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.

Book Review: Little Bones (Detective Lottie Parker Book 10) by Patricia Gibney

About the Book:

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She lifted up her granddaughter from the cot, clutched her to her chest and, without looking at her beautiful daughter lying dead on the floor of her bedroom, ran from the house. Only when she was outside did she let a wail escape her lips, frightening the baby who joined in her screams.

When Isabel Gallagher is found murdered on the floor of her baby’s nursery by her mother, it’s a gruelling case for Detective Lottie Parker. Isabel’s pyjamas have been ripped, her throat cut and an old-fashioned razor blade placed in her hand. As Lottie looks at the round blue eyes and perfect chubby cheeks of Isabel’s baby daughter, she can’t understand who would want to hurt this innocent family.

That very same day she receives a call with devastating news. Another young mother, Joyce Breslin, has gone missing, and her four-year-old son Evan has been abducted from daycare. Lottie is sure that the missing mother and son are linked to Isabel’s death, and when she finds a bloody razor blade in their house, her worst fears are confirmed.

Desperate to find little Evan, Lottie leaves no stone unturned as she delves into Isabel and Joyce’s pasts and when she realises the two women have been meeting in secret, she knows she must find out why.

But when Joyce’s body is found in a murky pond and some little bones are found on a windy hillside, it feels as if this merciless killer will stop at nothing. The bones aren’t Evan’s but can they give Lottie the final clue to find the innocent child before more lives are taken?

This absolutely gripping and unputdownable crime thriller from bestselling author Patricia Gibney will leave you gasping for breath. A perfect read for fans of Angela Marsons, Robert Dugoni and Rachel Caine.

My Thoughts:

Little bones is Book 10 in the series that follows Detective Lottie Parker and her team. This is the first book that I read in this series and by the author. I liked the fact that I was able to read the book as a stand-alone though a little bit of the backstory is lost. This did not reduce the impact of this mystery thriller.

Lottie is dealing with two different crimes: the murder of a young woman while her four month old child is in the room; a missing woman and her four year old child. These seem to be different events, but Lottie suspects a connection due to razor blades that keep popping up which she seeks to find. The main target is to find the missing child and save him before something bad happens.

The story is well-written, fast paced with a strong focus on the plot and development. The characters are intriguing and I enjoyed the group dynamics of the team of investigators. As the plot unravels, the characters are pulled in different directions making us wonder about what is going on. This is the best part of the writing. It keeps the reader involved and guessing until the very end and then delivers a final punch.

I am also looking forward to reading the previous books and to getting to know Lottie Parker more. Her story is interesting as it gives us an insight into who she is and how she ended up where she is today! I enjoyed this book and I highly recommend it for those who are interested in police procedurals, detective stories, mysteries and thrillers that lead to a satisfying (though sad at times) end.

Release Blitz: Ye Gods! The Law is an Ass! by Seelie Kay

Ye Gods! The Law is an Ass!
(Donovan Trait #2)
by Seelie Kay

Genre: Romantic Suspense, Paranormal Romance, Mystery
Publisher: eXtasy Books

ISBN: 978-1-4874-3357-4
Page: 145
Word Count:44705
Publication Date: 2021-09-03

Book Blurb:

It was the Great Lie, and it could destroy the Vampire Nation.

In First, We Kill All the Lawyers, vampire lawyer Donovan Trait survived repeated attacks by a serial killer. Now, after violating a marital agreement with the Vampire Coalition, and several ancient Vampire Laws, Donovan, and his newly-turned vampire bride are on the run. You see, in exchange for permitting a pure-blood vampire to marry a turned human, the Traits agreed to allow vampire scientists to monitor the conception and birth of their children. When Judge Shirley Magnusen Trait turns up accidentally pregnant on her wedding day, the fury of the Coalition is unleashed. The tribunal recommends unacceptable punitive action and the Traits are forced to flee to a mysterious island of vampire nuns. The Traits are, by profession, seekers of the truth. But this time, the truth may not set them free. In fact, it could start a revolution. Will the Traits escape the clutches of the Coalition and keep their babies safe? Or will their family be…eliminated?

Book Links:
Goodreads * eXtasy Books

A Quick Interview with Seelie Kay

Why do you write romance?

Because I am fascinated by the games people play to find and secure a lasting relationship, which is not always love. There’s the chase, the courtship, the falling, the surrender. That’s what I try to capture in my stories.

Do you prefer a certain type of romantic hero?

I adore smart, dashing gentlemen who aren’t afraid to live on the edge. They can be a bad boy, a billionaire, a prince, or a secret agent. That hint of danger just hooks me! However, I they have to be paired with strong, independent women who aren’t afraid to fight for what they want, even love.

Why did you write “Ye Gods! The Law is an Ass?”

Donovan Trait is a vampire lawyer. In the human world, a very respected lawyer. I wanted to give him the opportunity to shine in the vampire world. So I created a scenario where his turned vampire bride Shirley is unfairly punished for an unintentionally violating their marital agreement, as well as other outdated, outrageous, and outright discriminatory laws—she unintentionally  To survive and protect their unborn child, they must not only fight back, but also rebel. In this instance, human history provides them with the path. That gave me the opportunity to draw parallels between the fight for human rights and the rights of vampires who aren’t purebloods. It also allowed me to poke at the continued need of both societies to embrace social change. Perhaps surprisingly, the vampires lag far behind the humans in terms of equality and individual freedoms. However, in the end, the message is clear: Whether human or vampire, an individual is entitled to certain rights and liberties. And no human or vampire has a right to deny them.

About Seelie Kay:

Award-winning author Seelie Kay writes about lawyers in love, sometimes with a dash of kink.

Writing under a nom de plume, the former lawyer and journalist draws her stories from more than 30 years in the legal world. Seelie’s wicked pen has resulted in nineteen works of fiction, including the new paranormal romance series Donovan Trait, as well the erotic romance Kinky Briefs series and The Feisty Lawyers romantic suspense series. She also authored The Last Christmas, The Garage Dweller, A Touchdown to Remember, The President’s Wife, The President’s Daughter, Seizing Hope, The White House Wedding, and participated in the romance anthology Pieces of Us.

When not spinning romantic tales, Seelie ghostwrites nonfiction for lawyers and other professionals. Currently, she resides in a bucolic exurb outside Milwaukee, WI, where she enjoys opera, the Green Bay Packers, gourmet cooking, organic gardening, and an occasional bottle of red wine.

Seelie is an MS warrior and ruthlessly battles the disease on a daily basis. Her message to those diagnosed with MS: Never give up. You define MS, it does not define you!

Seelie on the Web:
Website * Blog * Twitter * Facebook * Instagram * Author’s Amazon Page

Book Review: The Summer We Buried by Jody Gehrman

About the Book:

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An unthinkable crime—and the tattered threads of a friendship gone wrong—come roaring back to terrible new life in Jody Gehrman’s riveting psychological suspense, perfect for fans of Joshilyn Jackson.

Twenty years ago, Tansy was drawn to Selene’s hard edges, her grit, and her knack for survival. Since then, the confused tangle of guilt about covering up a murder shattered their friendship, and even now, at thirty-eight, Tansy has never come to terms with what happened that night.

But now, Selene is back, demanding her old friend repay her. Selene’s daughter, Jupiter, attends the college where Tansy works as a guidance counselor. Selene is convinced that Jupiter’s boyfriend, Colton, is abusive, and wants Tansy to intervene. As she is drawn back into the intensity of Selene’s world, Tansy discovers the ugly truth about Colton. But Tansy suspects there’s far more to the story, and now she’ll finally have to confront Selene once and for all.

My Thoughts:

A huge thanks to NetGalley, Crooked Lane Books and the author for approving my request to read the eARC of the book. 

The Summer We Buried follows Tansy’s first person narration as we meet her and the various other characters through her experiences. The story starts of with an encounter between Tansy and Selene, an old friend. Their friendship was complicated and filled with a secret buried deep down. 

The author starts off alluding to this secret and builds up the story around Selene’s request, expectations and personality. We also see the influence she has on people around her through Tansy’s eyes. The story starts off quite slow and picks up momentum towards the middle.

Tansy, having ignored a secret from her past for a long time is forced to revisit the last summer that she and Selene were together, even as she navigates meeting Selene’s younger brother and her daughter. There is some mystery to the plot, but not enough to be intriguing. Some of the plot lines could have been further developed to include details and situations that help us understand the characters better. I found Tansy’s relationships and past to be under-developed as there was not enough of an explanation. There are just enough facts about what has happened. There are also some plot lines that do not get a proper conclusion leaving us to wonder as to what happens in the end.

However, all this does not take away from the fact that the book kept me hooked until the end. I got the chills in some sections and was even able to empathize with some of the characters’ feelings. Selene’s daughter, Jupiter is in an abusive relationship that she wants to save her from. She turns to Tansy for help in spite of their broken friendship. There is a lot of negativity, some abuse and a budding romance that make the story interesting to read. With all the troubles the characters face, we also see that a mother can do anything for her child and that love knows no bounds.

I would love to recommend this book to those who enjoy a good psychological thriller as the book touches upon some aspects of the human mind that makes us pause to think about people’s actions and the reasons behind them! This is definitely worth reading at least once.

Book Review: The Billionaire’s Revenge by Margarette Grey

About the Book:

Available Now-2

Brandon is back with a vengeance in a bolder, sexier story, filled with dark secrets and passion for Alayna that you’ll never forget…

I died a long time ago. I was broken, lost, and damaged by my past. That is until I met Alayna—the most determined, impossibly passionate woman alive.

She plucked me out of the dark, unbound me from my worst fears, and showed me that life is more than just surviving.

She is my saving grace.

But I destroyed that too by abandoning her when she needed me the most. Now she can’t bring herself to look at me, even without the mask I hid behind.

I am the reason why we fell apart.

Nevertheless, my plans to destroy my enemies will save us both. In the search for the truth about our intertwined pasts, we will find a way back to each other.

What Alayna and I had shouldn’t have ended this way.
But since it did, my revenge begins…

My Thoughts:

This is the second book in The Mask series by author Margarette Grey and continues on from where Book 1 ended. Alayna managed to bring Brandon out of his shell and instill confidence in him to accept how he is. However, having disappeared for an year now, Brandon is back and there is tension in the air. Add to this love mixes, secrets, mysteries and Alayna’s life in danger and we have a great plot line.

The author has done a wonderful job in taking the story forward, keeping it fast-paced and to the point. There is a lot happening and many of our favorite characters are back and even better than they were in the first book. This story is deeper and is even better than the previous book.

I truly enjoyed reading about Alayna and Brandon’s journey as they navigate their circumstances and fight their love for all the wrong reasons. It seems inevitable for them to be together, but I guess life is just not that simple. This series is definitely worth reading and I am looking forward to reading more about their journey!

Book Review: Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon

About the Book:

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After Renee Winters discovers her parents lying dead in California’s Redwood Forest in what appears to be a strange double murder, her grandfather sends her off to Gottfried Academy in Maine, a remote and mysterious high school dedicated to philosophy, “crude sciences,” and Latin: the Language of the Dead. It’s here she meets Dante, a dark and elusive student to whom she feels inexplicably drawn.

As they get to know each other better, Dante can’t seem to control his attraction either, and their desires gradually deepen into a complex and dangerous romance. Dangerous because Dante is hiding a frightening secret. A secret so terrible, it has him fearing for Renee’s life.

Dante’s not the only one with secrets, though. Turns out Gottfried Academy has a few of its own… Like, how come students keep disappearing? Why are the prefect-like Monitors creeping around campus during the night? And what exactly are the Headmistress and Professors really up to? Renee is determined to find out why.

Dead Beautiful is both a compelling romance and thought-provoking listen, bringing shocking new meaning to life, death, love, and the nature of the soul.

My Thoughts:

I came across this book by chance and decided to give it a try! I was pleasantly surprised and quite happy that I liked it. At first I was not very clear on what was happening, but as the story progressed, it was easier to understand.

Dead Beautiful follows Renee Winters as she deals with the death of her parents, having to suddenly live with her grandfather, moving to a new school and trying to understand the weirdness of the place. Gottfried Academy has quite a few secrets to which only some are privy including Renee’s grandfather as she eventually finds out.

I found the concept and plot to be intriguing and a pleasant change from only reading vampire and/or werewolf based fantasy fiction novels. There’s romance, friendship that lasts and a whole lot of secrets and mysteries to uncover. The first is the truth behind Renee’s parents’ deaths. Another mystery is the death of a student at Gottfried previously that is eerily similar to how Renee’s parents died. Of course we also have to find out the truth behind Dante, gorgeous as he may be!

The characters are pretty standard and well crafted, but not everyone is as they seem. I think this is what made it more interesting. Each character is unique. I also enjoyed reading about Renee’s relationship with her grandfather and how it evolves.

I enjoyed the book and the twists at the end. I honestly did not see it coming and I am looking forward to reading the next books in the series.

Book Review: Saved by the Spell (House of Magic #2) by Susanna Shore

About the Book:

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Magic and I hadn’t exactly had a good start, but thanks to a spell that made me repulsive to men, I was seriously considering becoming a witch hunter.

A chance encounter with a charming stranger makes Phoebe dream of a happily-ever-after, until she learns that there’s a spell on her that makes her repulsive to men. Luckily her boss, Archibald Kane, and her new landladies are experts on magic. Only this one seems to confound them all.

Who has spelled her and why? Is it a challenge on Kane’s leadership of the mages? Or is there a more sinister game afoot?

Phoebe doesn’t mind the space men give her in the tube, but her cousin’s engagement party is coming up. How is she to celebrate, if she makes half the guests nauseous? And how is she to charm the man of her dreams when she suspects he’s part of the problem?

It might take the Archmage to break the spell—if only they could find him. A spell may be needed to save them both.

My Thoughts:

This is the first book by the author that I have read. I dived right into Book 2 without having read Book 1, but that was alright. I was easily able to catch on to who the characters are and what happened in Book 1 based on the references.

The story follows Phoebe as she once again finds herself in an awkward situation with magic. She has been spelled and is now repelling all men. This makes it difficult for her at work with her boss and at home. Surrounded by mages, Archmages, werevolves and vampires, Phoebe just might have a chance to break the spell. Who knows, maybe being spelled can come in handy or maybe not? Read on to find out.

The story is light and fast paced, the events developing rather quickly. The plot is straightforward but with an element of mystery that adds value to the magic of the book. I enjoyed reading this book and getting to know the various eccentric characters. The author has added in some humor to lighten the situations further and this helps to set the story apart.

I am definitely looking forward to reading the next book to join Phoebe, Archibald and all the others on their next adventure.

Book Review: Guilt by Michelle Kidd

Book Blurb:

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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 practising 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

My Thoughts:

It’s my stop on the Book Tour for Guilt by Michelle Kidd today! I was interested in the book when I read the blurb, but was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it after reading it.

The book follows DI Nicki Hardcastle as she focuses on finding a six year old boy who disappears from the local fair. This comes right after the bodies of two other children are discovered. As Nicki and her team work to uncover the truth and find the boy, she is forced to confront her own past and deal with a nightmare from more than twenty years ago.

The book is well-written, gripping and fast-paced. Racing against the clock, the readers are plunged head first into a novel that will have you on the edge of your seat. What will happen to the boy? Can they find him in time? Who would do such a thing? These are all the questions that arise as the plot progresses.

Author Michelle Kidd has done a brilliant job in writing this story, making it easy for the reader to follow and imagine every sequence of events. The book reads more like a movie or an episode in a TV series, but gives us allowances to visualize it as we please. The reality of the situation is not lost on us and in truth, this can happen to anyone. The author brings out the psyche or state of mind of each character thus giving us some insight into who they are and what shaped them. These are complex characters with traumatic pasts leading to some walking the path of good and some bad. However, there is no right or wrong, it comes down to what a person knows, perhaps they do not know better.

The reader comes away with the satisfaction of a brilliant ending and a justification of the title of the book. We also come away with questions in the mind that make a person pause to think about people around us. I am now a huge fan of the author’s writing and am looking forward to reading more of her books!

Guilt Book Tour Poster

Zooloos Book Tours

Announcement: Smita Bhattacharya’s ARC team sign-up!

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For those of you who do not know of her, Smita Bhattacharya is a management consultant by day and an author of mystery novels by night (in her own words!). She has written and published both novels and novellas, each as amazing as the next.

The Darya Nandkarni series follows amateur and self-proclaimed detective Darya Nandkarni as she embarks on adventures that somehow lead her into the middle of a mystery. Every single time! Or in this case, across three books in this series! 🙂

The Retribution series is a series of novellas among which Snow Fever is indeed quite mysterious and thrilling! I absolutely loved it and cannot recommend it enough!

Smita has a unique perspective of things and life in general and this is seen through her books and writing. She has strong protagonists and well thought-out whodunnits that will keep readers hooked and yearning for more!

And so, here I am, calling out to all fans of mysteries, thrillers and short stories in this genre to join me in signing up to be a part of Smita’s advance reader team!

Smita has so many stories to tell and it would be amazing to be a part of the journey!

The sign-up form can be found here.

Thanks for stopping by!

Book Review: Snow Fever by Smita Bhattacharya

About the Book:

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★A spine-chilling techno-thriller novella★

Five went up the mountains. None returned. And it wasn’t the cold or the climb that killed them.

At fifteen thousand feet, an army rescue operation finds buried underneath snow dunes five trekkers, dead in their campsite. One of the dead is Indian movie star Kirti Pandit. Another is her boyfriend, and the rest are her entourage. No one can say how they died. It could’ve been due to intense cold, perhaps the sudden snowstorm, or merely altitude sickness. Only, their symptoms were unusual. The snowfall hadn’t been heavy, and they hadn’t climbed up too high. So, what actually happened?

A page-turning techno-thriller novella set in the Himalayas, Snow Fever retraces what happened in the last days of their climb. In the end, it wasn’t the cold or the altitude that killed them, but a force beyond their imaginations. And ours.

★Part of the Retribution Series of Novellas★

My Thoughts:

Let me start off by saying that I do not usually read short stories. I don’t always understand the plot or enjoy the quick reads. But, Snow Fever by Smita Bhattacharya has changed my opinion completely!

We follow Kirti Pandit and four other people as they embark on a trek in the Himalayas. Kirti is a famous movie star and the rest are a random miscellaneous group of people including her boyfriend. The story is told in about seven chapters, complete with a prologue, epilogue and a chapter in each character’s point of view. This style of writing intrigued me from the very beginning and had me hooked from page 1. The author describes the setting and the beauty of the Himalayas very well. I assume she draws from her own experiences from the treks she has been on (something to be confirmed with Smita at some point!).

This group of people have secrets that none of us would have imagined and we discover them one by one as the story progresses. We also follow the group as we retrace their steps in the time leading up to their deaths. Or was that murder? Who knows? Or maybe someone does! As readers, we do not know what is happening until the end when Smita hits us with a twist that will have us reeling from shock and then understanding of this ingenious plot.

This is indeed a spine chilling quick read that packs a punch indeed. In this short story, Smita delivers a powerful plot that is filled with intrigue and suspense until the very end. The author has a way with words that takes what could have been a simple and straightforward plot and turns it into a thrilling read. There is so much more to this story than what is obvious and it is all wrapped up nicely for us in this amazing Novella. I highly recommend this book to everyone especially to appreciate the way the book is written!