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Death at the Crystal Palace by Jennifer Ashley

I wasn’t sure how this book would go since it’s the 5th in a series, but I quickly found myself enjoying Kat’s lemon cake along with the rest of the characters (in a manner of speaking).
One of my favourite aspects of this book was the detail. Jennifer Ashley was very thorough with all of her historical details (as far as I could tell). While some might find all of the cooking instructions boring, I thoroughly enjoyed reading about them and the way Kat prepared her suppers.

At first, I wasn’t quite sure what to think of Kat, but by the end, I realized that I appreciated her contentedness, kindness, and determination. She loved her job and the people around her and it was lovely to read about. Daniel was a real sweetheart! Kat and Daniel each had their own mystery to solve and as they went about doing this, their paths frequently crossed. I really, really hope she and Daniel can find a happy ending together.

The mystery was well executed as well. The evidence was all on the page, but like Kat, I had to figure it out. I definitely did not put all the pieces together and enjoyed that the ending took me by surprise. Honestly, I came to a point where I suspected almost all of Lady Covington’s family and staff.

I am excited to read more books in this series and I expectantly await the next installment.

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Book Reviews

Pawsitively Swindled by Melissa Erin Jackson

A Witch of Edgehill Mystery (4 book series) Kindle EditionHere we are again with another fabulous story from the cat-loving town Edgehill. This one brought together more witches and delivered a mystery that was a tricky one for Amber and her friends to solve. And get this: Today is the release day! So make sure you head on over to Amazon and purchase this wonderful book. While you’re there, you may as well get the rest of the series too! Book #1 has less than 200 ratings! It deserves more, so please take the time to check it out. Cat Silhouette Rubber Stamp

Anyway, about the book. Amber is back and I feel like she’s so much more confident about her magic. Yes, she still has her insecurities, but she is stronger than she was at the beginning. I also found that the slight trauma she has from Kieran Penhallow’s attack was really realistic. He almost killed her! Yes, of course she would have nightmares. The relationships in this book were fabulous. I loved Kim! And Jackson did a great job making her come alive. As I read, I could see her reactions. Edgar and Amber’s relationship was really sweet, but I feel so bad for Edgar! Hopefully he gets the Kieran thing figured out soon. As always Chief Brown and Amber were fun to read about and I liked that their relationship was so clearly defined. And of course Jack… I’ll be honest, I haven’t really been crazy about him, but things were better in this book. I think the thing with him is that he doesn’t really do much in terms of the action. Maybe it’s just me, but I would like it better if he was a little more involved. Slate wall sticker: cat silhouette pattern | Etsy

The plot was interesting and I did not find myself getting bored. As always, I loved the setting. We spent some time in Edgehill, but also branched out to different places. It felt like this, along with the whole magic veins thing, gave the book a wider scope. I also, really liked that there was a “Previously” section at the beginning of the book. It was a nice refresher and allows readers to jump into the series without being totally lost. 

Lastly, the ending! What’s going to happen?!?!

Altogether, I absolutely recommend this book (and the rest of the series for that matter) and I can’t wait till the grand finale in a couple of months!!!   

Thank you to NetGalley for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Reviews

Jackaby by William Ritter

Hello blogging friends! I know it has been a while since my last post, but as I’m sure you all understand, things have been absolutely upside down lately.

Anyway, on the bright side, I’ve had more time to read. I’ve missed being able to sit down with a book so I am looking forward to tackling my to-read list. The first book I chose to read was “Jackaby” by William Ritter

“This world is full of dragon-slayers. What we need are a few more people who aren’t too proud to listen to a few fish.”

Now, to be honest, I usually don’t care for books written by men. (No offence guys!) I just find it harder to relate to the characters especially since it is written primarily from a male POV. However, Jackaby is written entirely from Abigail’s POV which I was a little leery of at first. But my skepticism quickly dispersed! Actually, I must applaud Ritter. I was pleasantly surprised by how he presented Abigail and in fact, how he portrayed all of the characters.

Firstly, Abigail was courageous, if not a little reckless, and intelligent and quite obviously eager for adventure. At one point she is a little down because the people around her seemed to be special in some way and she was not, but I actually found this quite compelling. We so often read about heroines who have all kinds of special abilities and whatnot, but Abigail still accomplished much even though she did not. What can I say about Jackaby….? I loved his quirkiness! Even his crazy hat. He is a unique and intriguing character who is, of course, modelled quite closely after Sherlock Holmes. I enjoyed this, though, and found that the supernatural element was a fun twist.Beastly Bones (Jackaby, book 2) by William Ritter

My one qualm was that although the setting was America, I got London vibes the entire time. The atmosphere felt very English for some reason.

Lastly, this was a delightfully clean read.

I am quite sure I will be reading the next book and am especially interested to discover if Charlie Cane will appear again.

TTFN! Stay healthy and well! ❤

Emma

Book Reviews

Pawsitively Cursed by Melissa Erin Jackson

44161129. sy475 I could not put this book down! It was so good! Book #1 was amazing, but this one brought everything up to the next level.

Amber went from fearing and hiding her powers at all costs, to embracing them. She still had insecurities, but throughout this story, she became stronger and more confident. I loved the addition of Willow and Aunt Gretchen! It was really fun to see how Amber interacted with her family and other witches, and also to see what other witches are capable of. We didn’t get to see as much of Chief Brown as we did in the last book which was a little disappointing – I did end up liking that guy. But the tension with him that showed up at the end of book #1 was resolved. That was a huge relief! Ugh and Jack. At first, I thought he was sweet, but by the end, he was such a wimp. Poor Amber. I really hope she gets her happy ending. 

The plot was thrilling and the villain’s ability to change faces was so intriguing and nerve-wracking. For a while, I had this theory that Jack was a Penhollow and that Amber and him would fall in love and break the curse. Honestly, though, I’m glad it didn’t end up that way. Which brings us to… You guessed it! The ending. It was epic and satisfying but left enough room for development. There are so many directions book #3 could go!

Image result for cat silhouetteLastly, this was mostly a clean read, but there was some language. 

Altogether, I am super excited for book #3! I loved #1 and #2 and I can’t wait to see where Jackson will lead Amber next.  

Thank you to NetGalley for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

 

Book Reviews

A Perilous Undertaking by Deanna Raybourn

“The hardest lesson I had learnt upon my travels was patience. There are times when every muscle, every nerve, screams for movement, when every instinct urges escape. But the instinct to fly is not always a sound one. There are occasions when only stillness can save you.”

Once again, I was absolutely charmed by Raybourn’s writing. It was intelligent and beautiful and fit well with the personalities of the characters. And that is the perfect segway… XD 

Veronica: fearless, independent, and astute. Yet, not very much changed from the previous novel. I wish that there had been more character growth, but maybe that will still come in the following novels. However, I did love how Stoker and Veronica’s relationship deepened and they learned to trust each other beyond the intermediate level of book #1. As for their romance… I have no idea where that will go or if it will go anywhere at all. They have a strong friendship, but I’m not sure if it could develop to something beyond that.

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I absolutely adore these covers! ❤

The pacing was quite good – they were almost always rushing hither and thither to visit royalty or to do some sleuthing. Again, though, the story was dialogue-heavy and I found that there was much time spent on discussing theories and guessing at who might be guilty of murdering Artemisa. 

Lastly, I was actually rather grossed out by how many insinuations and blatant mentions of sex there were. The entire mystery revolves around infidelity and the addition of the grotto… Well, I was not a fan. I love Raybourn’s voice and her characters are interesting and intelligent, but I am rather unimpressed by this element. So, perhaps, someday I may read book #3, but I think, for now, I need a break from this series. 

I hope you all have a lovely Sunday!

Enjoy the last day of summer.      

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Book Reviews

A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn

“I felt in this new adventure I was rousing to life again. I was a butterfly, newly emerged from the chrysalis, damp winged and trembling with expectation.”

This was an exquisite tale! 

I was instantly struck by the writing. It is so beautiful and deep. Raybourn does not simply tell the story, she paints a vivid landscape. Simply put, it is a piece of art. Also, this story was intelligently written. Either the author is talented lepidopterist like Veronica or she did some thorough research. Further, the author created such vivid characters. In some ways, Veronica was naive and in others, she was experienced. Through it all, she was feisty and absolutely fearless – she faced calamities with cool composure. Her relationship with Stoker was amusing and intriguing. Obviously, it is a slow burn romance, but Veronica keeps him at arm’s distance and treats him with placid indifference. I am very interested to see how this relationship develops… As for the man Stoker. He was a stormy individual who, at first, I was not entirely drawn to; however, as the story progressed, I found myself learning to like him.  30008834

“I abhorred weakness of any kind but most particularly in my tea.”

While the plot was entertaining, I found that it was rather bogged down by dialogue. Stoker and Veronica talk so much that it became exhausting. Yes, it was elegantly written, but it was excessive. Also, this was not a clean read. There is mention of crude language, plus some that is written out and while there are no explicit scenes, it is alluded to and Veronica is a woman of loose morals – her trysts with foreign men are frequently mentioned.      

I do believe, though, that I will read the sequel. I am curious to where Veronica’s adventures will lead.

“That is the hallmark of a good partnership, you know – when one partner sees the forest and the other studies the trees.”  

P.S. Aren’t the covers stunning?!? I am very much in love with them. ❤

Book Reviews

The Painter by Arleen Jennings

This was an exciting read for me! About half a year ago, Arleen contacted me and asked if I’d be willing to read her novel entitled, “The Painter.” I am so glad I said yes – it has been amazing to be a small part of Arleen’s journey.  

This is a heart-warming story about love, discovery, and forgiveness. The main character, Claire, was a strong and sweet woman who, despite the disbelief of others, pursued the truth. Chase was a kind but broken man and my heart hurt for him. Often, I wanted to give him a hug or give Roger a piece of my mind. In addition, their romance was clean and sweet. Besides Claire and Chase, my favourite character was Maggie. She had such a big heart!

The writing was exceptionally neat and tidy – it is clear that Arleen put a lot of work into it. Arleen’s style was also nice. I found that there was quite a bit of dialogue, but I know that she enjoys dialogue, so I suppose it comes down to personal preference. Further, Arleen clearly communicated emotions. When Claire’s parents didn’t believe that her paintings changed, I felt her frustration and when Chase was belittled by his father, I felt his hurt.

As for the plot… It came together nicely. I liked how Arleen started the story with an exciting but also unsettling scene. It made me wonder, “What is going to happen to Claire?” There were just a few minor things that were a bit bumpy. Claire’s discovery of Zac’s box was more fluid than when I first read “The Painter,” but it still felt a little sudden. Also, Roger’s and Chace’s reconciliation happened rather abruptly. But maybe that’s just me…

Lastly, let’s take a moment to acknowledge the cover. Did you know that Arleen painted the picture on the cover?!? Amazing right? You should take a look at some of her other artwork: http://www.arleenjennings.com/gallery/ 

God has given her many talents!

If you are looking for a clean, mystery/adventure novel, you should give this one a read!

Book Reviews

Pawsitively Poisonous by Melissa Erin Jackson

This was a thrilling, enjoyable, and magical read!

Instantly, the title and cover captured my attention. It came across as quirky and unique and lately, I’ve been craving a fun, well-written book. Pawsitively Poisonous did the trick. Well, except that now I want a second book! Hopefully, it’s in the works!Image result for cat silhouette

Amber was a quiet, sweet, and mature individual with a huge heart. It was refreshing to have a main character who wasn’t a teenager and had already put down her roots. Another aspect that was different, was that there was no love interest. It seems like every book these days has to have at least some level of romance, so it was nice to have a break from that.  

The writing was lovely but simple and the voice that Jackson used fit the story perfectly. I also need to mention the setting… Edgehill: A town obsessed with cats. Loved it! ❤ ❤ All the little shops (Quirky Whisker, Purrcolate) were adorable, as well as the cast festival (Here and Meow Cat Festival).

Lastly, this was mostly a clean read. There were no sex scenes, but the mystery did sort Related imageof revolve around infidelity and there was some minor language.

This was a great read, though, and if you’re looking for a paranormal cozy mystery, this is the book for you.

“A deep-green tie lying across the cement walkway that led to the porch’s steps, looking more like a slithering snake than a discarded accessory.”  

“It wasn’t depressing, per se, but cheery didn’t come to mind either.”

Thank you to NetGalley for providing an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

 

Book Reviews

The Swiss Courier by Tricia Goyer and Mike Yorkey

 

A riveting historical adventure.

Since my grandparents are Dutch I have heard and read many stories set in Holland during WWII, but I have rarely encountered stories from the Swiss point of view. As a result, the Swiss Courier was interesting and exciting!

The characters were dynamic and unique. Gabi was sweet and brave and Bruno Kassler was terrifying and vicious. The story is told from quite a few different points of view Image result for shocked gif disneywhich was at first a little disappointing since I thought the book was about Gabi, but I as the story went on, I grew to enjoy it. One thing, though, I kind of wish Gabi had discovered Jean-Pierre’s identity a little sooner. (By the way, that was such a shocker!) Maybe, though, this would have taken away from the surprise at the end?

Although this was written by two authors, there wasn’t a striking difference between their writing. This was nice since sometimes when two authors write their separate pieces, there is a bit of a jolt when jumping from one to the other. Lastly, with the writing, I found that at times there was a lot of extra information – about a handgun, or airplane, or person. I felt that these details weighed down the story instead of complementing it.

Lastly, this was a clean read!    

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Ta ta for now!

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Ramblings

The Painter by Arleen Jennings

Today is the last day of Indie April and what better way to celebrate this month than by sharing a book from one of my good friends. I beta read this book and it has been such an amazing journey to see Arleen pour herself into creating it. I haven’t read the finished version, but it’s on my to-read list and I’m excited to do it.

BLURB

While painting, Claire jumps at the sound of a loud crash, which causes her to drop a loaded brush of paint onto the watercolor paper. She manages to spill the jar of water too. The painting is ruined. Or is it? To her astonishment, three perfectly painted teenage boys fill the paper. But how? Once she realizes others can see the boys too, she’s at a loss. Not knowing what else to do, she turns her attention from how it happened to why.

Weeks later, Claire is stunned when she meets a woman at Frontier Days who recognizes the boys in the painting. Though her account is heartbreaking, the details spur Claire to ask for permission to come see where the boys grew up. There she meets Chase, a strong yet broken rancher.

As their friendship deepens, more of Claire’s paintings change and she is determined to find their purpose. An unlikely cast of characters weave their way into her heart and turn this unbelievable tale into a real-life adventure of love, loss, and the need for forgiveness.

WILL CHASE’S PAST CAUSE HIM TO DESTROY ALL THE GOOD THAT CLAIRE UNCOVERS THROUGH HER PAINTINGS?
‘Love gained, love lost . . . calamity makes or breaks a man . . . and yet, sometimes it’s both.’

 

FIRST PARAGRAPH

Claire’s heart raced as she walked into Casper Events Center. The Wyoming High School Art Symposium was her favorite event of the year and she wanted to see every exhibit. As soon as they entered the auditorium, she grabbed Tim’s hand and hurried him toward the first display booth. “Isn’t this cool?”