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review 2018-08-09 17:04
A Fatal Waltz / Tasha Alexander
A Fatal Waltz - Tasha Alexander

At her friend Ivy's behest, Emily reluctantly agrees to attend a party at the sprawling English country estate of Lord Fortescue, a man she finds as odious as he is powerful. But if Emily is expecting Lord Fortescue to be the greatest of her problems, she is wrong. Her host has also invited Kristiana von Lange, an Austrian countess who was once linked romantically with Emily's fiancé, the debonair Colin Hargreaves. What Emily believes will be a tedious evening turns deadly when Fortescue is found murdered, and his protégé, Robert Brandon—Ivy's husband—is arrested for the crime.

Determined to right this terrible wrong and clear Robert's name, Emily begins to dig for answers, a quest that will lead her from London's glittering ballrooms to Vienna's sordid backstreets. Not until she engages a notorious anarchist in a game of wits does the shocking truth begin to emerge: the price of exonerating Robert can be paid only by placing Colin in deadly peril. To save her fiancé, Emily must do the unthinkable: bargain with her nemesis, the Countess von Lange.

 

Lady Emily and Colin Hargreaves are attending a party together, now that they are affianced. And of course, since this is an historical mystery series, there is a murder. It reminds me of Agatha Christie in that way—wherever Miss Marple or Hercule Poirot happen to go, there will be a murder. Christie tended to set her mysteries in a small town, to ensure that everyone knew one another. In this series, Alexander had chosen a certain stratum of society, who all socialize with and gossip about one another.

It seems that this series will also be a bit like Christie’s Tommy & Tuppence series too. This couple will team up to solve murders and diplomatic incidents together, like Tommy & Tuppence and their espionage endeavours. I have no idea whether Tasha Alexander set out to model her characters after Christie spy duo, but I will soon have the chance to hear her talk about her writing experience—the conference that I’ve been waiting all summer for starts tomorrow!

This is an engaging series and I will look for an excuse to read the next book as soon as I can.

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text 2018-08-02 16:03
TBR Thursday
A Fatal Waltz - Tasha Alexander
Moonraker - Ian Fleming
False Positive - Andrew Grant
In the Month of the Midnight Sun - Cecilia Ekbäck
Ashenden, or, The British Agent - W. Somerset Maugham
The Gun Seller - Hugh Laurie
The Human Factor - Graham Greene

I'm working on Bright We Burn and Last Call which are both due at the library in 9 days!  And I'm still gradually reading a biography of Ian Fleming.  BWB has a waiting list, and LC is an interlibrary loan, so neither can be renewed.  I know how I'm spending my weekend!

 

However, the When Words Collide conference is approaching at warp speed and I've got 3 books I'd like to get to before then:  A Fatal Waltz, False Positive, and In the Month of the Midnight Sun.  All written by key note authors--I must give Andrew Grant another chance.  I found his spy novel to be somewhat ridiculous, but I'm going to give his murder mystery a try, hoping for better things there.

 

And the Summer of Spies isn't over yet.  On the docket, I've got Moonraker, Ashenden, The Gun Seller and The Human Factor

 

Meanwhile, I'm getting all excited over my Halloween reading list.  It's hard to keep my attention on the spies, with Halloween Bingo on the horizon!

 

I have tomorrow off work and Monday is a statutory holiday, so I've got 4 days to play!  On Sunday, I'll be headed out on two Historic Calgary tours.  Other than that, I've got time free.  Once the laundry is done and the house relatively clean, maybe I'll go to the used book store and add to Mount TBR. 

 

Whatever you do this weekend, have fun and stay safe!

 

 

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text 2018-07-31 16:03
Highlights of July 2018
A Perilous Undertaking - Deanna Raybourn
The Name of the Star - Maureen Johnson
Bog Child - Siobhan Dowd
A Poisoned Season - Tasha Alexander

I read more this July than I anticipated, chalking up 21 books.  These four really stood out for me and I'll definitely be interested to read more from these authors.

 

In fact, I already have Tasha Alexander's A Fatal Waltz in my reading pile at home.  I'm hoping to add the second Shades of London (The Madness Underneath) to my Halloween Bingo reading list.  If I'm lucky, I'll also be able to use Deanna Raybourn's A Treacherous Curse in the Halloween cause.

 

I also note that my public library has two more titles by Siobhan Dowd:  The London Eye Mystery and A Swift Pure Cry.  Once I've notched a few more titles towards this year's reading goals, perhaps I'll wander off mission with one of them.

 

Still a month left in the Summer of Spies!  I've got lots of good reading ahead.

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review 2018-07-23 21:56
A Poisoned Season / Tasha Alexander
A Poisoned Season - Tasha Alexander

London's social season is in full swing, and Victorian aristocracy is atwitter over a certain gentleman who claims to be the direct descendant of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Adding to their fascination with all things French, an audacious cat burglar is systematically stealing valuable items that once belonged to the ill–fated queen.

But things take a dark turn. The owner of one of the pilfered treasures is found murdered after the theft is reported in the newspapers, and the mysterious thief develops a twisted obsession with Lady Emily Ashton. It takes all of Lady Emily's wit and perseverance to unmask her stalker and ferret out the murderer, while faced with a brewing scandal that threatens both her reputation and her romance with the dashing Colin Hargreaves.

 

 

What a lovely discovery! I’m very impressed with Tasha Alexander on the basis of this book. She will be a key-note guest at a writers’ conference that I’m attending next month and I try to read a little something by each guest before the event to help me know who I want to hear more from. Our public library didn’t have the first volume of her Lady Emily series, but this second book managed to allude to enough of the plot of the first book to get me into the loop and able to appreciate A Poisoned Season.

This is a historical mystery with a good splash of romance. Unlike so many current Victorian lady detective books, there are no paranormal events in this one, although Lady Emily does end up with one rather mysterious admirer. Her mother is still a thorn in her side—Emily thinks that, as a widow, she had the social license to remain single for a while and carve out her own place in society. Her mother could not agree less, and is already determinedly pushing her widowed daughter towards a second marriage. Thankfully, Colin Hargreaves seems like just the man for the job—now he must convince the independent Emily of that.

I will definitely be continuing on with this series—I even hope to read the next book before attending the conference in mid-August. Fingers crossed that the public library delivers it in a timely fashion!

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text 2018-07-05 15:23
TBR Thursday
Berlin Game - Len Deighton
Jade City - Fonda Lee
Even - Andrew Grant
Bog Child - Siobhan Dowd
N or M? - Agatha Christie
A Poisoned Season - Tasha Alexander

The Summer of Spies continues, with Berlin Game, Even and N or M?  I get double points for Even, as it is a spy novel and its author, Andrew Grant, will be attending When Words Collide in August.

 

Plus two more books towards the When Words Collide conference:  Jade City and A Poisoned Season.  Both authors, Fonda Lee and Tasha Alexander, will be in attendance.  Tasha Alexander is one of the replacements for Deanna Raybourn (along with her husband, Andrew Grant, above).

 

And I've got only 1 renewal left for Bog Child, so I better just read it and return it to the library!

 

I've made great progress on the stack of books from the library--I'm down to one teetering stack rather than two!  My boyfriend is currently getting ready to move and is paring down his books, so he's been making some comments about the stacks around my house, cheeky bugger!  I've been having great luck at the used book store lately and I'm running out of shelves, but eventually those books will return to said store.  Having said that, a reorganization may be in order this weekend. 

 

Good reading, friends!

 

 

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