Share This

Bookmark and Share

Friday, May 30, 2014

Review - The English Girl

I have reviewed the previous book in the series, The Fallen Angel (click here).  Now I am reviewing the newest in paperback from Daniel Silva.

Author: Daniel Silva

Copyright: May 2014 (Harper) 498 pg

Series: 13th in Gabriel Allon Spy series

Sensuality: some sexual references, occasional cursing

Mystery Sub-genre: Thriller

Main Characters: Gabriel Allon, art restorer, assassin, and Israeli spy legend

Setting: Modern day: Corsica, France, London, Russia

Obtained Through: Personal purchase

Madeline Hart is young and on the fast-track in the British government.  But she is kidnapped during her vacation on the island of Corsica. There is more to the kidnapping than just money, Madeline was the mistress to the Prime Minister of Britain.   Jonathan Lancaster, the PM, recieves a tape of Madeline being forced to admit to the affair in detail.  The kidnappers demands:  In 7 days she will die and the public will receive the confession if you don't pay up.  Who do you turn to when you and your government must not be connected to her disappearance or any payment for her?  Britain turns to the U.S. who in subesquently asks for Israel's master spy Gabriel Allon.  Gabriel takes the assignment rather personal in his quest to save Madeline from her indescretions that could take her life.  What he finds is a tangled web and Madeline is just a pawn in a much bigger game.

Gabriel Allon must deal with remaining feelings about the car bomb that left his first wife in an institution and killed his child in the  midst of searching for Madeline Hart. His future looks to be taking a different direction as well.  Chiara, doesn't get as much of a role in the plot this adventure, but has a few moments -- particularly the end which is touching.  Christopher Keller, former British Special Air Service agent who is now an assassin for a Corsican mobster joins forces with Gabriel.  He is frightening in his devotion to his job and might, just maybe, becoming a recurring character.  Eli Lavon, the head of Israeli intelligence, is in the field for parts of this tale, which was a pleasure. Mikhail Abramov, fellow Israeli operative, goes undercover in one part of the story and displays nerves of steel necessary to be a spy. 

The Corsica setting is particularly rich and vibrant, while the London and France settings are covered quickly.  Russia's glitzy dangerous side is exposed this time as the oil executives play.

The plot of using a mistress to manipulate a national leader is plausible, and even the kidnapping hiding a far more sinister plan (false flag operations) is conceivable.  But would a disgruntled former Russian oligarch and oil executive jump to help Gabriel?  Pacing was fairly consistant with barely a slow spot. 

The climax was not clear cut, the story unfolds and daring operations are executed to get to the truth.  However the wrap-up is touching and bittersweet.  Without having read the prior twelve books in the series, this is an exciting thriller with intricate twists and fascinating characters in a world of intrigue.

Rating:  Excellent - Loved it! Buy it now and put this author on your watch list 

Here is a short interview with Daniel Silva about this book.

Bookmark and Share

Monday, May 26, 2014

Author Guest Post - Kate Carlisle

I have been following the Bibliophile Mysteries for a while now, I have reviewed the seventh book, Cookbook Conspiracy (click here), the sixth book, Peril in Paperback (click here), the fourth, One Book in the Grave (click here), and the third book in the series, The Lies that Bind (click here).  But I have not had the opportunity to interview the author Ms Carlisle.  So I am tickled to feature a guest post today.  Please welcome Kate Carlisle to our little slice of the blogosphere.

I Love What I do
Did you watch the Oscars earlier this year? In her acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actress, Lupita Nyong'o thanked her director with a luminescent smile and tears in her eyes. "This has been the joy of my life," she said. 

Happiness radiated from her and lifted the mood of everyone who watched.

I could relate to what she was feeling. Writing the Bibliophile Mystery novels has been the joy of my life. I get to immerse myself in everything I love—rare books and bookbinding, history, food, romance, humor, and whodunits. (I was going to say "murder," but saying I love murder makes me sound like a psychopath. I don't love murder, but I've always enjoyed books in which a murderer is caught. Justice… served.) Plus, in writing the books, I get to connect to a community of readers who love the same things that I love, and who enjoy books that both entertain them and make them think. 

Joy. Of. My. Life. 

A Cookbook Conspiracy was released in hardcover and ebook last year and is now available in mass market paperback. It's a perfect example of all of my great loves coming together in one story. Rare books, history, food, romance, humor, and a whodunit that will keep you guessing until the end.

Bookbinder Brooklyn Wainwright is stunned when her sister Savannah, a chef, asks her to restore the one-of-a-kind journal and cookbook of an indentured servant who came to America before America was a country. In fact, this woman lived during the time of the Revolution, and symbols scribbled in the margins of the journal lead Brooklyn to believe that she may have been a spy. 

One of the things I love best about writing the Bibliophile Mysteries is being able to research whatever historical time period captures my fancy, through the appearance of a rare and precious book from that time period. While writing A Cookbook Conspiracy, I delved into the American Revolution, and particularly the fascinating spycraft of the time. Imagine trying to communicate across vast distances in a time of war, before the existence of the internet or telephones or even telegrams. Any message you sent could be intercepted, and the messenger killed. So how do you organize? Secret codes and ciphers were born of necessity. 

For the story, I invented Obedience Green, a young English woman who came to America as an indentured servant. Through brief passages from her journal, Obedience comes to life for the reader as a woman who nearly lost her life on the ship to the New World, and went on to become the trusted cook for a British general. But was she using the recipes in her journal to transmit secret messages to the other side? Which side was she fighting for, and how is it possible that a twenty-first century celebrity chef was murdered the very day that this 240-year-old journal came into his possession? Brooklyn doesn't know, but she's determined to find out because her sister is the prime suspect in the chef’s murder. Savannah was discovered with his body… and a bloody fish knife in her hand. 

I like my mysteries with a lot of humor, and I hope you do, too. A Cookbook Conspiracy is available now wherever books and ebooks are sold. I'd love to hear from you! You can contact me via my website, or on Facebook at 

Have you experienced the joy of your life in your personal or professional life? Share a moment that made you feel happy. 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

THANK You Ms. Carlisle for that delightful post. 

Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Review - A Tiger'sTale

I reviewed the first book in this series, Woof at the Door (click here), author interview (click here), and a guest post (click here.)  Today I am reviewing the second in the series.  Let's see how well the second book did in the Call of the Wilde mystery series.

Author: Laura Morrigan

Copyright: May 2014 (Berkley Publishing) 337 pgs

Series: 2nd in Call of the Wilde Mystery series


Mystery Sub-genre: Thriller

Main Characters: Grace Wilde, Animal behaviorist who speaks with animals telepathically

Setting: Modern day, Jacksonville Florida

Obtained Through:
Publisher for honest review

Boris the Siberian tiger has witnessed the kidnapping of a teenaged volunteer at an animal rescue facility. The normally mellow tiger gets into attack mode and Grace is called.  She finds why Boris is so upset and realizes that the volunteer has not been reported missing.  She jumps in to find this missing girl and gets more than she imagined with mobsters and hit-men.

Grace Wilde is an interesting main character with spunk and determination with a reasonable manner.  Sergeant Kai Duncan is the romantic interest on the police force who facing Grace's talent. The policeman-as-boyfriend has become a common trope, but in-spite of that trend it is okay in this series.  Not great, but okay. Grace's sister Emma is a party planner and is my favorite fictional sister -- just saying! She is gutsy and loyal.  Grace's closest buddy, Moss, her half wolf is probably the star of the series, and in this book is challenged with a task.

The plot was interesting in that Grace is the only person who thinks a crime has been committed, and she can't openly say the tiger witnessed it.  The story unfolds with revelations and kept my interest throughout.  The story climax had plenty of tension and action and was the frosting on the cake. 

An exciting follow-up to the stellar debut novel for this series, setting this up for a solid series that appeals to more than animal lovers.

Rating: Excellent - Loved it! Buy it now and put this author on your watch list

Bookmark and Share

Monday, May 19, 2014

Guest Author Post - Laura Morrigan

Ms. Morrigan has been so gracious as to give us an interview last December (click here) and I reviewed the debut book in her new series, Woof at the Door (click here.) 

Laura Morrigan is a Florida Native whose work at a local zoo, helping out with everything from “waste management” to teaching an elephant how to paint, served as inspiration for her Call of the Wilde Mysteries. She still lives in Florida and is working on the third book in the series.

Three unexpected things I learned after becoming a published author.

1. People read your book. I know, this seems to be a given, but I'm always a little surprised when I get emails from readers who express love for a specific scene or ask detailed questions about character motivations. The first time it happened I thought, "Holy crap! This person actually read my book!" Well, yes, what did you expect, Laura? (Disclaimer: I’m a natural blonde.)

2. Your book may alter these people’s perspective. This was hard to get my head around and was totally unexpected. I've had numerous readers tell me they no longer look at their pets or even their friend's pets the same way. They wonder what Fido or Fluffy is thinking or feeling.

I had one woman tell me she was more patient with her dog after reading my book.

Whoa.  Talk about awesome!

3. You don't read nearly enough. Amongst my friends and family, I would be considered a voracious reader. Compared to some folks I've met at... let's say, Malice Domestic, I would be called peckish at best. I'm talking five-plus books a week people! It's gotten to where I cringe when someone starts a sentence with, "Have you read…"

Though I read a lot-- it’s not enough. I’ve read some classics--but not enough. It’s never enough! 

Bookmark and Share

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Review - Murder in Merino

Sally Goldenbaum has been so kind us here with an interview (click here), first guest blog (click here), and second guest blog (click here).  I have reviewed several prior books in the series, including the third book, The Moon Spinners (click here); fourth, Holiday Yarn (click here); the fifth, The Wedding Shawl (click here); and the sixth, A Fatal Fleece (click here).  Now the eighth book is out and here is the review.

Author: Sally Goldenbaum

Copyright: May 2014 (NAL) 320 pgs

Series: 8th in Seaside Knitters Mystery series

Sensuality: n/a

Mystery Sub-genre: Cozy

Main Characters: Nell Endicott, her niece Izzy Chamber, friends Birdie Favazza, and Cassandra Halloran

Setting: Modern day Sea Harbor, Massachusetts

Obtained Through: publisher for honest review

It is fall in Sea Harbor, the quiet time between summer vacationers and the autumn leaf peepers.  But when all others have left, there is a mysterious woman who is still in town and has a determination to buy a very specific house...Izzy's old cottage, although she’s never set foot inside.  Then the woman is found standing over the body of the popular bartender in the cottage's back yard.  Additionally, Cass is going through a lot personally that has her friends concerned for her.  Nell and Ben's fortieth anniversary is fast approaching and preparations are gearing up as well.

Let me introduce you to the knitters:
  • Nell: the motherly spirit of the group.
  • Birdie: the spirited elder who is hard to keep up with.
  • Cass: the lobster-woman with a gentle heart - truly a rough diamond.
  • Izzy: Nell's niece, recently had her first child and owns the knit shop.
Besides the Seaside Knitters, there is the mysterious Julia Ainsley who kept me guessing--well done on this character.

As usual, the harbor town is rich in textures, smells, and community interests.  But, this story brings out more of the history as past events impact the present. 

This cozy utilizes an event that could easily occur and builds upon it for a realistic plot.  The pacing is a stroll, as this group of friends trudge through the layers of time and people.  This series is more about the characters and what they discover over time talking with neighbors and friends to uncover the truth.  The book takes place in three or four weeks time.  There wasn't much of an urgency to the pacing, which is acceptable in a cozy but some might desire more drama.

This is indeed a cozy, for series fans feel like returning home as they read.  The community of Sea Harbor and the characters are a large part of the flavor and appeal as the best and most popular cozy series exemplify. 

Rating: Excellent - Loved it! Buy it now and put this author on your watch list

Bookmark and Share

Monday, May 12, 2014

Guest Author Post - Sally

Sally Goldenbaum has been so kind us here with an interview (click here) and a previous guest blog (click here).  I have reviewed several prior books in the series, including the third book, The Moon Spinners (click here); fourth, Holiday Yarn (click here); the fifth, The Wedding Shawl (click here); and the sixth, A Fatal Fleece (click here).  I will be reviewing the newest book in the Seaside Knitters Mysteries, Murder in Merino, later this week.  Please welcome back a dear author, Sally Goldenbaum!


Thanks so much for inviting me to stop by today. I’m bringing some friends along—Nell, Birdie, Cass, and Izzy—women whom I didn’t know diddlysquat about a few years ago. And yet today, as MURDER IN MERINO makes its debut alongside the other Seaside Knitters Mysteries, these women have become soul sisters and an integral part of my life. 

And with each book, we become better friends. 

Nell, Birdie, Izzy, and Cass—my friends, my characters, my alter egos. I know how these Sea Harbor women walk, what they eat, how much they weigh, where they went to school, and the first time they had sex. I even know what number they are on the Enneagram chart. They are my ‘stars’ and my muses, my friends. 

But often, way too often, I haven’t a clue what they are going to do next—probably just like your own best friend. 

And that’s good….and difficult. 

Before I sit down to write a new seaside knitters mystery, I
spend time talking to each of them, sharing a ‘seed’ of an idea with them—that tiny nugget that hopefully will grow into a book. And then I beg them to take me by the hand and lead me along to what comes next, toughen me up as we face the blank computer screen. 

Sometimes they jump right in, like Izzy did in ANGORA ALIBI, (the 7th seaside mystery—the one that just came out in paperback). It took little time for her to share her feelings about pregnancy with me, feelings that moved her to take the actions she did—and that propelled all of her friends (and me, too) into a mytstery, a murder, and gradually the steps needed to solve it. 

Or Cass Halloran in A FATAL FLEECE, who showed me she was vulnerable, and not just a crusty lobster fisherman. And Birdie—the 80-year-old matriarch who pulled a skeleton out of her closet in that book, one that changed her life forever. And one that none of us (especially me!) was expecting. 

When I began writing the newest Seaside Mystery, MURDER IN MERINO, I was struck by the fact that I’ve known these fine women for over eight years now. They truly are BFFs. To each other. To me. And I hope to you, too. 

But sometimes, just like happens in real life, they don’t seem to be around when I need them. 

It happened when I began writing MURDER IN MERINO. They
disappeared. It was as if they had taken a vacation without me and didn’t tell me where they were going. 

But then one day, suddenly, they were back. Just in the nick of time to lead me around Sea Harbor, into the homes of their friends and neighbors. They introduced me to a new woman in town—a mysterious woman named Jules Ainsley. A woman they took under their wing, even though they weren’t too sure it was a wise thing to do. 

And when they decided to explore her past—they took me by the hand and led me along with them. And they didn’t let go, even when it got all of us tangled up in the murder of a bartender—a dear man we were all fond of. But was the mysterious woman who had become involved in the knitters’ lives fond of him? 

No one knew, not for sure. But my friends just kept leading me along, and at the end of the journey, they surprised me with what they found. The seed had grown into a plant. A book. Into Murder in Merino. 

Yes, after all these years, these women still surprise me. And that’s a good thing. Surprising means they stay fresh, but not completely comfortable. New, but still old friends. 

I hope that these friendships deepen with each book, and that their friendship with you deepens, too, so that you’ll keep coming back to sit with them on the deck on in the yarn shop, sharing a glass of wine, a bit of gossip, and secrets of Sea Harbor. I hope they stay fresh for you and for me, unique, but cherished and familiar. 

Kind of like a good marriage or partnership.  Like BFFs. 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Thank you so much for a great guest blog Sally!   Thank you for returning to our little corner of the blogosphere.  

Bookmark and Share

Monday, May 5, 2014

Mystery & Crime Fiction Blog Carnival - May 2014

It is the first Monday of the month and time for another highly anticipated Blog Carnival. 

Please help the newsletter for the blog carnival to get more subscribers.  If a blog reviews mystery/suspense/thrillers (even occasionally) then I would like to feature those reviews.  I send the newsletter out once a month announcing the deadline for submitting to this blog carnival.  Multiple entries from a blog are welcome. 

Subscribe to our carnival reminder mailing list

Now on to this month's blog carnival.  Click on the title or author's name to go to that link.

Police Procedural / PI Book Review / Legal
Mysteries and My Musings reviewed The 9th Girl by Tami Hoag

Booking Mama reviewed The Gods of Guilt by Michael Connelly

Mystery Author Carmen Amato reviewed By Its Cover by Donna Leon and shares "No investigation goes by the book in Donna Leon's 23rd Guido Brunetti mystery."

Carstairs Considers reviewed Thousand Dollar Tan Line by Rob Thomas and Jennifer Graham and shares this is the first tie in to Veronica Mars is lots of fun for series fans.

Tea Time with Marce reviewed When Shadows Fall by J.T. Ellison

Mysteries and My Musings reviewed Fatal Enquiry by Will Thomas

The Crime Scene reviewed Death from a Top Hat by Clayton Rawson

Mysteries and My Musings reviewed Murder on Bamboo Lane by Naomi Hirahara

Amateur Sleuth / Cozy book Review

Carstairs Considers reviewed Mayhem at the Orient Express by Kylie Logan

Mysteries and My Musings reviewed Murder at Westminster Abbey

Carstairs Considers reviewed Blackberry Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke and shares "The latest in this popular long running series finds Hannah tracking down the identity of a murder victim to find out what he was even doing in town."

Debbie's Book Bag reviewed Dead Between the Lines by Denise Swanson

Carstairs Considers reviewed Moriarty Returns a Letter by Michael Robertson

Mysteries and My Musings reviewed Home for the Haunting by Juliet Blackwell

Booking Mama reviewed Takedown Twenty by Janet Evanovish

Carstairs Considers reviewed Killing Cupid by Laura Levine (Jaine Austen #12) and shares it is light and funny as always as Jaine investigates the death of a matchmaker who is killed on Valentine's Day.

Debbie's Book Bag reviewed Beewitched by Hannah Reed

Carstairs Considers reviewed City of Darkness and Light (Molly Murphy #13)  by Rhys Bowen and shares Molly travels to Paris and stumbles into more danger than she was fleeing back home.

Debbie's Book Bag reviewed Steeped in Evil by Laura Childs

Carstairs Considers reviewed Dummy of a Ghost by Sue Ann Jaffarian

Debbie's Book Bag reviewed Iced to Death by Peg Cochran

Carstairs Considers reviewed NYPD Puzzle by Parnell Hall

Debbie's Book Bag reviewed A Chorus Lineup (Glee Club Mystery) by Joelle Charbonneau

Carstairs Considers reviewed Inherit the Word by Daryl Wood Gerber

Debbie's Book Bag reviewed Murder Sends a Postcard (Haunted Souvenir Shop) by Christy Fifield

Carstairs Considers reviewed Clammed Up by Barbara Ross

Debbie's Book Bag reviewed Home of the Braised by Julier Hyzy

Carstairs Considers reviewed Murder on Bamboo Lane by Naomi Hirahara and shares Naomi's new series is filled with vivid characters that lead you through a wonderful story.

Thriller/Suspense Fiction Book Review

Mysteries and My Musings reviewed Rasputin's Shadow by Raymond Khoury

Carstairs Considers reviewed The Chase (Fox and O'Hare #2) by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg

Mysteries and My Musings reviewed Missing You by Harlan Coben

Booking Mama reviewed North of Boston by Elisabeth Elo

Tea Time with Marce reviewed Anybody's Daughter by Pamela Samuels Young

Mysteries and My Musings reviewed Zero-Degree Murder by M.L. Rowland

Booking Mama reviewed Runner by Patrick Lee

Mysteries and My Musings reviewed Why Kings Confess by C.S. Harris

Tea Time with Marce reviewed House of Glass by Sophie Littlefield

Mysteries and My Musings reviewed India Black and the Gentleman Thief

Author Interview

Mysteries and My Musings interviewed Livia Washburn

Debbie's Book Bag interviewed Alyse Carlson

Mysteries and My Musings interviewed Kate Parker

Debbie's Book Bag interviewed Molly MacRae

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

A huge "Thank You" to all the wonderful bloggers out there who contributed to the carnival.  Keep them coming. 

Let's make next month's Carnival even better. For more information on the specifics of the Carnival and how to submit your posts go here

Spread the word far and wide!!!

Bookmark and Share

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Review - The Sayers Swindle

I reviewed the first in the series, "The Christie Curse" (click here) and was honored to interview this mother/daughter writing team (click here).  I finally got to this second book in this new series, sorry it took so long.  

The Mystery and Crime Fiction Blog Carnival is coming up, please submit your book reviews to the blog carnival (click here).

Author: Victoria Abbott

Copyright: December 2013 (Berkley) 305 pgs

Series: 2nd in Book Collector Mystery series

Sensuality: Kissing

Mystery Sub-genre: Cozy

Main Characters: Jordan Bingham, works for Van Alst estate managing the book collection

Setting: Modern day, Harrison Falls NY

Obtained Through: Publisher for honest review

This book picks up where the last concluded.  Jordan is trying to track a collectors set of Dorothy Sayer books that had been stolen from Vera Van Alst's estate.  The stolen books had been sold to a rare book broker who in turn sold them to an elderly gentleman in the neighboring town.  When Jordan and the book broker visit Randolph Adams to arrange to get the books back, things appear to be shady. Before Mr. Adams can return the books there is a murder and Mr. Adams and his family disappear overnight.  As if this weren't enough to keep Jordan busy, another eccentric uncle comes to town to hide from some criminals in NY city.  Uncle Kevin is a handful in many ways and has the entire family topsy-turvy. 

Jordan is a smart and fun sleuth. There is no recriminations for her sleuthing and even has some humor about her ability to pick locks.  Uncle Lucky gets to shine a bit more in this story, which I was happy to see.  For a character that has no dialog (silent-type extraordinaire), he has quickly before a star. Uncle Kevin is an interesting new character, as the wild card to disrupt any plan. It looks like he will be a regular character. I like Kevin, but in restrained doses. Karen Smith, the owner of the Cozy Corpse mystery bookstore is assisting Jordan to recover the Sayer collection.  I am looking forward to more of her in future stories.  Vera Van Alst is her cranky stubborn self, with Jordan challenging her to be less insulated and self-absorbed.  Tyler Dekker (aka "Officer Smiley") gets plenty of Jordan-time but otherwise I didn't feel the character was expanded any further. Librarian Lance DeWitt has my vote for the romantic interest, but this book may have disrupted that.  I like Lance's character and that the romantic interest might not be the cliche cop.  I hope Lance's potential as a boyfriend is revived in the next book (I have my fingers crossed.)

The climax delivered my favorite, a tense killer confrontation. The wrap-up was heart warming.  This was a well paced story that kept my interest and delivered an entertaining mystery with humor, engaging characters, and a smart and sassy heroine.  A great follow-up for The Christie Curse.

Rating:  Near Perfect - Buy two copies: one for you and one for a friend. 

Bookmark and Share

Related Posts with Thumbnails