Saturday, July 13, 2024

BLOG TOUR. Death in a Scottish Castle


DESCRIPTION:

When Maud McIntyre and her assistant Daisy travel to a remote Scottish castle, the last thing they expect to find is a locked room murder mystery. Can they prise open this case and catch a killer?

Scotland, 1912: When Maud and Daisy travel to Clachan Castle on the Isle of Mull to investigate the theft of a valuable statuette, at first the case seems straightforward. But when their prime suspect, bad-tempered fellow guest Mr Tremain, is found dead in his bed, the detective duo realise the castle is under attack…

At first, it appears the murder is impossible. All the doors and windows to the room were locked from the inside, and there was no way for the killer to escape. But then Maud and Daisy find a secret panel with the stolen statuette hidden behind it, and learn that the mysteries are linked!

When the local sergeant investigating the case is found dead, the crime suddenly seems to have more twists and turns than the castle’s sweeping staircases. And with the estate full of potential suspects, Maud and Daisy must work fast to uncover the murderer. Could it be the castle’s owner, 
Magnus Carmichael, avenging his stolen statuette? Or pretty Jane Tremain, disgruntled daughter of the deceased?

Facing their most difficult case yet,
 Maud and Daisy must find the key to solving the mystery. But with so many suspects, which one will finally unlock the truth?

An unputdownable historical whodunnit, perfect for fans of Helena Dixon, Verity Bright, T.E. Kinsey and Catherine Coles.

BUY LINK:

You can sign up for all the best Bookouture deals you'll love at: http://ow.ly/Fkiz30lnzdo

You can sign up for all the best Bookouture deals you'll love at: http://ow.ly/Fkiz30lnzdo

MY THOUGHTS:
 
Title:   Death in a Scottish Castle
Author:  Lydia Travers
Series:  The Scottish Ladies’ Detective Agency #4
Publisher:  Bookouture    
Genre:   Cozy Mystery
Format Kindle ARC 
No. of Pages:  313
Date of Publication:   July 11, 2024
My Rating:  5 Stars

Maud McIntyre and her friend Daisy are becoming more known as the two ladies who solve various crimes. Some of the crimes may be smaller, but they are not afraid to work on a murder case, and are determined to gain the respect of others around them, even if their lives continue to take them in different directions.  .

There have been some mysterious deaths that definitely seem like murder, but as they are determined to figure out the why and who, Maud and Daisy are positive the deaths are not coincidences. In fact, as they are currently undercover at a castle, the ladies definitely have more than one suspect to consider. 

Both Maud and Daisy have been delightful characters in this cozy mystery series. As a readier drawn to these well-written stories by Lydia Travers, I did feel a strong sense of sadness to see the series coming to the end. I look forward to following Ms. Travers’ next series as she has shown herself to be a skilled writer with intriguing stories.

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Lydia Travers was born in London.  She moved progressively north until settling with her husband in a village on the edge of the Scottish Highlands. She has raised children, bred dogs and kept chickens; and for as long as she can remember has written for pleasure. A former legal academic and practitioner with a PhD in criminology, she now runs self-catering holiday accommodation, sings in a local choir and is walked daily by the family dog.

Lydia also writes as Linda Tyler and her first novel under that name, Revenge of the Spanish Princess, won a 2018 Romance Writers of America competition for the beginning of an historical romance. Her second novel The Laird's Secret was Commended in the 2021 Scottish Association of Writers' Pitlochry Quaich competition for the beginning of a romantic novel. Mischief in Midlothian won the 2022 Scottish Association of Writers' Constable Silver Stag trophy. She has had a number of short stories published in magazines, journals and anthologies in the UK, the USA and Australia.


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Friday, July 12, 2024

Review - Patchwork Quilt Murder

Title
:   Patchwork Quilt Murder
Author:  Leslie Meier 
Series:  Lucy Stone Mystery #30
Genre:  Cozy Mystery
Publisher:  Kensington Books
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of pages:  288
Published:  April 23, 2024
My Rating:   Stars

DESCRIPTION:

During a heatwave in Tinker’s Cove, Maine, part-time reporter Lucy Stone becomes unseasonably entangled in handmade quilts—and a twisted case of murder . . .

When a community center opens in town, many embrace it as a space where locals of all ages can gather and create. Others view it as a waste of taxpayer dollars. The director, Darleen Busby-Platt, is no less controversial. Intense and showy, Darleen has huge plans for her new role. But Lucy believes the woman isn’t exactly as warm hearted—or qualified—as she seems. That hunch deepens when Darleen and a young employee vanish . . . and dismembered remains appear!

With lots of clues and few concrete answers, Lucy rushes to connect loose ends. First there’s the disappearance of Tim Stillings, a troubled twenty-something who endured harsh treatment on the job. Next there’s Darleen herself, who made fast enemies as the highest-paid resident in Tinker’s Cove. Finally, there’s Darleen’s rich ancestry and ties to heirlooms worth either a fortune or nothing at all.

The closer Lucy gets to the facts, the more she realizes that solving this murder depends on the lies. Because the truth rests somewhere between wild rumors, a trusted friend’s emotional new sewing project, and the authenticity of a mysterious three-hundred-year-old patchwork quilt. And Lucy must piece together the big picture—before she becomes part of crafty killer’s deadly design . . .


MY THOUGHTS:

Making a quilt in the middle of a heatwave might seem like an odd choice, but Lucy Stone is involved in the group activity at a new community center in her hometown of Tinker’s Cove Maine. Setting the quilt squares and needle aside, Lucy soon becomes involved in solving yet another murder. When a body is discovered, Lucy is keen when it comes to looking for answers. A part-time reporter, and a well-established amateur sleuth, Lucy is perfectly qualified when it comes to identifying the murderer. 

While answers are not easy to come by, Lucy does what she has done best for years - she excels at finding clues that even the local cops miss. One thing that has Lucy concerned aside from the murder, is wondering how her small town in Maine could afford the highly-paid director of the new community center. Then with the appearance of body parts here and there being discovered, Lucy really has her hands full.

I can’t believe that Patchwork Quilt Murder is the 30th book in the Lucy Stone series. I have loved this series from the veery first book, and Lucy has always been a fun character. All of her children have grown and fled the coop, but it was nice to read mention o them in this latest story.

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

I started writing in the late ‘80s when I was attending graduate classes at Bridgewater State College. I wanted to become certified to teach high school English and one of the required courses was Writing and the Teaching of Writing. My professor suggested that one of the papers I wrote for that course was good enough to be published and I sent it off to Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine’s Department of First Stories. I got $100 for the story and I’ve been writing ever since. The teaching, however, didn’t work out.

My books draw heavily on my experience as a mother of three and my work as a reporter for various weekly newspapers on Cape  . My heroine, Lucy Stone, is a reporter in the fictional town of Tinker’s Cove, Maine, where she lives in an old farmhouse (quite similar to mine on Cape Cod!) with her restoration carpenter husband Bill and four children. As the series has progressed the kids have grown older, roughly paralleling my own family. We seem to have reached a point beyond which Lucy cannot age–my editor seems to want her to remain forty-something forever, though I have to admit I personally am dying to write “Menopause is Murder!”

I usually write one Lucy Stone mystery every year and as you can tell, my editor likes me to feature the holidays in my books. Of course Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year and my newest mystery “Eggnog Murder,” is included in an anthology with two other Christmas novellas by Barbara Ross and Lee Hollis. I’ve long been a fan of the classic English country house mystery, and was a faithful watcher of “Downton Abbey,” so I couldn’t resist trying to write one. I think I succeeded rather well, if I do say so myself, with “British Manor Murder,” which came out in October, 2016.

My books are classified as “cozies” but a good friend insists they are really “comedies of manners” and I do enjoy expressing my view of contemporary American life.

Now that the kids are grown — we have five fabulous grandchildren — my husband and I are enjoying dividing our time between Braintree and Cape Cod, along with our cat, Sylvester.

Find Her:  Goodreads / Twitter / Web 

Review - Dating an Amish Flirt

Title:   Dating an Amish Flirt
Author:  Rachel J. Good
Series:  Surprised by Love #6
Genre:  Inspirational Romance
Publisher:  Zebra
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of pages:  368
Date of Publication:  April 23, 2024
My Rating: 5 Stars

DESCRIPTION:

In USA Today bestselling author Rachel J. Good’s sweet inspirational romance, the bustling Green Valley Farmer’s Market in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania has everything the residents of nearby Amish communities could ever need…including a chance to find love when they least expect!

Perfect for fans of Amy Clipston, Wanda E. Brunstetter, and Charlotte Hubbard.

Between heavenly homemade bread, irresistible desserts, and stunning crafts, Lancaster, Pennsylvania’s Green Valley Farmer’s Market provides warm-hearted community—and love’s surprising possibilities . . .

With her sweet nature and delicate beauty, Rachel Glick attracts boys like bees to a flower—despite her best attempts to discourage them. Downhearted since her beloved brother’s death, and isolated as the sole caretaker to her invalid mother, Rachel would welcome the friendship of other girls. But her unfair reputation as a flirt leaves her snubbed. Yet she’s only ever loved Josh Yoder, her childhood best friend. Why he distanced himself from her in eighth grade, she’ll never understand. And now, though he’s been a blessing doing repairs around her farm, he is courting another girl, so there is no going back . . .

Josh has been in love with Rachel since he was a boy. But he can never forgive himself for hurting her—or for the reason behind it. He can only do his best to lighten her burdens and hope others see her good heart. Still, the sight of her fills him with fresh longing, much as he tries to focus on his girlfriend and forget the past. Yet when jealousy flares, igniting trouble, they both must look to faith to do what’s right—and bring joyous futures for everyone . . .

MY THOUGHTS:

Mrs. Vanderburg, the Englisch owner of a market where many of the Amish have booths, is an unrepentant matchmaker. In this sixth book in a heartwarming series by Rachel J. Good, Rachel Glick has earned a reputation as a flirt. Her days consist of working at the market, and her nights are spent caring for her ailing mother. Like many young Amish women, no doubt Rachel would love to find a husband and begin a family. However, her reputation precedes her and thus she remains alone. Sadly, Rachel’s heart yearn for her childhood friend and neighbor, Josh Yoder.

Rachel is not the only one with these emotional feelings. Josh feels very much the same towards her but something happened years previously and their childhood friendship greatly suffered. Knowing that she needs help on her farm, Josh is more than willing to step in and help, and just maybe the young couple just might find their chance at love. And, in case the pair can’t figure things out on their own, Mrs. Vanderburg doesn’t miss a clue.

Both Rachel and Josh are kind, loving people who have a history of hurt feelings and misunderstandings. It was wonderful to see them find love with one another and to forge the happy future together they both deserve. 

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



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Rachel J. Good grew up near Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, the setting for her Amish novels. A former teacher and librarian, she completed her MA from Vermont College while raising five children. She is presently an MFA student at Hollins University. In addition to having more than 2300 articles and 40 books in print or forthcoming under several pseudonyms, she also juggles freelance editing and illustration careers.


Friday, July 5, 2024

BLOG TOUR - Poison Memories



DESCRIPTION:

Wind howls against the bolted front door, but the woman can still hear footsteps approaching. He has come for her. The memory of what she did still haunts her, and she knows she deserves to die…

Arriving at High Wraith cottage, 
Detective Morgan Brookes joins her horrified team, who have found a woman’s body chained and dangling from the gnarled branch of an old oak tree. It’s a race against time to preserve any evidence as heavy rain destroys the scene, but they’ve already identified the victim as a woman who once tried to kill her own family.

Twenty years ago, Margery Lancaster went to prison for poisoning her husband and infant son. They both survived, and Morgan must treat the pair as her first suspects. But before she has a chance to get to work, Margery’s ex-husband is brutally murdered, and Morgan’s heart thumps as she sees his hands tied with silver chains that match those found on Margery’s body. Then his son, now a local doctor, arrives at the station to be interviewed. Morgan watches in despair as he drops to the floor and falls into a coma.

With almost all of the forensic evidence washed away by the storm, and no family left to interview, Morgan’s last hope is tracking the two chains to a local hardware store. But the killer is already closing in on his final victim. 
Is it already too late for Morgan to stop him, or will she uncover the terrible secrets this family are hiding in time to save another life?

A heart-racing, edge-of-your-seat thriller for fans of Lisa Regan, Melinda Leigh and Rachel McLean. Will have your heart pounding as you reach the final, breathtaking twist.

BUY LINK:

Title:   Poison Memories
Author: Helen Phifer
Series:  Detective Morgan Brookes #12
Publisher:  
Bookouture
Genre:   Mystery & Thrillers
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   317
Date of Publication:  July 2, 2024
My Rating:   5 Stars

MY THOUGHTS:

DC Morgan Brookes has a huge case in front of her. There have been more than a few recent deaths, and currently there is the case of a woman who apparently lived alone. It is quickly discovered that the victim is Margery Lancaster. Meanwhile, as Morgan and her team begin looking for answers, there is a second story being told in dual-timeline fashion. The second narration is that of a woman named Maggie, and she is in a miserable and abusive marriage and is also the very unhappy mother as a toddler. Readers will realize immediately that Margery and Maggie are one and the same.

Morgan soon learns of Margery’s sad and tragic past, but is unclear as to why she became a murder victim. Meanwhile, the picture is being painted as to how miserable Maggie was with her husband George, a most definitely unlikeable character. The book even lightly touches on a very serious situation that involves some mothers after the birth of their child. 

I loved Morgan’s take in this story. Never once did she judge Margery for her past actions, and she was resolute at finding justice for Margery. As the story develops, the weather adds another layer of atmosphere as they are all but being drowned out with long days of rain. These non-stop rainy days add a level of eeriness to a story that is edged with sadness. Factor in the intriguing twists in this story, and it is clear that Helen Phifer has written another winner.

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


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Helen Phifer is the Bestselling writer of the hugely popular Annie Graham, Lucy Harwin, Beth Adams and her current series featuring Detective Constable Morgan Brooks published by the fabulous Bookouture.

She lives in the busy town of Barrow-in-Furness surrounded by miles of coastline and a short drive from the glorious English Lake District.

Helen loves reading books that scare the heck out of her and is eternally grateful to Stephen King, Dean Koontz, James Herbert and Graham Masterton for scaring her senseless in her teenage years. Unable to find enough scary stories she decided to write her own and her debut novel The Ghost House released in October 2013 became a #1 Global Bestseller.

She has written over twenty books in various genres and you can follow her over on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/helenphifer/

Or find her over at www.helenphifer.com


BLOG TOUR - Murder At an English Pub

  


DESCRIPTION:

When retired doctor Sarah Vane moves to Merstairs, she has no idea that the quaint seaside town isn’t quite as friendly it seems, and something sinister is bubbling under the picturesque surface…

Recently widowed and looking for a fresh start away from city life, 
Sarah Vane moves into a lovely little cottage by the sea. The rustic charm is everything she hoped it would be, but her new home doesn’t quite have enough space for her things. Her old friend Daphne offers to store Sarah’s boxes in her messy beach hut, but while clearing it out, they are shocked to find a heavy trunk… containing a dead body.

They immediately recognise the poor man as pub landlord 
Gus Trubshaw. Sarah concludes that he was suffocated, but who could have wanted jolly Gus dead? Unimpressed by the police’s lack of interest, Sarah realises she will have to solve the case herself.

Soon, Sarah discovers that not everyone loved Gus as much as she’d thought. Could the killer be scoutmaster 
Bill, who was recently banned from the pub? Or perhaps it was antique store owner, Charles, who owned the beach hut before Daphne? Or was it brewery director Mr. Grimes, who was livid with Gus for squeezing him on the purchase price of his delicious ale?

Just when the clues are starting to fall into place, the prime suspect is found strangled on the beach. And when Sarah discovers a deadly secret that links the two murders, she’s certain that a dangerous killer is roaming the streets of Merstairs. With the town in a panic, time is ticking for Sarah. 
Will she solve the mystery before it’s last orders for another victim?

Set off for the breezy English seaside and join Sarah on her adventures in quirky Merstairs, where nothing is quite as it seems! Fans of Agatha Christie, Betty Rowlands and Katie Gaylewill be instantly hooked by this deliciously gripping cozy mystery.

BUY LINKS:

MY THOUGHTS:
 

Title:   Murder At an English Pub
Author:  Alice Castle
Series:  Sarah Vane Mysteries Book 1
Publisher:  Bookouture 
Genre:   Cozy Mystery 
Format:  Kindle ARC
No. of Pages:   317
Date of Publication:   July 3, 2024
My Rating:   4 Stars 

Retired doctor Sarah Vane, recently widowed, has just moved to Merstairs, a lovely seaside town that should be the perfect place to settle down. Instead, even before she could get settled, Sarah and her old friend Daphne discover a dead body in a trunk. It was soon learned that it was the landlord of a pub and his name was Gus Trubshaw. Completely unimpressed with the local police, Sarah decides to discover for herself what happened to poor Gus and how he ended up in the trunk.

It doesn’t take Sarah long to realize that Merstairs is not the sleepy little town she thought it was. Also, her quickly growing reputation as an amateur sleuth begins putting people on guard. Along with Sarah’s predilection for demanding answers, she is often accompanied by her long-time friend Daphne, who also lives in the quaint little town Between the two of them, this first book in a new cozy mystery series is off to a good start. Sarah’s no-nonsense manner and the references of her past career as a GP work well together when it comes to looking for answers.

As in many cozies, there is the presence of beloved pets. In this case, one of those pets is Sarah’s dog Hamish. I look forward to joining Sarah, Daphne and even Hamish in future installments in what looks like a promising new series.

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Before turning to crime, Alice Castle was a UK newspaper journalist for The Daily Express, The Times and The Daily Telegraph. Alice is an avid reader of crime fiction, her favourite stories are cozy crimes with a strong sense of place. When she couldn’t find a series about her beloved south London, she decided to write her own – and single mum amateur sleuth Beth Haldane was born. Alice also writes twisty psychological thrillers for HQ Digital under the name A.M. Castle. The Perfect Widow was a top selling audiobook in 2019 and The Invitation hit the top 50 on Amazon UK in 2021. Alice lives with her two children and two cats and, if she isn’t writing or reading a whodunit, she’ll be watching one on telly.

Author Social Media Links
Website:https://alicecastleauthor.com/
Bookouture Email Sign Up: https://www.bookouture.com/alice-castle

Wednesday, July 3, 2024

BLOG TOUR - Murder in Mayfair

 


DESCRIPTION:

Tea and cake at The Ritz, a stolen pearl necklace and a missing dead body… Lady Swift is back on the case!

Lady Eleanor Swift has been eagerly awaiting her trip in a hot air balloon to take in London’s amazing sights. But what she witnesses instead is a murder! From way up high she sees a man in a dark coat shoot another man dead, but by the time she arrives back on the ground, Eleanor can find no trace of the body. Just the broken piece of a pearl necklace clasp, trodden into the dirt.

Back at The Ritz hotel, over afternoon tea, Eleanor’s old friend 
Lady Philomena Chadwick confides in her about a scandalous theft. Lady Chadwick is certain someone on her staff has stolen her priceless pink pearl necklace. Eleanor is immediately suspicious when the description matches the jewellery she spotted at the crime scene.

Much to her butler 
Clifford’s amusement, Eleanor goes undercover as a governess in the Chadwick’s sparkling Mayfair mansion. As she sets about questioning the disgruntled staff, she uncovers a treasure trove of gossip. But how do a secret love affair, a flirty footman with a fondness for spying, and a housemaid hiding a nightly visitor connect to the murder?

And when Eleanor’s beau, 
Detective Hugh Seldon, is brought in to investigate a string of further robberies in Park Lane, Eleanor is certain that Chadwick House is hiding the unlikeliest gang of jewel thieves below stairs…

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but will this necklace get Eleanor killed before she uncovers the hidden gem she needs to crack the case?

Murder in Mayfair is a totally gripping and twisty Golden Age whodunnit set in London, perfect for fans of T.E. Kinsey, Agatha Christie and Catherine Coles!

BUY LINK:

You can sign up for all the best Bookouture deals you'll love at: http://ow.ly/Fkiz30lnzdo

MY THOUGHTS: 

Title:   Murder in Mayfair
Author:  Verity Bright
Series:  Lady Eleanor Swift Mystery #18
Publisher:  Bookouture    
Genre:   Cozy Mystery
Format Kindle ARC 
No. of Pages:  344
Date of Publication:  June 27, 2024
My Rating:   4 Stars

Whether it is theft, murder, or anything else done illegally, if Lady Eleanor Swift is nearby, she does her best to solve whatever crime there is. After a dodgy and dangerous hot balloon ride, Eleanor’s old friend Lady Philomena Chadwick asks her to discreetly try to determine who among her staff could be responsible for stealing her precious pearl necklace. They decide that Eleanor will act as governess in the household so that she will be free to move about and discover who stole the missing necklace.

With Eleanor being more than adept at solving crimes, she usually has her very capable butler Clifford right by her side to assist her. Her fiancé Detective Hugh Seldon is usually in close proximity as well. But, for this quest, Eleanor will be in the household alone for the most part. Never fear, however, as both Clifford and Hugh find clever ways to be present while Eleanor makes her searh for the necklace.

With Hugh on a case of his own that just might be related to what Eleanor is investigating, their paths cross frequently. I must say that this part of the stories is just so sweet. I love Eleanor’s growing relationship with Hugh, but I also love the special bond that Eleanor has with the ever-proper Clifford. And, don’t worry, Eleanor’s loveable bulldog Gladstone has his moments in this delightful addition to Verity Bright’s thoroughly engaging story. 

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.

https://twitter.com/BrightVerity

Sign up to be the first to hear about new releases from Verity Bright here: https://www.bookouture.com/verity-bright