Review: The Mozart Code by Rachel McMillan

Over the years I have read and enjoyed many or Rachel McMillan’s books! I especially loved her book The London Restoration that I read in 2020. It was a standalone novel with lots of historical detail and some romance. While I enjoyed her historical mysteries, it was the standalone novel that really made me love her writing!

When I saw that she was coming out with a new standalone piece of historical fiction, I was eager to get my hands on it. I love books about espionage and spies especially when they are women spies! I have read a lot of historical fiction with female spies in WWII and while that might be the hot ticket right now, I never get tired of reading books like that!

McMillan is a wonderful writer and I know how much detail she puts in her books not only with her characters but with her historical facts as well. If you enjoy historical fiction by Kate Quinn or espionage mysteries by Susan Elia MacNeal, then you will no doubt enjoy this latest novel from McMillan! I waited and waited and waited for my copy to arrive and when it finally did, I had COVID. While I planned to read it during my quarantine, I ended up having a hard time focusing on reading so I saved it for my flight to Arizona. I quickly read this one in a matter of days once I started it on the plane—it was an excellent choice that’s for sure!

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Review: The Key to Deceit (Electra McDonnell #2) by Ashley Weaver

This series captured my heart last year with it’s debut! I have read other books and series by Ashley Weaver but this is the series that has captured my attention the absolute most! After book one I was so eager to see what happened with Ellie next! Did she go back to safe cracking and stealing or did she keep on the straight and narrow?

I grabbed this book as soon as it was released and since it was on the shorter side (under 300 pages) I basically read it in one sitting—on my flight to Cabo. It was a super quick read and I found that the magic and allure of the book and characters didn’t change for me from book one to two and I am once again eagerly awaiting the next book in the series! If you are a historical mystery fan you need this book series. The first and second books are short and can be read in one or two sittings. I would recommend starting with the first book so you can enjoy all the character relationships rather than diving in with this one first.

But if you do decide to dive in with the second book and not start with the first one, not a huge big deal as the author keeps you fully abreast of events of the previous book and the character relationships. Ellie is a lovely modern character with wit and charm but also an edge. If you love authors like Anna Lee Huber and Deanna Raybourn then you will no doubt find a winner with Electra “Ellie” McDonnell!

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Review: A Dress of Violet Taffeta by Tessa Arlen

I have to say that Tessa Arlen has been an author that I have enjoyed in different ways over the years. I started reading her earlier books years ago which were mostly historical mysteries. Later on I discovered her new heroines and historical fiction series as well and later on a standalone historical fiction novel. Some times, some authors are better at writing mysteries while others thrieve with general historical fiction. Arlen is wonderful at all of them! I have loved many of her books for different reasons as they are always well written and researched.

This book was a no brainer! First I featured an excerpt for a tour of the book, but I knew this would be one that I would absolutely read, sadly the tour timeline didn’t line up with my own reading calendar so I had to just do a feature for the tour but immediately started reading the book as soon as I read the excerpt! It sounded so good and plus—that COVER! I am so in love with the cover! It’s stunning and a wonderful historical fiction read.

One of the reasons that I was so drawn to this book (besides the author and cover) was the time period. I love Edwardian era books so much and often they are few and far between with authors favoring either the Victorian era or WWI. The Edwardian era is such a weird time period with authors often just lightly touching on it and then moving on into WWI, but with Arlen I knew that I would get a well researched and well written accounting of my favorite historical period! And I was not disappointed!

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Review: The Crimson Thread by Kate Forsyth

It’s been a hot minute since I read anything by Kate Forsyth. Generally she writes more fantasy and fairytale retellings but this book is firmly in the historical fiction genre. So needless to say when it came up for review, I was intrigued because it was different than what Forsyth typically writes and she is such a wonderful writer that I knew this one would be on par with her other books!

Obviously it was an easy ‘yes’ to review but beyond just the author and genre of the book I didn’t know too much going in. I mean of course I get an officially summary of the books I review but sometimes I just say yes based on the author or cover before I really read the summary. When I sat down to start reading this one I was more or less blind. I knew it was a historical fiction piece and based on the cover I was guessing WWII (which I was correct) but beyond that I didn’t know much else.

But instantly I knew this was going to be different than the traditional WWII novel. The setting really distinguishes itself from traditional WWII books set in London, Paris, or even Germany. This book is set on the isle of Crete which instantly made me want to know more. I can’t recall a single historical fiction novel set on this small isle and it really made the novel for me!

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Review: The Beach Trap by Ali Brady

I love beach reads season! I love the carefree, relaxed, fluffy appraoch to beach reading every year and as the summer approaches I usually have a list of books that I can’t wait to read on vacation over the summer. This book was right up there for me. It sounded like a blend of The Parent Trap and an HGTV show that I could absolutely get behind. Plus a friend of mine recently went to Destin, Florida and the photos looked amazing so I could completely visualize what this beach house might look like!

But as I got into this one I found that it was NOT in fact a fluffy easy read that I had been expecting. This one had some teeth and substance with some heavier content that I wasn’t exactly expecting. That’s not to say that it wasn’t good because it absolutely was! But I felt like the cover was a little misleading in some ways. The summary clearly promised some family drama and sibling/friendship stuggles but it also promised creative rennovations and romance so when I picked it up I thought it would be a little heavier on those topics but it was actually more focused on the sisters and their relationship.

This was a book that grew on me and took my by surprise. When I realized that it was more emotionally intense that I was expecting, I almost just wanted to pass on it because I was in the mood for easy fluff, but then this one just took hold of me in a surprising way and I was reluctant to put it down and I am glad that I didn’t because it was absolutely wonderful! If you are looking for a beach read that has some teeth this is the book for you, plus it really is a little Parent Trap mixed with an HGTV show but with so much more to recommend itself in the process!

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