Review: The Hollywood Spy (Maggie Hope #10) by Susan Elia MacNeal

I fell in love with Maggie Hope long ago and watching her journey through these last 10 books has been so fun as a reader. We have seen her go from nervous secretary, to spy, through PTSD, and heartache. As we enter the 10th book in the series ,she is in many ways unrecognizable from the first book.

As a reader you really get a sense of how the war changed her character and I think that’s what really makes this series shine. I haven’t always loved the direction that Maggie’s character has taken or choices that she has made but for me that’s what makes her so real and relatable. You don’t have to love her choices or agree with them but you learn to live with them in the same way that her character must.

I was a little nervous going into this book though because we see the reappearance of one time beau, John Sterling. I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. In the previous books I felt like John was charming and wonderful—-up until he wasn’t. Then I was like ‘Maggie girl kick his ass to the curb!’ and now suddenly he’s making a reappearance in her life and I hoped that he had undergone some changes between the books.

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Special Feature: A Rogue’s Company (Sparks & Bainbridge Mystery #3) by Allison Montclair

The Sparks and Bainbridge series is relatively young in its inception. I read the first two books but couldn’t get this one in this month—though I do plan on reading it later on this year. The series, overall, has been solid with loads of four and five star reviews flooding Amazon and Goodreads (mine among them!). Montclair is a talented writer when it comes to murder mysteries but one of the things I enjoy most about her books is the way that the mystery unfolds.

It’s always thought out and polished. Since this series is still new, the author does a great job catching new readers up to speed with characters and other side plots while still maintaining the focus on the mystery itself. Since this is only the third book, it’s easy for readers to go back and catch up on other books in the series if they are so inclined.

I feel confident recommending this new installment, as the other two have been solid and wonderful to read! If you are unsure if you should pick this one up mid series, I feel confident that readers will quickly find their bearings and become invested in the series. If you love historical mysteries with smart lady detectives, you don’t want to miss this one! It’s a wonderful new series and this installment promises to give readers something to enjoy over the summer!

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Review: A Peculiar Combination (Electra McDonnell #1) by Ashley Weaver

I have really enjoyed Ashley Weaver’s Amory Ames books so when I saw she was coming out with a new lady detective series and with a heroine by the name of Electra (Ellie for short), I knew this was going to be a great, great read! Clearing my schedule, I added this one to my early summer reading list and I am so glad that I did!

The Amory Ames series has been fun and I have liked the books I have read, but this book felt so much more complete for some reason (I will get to my thoughts on that in a minute!). Historical mysteries are my favorites, especially when it includes a little romance between the murder and investigating. But as many historical fiction/mystery readers know, WWII and the Victorian era are saturated with books.

So the question becomes how does an author distinguish their new lady detective series? It’s a tough question, for me the thing that caught my eye about this one was the name of the heroine. I loved her flashy and memorable name, it conjured images of a brazen, bold heroine that I just couldn’t get out of my head. That was what made me pick this one up in the sea of WWII historical mysteries!

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Special Feature: Castle Shade (Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes #17) by Laurie R. King

I absolutely fell in love with Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes when I randomly picked up The Bee Keepers Assistant years ago. I have since only read a few books in the series and sadly skipped around quite a bit. Now here we are with book 17 being released! I couldn’t believe how far behind I got in this series! Rather than skip around again by picking this one up, I decided to go back and re-read the other books in the series first. So in the coming months you will see more reviews for this series being posted!

But I did want to get this one on your radar! This is a series where you definitely can skip around, I have and I haven’t been too lost. The principal characters are timeless and the author always does a great job keeping new readers and long time fans abreast of the goings on in Mary and Holmes’s lives. Plus the focus is on the mystery so you could easily pick up this book (or any in the series) and find something to love about the characters and stories/mysteries.

If you are a fan of lady detective novels like Veronica Speedwell, Georgie from Her Royal Spyness series, Lady Darby and a host of others, then this series will appeal to you. King is an experienced writer who has kept the character of Sherlock Holmes alive and solving crime with his lady love through ages and I think it’s fantastic. This is a smart, well written series and I have no doubt this latest installment will be equally enjoyable and fun to read! It is out now so make sure to check it out!

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Special Feature and Excerpt: Dead Dead Girls (Harlem Renaissance Mystery #1) by Nekesa Afia

Nothing caught my eye faster than a new historical mystery series featuring an author and main character POC. I was thrilled to see something so tantalizing, new, and timely hitting book shelves this summer. I literally jumped at the change to feature this one! Glitzy speakeasies, the roaring 20s, murder, and a smart intelligent heroine—-need I say more!?

While historical mysteries are a favorite of mine, sometimes they start to run together. Often they are set in England in the late Victorian era and the heroine is generally young, white and wealthy. A book like Dead Dead Girls breaks that tradition and moves toward something new, relevant, and enticing in the genre. I cannot wait to read this one and am so excited to be sharing not only a bit about the book with you guys today, but also an excerpt!

I also couldn’t close out this post without also noting how gorgeous this cover it! This cover captures the 1920s so well! It looks appealing, elegant, with an edge that will instantly draw your eye and make you wonder about what exciting tale awaits with in! I know the second I saw this cover it went on my TBR and then I read the back and was like YES! This one sounds—-So. Good.

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