Fiction Review: Hamilton Crane’s “Miss Seeton Quilts the Village”

As of September 7th, a brand-new Miss Seeton story is available! 

This book is jam-packed. Numerous plot-lines dance about each other, weaving a story that takes a couple of readings to fully unravel. And in true “Battling Brolly” fashion, Miss Seeton is somehow entangled in each goings-on, and yet remains blissfully unaware the whole time.

Miss Seeton is nobody’s fool, so it has always amused me greatly how her incessantly polite look on life can make so many people misunderstand her, or how she can be so unaware, yet her subconscious-led art can turn out so many vital clues. The authors who have crafted the series over the years have done a wonderful job of keeping this unique quirk alive and fresh for the readers. 

This new title is two decades removed from the previous book in the series, and yet we pick up right where we left off with all the people of the town, and they are just as fun to read as ever. I’ve always liked how, even though it’s the “Miss Seeton” series, the author(s) give us POV from all characters therein. Getting a perspective outside of Miss Seeton’s rounds out each story, and allows us to enjoy her antics even more. 

I liked how the plot dealt with several layers of history – how different events can be interpreted, and how one family, or one village can impact those around them in ways unexpected. You can’t rush ahead while reading this one, there’s a lot to process!

I hope this publication is indicative of more to come!

I received a review copy of this work from the publisher through NetGalley

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Fiction Review: Leena Clover’s “Gone with the Wings”

This review is a stop on the Great Escapes Blog Tour for “Gone with the Wings”.

If you could smell the story inside books, you would be able to smell “Gone with the Wings” from across the bookstore when you walked in. And it would make you very hungry! Meera’s family dynamics are centered in the kitchen, and the author does a fantastic job of setting a plate for the reader and making them one of the group.

I’ve not read many cozy mysteries set in Oklahoma, so I was eager to see what Ms. Clover did with her setting. I really enjoyed that she took the time to show the reader the diverse landscape that one can find throughout Oklahoma, and how much pride the residents take in where they live. It was a very refreshing depiction!

The story itself is fast, moving quickly, but not rushed. I liked how there were several different layers going on, and when the reader thinks they’ve got one figured out, something happens in another area that will upend their assumptions. A quick read, but a jam-packed one!

The best part of the book, for me, was watching how Meera’s family interacts, and getting invested in their lives. Ms. Clover has deftly laid the set-up for the books to follow, and I believe it will be a series to enjoy!

Be sure to enter the raffle HERE for a chance to win your own copy of “Gone with the Wings”!

Fiction Review: Le French Book – “Requiem in Yquem”

I said this in one of my earliest Winemaker Detective reviews, and it still holds true: Don’t read these books while you’re hungry!

The food, the wine, the landscapes, the people. The authors of the Winemaker Detective series have an almost unreal ability to bring their books to life, to pull on all of the reader’s senses and plunge them deep into the story. It’s simply amazing.

Requiem is an amazing Winemaker Detective book. Granted, they all are, but this one stands out. It feels like the very first of the series – the banter, the emphasis on the food, the wine, and just the fun of reading. I loved seeing Paul William again, and many other characters from previous works. There were many subtle references to previous adventures, to whet the appetite of those who may just be joining the series, and it all tied the work together well.

Add in a plot that keeps twisting on the reader, just when they think they’ve figured it out, Benjamin’s always trusty one-liners (“Don’t forget your wife’s birthday”), and the relationships that make this group so much fun, and it all creates a book I can’t wait for everyone to pick up!

I received a review copy of this work from the publisher

Fiction Review: Patrick W. Carr’s “The Shattered Vigil”

Everyone has those authors – when someone asks you for a recommendation – they’re the top names to spill out of your mouth. When asked why you like them, you can try to name things like excellent style, plot, or characters, but it’s really all of those things, and yet none of them at once. It’s that otherness, that quality you can’t pin down, but that resonates so strongly with you. Most simply put, the way you read, they write. 

“The Shattered Vigil” has more of everything from the previous Darkwater Saga book – more world building, more character history, more twists. There is never a moment where the reader knows what is coming next, as nothing is ever revealed as you would think. This is edge-of-your-seat storytelling at it’s finest.

The story has so much going on, so many plot threads weaving and looping back on themselves, with each character getting their chance to carry the narrative. I really enjoyed that aspect, that through the individual adventures of each character, we begin to see just how vast the fight really is, and how it will impact their entire world, not just one kingdom, not just one story.

There is well-timed humor, deeply poignant moments, and pulse-racing-page-flipping action, all led by characters I don’t want to leave at the end of the work. In short, I crave the next installment!

I received a review copy of this work from the publisher through NetGalley

 

Fiction Review: Rita Stradling’s “Ensnared”

There are many, many re-tellings of the classic Beauty and the Beast plot. Few, that I have read, decide to do so in a futuristic setting with robots. Enter Mrs. Stradling’s novel “Ensnared”.

This work was not what I expected, and I mean that as high praise. Trying to describe this book as “Beauty and the Beast with Robots” is so inadequate to convey the layered and well-told story within. Leave your assumptions aside, for you will be surprised!

I have gone back and already re-read the book several times since I first received it. It’s easy to finish in a single afternoon, yet compelling enough to pick up again, especially when it comes to catching everything that happens toward the end. And boy, what an ending! It’s fantastic.

Additionally, I really enjoyed the three distinct settings we get throughout the book, and how each brings out Alainn’s past and personality in a different way, until we get a fully rounded character leading us through this great story.

In all, a fun read, and re-read, and re-read!

I received a review copy of this work from the publisher through NetGalley

 

Fiction Review: Le French Book – “Red-Handed in Romanée-Conti”

  

This is Cooker and Co. at their finest, matching those around them wit for wit, glass for glass.

As much as I enjoy following Benjamin and Virgile throughout this series, Elizabeth has grown to be my favorite character. Her interactions with “Beau-Papa”, as she calls Benjamin’s father, are some of the best scenes in this book. Readers really get to see the different facets to her in this work, and it is quite the treat.

This doesn’t mean that Cooker and Virgile’s adventures are taking it easy in the meantime, far from it! They’re embroiled in a case, a vineyard’s race against time, and simmering family intrigues. Readers must take a deep breath and try to keep up!

This particular book goes more into the wine process than the previous in the series, and really brings that side to life. From Virgile reminiscing about his grandmother and childhood memories – to Benjamin advising local winemakers using both old and new techniques – the authors’ love for this craft really shines through. It allows the reader to enjoy the story on a deeper level, something the authors find a new way to achieve every time.

Yet another stellar read!

I received a review copy of this work from the publisher through NetGalley

Fiction Review – Kate Parker’s “The Detecting Duchess”

This review is a stop on the Great Escapes Blog Tour for The Detecting Duchess.

 

I had the pleasure of reviewing a book by Ms. Parker last year, and was very excited to read another by this talented author. This is the final book in the Victorian Bookshop Mystery series, and while it stands alone very well, I look forward to going back and diving into the world of Georgia Fenchurch from the beginning!

Sleuths, get ready – there are dozens of suspects and clues to comb through – and each answer brings more questions. It’s quite the twisted tale to unravel, and we’re not even the one eight days from our wedding, as Georgia is!

Georgia and the group around her are incredibly fun characters to read. They are a solid, and capable team, with plenty of time for fun and laughter. Ms. Parker introduces a new member to the team, which allows new readers to get to know everyone, without dragging down the pace for older followers of the series. I enjoyed seeing how she worked that in.

Those looking for an exciting caper, that doesn’t let up until the last page, will greatly enjoy this book!