Source: St. Martin's Press

#BookReview Pushing Up Daisies by M.C. Beaton @mc_beaton

#BookReview Pushing Up Daisies by M.C. Beaton @mc_beaton Title: Pushing Up Daisies

Author: M.C. Beaton

Series: Agatha Raisin #27

Published by: Minotaur Books on Sep. 20, 2016

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 280

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: St. Martin's Press

Book Rating: 7/10

When Agatha Raisin left behind her PR business in London, she fulfilled her dream of settling in the cozy British Cotswolds where she began a successful private detective agency. Unfortunately, the village she lives in is about to get a little less cozy. Lord Bellington, a wealthy land developer, wants to turn the community garden into a housing estate. When Agatha and her friend Sir Charles Fraith attempt to convince Lord Bellington to abandon his plans he scoffs: “Do you think I give a damn about those pesky villagers?” So when Agatha finds his obituary in the newspaper two weeks later, it’s no surprise that some in town are feeling celebratory.

The villagers are relieved to learn that Bellington’s son and heir, Damian, has no interest in continuing his father’s development plans. But the police are definitely interested in him―as suspect number one. His father’s death, it seems, was no accident. But when Damian hires Agatha to find the real killer, she finds no shortage of suspects. The good news is that a handsome retired detective named Gerald has recently moved to town. Too bad he was seen kissing another newcomer. But when she is also found murdered, Gerald is eager to help Agatha with the case. Agatha, Gerald, and her team of detectives must untangle a web of contempt in order to uncover a killer’s identity. 


Review:

Humorous, charming, and suspenseful.

This is a quick, easy read full of familial dysfunction, love entanglements, secrets, lies, greed, and murder.

The plot develops nicely and is full of suspects, clues, mishaps and mayhem. The setting is the quaint villages and towns found in the English countryside, complete with local pubs and manor homes. And the usual cast of flawed, multi-layered characters are back for another round of detection and investigation.

This is the twenty-seventh book in the Agatha Raisin series, and even though it can be read as a standalone novel, you may want to read some of the earlier books in the series to fully appreciate some of the continuing storylines and character development.

 

This book is due to be published on September 20, 2016. 

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CanadaChapters/IndigoBook Depository

 

For more information on M.C. Beaton, visit her website at: mcbeaton.com

or follow her on Twitter at: @mc_beaton

 

 

Thank you to NetGalley, especially St. Martin’s Press, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

#BookReview The Confectioner’s Tale by Laura Madeleine @esthercrumpet

#BookReview The Confectioner’s Tale by Laura Madeleine @esthercrumpet Title: The Confectioner's Tale

Author: Laura Madeleine

Published by: Thomas Dunne Books on Sep. 20, 2016

Genres: General Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 336

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: St. Martin's Press, NetGalley

Book Rating: 8/10

What secrets are hiding in the heart of Paris?

At the famous Patisserie Clermont in Paris, 1909, a chance encounter with the owner’s daughter has given one young man a glimpse into a life he never knew existed: of sweet cream and melted chocolate, golden caramel and powdered sugar, of pastry light as air.

But it is not just the art of confectionery that holds him captive, and soon a forbidden love affair begins.

Almost eighty years later, an academic discovers a hidden photograph of her grandfather as a young man with two people she has never seen before. Scrawled on the back of the picture are the words ‘Forgive me’. Unable to resist the mystery behind it, she begins to unravel the story of two star-crossed lovers and one irrevocable betrayal.

Take a moment to savour an evocative, bittersweet love story that echoes through the decades – perfect for fans of Kate Morton, Rachel Hore and Victoria Hislop. 


Review:

Mesmerizing, heartwarming, and incredibly clever!

This story is set in two time periods, Paris in the early 1900s and Cambridge in the late 1980s, and is told from alternating points of view. Guillaume, a hardworking labourer who meets and falls in love with the privileged daughter of a famous pâtissier. And Petra, a young student, who endeavours to solve an age-old mystery plaguing the memory of her beloved grandfather, a famous journalist.

The writing is exceptionally descriptive and atmospheric. The characters are loyal, determined, and strong. And the plot, although simple in nature, flows effortlessly between time periods and enraptures you with not only drama, emotion, mystery, and romance, but with the inner workings of the finest pastries imaginable.

This is truly an intriguing mix of family dynamics, secrets, treachery, and enduring love and is a commendable debut novel.

 

This book is due to be published on September 20, 2016.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CanadaChapters/IndigoBook Depository

 

 

Thank you to NetGalley, especially St. Martin’s Press, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Laura Madeleine

Laura Madeleine is the author of The Confectioner’s Tale, Where the Wild Cherries Grow (2018, US) and The Secrets Between Us.

After a childhood spent acting professionally and training at a theatre school, Laura changed her mind, and went to study English Literature at Newnham College, Cambridge. She now writes fiction, as well as recipes, and was formerly the resident cake baker for Domestic Sluttery. She lives in Bristol, but can often be found visiting her family in Devon and getting up to mischief with her sister, fantasy author Lucy Hounsom

#BookReview Sorrow Road by Julia Keller

#BookReview Sorrow Road by Julia Keller Title: Sorrow Road

Author: Julia Keller

Series: Bell Elkins #5

Published by: Minotaur Books on Aug. 23, 2016

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 354

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: St. Martin's Press, NetGalley

Book Rating: 7.5/10

From the small towns of Appalachia they came, the young men who joined the fight for liberty in World War II. Now they are elderly, and some of them―like Harmon Strayer, father of prosecutor Bell Elkins’s former law school classmate―suffer from Alzheimer’s. When Harmon dies in an Alzheimer’s care facility from what appear to be natural causes, Bell confronts a mystery that brims with questions about memory, grief and the lethal cost of burying the past. During a winter of record snow and cold, Bell and the people of Acker’s Gap, West Virginia, face isolation and hardship―and the threat from a killer who preys upon the old and the sick and the helpless.


Review:

This is an atmospheric, character-driven, murder mystery that reminds us that sometimes one reckless event can have long-lasting repercussions.

The plot is well developed, suspenseful, and tragic. The writing is well done and remarkably descriptive. And the characters are highly complex, damaged, and in some cases depraved.

Although this is not an extremely fast-paced thriller, it is definitely entertaining and an enjoyable read.

 

This book is due to be published on August 23, 2016. 

Pick up a copy of this story from your favourite retailer or from the following Amazon links.

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon Canada

 

 

Thank you to NetGalley, especially St. Martin’s Press, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Julia Keller

Julia was born and raised in Huntington, West Virginia. She graduated from Marshall University, then later earned a doctoral degree in English Literature at Ohio State University.

She was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University and has taught at Princeton and Ohio State Universities, and the University of Notre Dame. She is a guest essayist on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer on PBS and has been a contributor on CNN and NBC Nightly News. In 2005, she won the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing.

Julia lives in a high-rise in Chicago and a stone cottage on a lake in rural Ohio.

#BookReview The Weekenders by Mary Kay Andrews @mkayandrews

#BookReview The Weekenders by Mary Kay Andrews @mkayandrews Title: The Weekenders

Author: Mary Kay Andrews

Published by: St. Martin's Press on May 17, 2016

Genres: General Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 464

Format: Hardcover

Source: Purchased

Book Rating: 8.5/10

Some people stay all summer long on the idyllic island of Belle Isle, North Carolina. Others come only for the weekends-and the mix between the regulars and “the weekenders” can sometimes make the sparks fly. Riley Griggs has a season of good times with friends and family ahead of her on Belle Isle when things take an unexpected turn. While waiting for her husband to arrive on the ferry one Friday afternoon, Riley is confronted by a process server who thrusts papers into her hand. And her husband is nowhere to be found.

So she turns to her island friends for help and support, but it turns out that each of them has their own secrets, and the clock is ticking as the mystery deepens…in a murderous way. Cocktail parties aside, Riley must find a way to investigate the secrets of Belle Island, the husband she might not really know, and the summer that could change everything.

Told with Mary Kay Andrews’ trademark blend of humor and warmth, and with characters and a setting that you can’t help but fall for, The Weekenders is the perfect summer escape.


Review:

Engaging, mysterious, and romantic.

This is an intriguing story full of deception, secrets, adultery, murder, and love.

The characters are multilayered, introspective, and a good mix of those you love and those you love to hate. The prose is clear and precise. And the plot is full of suspense, romance and a multitude of twists and turns that will keep you captivated until the very end.

This really is a perfect summer read that will have you not only contemplating the idea of revenge and retribution, but will also have you dreaming of beaches, wharfs, and sea salt air.

 

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from the following Amazon links.

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon Canada

 

 

About Mary Kay Andrews

Mary Kay Andrews is the pen name of American writer Kathy Hogan Trocheck, based in Atlanta, who has authored a number of best-selling books under the Andrews pen name since 2002.

Trochek graduated from the University of Georgia with a journalism degree in 1976. She worked as a reporter at a number of papers, and spent 11 years as a reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution before leaving to write fiction full-time in 1991. She published ten mystery novels under her own name between 1992 and 2000, and switched to the Andrews pen name in 2002 to author Savannah Blues, which marked a change in her style to more Southern-flavored themes.

#BookReview Her Darkest Nightmare by Brenda Novak @Brenda_Novak

#BookReview Her Darkest Nightmare by Brenda Novak @Brenda_Novak Title: Her Darkest Nightmare

Author: Brenda Novak

Series: The Evelyn Talbot Chronicles #1

Published by: St. Martin's Press on Aug. 30, 2016

Genres: Mystery/Thriller, Romantic Suspense

Pages: 407

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: St. Martin's Press, NetGalley

Book Rating: 9/10

First in an electrifying new series from New York Times bestselling author Brenda Novak

THE HUNT FOR A SERIAL KILLER
Evelyn Talbot knows that a psychopath can look perfectly normal. She was only sixteen when her own boyfriend Jasper imprisoned and tortured her—and left her for dead. Now an eminent psychiatrist who specializes in the criminal mind, Evelyn is the force behind Hanover House, a maximum-security facility located in a small Alaskan town. Her job puts her at odds with Sergeant Amarok, who is convinced that Hanover is a threat to his community…even as his attraction to beautiful Evelyn threatens to tear his world apart. 

BEGINS WITH AN ESCAPE FROM HER PAST
Then, just as the bitter Alaskan winter cuts both town and prison off from the outside world, the mutilated body of a local woman turns up. For Amarok, this is the final proof he needs: Hanover has to go. Evelyn, though, has reason to fear that the crime is a personal message to her—the first sign that the killer who haunts her dreams has found her again. . .and that the life she has so carefully rebuilt will never be the same…


Review:

Gripping, suspenseful, and highly absorbing!

This is a disturbingly creepy story about the makings and minds of serial killers and the abuse and corruption found in the system designed to incarcerate and rehabilitate them. It is definitely an intriguing roller coaster ride of lies, jealousy, secrets, corruption, emotional trauma, greed, and degradation. 

The writing is fluid, and smooth. The plot is well developed, intelligent, and interesting. The characters are multilayered, determined, and strong. And the storyline is a complex mix of murder, mayhem, sexual attraction, and romantic liaisons.

Overall, I think this was a really great, easy read. And I especially liked the “real-life” serial killer quotes at the beginning of each chapter which I felt was a nice touch and added an eery authenticity to the story as a whole.

This is the first book in, The Evelyn Talbot Chronicles, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the next novel in the series, Hello Again, to find out if Evelyn’s own demons will finally be put to rest.

This story is due to be published on August 30, 2016.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from the following Amazon links.

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon Canada

 

 

Thank you to NetGalley, especially St. Martin’s Press, for providing me with a copy of this story in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Brenda Novak

It was a shocking experience that jump-started Brenda Novak's career as a bestselling author--she caught her day-care provider drugging her children with cough syrup to get them to sleep all day. That was when Brenda decided she needed to quit her job as a loan officer and help make a living from home.

"When I first got the idea to become a novelist, it took me five years to teach myself the craft and finish my first book," Brenda says. But she sold that book, and the rest is history. Her novels have made the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists and won many awards, including five Rita nominations, the Book Buyer's Best, the Book Seller's Best and the National Reader's Choice Award.

Brenda and her husband, Ted, live in Sacramento and are proud parents of five children--three girls and two boys. When she's not spending time with her family or writing, Brenda is usually raising funds for diabetes research (her youngest son has this disease). So far, Brenda has raised $2.6 million. Please visit http://www.brendanovakforthecure.org to see how you can help.

#BookReview Damaged by Lisa Scottoline @LisaScottoline

#BookReview Damaged by Lisa Scottoline @LisaScottoline Title: Damaged

Author: Lisa Scottoline

Series: Rosato & DiNunzio #4

Published by: St. Martin's Press on Aug. 16, 2016

Genres: Mystery/Thriller, Police Procedural

Pages: 405

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: St. Martin's Press, NetGalley

Book Rating: 7.5/10

From the New York Times bestselling author comes the much-anticipated fourth book in the Rosato & DiNunzio thriller series.

Damaged finds Mary DiNunzio, partner at the all-female law firm of Rosato & DiNunzio, embroiled in one of her most heartbreaking cases yet. Suing the Philadelphia school district to get help for a middle school boy with emotional issues, Mary ends up becoming the guardian ad litem of her minor client. As she goes up against Nick Machiavelli, her opposing counsel and the dark prince of South Philly lawyers who will use any means necessary to defeat her, she becomes more and more invested in the case—and puts everything, including her engagement to her longtime boyfriend, on the line.


Review:

Intriguing, suspenseful, and entertaining!

This story begins with a seemingly simple case of a special needs child who has fallen through the cracks, and quickly evolves into a highly complex story involving an in-depth look into the educational requirements of those suffering from dyslexia, the rights and legalities surrounding foster care, abuse, corruption, and, ultimately, murder.

The writing is well done. The characters are determined, intelligent, and empathetic. And the plot, as well as the numerous subplots, are multi-layered, compelling, and captivating.

Overall, this was an enjoyable story, and even though it is the fourth book in the Rosato & DiNunzio series, it can definitely be read as a standalone novel.

 

This book is due to be published on August 16, 2016. 

Pick up a copy of this story from your favourite retailer or from the following Amazon links.

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon Canada

 

 

Thank you to NetGalley, especially St. Martin’s Press, for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Lisa Scottoline

Lisa Scottoline is The New York Times bestselling author and Edgar award-winning author of 30 novels, including her #1 bestselling, AFTER ANNA. She also writes a weekly column with her daughter Francesca Serritella for the Philadelphia Inquirer titled “Chick Wit” which is a witty and fun take on life from a woman’s perspective. These stories, along with many other never-before-published stories, have been collected in a New York Times bestselling series of humorous memoirs including their most recent, I Need A Lifeguard Everywhere But The Pool. Lisa reviews popular fiction and non-fiction, and her reviews have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Lisa has served as President of Mystery Writers of America. Lisa graduated magna cum laude in three years from the University of Pennsylvania, with a B.A. degree in English, and her concentration was Contemporary American Fiction, taught by Philip Roth and others. She graduated cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania Law School where she taught a course she developed, "Justice and Fiction." Lisa is a regular and much sought after speaker at library and corporate events. Lisa has over 30 million copies of her books in print and is published in over 35 countries. She lives in the Philadelphia area with an array of disobedient pets, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

#BookReview The Winemakers by Jan Moran

#BookReview The Winemakers by Jan Moran Title: The Winemakers

Author: Jan Moran

Published by: St. Martin's Griffin on Apr. 5, 2016

Genres: General Fiction, Historical Fiction

Pages: 368

Format: eBook, ARC

Source: St. Martin's Press

Book Rating: 8.5/10

A young woman
A family secret
A devastating truth that could destroy the man she loves

Many years ago, the Rosetta family’s hard-won dreams of staking their claim in the vineyards of California came to fruition. Now high-spirited, passionate Caterina Rosetta, who has inherited both her mother’s talent for crafting the finest wines and also her indomitable will, wants nothing more than to win her mother’s approval and work at her side. But that can never happen, because Caterina is keeping a secret that could ruin her: a daughter of her own, fathered by the love of her life, who left her without explanation. Just as she feels she has nowhere to turn, Caterina discovers that she has inherited a vineyard in the Tuscan countryside in Italy, from a grandmother she’s never heard of, and she seizes the chance to start a new life for herself and her child.

But the past is not so easily outrun. In the country of her ancestors, Caterina meets the family of the father she never knew, and discovers that her mother is also hiding her own secret—a secret so devastating it threatens the future of everything her family has worked for. As an old murder comes to light, and Caterina uncovers a tragedy that may destroy the man she loves, she realizes her happiness will depend on revealing the truth of her mother’s buried past—if she has the strength to face it.

From author Jan Moran comes The Winemakers, a sweeping, romantic novel that will hold you in its grasp until the last delicious sip.


Review:

This book was very engrossing and I had trouble putting it down.

The story takes place in the picturesque vineyards of Napa, California and Tuscany, Italy. And the descriptions are so vivid that at times it almost felt like I was sitting amongst the grape vines savouring the bouquet of the most divine wine.

The plot revolves around secrets, lies, deception, familial relationships, wine-making, and romance. It is a wonderful love story with enough twists and turns and drama to keep you throughly engaged.

Overall, this is a well written, compelling novel with believable characterization and it is truly worth the read. In fact, I think this would be a great addition to any book club.

 

This book is due to be published on April 5, 2016.

Pick up a copy you won’t be disappointed.

 

 

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for providing me with a copy of this story in exchange for an honest review.

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