Review: The English Wife by Lauren Willig

I first fell in love with Lauren Willig with her Pink Carnation series but I never ventured into her other stand alone books because I simply liked her where she belonged—in the Pink Carnation series.

Her Pink Carnation series was so fantastic and I didn’t want to spoil it with a stand alone book that was subpar, so I avoided anything by her that wasn’t the Pink Carnation series.

That was until this stunning cover screamed READ ME! Just looking at this book promised something fantastic, especially for fall. I needed this book more than I knew and I was reminded exactly why I love Lauren Willig and why I need to get back to the Pink Carnation series!

Annabelle and Bayard Van Duyvil live a charmed life: he’s the scion of an old Knickerbocker family, she grew up in a Tudor manor in England, they had a whirlwind romance in London, they have three year old twins on whom they dote, and he’s recreated her family home on the banks of the Hudson and renamed it Illyria.

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Excerpt: THIEF’S MARK (Sharpe & Donovan #7) by Carla Neggers

With fall coming up, I am starting to move into mystery mode. There is something about the turning of the leave and the colder nights that just screams ‘read a mystery’. So as we go into fall, I thought it would share and except from the upcoming mystery, THIEF’S MARK by Carla Neggers.

As a young boy, Oliver York witnessed the murder of his wealthy parents in their London apartment. The killers kidnapped him and held him in an isolated Scottish ruin, but he escaped, thwarting their plans for ransom. Now, after thirty years on the run, one of the two men Oliver identified as his tormentors may have surfaced.

Emma Sharpe and Colin Donovan are enjoying the final day of their Irish honeymoon when a break-in at the home of Emma’s grandfather, private art detective Wendell Sharpe, points to Oliver. The Sharpes have a complicated relationship with the likable, reclusive Englishman, an expert in Celtic mythology and international art thief who taunted Wendell for years. Emma and Colin postpone meetings in London with their elite FBI team and head straight to Oliver. But when they arrive at York’s country home, a man is dead and Oliver has vanished.

As the danger mounts, new questions arise about Oliver’s account of his boyhood trauma. Do Emma and Colin dare trust him? With the trail leading beyond Oliver’s small village to Ireland, Scotland and their own turf in the US, the stakes are high, and Emma and Colin must unravel the decades-old tangle of secrets and lies before a killer strikes again (summary from Goodreads).

EXCERPT

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Review: The Paris Spy (Maggie Hope Mystery #7) by Susan Elia MacNeal

The Maggie Hope mystery series is part mystery and part spy….probably heavier on the spy side but it has murder mystery elements woven in for variety. Some might argue that this series isn’t sure what it is….is it spy or mystery but in my opinion, I like the variation. It keeps thing exciting for me, having a character solve murders in one book and then go on a spy mission in another book.

I’ve been a fan of this series for some time now and though I haven’t loved every book, I love Maggie as a character and always excited to see where life will take her next.

Maggie Hope has come a long way since serving as a typist for Winston Churchill. Now she’s working undercover for the Special Operations Executive in the elegant but eerily silent city of Paris, where SS officers prowl the streets in their Mercedes and the Ritz is draped with swastika banners.

Walking among the enemy is tense and terrifying, and even though she’s disguised in chic Chanel, Maggie can’t help longing for home.

But her missions come first. Maggie’s half sister, Elise, has disappeared after being saved from a concentration camp, and Maggie is desperate to find her—that is, if Elise even wants to be found. Equally urgent, Churchill is planning the Allied invasion of France, and SOE agent Erica Calvert has been captured, the whereabouts of her vital research regarding Normandy unknown.

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Review: Arrowood by Mick Finlay

I absolutely love the tagline of this book: London Society takes their problems to Sherlock Holmes. Everyone else goes to Arrowood.

That totally caught my eye when I was scanning Netgalley in search of new books to read this summer. An anti-Sherlock Holmes sounded refreshing and new. I have been watching the TV show Sherlock (which if you haven’t watched it, go right now to Netflix and start!) and I love the modern take on it, so I thought that something like an anti-Sherlock read would be complimentary.

The Afghan War is over and a deal with the Irish appears to have brought an end to sectarian violence, but Britain’s position in the world is uncertain and the gap between rich and poor is widening. London is a place where the wealthy party while the underclass are tempted into lives of crime, drugs and prostitution. A serial killer stalks the streets. Politicians are embroiled in financial and sexual scandals. The year is 1895.

The police don’t have the resources to deal with everything that goes on in the capital. The rich turn to a celebrated private detective when they need help: Sherlock Holmes. But in densely populated south London, where the crimes are sleazier and Holmes rarely visits, people turn to Arrowood, a private investigator who despises Holmes, his wealthy clientele and his showy forensic approach to crime. Arrowood understands people, not clues (summary from Goodreads).

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Review: Murder on Black Swan Lane (A Wrexford and Sloane Mystery #1) by Andrea Penrose

While combing through the catalog of titles on Netgalley, I happened to come across this one and admittedly, was captivated by the cover. I am not really sure why, I mean it’s not like it’s really that new and eye catching….I feel like I’ve seen a ton of books with similar titles that I was passed by in favor of something more eye catching.

But for some reason I paused on this one long enough to read the summary. Again, nothing terribly fresh but yet it sounded like just the thing I was looking for…..something predictable. I was dying to read another British detective mystery novel and this sounded like just that. So I clicked on request and once it was approved, I started in on what I expected to be a run of the mill detective novel.

The Earl of Wrexford possesses a brilliant scientific mind, but boredom and pride lead him to reckless behavior. He does not suffer fools gladly. So when pompous, pious Reverend Josiah Holworthy publicly condemns him for debauchery, Wrexford unsheathes his rapier-sharp wit and strikes back.

As their war of words escalates, London’s most popular satirical cartoonist, A.J. Quill, skewers them both. But then the clergyman is found slain in a church—his face burned by chemicals, his throat slashed ear to ear—and Wrexford finds himself the chief suspect (summary from Goodreads).

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