Review: Mother Daughter Traitor Spy by Susan Elia MacNeal

Big big big fan of Susan Elia MacNeal here! I have loved her Maggie Hope series over the years and when I saw this one was coming out, I actually thought it was maybe a novella or something tied to the Maggie Hope series. If you are familiar with the Maggie Hope books, then you will know that spying and familial connections play a big role. So just based on the title I thought surely this book would tie into the Maggie books some how. However, it’s actually a stand alone book! No connection to the Maggie books.

I I know that for some authors it’s hard to branch out into a world of standalone books. Authors get to be ‘known’ for a character, or series etc and next thing you know they have become pigeon holed. I think what works for this one is MacNeal sticks to familiar territory. She knows her history and always does such a great job developing the historical context. While this book wasn’t a Maggie book, I felt connected to the time period and setting in the same way that I would with one of her series books.

I love this book for new fans of MacNeal. The Maggie books are about 10 books into the series and sometimes it can be intimidating to go back and read the whole series in order to get caught up before the next release comes out. This book gives interested and new readers the chance to explore MacNeal’s writing and style without having to go back and read a whole series. It is a great standalone novel and should not be missed!

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Review: Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn

If I had to describe this one, I would say it’s a Golden Girls meets James Bond mashup that you never knew you needed. Deanna Raybourn has been a beloved author of mine for YEARS! Her characters are charming, witty, and smart. I have read almost all of her books and never pass on anything she has written. She is truly a talented writer and I am just so thrilled that she has come out with a new standalone book! Raybourn has such a great prose with humor, charm, and boldness that is rare to find and I absolutely love when she comes out with a new book as I am almost SURE to love it.

When I saw this one was coming out, it sounded a little different from her usual books. Raybourn usually writes more historical fiction and this one sounded more like spies and espionage. But I have full faith in Raybourn’s writing talents and I knew that she would craft something that I would simply love and adore! In so many books, the main characters are young hot talented women, but we all grow up and age—I love seeing more representation of older badass women!

This book was also selected as a Book of the Month pick so if you need anymore endorsement, this is it! Raybourn’s writing mixed with this unique story really made it shine an I can totally see why it was a BOTM selection. You should be able to add this one onto your next book box if you missed it for September. This book really shows that just because you are retired—-doesn’t mean you can’t still be interesting.

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Special Feature and Excerpt: The Lady’s Guide to Death and Deception (The Secret Life of Mary Bennet #3) by Katherine Cowley

Mary Bennet was my least favorite Bennet sister from Pride and Prejudice. I even liked Lydia better than Mary if you can believe that! Mary was alway the mellow-dramatic one and the one with the most limited character and plot lines etc. Which is one of the reasons this book made me really excited was it offered to give Mary Bennet a personality and her own chance to be the hero!

This is the third book in the series that turns Mary from a piano playing ensemble character and turns her into a spy for the crown in a thriller series! I am super excited to share this excerpt from the third book with you guys today. Based on the excerpt I would say that you could easily pick up this book and not feel lost in the series itself.

I think this book will appeal to historical fiction fans as well as thriller fans and no doubt classical English Lit fans will love exploring Mary Bennet in a new way. This little diamond in the rough is available now, and receiving a lot of positive feedback. So if you are looking for a thriller with a fun classical twist then you want to check this one out! Keep reading for an excerpt!

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Review: Our Woman in Moscow by Beatriz Williams

When I think of good, solid, historical fiction—one of the first names that comes to mind is Beatriz Williams. Hands down she writes wonderful novels rich with historical detail and characters you can relate to. I have loved many of her books and when I saw she was coming out with this more modern piece of historical fiction, I was all over it. So many of her books are set in the 1940s to 1950s and this book really felt like it was going to have a more modern twist with the Russians and spies.

I bought it when it first came out and then forgot about it until my pre-order arrived…..and then forgot about it again. Every time I cleaned out my bookshelves though, I would see this book and think to myself ‘man I need to read this one’. Then suddenly—-it was time to read it one day out of the blue! I had just finished some other great pieces of historical fiction and I really wanted a tried and proven historical fiction author to read. So I grabbed this one off the self.

What appealed to me most was the time period. I love that it’s got this major spy aspect and was set in post war Europe with a heavy Russian angle. With all that’s going on in the world right now with Russia, I thought it would be interesting to read more about their culture and history even if it’s through an Americanized filter etc. I find the post war time period so fascinating for a number of reasons. So many countries and people were coming off of this horrible war and were just trying to reestablish themselves and there was still a very real threat of espionage and spying so I couldn’t have been more excited to read this one if I tried!

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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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