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: War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

War and Peace or more commonly known as “the book most people have lied about reading” is the definition of epic.

This book is big and intimidating but it’s often the crown jewel for readers, why? Because it’s arguably the greatest novel ever written, so naturally if you’ve read it you must be part of the ‘in crowd’ or elite readers of the literary world.

So, why haven’t I read this book up until now? I mean, I’ve read massive books before, I mean the A Song of Ice and Fire books are just as long as this book so I’ve clearly read long books. Let’s not forget Les Miserables, another long tedious book that I’ve read. I’ve also read other works by Tolstoy (Anna Karenina) that are lengthy and wordy, so I am familiar with his writing style. So why avoid this book? Well I’ll be honest, even with all my reading and lengthy epics under my belt, this book scared me.

Tolstoy’s writing is complex and tedious as are parts of the story. A Russian writer in the Victorian era is anything but easy to read. I struggled with Anna Karenina at times and honestly felt like War and Peace was just too high above me. Like maybe it would be too had and what if I didn’t like it or understand anything? I would feel like an absolute disgrace to my literature degree!

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Review: A Twist in Time (Kendra Donovan #2) by Julie McElwain

Long time readers of my blog know that I love time travel novels. I personally feel like I was born in the wrong era so I compensate by reading books on time travel and hope that I stumble upon my own vortex and end up in the castle of an insanely handsome duke to be, who just happens to be single and makes me a duchess and showers me with glittering jewels, titles, lands, oh and love of course!

Wow, I digress…I got wrapped up in that daydream a little too much I think haha!

In the spirit of my daydreaming, I picked up the latest Kendra Donovan novel which just so happens to have striking similarities to my daydreaming :).

When Kendra Donovan’s plan to return to the 21st century fails, leaving her stranded in 1815, the Duke of Aldridge believes he knows the reason—she must save his nephew, who has been accused of brutally murdering his ex-mistress.

Former FBI agent Kendra Donovan’s attempts to return to the twenty-first century have failed, leaving her stuck at Aldridge Castle in 1815. And her problems have just begun: in London, the Duke of Aldridge’s nephew Alec—Kendra’s confidante and lover—has come under suspicion for murdering his former mistress, Lady Dover, who was found viciously stabbed with a stiletto, her face carved up in a bizarre and brutal way.

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Review: Where the Dead Lie (Sebastian St. Cyr #12) by C.S. Harris

When this one came up for review, I agreed because it sounded like a bit of a gritty Victorian/Regency mystery and I was ready for a bit of a new mystery series.

However, I was hesitant because this book was number 12 in the series. Lately I’ve been jumping into a couple of new series a little late in the game and I felt like at the very least, I should read the first book in this new series so I could get an idea of where things were at, at least with the main character, Lord Devlin.

London, 1813. Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, is no stranger to the dark side of the city, but he’s never seen anything like this: the brutalized body of a 15-year-old boy dumped into a makeshift grave on the grounds of an abandoned factory.

One of London’s many homeless children, Benji Thatcher was abducted and tortured before his murder—and his younger sister is still missing. Few in authority care about a street urchin’s fate, but Sebastian refuses to let this killer go unpunished. Uncovering a disturbing pattern of missing children, Sebastian is drawn into a shadowy, sadistic world.

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Review: What Angels Fear (Sebastian St. Cyr #1) by C.S. Harris

Later this week I have another book in this series up for review. Having not read this series before, I felt like it might be a good thing to start with the first book to at least get my barrings. The book I am reviewing is the 12th book, so obviously there is a lot I will have missed, but I wanted to at least get to know the back story of the protagonist, Lord Devlin.

It’s 1811, and the threat of revolution haunts the upper classes of King George III’s England. Then a beautiful young woman is found raped and savagely murdered on the altar steps of an ancient church near Westminster Abbey.

A dueling pistol discovered at the scene and the damning testimony of a witness both point to one man, Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, a brilliant young nobleman shattered by his experience in the Napoleonic Wars.

Now a fugitive running for his life, Sebastian calls upon his skill as an agent during the war to catch the killer and prove his own innocence. In the process, he accumulates a band of unlikely allies, including the enigmatic beauty Kat Boleyn, who broke Sebastian’s heart years ago.

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