Review: A Mortal Likeness by Laura Joh Rowland

synopsis:

A photographer in Whitechapel, London, Sarah Bain is also a private detective—skilled at capturing others’ dark secrets, and expert at keeping her own. When a wealthy banker, Sir Gerald Mariner, posts a handsome reward for finding his missing infant, all of London joins in, hoping to win that money for themselves. Usually discouraged by a saturated market, Sarah is instead curiously allured as she realizes the case hits much closer to home than she first thought.

As she dives in, she discovers a photograph of baby Robin Mariner and his mother. But it eerily resembles the post-mortem photographs Sarah, herself, takes of deceased children posed to look as if they were alive. Now it’s unclear whether the kidnapping is a cover-up to hide the reality of his disappearance, or if it’s truly a cry for help.

The clock is ticking and Sarah must uncover the truth before her past catches up to her in A Mortal Likeness, the gripping follow-up to bestselling author Laura Joh Rowland’s The Ripper’s Shadow.

review:

This was a fast-paced whodunnit full of enough twists to give you whiplash!

It is the second in a series and while it took me awhile to catch up with what has happened, it reads just fine as a stand alone.

You will be questioning each suspect, then believe in their innocence, then will find more reasons to think they’re guilty over and over again! This whodunnit changes directions rapidly, and will give even the best detective readers a run for their money.

This story read a bit like YA, but the storyline and cliffhanger conclusion definitely captivated me so that I’ll be back for more. I would even love to go back and read the first in this series to get to know the characters a bit better.

A very minor complaint is that, while set in Victorian England, the dialogue was pretty modern. I love me some Victorian language and this didn’t feel entirely authentic to the period.

3.5 stars. Recommend to mystery readers!

Thank you to Crooked Lane for a copy of my ARC!

Review: Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins

synopsis:

One step forward. Two steps back. The Tufts scholarship that put Nora Stuart on the path to becoming a Boston medical specialist was a step forward. Being hit by a car and then overhearing her boyfriend hit on another doctor when she thought she was dying? Two major steps back.

Injured in more ways than one, Nora feels her carefully built life cracking at the edges. There’s only one place to land: home. But the tiny Maine community she left fifteen years ago doesn’t necessarily want her. At every turn, someone holds the prodigal daughter of Scupper Island responsible for small-town drama and big-time disappointments.

With a tough islander mother who’s always been distant and a wild-child sister in jail, unable to raise her daughter—a withdrawn teen as eager to ditch the island as Nora once was—Nora has her work cut out for her if she’s going to take what might be her last chance to mend the family.

But as some relationships crumble around her, others unexpectedly strengthen. Balancing loss and opportunity, a dark event from her past with hope for the future, Nora will discover that tackling old pain makes room for promise…and the chance to begin again.

review:

This is my first time reading Kristan Higgins and wanted to read this book due to the glowing review from my pal Melissa.

This book definitely lives in a world of its own- there is a LOT going on here to the point where I wouldn’t know how to classify it as a genre – some romance, some darkness touched upon, with a healthy dose of other heavy themes. However, there were more than several instances where I found myself laughing out loud and for this reason alone, I will DEFINITELY be back for more from this author!

There were quite a few characters here, and I have to say I can walk away from this book feeling like a know them all well. Higgins has done an excellent job of developing some well rounded and fleshed out characters. Some of my fellow reading buddies even want to move to this town in Maine! My all time favorite character Nora’s friend from high school who had me cracking up every time she had dialogue.

Another fun Traveling Sisters read, thank you for your thoughts friends! And thanks to Netgalley, the publisher and Kristan Higgins for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

3.5 stars

#review: Murder on Waverly Place (Gaslight Mystery #11) by Victoria Thompson

Synopsis:

Sarah Brandt is not completely surprised when her very proper mother asks her to attend a seance. She knows that Mrs. Decker still carries great guilt over the death of her older daughter, Maggie. So Sarah accompanies her and the spiritualist does seem to contact Maggie-convincing Mrs. Decker to attend another seance.

Only this time, one of the attendees doesn’t succeed in speaking to the dead-she joins them. Now, it’s up to Sarah and Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy to protect Mrs. Decker from scandal-by determining how a woman was murdered in the pitch dark when every suspect was holding the hand of the person next to them.

Review:

Another great installment of the Gaslight Mystery series! I honestly am going to be so sad when I finish the last book😭

This whodunnit had a great cast of characters, similar to an Agatha Christie mystery, and I had a fun time going back and forth on guessing who the guilty party was. Throw in some Victorian seances (in the pitch dark, no less!) and this made for one fascinating read.

It was a little repetitious at parts which is really the only reason I didn’t give it a full 5 stars. As always, Victoria Thompson does a great job of developing the characters and having the reader get to know them a bit better. I love where these relationships are headed and can’t wait to see what comes next.

4 stars.

Review: Silent Lies by Kathryn Croft

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Genre: 
Psychological Thriller
Pub date: 
October 25th 2017
Buy:  Amazon
Rating: 3.5 stars

synopsis:

‘Your husband didn’t kill himself.’
Five years rebuilding your life. Five words will destroy it again.

Mia Hamilton lived the perfect life with her husband, university teacher Zach, and their two-year-old daughter, Freya. But everything changed when Zach committed suicide on the same night one of his students, Josie Carpenter, vanished.

Five years later, and Josie is still missing but Mia has finally found some happiness with new boyfriend Will.

Until one day when stranger Alison walks into her life and tells Mia that her husband didn’t kill himself.

Desperate to find out what really happened to Zach, Mia is forced to put her trust in Alison. But she soon discovers that Alison has her own agenda behind exposing the details of Zach’s death. Can Mia really believe anything Alison says?

Mia must decide how far she is willing to go to uncover the truth – even if she risks losing everything she loves.

review:

Kathryn Croft has weaved another suspenseful thriller.

The dual narrative of this story is really interesting, told in a past/present fashion from alternating perspectives. It is full of unreliable characters who will keep you guessing until the end.

I have to admit, I didn’t see the conclusion coming – I was definitely surprised by the resolution. This would have been a 4 star read for me had I not been left with so many unanswered questions (a reading pet peeve of mine.) I would like to sit down with a few of the characters and ask them some questions.

I thought this was a strong psychological thriller but was slightly let down by the conclusion. I enjoyed Croft’s previous book and will definitely be reading her upcoming works as well.

Thank you to Netgalley, Kathryn Croft and Bookouture for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

 

Review: The Address by Fiona Davis

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Genre: 
Historical Fiction
Pub date: 
01 Aug 2017
Buy: Amazon
Rating: 3.5 stars

synopsis:

After a failed apprenticeship, working her way up to head housekeeper of a posh London hotel is more than Sara Smythe ever thought she’d make of herself. But when a chance encounter with Theodore Camden, one of the architects of the grand New York apartment house The Dakota, leads to a job offer, her world is suddenly awash in possibility–no mean feat for a servant in 1884. The opportunity to move to America, where a person can rise above one’s station. The opportunity to be the female manager of The Dakota, which promises to be the greatest apartment house in the world. And the opportunity to see more of Theo, who understands Sara like no one else . . . and is living in The Dakota with his wife and three young children.

In 1985, Bailey Camden is desperate for new opportunities. Fresh out of rehab, the former party girl and interior designer is homeless, jobless, and penniless. Two generations ago, Bailey’s grandfather was the ward of famed architect Theodore Camden. But the absence of a genetic connection means Bailey won’t see a dime of the Camden family’s substantial estate. Instead, her -cousin- Melinda–Camden’s biological great-granddaughter–will inherit almost everything. So when Melinda offers to let Bailey oversee the renovation of her lavish Dakota apartment, Bailey jumps at the chance, despite her dislike of Melinda’s vision. The renovation will take away all the character and history of the apartment Theodore Camden himself lived in . . . and died in, after suffering multiple stab wounds by a madwoman named Sara Smythe, a former Dakota employee who had previously spent seven months in an insane asylum on Blackwell’s Island.

One hundred years apart, Sara and Bailey are both tempted by and struggle against the golden excess of their respective ages–for Sara, the opulence of a world ruled by the Astors and Vanderbilts; for Bailey, the free-flowing drinks and cocaine in the nightclubs of New York City–and take refuge and solace in the Upper West Side’s gilded fortress. But a building with a history as rich–and often tragic–as The Dakota’s can’t hold its secrets forever, and what Bailey discovers in its basement could turn everything she thought she knew about Theodore Camden–and the woman who killed him–on its head.

review:

 

There’s nothing like a dual timeline-family secret-mystery plot to suck me right in!

Certainly, the strongest point of this book was its history – this author has clearly done her research and it shows. I loved learning all about the Dakota, as well as the architectural development of New York City in the late 19th century. The Gilded Age is a fascinating time, and having lived in NYC for four years, I love learning about its rich history.

I was definitely engaged in the mystery and wanted to see how the two timelines would come together. It took a strange left turn about halfway through and from that point, I wasn’t as engaged. The resolution didn’t come together as convincingly as I would have liked, but I thought all in all it was a strong story.

Murder On the Orient Express


Well. 

I just read the book last week (I know. It’s been on my TBR for yearssss.) and we just returned from seeing the movie. It has only solidified my opinion: the book is always better. The movie wasn’t terrible, there were just quite a few artistic liberties taken and I am a stickler for detail – I personally think the integrity of the novel and keeping to specifics should be adhered to and made as a priority. 

Just my two cents. Have you seen it yet? Thoughts?