Review: Silent in the Grave (Lady Julia Grey #1) by Deanna Raybourn

silent-graveI don’t know what it is but I truly love these Victorian mysteries. Perhaps it is because the ones I’ve read so far have been with ladies set as the main characters.

This one is no exception. Here we have Lady Grey trying to solve the mystery of what might have been her husband’s murder. She is determined to become the strong independent woman that she has always imagined she should be. It’s not always an easy thing to reconcile the person you imagine yourself to be with the person that shows themselves to the rest of the world. Especially when you have a dominate (albeit handsome) detective by your side. Add to that being a widow that should be in mourning in Victorian England…well, it certainly can add many complications to your life.

I was also happy when the mystery was solved. Raybourn did a really nice job of allowing the reader (and the lead characters as well) imagine several different scenario. I even imagined a few that I believe Raybourn was clever enough to desire me to conjure up so I could feel superior that I figured it all out on my own….alas, I was not….The ending was believable, but not any of the ones I imagined. Even better, I didn’t find it drop down jaw unbelievable either….I didn’t feel like she pulled the rug out from under me and went for something totally outrageous just for the drama factor. I really appreciate that from an author. Sometimes, I am often left to feel insulted…instead, Raybourn has made me delighted to follow Ms Grey into her next great adventure….

Until next time…
Urania xx

Buy it now Silent in the Grave by Deanna Raybourn

Review: The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda

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A friend…a very good one.  Someone who knows you better than you know yourself.  Someone you can turn to in your darkest hour, to help you pick up the pieces.  What can be better?  Leah considers herself lucky to have such a person in Emmy.  She’s been there for her through it all, even after all the time they were out of touch.

And now, Emmy is willing to give up everything and start over for Leah.  Everything begins to unravel, however, when a local girl turns up beaten and left for dead.  And then Emmy goes missing.  Exactly when did Leah see her last, anyway?  As Leah digs deeper and deeper, she realizes that maybe she didn’t really know Emmy that well after all.

This is the perfect follow-up to Miranda’s last novel, All the Missing Girls.  It has just the right mix of intrigue, mystery, whodunit-ness to keep you guessing.  And even if you put pieces of the story together before the halfway mark, as did I, the last 30% is sure to take you for a ride.  That alone is enough of a reason to grab this one!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  The Perfect Stranger

Review: Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens

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I absolutely love Chevy Stevens.  She’s one of my go-to authors, one of the few whose new books are definite must reads.  This latest from her didn’t disappoint.

When Lindsey met Andrew, she thought all her dreams were finally coming true.  He was loving, attentive, wealthy, handsome…basically everything you could want in a husband.  And things were very good for awhile.  But then he began to change.  Or rather, his true personality began to show.  Controlling and abusive, this wasn’t the man she fell in love with.  As things get more and more dangerous, she starts to plan her escape.

Finally it happens.  She and her daughter get away, and Andrew is sent to prison for several years.  When he’s released, though, all those feelings come barreling back.  The paranoia, the fear that she’s being followed. And has someone been in her house, messing with her things and with her mind?  Andrew swears it’s not him, but clearly he’s not the most trustworthy individual. And lest you think you’ve got it all figured out, don’t blink.

In some ways this is your typical “wife leaves abusive husband” drama.  But then it becomes more.  Because Chevy Stevens.  She has a way of taking the ordinary and weaving it into a compelling story that you just can’t put down.  Don’t miss this one!

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  Never Let You Go

Review: The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

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A missing baby.  A maybe slightly psychotic mother.  A lying father.  Kinky next door neighbors.  They’re all there, a cast of characters to set you up for one heck of a story.

When their babysitter cancels at the last minute,  Anne’s first instinct is to skip the dinner party next door.  But somehow, her husband Marco convinces her that it’ll be okay to leave the sleeping baby home alone.  Their houses share a wall, after all.  And they’ll be checking up on Cora every thirty minutes.  What could possibly go wrong?

Of course it does go wrong.  Baby Cora goes missing.  And there are very few clues left behind.  It’s natural that suspicion would fall upon her parents.  Anne has been slightly depressed, after all. And Marco’s business isn’t doing so well. Was he so desperate for money that he’d stage a kidnapping and ransom demand?

But wait.  There’s more. There are also the shady dinner party neighbors, especially the wife Cynthia who has eyes for Marco.  And Anne’s dad? He’s got a ton of money, thanks to her mom.  Along with that, he has some questionable business dealings.  Or was it really just a random event, a crime of opportunity?  Somehow the detectives in charge don’t think so.  But the deeper they dig, the more twists and turns they find.

This was quite an enjoyable book.  There are so many characters who could be guilty that even when I found how who dunnit, I was still suspicious of the others.  And it’s very twisty and turny, right up until the very end.  Also to note, I listened to the audio version which had an excellent narrator.

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  The Couple Next Door

 

Review: The Law of Moses by Amy Harmon

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Beautiful.  If I had to describe this story using just one word, that’s what it would be.  From the very beginning until the absolute end, it truly weeps with emotion on every page.

It begins with a baby left in a basket. Aptly named, Moses is a crack baby abandoned by his mother. But for the love and sacrifice of his grandmother, who knows where he would have ended up?  He and Georgia are unwillingly thrown together at a young age.  And even though they grow up together in a sense, they’re not really together.  Until one day, Georgia begins to feel something.  And she thinks Moses does, too, although he denies it. Georgia has a normal family life, Moses does not.  He’s damaged, at least in his mind.  But love is love, and love conquers all.  Sometimes.

This is a romance, a mystery, a book of suspense.  It’s a story of family, of life and loss and death.  It’s a story with good guys and bad guys, and sometimes they’re one in the same.  Very soon after I started this book, I was afraid it would break my heart.  And it did.  But that’s okay.  Because often those are the stories that stick with you the longest.

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  The Law of Moses

 

Review ~ The Trespasser, by Tana French.

29430013I must admit, I picked up this book in error. I had heard a lot of positive reviews regarding French’s books, and in particular, her Dublin Murder Squad series. Me being me, at midnight on a work-night, browsing Audible, I saw this book and thought “Oh, I’ll try the first book in the series”. It wasn’t until about chapter 10, that I realised that this is actually the 6th, yes, 6th, book in the series! However, even though, this is a continuing series, the characters come and go, and it just so happens that the characters in this novel, only featured in one other previous story. I missed a little background, but it was barely noticeable as I continued to read/listen to the story.

The plot was a fairly standard “who dunnit” type deal, and I must say, there was a plot point introduced that didn’t seem to gel, and in my opinion, could have been left out entirely. In spit of these small misgivings, the tone and characters really carried this novel.

Dark, gritty, and dirty, are some phrases I would associate with the tone, and the pace is fast, keeping the narrative at a good pace. The characters, on first glance, seem quite traditional; societal attitudes are still steeped in an air of patriarchy and French seems to spend quite a bit of time in establishing that the main character is a lone female in a squad of patronising and bullying males. Even though a lot of time, I was thinking to myself, doesn’t this police station have a HR department, the repetition of the antiquated attitudes actually reinforced the character development of Detective Conway.

I really recommend this book if you want to escape for a while, and read some good police procedural fiction. Is it in my top ten? Probably not. However, it is a good little read in its own right, competing with a ton, and indeed winning, of other similarly themed thriller fiction.

Until next time,

Pegasus

The Trespasser

Review: The Bourbon Thief by Tiffany Reisz

01-ab “Love what they destroyed.
Destroy what they loved.”

This story is nothing like I’ve read from Ms. Reisz before. NOTHING. In fact, this story has to be one the most insane stories I have ever read. I went in knowing nothing. No spoilers or anything, just a vague idea that it’s about thievery and bourbon. That’s it. But when I finished I sat back and wish I took Dramamine for all the twists and turns this book had. A truly wild ride.

SYNOPSIS
When Cooper McQueen wakes up from a night with a beautiful stranger, it’s to discover he’s been robbed. The only item stolen—a million-dollar bottle of bourbon. The thief, a mysterious woman named Paris, claims the bottle is rightfully hers. After all, the label itself says it’s property of the Maddox family who owned and operated Red Thread Bourbon distillery since the last days of the Civil War until the company went out of business for reasons no one knows… No one except Paris.

In the small hours of a Louisville morning, Paris unspools the lurid tale of Tamara Maddox, heiress to the distillery that became an empire. But the family tree is rooted in tainted soil and has borne rotten fruit. Theirs is a legacy of wealth and power, but also of lies, secrets and sins of omission. The Maddoxes have bourbon in their blood—and blood in their bourbon. Why Paris wants the bottle of Red Thread remains a secret until the truth of her identity is at last revealed, and the century-old vengeance Tamara vowed against her family can finally be completed.

You must go into this story blind to truly appreciate the way the story unwinds itself on the pages. Deception, lies and revenge are the main themes of this tale. And one seriously messed up family. I won’t reveal spoilers, but I will say that you’ll never see the end coming. While some parts in this story will make you squirm, if you just take a deep breath, you’ll be fine.

To be honest, I held off reading this because I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this more, or even as much, as her Original Sinners series. That series is bananas. But I am so glad I took a chance. Tiffany has a writing style that is so addicting, you can’t help but be sucked in. You won’t be disappointed in anything you read from her.

~Melpomene

Buy The Bourbon Thief HERE