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review 2018-04-20 22:41
Wonderment in Death (In Death #41.5) by J.D. Robb
Wonderment in Death (In Death Series) - J.D. Robb,Susan Ericksen

A twisted take on the Mad Hatter Tea Party from Alice in Wonderland. I wasn't planning on reading this installment, as the novellas in the In Death series don't move the series forward and are just quick snippets of the police work involved in the full length books. When I saw this was available on RB Digital (a service my library uses to borrow digital material), I borrowed and read so I could complete my In Death series reading one more time. 

 

Oh hey look - it's Dr. Louise and Charles! I thought they moved to Westchester the way the recent books don't bother to even to mention them. Nope, they are still alive and well, except they found their friend's dead body and the friend's sister's dead body. Louise called in a favor for Eve to be the lead murder cop on the case. Eve decided to dig deeper on the sister and was able to solve the case before anyone else was murdered. 

 

A quick but fun read.

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review 2018-03-27 18:29
Darcy as an amateur detective, secrets, lies, and a peep into crime detection in the Regency period.
Lover's Knot: A Mysterious Pride & Prejudice Variation - Jenetta James

I am writing this review as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team (authors, if you are looking for reviews, do check here) and was provided an ARC copy of this novel that I freely chose to review.

I have recently read and reviewed several books that take place in Jane Austen’s universe, from sequels to versions transplanted to modern times. One of them was The Elizabeth Papers by Jenetta James (you can read my review here), the author of this book. I was so impressed I could not resist getting an ARC copy of this book before its publication.

This is a more straightforward (and shorter) story, although it shares with the other the element of mystery, although, in this case, the story is not a domestic mystery but a police procedural of sorts (the police as we know it now did not exist at the time). Readers familiar with Pride and Prejudice will walk right into familiar territory when reading this story. We pick up the story when Bingley has moved into the area where the Bennetts live, with Darcy as his guest, and Jane Bennett is staying at the Bingley’s due to her illness, and her sister Elizabeth is looking after her. Rather than what happens in the original story, here we have a murder, and a bit later, another one (this one of a character we know, but I won’t give anything away). There are many familiar elements but interspersed with those, we have the investigation of the murders and the secrets behind it. As the description states, this is a variation on the story, as all the original elements are there, and the characters remain true to the original, but new events come into play and disrupt the action.

The story is told by Darcy in the first person and the present tense, and that makes readers feel they share his thoughts and his detecting process. This is quite different from the original novel, and it is one of the attractions of this variation, as rather than judging Darcy by his actions and having to second-guess him most of the time (let’s face it, he is the prototype of the strong and quiet man), we are privy to his thoughts and understand his motives and feelings. In this story, he becomes involved in the investigation, and that means it also fit into the genre of amateur detective fiction. In his case, though, he is not an old hand at this, eager to participate and imposing on the official team, but rather he is recruited by the magistrate investigating the case, Mr. Allwood, a fabulous character. Contrary to expectations, Darcy is not an immediate success at detecting as he is somewhat marred by his belief in appearances and his prejudices, but he is motivated to discover what happened to ensure Elizabeth is safe and goes out of his way to follow clues. The case helps him discover things about himself and about the society he lives in that make him change his outlook on life.

The case is intriguing. There are plenty of red herrings, devious characters, and, of course, there is romance. As I mentioned, Mr. Allwood is a great character. This magistrate doggedly pursues the investigation, not concerned about who might be discomfited by his methods, and making no distinctions according to social classes. People underestimate him at their peril, and I hope he might reappear again in later books (or get his own). I particularly enjoyed the mock paper by a Professor acknowledging the role of Allwood in the creation of the Metropolitan Police. A nice touch and a good way of providing more information on a star character that is not part of the original novel. Having studied Criminology, I only wish that many of the papers I had to read were written in such an engaging manner.

I am aware there are other mystery novels set up in the Pride and Prejudice universe (although I have not read them, so I can’t compare), although not at this particular juncture of the story (as this affords quite a different twist to the relationship between Darcy and Elizabeth). I enjoyed Darcy’s point of view, having access to his thoughts and getting to see a more human and less stiff version of the character (he still has his pride, of course), although as this book is very short, some of the changes of heart in the main characters feel somewhat rushed (and, personally, the process by which both of them end up changing their opinions and the way they feel about each other is one of my favourite parts in the original, but that does not detract from the writer’s skill). The scenes that take place in London and the friendship that grows between Georgiana and Elizabeth are among my favourite parts in this story.

The writing style is perfectly in sync with the original and it flows well. The mystery elements are well worked into the story, and they respect the nature of a criminal investigation of the time. In keeping with the proceedings, and with the role Darcy plays, there is a certain degree of telling and not showing, especially when it comes to tying loose ends, but that is also typical of the genre. Although the mystery elements would work in their own right, even without knowledge of the original novel, I think the ideal readers are those familiar with Austen’s work.

An interesting variation on Pride and Prejudice that offers a new perspective on their favourite characters for fans of Austen. And for fans of mystery/crime books, an intriguing insight into crime detection prior to the establishment of the Metropolitan Police in England.

 

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review 2018-03-17 16:10
The Iron Water
The Iron Water: A Victorian Police Procedural - Chris Nickson

What a great mystery! Starting with a submerged body bobbing to the surface after a torpedo demonstration it winds its way through 1890s Leeds, with two dead men, rival gangs, and bent coppers, all leading up to a surprising and exciting ending. A taut and well-crafted plot handily kept the tension and suspense going through the whole story and I read most of it in one evening, I just couldn't put it down! The colorful and descriptive Victorian world created by the author drew me in easily, and the wonderful characters, from the gangsters to the dedicated coppers to Harper's Suffragette wife, Annabelle, they really brought the book to life. And the ending! Whooo, never saw that coming! An excellent historical mystery from start to finish.

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review 2018-03-11 10:15
Blog Tour w/Review - Fireball

 

 

 

BLURB: 
 

He’s infuriating…

 

Dempsey Jones has been a nuisance my entire life, the straight-laced Boy Scout grown up to be a firefighter, of all things. He was the one helping kittens out of trees and old ladies cross the road while I was lighting cherry bombs with my best friend in abandoned buildings, and now that we’re all grown up—even if my Dad doesn’t agree—he’s still just as annoying. 

 

She’s impossible…

 

Taite Ridley has been a constant my whole life, the curly haired mischievous daughter of the police chief, charming and devious and alluring. She was wild in ways I never dared to be and too big for our little town. But she’s here, a small town cop, and I can’t avoid her, even if I wanted to. 

 

And I don’t want to. 

 

It’s like mixing fire and gasoline and when these two collide, someone is gonna get burned…

 

 
Add FIREBALL to Goodreads:  
 

 

 

BOOK INFORMATION: 

FIREBALL by Nazarea Andrews is now live and just 99 cents for a few days only!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Fireball (River Street Bar, #1)Fireball by Nazarea Andrews
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Taite and Dempsey have known each other since they were children. Been friends and enemies alike. The new dynamic between them has been leaving them both unsettled.

Dempsey wants to try for a future with Taite. He knows that the animosity she shows toward him and the fire department is part of the job. Behind closed doors, there are secrets that may get out. Sooner or later someone in their small town will know.

This was such a great story. Kind of a slow burn, (pun not intended - but I'll take it.) These characters are such a great balance for one another. They have a lot in common, they both have this electric attraction with such intense heat. It seemed like it was a only a matter of time for this compelling story to find them on the same page.



***This early copy was given in exchange for an honest review only.

View all my reviews
  
 
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Author Bio:

Nazarea Andrews (N to almost everyone) is an avid reader and tends to write the stories she wants to read. Which means she writes everything from zombies and dystopia to contemporary love stories. When not writing, she can most often be found driving her kids to practice and burning dinner while she reads, or binging watching TV shows on Netflix. N loves chocolate, wine, and coffee almost as much as she loves books, but not quite as much as she loves her kids. She lives in south Georgia with her husband, daughters, spoiled cat and overgrown dog. She is the author of World Without End series, Neverland Found, Edge of the Falls, and The University of Branton Series. Stop by her twitter (@NazareaAndrews) and tell her what fantastic book she should read next.


Author Links:

Site - http://www.nazareaandrews.com/
Blog - http://www.nazarea-andrews.blogspot.com/
Twitter - https://twitter.com/NazareaAndrews
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/NazareaAndrewsAuthor/
Street Team - https://www.facebook.com/groups/427502530700422/ 
Newsletter - http://eepurl.com/MtHwj  
 
 
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review 2018-02-25 18:20
Dark in Death (In Death #46) by JD Robb
Dark in Death - J.D. Robb

The last two books in the series I rated a 1.5 and a 2.5, so I guess someone in Roberts'/Robb's professional circle saw that the readers of the series are less than impressed with the writing lately and made an effort to actually edit the work Robb is handing in. The quality is so much better than the last few books, so I guess a couple of ghostwriters are out of a job.

 

This book is a police thriller inside a police thriller - a take on inception a bit. Eve and Peabody respond to a murder that took place at a movie theater...turns out that was murder number two, as a previous unsolved murder her Homicide squad picked up a month ago is somewhat tied into this new murder. And away we go....

 

So let's talk characterization - seems Peabody is back to being an actual detective again and not the damn airhead who squeals over make up and clothes and hates on her body/weight like we saw in previous books. In fact, Peabody really gets to be Eve's partner in the detective work, and Eve consults Peabody on the craft/supplies/tailoring angle as Peabody's hobbies is all things crafts. Seeing the joy in Peabody at the mega-craft store made her relatable, but her use of terminology and asking the right questions of the craft store personnel made her really a part of the investigation. Roarke had the best one-liners in the book, and thankfully took a back seat in the investigation to handle his own business empire. He showed up when he was actually needed and wasn't around when he wasn't needed. Mira gave a brief profile of the killer, then seemed to vanish. Nadine was helpful as well as Mavis & Leonardo (him more so than her).  I feel like the gang is really back to themselves again.

 

Writing - we got actual humor back, mostly verbal but an actual fight with living garden gnome too. What I really liked in this book was that the drudgery of police work was balanced with the action-adventure of police work. I also liked how Eve got something wrong and got a little frustrated over it, but not enough to stop thinking through and using this failure to tweak her thoughts and actions in the investigation. No sudden brain farts as to who the killer was, it was methodically revealed over the course of the book.

 

Overall, a really good read that shows the great parts of the series and why so many of us are still sticking it out. I still feel an ending coming soon (maybe #50 will be the last one), but this one I think could go on the In Death re-read pile.

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