Beth's Book-Nook Blog

Reviews of What I've Been Reading….

HFVBTour for Susan Spann’s THE NINJA’S DAUGHTER

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I am very excited to be part of the blog tour for Susan Spann’s latest installment in her Hiro Hattori mysteries: THE NINJA’S DAUGHTER. I had recently read THE FLASK OF THE DRUNKEN MASTER and really enjoyed it. I love cozy series and this time and setting is unique for my reading: 1500’s Japan, with a Jesuit priest and his bodyguard Ninja master as the main characters. Susan Spann is a master at plotting and a fantastic writer. The mystery moved along at a solid pace, with lots of actions and twists, but what I love most is how much the culture and daily life of Japan in those long ago days are imbued in these books. I feel like I’m learning as I’m reading – which is why I love HF!

Here’s the overview from HFVBT:

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The Ninja’s Daughter: A Hiro Hattori Novel by Susan Spann

Publication Date: August 2, 2016
Seventh Street Books
eBook & Paperback; 230 Pages

Series: Hiro Hattori Novels/Shinobi Mysteries
Genre: Historical Mystery

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Autumn, 1565: When an actor’s daughter is murdered on the banks of Kyoto’s Kamo River, master ninja Hiro Hattori and Portuguese Jesuit Father Mateo are the victim’s only hope for justice.

As political tensions rise in the wake of the shogun’s recent death, and rival warlords threaten war, the Kyoto police forbid an investigation of the killing, to keep the peace–but Hiro has a personal connection to the girl, and must avenge her. The secret investigation leads Hiro and Father Mateo deep into the exclusive world of Kyoto’s theater guilds, where they quickly learn that nothing, and no one, is as it seems. With only a mysterious golden coin to guide them, the investigators uncover a forbidden love affair, a missing mask, and a dangerous link to corruption within the Kyoto police department that leaves Hiro and Father Mateo running for their lives.

In The Ninja’s Daughter, Susan Spann’s poetic voice brilliantly captures the societal disparities, political intrigues, and martial conflicts of sixteenth-century Japan through the persevering efforts of ninja detective Hiro Hattori to solve a murder authorities consider of no consequence.” -JEFFREY SIGER, International Bestselling Author

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | iTunes | Indiebound | Kobo

About the Author

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Susan Spann is the author of three previous novels in the Shinobi Mystery series: Claws of the Cat, Blade of the Samurai, and Flask of the Drunken Master. She has a degree in Asian Studies and a lifelong love of Japanese history and culture. . When not writing, she works as a transactional attorney focusing on publishing and business law, and raises seahorses and rare corals in her marine aquarium.

For more information please visit Susan Spann’s website. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, andGoodreads.

Follow the tour and discover a new blog!

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, July 25
Review at The Readers Hollow
Review & Giveaway at Lampshade Reader

Tuesday, July 26
Review at Reading the Past

Wednesday, July 27
Review at Nerd in New York

Thursday, July 28
Spotlight at Cafinated Reads
Spotlight at Susan Heim on Writing

Friday, July 29
Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Monday, August 1
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Tuesday, August 2
Review at Jorie Loves a Story
Review at Booklover Book Reviews

Wednesday, August 3
Guest Post at Diana’s Book Reviews

Friday, August 5
Spotlight at The Bookaholic Swede

Sunday, August 7
Review at Carole’s Ramblings

Monday, August 8
Spotlight at What Is That Book About

Tuesday, August 9
Spotlight at Just One More Chapter
Interview at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Wednesday, August 10
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Friday, August 12
Spotlight at Laura’s Interests
Spotlight at Life of a Female Bibliophile

Monday, August 15
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Tuesday, August 16
Review at Writing the Renaissance
Guest Post at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Wednesday, August 17
Review at Book Nerd
Interview at Writing the Renaissance

Thursday, August 18
Review at Layered Pages

Friday, August 19
Spotlight at Christy’s Cozy Corners

Monday, August 22
Review at Queen of All She Reads
Guest Post & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More

Tuesday, August 23
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews

Wednesday, August 24
Review at Beth’s Book Nook Blog

Thursday, August 25
Spotlight at The Recipe Fairy

Friday, August 26
Review & Giveaway at The True Book Addict
Interview at Jorie Loves a Story

THANK YOU FOR MAKING ME PART OF THE TOUR AND FOR MY E-COPY TO REVIEW!

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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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Review: Murder on St. Nicholas Avenue – a Gaslight Mystery by Victoria Thompson

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If you know me, you know I love the cozy mystery series of “Gaslight Mysteries”, following the adventures of midwife Sarah Brandt in turn-of-the-century NYC. A new one came out at Christmas time and my husband bought it for me – MURDER ON ST. NICHOLAS AVENUE.

Unlike the former novels – all of which I’ve read – this one has Sarah and Frank off to Europe on their honeymoon with the house and children left in charge of assistant Maeve, with Mrs. Malloy and Mrs. Decker (Sarah’s mother) assisting. When a family friend comes to them because she feels her daughter is unjustly accused of murdering her husband, Maeve and the rest of the family – along with friendly police officer Gino – know they must work together to solve the mystery. Of course nothing is simple and the events keep the characters and this reader guessing right up to the last chapters!

I enjoyed this installment in the series, which Ms. Thompson mentions in the afterward she was asked to write for the holidays. Seeing further character development of some of the minor characters (e.g. Mrs. Malloy, Mr. Decker, Gino) was gratifying. I was never fond of the Felix Decker character, but he was much more multi-dimensional after reading this novel.

The characters hint at the fact that they will work together on future mysteries for the “Malloy Detective Agency” so I trust that Ms. Thompson has many more creative plot lines in store for us!

If you like historical cozies, this is a series for you. Each title can stand alone, but reading them in order is a treat as you get to know the characters along the way.

Find this title at a bookstore, library, or online – below is to Amazon where I am an Associate:

Murder on St. Nicholas Avenue: Gaslight Mystery (A Gaslight Mystery)

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Getting Cozy! Two Reviews: “Hiss and Hers” (Agatha Raisin) by MC Beaton and “The Twelve Clues of Christmas” (Royal Spyness) by Rhys Bowen

As you all know, I love my cozy mysteries! I recently read two new ones: one which I got at my library and one which I received from my husband for Christmas.

“Hiss and Hers” is the latest Agatha Raisin mystery. I just love cranky yet vulnerable Agatha! In this installment, Agatha, along with half the village, has a mad crush on the local gardener. Sadly he turns up murdered. Agatha is determined to figure out who killed him, but as she investigates she learns that just about every but her had been sleeping with the victim. There is no shortage of suspects, along with a couple of subplots as well. While I do love these Agatha mysteries, this one had me a bit befuddled in its quick wrap up and in the number of people I was trying to keep track of, though I had guessed the murderer early on. The “hiss” refers to the murder “weapon” – poisonous snakes.

For Christmas I received “The Twelve Clues of Christmas”- the latest Royal Spyness mystery. I do so love reading historical cozy mysteries (this one is in the early 1930’s in England). Georgie Rannoch, our heroine, has just the right amount of spunk, intelligence, and awkwardness to make her likable. For this story, Georgie is staying at a manor house and serving as a hostess during their “Aunthentic English Christmas” event. Unfortunately, locals start turning up dead on a regular basis. Georgie joins forces with the dashing Darcy to uncover just what is happening in this sleepy little town. One thing I loved about this book is that Georgie and Darcy’s relationship is finally progressing – yeah! I thought this novel was cleverly plotted – though perhaps a bit far-fetched. It was an enjoyable read. And can I just say how much I love the character of her maid, Queenie?

See these books on Amazon where I am an Associate:

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Quick Review: “Masked Ball at Broxley Manor” by Rhys Bowen

Lady Georgiana is at it again, in this prequel to one of my favorite historical cozy mystery series! Georgie is invited to a masked Halloween ball at a posh manor house and discovers it is planned for her to meet an intended suitor that her family has selected. Instead she meets the elusive and charming Darcy O’Mara, Georgie’s love interest in future books, and gets involved in adventure.

This book – more of a novella – is short — about 50 pages! It reads quickly and will give you an idea if you want to read more of the series. If you are like me and have read the series, it provides more back story and character development.
I got mine via kindle for $2.99.

See it on Amazon where I am an Associate:

 

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Review: “Aunt Dimity and the Village Witch” by Nancy Atherton

Unbeknownst to me when I chose it from Net Galley, this book is the seventeenth in a series featuring “Aunt Dimity”, a ghost detective in the Cotswolds of England. Lori Shepherd is a young mother of twins who lives with her husband in England. Her beloved “aunt”, Dimity, has passed away but still communicates with Lori through a notebook (mysterious writing appears from Dimity). Together they solve (cozy) mysteries.

In this installment, which I believe can be read out of line in the series (since I did it!), a new neighbor, Mrs. Amelia Thistle, has arrived in the small village of Finch. Lori realizes that Mrs. Thistle is really a famous artist (who has a rather crazed group of fans chasing her). Amelia has come to Finch to solve a mystery related to her ancestors, and Lori and a small group of entrusted friends join forces with her to solve the mystery of “Mistress Meg”.

This was a satisfying read and a fun cozy to figure out. It reminded me a bit of Agatha Raisin (probably the Cotswolds). I did wonder whether Aunt Dimity was actually necessary to the story as Lori seemed just capable of being an amateur detective on her own; however, given this is the seventeenth in a series, she apparently is integral to its success!

Thanks, Net Galley and Viking Adult Publishers, for my copy.

See this book on Amazon where I am an Associate:

 

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Review of the latest ‘Her Royal Spyness’ Cozy: “Naughty in Nice” by Rhys Bowen

Last month while at the library I noticed a new release of the latest Royal Spyness mystery: Naughty in Nice. If you read me, you know I love this cozy series, centering on the likable but less-than-perfect Georgie (related to royalty) in 1930’s England. This time around, the Queen herself has sent Georgie on a mission to retrieve a “borrowed” snuff-box, and Georgie is sent to Nice, France – winter playground of the wealthy. Before Georgie can get the box back, her neighbor is murdered; and after floundering her way through a fashion show of Coco Chanel’s line, the priceless necklace Georgie is wearing is stolen. Now she must find two items and solve a murder!

Love this series!

See it on Amazon where I am an Associate:

Naughty in Nice

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Review of the latest Molly Murphy mystery: “Hush Now, Don’t You Cry” by Rhys Bowen

If you read me, you know I read all the Molly Murphy and Her Royal Spyness cozy mysteries from Rhys Bowen. I was excited to see on the new release shelf at the library the latest Molly Murphy story. This time Molly and Daniel are married and on their delayed honeymoon, visiting at a mansion in Newport, Rhode Island. They’ve hardly arrived when their guest, whom they haven’t seen yet, is found dead at the bottom of a cliff. Their host is lying where his young granddaughter was also found dead four years earlier. Daniel then becomes deathly ill with pneumonia and Molly is left to unravel the mystery, which includes all sort of twists, subplots, and suspects.

I always enjoy a Molly Murphy historical mystery, and I especially liked the setting for this one: beautiful Newport. Did I guess the murderer? Yes. Did I guess a motive. Yes, once I guessed the murderer. But I enjoyed it nonetheless. I have to say, though, that I still find the character of Daniel irritating. He’s so focused on Molly as “the little woman” that one must wonder if their marriage will last (and if it does, will this series?). He always seems a little out in left field to me in regards to the mysteries, too. If I was writing this series, I just might kill him off.

Anyhow, if you like these stories, I think you’ll enjoy the latest!

See this book on Amazon where I am an Associate:

 

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Quick Review: Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death by James Runcie

Coming out this week, I received this book, the first of the “Grantchester Mysteries” from Net Galley. I just loved the character of Sidney Chambers, a man of the cloth who lives simply yet solves murder and mysteries in his small English town in the 1950’s. These are cozy-type mysteries, similar to Agatha Christie tales, but they are short and there are several different vignettes in this book. I really enjoyed reading them and loved the character of Sidney: attractive and young, yet a bit set in his bachelor ways. There is certainly a lot of directions that this series could take, and I look forward to reading more of it!

Thank you Net Galley and Bloomsbury USA for my copy!

See this book on Amazon where I am an Associate:

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Quick Review of a Kindle Freebie: Still Life with Murder – a Nell Sweeney Mystery – by P.B. Ryan

I’m always on the lookout for a good Kindle freebie, so I was excited to find this cozy on Kindle for *free*! This is the first of the Nell Sweeney historical mysteries by P B Ryan. Nell is a feisty young Irish woman, living in Boston just after the Civil War. Nell becomes the governess to the wealthy Hewitt family and helps their opium-addicted eldest son – once believed dead but now accused of murder.

I liked this historical cozy – though I felt it dragged at times in the middle of the novel. I always like a strong heroine and, living near to Boston, I enjoy reading about the city. This is the first in a series (formerly called the “Gilded Age Mysteries”).

See it on Amazon where I am an Associate:

 

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