Monday, 14 August 2017

The House on Beale Street by Loraine J Hudson

The House on Beale Street
A dream house in a small town. 
A cup of coffee on her porch. 
Her dog at her feet. 
What could possibly go wrong? 
Bumps in the night, unwelcome visitors, an angry friend, and a lingering threat from a local robbery leave Marianne Reed wondering if her new home might become a nightmare. The question is, is it new house jitters, or is danger just around the corner? 
The House on Beale Street is the debut novel by Loraine J Hudson, who lives and writes in a small town in Michigan. She loves oldies rock music, stained glass, playing in her garden, snuggling with her dogs, riding her off-track thoroughbred horse, and – of course – writing. She has also published a series of middle grades fantasy chapter books under her pen name, Judith Wade.   (Summary via Goodreads)

The House on Beale Street is Loraine J. Hudson's debut novel and I am already looking forward to her next book !!

The House on Beale Street is the house that Marianne bought and recently moved into.  It is a nice small house in a quiet neighborhood and she is excited to do renovations to the house, get to know her neighbors and enjoy sitting in her yard with her big teddy bear of a dog Rowdy.

That is until she meets her neighbor, Ashley, and learns of a burglary that happened in the neighborhood just before she moved in and one of the robbers hid out in the cornfield behind her house.  It is also rumored that the robber may have hid in Marianne's basement and left something behind before he took off running ending up hit by a car and killed.

When strange things start to occur Marianne, her friend Louise, and her step-daughter Natalie piece together a timeline and clean out the basement.....but they find nothing of value and end up with more questions than answers.  

Marianne tries to put it aside when Ashley stops over with an off the way story providing more unanswered questions but makes her feel like she misinterpreted everything and maybe there just isn't anything to worry about........until a knock on the door reveals the truth.

The House on Beale Street is a easy to read, hard to put down book and it is a GREAT debut book.  Hudson is definitely an author to follow !!

Review by Missi S.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Murder at Chateau Sur Mer (Gilded Newport Mysteries #5) by Alyssa Maxwell

Murder at Chateau Sur Mer (Gilded Newport Mysteries #5)
In the late nineteenth century, Newport, Rhode Island, is home to some of America s wealthiest citizens. It s also the beat of society reporter Emma Cross, a less well-heeled cousin to the illustrious Vanderbilts, who occasionally moonlights in solving murders . . .

Covering a polo match for the Observer, Emma s job is to take note of the real players off the field Newport s well-bred elite. But the fashionable facade is breached when a woman in gaudy clothing creates a scene demanding to speak to the wife of Senator George Wetmore until she is escorted off the grounds by the police. 
The next morning, police detective Jesse Whyte asks Emma to meet him at the Wetmores Bellevue Avenue home, Chateau sur Mer, where the senator s wife, Edith, has mysteriously asked to see her. Upon entering the mansion, Emma is confronted with a crime scene the intruder from the polo match lies dead at the foot of a grand staircase. 
To avoid scandal, Edith Wetmore implores Emma to use her reporter skills and her discretion to investigate. When Emma learns the victim was a prostitute and pregnant she wonders if the senator was being blackmailed. As Emma peels back layers of deception and family secrets, she may have met her match in a desperate killer who will trample anyone who gets in the way...   (Summary via Goodreads)

I feel like I am going to sound like a broken record when I write a review for one of Alyssa Maxwell's books.  Her books are AWESOME !!  I cannot say it enough.  I don't know that I am giving them justice when I review them.

When you read one of Maxwell's books whether it is A Gilded Newport Mystery or A Lady and Lady's Maid book, you are in for a journey !  

Murder at Chateau sur Mer is her latest book in the A Gilded Newport Mystery series and while you are reading it you will feel like you took a ride in a time machine.   If you have been reading this series, you are very familiar with Emma Cross and her way of life.....her independence and her will to help any one that knocks on her door and even those that don't.  And you also know that she somehow gets involved in murder cases whether the police want her help or not.

Well Murder at Chateau sur Mer is no exception although slightly different.  Although Emma is interested in the murder that occured and, of course, would like to find justice for the deceased, she is taken back when she is asked to look into the the wife of the husband accused.  Emma does not know the Wetmore's very well but everyone knows them to a point, after all George Wetmore is a Senator.  Mrs. Wetmore does not believe that the police will do a throrough job investigating the case because the woman that was murdered was a lady of the evening.  She knows that Emma is just the right person to ask to look into the woman's death.

Emma will stop at nothing when she is on a case.  She will go above and beyond what others would shy away from to find justice....even if it means going into a Gentlemen's Only establishment to question a person of interest.

As you read you cannot help but fall in love with Emma and you can truly understand how two men could have feelings for her.  You can also understand her dilemma about maintaining her independence and wanting to do more in the world than be someone's wife.  She is someone for all girl's to look up to and to aspire to be like.....even if she is fictional and from a time long ago.

There is so much to say about Murder at Chateau sur Mer, Emma Cross, and Aylssa Maxwell's talent for story telling, but to talk about it and to read it first hand are 2 different things entirely.  I highly recommend picking this book up, adding it to your to read list and taking a journey with Emma.  You will feel like a different person afterwards......

Review by Missi S.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Perish from the Earth (A Lincoln and Speed Mystery #2) by Jonathan F. Putnam

Perish from the Earth (A Lincoln and Speed Mystery, #2)

Newly minted trial lawyer Abraham Lincoln is riding the circuit, traveling by carriage with other lawyers and a judge to bring justice to the remote parts of Illinois. Meanwhile, Lincoln's close friend Joshua Speed steams up the Mississippi River aboard a steamboat owned by Speed's father when suddenly, his journey is interrupted when a rigged card game aboard the ship turns to violence--and then murder. 

When a young traveling artist is accused of the crime, Speed enlists Lincoln to defend him. Together, Lincoln and Speed work to find evidence of the artist's innocence. But soon they come to discover that more than just the card games are crooked aboard the Speed family's ship. As the day of judgment hurtles towards them, Lincoln and Speed must fight to save not only the life of Lincoln's client but also the merit of Speed's good name.

Meticulously research and deftly plotted, Jonathan F. Putnam's second Lincoln and Speed mystery, Perish from the Earth is the superlative follow-up to These Honored Dead, praised by Pulitzer Prize winner Doris Kearns Goodwin as " of the most enjoyable works of fiction I have read in a long time."  (Summary via Goodreads)

Perish From The Earth is the secnd book in the Lincoln & Speed Mystery series bu Jonathan F. Putnam and even though I haven't read the first book (yet) it felt like it was a stand alone story.  

In Perish From The Earth you spend some time riding on a ship with Joshua Speed.  As he is on the ship conducting business for his father who owns the ship, he witnesses a heated arguement between the gambler on the ship and a cotton planter.  The cotton planter Jones, loses all his money and causes a big scene until he is escorted back to his room by one of the crew members.

Once back on land Speed meets up with good friend circuit lawyer, Abraham Lincoln.  While out for a walk by the river the two of them come across a rather large bundle.  Upon closer examination they are shocked to find it is a body..... a body that Speed knows.  It is the cotton planter Jones from the ship.  Then a short time later an arrested is made for the murder.  A traveling artist Bingham who was also on the ship is arrested in front of Speed and Lincoln and Lincoln quickly convinces Bingham to appoint his as his lawyer.

Lincoln is given 3 weeks in order to obtain evidence proving his client's innocence.  Speed and his sister Martha travel the river talking to whoever they can to help Lincoln win his case.

This book was very interesting to read.  You got a glimpse into the slavery aspect of the time, traveled a steamboat, and met a lot of interesting characters without leaving the comforts of your living room.  I love when a book is so good that the story takes you away and Perish From The Earth does just that !!

You will enjoy the journey that Joshua and Martha take and you will truly love the twists and turns as you get into the middle of the trial of Bingham.

Review by Missi S.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Murder in Mayfair (Atlas Catesby #1) by D.M. Quincy

Murder in Mayfair (Atlas Catesby #1)
In 1810, Atlas Catesby, a brilliant adventurer and youngest son of a baron, is anxious to resume his world travels after a carriage accident left him injured in London. But his plans are derailed when, passing through a country village, he discovers a helpless woman being auctioned off to the highest bidder--by her husband.

In order to save her from being violated by another potential buyer, Atlas purchases the lady, Lilliana, on the spot to set her free. But Lilliana, desperate to be with her young sons and knowing the laws of England give a father all parental rights, refuses to be rescued--until weeks later when her husband is murdered and Atlas is the only one who can help clear her name of the crime.

Fortunately, Atlas is a master at solving complicated puzzles, both with games and the intricacies of human motivation, and finds himself uniquely suited to the task, despite the personal peril it may put him in. But soon Altas learns the dead man had many secrets--and more than a few enemies willing to kill to keep them quiet--in Murder in Mayfair, the first in a new historical mystery series by D. M. Quincy.  (Summary via Goodreads)

What do you do if you are enjoying a meal when you hear a commotion outside where a woman is being auctioned off by her husband ?  If you are a gentlemen like Atlas Catesby, you venture outside.  And if you are truly a gentlemen, you purchase the woman so that you can insure that she will be protected.

After Atlas saves the woman from her cruel husband he takes her to his sister's home until he can get to know her and figure out the best way to help her.  But before he can do that, things get worse.  The woman that he rescued Lilliana Warwick has 2 young sons and her husband Godfrey refuses to allow her to see them.  And before anything can be worked out Godfrey is found dead in the apartment above his store....and it is ruled murder.  

Atlas takes it upon himself to investigate Godfrey's death in order to clear Lilliana's name as well as his own.  Unfortunately as he investigates, the suspect list grows in numbers and the clues lead Atlas to secrets in Lilliana's past as well as Godfrey's family.

Murder in Mayfair has more turns that a country back road.  D. M. Quincy keeps the reader on their toes and their eyes on the pages.  Luckily there isn't a speed limit when reading...there would surely be tickets for speed written.  I truly loved the twists and turns throughout the story and cannot wait for more books in the series.

Review by Missi S.

Monday, 10 July 2017

The Decorator Who Knew Too Much (Mad for Mod Mystery #4) by Diane Vallere

The Decorator Who Knew Too Much (A Madison Night Mystery Book 4)

When Interior Decorator Madison Night accepts an assignment in Palm Springs with handyman Hudson James, she expects designing days and romantic nights. But after spotting a body in the river by the job site, she causes a rift in the team. Add in the strain of recurring nightmares and a growing dependency on sleeping pills, and Madison seeks professional help to deal with her demons. 

She learns more about the crime than she’d like thanks to girl talk with friends, pillow talk with Hudson, and smack talk with the local bad boys. And after the victim is identified as the very doctor she’s been advised to see, she wonders if what she knows can help catch a killer. An unlikely ally helps navigate the murky waters before her knowledge destroys her, and this time, what she doesn’t know might be the one thing that saves her life. 

“If you love Doris Day, you’ll love Madison Night, decorator extraordinaire. She specializes in restoring mid-century homes and designs, and her latest project involves abductions, murder and vengeance.” – Books for Avid Readers 

“Diane Vallere…has a wonderful touch, bringing in the design elements and influences of the ’50s and ’60s era many of us hold dear while keeping a strong focus on what it means in modern times to be a woman in business for herself, starting over.” – Fresh Fiction 

Related subjects include: cozy mysteries, women sleuths, murder mystery series, whodunit mysteries (whodunnit), humorous murder mysteries, book club recommendations, amateur sleuth books, southern humor, Doris Day, chick lit. 

Books in the Madison Night Humorous Mystery Series: 


Part of the Henery Press Mystery Series Collection, if you like one, you'll probably like them all...   (Summary via Goodreads)

The Decorator Who Knew Too Much by Diane Vallere, the 4th book in her Madison Night HUMOROUS Mystery quite entertaining !!!

You cannot help but fall in love with Madison, the main character.  She is quite querky in her obsession with Doris Day and anything relating to that timeframe.  Her business is centered around the 50's and 60's and keeping that era alive.  

However in The Decorator Who Knew Too Much she takes a vacation from her work and travels with Hudson to help his brother-in-law with a strip mall construction idea.  Unfortunately on the first day at the site, Madison sees a dead body in the water at the river.  But once the police arrive and search there is no body to be found and she has put herself in a bad situation with Hudson's brother-in-law, Jimmy.

From that moment on the visit is nothing like what it was planned out to be.....especially after a body is found floating in the river a few days after Madison saw it.  

While Madison and Hudson try to enjoy their time away and to strengthen their new relationship, it becomes clear that Madison has placed every one in danger....or so it seems.  Upon further investigating and hard thinking, things begin to come clear to Madison but how to prove it becomes a different story.   And wil she be able to do that before anyone else gets hurt or killed ?

Vallere has a way of engulfing you up into the story from the moment you begin until the second you close the book.  The connections within the book are shocking but in the end they all make sense.  It is a very entertaining, funny and mind-blowing story.....

Review by Missi S.

Friday, 7 July 2017

Benjamin Franklin and The Quaker Murders by John Harmon McElroy

Benjamin Franklin and The Quaker Murders

Everyone in Philadelphia thinks Jacob Maul, the Quaker stonecutter, is a murderer. How could there be any doubt? In September of 1785, two women were found dead on his property—one of them in his bed—with bruise marks on their throats. The only person who comes to a different conclusion is the city’s most famous citizen, Benjamin Franklin.
But at seventy-nine years of age, Franklin doesn’t want to acquire a reputation for solving his neighbors’ problems. Instead, he recruits a younger man, Revolutionary War veteran James Jamison, to make inquiries under his direction and collect information that could prove the Quaker’s innocence. Franklin’s considerable intelligence guides Jamison, but as the investigation unfolds, details emerge that threaten to dismantle the great man’s assumptions.
The Quaker Murders contains rich details about both Benjamin Franklin and life in eighteenth-century Philadelphia, a large, bustling city that was still recovering from the rigors of the war for independence.  (Summary via Goodreads)

If you are a fan of The Quaker Midwife series by Edith Maxwell or A Lady and Lady's Maid Mystery series and/or The Gilded Newport Mysteries series both by Alyssa Maxwell, I highly recommend Benjamin Franklin and the Quaker Murders by John Harmon McElroy.  And don't think that because Benjamin Franklin is involved it is going to be a boring, historical book.  It is far from that.  I will admit to taking notes while reading it .... only because I wanted to be certain that when I sat down to write my review I was giving McElroy the credit he is so deserving of.

Jacob Maul a Quaker stonecutter has seen too much death...right in his own home.  His first wife dies from injuries after being hit by a wagon, his second wife found strangled next to him in bed, and then the sister of his second wife found strangled and discarded on his property.  After Mrs. Coons (Lizzie), Jacob's second wife's sister is found, he is arrested for the murder.

Captain James Jamison, who happened to be saved by Maul's oldest son, John, during the battle at Monmouth, is summoned secretly by Benjamin Franklin to discuss looking into the deaths.  Franklin does not believe that Maul is guilty and once he presents his reasoning to Jamison, Jamison finds himself agreeing.  

After this initial meeting, plans are set in motion.  Jamison will look into the deaths but mainly focusing on Lizzie's death as her sister's death was 7 years earlier.  Franklin and Jamison set up an arrangment so that no one will know that Franklin is behind the investigation.  It will be best if he is left out of it all together.

Jamison puts out word around town that he is looking into the murder and asks anyone for information to come forward.  He also sets out to visit Lizzie's family members and anyone that knew her so that he can learn more about her.  While on a trip out of town, a riot occurs in the jail resulting in Jacob Maul's
death.   This does not stop the investigation as it is important to the rest of the Maul family that Jacob be found innocent, if that is the case.

As you travel along with Jamison you will not believe some of the things that are uncovered regarding Lizzie and the secrets involved in her life.  You will also find amusement in the relationship between Jamison and Franklin.  And when they obtain a confession for Lizzie's death, you will be completely shocked.  And when you close the book for the last time, I believe you will be in awe of McElroy in the way in which he wrote a very entertaining and captivating story....and yes you can brag that you read a book on Bejamin Franklin.

Review by Missi S.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Booked 4 Murder (Sophie Kimball Mystery #1) by J.C. Eaton

Booked 4 Murder (Sophie Kimball Mystery, #1)

Sophie Phee Kimball is not a cop. She s a divorced, middle-aged mom who works as an account clerk for the police department in a small city in Minnesota. But her retired mother, Harriet Plunkett, is convinced Phee is the only one who can solve the mystery of a cursed book. According to Harriet, four members of her book club have already succumbed to the deadly curse. Harriet insists Phee catch the next plane to her retirement community in Sun City West, Arizona, to investigate. 

Is her mother just bored and lonely? She does have a new pet a long-haired chiweenie (half Chihuahua, half Dachshund) for company and a host of pals (although that number is admittedly dwindling). Phee is certain that their book club selection isn t cursed, but is somebody really knocking off the ladies? As Phee starts to uncover dark secrets hidden in plain sight under the blazing Arizona sun, she ll need to read between the lines before it s someone else s final chapter.... 

You ll chuckle all the way through this delightful romp through Sun City West, as Phee and her mother unravel the mystery behind the sudden deaths of several book club members. It s so cleverly written, you won t guess the perpetrators until the very end. Mary Marks, award-winning author of the Quilting Mystery series"  (Summary via Goodreads)

Booked 4 Murder, is the first in a new series by J.C. Eaton and Sophie "Phee" Kimball is the main character.  From the minute you start reading Booked 4 Murder you are along for the ride with Phee and let me tell you it is a crazy ride !!

Phee, like any loving daughter, will do what she can to help her mother...even if the idea presented is absolutely crazy !  Phee's mother, Harriet, is in a book club and the book they are currently reading has a curse on it !!  And Harriet wants Phee to drop everything and go to Arizona (Phee lives in Minnesota) and investigate the curse.  Even though Phee works at the local police department, she is far from being a cop.  She works in the accounts receivable department.

But it doesn't matter what Phee says, she finds herself sweating it out in Arizona taking demands from her over barring mother to solve the unexplained deaths of the members of the book club reading the "cursed" book.

Luckily Phee has a friend and co-worker back home, Nate, that she bounces ideas and theories off of and even gets helps with some of the clues she uncovers.

Everything falls apart and becomes a three-ring circus when the book club has their next meeting.  All the local news are in attendance as well as CNN and even a psychic from a reality show is there !!  While Phee begins to explain how the book is not cursed and how she can prove it, things start to get out of hand.....

This was such a fun book and a great start for a new series !!!  Highly recommend is a nice easy read, as long as you can handle Phee's mother you will be fine.

Review by Missi S.