Beth's Book-Nook Blog

Reviews of What I've Been Reading….

CROWNED AND DANGEROUS by Rhys Bowen

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I love the Her Royal Spyness mysteries, so I was thrilled to see that a new one was coming out this week: CROWNED AND DANGEROUS.

Here is the overview from Net Galley:

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Litfuse Blog Tour and Giveaway for ANCHOR IN THE STORM by Sarah Sundin

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I really enjoyed Sarah Sundin’s THROUGH WATERS DEEP, so I was thrilled to join soe of the characters again in the next book in this WWII series: ANCHOR IN THE STORM and to take part in this blog tour!

Here’s the description from Litfuse:

Anchor in the Storm (Revell, May 2016)

One plucky female pharmacist + one high-society naval officer = romance—and danger

For plucky Lillian Avery, America’s entry into World War II means a chance to prove herself as a pharmacist in Boston. The challenges of her new job energize her. But society boy Ensign Archer Vandenberg’s attentions only annoy–even if he is her brother’s best friend.

During the darkest days of the war, Arch’s destroyer hunts German U-boats in vain as the submarines sink dozens of merchant ships along the East Coast. Still shaken by battles at sea, Arch notices his men also struggle with their nerves–and with drowsiness. Could there be a link to the large prescriptions for sedatives Lillian has filled? The two work together to answer that question, but can Arch ever earn Lillian’s trust and affection?

Sarah Sundin brings World War II to life, offering readers an intense experience they won’t soon forget.

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I loved this book which was a mystery with suspense, a bit of a romance, a historical novel of WWII experience, and a journey of faith. This book stands alone as a title as well if it is your first book by Sundin.

I love Sundin’s characters who are basically very “human” – and thus flawed – and yet able to forgive themselves and accept themselves for who they are. They learn to put their faith and their trust in God, and in doing so, realize that they don’t need to fight all their battles alone.

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Sarah Sundin is the author of eight historical novels, including “Anchor in the Storm.” Her novel “Through Waters Deep” was named to Booklist’s “101 Best Romance Novels of the Last 10 Years,” and her novella “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” in “Where Treetops Glisten” was a finalist for the 2015 Carol Award. A mother of three, Sarah lives in California, works on-call as a hospital pharmacist, and teaches Sunday school.

Highly recommended for those who enjoy this genre!

Thank you for making me part of the tour and for my review copy!
But wait! There’s more!! A Giveaway!!

Celebrate the release of Sarah’s Anchor in the Storm by entering to win her All Hands on Deck Prize Pack!

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One grand prize winner will receive:

  • A signed copy of Anchor in the Storm
  • Nautical tote bag lined with anchor fabric
  • Anchor necklace made from copper reclaimed from the USS Constitution in Boston during restoration
  • 365 Devotions for Hope by Karen Whiting
  • Shine: Nautical Inspirational Adult Coloring Book
  • “Hope Anchors the Soul” journal
  • Set of two nautical tea towels
LF AIS full group 2

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry! The giveaway ends on June 8th. The winner will be announced June 9th on Sarah’s blog.

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Review: SIDNEY CHAMBERS AND THE DANGERS OF TEMPTATION by James Runcie

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If you know me, you know I LOVE the Grantchester series on PBS! I love the characters, the humor, the mysteries, and James Norton as Sidney. This book is one in a series following the exploits of never run-of-the-mill minister.

Here’s the description via Net Galley:

The eagerly anticipated fifth installment in the Grantchester mystery series, now a major PBS television series as well.

It’s the summer of love in late 1960s England. Basil D’Oliveira has just been dropped from the English cricket team before for a test series in apartheid South Africa; the war in Biafra dominates the news; and the Apollo 11 astronauts are preparing to land on the moon. In the midst of all this change, Sidney Chambers, now Archdeacon of Ely Cathedral, is still up to his amateur sleuthing investigations.

A bewitching divorcee enlists Sidney’s help in convincing her son to leave a hippie commune; at a soiree on Grantchester Meadows during May Week celebrations, a student is divested of a family heirloom; Amanda’s marriage runs into trouble; Sidney and Hildegard holiday behind the Iron Curtain; Mrs Maguire’s husband returns from the dead and an arson attack in Cambridge leads Sidney to uncover a cruel case of blackmail involving his former curate.

In the rare gaps between church and crime, Sidney struggles with a persistent case of toothache, has his first flutter at the Newmarket races and witnesses the creation of a classic rock song.

Charming, witty, intelligent, and filled with a strong sense of compassion, here are six new stories guaranteed to satisfy and delight this clerical detective’s many fans.

James Runcie is an award-winning filmmaker and the author of eight novels. Sidney Chambers and The Shadow of Death, the first in the Grantchester Mysteries series, was published in 2012, soon followed by Sidney Chambers and The Perils of the Night, Sidney Chambers and The Problem of Evil, and Sidney Chambers and The Forgiveness of Sins. In November 2014, PBS began airing Grantchester, a primetime series starring James Norton as Sidney Chambers. James Runcie lives in London and Edinburgh.

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Well-plotted and paced and always a fun read, this is the perfect way to stay in touch with Sidney, Amanda, and all the gang in between seasons!

Thank you for my review copy!

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HFVBTour for DEATH SITS DOWN TO DINNER by Tessa Arlen

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I’m thrilled to be part of the tour for Tessa Arlen’s new mystery: DEATH SITS DOWN TO DINNER. I really enjoyed her DEATH OF A DISHONORABLE GENTLEMAN, which I also reviewed for Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours:  My Review

Here’s the overview:

02_Death Sits Down to Dinner

Death Sits Down to Dinner (Lady Montfort Mystery #2)
by Tessa Arlen

Publication Date: March 29, 2016
Minotaur Books
Hardcover & Ebook; 320 Pages

Genre: Historical Mystery

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Filled with deceptions both real and imagined, Death Sits Down to Dinner is a delightful Edwardian mystery set in London.

Lady Montfort is thrilled to receive an invitation to a dinner party hosted by her close friend Hermione Kingsley, the patroness of England’s largest charity. Hermione has pulled together a select gathering to celebrate Winston Churchill’s 39th birthday. Some of the oldest families in the country have gathered to toast the dangerously ambitious and utterly charming First Lord of the Admiralty. But when the dinner ends, one of the gentlemen remains seated at the table, head down among the walnut shells littering the cloth and a knife between his ribs.

Summoned from Iyntwood, Mrs. Jackson helps her mistress trace the steps of suspects both upstairs and downstairs as Hermione’s household prepares to host a highly anticipated charity event. Determined to get to the bottom of things, Lady Montfort and Mrs. Jackson unravel the web of secrecy surrounding the bright whirlwind of London society, investigating the rich, well-connected and seeming do-gooders in a race against time to stop the murderer from striking again.

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | INDIEBOUND | KOBO

Advance Praise

“Despite Clementine’s luxurious lifestyle, she’s got a head on her shoulders . . .and is as cagey as she is charming. A neatly crafted whodunit dripping with diamonds, titles and scandal . . .” -Kirkus Reviews

“The close, mutually respectful partnership between Clementine and Edith will remind Dorothy Sayers’s fans of the relationship between Lord Peter Wimsey and Bunter, his manservant. Arlen does a good job of depicting a period when class distinctions have become blurred by new money and more-relaxed manners. The plot, which includes a slew of red herrings, builds to a startling denouement.” -Publisher’s Weekly

“VERDICT Real-life Edwardian personalities abound in this period historical, and the upstairs/downstairs focus delivers a clash of temperaments. This title is bound to appeal to fans of historicals set in this period and of such authors as Rhys Bowen and Ashley Weaver.” -Library Journal

About the Author

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TESSA ARLEN, the daughter of a British diplomat, had lived in or visited her parents in Singapore, Cairo, Berlin, the Persian Gulf, Beijing, Delhi and Warsaw by the time she was sixteen. She came to the U.S. in 1980 and worked as an H.R. recruiter for the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee for the 1984 Olympic Games, where she interviewed her future husband for a job. DEATH OF A DISHONORABLE GENTLEMAN is Tessa’s first novel. She lives in Bainbridge Island, Washington.

For more information please visit Tessa Arlen’s website. Read Tessa Arlen’s blog atRedoubtable Edwardians. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, andGoodreads.

Subscribe to Tessa Arlen’s Newsletter.

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Here I am!

I love Ms. Arlen’s characters of Lady Montfort and Mrs. Jackson, and I love the cleverness of the plots of her books. The Edwardian period is a favorite of mine, and she has great attention to detail. I have to say that I had little bit of trouble keeping all the characters straight for the first 50 pages of the book. Thankfully there is a “cast of characters” available at the start of the novel!

If you like cozies, Edwardian “Downton type” themes, and fun female characters, along with a clever plot, then pick up a copy of one of Tessa’s books (or even pick up them all!).

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

Discover a New Blog via the Blog Tour Schedule!

Monday, March 28
Review at Laura’s Interests
Interview at Books and Benches

Tuesday, March 29
Review at A Book Geek
Interview at Historical Fiction Addicts

Wednesday, March 30
Interview at AustenProse

Thursday, March 31
Review at Buried Under Books
Spotlight & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Friday, April 1
Review at Reading Is My SuperPower

Monday, April 4
Review at Reading the Past
Spotlight at Seize the Words: Books in Review

Tuesday, April 5
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Wednesday, April 6
Review at Luxury Reading

Thursday, April 7
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Friday, April 8
Review at A Holland Reads

Monday, April 11
Review at The Absurd Book Nerd

Tuesday, April 12
Interview at The Absurd Book Nerd

Wednesday, April 13
Review at Room With Books

Thursday, April 14
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Friday, April 15
Review at Jorie Loves a Story

Monday, April 18
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog

Tuesday, April 19
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews

Wednesday, April 20
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective

Thursday, April 21
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Friday, April 22
Spotlight at Let Them Read Books

Monday, April 25
Review & Giveaway at Brooke Blogs

Tuesday, April 26
Review at Book Nerd

Wednesday, April 27
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Friday, April 29
Review at To Read, Or Not to Read

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Review: THE BODY IN THE PIAZZA by Katherine Hall Page

I love Katherine Hall Page’s Faith Fairchild mysteries. They are cozies that combine some of the things I love most: family, food, and New England. This installment (#21 in the series) takes place in one of my favorite places: Italy.

Faith and Tom have gone to Tuscany on an anniversary trip, but it isn’t long before Faith has a dead body on her hands (a gentleman they knew from the tour) and her friend Francesca’s cooking school is in danger. Can Faith find the murderer before it’s too late?

This book has lots of fun characters and is Faith at her finest. Talk of the sights in Florence and Rome, the food, and the weather made me want to go back to Italy!

A solid contributor to this cozy series. If you like it, you should know that the latest, #22- The Body in the Birches, is set to publish in May.

See it on Amazon where I am an Associate. I got mine there for my kindle.

The Body in the Piazza: A Faith Fairchild Mystery (Faith Fairchild series Book 21)
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BLOG TOUR == YA/Kids’ Review: ENCHANTMENT LAKE by Margi Preus and GIVEAWAY!

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I grabbed this fun YA mystery off of Net Galley a while ago, but then was asked to take part in the blog tour for it!

In this story, seventeen year old Francie leaves New York to go to a remote part of Minnesota to help her elderly great aunts whose neighbors seem to be dying every time you turn around. Francie is an actress who once played a detective on television, so everyone refers to her as “that detective”. Eventually she gives up correcting them. She’s dealing with land developers, pushy summer people, legends of treasure, and some dark secrets from her family’s past that she never knew. While she works to figure out who is behind the sudden deaths, Francie realizes that she might be next!

This was a cute book – reminded me of Nancy Drew or something similar. Francie is a brave and intelligent young woman, but she had me laughing at times, too. Perhaps this is the start of a series? I can’t wait to introduce my daughter to Francie.

This book is published by University of Minnesota Press. Author Margi Preus is the New York Times bestselling author of books for young readers, including Shadow on the Mountain, West of the Moon, and Heart of a Samurai, which won a Newberry Honor.

Here’s a picture of Ms. Preus, credit to Shirleen Hieb Photography:

Preus, Margi credit to Shirleen_Hieb_Photography

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You can see it on Amazon where I am an Associate:

Enchantment Lake: A Northwoods Mystery

But wait — there’s more!

My friends at University of Minnesota Press is offering not one, not two, but THREE giveaway copies — SIGNED by Ms. Preus (hey – I want one!) to winners from the U.S. and/or CANADA. Yipee!!

Leave me a comment below (one entry per person) and I will use random.org to pick winners. Enter up until 12:01 am on April 19 – because that’s my birthday and this will be my gift to you!! 🙂

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Quick Review: Agatha Raisin – Something Borrowed, Someone Dead by M.C. Beaton

Unbelievably,when I wasn’t watching, a new Agatha Raisin book published last year. I saw it out on the “new books” shelf at the library last week and was a bit startled. I pride myself on monitoring all the publishing actions of my fave authors! (by the way – there’s a new Hamish MacBeth book by Beaton due out soon. I was rejected (that hurts as I’m rarely rejected!!) through Net Galley for it, so I will need to wait a bit).

Anyway, I digress. If you read me, you know I love this cozy mystery series. I’ve lost count of how many there are but I’ve read them all. I also saw on Marion’s facebook page (MC Beaton’s name is Marion – I like to act “familiar”) that Sky TV in Great Britain is making an Agatha series. I can only hope I can get it through the internet somehow!

In this installment, Agatha is called in to investigate the poisoning murder of a woman who seemed to be the pillar of the community, but who was really a big pain in the neck — always borrowing things and then refusing to return them. There is no shortage of suspects and while this little hamlet seems like a cozy, sleepy place, Agatha is soon is peril. There are lots of subplots along the way with a new attraction for her and both Charles and James showing up to help out (along with Roy and Toni).

If you like Agatha, you’ll like the latest!

You can get it at the library where I got mine! Or at a bookstore near you. Or Amazon. You know the drill…

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HFVB Tour Review: DEATH OF A DISHONORABLE GENTLEMAN by Tessa Arlen

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I’m so happy to take part in the Historical Fiction Virtual Book tour of this fun Edwardian mystery: DEATH OF A DISHONORABLE GENTLEMAN by Tessa Arlen.

In this story, the lady of the manor, Lady Monfort, is having a summer ball and she’s enjoying all the planning that goes in to this yearly event. However, her husband’s nephew, Teddy, a slightly nefarious young man, is found dead, and the guests all become suspects. Unfortunately, Lady Monfort had heard her own beloved son arguing with Teddy shortly before his death. She is worried that suspicion will fall on him, so she joins forces with her housekeeper, Mrs. Jackson, to figure out who might be the killer.

I loved the fact that Lady Monfort didn’t do the sleuthing herself — as that would have been fairly impossible given the social conventions of her time. It was far more believable that her housekeeper was the one finding out facts. They always say that staff is “invisible” – though perhaps “inconspicuous” is a better term. I also loved that it was two women doing the work here, and not Lady Monfort relying on a relationship/friendship with the local constable, etc. to get the mystery solved (an oft-used device for mysteries). I also really enjoyed how Ms. Arlen included some of the social issues of the day in the plot: women’s suffrage, for instance, and the use and abuse of household staff.

I had been needing a “Downton” fix, and this book was a perfect read for me during December. That said, it is NOT a take on Downton Abbey in any way, but stands on its own merit. The second book in the series will be out next January (I’m available for the book blog tour – hint hint!).

Thank you for my review copy!

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You can find this book at a local bookstore near you — I am an Indie Bound Affiliate:


Find it at an Indie!

Here is some info on Ms. Arlen from HFVBT:

TESSA ARLEN, the daughter of a British diplomat, had lived in or visited her parents in Singapore, Cairo, Berlin, the Persian Gulf, Beijing, Delhi and Warsaw by the time she was sixteen. She came to the U.S. in 1980 and worked as an H.R. recruiter for the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee for the 1984 Olympic Games, where she interviewed her future husband for a job. DEATH OF A DISHONORABLE GENTLEMAN is Tessa’s first novel. She lives in Bainbridge Island, Washington.

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Quick Review: THE HANDSOME MAN’S DELUXE CAFE by Alexander McCall Smith (No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency)

If you read me, you know I love the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency books by Alexander McCall Smith. I have read them all. I purchased the latest, number 15 in the series, recently for my husband for his birthday (he’s a fan, too).

Life continues to go on for the characters in this charming series set in Bostwana. The agency has a new case – a woman with amnesia – and even a new “detective”, the hapless “apprentice mechanic” Charlie. Meanwhile, Grace has decided to open a restaurant and is dealing with staffing, menus, and a reviewer who is an old nemesis.

Always a delight, this series brings new events as these characters continue to grow and develop. I just love these books!

You can see this book on Amazon where I got mine:

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Review: THE BLOOD OF AN ENGLISHMAN by M.C. Beaton

As you readers know, I’m a huge Agatha Raisin fan! I received the latest Agatha mystery this summer from Net Galley. The book published this week.

This time Agatha is pressed into service to help with a local amateur theater production. She is less than thrilled at the prospect, but things go awry when one of the actors is murdered, and Agatha jumps into detective mode to figure out why and by whom. Agatha has her regular issues – interfering with police procedure, getting herself into danger, etc. – and more troubles with her love life. I have to say that I do love how perfectly imperfect she is. She is tough and crabby and physically not overly attractive. You can’t help but like her.

This is the latest in a long line of Agatha Raisin cozy mysteries, and I give MC Beaton credit for her continued ability to create intricate plot lines that keep you guessing until the murderer is revealed. I’m not bored of Agatha yet – and I hope you aren’t either – so I’m sure I will be back for her next installment.

Thank you, Net Galley and St. Martin’s Press, for my ARC.

You can see this book on Amazon where I am an Associate:

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