Tuesday, April 7, 2020

BLOG TOUR - A Very English Murder


Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for A Very English Murder by Verity Bright.

DESCRIPTION:

Move over Miss Marple, there’s a new sleuth in town! Meet Eleanor Swift: distinguished adventurer, dog lover, dignified lady… daring detective?

England, 1920. Eleanor Swift
has spent the last few years travelling the world: taking tea in China, tasting alligators in Peru, escaping bandits in Persia and she has just arrived in England after a chaotic forty-five-day flight from South Africa. Chipstone is about the sleepiest town you could have the misfortune to meet. And to add to these indignities – she’s now a Lady.

Lady Eleanor, as she would prefer not to be known, reluctantly returns to her uncle’s home, Henley Hall. Now Lord Henley is gone, she is the owner of the cold and musty manor. What’s a girl to do? Well, befriend the household dog, Gladstone, for a start, and head straight out for a walk in the English countryside, even though a storm is brewing…

But then, from the edge of a quarry, through the driving rain, Eleanor is shocked to see a man shot and killed in the distance. Before she can climb down to the spot, the villain is gone and the body has vanished. With no victim and the local police convinced she’s stirring up trouble, Eleanor vows to solve this affair by herself. And when her brakes are mysteriously cut, one thing seems sure: someone in this quiet country town has Lady Eleanor Swift in their murderous sights…

If you enjoy witty dialogue, glamorous intrigue and the very best of Golden Age mysteries, then you will adore Verity Bright’s unputdownable whodunnit, perfect for fans of Agatha Christie, T.E. Kinsey and Downton Abbey!

BUY LINK:
MY THOUGHTS:

Title A Very English Murder
Author:  Verity Bright
Series:  A Lady Eleanor Swift Mystery #1
Publisher:  Bookouture
Genre:   Cozy Mystery
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   309 
Date of Publication:   April 7, 2020
My Rating:   4 Stars

This delightful cozy mystery is set in 1920 England. This story introduces Lady Eleanor Swift - however, she is anything but a Lady. She has lived a full life, one with no restrictions and has traveled the world over, and has had unique experiences. Suddenly, however, she finds her self in a town called Chipstone and is shocked to discover that she now has a title of Lady, along with a staff ready to wait on her hand and foot.

This is hardly something that Eleanor wanted or expected. She is now a woman with responsibilities and that means, at the very least, that her travels have come to an end. When Eleanor arrives at her uncle's home, she learn of his death and how this will affect her life. Eleanor has a lot to think about. After all, she has not seen her uncle in years, and to have this new life he left her is a cause for confusion and concern.

While taking a walk with a dog who is a part of the manor, Gladstone, she witnesses a murder. However, not only does the killer get away, but the body disappears. Who is going to believe her when she has no proof? So, Eleanor fearlessly decides to solve this mystery on her own. She has a bit of help, her late uncle's butler, Clifford - as she goes about the town seeking clues. So, Eleanor, Clifford and the trusty dog Gladstone leave no stone unturned to prove the murder and to find the killer.

A Very English Murder is a cute cozy mystery and is the first book in a new series. I love Eleanor, especially as she acts like anything but a Lady. I also enjoyed learning about her past. With Clifford acting as her sidekick gave a nice element to the story. Also the setting was nice as well, both the time period and the beauty of the town. The story was a quick read with enough twists to keep me riveted and I love how the conclusion wrapped things up. As someone who reads quite a few cozy mysteries, I am glad to add this to my collection of series to follow. 

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Verity Bright is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing partnership that has spanned a quarter of a century. Starting out writing high-end travel articles and books, they published everything from self-improvement to humour, before embarking on their first historical mystery. They are the authors of the fabulous Lady Eleanor Swift Mystery series, set in the 1920s. 





Monday, April 6, 2020

BLOG TOUR - Buried Deep


Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for Buried Deep by Susan Wilkins.

DESCRIPTION:

Megan has to climb round and step across the body to get a proper view. What’s left is like a chalk white mask in the rough shape of a face. The innocence is still there, and a hint of the cheekiness. But perhaps she is imagining that.

Detective Megan Thomas spent years undercover. It cost her marriage and her peace of mind, but she got the job done. Now she has to decide if she can go back to her life before, to a regular crime unit alongside other cops who have no idea about the fear that haunts her dreams. She’s still running from her memories. She doesn’t know how to stop.

Moving to Devon was meant to be a fresh start. She’s staying with her sister and swimming in the sea daily, battling the tides and letting the waves wash her past away. But she can’t outrun everything. First, the discovery of a body in a claustrophobic crime scene triggers a panic attack. And then, when she gets too emotionally involved in an attack on a local teenager, her boss pulls her off the case entirely.

When a body is found on the stretch of beach where she swims every day, Megan remembers why she joined the force, and what she’s fighting for… But how can she find justice for others, when she’s no longer sure of herself?

A completely gripping new series from bestselling author Susan Wilkins, introducing the tough and determined Detective Megan Thomas.

Title:   Buried Deep
Author:  Susan Wilkins
Series:  Detective Megan Thomas #1
Publisher:  Bookouture
Genre:   Mystery/Thriller
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   325
Date of Publication:   April 6, 2020
My Rating:   4 Stars

From undercover work back to being a detective. That is a simple description to the complicated situation Detective Megan Thomas is dealing with. Four years undercover came with cost to Megan. Having lost her cover and almost her life brought that job to a crashing end. Her marriage was ruined and she is overwhelmed with stress.

Hoping for a lighter workload, Megan hopes to ease into her new duties. One of the most relaxing things Megan to do at this point is swimming in the sea. This is a very cathartic activity, no matter how cold the water. When a body is found in a bunker near where she swims, the gruesome discovery has tainted the one thing that truly calms her. Just as Megan is about to dive into her first case, a second body is found - this one far too close where she takes her daily swim.


While Megan attempts to work the case, she immediately suffers a panic attack. Dealing with PTSD and the related trauma that goes along with it knocks her to her knees. The stress of working this crime is triggering for Megan. 

As Buried Deep is the first book in a new series, no doubt readers will be able to see Megan's growth with regard to her feelings and how she copes with her triggers. I also look forward to see her progress with her new job and team. I love detective fiction especially when the primary protagonist is a real person with emotions and actions are easy to connect with. I look forward to the next book in the series.

Buried Deep was a well-written book that kept me interested and seeking clues, while I was unable to work things out on my own. I love when I am able to be surprised in a book and Susan Wilkins did a fine job with keeping me on my toes.

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Susan Wilkins also writes as S.J. Wilkins

Susan worked for years in television drama, wrote for shows including Casualty, Heartbeat, Coronation Street and Eastenders and created the London-based detective drama South of the Border.

Her gritty, Essex-based gangster trilogy - THE INFORMANT, THE MOURNER and THE KILLER - has been compared to Martina Cole and Kimberley Chambers and described as "blazingly brilliant" (Sunday Mirror).

IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN ME, her fourth book, is a twisty psychological thriller, featuring police detective Jo Boden, an ambitious cop still grieving for a murdered sister.

For 2020 a completely gripping new series from Susan introduces the tough and determined Detective Megan Thomas. For fans of Ann Cleeves, LJ Ross and Mari Hannah, this will keep you hooked from the first page to the last.

Writing as S.J. Wilkins, A KILLER'S HEART - a tense and timely political thriller, is now available on Kindle.

Author Social Media Links:


Saturday, April 4, 2020

BLOG TOUR - One of Us is Lying



Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for One of Us Is Lying by Shalini Boland.

DESCRIPTION:

Tia never harmed anyone. So why does someone want to destroy her?

Tia is walking home with her children, along the lakeside of their quiet, safe town, when she realises something is wrong with her five-year-old daughter, Rosie. She seems troubled, not at all her usual happy self.


But when Tia finally coaxes Rosie to open up, she wishes she hadn’t. Because her sweet daughter asks a question Tia never thought she’d hear.


‘Why did you kill someone?’


Tia knows how rumours spread around her small town. She just can’t understand who would have shared such a horrible story. Or why.


It can’t have anything to do with what happened. Only her two best friends really remember that…


Tia thought she could trust Fiona and Kelly with her life. They’ve been through so much together. But when she’s sent photos of herself that could tear her whole world apart, she starts to wonder. Someone is determined to punish her. But who? And will her friends stand by her, or will the past destroy all of their lives?


From the million-copy-bestselling author of The Secret Mother and The Perfect Family, this absolutely addictive psychological thriller is guaranteed to make you gasp. If you loved Gone Girl, The Girl on the Train and Big Little Lies this book is for you.


MY THOUGHTS:

Title:   One of Us is Lying
Author:  Shalini Boland
Genre:   Psychological Thriller
Publisher:  Bookouture
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   272
Date of Publication:  April 3, 2020
My Rating:  4 Stars

When one of Shalini Boland's books comes up for review, I must admit that I accept it even without reading the blurb. She is an exceptional writer and always manages to deliver. This is certainly the case with One of Us is Lying.

Tia always enjoyed picking up her children up from school. One day, however, she only sees her son leave the school. She discovers that her daughter Rosie is still in the classroom and is quite upset. It takes more than a little prodding but Tia finally discovers what is wrong with her daughter. Rosie wants to know why her mummy would kill someone. Where did her five-year-old hear such a thing? Why, in fact, does Tia feel more than a bit of guilt about the question?

Tia has a past, one hidden from everyone but her two best friends. Has someone discovered her past? and how could it have filtered down to her daughter? Her friendship with Fiona and Kelly was solid. However, hearing her daughter's question proves to be just the beginning of problems that go back to her past. Who is suddenly causing her problems? And Tia is concerned that her friendship bond will be shredded.


One of Us is Lying was a rather quick read, with the story alternating with first person perspectives of each woman, Tia, Kelly and Fiona. Their hidden past is quickly unraveling and everything they've accomplished could fall completely apart. Things take a bit of time to evolve, but eventually everything is bared. I loved the flow of the book and felt like I was right there as I was waiting for the knowledge behind their secret pasts. As I have already stated, I will always grab one of Ms. Boland's books. I love being entertained while reading a book. In addition, solving jigsaw puzzles is one of my hobbies and I loved the feel of doing something similar while captivated by this book.


Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Shalini lives in Dorset, England with her husband, two children and Jess their cheeky terrier cross. Before kids, she was signed to Universal Music Publishing as a singer songwriter, but now she spends her days writing suspense thrillers (in between school runs and hanging out endless baskets of laundry). 

Friday, April 3, 2020

SPOTLIGHT TOUR - Head Over Paws

DESCRIPTION:

Title:   Head Over Paws
Author:  Debbie Burns
Publisher:  Sourcebooks Casablanca
Series:  Rescue Me #5
Genre:  Romance
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   352
Date of Publication:  April 28, 2020
My Rating:  4 Stars 

Olivia Graham has signed on as a volunteer rescue driver for the High Grove Animal Shelter. Her first task is to transport dogs and cats that've been misplaced by flooding, but her aging car breaks down on the way to get them.

She's picked up by veterinarian Gabe Wentworth, former EMT and firefighter, who's also heading to the rescue site. After a bad breakup, Gabe's embraced the hermit life. When he picks up Olivia, he can't deny their irresistible mutual attraction, and his first thought is to run the other direction. But the more animals they help, the harder they fall for each other…



MY THOUGHTS:

This cute story by Debbie Burns, the fifth book in the Rescue Me series, is a truly touching story. Olivia was on her way to transport a few dogs misplaced due to a storm to a rescue center. Gabe has also been called into action to get some dogs to a safe place during the dangerous flooding that Olivia is out in.

Gabe's dog Samson is now retired from the search-and-rescue work, but he takes Samson along with him. Samson might have aged out, but his bond with Gabe is undeniable. Olivia's car breaks down and Gabe offers his assistance, and the two work to get some dogs that were caught up in the storm to safety. Sparks fly between Gabe and Olivia from the start. 

Olivia is a teacher but is drawn to animals, especially the dog she and Gabe rescued that was named Morgan. (I needed tissues here.) Gabe is a former firefighter and EMT who has found his calling as a vet. Will Gabe and Olivia ever see one another again, especially after they share a tender kiss?

What a touching story! The idea of rescuing animals and getting them to no-kill shelters was endearing enough, but watching the relationship that Gabe had Samson truly warmed my heart. I also loved how Olivia took every opportunity to be with the dog Morgan. The love story was wonderful as well. The conflicts in this book were relatable and I loved seeing how they came to resolution. 

There is something a bit different as to how this book is written. It is written in third person POV for the characters - and this includes the dog Morgan. Oh, how I loved his chapters!

I have enjoyed all five books in this series, if not for the couples who found their happiness, most certainly for the dogs that were in each story. I really hope there are more to follow.

Many thanks to Sourcebooks Casablanca, Edelweiss and NetGalley for this ARC to review. This is my honest opinion.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Debbie Burns is the award-winning author of the RESCUE ME romance series featuring love connections of the two and four-legged kind. Her writing commendations include a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly and a TOP PICK from RT Book Reviews for A NEW LEASH ON LOVE and an Amazon Best Book of the Month for My FOREVER HOME. Books one through four are available now, including LOVE AT FIRST BARK released July 2019.

Debbie lives in Saint Louis with her family, two phenomenal rescue dogs, and a somewhat tetchy Maine Coon cat who everyone loves anyway. Her hobbies include hiking, gardening and daydreaming, which of course always leads to new story ideas.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

BLOG TOUR - The Secret Admirer


Today I am quite pleased to be a part of the Blog Tour for The Secret Admirer. 

DESCRIPTION:

‘I tried to talk to you today but you snubbed me and walked away. It wasn’t wise to give me the brush-off, Gemma. I can be a truly good friend but I also make the perfect enemy.’

Sasha’s eighteen-year-old daughter Gemma was all she had in the world. Sasha fell pregnant with Gemma when she was still at school, and the two are as close as sisters. So when Gemma’s burned and broken body is found, Sasha’s world ends. What kind of person would want her beautiful daughter dead?

Leading the case is Detective Natalie Ward, scarred by her own recent tragedy. When she finds a note in Gemma’s diary from ‘a secret admirer’, she moves quickly, determined to un-mask them. But interviews with Gemma’s devastated ex-boyfriend, and her charismatic teacher, who has been seen embracing his student far away from the classroom, don’t give Natalie the answers she’d hoped for…

And then the case takes a devastating, personal twist. CCTV footage reveals Natalie’s estranged husband David followed Gemma home every evening the week before she died.

Natalie is forced to put personal feelings aside and follow procedure, even though she can’t believe David could be guilty. But when Gemma’s housemate is found murdered, Natalie thinks the killer could still be at large. Is she right to trust her instincts about David and can she discover the truth before another precious life is taken?

Grippingly fast and nail-bitingly tense, The Secret Admirer will have you flying through the pages long into the night. Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Rachel Abbott and Karin Slaughter.


MY THOUGHTS:

Title:   The Secret Admirer
Author:  Carol Wyer
Genre:   Mystery/Thriller
Publisher:  Detective Natalie Ward #6
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   413
Date of Publication:  April 2, 2020
My Rating:  5 Stars

Carol Wyer set the bar high by leaving readers jaws open and hearts broken in The Blossom Twins, the fifth book in the Detective Natalie Ward series. I have been waiting for this next book with bated breath. Never fear. Ms. Wyer did an exceptional job at matching the tension, nail-biting and heart-stopping drama in The Secret Admirer. 

Natalie has spent three months recovering from an unbearable personal loss. She decides to go back to work and becomes immediately immersed in a case that is bound to give her very sad reminders at every turn. 

Natalie and her team do their best to find the killer of a college student. A note signed “an admirer” was found that proved the young woman was targeted. By whom? Natalie begins interviewing the girls fellow housemates and students. This book does not miss a punch. Gripping from the very start, the intrigue does not stop until the very end.

The deeper Natalie's investigation goes, the more disturbing details are revealed, and one that hits far too close to home. More murders are discovered, and now Natalie’s search intensifies as she must try and find the connection and the culprit. As Natalie works feverishly to prevent more murders, lies and duplicity run fast and hard. Don’t miss this incredible book! If I have any problem with this at all, it would be wondering how I am going to be able to wait for book seven.

Many thanks to Bookouture and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.

*Reviewer’s note: Although part of a connected series, enough information is given about past events throughout the pages of each story, thus each book can be read as a standalone.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Carol Wyer garnered a loyal following as an author of romantic comedies, and won The People’s Book Prize Award for non-fiction (2015). In 2017 she stepped from comedy to the “dark side” and embarked on a series of thrillers, featuring the popular DI Robyn Carter, which earned her recognition as a crime writer.

The Staffordshire-based writer now has more crime novels in the pipeline, although she can still sometimes be found performing her stand-up comedy routine Laugh While You Still Have Teeth. 



Wednesday, April 1, 2020

BLOG TOUR - Duke Darcy's Castle

DESCRIPTION:

Lance Granville, the Tenth Duke of Darcy, was none too happy to give up his career in the Royal Navy to inherit the family title, complete with an ancient castle he needs to renovate. When an architect arrives on his doorstep, Darcy is astonished to discover that she’s a woman.

Kathryn Atherton has one goal: to become the first woman architect in Britain. Marriage doesn’t figure in her plans. Despite the odds, her schooling is behind her. Now she needs experience. When she’s sent to a small tidal island in Cornwall to remodel a castle, the last thing Kathryn wants is to be attracted to its roguishly handsome owner.

Kathryn is determined to keep things professional, but the sizzling attraction between her and the duke quickly blazes out of control. When Darcy learns that Kathryn is an heiress whose fortune would save St. Gabriel’s Mount, he wages the most important battle of his life: to woo and win the woman who’s captured his heart. But (in an homage to Austen), the Duke’s first proposal is so Darcyesque, he is refused. In any case, duchesses can’t be architects. And Kathryn has worked too long and too hard to give up her career for anyone ….

PURCHASE LINKS:


RUNAWAY HEIRESS BOOK SERIES:


Three American heiresses defy their family’s wishes, and social convention, to strike out and find their own happiness in late Victorian Cornwall.

Runaway Heiress: A Dare to Defy Novel (Book 1)

Brainy and college-educated, American heiress Alexandra Atherton will do anything to avoid marriage to the English peer her mother has chosen for her—even abandon the life of privilege she’s always known. But as her escape goes horribly wrong, Alexandra must invent a new identity to gain the help of a handsome stranger.

PURCHASE LINKS:
AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY

INDIEBOUND | GOODREADS | BOOKBUB


Summer of Scandal: A Dare to Defy Novel (Book 2)

An American heiress and an English earl fight against the conventions of society -- and their attraction to each other -- in the second book in the Dare to Defy series by USA Today bestselling author Syrie James.

PURCHASE LINKS:



MY THOUGHTS:

Title:   Duke Darcy's Castle
Author:  Syrie James
Series:  Dare to Defy #3
Publisher:  Avon Impulse
Genre:   Historical Fiction
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   384
Date of Publication:   March 24, 2020
My Rating:   4 Stars

Lance Granville has inherited the title of the Tenth Duke of Darcy and has had to leave the Royal Navy. Lance is in need of a bride. Part of this means that he must renovate his castle. However, the castle is falling apart and needs many changes, so the renovation needed is hardly a simple task. He hires an architect to complete the task, but imagine his shock when the architect is a woman, Kathryn Atherton.

Kathryn has fulfilled her dream of being an architect. She is an American heiress but that really means nothing to her. She is striving to create a career in a man's world. Having finished schooling and seeking a license, she intends on making a name for herself. Her work on her current task in Cornwall might open doors for her.

There is a problem that makes itself apparent from almost the moment she walks into the castle. Sparks fly between her and the Duke. Kathryn struggles to keep things professional. Lance has no intent on letting that happen. In addition to a passion that cannot be denied between them, Lance has a problem. He has a huge debt and marrying for money just might solve his problems. Can the two align their individual goals and keep their hearts intact?

Duke Darcy's Castle is the final book in the Dare to Defy trilogy and it is an enjoyable book, especially when the heart, with explosive passion, is at war with logic and goals. It was wonderful to see how Kathryn and Lance found their way to a happy ever after. I did read the second book in this series, The Summer of Scandal, which I also enjoyed, but each book does fine as a standalone novel. One thing I loved by both books that I have read is that these women are strong, articulate and independent. I love seeing women of that ilk in historical romances. 

Many thanks to Avon Impulse and to Edelweiss for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion.


Please enjoy the following excerpt:

The moment Kathryn entered the drawing room, her eyes were drawn to the duke like a magnet. He was standing by a window, sipping sherry from a crystal goblet. He had changed into formal wear—a gorgeous black dinner jacket with waistcoat and bow tie—and, if possible, looked even more handsome than he had at their earlier meeting.

At the sight of him, the now-familiar sparks started zinging again through Kathryn’s body. Her heart raced while her mind warned: Ignore. Ignore. Ignore.

“Ah, Miss Atherton. We were just speaking about you.” The duke gestured to the tiny, elegantly dressed woman who sat on a wingback chair nearby, her snowy hair swept up in a becoming, old-fashioned style.

“Grandmother, may I present Miss Kathryn Atherton? Miss Atherton, this is my grandmother, the Dowager Duchess of Darcy, Honora Granville.”

The dowager duchess turned in her seat, her pale blue eyes gleaming with interest as she studied Kathryn. “It is a pleasure to meet you, Miss Atherton.”

“The pleasure is mine, Duchess,” Kathryn replied with a curtsy. It occurred to her that the duke’s grandmother might be his only close living relative—he’d said his parents had died years ago, and now his only sibling was gone. How sad, she thought, that both of these people were so alone in the world.

< The dowager duchess’s brow furrowed as she looked up at her. “Atherton,” she murmured, letting go of Kathryn’s hand. “I feel as though I have heard that name before.”

Kathryn froze. If the duchess realized that Kathryn was an Atherton heiress, it could change everything. The duke might only see her as a woman with a fortune, instead of an architect. He’d think it nonsensical that she was bothering with a career. Every conversation would come back to that; it almost always did. He might even end their association.

Desperate to redirect the conversation, Kathryn glanced around the room. It was a good-sized chamber with elegant architectural details, but the blue silk wallpaper was faded and the furnishings were in need of refurbishing. “The ceiling and crown moldings in this room are lovely,” she commented abruptly. “They are Wedgwood, I believe?”

“Indeed they are,” the dowager duchess replied with a proud smile. “One of Wedgwood’s earlier commissions. The fifth duke had them installed in 1774. The room itself dates back to the time that St. Gabriel’s was a monastery in the tenth century.”

“The tenth century!” Relieved to have successfully changed the subject, Kathryn accepted a glass of sherry from the footman and took a sip. It was of fine quality and truly delicious. “In America, we think a place ancient if it’s a hundred years old.”

The duke laughed. It was a deep, hearty, gloriously masculine sound, and it seemed to resonate through Kathryn’s entire being. Their gazes caught and held for a moment. The interest in his sent another shiver up her spine. Look away. Look away.

“I understand you are here from London to make alterations to St. Gabriel’s Mount, Miss Atherton?” the dowager duchess commented. “Something my grandson Hayward set in motion?”

“Yes,” Kathryn replied, grateful for the distraction. “That is my hope.”

Her eyes suddenly grew misty. “He was such a lovely man, our Hayward. I miss him dearly.”

“I am very sorry for your loss, Duchess,” Kathryn replied with sympathy.

“Thank you.” Composing her features, the dowager duchess went on, “How marvelous that your firm sent you, my dear. It is high time women were given a chance to show what they are capable of in the professions.”

“Thank you, Your Grace.” It was unusual, Kathryn had discovered, for anyone, man or woman, to be so open-minded about such things—most people still clung to the old ways of thinking. She found it refreshing and pleasant to have an ally.

“I admit, I had no idea Hayward was contemplating anything of this nature,” the duchess added.

“Perhaps he intended to surprise you,” Kathryn ventured.

The duke’s features hardened at her statement, and he downed a long swig of sherry. Kathryn wondered what was behind his reaction, but had no time to contemplate it, for his grandmother went on:

“Lord knows, something needs to be done with this place. The last time any alterations were made was in 1832, not long after I married the seventh duke and came to live here.” Turning to her grandson, she added, “I do hope, Lancelot, that I will finally get new carpets in my room.”

Lancelot? That’s his first name?

The duke’s face reddened at the appellation—but Kathryn smiled to herself. In some ways, he did resemble a knight in shining armor. He had hired her, after all, seemingly against his better judgment—and she had a sneaking suspicion he’d done so not just because he’d liked her drawing of the study, but because he liked her.



(From Chapter Three, pg 49 - on)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

SYRIE JAMES is the USA TODAY and Amazon bestselling author of thirteen novels of historical, contemporary, and young adult fiction and romance. Her books have hit many Best of the Year lists, been designated as Library Journal Editor’s Picks, and won numerous accolades and awards, including Best New Fiction by Regency World Magazine (the international bestseller “The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen”), and the national Audiobook Audie for Romance (“The Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte”, also named a Great Group Read by the Women’s National Book Association). Los Angeles Magazine dubbed Syrie the “queen of nineteenth century re-imaginings,” and her books have been published in twenty languages. A member of the Writer’s Guild of America, Syrie is also an established screenwriter and playwright who makes her home in Los Angeles. An admitted Anglophile, Syrie has addressed audiences across the U.S., Canada, and the British Isles.


Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Monthly and 1st Quarter Wrap Up


Instead of just a monthly wrap up, I thought I would do a quarterly wrap up as well.

So for this quarter I have read 170 books, and have read a total of 56,452 pages.

I will start with my March wrap-up, then my 1st quarter wrap up and my April TBR:


1st quarter stats
Total # of books read: 170/500
Total # of pages read: 56,452

January # of books read: 50
January # of pages read: 17,562

February # of books read: 60
February # of pages read: 19,680

March # of books read: 60
March # of pages read: 21,411 

Pages per book:  328
Pages per day:  697

I am just about at two books per day average; there are some days I read just one book; others, three books in a day. 

Books read each month so far:

March
Mirror Image by Sandra Brown Flight Risk by Cara C. Putman Sunrise on Half Moon Bay by Robyn Carr Truths I Never Told You by Kelly Rimmer Double Blind (Kendra Michaels, #6) by Iris Johansen Hindsight (Kendra Michaels, #7) by Iris Johansen The Naked Eye (Kendra Michaels, #3) by Iris Johansen Night Watch (Kendra Michaels, #4) by Iris Johansen Look Behind You (Kendra Michaels, #5) by Iris Johansen Sight Unseen (Kendra Michaels, #2) by Iris Johansen Duke Darcy's Castle (Dare to Defy, #3) by Syrie James Close Your Eyes (Kendra Michaels, #1) by Iris Johansen Vendetta (Catherine Ling, #5) by Iris Johansen Your Next Breath (Catherine Ling, #4) by Iris Johansen Live to See Tomorrow (Catherine Ling, #3) by Iris Johansen What Doesn't Kill You (Catherine Ling, #2) by Iris Johansen Smokescreen (Eve Duncan, #25) by Iris Johansen Dark Tribute (Eve Duncan, #24) by Iris Johansen Shattered Mirror (Eve Duncan, #23) by Iris Johansen Mind Game (Eve Duncan, #22) by Iris JohansenShadow Play (Eve Duncan, #19) by Iris Johansen Hide Away (Eve Duncan, #20) by Iris Johansen Night and Day (Eve Duncan, #21) by Iris Johansen Silencing Eve (Eve Duncan, #18) by Iris Johansen Hunting Eve (Eve Duncan, #17) by Iris JohansenTaking Eve (Eve Duncan, #16) by Iris Johansen Sleep No More (Eve Duncan, #15) by Iris Johansen Bonnie (Eve Duncan, #14; Eve, Quinn and Bonnie #3) by Iris Johansen Quinn by Iris Johansen Eve (Eve Duncan, #12; Eve, Quinn & Bonnie, #1) by Iris Johansen Chasing The Night (Eve Duncan, #11; Catherine Ling, #1) by Iris Johansen Eight Days To Live (Eve Duncan, #10) by Iris Johansen Don't Breathe a Word (Texas Justice, #2) by Christie Craig A Simple Wedding by Leigh Duncan Daughters of Wild Rose Bay (Sandy Cove, #4) by Susanne O'Leary Ritual in Death (In Death, #27.5) by J.D. Robb Salvation in Death (In Death, #27) by J.D. Robb Strangers in Death (In Death, #26) by J.D. Robb Buried Deep by Susan Wilkins Creation in Death (In Death, #25) by J.D. Robb The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor The Last Tourist (Milo Weaver #4) by Olen Steinhauer A Cold Dark Place (Cold Justice, #1) by Toni Anderson Hers to Tame (NOLA Knights, #2) by Rhenna Morgan A Very English Murder (A Lady Eleanor Swift Mystery #1) by Verity BrightDashing Through the Snow by Mary Higgins Clark Santa Cruise A Holiday Mystery at Sea (Regan Reilly Mysteries, #12) by Mary Higgins ClarkHis to Defend A Mafia Romance by Rhenna Morgan The Murder of Patience Brooke (Charles Dickens Investigations #1) by J.C. Briggs Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle, #1) by Amie Kaufman One for the Money (Stephanie Plum, #1) by Janet Evanovich I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas Fearless Girl by Emma Tallon With Kisses From Cécile by Anne Armistead The Honey-Don't List by Christina Lauren Mackenzie's Mountain (Mackenzie Family, #1) by Linda HowardBlood Game (Eve Duncan, #9) by Iris Johansen The First Wife by Jill Childs One Of Us Is Lying by Shalini Boland

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February

Quicksand (Eve Duncan, #8) by Iris Johansen The Lilac House (Lake Summers, #1) by Barbara Josselsohn The Sea Glass Cottage by RaeAnne Thayne Promised by Leah Garriott Summer on Moonlight Bay / Then There Was You by Hope Ramsay The Nanny by Gilly Macmillan Whisper Network by Chandler Baker Royal Holiday (The Wedding Date, #4) by Jasmine Guillory The Good Daughter (Good Daughter, #1) by Karin Slaughter Last Breath (Good Daughter, #0.5) by Karin Slaughter Little Girls Sleeping (Detective Katie Scott, #1) by Jennifer Chase Her Last Whisper (Detective Katie Scott #2) by Jennifer Chase Flowers on Her Grave by Jennifer Chase Nothing Ventured by Jeffrey Archer The Road to Delano by John DeSimone His Unexpected Amish Twins (Unexpected Amish Blessings #1) by Rachel J. Good Photos of You by Tammy Robinson The Girl You Gave Away by Jess Ryder Thin Ice (Alaska Wild Mysteries #1) by Paige Shelton Well Met (Well Met, #1) by Jen DeLuca The Highland Rogue (Lords of the Highlands, #7) by Amy Jarecki The Darkness We Hide (The Undertaker's Daughter, #3) by Debra Webb Revelations of a Secret Princess (Harlequin Presents) by Annie West An Amish Wife for Christmas (North Country Amish #1) by Patricia Davids Shelter from the Storm (North Country Amish #2) by Patricia Davids The Amish Teacher's Dilemma (North Country Amish #3) by Patricia Davids Eternity in Death (In Death #25.5) by J.D. Robb Before He Vanished by Debra Webb Innocent in Death (In Death, #24) by J.D. Robb Starting Over at Blueberry Creek (Sweetwater Springs Book 4) / Sealed with a Kiss by Annie Rains The Somerset Girls A Novel by Lori Foster The Secret Admirer (Detective Natalie Ward #6) by Carol Wyer The Girl I Thought I Knew by Kelly Heard Head Over Paws (Rescue Me, #5) by Debbie Burns The Man I Loved Before by Anna Mansell Born in Death (In Death, #23) by J.D. Robb Some Days Are Dark by Miranda Smith A Dog's Hope by Casey Wilson Our Last Letter by Liz Trenow Haunted in Death (In Death, #22.5) by J.D. Robb The Orphan Sisters by Shirley Dickson Memory in Death (In Death, #22) by J.D. Robb Origin in Death (In Death, #21) by J.D. Robb Survivor In Death (In Death, #20) by J.D. Robb The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren Visions in Death (In Death, #19) by J.D. Robb The Measure of a Man A Spiritual Autobiography by Sidney Poitier Born a Crime Stories From a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah Night of the Scoundrel (The Devils of Dover, #3.5) by Kelly Bowen Cherry Slice by Jennifer Stone To All the Boys I've Loved Before (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #1) by Jenny Han Becoming by Michelle Obama The Break Up by Tilly Tennant An American Marriage by Tayari Jones The Prince of Broadway (Uptown Girls, #2) by Joanna Shupe Shall We Dance? by Shelley Shepard Gray Almost Just Friends (Wildstone, #4) by Jill Shalvis Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell Forever Strong (True Heroes, #6) by Piper J. Drake The Last Real Cowboy (Cold River Ranch, #3) by Caitlin Crews

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January

Hot to the Touch (Brotherhood by Fire, #1) by Jaci Burton Ignite on Contact (Brotherhood by Fire, #2) by Jaci Burton Hillary's Back! (DI Hillary Greene, #18) by Faith Martin Hillary's Final Case (DI Hillary Greene, #17) by Faith Martin Jace (Kings of Country, #1) by Sasha Summers Stalemate (Eve Duncan, #7) by Iris Johansen Cowboy Firefighter Heat (Smokin' Hot Cowboys, #6) by Kim Redford Witness Protection Widow (Winchester, Tennessee #5) by Debra Webb Her Homecoming Wish by Jo McNally Revolver Road (Harper McClain, #3) by Christi Daugherty Invitation Only Murder (A Lucy Stone Mystery, #26) by Leslie Meier Silver Anniversary Murder (A Lucy Stone Mystery, #25) by Leslie Meier Turkey Trot Murder (A Lucy Stone Mystery, #24) by Leslie Meier Eggnog Murder (A Lucy Stone Mystery, #23.5) by Leslie Meier British Manor Murder (A Lucy Stone Mystery, #23) by Leslie Meier Candy Corn Murder (A Lucy Stone Mystery, #22) by Leslie Meier Divided in Death (In Death, #18) by J.D. Robb Unforgiven (Loveless, Texas #2) by Jay Crownover Justified (Loveless, Texas #1) by Jay Crownover Cold Nose, Warm Heart (Fur Haven Dog Park, #1) by Mara Wells The Borgia Confessions by Alyssa Palombo Whiteout (Survival Instincts, #1) by Adriana Anders The Tuscan Girl Completely gripping WW2 historical fiction by Angela Petch When We Were Brave by Suzanne Kelman A Hope For Emily by Kate Hewitt The Matrimonial Advertisement (Parish Orphans of Devon #1) by Mimi Matthews A Modest Independence (Parish Orphans of Devon, #2) by Mimi Matthews The Winter Companion (Parish Orphans of Devon, #4) by Mimi Matthews Wild, Wild Rake (The Cavensham Heiresses #6) by Janna MacGregor About an Earl by Diana Lloyd Dead Wrong (DC Maggie Jamieson #2) by Noelle Holten Big Jack (In Death, #17.5) by J.D. Robb The Forgotten Girls by Lizzie Page A Million Dreams An absolutely heartbreaking page turner by Dani Atkins The Dilemma by B.A. ParisThe Wives by Tarryn Fisher French Pastry Murder (A Lucy Stone Mystery, #21) by Leslie Meier You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks Mermaid Inn by Jenny Holiday On What Grounds (Coffeehouse Mystery, #1) by Cleo Coyle Sapphire Flames (Hidden Legacy, #4) by Ilona Andrews Crazy Rich Asians (Crazy Rich Asians, #1) by Kevin Kwan The Orphan's Daughter by Sandy Taylor Imitation in Death (In Death, #17) by J.D. Robb The Book Thief by Markus ZusakPortrait in Death (In Death, #16) by J.D. Robb The Billionaire in Boots (Princes of Texas, #3) by Julia London The Devil in the Saddle (Princes of Texas, #2) by Julia London The Charmer in Chaps (Princes of Texas, #1) by Julia London Purity in Death (In Death, #15) by J.D. Robb

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This has been a very good reading year so far. To start with, there is one very unusual thing about it. I have read more audiobooks in this quarter than I did in the last calendar year. The reason why I have is because I decided to binge read a few series. One is the J. D. Robb In Death books, and have read 27 of 51 thus far, including the novellas. I finished the Lucy Stone series by Leslie Meier. I also binge-read three series by Iris Johansen - Eve Duncan, Kendra Michaels and Catherine Ling.


I have read some standout books this year already. The first one that comes to mine is Photos of You by Tammy Robinson. This book was tragic because there was no surprise as to how it would end but it proved to be very captivating and very well-written.

The Chalk Man by C. J. Tudor was another excellent book. This was great because it was a buddy read and we read the book in four sections and then discussed each section as we moved on. This book managed to surprise me, even though we thoroughly analyzed it as we read.

Two of the highly anticipated books for 2020 were The Wives by Tarryn Fisher and The Dilemma by B. A. Harris. Both were excellent books for me. I know The Wives has not always been the readers’ favorite, but I enjoyed it and I gave it five stars. The Dilemma was a four star book for me because I felt the incredible lack of communication between the protagonists to be very annoying.


Another excellent book I read was Born a Crime by Trevor Noah. This book was downloaded to my Audible account by my daughter last year, and I listened to it because it fit a criteria for a challenge I was doing in February. My ignorance was major as to the intensity and hatred that existed in South Africa during the Apartheid. I am glad my eyes were opened to this difficult past so many millions had to deal with.

Those are just a small sampling of highlights for the first three months of 2020. I have a Goodreads goal of 500 for this year, and I am already ahead. I might raise the goal mid-year if I continue reading at this pace.

I hope to read as much in April as I have in previous months and have enjoying lining up my TBR.


Here is my April TBR. Although I put a lot of thought into planning what books to read, no doubt I will veer from some of these books. I will roll any of these unread over into May.



The Silent Wife (Will Trent, #10) by Karin Slaughter The Scorch Trials (The Maze Runner, #2) by James Dashner The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle The Maze Runner (The Maze Runner, #1) by James Dashner The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1) by Suzanne Collins Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3) by Suzanne Collins Firefly Lane (Firefly Lane, #1) by Kristin Hannah Fly Away (Firefly Lane, #2) by Kristin Hannah Stop at Nothing by Michael Ledwidge Diver's Paradise by Davin Goodwin The Heirloom Garden by Viola Shipman The Orphan's Gift by Renita D'Silva The Sister-in-Law by Sue Watson Promises in Death (In Death, #28) by J.D. Robb Kindred in Death (In Death, #29) by J.D. Robb Missing in Death (In Death, #29.5) by J.D. Robb Fantasy in Death (In Death, #30) by J.D. Robb Vanishing Girls (Detective Josie Quinn, #1) by Lisa Regan Lady Notorious (Royal Rewards, #4) by Theresa Romain The Magnificent Mrs Mayhew by Milly Johnson Love and Marriage at Harpers A heartwarming saga from bestseller Rosie Clarke (Welcome To Harpers Emporium Book 2) by Rosie Clarke Find Her Alive (Detective Josie Quinn, #8) by Lisa Regan Can You See Her? by S.E. Lynes Sunrise over Sapphire Bay by Holly Martin The Summer Villa by Melissa Hill Follow Me by Kathleen Barber A Forgotten Murder by Jude Deveraux Death by Darjeeling (A Tea Shop Mystery, #1) by Laura Childs The Night Swim by Megan Goldin Hideaway by Nora Roberts A Duke Too Far (The Way to a Lord's Heart, #4) by Jane Ashford When You See Me (Detective D.D. Warren, #11; Gardner Universe, #20) by Lisa Gardner The Hollows (Kinship #2) by Jess Montgomery Almost Just Friends (Wildstone, #4) by Jill Shalvis The Other Mrs. by Mary Kubica The Second Wife by Rebecca Fleet Behind the Red Door by Megan Collins Light Shines on Promise Lodge (Promise Lodge #5) by Charlotte Hubbard Cowboy Come Home (Once Upon a Time in Texas, #2) by Carly Bloom I'll Be Watching You by Leslie A. Kelly Can't Hurry Love (Sunshine Valley #1) by Melinda Curtis Cut and Run (Lucy Kincaid #16) by Allison Brennan Thursday's Bride by Patricia Johns Envious (Forever Family #1-3) by Lisa Jackson A Fatal Yarn (A Knit & Nibble Mystery #5) by Peggy Ehrhart Fearless by Fern Michaels Buried Deep by Susan Wilkins The Stolen Letter (Scottish Bookshop Mystery #5) by Paige Shelton One Fatal Flaw (Daniel Pitt #3) by Anne Perry Copycat Killer (True Blue K-9 Unit Brooklyn #1) by Laura Scott Gone With the Rogue (First Comes Love, #2) by Amelia Grey Promise at Pebble Creek (Hope Chest of Dreams #6) by Lisa Jones Baker The Split by Sharon J. Bolton The Heirloom Garden by Viola Shipman All I Ask by Corinne Michaels Lakeshire Park by Megan Walker The Apartment by K. L. Slater My Kind of Cowboy (Wranglers of Wyoming, #1) by R.C. Ryan