Beth's Book-Nook Blog

Reviews of What I've Been Reading….

HFVBT Book Blast and GIVEAWAY for AS DEATH DRAWS NEAR by Anna Lee Huber

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Today I’m blasting it up for a new historical fiction mystery by Anna Lee Huber: AS DEATH DRAWS NEAR. It’s on my TBR list!

As Death Draws Near (Lady Darby Mystery #5)
by Anna Lee Huber

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Publication Date: July 5, 2016
Berkley
Harcover & eBook; 336 Pages

Series: Lady Darby Mysteries
Genre: Historical Mystery

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The latest mystery from the national bestselling author of A Study in Death tangles Lady Kiera Darby and Sebastian Gage in a dangerous web of religious and political intrigue.

July 1831. In the midst of their idyllic honeymoon in England’s Lake District, Kiera and Gage’s seclusion is soon interrupted by a missive from her new father-in-law. A deadly incident involving a distant relative of the Duke of Wellington has taken place at an abbey south of Dublin, Ireland, and he insists that Kiera and Gage look into the matter.

Intent on discovering what kind of monster could murder a woman of the cloth, the couple travel to Rathfarnham Abbey school. Soon a second nun is slain in broad daylight near a classroom full of young girls. With the sinful killer growing bolder, the mother superior would like to send the students home, but the growing civil unrest in Ireland would make the journey treacherous.

Before long, Kiera starts to suspect that some of the girls may be hiding a sinister secret. With the killer poised to strike yet again, Kiera and Gage must make haste and unmask the fiend, before their matrimonial bliss comes to an untimely end…

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | iBooks | IndieBound

Praise for the Lady Darby Mysteries

“Riveting…Huber deftly weaves together an original premise, an enigmatic heroine, and a compelling Highland setting for a book you won’t want to put down.”—Deanna Raybourn, New York Times bestselling author

“[A] history mystery in fine Victorian style!”—Julia Spencer-Fleming, New York Times bestselling author

“[A] fascinating heroine…A thoroughly enjoyable read!”—Victoria Thompson, national bestselling author

“[A] clever heroine with a shocking past and a talent for detection.”—Carol K. Carr, national bestselling author

About the Author

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Anna Lee Huber is the Award-Winning and National Bestselling Author of the Lady Darby Mystery Series. She was born and raised in a small town in Ohio, and graduated summa cum laude from Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN with a degree in music and a minor in psychology. She currently resides in Indiana, and when not working on her next book she enjoys reading, singing, traveling and spending time with her family.

For more information please visit www.annaleehuber.com. Connect with Anna Lee Huber on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

But wait! There’s more!

A Giveaway!

Giveaway

To win a paperback copy of As Death Draws Near by Anna Lee Huber, please enter the giveaway via the GLEAM form below. Two copies are up for grabs!

Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on July 15th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US & Canada 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.

https://gleam.io/YtklW/as-death-draws-near-book-blast

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Pub Day Approaches for New Russell and Holmes Mystery!

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Next Tuesday is PUB DAY for this wonderful mystery!

I did an early review of it here:

https://drbethnolan.wordpress.com/2016/02/19/review-the-murder-of-mary-russell-by-laurie-r-king/

Coming soon!!

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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

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Review: THE SECRET LIFE OF ANNA BLANC by Jennifer Kincheloe

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Back in the fall I was contacted by my friends at Prometheus Books to see if I’d like to read and review THE SECRET LIFE OF ANNA BLANC. The book sounded great, but it soon disappeared into the piles of things I had around during the holidays, only to be rediscovered recently. What a treasure! I loved this laugh-out-loud funny book about intrepid socialite Anna Blanc and her foray into the dark world of detective work in Los Angeles in turn of the century California.

Here’s how they describe the novel on Edelweiss:

It’s 1907 Los Angeles. Mischievous socialite Anna Blanc is the kind of young woman who devours purloined crime novels—but must disguise them behind covers of more domestically-appropriate reading. She could match wits with Sherlock Holmes, but in her world women are not allowed to hunt criminals.

Determined to break free of the era’s rigid social roles, Anna buys off the chaperone assigned by her domineering father and, using an alias, takes a job as a police matron with the Los Angeles Police Department. There she discovers a string of brothel murders, which the cops are unwilling to investigate. Seizing her one chance to solve a crime, she takes on the investigation herself.

If the police find out, she’ll get fired; if her father finds out, he’ll disown her; and if her fiancé finds out, he’ll cancel the wedding and stop pouring money into her father’s collapsing bank. Midway into her investigation, the police chief’s son, Joe Singer, learns her true identity. And shortly thereafter she learns about blackmail.

Anna must choose—either hunt the villain and risk losing her father, fiancé, and wealth, or abandon her dream and leave the killer on the loose.

Story Locale: 1907 Los Angeles

Series Overview: Los Angeles police matron Anna Blanc bucks society’s mores to solve crime in the early 1900s.

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I would LOVE if this became a series! What a fun and well-written read, but it also had a lot to think and talk about in terms of women’s changing roles in society. Poor Anna fought against all the mores holding her in firmly in place,  though I particularly liked the horrid chaperone who was supposed to accompany her everywhere.

I also am not aware of too many cozies set in turn of the century LA. Between the historical mystery, the humor, and a little romance, I give this one top marks!

Thank you so much for my review copy!

This book is available at bookstores near you and online (and of course – check your library!).

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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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Three for Christmas — from the Ho Ho Ho Readathon

I had a great time reading and participating in the Ho Ho Ho Holiday Readathon this past week! I set a goal of three books for myself, and I easily reached it (I also finished two more to review and started a third – guess I had time to read!).

The first book I read was A NEW YORK CHRISTMAS by Anne Perry. In this novel (and apparently Anne Perry writes a Christmas novel every year) it is 1904 and Jemima Pitt has accompanied her friend Phinny to New York from England for Phinny’s marriage. Poor Phinny doesn’t have much family and her mother left her while she was quite young under what seems to be mysterious and unfavorable circumstances. Jemima is hardly there when a dead body shows up – Phinny’s long-lost mother – and Jemima appears to be the main suspect in her killing (though with little motive). Determined to prove her innocence, Jemima joins forces with local policeman Patrick Flannery to figure out who the real killer is.

This was a fun read – and very quick for me (a few hours – less than 200 pages). Call me stupid but I never could figure out exactly WHY the murder took place and what it served. It seemed to stir up a lot of trouble, that’s for sure.

This was my first Anne Perry book, but she has a legion of fans and several other Christmas stories.

You can see it on Amazon where I am an Associate (and thanks, Net Galley, for my copy):

Next I read CHRISTMAS TRUCE by Aaron Shepard. This was a children’s picture book that I got a pdf of from Net Galley. It tells the story of the WWI Christmas truce in fighting between the front lines of British and German men. This was a beautiful (and true) tale, with lovely illustrations by Wendy Edelson. Great for a read aloud to children!

You can see it on Amazon where I am an Associate (thanks, Net Galley!):

Finally, from Blogging for Books, I got The 13th Gift: A True Story of a Christmas Miracle by Joanne Huist Smith. I just loved this book. This author lost her husband unexpectedly in the fall of 1999. They had three children, aged 10 to 17. That Christmas was incredibly painful and difficult for them. This true story tells how some unknown “true friends” delivered to them small surprise gifts each day leading up to Christmas and, in essence, helped them to feel the spirit of Christmas again. Not only was this a heart-wrenching read, especially because the grief was so poignant on these pages, but it was so inspiring to read the end and how the whole 13 gifts tradition got started, why, and how. What a beautiful and inspiring story — truly a favorite Christmas read for me.

You can see this 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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