Book Review: Double Pursuit by Alison Morton

About the Book:

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She’s hunting arms smugglers. But who is hunting her?

One dead body, two badly injured operatives and five crates of hijacked rifles.
In Rome, former French special forces intelligence analyst Mélisende des Pittones is frustrated by obnoxious local cops and ruthless thugs. Despite the backing of the powerful European Investigation and Regulation Service, her case is going nowhere. Then an unknown woman tries to blow her head off.

As Mel and fellow investigator Jeff McCracken attempt to get a grip on the criminal network as well as on their own unpredictable relationship, all roads point to the place she dreads – the arid and remote African Sahel – where she was once betrayed and nearly died. Can Mel conquer her fear as she races to smash the network and save her colleague’s life?

About the Author:

Alison Morton
Alison Morton writes award-winning thrillers featuring tough but compassionate heroines. Her nine-book Roma Nova series is set in an imaginary European country where a remnant of the ancient Roman Empire has survived into the 21st century and is ruled by women who face conspiracy, revolution and heartache but with a sharp line in dialogue.

She blends her deep love of France with six years’ military service and a life of reading crime, historical and thriller fiction. On the way, she collected a BA in modern languages and an MA in history.

Alison now lives in Poitou in France, the home of Mélisende, the heroine of her latest two contemporary thrillers, Double Identity and Double Pursuit. Oh, and she’s writing the next Roma Nova story.

Double Pursuit – the second in the new contemporary Mélisende thriller series, pub. 19 October 2021

Book Buy links:
Amazon: https://mybook.to/DoublePursuit
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/fr/en/ebook/double-pursuit
Apple: https://books.apple.com/gb/book/double-pursuit/id1585547953
B&N Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/double-pursuit-alison-morton/1140156361?ean=2940162379614
Books2Read: https://books2read.com/DoublePursuit
Paperback: https://www.alison-morton.com/books-2/double-pursuit/where-to-buy-double-pursuit/

Social media links:
Connect with Alison on her thriller site: https://alison-morton.com
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AlisonMortonAuthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/alison_morton @alison_morton
Alison’s writing blog: https://alisonmortonauthor.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alisonmortonauthor/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5783095.Alison_Morton
Alison’s Amazon page: http://Author.to/AlisonMortonAmazon
Newsletter sign-up: https://www.alison-morton.com/newsletter/

Other works by the author:
The Carina strand
INCEPTIO where New Yorker Karen Brown is thrown into a new life in mysterious Roma Nova and fights to stay alive with a killer hunting her
CARINA, a novella, Carina’s first mission abroad. What could go wrong?
PERFIDITAS, six years on, where betrayal and rebellion are in the air, threatening to topple Roma Nova and ruin Carina’s life.
SUCCESSIO, where a mistake from the past threatens to destroy the next generation.

The Aurelia strand
AURELIA, in late 1960s Roma Nova, Aurelia Mitela battles her life-long nemesis, silver smuggling and is forced to choose between her love, her child and her country
NEXUS Mid 1970s, London, where a simple favour for a friend becomes a chilling pursuit across Europe
INSURRECTIO, where Aurelia Mitela struggles against a manipulative tyrant grabbing power. But it may already be too late to save Roma Nova…
RETALIO, a classic tale of resistance and retribution – the endgame between Aurelia and Caius

Extras
ROMA NOVA EXTRA, a collection of short stories from AD 370 to the present

Contributions
‘A Roman Intervenes‘ in 1066 Turned Upside Down
How Galla Mitela, Roma Novan imperial councillor, attempts to stop the Norman invasion of England. One of a series of possible alternative outcomes of 1066.

‘The Mystery of Victory’ in Rubicon (HWA/Sharpe Books)
What did happen to the Altar of Victory in the dusk of the Roman Empire?

‘The Idealist’ in Betrayal (Historical Fictioneers, 2020)

Non Fiction
Military or civilians? The curious anomaly of the German Women’s Auxiliary Services during the Second World War.

The 500 Word Writing Buddy: 35 Inner Secrets for the New Writer

Memberships: International Thriller Writers, Historical Novel Society, Alliance of Independent Authors, Society of Authors, Romantic Novelists’ Association, Mystery People, Crime Writers’ Association

My Thoughts:

Double Pursuit is a fast-paced action thriller that will have the reader on the edge of their seat at all times. This is the second book in the series and the story follows Mélisende as she embarks on an investigation into missing firearms. The book dives right into the plot from page 1 and only becomes more intriguing as the plot thickens.

Having read Book 1, I already had a fair idea about some of the characters in this book. There are references to the past events, but this book can easily be read as a standalone too. You just have to be a little persistent. The characters are well developed and believable. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about each of their respective dynamics and how they worked together. Mel is definitely the highlight of the books and deservedly so. She is tough, independent and very good at what she does, but also soft at heart and caring towards those who matter.

The author has written the book so well, it is very easy to visualize each scene and it plays out like a movie in your mind. It is clear that she has done a great amount of research and also relied on her own experiences to write these books. The amount of details and the insight into procedures whether police or otherwise are explained in a way that everyone can understand it.

All in all I highly recommend this book and the series as such. They are definitely worth reading!

Note: This review and post is a part of the blog tour for the Book organized by author Alison Morton. I was provided with a complimentary copy of the book and the above review is my own honest opinion.

Double Pursuit Jan2022 tourbanner_sm

Book Review: The Wedding Setup by Sonali Dev

About the Book:

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From USA Today bestselling author Sonali Dev comes a heartfelt short story about one woman’s journey of self-discovery and what it means to be happy.

Ayesha Shetty lost her brother seven years ago, the same time she lost everything else important to her: her dreams, her fierce independence, and the man she loved. Not wanting to see her mother hurt anymore, she put her wild self away and became the dutiful daughter her mother needed and took on her brother’s role in the family business.

Now her best friend’s big, fat Indian wedding is a chance to get away from her endless duties at the restaurant and maybe even have some fun (if she remembers how). But a setup arranged by her mother, with a doctor no less, is the last thing she needs. The fact that he checks all her mother’s boxes just makes everything better…and worse.

Then Emmitt Hughes shows up. Her brother’s best friend. The love she once chose over family duties and her responsibilities. The one she asked to leave, and who did. The one who knows the real Ayesha. Torn between a love from the past that could cost her the only person she has left and her sense of obligation to her mother, will Ayesha find the strength to stop thinking about what everyone else wants and finally put herself first? Or is the old Ayesha truly gone for good?

My Thoughts:

The Wedding Setup is a short story that reads in the style of a Bollywood movie. It is a quick and interesting read considering the theme that is handled by the author. Ayesha suppresses her dreams and stays to help her mother at their family restaurant after her brother dies. She calms down and becomes the opposite of who she used to be. In an attempt to keep her mother happy, she starts to accept and agree with her without question.

The author handles the storyline very well and in this short story brings out a ton of emotions. The mother-daughter relationship, how it changed, Ayesha’s friendships, past love and the current arranged marriage setup. With the prospect of an arranged match and her ex turning up at her best friend’s wedding, Ayesha is torn between choosing what she wants and what would make her mother happy.

I enjoyed reading this book and I admire how the author has handled both the plot and her characters. Overall this is definitely a book that I would recommend for those who love second chance romances and an overload of different emotions!

Book Review: The Best Kept Secret by Tawna Fenske

About the Book:

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Nurse Nyla Franklin knows three things to be true. Taking care of others brings more joy than a basket full of kittens. A triple-fudge sundae can cure just about anything. And no good ever comes from keeping a secret… So when her best friend spills his biggest one ever, Nyla knows she’s not just holding a secret. She’s holding a ticking time bomb.

Mr. Always Does the Right Thing Leo Sayre knows three things to be true. Piloting smokejumpers over burning forests is the best job in the world. His best friend Nyla is the smartest, funniest, and okay, sexiest woman ever. And pain meds are apparently his truth serum. Now his post-surgery confession has everything flipped upside down and turned inside out… including his relationship with Nyla.

Secrets have a way of piling up, and it’s just a matter of time before someone lights a match. Because while the truth can set you free, it can also burn completely out of control…

Each book in the Where There’s Smoke series is STANDALONE:
* The Two-Date Rule
* Just a Little Bet
* The Best Kept Secret

My Thoughts:

Note: I received an eARC through NetGalley. The review reflects my honest opinion.

The Best Kept Secret is a romance between Nyla and Leo, who come together as a result of an unexpected secret that is revealed by Leo. Nyla has difficulties keeping secrets and usually ends up revealing everything. The book is a part of a series but can also be read as a stand alone. This is the first book that I am reading by the author.

This book then follows the after effects of the “big secret” which Leo reveals to Nyla which leads to a whole lot of dragged out family drama. I did not fully enjoy this part of the book and also how the characters react when the secret(s) are revealed. I felt that a lot of the plot points fell into place too easily and this also made me think that characters were rather two dimensional.

I did enjoy the relationship that Nyla and her older sister, Leo’s ex-wife, share. I also liked how Nyla got along with her nephew. These were well depicted by the author. I felt a little awkward about the relationship that develops between Nyla and Leo, but eventually it does fall into place.

Overall this is a decent one time read especially for those who enjoy lots of family drama and a whole lot of romance.

Book Review: Greece Actually by Sue Roberts

About the Book:

Small, shy, safe. That’s how Becky lives ever since her last romantic calamity landed her in hospital. Her comfort zone is as confining as her tiny bank balance, and fiercely guarded by her totally over-the-top mum. But the news that her ex is back sniffing round is the final straw. In a very un-Becky move, she packs her bags for the Greek island of Skiathos. Maybe the setting of her favourite ABBA movie will be just the break from reality Becky needs…

Stepping aboard the Mamma Mia! boat tour, Becky leaves her fear in the port as she sings… out loud… in public, and cries Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! to everything the Greek life has to offer. She befriends locals young, old, and absolutely perfect (hello, sizzling hot restaurant-owner Kyros!), dines on freshly baked bread drizzled in golden olive oil on a starlit date, and walks barefoot along silky sandy beaches.

When Kyros asks her to stay longer, Becky is stunned. Could she really create a new life for herself here, and trust her heart with this smooth-talking charmer? But just as she’s thinking about putting down roots, her troublesome ex makes a dramatic return, begging for her back. Will she go back to playing it safe, or will she take a chance on Greece and embrace her true dancing queen?

My Thoughts:

Greece Actually is a light hearted summer or beach read that follows Becky as she goes to Greece with her two best friends. Having just come out of an abusive relationship and living a relatively low-key life, she jumps at the chance to house-sit for her uncle while he goes sailing. The story takes us on a journey around the Greek island of Skiathos and the surrounding places. We discover places to visit and some of the local food while also meeting people who live there.

The book blurb teases a Mamma Mia themed story or a love for the movie or even a love for ABBA songs. However, I did not find this translated into the story as Becky embraces the holiday with her friends. There is not a lot of backstory provided into the characters and thus they felt quite one-dimensional. Though I enjoyed reading about the bond between the friends, I felt that not enough attention was given to them and their lives.

This is a romance set in Greece and even the romance part was a little bit of a let down. We also do not see much of ‘the ex’ until almost the very end and it is not as dramatic as it was portrayed. I was not as invested in the characters as I had hoped to be while reading the book blurb. The highlight of the book is the setting and the beauty of the Greek islands. Overall this book can be read once, but I am sure that it would still be enjoyed by many.

Book Review: Granted by Kendra Thomas

About the Book:

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Sabeara Aigoviel, princess of Aveladon, wants nothing more than for her heart to glow. The Stone-Hearted power that is received at the age of eighteen is her ultimate wish. With a grim curse looming over the realm and a neighboring kingdoms conspiring plans, contentions arise. Moments of danger summon evil forces, sending Sabeara into a whirlwind of adventure, captivity, and even love.
Rescued by a handsome stranger in a brown cloak, they navigate the kingdoms to bring her safely home. When her rescuer arrives betrothed to her beloved older sister weeks later, it is all she can do to erase their memories. Will Sabeara be able to defeat the curse on the Stone-Hearted race? And will she be able to forget the memories of her epic ventures with her cloaked rescuer?

Book Review:

Granted is Book 1 in a refreshing new tale that follows Sabeara, princess of Aveladon as she navigates her life in the Kingdom and outside it. A rebel at heart and wanting nothing more than to be Stone-Hearted, Sabeara has a restless need to escape and do more than what she does inside the Castle. She wants to restore peace to the Kingdom. Her father, the King is barely there, dealing with the grief of her mother’s death and a lot of the decisions to take fall on her older sister Jasper.

I love how the sisters have a very strong bond and are supportive of each other. In this first book, we follow Sabeara’s journey as she gets kidnapped by Obscurum soldiers and is then rescued by a very handsome stranger, Mid. As they navigate their way back to Aveladon, we follow along on an adventure filled with obstacles, new friends, new enemies and a budding romance, the reader is in for a treat! Little do they know that there would be further obstacles to their romance and secrets that reveal who they are which changes a lot of things the readers initially thought they knew.

I liked the concept of the Stone-Hearted, having different kinds of powers, reading about a supposed curse and how to end it. The author has brought to us a whole new fantasy world that is well thought out. The story is rich in descriptions and character building with likeable characters who add a lot of new dimensions to the plot.

I loved this book and am definitely looking forward to reading more of this series! This is definitely worth the read!

Book Review: People of the Sun by Ben Gartner

About the Book:

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The explosive reveal about who John and Sarah really are and why they’re traveling through time, with their most gut-wrenching challenge yet. In the time of the Aztec, a scoundrel named Cortés arrives and the kids are forced to make an extremely difficult decision: If you could change history, should you?

For more twists, more danger, and more fun, read the third book in The Eye of Ra series, People of the Sun!

My Thoughts:

People of the Sun is a wonderful and epic conclusion to the Eye of Ra series. Once again the reader is pulled into an adventure with John and Sarah, this time to the time of the Aztec. I thoroughly enjoyed this book as it brings more clarity to the characters and the timeline of events. The author also ensures to bring out the effects of the previous time travel experiences.

This book goes into some technical detail while talking about time travel and the concepts behind it. As readers, we are also in for a wonderful surprise with the turn of events and the decisions to be made. The book is indeed interactive, giving the reader enough information to get them thinking.

In this book, John and Sarah travel to Mexico during the time of the Aztecs. They end up in the middle of a war which shapes the course of history as we know it today. The most important question is then raised that I think is one to really think: If you could change history, should you? This was perhaps the most intriguing concept behind the book and I love how the author tackled the question. The characters find themselves in this dilemma and it was quite a learning experience for me as a reader to watch them on their journey of learning.

This is indeed quite a roller coaster adventure filled with historical facts, people from history, essential lessons, some science and a whole lot of fun! This series is definitely worth the read not just for middle graders but for every age group!

Book Review: My Best Friend’s Wedding by Tilly Tennant

About the Book:

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Falling snow, sparkling champagne, and an ex that Libby would rather forget…

As chief bridesmaid, Libby knows she should be having the time of her life at her best friend’s snowy Christmas Eve wedding. But she’s at the mercy of three bossy little flower girls and she’s not looking her best in an enormous fuchsia dress. Which is a shame, as it is the first time she’s going to see her ex Rufus. The man she was supposed to marry. The man who left her alone at the altar…

As the dancing begins, and Libby does her best to avoid her ex, the snow outside falls faster and faster, making it impossible for the guests to leave. Snowed in at Lovage Hall, Libby is charmed by American Noah with his dark cropped hair and dimpled cheeks, and the two of them share their dreams and a very passionate kiss.

But when the morning comes, and the snow melts, a shocking revelation about Noah comes to light and Rufus reveals the desperately sad reason he ended their relationship. As Rufus begs for another chance, Libby’s head tells her to trust the man she’s known for years, but her heart can’t quite let go of the spark she had with Noah. Will she make the right decision for her own happy ending?

A gorgeous, romantic heart-warming read with characters that will find their way into your heart and stay there. Perfect for fans of Jill Mansell, Shari Low and Jenny Colgan.

My Thoughts:

My Best Friend’s Wedding follows Libby as she navigates her role as chief bridesmaid at her best friend’s wedding while trying to maintain her calm among all the chaos. The story is light and set in a single place covering three whole days. The main focus is the wedding and Libby’s interactions with the various characters.

The reader is also introduced to Noah, a potential love interest with whom Libby feels an instant attraction and ends up spending time overnight while snowed in. We also meet Libby’s ex, the one who cheated on her and now wants her back. I felt that some of the character development fell flat and I did not connect with the characters as much as I would have liked.

The entire setting was monotonous with a lot of focus on the three younger bridesmaids and their behavior. Libby, though kind and endearing, is not easy to relate to, though I did enjoy how adept she was at handling most of the situations.

Overall this is a pleasant one time read that the reader can sail through without having to think too much. It has a good mix of fun and romance and some of the character bonding is definitely worth reading about. This does read like a light rom-com with just enough in the plot to keep the reader going until the end. Though not one of my favorites by this author, I did enjoy the book.

Book Review: Jesper Jinx Gets Famous (Book #8) by Marko Kitti

About the Book:

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Jesper Jinx is eleven, and probably the unluckiest person in all of Puffington Hill. Everything he touches seems to end up in sweet disaster. Hence his nickname ‘Jinx’.

Are you ready for the Puffington Hill International Children’s Book Fair? That is where Jesper and the Silly Old Scribbler are heading in this hilarious and wonderfully chaotic tale of secrets and devious revenge plots.

Can Jesper save the day with another Boredom Breaker or will a vengeful group of peace-loving animals get to him first?

 

My Thoughts:

Jesper Jinx is back and for once he is not the one making devious plans initially! Jesper Jinx Gets Famous is the 8th Book in the series that will leave the reader rolling on the floor with laughter. I loved this new book in the series as it brings a different perspective to the series with the Silly Old Scribbler narrowly escaping being caught for something he should not be doing. Oops, I cannot say more than that since I am sworn to secrecy too! 😉

The story starts off with Jesper realizing that it is once again the holidays and he can spend time working on new pranks with his nest friend Oliver. What follows next are a series of unexpected events that leave Jesper baffled. As desperate as he is to find out why everyone seems to know him, his brush with the media turns his few moments of fame into quite something else! This entire story is more engaging with the author talking to the reader directly and of course sharing secrets with us. We also have a whole lot of animals wreaking havoc or hatching a plan, I cannot say, but it is worth the wait! 😉

The book is inclusive and more evolved showing us how much the series and characters have grown. It has been an interesting journey to get here and I have enjoyed following Jesper’s adventures so far! We can always trust that he has something up his sleeve and even though we have many new heroes in this book, I think the author has brought it all together very well! The overall plot is funny and just what young readers need to have lots and lots of fun!

Once again, I highly recommend this book and of course the entire series! The books can be read by readers of all ages and serve to provide a good break from normal routines! Do give Jesper and his friends a chance. Be sure to talk to the Silly Old Scribbler if you happen to meet him! I’m sure he has something up his sleeve just like Jesper! 😉

Book Review: When We Were Sisters by Cynthia Ellingsen

About the Book:

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Two sisters who haven’t spoken for twenty years. One summer to bring a family back together.

Jayne Winters hasn’t seen her sister Charlotte since that last childhood holiday at their grandmother’s North Carolina beach house. Separated after that summer by their parents in a bitter divorce, Charlotte has never forgiven Jayne for not fighting to stay together.

So when Jayne discovers that they have both inherited the beach house, and that their grandmother’s last wish was for them to renovate it together, it feels like a miracle: one last chance to win her sister back.

At first Charlotte will barely speak to her. But slowly the memories of swimming races and storytelling in their attic bedroom looking over the sea start to break down the wall between them. With the help of photographs and letters left by their grandmother for them to find, the two women begin to restore not just the creaking mahogany staircase and the faded antique wallpaper, but their own relationship.

But then Jayne discovers that Charlotte has kept a heart-stopping secret from their past from her. Can she find it in her heart to forgive her sister and keep their grandmother’s dream of reuniting them alive—or are some wounds too big to heal?

An emotional and uplifting read about sisters, secrets and the family bonds that hold us together no matter how complicated they are, from the bestselling author of The Lighthouse Keeper. Fans of Mary Ellen Taylor, Elin Hilderbrand and Mary Alice Monroe will love this.

My Thoughts:

When We Were Sisters is a heart-warming story that follows sisters Jayne and Charlotte as they come together to honor their Grandmother’s last wishes. As per her will, the sisters have to stay together at their grandmother’s house and work on it’s renovations. Separated from each other as a result of their parents divorce, the sisters have a lot to work through, if they give each other a chance.

I loved how this book takes you on a roller coaster of emotions with a strong focus on the bond between the sisters. The love for a sibling is one of the most basic and the author captures the yearning to connect and be a family, very well. At first reluctant, the sisters are forced to confront their feelings and try to talk to one another. As the story progresses, the reader will find out more and more about their past, the circumstances behind their parents decisions and some hidden truths which have the strength to break a person.

In the midst of all this, we see stability in Charlotte’s life, not without it’s own problems but those which  can be worked out together. Jayne deals with the beginnings of a new romance as well as the chance to finally connect with her sister and her family. As their lives mix, Jayne tries to form bonds with her nephews and bring back some light into her sister’s eyes reminiscent of their childhood.

This is a story of love, loss, summer fun and a second chance at a relationship that could help to heal old wounds and even some new ones. Secrets are never good and they have the power to destroy everything. However, I think that the strength of the characters and perseverance bring this story together with a conclusion that is tearful and full of joy. I definitely recommend this book that is filled with all kinds of emotions and is beautifully written until the end!

Book Review: A Lesson in Murder (A Lady Eleanor Swift Mystery Book 7) by Verity Bright

About the Book:

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When Lady Swift is invited to her old school, she walks through familiar classrooms, finds her favourite books in the library… and surely that’s not a body? Time for a lesson in murder!

Autumn, 1921. Lady Eleanor Swift is invited to her old school, St Mary’s, as a guest speaker. Her favourite teacher, Mrs Wadsworth, has asked that Eleanor talk about her intrepid travels around the globe – travelling the Silk Road by bicycle, crossing the Himalayas and even befriending the Maharaja of India. But in the circumstances, perhaps it would have been a good idea to talk about her career as a daring detective…

Because no sooner has Eleanor brushed up on her times tables then she is greeted by terrible news: Mrs Wadsworth has been murdered. Eleanor is utterly devastated but she owes it to her dearest teacher to find out who killed her and why. So, alongside Gladstone the bulldog, it’s best paw forward to track down a villain.

But when the art teacher is also found dead, Eleanor is sure someone is trying to do away with the people who taught her everything. As Eleanor delves into possible motives, she discovers a clue in the most unlikely place: her mother’s old school diary. Does the route to the murderer lie within a secret passageway her mother uncovered? Can Eleanor nail the culprit in time or is the killer coming for her next?

A totally gripping and glamorous 1920s cozy! Fans of Agatha Christie, T.E. Kinsey and Rhys Bowen are in for a treat.

My Thoughts:

This is the second book by author Verity Bright that I am reading and once again I must admit that I loved it. I first met Lady Eleanor Swift in ‘Murder in the Snow’, Book 4 of the series. Surprisingly or maybe not, I was able to dive right in and connect with all the characters in the story. Having missed some of the books in between, the current one is no different. I was instantly transported back to the 1920s along with Eleanor, Clifford the Butler and Hugh the Police Inspector.

I quite liked how the author shows us a different aspect of Eleanor’s life in this book, bringing to us a glimpse of her past while also showing how she could be an inspiration to the younger generations. For the time period in which the story is set in, Eleanor’s ways were indeed quite progressive and it was heartening to read about her ability to share some of her experiences with the children at the school and with us too!

I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the strong bond between Eleanor and her butler, Clifford. This is unique and endearing. The hint of romance in the background with the Police Inspector made the story all the more interesting. Even though the death of an old teacher was quite saddening, I enjoyed reading about how Eleanor conducts her investigation and tries to bring the killer to justice. Sometimes the reader is torn between exasperation and laughter at the main characters and this just adds to the appeal of the plot. The other characters in the book including the children under Eleanor’s temporary care were engaging and made me feel a part of them as the story progressed.

This book is definitely a must read for fans of cozy mysteries or any mystery in general! I highly recommend the author’s books and this entire series (even though I have not read most of the books in the series! I hope to rectify this very soon)

A huge thank you to Bookouture and netgalley for the advance copy of the book. The review is my honest opinion.