Monday 16 August 2021

Spring Upon a Crime (A Seattle Wilderness Mystery Book 2) by M.L. Erdahl (2021)

Wilderness guide Crystal Rainey leads a group of college students to a private campground amidst the awe-inspiring Olympic Rain Forest. The excursion is ruined when the charming hostess Roxie is discovered standing over the land owner's body, murder weapon in hand. Enlisted to investigate the crime to absolve her friend, Crystal descends on the quiet city of Forks to find loggers, developers, and eco-protesters circling the property, intent on either exploiting or protecting the bastion of old-growth forest. The list of suspects is intimidating. Can Crystal find answers in a community determined to keep her in the dark?

This second book has truly cemented the series in my mind as one to definitely follow from here on out. It was a great listen. The mystery was well thought out and had me guessing from start to finish. There was a mix of humour and suspense along the way. I enjoyed all the awkward and very funny scenarios Crystal found herself in. It made the story so entertaining. I loved and laughed at the name of the kitten, E.L.F., and thought that it was genius! 
I liked the mystery. I thought it was very realistic in that a murder like that is something that could quite easily happen in real life where land sales and inheritances are at play. I also enjoyed the physical landscape where the book is set. It's quite different to where I live; a little coastal village in Ireland and so the setting really appealed to me.
I listened to the audiobook version. The narration was very good and it enhanced my enjoyment of the story.

Tuesday 10 August 2021

The Secrets of Thistle Cottage by Kerry Barrett (2021)


The truth can be dangerous in the wrong hands…

1661, North Berwick, Scotland
One stormy night, healer Honor Seton and her daughter Alice are summoned to save the town lord's wife – but they're too late. A vengeful crusade against the Seton women leads to whispers of witchcraft all over town. Honor hopes her connections can protect them from unproven rumours and dangerous accusations – but is the truth finally catching up with them?

Present day, North Berwick, Scotland
After an explosive scandal lands her husband in prison, Tess Blyth flees Edinburgh to start afresh in Thistle Cottage. As she hides from the media’s unforgiving glare, Tess is intrigued by the shadowy stories of witchcraft surrounding the women who lived in the cottage centuries ago. But she quickly discovers modern-day witch hunts can be just as vicious: someone in town knows her secret – and they won’t let Tess forget it…

A hauntingly compelling timeslip novel from the author of The Girl in the Picture, perfect for fans of The Forgotten Village and The Witchfinder’s Sister.

This was a fast-moving story and a light read despite the heavy theme. The women in both timelines face prejudice, animosity and threats fuelled by mass hysteria and a mob mentality. The story shows how lies and gossip can have devastating and far-reaching consequences whether spread by word of mouth or on social media.
I enjoyed the witches storyline. Knowing what historically happened to women like them I couldn't shake the foreboding sense of doom facing Honor and her daughter. 
The present timeline had a similar feel but I didn't have the same fear for Tess and Jen as they had the privilege of having rights and the protection of law enforcement.
I felt that the ending was rushed a little bit with everything working out too neatly for all involved. However, this was a book I found difficult to put down. I loved the historical elements and the dual timelines.

#TheSecretsofThistleCottage #NetGalley.

HQ, HQ Digital

Available now! Amazon

Wednesday 4 August 2021

When a Duke Loves a Governess (Unlikely Duchesses #3) by Olivia Drake (2021)

A stunning new Regency from beloved author Olivia Drake, When a Duke Loves a Governess...!

Tessa James has worked and planned tirelessly to open her own millinery shop. All she needs now is a loan from the lord who sired and abandoned her. The only problem is, she doesn’t even know his name. What’s a woman to do to find him but enter the aristocratic world by becoming a governess?

Guy Whitby, the new Duke of Carlin, has returned to London after years abroad to discover that his young daughter Sophy has become a wild-child known for scaring away every governess who's crossed his doorstep. When Tessa James applies for the job, he hires her in desperation despite his misgivings that she’s too bold and beautiful–and that she might be fibbing about her qualifications.

Their blooming attraction leads them on a completely unexpected path to love that neither wants to deny. But when an old enemy threatens Guy's family, their forbidden romance goes up in flames. Can they still learn to love and trust each other as forces try to tear them apart?

Done well, there is something comforting about reading a book with a cliché historical romance trope. You know what to expect and so you can simply relax into a dreamy world for a few hours.
This story hit the mark with Tessa, a likeable and modern heroine who would rather open a shop than join the nobility. The story is fast-paced which kept me reading on. The villain of the piece was nicely plotted out and not obvious at all. I didn't have that figured out until it was revealed. 

There were a few eye-rolling moments for me. Tessa and Carlin decided after only a week that they would dispense with formalities and use first names with each other. Tessa got tipsy after one glass of wine and threw herself at the Duke. And one of the side characters was constantly referred to as a leprechaun!