Book Review: Double Identity by Alison Morton

Book Blurb:

Deeply in love, a chic Parisian lifestyle before her. Now she’s facing prison for murder.

It’s three days since Mel des Pittones threw in her job as an intelligence analyst with the French special forces to marry financial trader Gérard Rohlbert. But her dream turns to nightmare when she wakes to find him dead in bed beside her.

Her horror deepens when she’s accused of his murder. Met Police detective Jeff McCracken wants to pin Gérard’s death on her. Mel must track down the real killer, even if that means being forced to work with the obnoxious McCracken.

But as she unpicks her fiancé’s past, she discovers his shocking secret life. To get to the truth, she has to go undercover—and finds almost everybody around her is hiding a second self.

Mel can trust nobody. Can she uncover the real killer before they stop her?

A stunning new thriller from the author of the award-winning Roma Nova series, fans of Daniel Silva, Stella Rimington or Chris Pavone will love Double Identity.

About Alison Morton:

Alison Morton writes award-winning thrillers series featuring tough, but compassionate heroines. She blends her deep love of France with six years’ military service and a life of reading crime, historical, adventure and thriller fiction. On the way, she collected a BA in modern languages and an MA in history.

Grips like a vice – a writer to watch out for” says crime thriller writer Adrian Magson about Roma Nova series starter INCEPTIO. All six full-length Roma Nova thrillers have won the BRAG Medallion, the prestigious award for indie fiction. SUCCESSIO, AURELIA and INSURRECTIO were selected as Historical Novel Society’s Indie Editor’s Choices.  AURELIA was a finalist in the 2016 HNS Indie Award. The Bookseller selected SUCCESSIO as Editor’s Choice in its inaugural indie review.

Now Alison continues to write thrillers and drink wine in France with her husband.

Other works:

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

Social Media:

Connect with Alison on her Roma Nova 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: http://eepurl.com/ckNeFL

Purchase Links:

Kindle:  https://mybook.to/DoubleIdentity

Apple: https://books.apple.com/book/double-identity/id1542244030

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/fr/en/ebook/double-identity-11

B&N Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/double-identity-alison-morton/1138382128?ean=2940162679202

Book2Read: https://books2read.com/DoubleIdentity

Publishing Information:

Published in paperback and digital formats by Pulcheria Press on 7th January 2021

 

My Thoughts:

Double Identity is a refreshingly new thriller that will hold the readers attention until the very end. The story follows Mel who has recently retired from the French Army and is engaged to Gerard Rohlbert, a financial trader. The story begins with Mel waking us disoriented to a dead fiance next to her. Having been accused of murder, Mel sets out on a journey to prove her innocence and find out the truth.

It is indeed a race against time as Police detective Jeff McCracken works to try and pin the murder on Mel. Working against each other, they become unlikely partners in the race to uncover the truth. I truly love how the characters are created in this book and Mel’s character was inspiring. She is a fresh new face and someone who is strong and can stand up for herself. I admired this in her and in the way the author made her the focus of the story.

This is a fast paced thriller that is gripping and well written. With the way the story jumps right in from page one, readers are sure to be hooked and will enjoy this read! I strongly recommend this book to all those who love a good thriller and murder mystery!

 

WWW WEDNESDAY – 17/03/2021

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!

 ——————————————————————————————————————

What are you currently reading?

  My Mother's Secret

What did you recently finish reading?

Murder at the Mela Once Upon A [Broken] Time (Stolen #3)

What do you think you’ll read next?

       There are too many books on the TBR. This is my usual statement, but I am planning to see where my mood takes me! I will pick my next reads based on that! 😀

——————————————————————————————————————

Do stop by to share your thoughts or posts!

Book Review: Murder at the Mela by Leela Soma

 

Book Blurb:

Newly appointed as Glasgow’s first Asian DI, Alok Patel’s first assignment is the investigation of the brutal murder of Nadia, an Asian woman. Her body was discovered in the aftermath of the Mela festival in Kelvingrove Park. During the Mela, a small fight erupted between a BNP group and an Asian gang, but was quickly quelled by police.

When Nadia is accused of having an affair with a local man, even more questions about her death arise. Was her murder a crime of passion, or was it racially motivated? Could it be an honour killing? The deep-rooted tensions within Glasgow’s Asian communities bubble to the surface as DI Patel struggles with his parents, who disapprove of his relationship with his Muslim partner, Usma.

As DI Patel struggles to gain any help from the Asian community, another body is discovered in the West End- the body of a white man. Is this new murder fuelled by revenge? Killed by an Asian gang? As the list of murder suspects grows, DI Patel finds himself grappling with the pressures of his new rank, including the racism of at least one fellow officer.

This novel peels away the layers of Glasgow’s Asian communities, while exploring the complicated relationships between Asian people and the city.

 

About Leela Soma:

Leela Soma was born in Madras, India and now lives in Glasgow, Scotland. She was a Principal Teacher of Modern Studies before deciding to write full time. Her poetry and short stories have been published in a number of anthologies and publications most recently, Issue 5 of Gutter magazine. She won the Margaret Thomson Davis Trophy for Best New Writer 2007 for her then unpublished novel Twice Born which was later published on YouWriteOn. She is on the Committee of the Milngavie Book & Art Festival and the Scottish Writer’s Centre. Her writings reflect her experiences as a first generation Indo-Scot.

 

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Glasgowlee

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Leela-Soma-Writer-106619201416953

Website: https://leelasoma.wordpress.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/leelasoma/

 

Purchase Links:

Ringwood Publishing: https://bit.ly/2ZAdb00

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/37vvKa0

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2ZBMtnI

Waterstones: http://bit.ly/37w5H2e

 

Publishing Information:

Published in paperback and digital formats by Ringwood Publishing on 3rd November 2020

 

My Thoughts:

Murder at the Mela is a well written murder mystery set in Glasgow. It follows the journey of newly appointed DI Patel as he works to uncover the truth behind the murder of a young woman after the night of the Mela. The story is well-written and flows very well. I enjoyed the way the author has explained the investigative process and it definitely shows that quite a bit of research has gone into the writing.

The characters are an interesting mix of people with different racial and ethnic backgrounds as well as religious beliefs. The author delicately handles the different religious beliefs and brings out the way each person handles it. I thoroughly enjoyed the various interactions and reactions among the characters. At some points, it felt as though the story is needlessly dragging and some changes in scenes happened abruptly with no warning. At one point we read about one character and in the next sentence the reader is taken to a different location and shown different people. This was a little confusing. However, this did not take away from the entire story and thus it was a pleasant read.

Overall, this murder mystery is worth following and DI Patel’s capabilities as a police investigator are spot on! This is definitely worth the read and I highly recommend it!

 

WWW WEDNESDAY – 10/03/2021

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!

 ——————————————————————————————————————

What are you currently reading?

Once Upon A [Broken] Time (Stolen #3)  Murder at the Mela

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

       There are too many books on the TBR. This is my usual statement, but I am planning to see where my mood takes me! I will pick my next reads based on that! 😀

——————————————————————————————————————

Do stop by to share your thoughts or posts!

In Conversation with author Natasha Murray

Hello everyone!

I have the pleasure of hosting author Natasha Murray on my blog. Her latest book, 58 Farm End was released in Dec 2020 and has been getting some pretty good reviews!

In this blog post, we talk about her latest book, the inspiration behind it and also get to know her a little better! I love how interactive and enthusiastic Natasha is and this inspired me to spice up this blog post and convert it into a conversation instead of an interview. 

Thank you Natasha for reaching out to me and for connecting with me! I look forward to reading more of your books in future!

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Connect with Natasha:

 Author website

https://cutt.ly/5fR483w

Book marketing journey and guest author website: www.nmurray.moonfruit.com

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/NatashaMurray3004 or

Twitter https://twitter.com/UKBookShow_2018

Instagram @natashamurray1426

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Namrata: Thanks for joining us! Tell us a little about yourself.

Natasha: I grew up in North London in Crouch End which has in recent years become a trendy place to live. My best subjects at school were art and English. These subjects I excelled in and I wanted to become an animation artist for Disney. This was not to be. Home life was turbulent so at the age of eighteen, I moved out into a mansion house flat and took on various administrative jobs to pay my rent and survive. My dreams of becoming an artist slowly faded as children came along and the desire to write took over. As the years went by, I drifted south and I now live by the sea in Little hampton with my husband and soul mate, Martin. I work at night picking shopping at a supermarket and after a morning snooze, I write, publish, market my books and read and review. My dream is to sell enough books so that I can write full time.

Namrata: So, what inspired you to start writing books?

Natasha: I have always loved writing stories, plays and poetry. Writing is both a compulsion and a pleasure. I decided to write my first book when my son was about ten and was having difficulty moving on from reading the Captain Underpants series. He wanted to read a book that didn’t have wizards or magic in it. He wanted to read a story that was believable and could actually happen. His need to read a book like this inspired me to write 3004 a dystopian adventure story. It took me six years to write this book as I had two children to look after and an alcoholic partner (not Martin) The Book Guild published my book 3004 in April 2011. My son didn’t actually read it until he was eighteen. He said he liked it but preferred to read autobiographies! 3004 is permanently free on Amazon and thousands of copies have been downloaded.

Namrata: Oh my! That’s quite a journey! Let’s talk about genres! How or why did you choose to write in the Mystery and Thriller genre with a dash of Romance?

Natasha: Last year I decided to experiment and write in a new genre. I chose Romantic suspense and hoped that my book would appeal to more people. I got carried away and wrote two books during lockdown, 58 Farm End and Julia’s Baby. The third book Waterfall Way is being written at a slower pace as I really don’t like saying goodbye to my characters. These three books form the Waterfall Way series. I really enjoyed writing these books and crafting thrilling twists and turns. 58 Farm End was published on 18 December 2020 and is getting some really great reviews. Thank you Namrata for your wonderful review!

Namrata: You are quite welcome! I did enjoy the way the story was written! Let’s continue to talk about 58 Farm End, where did you get the inspiration for the plot from?

Natasha: 58 Farm End came to me in an early morning dream. In my dream, I actually watched the two main characters play out chapter two. I could hear Julia Bridgewater and Seth Hearn talking to each other. There is a road near to me called Long Furlong and there are farms along this road. In my dream, Julia and Seth live on similar farms next to each other and in this chapter they meet in the lane for the first time and Seth helps Julia stop his brother and Ivy Brown from riding Julia’s old pony. I woke up and wrote everything down. The rest of the book just unfolded. This may sound crazy but sometimes Julia and Seth tell me what is going to happen or if I think of a twist and they don’t like it then they will suggest another path. I really am quite sane.

Namrata: Wow! That must have been quite some dream! It’s interesting how you remembered it. One point that intrigued me is the title of the book. Without giving away too much, could you tell us why you decided to specify the number ‘58’ in the title? 

Natasha: Oh dear, 58! This number has haunted me since I was a child for the same reason Julia’s Dad had trouble with it. I will say no more!

Namrata: That’s a good one! So, moving to the people in the story, let’s talk about the inspiration behind the lead characters. How did they happen?

Natasha: As I said Julia and Seth appeared in my dream. Jules is petite with wild curly blonde hair and Seth is tall, dark and handsome.

Namrata: Ah yes! I am quite a fan of Seth!

Do you base any of your characters on people you know? If yes, would you share an example?

Natasha: Seth’s family remind me of a distant Irish connection I had many moons ago. This large Irish family were the kindest people you would ever wish to meet but many of them were quite crazy. Perhaps they influenced my writing.

Namrata: When you started this book, did you plan out the entire series at the beginning or did it evolve as the story evolved?

Natasha: I never plan my storyline and yes my books do evolve organically. I do however think about the next chapter and what I am going to write. This usually happens when I am picking shopping for customers. I see what is going to happen and then play out the scene like a movie in my mind. I get home and write an email to myself and type out the chapter on my phone. I then send it to myself copy and paste it into my book and edit it at my desk. That way I can write anywhere I want to. On the bed or by the sea are good places to write. I usually write half a chapter a day.

Namrata: I find the way you approach writing to be quite unique! So, what is an average writing day like for you?

Natasha: Being an administrator for so long, I like to be organised and I have a daily planner to keep to. This way I don’t forget to do the dreaded marketing side of things. Here is my weekly plan.

85 MONDAY

WRITE

TUESDAY

WRITE

WEDNESDAY

WRITE

THURSDAY

FULL WRITING OR EDITING DAY – GET LOST IN YOUR PARALLEL UNIVERSE

 

WRITE AN ARTICLE OR BLOG POST AND PUBLISH IT ON YOUR BLOG AND LINKEDIN. SHARE WITH FACEBOOK AND TWITTER

 

FRIDAY

WRITE

SATURDAY

 

SUNDAY

 

EVERY WEEK AFTER

THANK EVERYONE FOR REVIEWS AND SHARING ON SOCIAL MEDIA

 

CREATE A VIDEO AND THREE STILL FACEBOOK & TWITTER POSTS AND SCHEDULE THEM FOR THE WEEK & LINK THEM TO LINKEDIN

 

PUBLISH ANY REVIEWS ON SOCIAL MEDIA

 

FIND REVIEWERS ONLINE WILLING TO REVIEW YOUR BOOK

 

PROMOTE YOUTUBE TRAILERS ON SOCIAL MEDIA (MONTHLY)

 

COMMENT ON FACEBOOK GROUPS

GO OUT SEE PEOPLE, EXPLORE AND GET INSPIRED TO WRITE.

 

TAKE PHOTOS TO

POST BOOKS, TRAILERS & ART PHOTOS ON INSTAGRAM  USING 30 HASHTAGS  LINK TO FACEBOOK AND TWITTER

 

MONITOR YOUR ADS, CREATE OR REPLACE

EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS WITH NEWS AND OR OFFER BOOKS FOR FREE. CALL TO ASSIST YOU TO PROMOTE & REVEIW YOUR BOOKS.

 

GROW YOUR SUBSCRIBER LIST ON SOCIAL MEDIA OFFERING FREE GIFTS FOR EMAIL ADDRESS

LIVE EVENT

 

BOOK

SIGNINGS

FAIRS

MARKETS

BOOK SHOWS

READINGS & CHATS

 

IF NOTHING IS BOOKED SHARE A SOMETHING PERSONAL ABOUT BEING AN AUTHOR WITH SOCIAL MEDIA SITES

DAY OFF

 

READ READ READ READ

 

Namrata: WOW! That is wonderfully informative and great of you to share some of your planning. I wish I could be as organized! Thank you for this glimpse!

Let’s move on to lighter topics! What are you currently reading?

Natasha: I read and review books too. I am currently reading Meat Ladder to Mars by San Jose satirist Eugenio Negro. It is about pigs being transported to Mars. My mission this year is to read and review my two hundred books in my ‘to be read’ pile. I have got so behind because the desire to write keeps taking over.

Namrata: I have a huge TBR too and I am trying to work my way through it. It is not such an easy task, but I wish you all the best! I do read a lot of different kinds of books and would love to know which is your favourite genre?

Natasha: I love a psychological thriller or a classic book like Wuthering Heights

Namrata: That’s amazing diversity. Who is your favourite author?

Natasha: I read a lot and I think my favourite author is D.E. White. She writes crime fiction and I really love her Dove Milson series and her descriptive writing.

Namrata: I am going to add the books to my ever-growing TBR! If you had to pick one book to take away with you on vacation, what would it be?

Natasha: This is hard. I find it very difficult to read a book a second time so I would probably write my own.

Namrata: I can very well imagine you sitting down to write and enjoying a beautiful view! To wrap up this conversation, what message would you like to share with your readers?

Natasha: I hope that you enjoy reading my books as much as I enjoyed writing them. If my writing makes you emotional then I have done my job. A good book feeds the soul. Happy reading.

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Do share your thoughts and check out 58 Farm End, a romantic suspense story!

Book Review: Murder in the Snow (A Lady Eleanor Swift Mystery #4) by Verity Bright

This is going to be my last book review for year 2020! WOW! It has been a  wonderful year with respect to books and reading for me!

About the Book:

Murder in the Snow (A Lady Eleanor Swift Mystery #4)

An English Christmas has mince pies, cheerful carols, a twinkling tree… and a murder? Thank goodness Lady Swift is on the scene!

Winter, 1920. Amateur sleuth Lady Eleanor Swift is feeling festive. She is playing host to the entire village at Henley Hall for gifts, games and gingerbread. She’s also purchased perfect presents for each of her household – not forgetting the biggest bone in the butcher’s shop for her partner in crime, Gladstone the bulldog – and is looking forward to celebrating her first English country Christmas.

As snowflakes fall, Eleanor is cheering on contestants in the traditional Christmas fun run in the grounds of the Hall. But tragedy strikes when one of the runners drops dead at the finish line. Dashing Detective Seldon is convinced it’s just a heart attack, but Eleanor isn’t so sure. When she finds a rather distinctive key where the man fell, Eleanor knows she’ll never rest until she finds out the truth about what happened in her own home.

Next the vicar is taken ill with what looks like poison and Eleanor starts to wonder if the two cases are linked. When someone tries to frame her by planting poisoned berries in her own kitchen, she knows speed is of the essence. But the entire village was at Henley Hall for the festivities and Eleanor has enough suspects to stuff a town full of turkeys. Can she nail the true killer and clear her name in time for Christmas?

Christmas won’t be complete without it! A festive treat for fans of Agatha Christie, TE Kinsey and Lee Strauss.

My Thoughts:

I requested for and was approved a copy of this book on NetGalley thanks to the publisher Bookouture!

Murder in the Snow is the fourth book in the Eleanor Swift mystery series and thankfully can be read as a standalone. The story, set in the winter of 1920, follows Eleanor as she plays host to the entire village, bringing everyone together for Christmas celebrations. What she does not expect is for one of the contestants to collapse and be declared dead from a possible heart-attack. As her investigative instincts kick in, Eleanor starts to figure the whole thing out when her butler agrees that it seems suspicious.

There are minimal references to her adventures and previous mysteries solved, but these do not take away from the story, nor do they create any confusion for the reader! With a lot happening in the book, the reader is in for unexpected surprises as Eleanor proceeds with her investigation, many times in the most unladylike manner for the 1920s. However, this just adds to her endearing character and makes the reader fall in love with her. The other characters in the book are charming and the best is Mr. Clifford! I adore how he handled the house and supported Eleanor in spite of just being her butler. His connection to her late uncle seems to add some intrigue to his character.

The story is very well-written and mixed in with festive cheer. I enjoyed reading about how the people amused themselves in this rather picturesque setting. This murder mystery is definitely worth the read and I look forward to reading more about Eleanor’s adventures!

Round-up of the Goodreads Reading Challenge 2020!

At the beginning of the year I had planned to read around 50 books (keeping in mind my work schedules and timelines). However, as a result of the pandemic and work from home situation, I was able to increase this number up to 74!

As per the Goodreads stats, the longest book I read was Midnight Sun by Stephanie Meyer (671 pages), Edwards take on the events that occur in Twilight.

The shortest book read, with just 24 pages was a delightful children’s book titled Dinosaur Adventure: A Field Trip to Remember (Let’s Learn While Playing #2) by Kelly Santana-Banks

It also turns out that my average rating is 3.5 stars!

I love how Goodreads has summarized the books and my year. Check out my list here.

MY 2020 BOOKS
The Tower Lord by Anthony RyanA Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid KemmererShadow Trials by Isla FrostFirstborn Academy by Isla FrostFirstborn Academy by Isla Frost
The Selection by Kiera CassThe One by Kiera CassThe Elite by Kiera CassHouse of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. MaasTwo Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus
Inebriated by Katey TaylorLegendary by Stephanie GarberDragon Connection by Ava RichardsonFinale by Stephanie GarberSunrise on Half Moon Bay by Robyn Carr
The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten WhiteQueen of Corvids by J.C. McKenzieRescuing Lord Inglewood by Sally BrittonPrejudice Meets Pride by Rachael AndersonA History of Hexing by Evie Wilde
Keep Forever by Alexa KingaardThe School for Good and Evil by Soman ChainaniThe Girl in the Corner by Amanda ProwseA Torch Against the Night by Sabaa TahirAn Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa TahirAsh Princess by Laura SebastianLady Smoke by Laura SebastianEmber Queen by Laura SebastianWrong Place, Right Time by E.B. Roshan
Summer at Hope Haven by Kristin HarperLucy's Last Chance by Elle SweetMidnight Sun by Stephenie MeyerWho Threw Draco Down the Chimney? by Smita BhattacharyaThe Damned by Renée Ahdieh
The Beautiful by Renée AhdiehThe Guilty Die Twice by Don HartshornThorne Bay by Jeanine CroftProject Hackathon by Arushi AggarwalTwo Murders Too Many by Bluette Matthey
Return to Virgin River by Robyn CarrThe Pigeon Whisperer by Motaz H MatarHinterland by L.M. BrownThe Tech by Mark RavineDinosaur Adventure by Kelly Santana-Banks
Aunt Ivy's Cottage by Kristin HarperPrism by Nina WalkerThe Pageant by Leigh WalkerThe Gala by Leigh WalkerFracture by Nina Walker
The Finale by Leigh Walker337 by M. Jonathan LeeTen Days with a Duke by Erica RidleyThe Guardians of the Halahala by Shatrujeet NathRed Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Winter of the Wolf by Martha Hunt HandlerBeyond Belief by Ronald CrouchThe Eye of Ra by Ben GartnerSol Invictus by Ben GartnerThe Case of the Smuggler’s Curse by F.S. Dawson
Murder at the Lakeside Library by Holly DanversThe Violinist of Auschwitz by Ellie MidwoodNever Say No by Elizabeth NeepA ​Sky Beyond the Storm by Sabaa Tahir58 Farm End by Natasha Murray
Across the Lake by Nancy LiPetriWedding Bells on Victory Street by Pam HowesForever Your Duke by Erica RidleyChronicles of a Spell Caster by J.J. SingletonSummer of L.U.C.K. by Laura Segal Stegman
Midnight Train to Prague by Carol WindleyThe Lost Village by Daniela SacerdotiAlessia in Atlantis: The Forbidden VialMurder in the Snow (A Lady Eleanor Swift Mystery #4)

Do share your thoughts on the books I’ve read and don’t hesitate to leave recommendations for books to read in 2021!

Book Review: Murder at the Lakeside Library by Holly Danvers

About the Book:

In this series debut perfect for fans of Jenn McKinlay and Miranda James, Rain Wilmot must discover the killer, before the book closes on her life.

Rain Wilmot has just returned to her family’s waterfront log cabin in Lofty Pines, Wisconsin after the untimely death of her husband. The cabin is peaceful compared to Rain’s corporate job and comes with an informal library that Rain’s mother, Willow, used to run. But as Rain prepares for the re-opening of the library, all hopes for a peaceful life are shattered when she discovers the body of Thornton Hughes, a real estate buyer, on the premise.

The community of Lofty Pines starts pointing fingers at Willow, since she has been unusually absent from the library this summer. A fishy rumor surfaces when Rain learns that Willow had been spending a lot of time with Thorton. The town even thought they were having an affair.

While theories swirl about Thorton’s death, Rain takes it upon herself to solve the case to exonerate her mother. As more clues surface, Rain will have to piece together the mystery. But if she isn’t careful, she may be the next to end up dead in the water in Murder at Lakeside Library the first in Holly Danvers’ new Lakeside Library mysteries.

My Thoughts:

I requested for and received a copy of this book from NetGalley. The below review is my honest opinion.

Murder at the Lakeside Library follows Rain, the protagonist as she arrives at her family’s log cabin in Lofty Pines. Dealing with personal loss, Rain is emotionally unstable, but feels that this break will do her good. As we follow Rain while she re-discovers friendships, deals with having to run the library connected to the cabin and tries to find some peace in general, a dead body is found near the outhouse on the family’s property. From here the reader is pulled into the investigation of the murder and Rain’s attempts to find out the truth.

The story is well-written, but at times I was a little confused as to where it was going. With a lot of the focus on Rain and her reactions, we are not provided a lot of insight into the murder investigation until the very end. This is something that I did not enjoy as I wanted to understand what was happening as the story progressed.

However, I enjoyed the dynamics between Rain and her friend Julia. The characters were well developed and some were even endearing. I particularly enjoyed the twist in the story at the end and this redeemed some of the story for me. I would recommend this as a cozy mystery which is simple to read and enjoy!

 

 

Book Review: Two Murders Too Many by Bluette Matthey

About the Book:

Two Murders Too Many

Barn burning in a sleepy farming community is a serious enough matter, but a grisly murder or two in a small midwest town is a showstopper. Throw in a serial blackmailer who has his claws in some of the town’s leading citizens and you have one big recipe for disaster.

Charlie Simmons, newly sworn in as Shannon’s policeman, takes on the challenge of investigating this cauldron of crimes in stride, untangling one thread after another from the fabric of the town of Shannon to find the simple truth.

 

My Thoughts:

The story follows Charlie Simmons as he investigates the unexpected spree of crime and murder in a small midwest town. The story is very well written with a myriad of characters each with their own quirks. At first, it is a little difficult to understand where the book is going with every chapter focusing on a new character and how they fit into the fabric of the town. However, once the events start to unfold however, the reader is pulled into the investigation, contemplating who could be behind the murders and the cause of unrest.

I enjoyed reading about Charlie: how he handles the investigation, systematically working his way through the evidence and tackling the residents of the town. Some character introductions seemed quite drawn out to me, but on the whole, the plot flows well and the ambience of the town was very well described. A quiet and simple town where every person knows the other and everyone’s business is common knowledge, it is indeed shocking to have to deal with murders and mysteries.

The ending is definitely a little unexpected and it is quite interesting to watch as Charlie works through each clue one by one to reach a conclusion! The book is well worth the read!

Book Review: The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh

About the Book:

New York Times bestselling author Renée Ahdieh returns with a sumptuous, sultry and romantic new series set in 19th century New Orleans where vampires hide in plain sight.

In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans provides her a refuge after she’s forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent along with six other girls, Celine quickly becomes enamored with the vibrant city from the music to the food to the soirées and—especially—to the danger. She soon becomes embroiled in the city’s glitzy underworld, known as Le Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group’s leader, the enigmatic Sèbastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in the lair of Le Cour des Lions, Celine battles her attraction to him and suspicions about Sèbastien’s guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.

When more bodies are discovered, each crime more gruesome than the last, Celine and New Orleans become gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose—one Celine is sure has set her in his sights . . . and who may even be the young man who has stolen her heart. As the murders continue to go unsolved, Celine takes matters into her own hands and soon uncovers something even more shocking: an age-old feud from the darkest creatures of the underworld reveals a truth about Celine she always suspected simmered just beneath the surface.

At once a sultry romance and a thrilling murder mystery, master storyteller Renée Ahdieh embarks on her most potent fantasy series yet: The Beautiful.

My Thoughts:

The Beautiful has to be one of the most talked about books! I was quite intrigued by the book cover and premise that I had to pick it up! It is a dark and sultry romance with murder, mystery and thrills all thrown into the mix!

At first, it took some time to get into the book and understand the context and setting. We are introduced to Celine, our main protagonist, a very strong-willed woman who keeps her own council and is not afraid to speak up. At first we see her struggling to conform to the rules of the convent where she has been taken in in New Orleans, having fled from Paris. However, she catches the eye of first Odette and then Sèbastien Saint Germain, all part of a group simply known as Le Cour des Lions. Little does she know that she has stepped into a completely different world, shrouded in darkness and surrounded by the dead, quite literally!

A very well written tale, the setting of New Orleans is very well described, especially the streets and nightlife. The characters are intriguing and well developed. At times, I must admit to getting a little annoyed with Celine, but it was not enough to pull me away from the book. As we are introduced to the creatures of the underworld and Celine starts to discover the existence of the paranormal, a series of murders leads to questions of motive and who the real target is. Not to be left out, Celine tries to conduct her own investigation having the feeling that she is indeed a target.

The developing romance between Celine and Sèbastien is both natural and forbidden and is interesting to see develop. The courtship (a suitable word for the time in which the story is set) is not without it’s problems and when murder and mayhem are thrown into the mix, we have all the ingredients for an entertaining story! The story is a roller-coaster of a ride as we navigate the sub-plots and various supporting characters who add such flavor to the story!

Though there were some ups and downs with the story, it is definitely worth the read!