Beth's Book-Nook Blog

Reviews of What I've Been Reading….

The Dead Ringer by M. C. Beaton

 

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I love all the Agatha Raisin books and this one was particularly good. It’s funny but I feel like this installment, as compared to the most recent one, had a different tone to it, and it was more like the tone of the earlier Agatha Raisin books. Sometimes the jocularity can be a bit overdone and the characters seem caricaturist, but not in this one. Agatha has her issues – with romance, men, and jealous women – and she is as cranky as ever, but she’s not as irascible as she’s been in the past few novels. The storyline with her and Charles is heating up again as well.

I love the Acorn tv series and may have to purchase Acorn so that I can get it more easily (along with other awesome British series — the Brits just do television better than we do in the States!).

If you enjoy Agatha, don’t miss The Dead Ringer!

Thank you for my review e-copy!

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The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton

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I am so very excited that Kate Morton, an author whom I adore, has a new novel coming out in October. I had the opportunity to read it via Net Galley and I really enjoyed it!

The Clockmaker’s Daughter is wonderful historical fiction, and it follows the story of Birdie, a spirit who tells her own story within the story of a house and all the intertwining lives that play a role there over time. This story stretches from 1862 to present day, but eventually you come to see how all the lives are actually impacting each other through time and place, through love, murder, loss, and mystery. Though the story can sometimes be a bit confusing as the narrator changes, and the story does not move chronologically, I loved making the connections and guessing what would come next. It’s a bit of a sad story, but interesting, and with a cast of characters that is as memorable as it is unique.

Fans of Morton will love this treat, and new readers of her should not miss it!

Thank you for my review copy!

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And because you can find anything on the Internet, here’s a You Tube video of Kate Morton herself discussing the novel:
https://youtu.be/AzefRB67TYQ
I watched this and just wished that I could shout out to her that I love her writing and I even have bangs, too!! We could be kindred spirits if she came to visit Boston!! 🙂
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The Forbidden Place by Susanne Jansson

 

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Creepy and weird — if you like books that are somewhat haunting and creepy and very “atmospheric”, this is one for you! This novel is a mystery centered around deaths (murders?) at a bog and our protagonist lives right next to it and is drawn to it. I liked the bit of history woven into the story about how human sacrifices were done many years ago and how the bog was used for ritual.

I liked the main character in this story, though she has a sad back story – a story which becomes apparent as the novel unfolds. I almost wondered if there could be a sequel to this book when I reached the end – ?? Overall, it was compelling and mysterious and I enjoyed it!

Thank you for my review copy via Net Galley.

Description via N.G. –

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Lies by T. M. Logan

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This was the perfect read in advance of going back to school this week! Suspenseful and exciting, I read it late into the night, relishing the suspense. The poor guy who is at the center of this novel – he could not catch a break. I thought I might have figured this one out, but all I’ll say (so I don’t spoil anything!) is that I was halfway correct.

This one will publish on 9/11/18. If you enjoy a fast and suspenseful read, don’t miss it!

Thank you for my review e-copy through Net Galley.

Description from NG:

Six days ago, Joe Lynch was a happily married man, a devoted father, and a respected teacher living in a well-to-do London suburb. But that was before he spotted his wife’s car entering a hotel parking garage. Before he saw her in a heated argument with her best friend’s husband. Before Joe confronted the other man in an altercation where he left him for dead, bleeding and unconscious.

Now, Joe’s life is unraveling. His wife has lied to him. Her deception has put their entire family in jeopardy. The man she met at the hotel has vanished. And as the police investigate his disappearance, suspicion falls on Joe.

Unable to trust the woman he loves, Joe finds himself at the mercy of her revelations and deceits, unsure of who or what to believe. All he knows is that her actions have brought someone dangerous into their lives—someone obsessed with her and determined to tear Joe’s world apart.

What if your whole life was based on LIES?

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Our House by Louise Candlish

 

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Oh my — I chose this book through Net Galley and it was one of those “I can’t put it down” reads! The poor guy in this novel makes some bad choices, and instead of doing the right thing, he makes more bad choices. Meanwhile, the main female in the story, his wife Fiona, suffers the consequences and makes some bad choices herself. I kept reading and thinking, “Oh no. This is not going to turn out okay!”.
Loved the ironic twist at the end, which made me keep thinking about this book long after it was over.
My only challenge with it was that it was told in real time (omniscient narrator from each character’s point of view – Fi’s and Bram’s) and also as a podcast in Fi’s voice with listener comments that I found distracting. The timelines varied throughout, which could confuse some people. I found myself double checking the dates for each chapter so I knew where we were chronologically.
Overall, a suspenseful and satisfying read! Thanks for my e-copy!
SPOILER ALERT — I almost didn’t keep reading this book as I feared Bram had killed the children and I didn’t want any part of that, but no fear, the kids are fine – they are just at grandma’s!
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The Witches’ Tree by M.C. Beaton

 

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If you read me, you know I LOVE the MC Beaton “Agatha Raisin” mysteries. Agatha is so cranky and funny and yet brilliant at solving mysteries. Ms. Beaton’s publicist kindly sent me her latest installment: The Witches’ Tree, where poor Agatha is tracking down a murderer while being targeted by a coven of witches. Agatha Raisin is now being made for television in the UK and I’ve seen several of the episodes. I really like how they’ve interpreted the stories – fairly close to the book but with some unique twists on character interpretation. I get them through Acorn TV (which has loads of awesome British shows – so much better than anything on regular US TV!).

Thank you for my review copy! Can’t wait for the next novel — I never grow tired of Agatha!

The Witches’ Tree continues the tradition in M. C. Beaton’s beloved Agatha Raisin mystery series―now a hit show on Acorn TV and public television.

This spells trouble…

Driving home from a dinner party in the village of Sumpton Harcourt, Rory and Molly Devere, the new vicar and his wife, strain to see the road ahead―and then suddenly brake, screeching to a halt. Right in front of them, aglow in the headlights, a body hangs from a gnarled tree at the edge of town. An elderly spinster has been murdered―and the villagers just can’t fathom who among them could commit such a crime.

Agatha Raisin rises to the occasion (a little glad for the excitement, she must admit, after a long run of lost cats and divorces on the books). But when two more murders follow the first, Agatha begins to fear for her reputation and, since the village happens to have its own coven of witches, her own life. . .

“Once you meet Agatha Raisin, you’ll keep coming back.”―New York Journal of Books

“M. C. Beaton has a foolproof plot for the village mystery.” ―The New York Times Book Review

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She Was the Quiet One by Michele Campbell

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I love a good thriller and I especially love YA boarding school settings – the perfect place for a murder! This was a thriller about twins that are sent to a prestigious boarding school and while one is the good, quiet twin, her sister promptly gets in trouble. Told in more than one voice, the story has its twists and turns and will keep you guessing! For older YA and adults due to sexual scenes and violence.

Here’s the overview from Net Galley – thanks for my review e-copy!

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The Prisoner in the Castle by Susan Elia MacNeal

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Then next Maggie Hope story is here! I love this series, which is WWII mystery series centering on a young and daring spy, Maggie Hope. I used to think of them as cozies, but they really aren’t. They are more of a historical mystery. I learn so much about women’s roles in WWII while reading them!

This one reminded me a bit of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None. Everyone is dying, one by one, and Maggie must find the killer.

Here’s the description from Net Galley – thanks for my review e-copy! Happy Pub Day!

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HFVBook Tour for Susan Spann’s TRIAL ON MOUNT KOYA with GIVEAWAY!

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I’m a big fan of this historical mystery series, set in the 1500’s in Japan. I feel like I learn so much while reading each of these books! Along the way, the characters continue to develop and things happen in their lives. This was a great installment in the series (which actually can all stand alone as well). Lots of potential suspects when Buddhist priests, isolated in a temple during a horrific winter storm, are methodically being murdered one by one. It felt a little like Agatha Christie!

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

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TRIAL ON MOUNT KOYA BY SUSAN SPANN

Publication Date: July 3, 2018
Seventh Street Books
Paperback & eBook; 256 Pages

Genre: Historical Mystery
Series: Hiro Hattori, Book #6

Master ninja Hiro Hattori and Jesuit Father Mateo head up to Mount Koya, only to find themselves embroiled in yet another mystery, this time in a Shingon Buddhist temple atop one of Japan’s most sacred peaks.

November, 1565: Master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo travel to a Buddhist temple at the summit of Mount Koya, carrying a secret message for an Iga spy posing as a priest on the sacred mountain. When a snowstorm strikes the peak, a killer begins murdering the temple’s priests and posing them as Buddhist judges of the afterlife–the Kings of Hell. Hiro and Father Mateo must unravel the mystery before the remaining priests–including Father Mateo–become unwilling members of the killer’s grisly council of the dead.

AMAZON | BARNES AND NOBLE | INDIEBOUND

Praise for Trial on Mount Koya

“A page-turning and atmospheric historical mystery that beautifully melds fascinating Japanese history with a cleverly constructed mystery reminiscent of And Then There Were None—if the famous Agatha Christie mystery had been set in medieval Japan on a sacred mountaintop during a snowstorm.” —Gigi Pandian, USA Today–bestselling author of the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mysteries

“Susan Spann is up front in saying that Trial on Mount Koya is an homage to Agatha Christie. Believe me, she does the great Dame Agatha proud. This excellent entry in Spann’s series of Hiro Hattori mysteries offers plenty of esoteric clues and red herrings that are fun to chase. Along the way, she even does Christie one better, giving readers a fascinating glimpse of life and religion in feudal Japan. This is a book sure to please Spann’s growing legion of fans as well as anyone who loves the work of Agatha Christie.” —William Kent Krueger, Edgar® Award–winning author of Sulfur Springs

About the Author

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Susan Spann is the award-winning author of the Hiro Hattori mystery novels, featuring ninja detective Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo.

Susan began reading precociously and voraciously from her preschool days in Santa Monica, California, and as a child read everything from National Geographic to Agatha Christie. In high school, she once turned a short-story assignment into a full-length fantasy novel (which, fortunately, will never see the light of day).

A yearning to experience different cultures sent Susan to Tufts University in Boston, where she immersed herself in the history and culture of China and Japan. After earning an undergraduate degree in Asian Studies, Susan diverted to law school. She returned to California to practice law, where her continuing love of books has led her to specialize in intellectual property, business and publishing contracts.

Susan’s interest in Japanese history, martial arts, and mystery inspired her to write the Shinobi Mystery series featuring Hiro Hattori, a sixteenth-century ninja who brings murderers to justice with the help of Father Mateo, a Portuguese Jesuit priest.

Susan is the 2015 Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers’ Writer of the Year, a former president of the Northern California Chapter of Mystery Writers of America and a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime (National and Sacramento chapters), the Historical Novel Society, and the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. She is represented by literary agent Sandra Bond of Bond Literary Agency.

When not writing or representing clients, Susan enjoys traditional archery, martial arts, photography, and hiking. She lives in Sacramento with her husband and two cats, and travels to Japan on a regular basis.

For more information, please visit Susan Spann’s website. You can find Susan on Facebook and Twitter (@SusanSpann), where she founded the #PubLaw hashtag to provide legal and business information for writers.

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, July 3
Kick Off at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, July 4
Interview at Donna’s Book Blog

Thursday, July 5
Interview at T’s Stuff
Feature at The Bookworm

Friday, July 6
Guest Post at Jathan & Heather

Sunday, July 8
Review at Carole Rae’s Random Ramblings

Tuesday, July 10
Feature at Historical Fiction with Spirit

Wednesday, July 11
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Thursday, July 12
Guest Post at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Friday, July 13
Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Monday, July 16
Review at Writing the Renaissance

Tuesday, July 17
Guest Post at Writing the Renaissance

Wednesday, July 18
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog

Friday, July 20
Feature at Maiden of the Pages

Saturday, July 21
Review at Cup of Sensibility

Tuesday, July 24
Feature at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Thursday, July 26
Feature at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

Friday, July 27
Interview at Dianne Ascroft’s Blog

Monday, July 30
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Wednesday, August 1
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews

Thursday, August 2
Review at A Book Geek

Friday, August 3
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

Sunday, August 5
Feature at What Is That Book About

Monday, August 6
Review at Broken Teepee

Wednesday, August 8
Review at Reading the Past

Giveaway!

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away 5 copies of Trial on Mount Koya! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on August 8th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Click below to enter:

https://gleam.io/KPAPn/trial-on-mount-koya

 

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Alan Bradley’s The Grave’s a Fine and Private Place (a Flavia de Luce novel)

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If you know me, you know I adore the Flavia de Luce series, centering on a precocious 12 year old genius in 1950’s England. Somehow, while I was distracted elsewhere (probably work), a new installment in the series came out. This one has Flavia and her sisters travelling with Dogger for a short vacation while they regroup from the untimely death of their father. The “rest” has barely begun when Flavia discovers a dead body in the village’s river, and things go from there.

(from Amazon):

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “The world’s greatest adolescent British chemist/busybody/sleuth” (The Seattle Times), Flavia de Luce, returns in a twisty mystery novel from award-winning author Alan Bradley.

In the wake of an unthinkable family tragedy, twelve-year-old Flavia de Luce is struggling to fill her empty days. For a needed escape, Dogger, the loyal family servant, suggests a boating trip for Flavia and her two older sisters. As their punt drifts past the church where a notorious vicar had recently dispatched three of his female parishioners by spiking their communion wine with cyanide, Flavia, an expert chemist with a passion for poisons, is ecstatic. Suddenly something grazes her fingers as she dangles them in the water. She clamps down on the object, imagining herself Ernest Hemingway battling a marlin, and pulls up what she expects will be a giant fish. But in Flavia’s grip is something far better: a human head, attached to a human body. If anything could take Flavia’s mind off sorrow, it is solving a murder—although one that may lead the young sleuth to an early grave.

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As always, Flavia does not disappoint! I love how these mysteries always keep me guessing. I look forward to seeing what this super sleuth tackles next!

This is Book 9 in the series, and while I loved reading them in order, it can stand alone as well.

I purchased my book at a local bookstore while on a “date night” with the hubs. You can find it at your local bookstore or online or at the library!

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