THE REAL VALKYRIE (The Hidden History of Viking Warrior Women) by Nancy Marie Brown

The Real Valkyrie: The Hidden History of Viking Warrior Women

Brown lays to rest the hoary myth that Viking society was ruled by men and celebrates the dramatic lives of female Viking warriors.

In 1889, in Birka, Sweden, a former site of a Viking trading center, archaeologists find a warrior’s burial chamber. With the amount and array of weapons, valuables, horses, this must have been a great Viking warrior.

Imagine the surprise when in 2017, DNA tests revealed that this high-ranking Viking warrior was a woman.

Viking women didn’t hold the keys to the larder and keep the house. Viking women carried weapons. They carry shields into battle next to their male counterparts. They are heroes. Poems are written about them.

Ms. Brown uses science to link Hervor, to the other Viking trading centers and to the entire trade route. She tells a story of Hervor meeting with the likes of Queen Gunnhild, The Red Girl, and Queen Olga. Hervor didn’t live a long life but she packed a lot into it.

There is so much misinformation from writers in an entirely different era than the Vikings. Mostly by men who have relegated women to the hearth. This well- written and well-researched work shake that old perception off. Women held power and as the author imagines what her life would have been like, she brings the valkyries alive.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The history, the “what ifs”, and the research that went into this beautiful work. Being of Norwegian descent it confirms many of the tales I was told as a child by my grandmother. It was a pleasure to read.

NetGalley/ August 31st, 2021

CHEVY STEVENS DARK ROADS

Dark Roads

From the author who gave us Still Missing comes a new and terrifying new tale!

What’s it about?

Everyone is aware of the disappearances of young women on a dark and lonely stretch of highway in Cold Creek. Cars break down, girls hitchhike, and they either never turn up or they do in an awful and disturbing way. We are talking dark here. Dark road, dark town, dark and sketchy people.

When Hailey McBride can’t take her overbearing and very suspicious acting Uncle Vaughn (also the Police) a minute longer. She was raised in these woods and her father taught her well. For her disappearing will be easy. Surviving will not.

When she finds the girl she loves dead on the side of the road, she runs.

A year later and Amber’s sister Beth is in town looking for answers but no one wants to talk and she has no one to trust. No one wants her poking her nose into all of these deaths, especially Uncle Vaughn.

This was a dark and emotionally charged read. Hailey is a great character and I admired her tenacity and strength. With a beginning and an ending told by a dead girl,this was right up my alley.

Excellent Writing!

NetGalley/ August 3rd, 2021 by St. Martin’s Press

Songbirds by CHRISTY LEFTERI

Songbirds: 'Will break your heart and open your eyes’ Heather Morris, author of The Tattooist of Auschwitz

The author of The Beekeeper of Aleppo brings us a beautiful new book. Songbirds, a beautiful novel about the disappearance of a Sri Lankan domestic worker and the vulnerability of such workers.

Inspired by a real-life disappearance of domestic workers in Cyprus.

Nisha is living on the island of Cyprus. A long way from home. While her heart is in Sri Lanka with her daughter, she must stay here as a carer for another woman and her child. She is here for the money.

Yiannis has a crush on Nisha. He is also trapping protected songbirds and selling them on the black market. This is a non-starter for Nisha. He tells her he will stop when he has enough money to marry her and care for her. Nisha is too smart for this and it breaks her heart to see the tiny birds so cruelly captured and killed.

But one night, Nisha makes the family dinner, cleans up and leaves on an errand only to disappear.

The police are not interested in searching for her so her employer, Petra, investigates. She goes to the neighborhood where other workers live and finds a much darker side to these migrant workers lives. Leaving them vulnerable to the most horrible crimes and treatment.

This book made me smarter and broke my heart. Such beautiful stories are often the hardest to read. But they are also the most rewarding.

NetGalley/August 3, 2021, RHPG-Ballentine

FATAL FAMILY TIES by S.C.PERKINS

Fatal Family Ties (Ancestry Detective #3)

This is the third book in the Ancestry Detective Series. Our starring lady is Genealogist, Lucy Lancaster, who can do your family tree and catch a killer or two!

Just as Lucy is sitting at her favorite place, Big Flaco’s, she gets an uninvited dinner companion. A former and not well-liked co-worker, Camilla Braithwaite. Camilla hasn’t softened up much since Lucy last saw her either. But this time Camilla needs Lucy’s help.

Being an old family, there is a lot of history to unpack and Camilla’s ancestor is the subject of a rather unflattering magazine article. Camilla needs Lucy to prove her ancestor was not a deserter from the Civil War and to help her prove this woman is a liar.

There is also a lot of interest in some badly painted artwork that has been in the family for years but is now being aggressively sought after. But why? It’s ugly as sin.

Leave it to Lucy and her friends to dig into the whys and hows, now they need to figure out the who before they become another victim. Right now even Camilla is looking guilty!

I love this series. It’s like a history lesson and a great mystery!

NetGalley/ July 20th, 2021 by Minotaur Books


Falling by T.J.Newman

Falling

You just boarded a flight to New York.

There are one hundred and forty-three other passengers onboard.

What you don’t know is that thirty minutes before the flight your pilot’s family was kidnapped.

For his family to live, everyone on your plane must die.

The only way the family will survive is if the pilot follows his orders and crashes the plane.

Enjoy the flight.

So that was the scariest beginning ever! And trust me it gets faster, better, more terrifying as you go along!

What decision would you make if you found out you were flying a plane that had been hijacked basically before it left the ground? They have your family. Who lives? Who dies?

This story could have only been told by this author. It is a non-stop flight of terror from the beginning until the ending.

The characters were brilliant and brave. I read this so fast you would have thought it was a real news event!

I don’t want to give anything away, but this author has hit it out of the park on her first try!

NetGalley/July 6th, 2021, by Avid Reader Press / Simon Schuster

Shoulder Season by Christina Clancy

Shoulder Season

Sherri Tayor has a boring life in a boring town. She wants so much more than what East Troy can provide.

She’s a good girl. Plays organ at the church. Doesn’t get in trouble. Stayed home to care for her ailing mother who dies, leaving Sherri to question what exactly she does want and how to get it.

When her best friend asks her to come along for a bunny audition at the Lake Geneva Playboy Family Lodge she does so reluctantly and lies her way into a job. Being a bunny isn’t fun and games. It’s brutal and a grind. The weigh-ins, the barb-wired fences keeping them in or men out. There are so many rules it’s hard to keep up. Pills keep her awake and keep her weight down but all the partying and sleeping around just depressher more. After a single tragic accident she is ready to get out of town.

California is nothing like East Troy and Sherri loves it. She gets a break working in an art gallery and is soon rich and powerful on her own. But what did it cost her?

The Playboy Club is not the main portion of the book. It’s more about a naive young lady who learns the hard way that people lie. People use you. And maybe, just maybe, home looks a little different now.

I did not care for this character at all. That does not affect the book as a whole, however. A powerful look at the decisions we make in our youth can have long -reaching consequences.

NetGalley/ July 6th, 2021 by St. Martin’s Press





THE NIGHT HAWKS by ELLY GRIFFITHS

There’s nothing Ruth Galloway hates more than amateur archaeologists, but when a group of them stumble upon Bronze Age artifacts alongside a dead body, she finds herself thrust into their midstβ€”and into the crosshairs of a string of murders circling ever closer.

Book 13 in the Ruth Galloway Series

Ruth is back as head of the archaeology department at The University of North Norfolk. She’s still getting the hang of things as department head and her patience is being tried by David, the new guy, who has an abrasive personality. Ruth isn’t quite sure he knows his place.

When DCI Nelson asks her to meet him at the beach where some amateur detectorists (yes, that is how they describe themselves) who call themselves The Night Hawks have stumbled upon what looks to be Bronze Age artifacts on the beach along with a dead body washed ashore. No one seems to know him and Ruth is more interested in the future dig and what it will hold.

As they unearth the dig, they find another body. Holding a knife. But this guy hasn’t been in the land of the living for a very long time.

When the nighttime detectorists discover another murder of a couple who live at Black Dog Farm, a reference to the Black Shuck, a giant dog rumored to haunt the place. Bringing death to whoever sees him.

The people who lived there were a scientist and his wife. There are so many red herrings in here I was suspicious of everyone! These were some seriously disturbed adults. And they had a lot of secrets.

There are the children of the couple. Grown now. But odd as heck. And this David guy is always a step behind Ruth, who isn’t impressed with him.

This one was action-packed and as great as the others. Ruth is an admirable character. And who doesn’t love Nelson?

NetGalley/  June 29th, 2021 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt



Ethel Rosenberg An American Tragedy by ANNE SEBBA

Ethel Rosenberg: An American Tragedy

New York Times bestselling author Anne Sebba’s moving biography of Ethel Rosenberg, the wife and mother whose execution for espionage-related crimes defined the Cold War and horrified the world.

In a case that shook the nation and left a lot of people wondering what the truth was and how it could involve electrocuting a woman for espionage with evidence as shaky as jello.

This is the first look I have seen at Ethel by herself. Who she was as a person, as a mother and wife, and what her dreams were. What is the truth? There has been new evidence found since her death and this book looks at all of it. The bulk told through letters with her husband, her lawyer, and her psychotherapist during her three years in jail. Two of those in Solitary.

Ethel wanted nothing more than to be an opera singer a good wife and a good mother. But in the 1950’s she finds her self caught up in the political witch hunt that was the McCarthy era. Anti-Semitism, Male dominated society and all the other injustices that women were forced to endure.

When they came for her husband, she never said a word. Her love and loyalty was so great she refused to incriminate him in anything. Her brother wasn’t as loyal or kind. He perjured himself to incriminate his own sister. The government knew this. And yet they were both found guilty of conspiracy to commit espionage for the Soviet Union and put on Death Row.

In June of 1953, Julius walked into the death chamber and was electrocuted. A horrible way to die. A few minutes later Ethel was led in and courageously and calmly let the government kill her.

That seems like a long time ago, but much of the same is still going on. Government is still running roughshod on the rights of the people and still condoning the hate.

I hated reading this and I needed to read this. Confronting our history is the only way to change it.

NetGalley/ June 08, 2021 St. Martin’s Press





Reserved for Murder by Victoria Gilbert

Reserved for Murder (Booklovers B&B Mysteries #2)

A Booklovers B&B Mystery #2

Chapters Bed and Breakfast in Beaufort, North Carolina is owned by former teacher, Charlotte Reed. The lovely old home is a draw for those who love to read and attend her special events with authors.

The author in question really wants nothing but some downtime but has agreed to a tea and a few small functions with a few of her fans who won a contest to meet her.

But when they all arrive Charlotte’s senses are tingling. Something isn’t quite right. And when the president of the fan club turns up dead in the harbor from a blow to the head, Charlotte and her spy neighbor Ellen work to find out who in Charlotte’s inn is a killer.

The first book in this series was good. This one had a lot of talking and the addition of Ellen and her ‘cousin’, took away a lot from Charlotte I thought. Plus, there was way too much softening of voices. I don’t plan on giving up on the series, but this one didn’t hold my attention.

NetGalley Review/ June 8,2021 Crooked Lane Books


The NATURE of WITCHES by RACHEL GRIFFIN

Climate Change meets Climate Witches in this Contemporary Fantasy/Paranormal Young Adult debut novel.

Witches have been maintaining the climate for a very long time. Their powers are the powers of the seasons. With the sun peaking in the season they are born.

But the humans or shaders have gotten greedy and off-track wanting more of everything without a thought as to how to it will affect the planet or the weather. They aren’t holding up their end of the bargain. Now the witches control over the weather is getting spotty. Witches are being depleted just trying to hold things together while the weather is acting like an out of control toddler.

But there may be hope. Clara is an Everwitch, she is rare and encompasses all of the seasons. But in Autumn Clara wants nothing more than to lose her magic. The power she has is out-of-control. She has already hurt people she loved. She just wants it gone so no one will be hurt. But the weather is hurting everyone.

When Winter comes and the world is raging as disaster after disaster kills more witches Clara finally understands that only she holds the power and answers that may save them all. But first, she needs to get control of her emotions and her magic.

Sang, is helping her with that. Big problem. He’s hot. She’s hot. He’s training her and he has a strangely calming effect on her magic. But will that keep him safe if she loses control?

And when Summer comes she will have to choose between her powers and love. Her responsibility to her fellow witches and her own personal happiness.

First, I don’t read YA. So much angst. Not so for this book. I could have kept on reading if only the author hadn’t stopped writing. I loved Clara. A strong female lead and strong female characters. I adored every person in this book. I look forward to the next one.

June 1st, 2021 by Sourcebooks Fire/ NetGalley Review