#BooksOnTour @bookouture / #Review : The Bookshop Murder (A Flora Steele Mystery Book 1) – Merryn Allingham @MerrynWrites

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free.
I’m grateful of receiving a free copy from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review of this book. –

The Bookshop Murder - Blog Tour

About the Author :

D1445 G smallMerryn taught university literature for many years, and it took a while to pluck up the courage to begin writing herself. Bringing the past to life is a passion and her historical fiction includes Regency romances, wartime sagas and timeslip novels, all of which have a mystery at their heart. As the books have grown darker, it was only a matter of time before she plunged into crime with a cosy crime series set in rural Sussex against the fascinating backdrop of the 1950s.
Merryn lives in a beautiful old town in Sussex with her husband. When she’s not writing, she tries to keep fit with adult ballet classes and plenty of walking.

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Synopsis :

The-Bookshop-Murder-Join Flora Steele – bookshop owner, bicycle-rider, day dreamer and amateur detective as she tackles her first case!

Sussex, 1955: When Flora Steele opens up her bookshop one morning she’s in for the surprise of her life! Because there, amongst her bookcases, is the body of a young man, with a shock of white-blond hair. But who was he? And how did he come to be there?
Determined to save her beloved bookshop’s reputation and solve the baffling mystery, Flora enlists the help of handsome and brooding Jack Carrington: crime writer, recluse and her most reliable customer.
The unlikely duo set about investigating the extraordinary case, following a lead across the sleepy village of Abbeymead to The Priory Hotel. When the hotel’s gardener dies suddenly, and they find out their victim was staying there, Flora’s suspicions are raised.
Are the two deaths connected? Is someone at the hotel responsible – the nervous cook, the money-obsessed receptionist, or the formidable manageress?
As the trail of clues takes Flora and Jack all over the village it becomes clear there’s more than one person hiding secrets in Abbeymead…
But does Flora have what it takes to uncover the truth – or will her amateur sleuthing put her in harm’s way?

Love Agatha Christie, Midsomer Murders and T E Kinsey? Then this brand-new cozy crime series featuring bookshop owner Flora Steele is just what you need!

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Review :

This is the first book in a brand new series and I confess I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
The characters are lovely and the setting is wonderful.
It’s, in my opinion, a well written cozy mystery with and enjoyable storyline.
Guessing the right culprit took me some time, but that’s the strenght of a great book in this genre.
I certainly look forward to the next installment in the series.

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#Review : Lying With Lions #LyingWithLions – Annabel Fielding @DearestAnnabel @NetGalley

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free.
I’m grateful of receiving a free copy from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review of this book. –

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About the Author :

I am a self-professed geek who lives in Berlin, and is dedicated a little too much to reading historical non-fiction; I pick out the juiciest bits from it and bring them to you.
My special areas of interest are Edwardian age and Late Middle Agnes/Renaissance, but sometimes I veer into other directions, too, when distracted by a shiny thing.

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Synopsis :

Edwardian England. Agnes Ashford knows that her duty is threefold: she needs to work on cataloguing the archive of the titled Bryant family, she needs to keep the wounds of her past tightly under wraps, and she needs to be quietly grateful to her employers for taking her up in her hour of need. However, a dark secret she uncovers due to her work thrusts her into the Bryants’ brilliant orbit – and into the clutch of their ambitions.
They are prepared to take the new century head-on and fight for their preeminent position and political survival tooth and nail – and not just to the first blood. With a mix of loyalty, competence, and well-judged silence Agnes rises to the position of a right-hand woman to the family matriarch – the cunning and glamorous Lady Helen. But Lady Helen’s plans to hold on to power through her son are as bold as they are cynical, and one day Agnes is going to face an impossible choice…

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Review :

I like historical fiction so when I got the opportunity to read ‘Lying with Lions’ I said yes as I thought the synopsis sounded quite interesting.
Diving in with much gusto I immediately had some trouble staying focused as I had the feeling the author just plunged us in way to deep to start.
I really missed some context and it took me some pages before I definitely found my way around.
After that I flew through the pages as I was more than intrigued by the veils lifting of some secrets.
However some way through I couldn’t stop shaking the feeling this story just meandered through.
I mean there were some more secrets and new conspiracies and a mentioning of a lesbian relationship, but nothing was really worked out fully in my opinion.
The characters were even not enough fleshed out for me to find a connection with most of them like I otherwise do, especially with the main characters.
If Agnes and Helen were even more strongly depicted I would connect better with the ending I suppose, which now felt a bit disconnected and rushed for my liking.
I think I can easily confess that I read the entire book because of the way Annabel Fielding writes as she has a great way with words.
You can also see that she has a great love of history as it’s clear she has put a lot of effort into research and trying to bring the Edwardian area alive in her book.
A story that most likely will give a lot of people some great time reading, but left me a little disappointed in some ways I believe.

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#BlogTour @HoZ_Books / #Review : The Fort (City of Victory 1) – Adrian Goldsworthy

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free.
I’m grateful of receiving a free copy from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review of this book. –

About the Author :

Adrian Goldsworthy studied at Oxford, where his doctoral thesis examined the Roman army. He went on to become an acclaimed historian of Ancient Rome. He is the author of numerous works of non fiction, including Caesar, Pax Romana, Hadrian’s Wall and Philip and Alexander. He is also the author of the Vindolanda series, set in Roman Britain, which first introduced readers to Flavius Ferox.

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Synopsis :

AD 105: DACIA
The Dacian kingdom and Rome are at peace, but no one thinks that it will last. Sent to command an isolated fort beyond the Danube, centurion Flavius Ferox can sense that war is coming, but also knows that enemies may be closer to home.
Many of the Brigantes under his command are former rebels and convicts, as likely to kill him as obey an order. And then there is Hadrian, the emperor’s cousin, and a man with plans of his own…
Gritty, gripping and profoundly authentic, The Fort is the first book in a brand new trilogy set in the Roman empire from bestselling historian Adrian Goldsworthy.

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Review :

I’m going to start with immediately saying that when I saw this book I really thought it was a brand new series (It says it also on the cover!), but that’s, in my opinion, not 100% true as a couple of pages in the book I started to have the feeling that I was reading about characters who had a history together and therefore knew stuff I didn’t.
Fair enough, after some Google-ing, I found out that Flavius Farox and some others were the main characters in another trilogy by this author which I haven’t read.
Therefore the sense of being a newcomer to the party was true and it lingered on for quite a while I must confess.
It’s however not something I can blame the author for (Maybe a sticker with ‘Farox is back!’ on the cover would be helpful?) and not something to trash the book for as it was certainly a very enjoyable read.
The characters are very well depicted and there’s a lot going on from intrigues to heavy battling, humor and a real sense of that this all could have happened as the author wrote.
A very interesting and fast-paced historical novel that at the end leaves me wanting to read more about Farox & co as they, along the way, became truly friends I want to follow on other adventures in Ancient Rome.
I definitely can’t wait for the next installment in this series and I will be picking up the ‘Vindolanda series’ I missed out on whilst biding my time for a new story!

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#BooksOnTour @bookouture / #Review : Murder at the Fair (A Lady Eleanor Swift Mystery #6) – Verity Bright @BrightVerity

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free.
I’m grateful of receiving a free copy from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review of this book. –

About the Author :

Verity Bright is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing partnership that has spanned a quarter of a century. Starting out writing high-end travel articles and books, they published everything from self-improvement to humour, before embarking on their first historical mystery. They are the authors of the fabulous Lady Eleanor Swift Mystery series, set in the 1920s.

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Synopsis :

Summer flowers, warm sunshine, a maypole dance and… is that another murder? A tricky case is afoot for Lady Swift!
Summer, 1921. Lady Eleanor Swift, the best amateur sleuth in the country, is delighted to be in charge of the prize-giving at her village summer fair. But the traditional homemade raft race takes a tragic turn when the local undertaker, Solemn Jon, turns up dead amongst the ducks. Jon was the life of any party and loved by the entire village. Surely this was simply an awful accident?
But when a spiteful obituary is printed in the local paper, Eleanor realises there may be more to Jon’s death than first thought. Despite handsome Detective Seldon giving her strict instructions not to interfere, Eleanor owes it to Jon’s good name to root out the truth. So with her partner in crime, Gladstone the bulldog, Eleanor starts digging for clues…
When another local dies in a riding accident, the police refuse to believe he was murdered. But a second vindictive death notice convinces Eleanor of foul play. Solemn Jon’s assistant, a bullish banker and a majestic marquess make her suspect list, but it isn’t until she finds a dusty old photograph that she knows the true culprit behind both crimes. Then another obituary appears – her own! Can Eleanor nail the killer before she too turns up dead among the ducks?

An utterly compelling and charming cozy mystery! Pure delight for fans of Agatha Christie, T.E. Kinsey and Lee Strauss.

Amazon

Review :

‘Murder at the Fair’ is the 6th book in this series and can easily be read as a standalone, I do however recommend to devour them all as they are so good! 🙂
I really enjoy the conversations between Lady Eleanor Swift and her butler, who reminds me a bit of Carson in Downton Abbey, who always looks after Mary, but this one is so much funnier.
Eleanor herself is definitely Miss Scarlet, from Miss Scarlet and The Duke, and the dog Gladstone, who makes me laugh all the time, I picture like Percy in Pocahontas.
In fact, the characters are all vividly depicted and the writing / story certainly rings true for the early 20s.
It all draws you immediately into the story and makes one fly over the pages.
I had to reign myself in not to go to fast!
Needless to say I couldn’t help myself and now I need to wait for the next installment with all the patient I can muster.
I hope this duo (Yes, this is written by husband and wife, although you can’t tell!) will be writing a lot more books in this fabulous series which I recommend to every cozy mystery lover out there.

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#BooksOnTour @bookouture / #Review : Murder at Elm House (A Miss Underhay Mystery #6) #MurderAtElmHouse – Helena Dixon @NellDixon #NetGalley

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free.
I’m grateful of receiving a free copy from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review of this book. –

About the Author :

DSC_7063 copyNell Dixon was born and continues to live in the Black Country. Married to the same man for over thirty-five years she has three daughters, a cactus called Spike, a crazy cockapoo and a tank of tropical fish. She is allergic to adhesives, apples, tinsel and housework. Her addictions of choice are coffee and reality TV. She was winner of The Romance Prize in 2007 with her book Marrying Max, and winner of Love Story of the Year 2010 with her book, Animal Instincts. She also writes historical 1930’s set cozy crime as Helena Dixon.

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Synopsis :

Kitty Underhay feels the touch… of death.
1934. Accidental amateur sleuth Kitty Underhay is being escorted by ex-army captain Matthew Bryant on an errand of mercy, as she takes a basket of grapes to her nemesis Mrs Craven, who is recuperating from a recent operation. But their arrival at Elm House Nursing Home coincides with the mysterious death of Lady Wellings, a long-term resident.
The woman was known to be ill, so when the police turn a disinterested ear to Mrs Craven’s suspicion that Lady Wellings was poisoned, Kitty decides to look into the case herself. And when another invalid, the gentle Mrs Pearson, collapses fatally in the breakfast room, it seems her suspicions are well-founded. For an institution promising health and rejuvenation, there seems to be a very low survival rate amongst the guests!
When the nurse Eloise Hibbert hints at sinister goings on among the staff, Kitty arranges to meet her away from the home to uncover how deep the treachery lies. However, before she can make the rendezvous, Eloise meets an unfortunate end falling from the top of the building. Was she pushed by the hand of fate, or a cold-blooded killer?
Meanwhile, Matt has been following an entirely different trail of evidence, and what he finds out chills him to the bone. When Kitty fails to return from her unsuccessful meeting, it is clear she has stumbled onto a plot far more devious than they could have imagined, and into a trap laid by an unscrupulous killer…

An utterly sensational and addictive Golden Age murder mystery. Perfect for fans of Agatha Christie, T.E. Kinsey and Lee Strauss.

Amazon

Review :

‘Murder at Elm House’ isn’t my first Miss Underhay book, so needless to say I really enjoy this series!
This new installment was read in no-time as it so wonderful written with alternating POVs and short chapters, often with a cliffhanger, to make you turn the pages.
The characters are also greatly drawn, they all get the right amount of story-time to get to know them and so you can either love or distaste them.
Kitty, the main character, is certainly loveable as she is my kind of woman : smart, independent and definitely stubborn.
She’s by far the best female sleuth I’ve met in a long time and I love how she and Matt interact with each other, they’re such a great couple.
This book was again a very entertaining read and I would love to see how it all develops further.
I can’t wait to read new books in this, hopefully long lasting, series.

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#BooksOnTour @bookouture / #Review : Murder on the Dance Floor (A Miss Underhay Mystery #4) #MurderontheDanceFloor – Helena Dixon @NellDixon #NetGalley

– ‘The Magic of Wor(l)ds’ blog is a hobby, reviews and other bookish stuff on this site are done for free.
I’m grateful of receiving a free copy from the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review of this book. –

Murder On The Dance Floor - BT Poster

About the Author :

DSC_7063 copyNell Dixon was born and continues to live in the Black Country. Married to the same man for over thirty-five years she has three daughters, a cactus called Spike, a crazy cockapoo and a tank of tropical fish. She is allergic to adhesives, apples, tinsel and housework. Her addictions of choice are coffee and reality TV. She was winner of The Romance Prize in 2007 with her book Marrying Max, and winner of Love Story of the Year 2010 with her book, Animal Instincts. She also writes historical 1930’s set cozy crime as Helena Dixon.

Social Media Links:
Website
Facebook 
Twitter 

Synopsis :

Murder-on-the-Dance-Floor-KindleKitty Underhay’s dance card is full… of death.
November 1933. Amateur sleuth-cum-dutiful granddaughter Kitty Underhay stifles a sigh of boredom as she attends the annual Hoteliers’ Association Dinner and Dance on behalf of her grandmother, the proprietress of the Dolphin Hotel. She hopes the company of ex-army captain Matthew Bryant will enliven the otherwise dull evening. That is, until bullish and overbearing local councillor Harold Everton drops dead into his bowl of consommé.
While the local police are still scrambling for their whistles, Kitty and Matt waste no time leaping into action. Soon they find themselves caught up a dangerous search to uncover who amongst the distinguished guests used cyanide for seasoning?
When their digging throws light on a corruption scandal brewing in the local council involving Everton’s assistant Thomas King, they are sure they’ve cracked the case. But before he can be questioned further, King’s body is found in a smouldering car wreck. Meanwhile, the murderer has made a sinister plan to avoid detection or punishment, and it will lead Kitty and Matt into a dangerous dance with death…

A fast, fun and utterly unputdownable Golden Age cozy murder mystery, perfect for fans of Agatha Christie, T E Kinsey and Lee Strauss.

Amazon

Review :

‘Murder on the Dance Floor’ by Helena Dixon is the 4th book in the ‘Miss Underhay Mystery’ series and if you, like me, haven’t read the other books I would like to recommend that you do this first.
It’s not that this story can’t be read as a stand-alone, but you’ll spoil the fun of the previous ones and that would definitely be a bummer as this one was, for me at least, very enjoyable.
I liked the dynamics between all the characters, but I certainly liked it between Kitty and Matt, the main characters, who alternately tell the story.
Of course you have to see the book in the setting it’s written in, the early 30’s, but it’s great to read how they evolve together and it’s a splendid storyline beside the mysteries.
Yes, mysteries, no typo there, as there’s not only a murder mystery going on, but also another mystery, which I believe is also a bit of a common thread running through all the previous books.
Another reason to enjoy all the books in order and I promise you won’t be disappointed as this one was already unputdownable!
Great read during these dreadful days with lots of rain, dark hours,… with of course a nice cup of tea with some cake.
Can’t wait to read the next installment, but first the prior ones naturally!

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