Review of THE BIG BRUSH-OFF by Michael Murphy

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This was a fun find from Net Galley!

I love a retro mystery and this one takes place in the 1930’s.

Description (via Net Galley)

The irresistible Jake & Laura return in Michael Murphy’s witty, fast-paced mystery series—perfect for readers of Dorothy Cannell and Christopher Fowler. In The Big Brush-off, the charming and indomitable duo heads to the Midwest to solve a chilling cold case of a young girl’s murder.

Blackie Doyle is dying. That’s what Jake Donovan’s literary agent tells him. Sales are falling, and the rough draft of Jake’s latest Blackie novel doesn’t look promising. Maybe Jake has been distracted by a recent barrage of real-life homicides, or by his marriage to the beautiful up-and-coming actress Laura Wilson, now slated for a part opposite Clark Gable himself. Whatever the reason, Jake decides to return to his roots. Which is why he and Laura hop the next train to the small town in Pennsylvania where Jake once worked as a Pinkerton detective.

Ten years ago, the murder of a teenage girl interrupted life in quiet, God-fearing Hanover. The unsolved case has always gnawed at Jake, and it seems no coincidence that as soon as he starts digging up old ghosts, he’s once again writing like a dervish. Nor is it surprising that some townfolk would rather see the truth stay buried—and maybe even Jake and Laura with it. But the glamorous crime-solving pair refuse to leave before sorting through a bevy of suspects—and at long last nailing the one who almost got away with the not-so-perfect crime.

Praise for Michael Murphy’s Jake & Laura mysteries

“Glittering with a hint of Nick and Nora, Michael Murphy’s 1930s Manhattan provides a witty setting for murder and mayhem.”—Mary Daheim, bestselling author of The Alpine Yeoman, on The Yankee Club

“[Jake and Laura] are fun, witty, and charming, and [All That Glitters] is filled with the same kind of 1930s Hollywood glamour that made the film of The Thin Man such a classic.”—Popcorn Reads

“The third installment in Murphy’s series is just as much fun as the first. The mystery is full of twists with an ample amount of red herrings, suspects, and action.”—Mystery Please!, on Wings in the Dark

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I loved this story and I loved the characters of Jake and Laura. It’s a cozy, and you know how I love cozies. Mysteries can be thrilling and fun and they don’t need to be gory or nightmare-worthy. I would love to see this series made into a series — BBC style — as I can imagine viewers loving the story lines and the period aspects (costumes, cars, etc.).

While this was my first Jake and Laura mystery, it won’t be my last!

Thank you for my invitation to review it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tasty Book Tour for FALL OF POPPIES: STORIES OF LOVE AND THE GREAT WAR

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Today I’m part of the virtual book tour for a fantastic book: FALL OF POPPIES – Stories of Love and the Great War.

First I must admit that I had my eye on this title for a while since I saw that Heather Webb was a contributor. Ms. Webb wrote the recent RODIN’S LOVER and I heard her speak at The Concord Bookshop and I think she is fabulous, so I really wanted to read this. Added to that is the fact that while I read quite prolifically about WWII, I have read very little about WWI. Thus, I was quite excited to be part of this tour and to read these wonderfully crafted stories.

Here’s what the tour has to say:

About the Book

Top voices in historical fiction deliver an intensely moving collection of short stories about loss, longing, and hope in the aftermath of World War I—featuring bestselling authors such as Hazel Gaynor, Jennifer Robson, Beatriz Williams, and Lauren Willig and edited by Heather Webb.

A squadron commander searches for meaning in the tattered photo of a girl he’s never met…

A Belgian rebel hides from the world, only to find herself nursing the enemy…

A young airman marries a stranger to save her honor—and prays to survive long enough to love her…The peace treaty signed on November 11, 1918, may herald the end of the Great War but for its survivors, the smoke is only beginning to clear. Picking up the pieces of shattered lives will take courage, resilience, and trust.

Within crumbled city walls and scarred souls, war’s echoes linger. But when the fighting ceases, renewal begins…and hope takes root in a fall of poppies.

356 Pgs. |Heat: 2 | Purchase: Amazon | B & N | Google Play | iTunes | Kobo

Here’s all the info on the authors:

About The Authors

Jessica Brockmole is the author of the internationally bestselling Letters from Skye, an epistolary love story spanning an ocean and two wars. Named one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Best Books of 2013, Letters From Skye has been published in seventeen countries.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

Hazel Gaynor is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Girl Who Came Home and A Memory of Violets. She writes regularly for the national press, magazines and websites in Ireland and the UK.

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Evangeline Holland is the founder and editor of Edwardian Promenade, the number one blog for lovers of World War I, the Gilded Age, and Belle Époque France with nearly forty thousand unique viewers a month. In addition, she blogs at Modern Belles of History. Her fiction includes An Ideal Duchess and its sequel, crafted in the tradition of Edith Warton.

Website | Twitter | GoodReads

Marci Jefferson is the author of Girl on the Golden Coin: A Novel of Frances Stuart, which Publisher’s Weekly called “intoxicating.” Her second novel, The Enchantress of Paris, will release in Spring 2015 from Thomas Dunne Books.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

Kate Kerrigan is the New York Times bestselling author of The Ellis Island trilogy. In addition she has written for the Irish Tatler, a Dublin-based newspaper, as well as The Irish Mail and a RTE radio show, Sunday Miscellany.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

Jennifer Robson is the USA Today and international bestselling author of Somewhere in France and After the War is Over. She holds a doctorate in Modern History from the University of Oxford, where she was a Commonwealth Scholar and SSHRC Doctoral Fellow. Jennifer lives in Toronto with her husband and young children.

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Heather Webb is an author, freelance editor, and blogger at award-winning writing sites WriterUnboxed.com and RomanceUniversity.org. Heather is a member of the Historical Novel Society and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association, and she may also be found teaching craft-based courses at a local college

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Beatriz Williams is the New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author of The Secret Life of Violet Grant and A Hundred Summers. A graduate of Stanford University with an MBA from Columbia, Beatriz spent several years in New York and London hiding her early attempts at fiction, first on company laptops as a corporate and communications strategy consultant, and then as an at-home producer of small persons. She now lives with her husband and four children near the Connecticut shore, where she divides her time between writing and laundry. William Morrow will publish her forthcoming hardcover, A Certain Age, in the summer of 2016.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

Lauren Willig is the New York Times bestselling author of eleven works of historical fiction. Her books have been translated into over a dozen languages, awarded the RITA, Booksellers Best and Golden Leaf awards, and chosen for the American Library Association’s annual list of the best genre fiction. She lives in New York City, where she now writes full time.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

 

I loved these stories. They were beautifully written and each was so different; yet each masterfully evoked the sense of that time. As I said above, I am not too well-read on the First World War, and I enjoyed these short stories, though some of the stories were rather sad (or at least poignant).

And there’s a Giveaway!!

THREE copies of this book will be given away by the publisher! US addresses only.

You can follow the link below to the giveaway and follow the instructions:

Link to Rafflecopter Page: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/521ac4c8947/

Thank you for making me part of the tour and for my review e-copy!

 

 

HFVBT Book Blast for DEATH OF AN ALCHEMIST by Mary Lawrence

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I’m blasting it up today for a fun sounding read through Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours: DEATH OF AN ALCHEMIST.

Here’s what they have to say:

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DEATH OF AN ALCHEMIST: A BIANCA GODDARD MYSTERY (BIANCA GODDARD MYSTERIES, BOOK 2)
BY MARY LAWRENCE

Publication Date: January 26, 2016
Kensington Books
Hardcover & eBook; 304 Pages

Genre: Historical Mystery

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In the mid sixteenth century, Henry VIII sits on the throne, and Bianca Goddard tends to the sick and suffering in London’s slums, where disease can take a life as quickly as murder…

For years, alchemist Ferris Stannum has devoted himself to developing the Elixir of Life, the reputed serum of immortality. Having tested his remedy successfully on an animal, Stannum intends to send his alchemy journal to a colleague in Cairo for confirmation. But the next day his body is found and the journal is gone.

Bianca, the daughter of an alchemist, is well acquainted with the mystical healing arts. When her husband John falls ill with the sweating sickness, she dares to hope Stannum’s journal could contain the secret to his recovery. But first she must solve the alchemist’s murder. As she ventures into a world of treachery and deceit, Stannum’s death is only the first in a series of murders—and Bianca’s quest becomes a matter of life and death, not only for her husband, but for herself…

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOKS-A-MILLION | INDIEBOUND

Praise for The Alchemist’s Daughter (Bianca Goddard Mysteries, Book 1)

“A realistic evocation of 16th century London’s underside. The various strands of the plot are so skillfully plaited together.” —Fiona Buckley

“Mystery and Tudor fans alike will raise a glass to this new series.” —Karen Harper

About the Author

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Mary Lawrence studied biology and chemistry, graduating from Indiana University with a degree in Cytotechnology. Along with writing and farming, Lawrence works as a cytologist near Boston. She lives in Maine. The Alchemist’s Daughter is the first book in the Bianca Goddard Mystery series.

For more information please visit Mary’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

I’ll be adding this one to my TBR pile! I love a good historical mystery with a strong female protagonist!

You can follow the tour and discover a new blog!

Book Blast Schedule

Monday, March 7
Passages to the Past
Beth’s Book Nook Blog

Tuesday, March 8
Book Nerd
With Her Nose Stuck In A Book

Wednesday, March 9
The Book Connection
Seize the Words: Books in Review

Thursday, March 10
Reading Is My SuperPower

Friday, March 11
Rambling Reviews

Saturday, March 12
Time 2 Read

Sunday, March 13
Susan Heim on Writing

Monday, March 14
CelticLady’s Reviews
Ageless Pages Reviews

Tuesday, March 15
Just One More Chapter

Wednesday, March 16
A Literary Vacation

Thursday, March 17
A Book Geek

Friday, March 18
The Lit Bitch
A Holland Reads

Review of THE SWANS OF FIFTH AVENUE by Melanie Benjamin

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Last year, I got a galley of this novel signed at BEA. I also received it through Net Galley. I’m a HUGE Melanie Benjamin fan ever since I read THE AVIATOR’S WIFE (reviewed on here) and I follow her on Facebook (where she seems to be incredibly normal, cheerful, and funny).

Here’s the description of SWANS:

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