Leaving Everything Most Loved by Jacqueline Winspear
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Release Date: April 8, 2014
Rating: 4 out of 5
In the latest Maisie Dobbs mystery, Maisie has become restless with her life in England. She wants to remain independent, but she also loves her longtime friend and companion, James Compton. Just as she is thinking of heading on a tour of the globe, Scotland Yard comes to her in need of help with the murder of an Indian woman, Usha Pramal. As a former governess, Usha was a rare woman who had gone to college and traveled to London with an English family to teach their children. When they fired her without aide to get home, she found lodgings and a job and was seemingly on her way back to India. Yet, when she is found in the river with a gunshot to the head, Scotland Yard can only turn to Maisie with no leads in the case.
I have loved the Maisie Dobbs series for quite some time, and this latest addition to her story is excellent. I do highly recommend reading the previous novels in the series first, as there is much background knowledge that would make the book easier to follow. Over the years, Maisie has changed so much as a woman that it is through her cases and trials in life that we see who she becomes. In this book, she is dealing with a particularly difficult decision. How does she maintain her identity while remaining a partner to James? This case will also test her relationships with her employees, Billy and Sandra, as they try to find a balance between kindness and overbearing control.
I am always excited to read a new book in this series, and Leaving Everything Most Loved is no exception. I will say that the last few books have been very serious with little release in term of moments of happiness. Most of Winspear’s books contain a bit of silver lining in the storm clouds, but as we approach the era of World War II, each book has taken on a new gravity. I highly, highly recommend this book, but I also would recommend reading it on a bright sunny day with some chocolate at hand
Thanks to TLC Book Tours for letting me host this book. For more information, click here.
Steeped in Evil by Laura Childs
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Release Date: March 4, 2014
Source: library copy
Rating: 3.75 out of 5
Theodosia Browning runs her own tea shop in the middle of historic Charleston, South Carolina. She has a knack for tea and scones as well as solving murders. When she gets an invitation to a wine-tasting, she can’t say no to such a fun night. Fun… except for the dead body in the wine barrel. The vineyard owner’s son has been murdered, so the owner asks for Theodosia’s help in solving the case.
I’m not going to lie. A few books ago in this series, I thought I was going to give up on it. This is the fifteenth book in the series, and I was worried it was going to get old. After taking a break from the series for a few years, I decided to pick it back up, and boy, was it like running into an old friend. The talk of tea blends and the many treats they are going to serve in the shop is fantastic. The descriptions of Charleston’s locals are hilarious and fascinating at the same time. I so enjoy reading cozy mysteries, and this series always includes recipes and tea party ideas in the back. I do recommend starting the series from the beginning, as many there are many characters and idiosyncrasies to remember.
I will say that the chase scenes are a little overused, and the dialogue can be a bit stuffy at times, but overall, I really enjoyed this addition to the series and do recommend it.
The Outcast Dead by Elly Griffiths
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release Date: March 11, 2014
Source: personal copy
Rating: 5 out of 5
The sixth book in the Ruth Galloway archaeology mystery series is just as good as the first. In fact, each book just seems to get better. Ruth Galloway lives in northern England and is the head forensic archaeologist at a small university. Her current dig takes her to the grave of a woman thought to be an urban legend: Mother Hook. Mother Hook was said to be a woman who had a hook for a hand and killed children whom she was meant to protect. A TV show finds out about the dig and wants to feature Ruth and her crew on their program. Meanwhile, DCI Nelson is working on a missing child case that may be hitting too close to home.
If you’ve read the book before this one in the series, you know that Griffiths’ suspense building can just about kill you. Every time you think that everything is okay, she just turns it back on you in another way. I freaking love it. I love the archaeology she incorporates into the story. I feel like I’m always learning something new without even having to try. The atmosphere of northern England alone is enough to make me want to read this book again. The dark, rainy gloom is always followed by a wonderful day by the shore.
BUT, I must say that my favorite part of this book is the character development. Ruth has always had social anxiety, but she learns to work through it in this story. I have always identified with her character since she is an introvert, a little bit overweight, and extremely self-conscious. She seems to be able to become a more whole version of herself. We also see more of Judy, Tim, and the rest of Nelson’s team. Judy, particularly, gets a wonderful breadth to her character as a mother and wife.
I highly, highly, highly recommend this book, and this entire series. For my review of the first book, click here.
The Preservationist by Justin Kramon
Release Date: October 10, 2013
Rating: 3.75 out of 5
To Sam Blount, meeting Julia is the best thing that has ever happened to him.
Working at the local college and unsuccessful in his previous relationships, he’d been feeling troubled about his approaching fortieth birthday, “a great beast of a birthday,” as he sees it, but being with Julia makes him feel young and hopeful. Julia Stilwell, a freshman trying to come to terms with a recent tragedy that has stripped her of her greatest talent, is flattered by Sam’s attention.
But their relationship is tested by a shy young man with a secret, Marcus Broley, who is also infatuated with Julia. Told in alternating points of view, The Preservationist is the riveting tale of Julia and Sam’s relationship, which begins to unravel as the threat of violence approaches—and Julia becomes less and less sure whom to trust. – From the publisher
The story of Sam, Julia , and Marcus is one awesome psychological thriller that will not let you down. Told in alternating points of view, The Preservationist combines a classic thriller format with some humor tossed in for good measure. I love the fact that Julia is so real – her doubts, motives, and personality are all characteristics that I saw in people who I knew in college. Kramon uses language cut down to the bare bones, so there is no fluff or meaningless scenes as there are in many modern suspense books. In fact, this book actually reminded me of a lot of the Scandinavian, depp, dark thrillers that will keep you up way past your bedtime because you can’t put the book down, but you also probably couldn’t sleep without the light on even if you tried. I will say that this is a huge step away from Kramon’s previous book, Finny, so if you are looking for something similar this is definitely not that book. The Preservationist is an entirely different animal, but it shows that Kramon can be successful in whichever genre he chooses to write.
Thanks to TLC Book Tours for giving me a chance to be a stop on this tour!
The Round House by Louise Erdrich
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Release Date: October 2, 2012
Rating: 5 out of 5
Joe and his family are having a hard time on their reservation in North Dakota. Geraldine, Joe’s mother, is brutally attacked, but she is so traumatized by the event that she won’t tell her family or the police what really happened. Joe’s father is a tribal judge who is trying to work with the police to find the horrible person who so terribly hurt his wife. Joe is falling into the background of his family’s focus. He decides to team up with his friends and find out what really happened. Their journey begins at the Round House, a sacred house to Joe’s tribe.
There is no question about why this book won the National Book Award. I got immediately sucked into the mystery of what happened to Geraldine, and why she is being so careful in protecting her family at the cost of her own sanity. But this book isn’t just a mystery, it is a tale of mythology and heritage. Joe and his friends remind me of the boys in Stand By Me. They aren’t being supervised, but this lack of adult presence lets them discover clues behind the mystery as well as their own identity. I also found myself thinking about the tv show Twin Peaks at times. There is an eeriness and supernatural quality to the story that really make it come alive.
If you do read this book, do me a favor: put everything down, turn your cell phone off, make sure you have a glass of wine or tea, and just sit down and enjoy every word this book has to offer. This is one of those books I wish I could read for the first time again. It is magic, pure and simple.
Thanks to TLC Book Tours for letting me be a host on this tour!
Winter at Death’s Hotel by Kenneth M. Cameron
Release Date: August 6, 2013
Rating: 4 out of 5
The year is 1896. Arthur Conan Doyle has just arrived in New York City for the American leg of his tour with his wife, Louisa. While Conan Doyle is busy getting ready for lectures and appearances, Louisa is left to her own devices in a new and exciting city. When a mutilated corpse is found on the streets, Louisa sees an artist’s sketch in the paper of what the woman would have looked like in life; and she swears that she had seen this woman at the hotel. As “luck” would have it, Louisa sprains her ankle and must remain at the hotel while her husband completes his tour across the States. Louisa delves deeper into the mystery as more bodies start turning up. Yet, all of her inquiries lead back to the hotel, and eventually to her.
You all know that I absolutely love anything and everything related to Arthur Conan Doyle and his stories. When I got the chance to review this book, I quite literally jumped at the opportunity. The atmosphere from the very beginning was eerie and cold, which sets up a great beginning to a murder mystery. I love Louisa so much. She is strong, curious, and doesn’t back down even when her husband thinks she is just being a “silly woman”. Most of the time she lets her curiosity lead her through the book, even when it gets her into trouble. I love that she gets the help of those around her to solve the murders. She doesn’t think she has to be completely independent when sense tells her otherwise. She draws in a firecracker female reporter, Buffalo Bill and Henry Irving, almost forming a Scooby-gang of crime fighters.
It was so refreshing to read a male author writing from a woman’s perspective and having him get it right! Cameron doesn’t fall into the classic female stereotypes that many male authors do. Louisa is a free spirit who doesn’t have time for fainting or taking orders. She really reminds me a lot of Amelia Peabody from the Elizabeth Peters mysteries – Louisa creates her own destiny. I highly recommend this book!
“If Arthur Conan Doyle had been asked to write a sequel to Gangs of New York, then this would be it.”
Need I really say more? One of my favorite publishers is releasing a new book this Fall based on the premise that Jack the Ripper (or a copycat) made it to the States and started killing again.
From the publisher:
“New York, 1891. A prostitute is found brutally murdered. The victim bears the same hallmarks as a notorious recent killing spree in England. Could it be that killer has crossed the Atlantic to fresh killing grounds? Or is this simply a copycat murder? Fear spreads through a city already rife with cut-throat gangs, corruption and vice. Aristocratic English pathologist, Finley Jameson, is teamed up with Joseph Argenti, a streetwise New York cop, to solve the case. But as the body-count rises and the killer taunts his pursuers in open letters, Jameson & Argenti find themselves fighting not just to prevent yet more victims, but also to save the city’s very soul.”
I cannot wait for this book to come out! The official release date in the US is September 24th, but you can always pre-order from your local independent bookstore
And here is the awesome cover:
The Last Camellia by Sarah Jio
Release Date: May 28, 2013
Rating: 4 out of 5
What do you get when you mix an English country estate, World War II, espionage, and a camellia? A beautifully written novel, that’s what! Flora works in her family’s bakery in New York City. They are having a fought time financially, Flora jumps at the chance to help make some money. Somehow her new employer knows that she holds an interest in botany. Her assignment is to search an English manor for a rare breed of camellia. Fast forward to the present day. Addison is being blackmailed because of her shady past. What better way to escape her blackmailer than to take a trip with her husband to his family’s new estate in England? The couple is amazed by the camellia orchard and an old notebook which once belonged to a gardener. What mysteries will the property unveil?
I honestly could not get enough of this book. It was sad and satisfying at the same time when it ended. Jio’s writing gets better with each book she pens. I could feel the breeze and sunlight in that English garden (rare as it is). I think that the most compelling story was that of Flora. She has so much to lose and she is willing to sacrifice everything for her family’s well being rather than think of her own happiness. Each step into the garden pulls you deeper into this mystery involving Nazis and the Queen of England. I truly could not put the book down. It combines so many of my favorite things: England, gardens, mystery, and the history of World War II. The modern day story is quite gripping, but I felt as if I didn’t have the same connection with Addison as I did with Flora. The book almost reminded me of a British television show called Rosemary & Thyme in which two women start their own gardening business only to end up solving murders and saving the day. This book is great for the beach or just sitting out in the back yard with a glass of wine. You will definitely want to read this one this Summer!
Dudes! I have FIVE copies of the book to give away! Just post your favorite flower in the comments section by July 5, 2013 at 11:59 pm. US only. Make sure to put bookaddictkatie AT gmail DOT com in your OK email addresses so an email won’t go to spam if you win.
Thanks to TLC Books for letting me host a stop on this tour. For more information, go to www.tlcbooks.com
Dudes! Thrillerfest is happening this July! When I was asked to post about this event, I was just like, DUH! I so wish that I could go this year because ANNE RICE IS GOING TO BE THERE!!!!!!! Remember last year when I obsessed over The Wolf Gift? Yeah, the sequel is coming out this Fall and she is going to be there to promote it! Below is a bunch of information if you are interested. Also, if you scroll towards the bottom of the post, I have an exclusive excerpt from Steve Berry’s new book, The King’s Deception! (I have received no compensation for this post. Except for the knowledge of such awesomeness.)
DIABOLICAL PLOTS, FIENDISH PLANS AND A SHOCKER OF A TWIST YOU WON’T SEE COMING –THRILLERFEST IS BACK IN TOWN!
This year ThrillerMaster Anne Rice takes a bite of the Big Apple at ThrillerFest VIIIJuly 10-13, 2013
New York City is once again the setting for Gotham noir as the International ThrillerWriters (ITW) brings ThrillerFest VIII to town from July 10-13, 2013 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel to celebrate the art of the thrill.
Spines are already tingling for the legendary Anne Rice, Queen of the Gothic Thriller, who will make a rare appearance to serve as the 2013 ThrillerMaster. Rice is the author of 31 novels, including The Vampire Chronicles, Songs of the Seraphim and the new Wolf Gift Chronicles.
“This is the place where fans can mingle with writers, novices can learn from pros, industry professionals can share their secret passion with librarians, and everyone can have one heck of a great time,” says ThrillerFest Executive Director Kimberley Howe.
New this year at ThrillerFest is FanFest, an opportunity for thriller writers to give back to their most loyal fans. These lucky readers will join such big-league talent as Joseph Finder, John Lescroart, M.J. Rose, Steve Berry and R.L. Stine, for a cocktail party that would impress even Nick and Nora Charles. The event will include a special kickoff book signing, gifts and a chance to mix and mingle with their favorite authors.
Spotlight guests, who will add to the pulse-pounding excitement, include:
- Michael Connelly—Author of the number one New York Timesbestsellers The Drop, The Fifth Witness, The Reversal, The Scarecrow, The Brass Verdict and The Lincoln Lawyer, as well as the Harry Bosch series. His most recent novel is The Black Box. A former newspaper reporter, Connelly has won numerous awards for his fiction.
- T. Jefferson Parker—One of only three two-time winners of the prestigious Edgar Award for Best Novel, Parker is the bestselling author of 20 novels including L.A. Outlaws, Storm Runners, and the award-winningSilent Joe and California Girl. His most recent novel is The Famous and the Dead.
- Michael Palmer—Famous for his bestselling medical and political suspense, Palmer’s most recent novel is was Political Suicide. His book,Extreme Measures, became a film starring Gene Hackman. A physician, Palmer helps doctors with physical and mental illness, as well as drug dependence and alcoholism.
- Silver Bullet Award Recipient Steve Berry—The New York Timesand number one internationally bestselling author of The Jefferson Key, The Columbus Affair and soon-to-be-released The King’s Deception and nine more novels, Berry will be honored for his philanthropic work on behalf of fellow writers and historic preservation.
- Corporate Silver Bullet Award Recipient USO—The USO will be honored for making Operation Thriller a reality. This past November marked the third USO Operation Thriller tour, which took Kathleen Antrim, Michael Connelly, Joseph Finder, Brad Meltzer, and Andy Harp to the Middle East to entertain the troops.
The thrills continue with two of ThrillerFest’s most anticipated events: CraftFest, where the best authors in the business share secrets with fellow writers, and AgentFest, “speed-dating” with the top agents in publishing.
It all culminates with the 2013 ITW Thriller Awards Banquet, during which Steve Berry will receive the Silver Bullet Award and the awards for best novel; best debut novel and best short story will be finally revealed — a riveting climax to a sensational event.
The International Thriller Writers is an honorary society of more than 1,300 authors in 22 countries with more than three billion books in print. To make a reservation for the suspense-inspired four-day adventure, please visit www.ThrillerFest.com.
Event highlights include:
- ThrillerFest opens with a bang on Thursday night with a cocktail partyhosting all authors, industry executives and conference attendees. Authors are open and accessible to chat with fans.
- Anne Rice, the 2013 ThrillerMaster, will be interviewed by her son, Christopher Rice, during a spotlight session.
- Author Daniel Palmer interviews his father, New York Times-bestselling novelist and ThrillerFest Spotlight guest Michael Palmer.
- Bestselling novelist MJ Rose interviews international bestselling authorSteve Berry and Liz Berry about their non-profit History Matters. Steve is the 2013 ITW Silver Bullet Award recipient.
- A bestselling author of over 25 books, Jon Land interviews thriller-superstar and Spotlight guest Michael Connelly.
- Award-winning author D.P. Lyle, MD interviews T. Jefferson Parker, Spotlight guest and two-time winner of the Edgar Award for Best Novel.
- Aspiring writers get the chance to sharpen their prose and hone their agent pitch during CraftFest – a fabulous opportunity to learn from bestselling authors.
- AgentFest allows writers the unprecedented opportunity to meet face-to-face with some of the top agents in the business.
Excerpted from Chapter One of THE KING’S DECEPTION
By Steve Berry
In a few minutes his favor for Stephanie Nelle would be over, then he and Gary would catch their connecting flight to Copenhagen and enjoy the week, depending of course on how many uncomfortable questions his son might want answered. The hitch was that
the Denmark flight departed not from Heathrow, but Gatwick, London’s other major airport, an hour’s ride east. Their departure time was several hours away, so it wasn’t a problem. He would just need to convert some dollars to pounds and hire a taxi.
They left Customs and claimed their luggage.
Both he and Gary had packed light.
“The police going to take me?” Ian asked.
“That’s what I’m told.”
“What will happen to him?” Gary asked.
He shrugged. “Hard to say.”
And it was. Especially with the CIA involved.
He shouldered his bag and led both boys out of the baggage area.
“Can I have my things?” Ian asked.
When Ian had been turned over to him in Atlanta, he’d been given a plastic bag that contained a Swiss Army knife with all the assorted attachments, a pewter necklace with a religious medal attached, a pocket Mace container, some silver shears, and two paperback books with their covers missing.
Ivanhoe and Le Morte D’Arthur.
Their brown edges were water-stained, the bindings veined with thick white creases. Both were thirty-plus-year-old printings. Stamped on the title page was any old books, with an address in Piccadilly Circus, London. He employed a similar branding of inventory, his simply announcing COTTON MALONE, BOOKSELLER, HØJBRO PLADS, COPENHAGEN. The items in the plastic bag all belonged to Ian, seized by Customs when they took him into custody at Miami International, after he’d tried to enter the country illegally.
“That’s up to the police,” he said. “My orders are to hand you and the bag over to them.”
He’d stuffed the bundle inside his travel case, where it would stay until the police assumed custody. He half expected Ian to bolt, so he remained on guard. Ahead he spied two men, both in dark suits walking their way. The one on the right, short and stocky with auburn hair, introduced himself as Inspector Norse.
He extended a hand, which Malone shook.
“This is Inspector Devene. We’re with the Met. We were told you’d be accompanying the boy. We’re here to give you a lift to Gatwick and take charge of Master Dunne.”
“I appreciate the ride. Wasn’t looking forward to an expensive taxi.”
“Least we can do. Our car is just outside. One of the privileges of being the police is we can park where we want.”
The man threw Malone a grin.
They started for the exit.
Malone noticed Inspector Devene take up a position behind Ian. Smart move, he thought.
“You responsible for getting him into the country with no passport?”
Norse nodded. “We are, along with some others working with us. I think you know about them.”
That he did.
They stepped out of the terminal into brisk morning air. A bank of dense clouds tinted the sky a depressing shade of pewter. A blue Mercedes sedan sat by the curb. Norse opened the rear door and motioned for Gary to climb in fi rst, then Ian and Malone. The inspector stood outside until they were all in, then closed the door. Norse rode in the front passenger seat, while Devene drove. They sped out of Heathrow and found the M4 motorway. Malone knew the route, London a familiar locale. Years ago he’d spent time in England on assignments. He’d also been detached here for a year by the navy. Traffi c progressively thickened as they made their way east toward the city.
“Would it be all right if we made one stop before we head for Gatwick?” Norse asked him.
“No problem. We have time before the plane leaves. The least we can do for a free ride.”
Malone watched Ian as the boy gazed out the window. He couldn’t help but wonder what would happen to him. Stephanie’s assessment had not been a good one. A street kid, no family, completely on his own. Unlike Gary, who was dark-haired with a swarthy complexion, Ian was blond and fair-skinned. He seemed like a good kid, though. Just dealt a bad hand. But at least he was young, and youth offered chances, and chances led to possibilities. Such a contrast with Gary, who lived a more conventional, secure life. The thought of Gary on the streets, loose, with no one, tore at his heart. Warm air blasted the car’s interior and the engine droned as they chugged through traffic.
Malone’s eyes surrendered to jet lag.
When he woke, he glanced at his watch and realized he’d been out about fifteen minutes. He willed himself to alertness. Gary and Ian were still sitting quietly. The sky had darkened further. A storm was approaching the city. He studied the car’s interior, noticing for the first time no radio or communications equipment. Also, the carpets
were immaculate, the upholstery in pristine condition. Certainly not like any police car he’d ever ridden in.
He then examined Norse.
The man’s brown hair was cut below the ears. Not shaggy, but thick. He was clean-shaven and a bit overweight. He was dressed appropriately, suit and tie, but it was the left earlobe that drew hisattention. Pierced. No earring was present, but the puncture was clear.
“I was wondering, Inspector. Might I see your identification? I should have asked at the airport.”
Norse did not answer him. The question aroused Ian’s attention, and he studied Malone with a curious look.
“Did you hear me, Norse? I’d like to see your identification.”
“Just enjoy the ride, Malone.”
He didn’t like the curt tone so he reached for the front seat and pulled himself forward, intending to make his point clearer.
The barrel of a gun came around the headrest and greeted him.
“This enough identification?” Norse asked.
“Actually, I was hoping for a picture ID.” He motioned to the weapon. “When did the Metropolitan Police start issuing Glocks?”
Excerpted from THE KING’S DECEPTION Copyright © 2013 Steve Berry. Excerpted by permission of Ballantine Books, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Murder As a Fine Art by David Morrell
Release Date: May 7, 2013
Rating: 5 out of 5
Looking for the PERFECT Summer thriller? You’ve just found it. There’s a murderer in London in the mid-1800s. He seemingly has no motive except to create the most grisly murder scene you could think of. (Warning: the novel is ridiculously graphic) It is the same time that Thomas DeQuincey has published his memoir Confessions of an Opium Eater (which really is his actual memoir), and so naturally, he becomes the first major suspect in the eyes of the media. DeQuincey must clear his name, and he enlists the help of his daughter Emily and Detective Inspector Ryan of Scotland Yard. Can DeQuincey save his name while the entirety of Victorian London is after his head?
Murder As a Fine Art is definitely the best mystery/thriller that I have read in a long time. Not only is the novel wonderfully atmospheric, but Morrell provides wonderful facts and lessons about the era from an omniscient perspective. Each chapter begins with a tale of the real Victorian London and how it functioned. I could not put this book down – I read it in less than a day. Not only will the fast-paced plot keep you guessing the entire time, but the characters will amaze you and at times boggle your mind. We get glimpses of the murderer from his perspective – letting us know just how messed up this guy really is. Ryan is my favorite character (what can I say? I like a man in uniform. Even though he was a plainclothes detective… But I digress). Ryan is the former student of the famous French “first detective” Vidocq – he uses his methods with skill and precision. I was amazed when I found out that Morrell was the author of the book that inspired the Rambo movies, but don’t let that deter you at all. The writing is masterful and the plotting is brilliant. I HIGHLY recommend this book to all mystery and history lovers. It will keep you on the edge of your seat while you learn a history lesson or two.
Thanks to Historical Fiction Book Tours for letting me host this book – for more information about the book and other fun things, click here.