101 by Emae Church

Book Blurb:

A missing girl. A world of secrecy. A quest to expose the truth.

Jayne knows they’re gone, but no one else will acknowledge what’s happening.

One by one, they’re systematically erased from existence. No explanations. No missing person’s reports. No search parties.

Something sinister is afoot. Jayne can feel it in her bones. But uncovering the truth will prove difficult, especially when she discovers who and what is behind the devious plot.

As she searches for answers, she grapples with the lingering effects of a head injury, an unexpected forbidden romance, and a strange new reality that changes everything.

Will she uncover the truth, or will she be the next innocent victim?

About the Author:

Earth 101 is the debut novel from Emae Church, an emerging author, based in the South-West of England, who enjoys the adventure of life with two lovely children, when not saving the world

Follow her at:
Website: https://emae.church/blog/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/EmaeChurch

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Earth-101-Time-Emae-Church/dp/1916300308

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Earth-101-Time-Emae-Church/dp/1916300308/

My Thoughts:
Note: I am reviewing this book as a part of the blog tour conducted by Zooloo’s Book Tours! Thanks a lot for including me in this exciting tour!

Earth 101 is a YA sci-fi novel that introduces the reader to aliens that look like humans and takes us on an unexpected journey into outer-space. The story starts off with an introduction to our main protagonist Jayne. Weird things are happening around her, friends are disappearing and no-one seems to remember them once they are gone. Only Jayne remembers them! This is an unexpected and intriguing situation to be in. As she tries to uncover the truth, the reader follows her as she embarks on a journey of self-discovery and love.

I love how Jayne is full of emotions and extremely thoughtful. Her love for her family and friends is seen quite evidently. Having recently been in an accident, she is also dealing with the trauma of the same. The other characters in the book are interesting and well developed. Everyone has a role to play and I love how the author has brought out the interpersonal relationships among the characters. This helps the reader to understand them and relate to them.

At first, I found it a little difficult to get into the book, the idea of people disappearing without an explanation was confusing. However, as the story progresses, a lot of the plot is revealed and then it becomes more gripping. The concept of aliens living among humans and other planets with inhabitants is intriguing and well delivered in this debut novel by the author. Without revealing too much, I would also like to include that there is time travel and a visit to the time of the dinosaurs! Imagine that!

By the end of the book, I was excited and thoroughly satisfied with how the story turned out. I cannot wait to read the next book (if there is one) and recommend this to all sci-fi fans out there! Give this book a try, you won’t be disappointed.

Book Blast: Tainted Harvest by E. Denise Billups

Blurb:

E-Cover FinalShe escaped servitude for a worse fate. Now she wants everyone to know what happened.

Simone Doucet is searching for a meaningful life. As a travel writer, she’s searched but hasn’t found a purpose yet. She accepts an assignment that takes her to Magnolia Sunrise, a historical bed-and-breakfast on the bluffs of Natchez, Mississippi. Soon, frightful images of a young slave girl, Delphine Randolph, haunt her every evening. Are the dreams related to the assignment? Will she find answers in Natchez?

The first night at the B&B, a ghostly visitation transports Simone to 1863, antebellum Natchez. Through spectral eyes, Simone sees Delphine’s history. Her servitude as a wet nurse to her master’s wife, rape, and forced pregnancies, her daring escape, and early demise inside a Civil War contraband camp known as the Devil’s Punchbowl. Delphine wants everyone to know what happened to her at Magnolia Sunrise and inside the Union soldier’s encampment. She won’t stop haunting Simone until she TELLS HER STORY.

But why has Delphine chosen Simone? Will this awakening bring a new purpose to Simone’s life? Or more untold mysteries to be discovered?

Book Links:
AMAZON USA – https://amzn.to/2TKeGJp
AMAZON UK – https://amzn.to/36fiRjg

Author Bio:

E. Denise Billups Headshot

E. Denise Billups is an author with a rare mixture of southern and northern charm. She was born in Monroeville, Alabama, and raised in New York City, where she has worked in finance and as a freelance columnist and currently resides. A multi-genre author of fiction, she has published four novels—Keepers of the Gate: Twilight Ends (Book 1), Kalorama Road, Chasing Victoria, and By Chance. She has also written several supernatural short stories, including Off the Grid, Ravine Lereux: Unearthing A Family Curse, The Playground, and Rebound. As an avid reader of magical realism, mystery, suspense, and supernatural novels, she was greatly influenced by authors in these genres.
Currently, she is working on book two of her trilogy, Twilight Ends, a paranormal historical fiction, and book two of Simone Doucet Series to be released in 2022.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

Website: https://edenisebillups.com/
Next Chapter Publishing: https://www.nextchapter.pub
Facebook: @E. Denise Billups
Twitter: @DeniseBillups
Goodreads: @E. Denise Billups
YouTube: @E. Denise Billups

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