Beth's Book-Nook Blog

Reviews of What I've Been Reading….

The Corpse at the Crystal Palace by Carola Dunn

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When I discovered this title on Net Galley, I had never heard of Daisy Dalrymple and this absolutely delightful cozy mystery series that takes place in England in the 1920’s. I love the cast of characters in this novel, which includes more than just the intrepid Daisy, but also her friends and children. While this is part of a series, it can certainly stand alone (it did for me!). I will definitely go back and read earlier installments in this well-written and plotted series; and I will look forward to new ones.

Thank you for my review copy! Description is below and a bit on the real Crystal Palace (which I had never heard of perhaps because it burned down in 1936) is at the end, compliments of You Tube.

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Here’s a glimpse of the original Crystal Palace (with sad Beethoven music):

And here’s a video from the V&A Museum with no sound that shows how it was built:

I also found this video about the walkway that used to lead to it from the subway – interesting!

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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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Saturday Snapshot: Hawaii, the Big Island

If you know us, you know we love to go to Hawaii! This year we went to the Big Island and enjoyed the sun and sand.

Here are a few pictures:

 

The Big Island is so unique with all it’s dark lava rocks! We were on the other side from the volcano and didn’t see it. It was a great week!

 

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Melinda at Westmetromommyreads.com.

See her site for participation details!

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Four Funerals and Maybe a Wedding by Rhys Bowen

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If you read me, you know I adore the Royal Spyness books, with clumsy yet likable Georgie (34th in line to the throne) and her solving of mysteries that seem to find her wherever she goes. There’s a likable cast of characters throughout, including her stage actress and completely self-absorbed mother, her East London rough grandfather, her dashing beau Darcy (Irish and Catholic!), and her always bumbling maid, Queenie.

We’ve been waiting for books and books for Georgie and Darcy to get together and to marry. Will it finally finally happen??

Publishing today, this novel is a great addition to an already favorite series. You can read it alone or mix them up, but I like reading them as soon as they are published!

Thanks for my e-copy to review via Net Galley.

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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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Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold by Iain Reading

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Several weeks ago I received a copy of the first “Kitty Hawk” mystery — Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold. This is a start of a series geared for readers in the middle grades and up.

Here’s the overview from Amazon:

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This was a fun read, with interesting real-life pictures and a spunky heroine who is both brace and intelligent. It’s my favorite type of historical fiction, a novel where you learn as you read. This is book one in the series (currently at five installments) but you can read it as a stand alone. Kitty is a likable and memorable protagonist.

If I were to change one thing (and remember I’m old!), I found the print very dense. I would have preferred it on my kindle where I could make the print larger.

Thank you for my review copy! I could see this being used in classrooms — around grades 5/6.

Here’ a bit on Mr. Reading, author:

About the Author

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I Like Root Beer. When I was younger I fancied myself a bit of a Root Beer connoisseur, drinking my favourite brand (A&W, of course) from tall, narrow champagne flûtes and revelled in the sound of the ice cubes clinking against the side of the thin glass, creating a magical tinkling ambiance as I looked down my nose at all the other inferior Root Beer vintages. As I grew older and began to travel all across the globe I was naturally inclined to seek out the very best Root Beers that the world had to offer. Sadly, as I was to discover, Root Beer is very much a North-American thing and you can’t really find it anywhere else in the world. On the bright side, however, it turns out that the world is a pretty great place even without Root Beer. There are a million amazing things to see and as many more ways for all of us to see them, as our heroine and friend Kitty Hawk finds out in the course of her various adventures.

 

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Eagle & Crane by Suzanne Rindell

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I had never read a title by Suzanne Rindell, but I chose this book from Net Galley since I love WWII stories. The novel centers on three main characters: Louis, one of the many children of a poor farmer who carries a grudge against the Japanese family next door; Harry, the son of the Japanese farmers; and Ava, a young girl who is part of an itinerant circus group. When their paths cross, the boys sign on to be part of an air circus, doing stunts in the sky. However, as WWII reaches the US, Harry’s family is sent to an internment camp and forever changed, while Louis must struggle with his family’s long-held feud, and Ava must decide where her love lies.

I really enjoyed this story and particularly liked the characters. It’s always fun to read about California, where I grew up, and in one scene they visit the Napa Valley (yeah!). I would love to see this novel made into a movie. I bet it would have beautiful cinematography!

This may be my first Suzanne Rindell novel, but it won’t be my last. Thank you for my review e-copy!

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As Bright as Heaven by Susan Meissner

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Oh my goodness, I loved this historical fiction novel about an ordinary family during an extraordinary time. The Bright family is moving to Philadelphia and it’s the outbreak of WWI. Along with the war comes the pandemic of Spanish Flu, which kills thousands of previously healthy young people. This family has to much loss to deal with, crisis, and challenges. Then in one of their darkest hours, one of the daughters finds a little baby and takes him home so that they can raise him and bring some light into their lives.

This story is told in the four distinct voices of the four main character women: Evelyn, the intelligent, eldest daughter, Maggie, who finds the baby and is quite determined, Willa, the spunky and headstrong youngest, and their gentle, kind mother Pauline. I loved the story and the characters and the message.

I have never read any of Meissner’s other novels, so I will need to look for them.

Thank you for my review kindle copy via Net Galley!

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