The Garden of Promises and Lies by Paula Brackston

The Garden of Promises and Lies (Found Things Book 3)

For all of you readers who loved Secrets of the Chocolate House, we are back in the Found Things Series, with Xanthe.

Things are coming together in the Little Shop of Found Things as Spring slides in. While she is still keeping her time travel secret, except for Harley, things get tricky right away.

Fairfax is back. In her own time! Watching her. She knows what he wants. The Book. Spinners. He isn’t content to be a Spinner, he wants all control. So now Xanthe must use her spinning skills to go back and stop him from harming the people she loves.

Before she goes however, she attends an auction at an old estate and that is where she finds her next thing. An antique wedding gown is singing loudly to her. The visions she is getting tell her that the gown is tied to Benedict Fairfax somehow and she now needs to find out who needs her help.

There is no question that she is going back, but there is going to have to be an explanation and that could be tough on Flora and Liam.

When Xanthe accidently takes a dog back with her and returns with both intact, she has an idea how to tell her mother. She takes her along. Not for long, just a peek at what she does. Her mother is on board but agrees with Harley that taking Liam would be a smart idea. Fairfax is strong and could harm a lot of people.

So into the blind house they go and just like that they are in Bradford-on-Avon around 1815. Liam is gobsmacked to say the least and her old friend and mentor at the Chocolate House is not impressed with what she has done. She is also acting very odd.

As the two concoct their story and meet up with the owner of the wedding dress, Fairfax ups the odds. Things are happening at a lightening fast pace and someone may not be coming back.

This is the series that my sister and I wait for. And then dissect every paragraph together. It really is that good.

And Oh! What a cliffhanger!

NetGalley/ December 15th, 2020 St. Martin’s Press

Tsarina by Ellen Alpsten

Tsarina

This book was originally published many years ago. It is an interesting book about Catherine the first, the second wife of Peter the Great. Set in Russia in the 1700s.

This is not about Catherine the Great. This Tsarina came from the slums and lived with all of the horrible conditions in that time period. Violence, Immorality, and a lot of dirt! And dirty dealings. While this is a fictionalized account, much is true.

I love a historical fiction book that teaches me something. I learned a lot about Moscow, St. Petersburg and the not so likeable people in the court.

I would give this author another try!

NetGalley/ St. Martin’s Press, October 13th. 2020

 

 

A PRETTY DECEIT by ANNA LEE HUBER

A Pretty Deceit (Verity Kent #4)

A Verity Kent Mystery #4

The Great War has ended. Former Secret Service agent Verity Kent has her husband, Sydney back by her side.

They both are suffering the effects of the war. They made some nasty enemies and now those enemies are ready to take them on again.

When her father calls asking them to check in on his sister in Wiltshire, they leave at once. Expecting to find the large country house in shambles at their feet. But once again her aunt is exaggerating. While her cousin lost his sight in the war, he is still sharp as a tack, and no matter how hard his mother tries to keep everything from him, he knows more than he is saying.

When a young maid disappears, they fear the worst. When another man is found dead on the estate, things start to heat up. Odd sightings in the fields next to the RAF runway. Suspicious characters up to no good or ghosts?

And why in the world are there holes dug all over the field? Their friend Max meets up with them as they have word of a secret letter in code from his father that may have something to do with their old adversary Lord Ardmore. Information he doesn’t want out. And just like that they become the hunted.

This is such a good series. Verity is a powerful character and has an attitude I love. Can’t wait to see what she gets in to next!

NetGalley/ October 6, 2020 by Kensington


 


Bronte’s Mistress by Finola Austin

Bronte's Mistress

This dazzling debut novel for fans of Mrs. Poe and Longbourn explores the scandalous historical love affair between Branwell Brontë and Lydia Robinson, giving voice to the woman who allegedly corrupted her son’s innocent tutor and brought down the entire Brontë family.

This is a tale of Branwell Bronte and Lydia Robinson, the mistress of Thorp Green Hall. It is 1843 in Yorkshire and Lydia has suffered not one but two devastating losses this year. Her mother and her youngest daughter.

She doesn’t get much sympathy from her husband, who all but ignores her and the children, and to be honest, she isn’t a very sympathetic character. 

She already has one Bronte sister tutoring her teenage daughters but now has hired a tutor for her only son. And Branwell is the lucky chap. Down on his own luck, at loose ends and fighting his own demons while dealing with his own rather odd family.

He is very passionate about life, the theater, and music and regales them with tales of his sisters, but under the surface, you can just feel the rather manic energy and short temper. As the two begin an illicit relationship, he gets more and more erratic and Lydia knows she must end things to keep her own reputation intact and before those pesky sisters get involved.

 

NetGalley Review/ August 4th, 2020 by Atria Books

CROSSINGS by ALEX LANDRAGIN

Crossings

Crossings is an unforgettable and explosive genre-bending debut—a novel in three parts, designed to be read in two different directions, spanning a hundred and fifty years and seven lifetimes.

Paris. About to be overrun with Nazis is not the best place for a not only German man but a Jewish one as well. As all-around is chaos and fear, a courier arrives at his bookbinding shop with a manuscript from a Baronness who would like it re-bound in the red leather she sends with it.

Inside are three stories, very unlikely tales. When the Nazis arrive the manuscript is forgotten for a bit and when he retrieves it he keeps it. Later he learns it can be read two ways. Straight through or in a very different way. The fantastical tale is hard to believe and takes us all over the world. The one commonality is Charles Baudelaire. He wrote at least the first one and a lot of this content is about him and a mysterious woman.

That is all I am saying here. This was something I have never seen a writer attempt. The word Epic comes to mind. The planning and detail this took are beyond anything I’ve seen.

Personally, I read it both ways and understood everything just fine. Although at one point I took a few notes to keep everyone straight.

Historical Fiction mixed with fact and fantasy. Well Done!

NetGalley/ St. Martin’s Press July 28,2020

A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Murder by Dianne Freeman

A Lady's Guide to Mischief and Murder (A Countess of Harleigh Mystery, #3)

A Countess of Harleigh Mystery #3

In Dianne Freeman’s charming Victorian-era mystery series, Frances Wynn, the American-born Countess of Harleigh, finds her sister’s wedding threatened by a vow of vengeance.

This is one of my favorite Historical Fiction Cozy Mystery series! Frances Wynn, an American whose overbearing mother pushed her into a miserable marriage for a title in the British aristocracy, has been a widow for a while now. Living in London with her daughter and now her sister Lily who has fallen head over heels in love with Leo.

George and Frances are keeping their engagement secret until after Lily is wed. Unfortunately, Leo and Lily jumped the gun and are now in a position of having to move the wedding forward quickly.

George comes to the rescue by having everyone to his family estate in the country and the entire party is transported to Hampshire for some hunting, riding and you just know there will be drama when the parents of the couple arrive.

But drama begins almost as soon as they arrive. Deaths, accidents, and sketchy guests are all on the menu.

Frances isn’t about to be left out of the investigation, especially when her own George may be in danger.

There is a killer on the grounds and as they set a trap for the suspect they may find themselves caught in it!

I love these characters. They are funny and strong and get themselves into the most dangerous of predicaments.

Always a pleasure!

NetGalley/July 28th, 2020 by Kensington Books

 

 

THE MOLTEN CITY by Chris Nickson

Molten City (A Tom Harper Mystery Book 8) by [Chris Nickson]

Detective Superintendent Tom Harper senses trouble ahead when the prime minister plans a visit. Can he keep law and order on the streets while also uncovering the truth behind a missing child?

Detective Superintendent Tom Harper has a bad feeling about the Prime Minister making a stop in Leeds. It’s September of 1908 and everyone is on edge. Whether it’s the Suffragettes or the massive amount of unemployed men, Tom has a feeling this is not going to turn out well.

As if that isn’t enough, someone has dropped him a letter claiming that a young boy, Andrew, was stolen from his family fourteen years prior. Looking into the case he finds very little in the file. In the middle of trying to hold off a riot over the Prime Ministers visit, he is also in the middle of a child abduction ring and some of the people involved do not intend to be captured.

Will Tom get things under control before the entire city goes up in smoke?

Very Well Done!

NetGalley/ Severn House July 7, 2020

 

 

 

Paris Never Leaves You by Ellen Feldman

Paris Never Leaves You

A story with Paris, a book shop, a publishing house and set in the past and present sounds like a great idea.

Charlotte was a difficult character to know. I didn’t feel as if I knew any more of her story than what we knew at the beginning.

What was her sin? We know people who did whatever they had to do to survive the Nazi regime. They lied, they took food from the enemy, some even informed on their own people. But Charlotte wasn’t one of them. And where this war is concerned, people aren’t so forgiving of those who did what she did.

The entire thing felt disjointed and shallow. Not my cup of tea.

NetGalley/ June 2nd, 2020 by St. Martin’s Griffin

 

 

THE JANE AUSTEN SOCIETY by NATALIE JENNER

Chawton, England was the final home of the great Jane Austen. It’s little more than a bump in the road, but tourists come from all over the world in hopes of finding something of Jane there.

What is left is the great house, the grounds, and the cottage where Jane wrote. In the great house, Frances Knight lives with her ailing and horribly mean father. The house and her father are falling apart and Frances seems unable to anything but wait. With the cook, Josephine, and 16-year-old Evie Stone, she makes do.

Evie is scary smart. And for the past two years, she has been staying up all night to catalog the over two thousand books in the library, where she has found quite a few serious treasures and secrets!

In a series of events we end up with an odd group of people, brought together by their love of Jane Austen. An American movie star, a young widow, the village doctor, and a local laborer. There are wonderful supporting characters here as well. While this group at first has only one thing in common, their passion to preserve the legacy of Jane Austen. Ah, literature, the great equalizer of humanity!

Each of them has suffered horrible losses and unimaginable hardships and as they get to know each other in their pursuit of a common goal, they find they aren’t so different after all. And I did not see that ending coming! Well Done!

I absolutely adored this mix of fact and fiction! I can’t believe this is the author’s first published work. The characters were perfection and I will definitely read this one again!

NetGalley/ May 26th, 2020 by St. Martin’s Press

 

In the LION’S DEN by BARBARA TAYLOR BRADFORD

 

In the Lion's Den (House of Falconer #2)

 

The House of Falconer #2

James and his Uncle are back in the second House of Falconer book. While his uncle is busy with the newspaper, James has gone from working in the shop of Henry Malvern to being Malverns managing director.

From 1889 to 1892 we watch as James goes through the good, the bad, and the jaw-dropping with all of the poise we love him for, as his feelings toward Alexis go from disapproval to romance. But James has recently been in touch with Georgina Ward and she has a secret to share.

All at once his carefully plotted life plan is turned upside down. The question is will he be the better for it or not.

I would recommend reading book one first, so you know the backstory.  Has there ever been a bad BTB book? NO.

I hope we will see more of this character!

Well Done!

NetGalley/October 6th, 2020 by St. Martin’s Press