Tuesday, October 15, 2019

ARC Review - The Art of Theft by Sherry Thomas

The Art of Theft by Sherry Thomas
The Lady Sherlock series, book four
Published Oct 2019 by Berkley

Format Read: Print ARC provided by publisher for review

Description from Goodreads:
As "Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective," Charlotte Holmes has solved murders and found missing individuals. But she has never stolen a priceless artwork—or rather, made away with the secrets hidden behind a much-coveted canvas.

But Mrs. Watson is desperate to help her old friend recover those secrets and Charlotte finds herself involved in a fever-paced scheme to infiltrate a glamorous Yuletide ball where the painting is one handshake away from being sold and the secrets a bare breath from exposure.

Her dear friend Lord Ingram, her sister Livia, Livia's admirer Stephen Marbleton—everyone pitches in to help and everyone has a grand time. But nothing about this adventure is what it seems and disaster is biding time on the grounds of a glittering French chateau, waiting only for Charlotte to make a single mistake...

My Review: 
As some of you know I read a lot of cozy mysteries for both work and fun and I LOVE a good historical mystery. I'd been intrigued by this series for a while, after hearing amazing things about author Sherry Thomas's skill as a writer. I also love the imagined twist on the character Sherlock Holmes.  So, when given the opportunity to read The Art of Theft, I couldn't pass it up, even though it is book four in the series.  

As such, my review will be more of a teasing spotlight, as like I will recommend to you, I intend to go back and start this series properly with book one, A Study in Scarlet Women. The writing in this series is wonderful, full of rich historical detail, flirtations with "current events" of the time and character development that leaves no character as simply a caricature of themselves. The mystery unfolds well, and though I've heard it is not the most exciting in the series, I thoroughly enjoyed it.  I did feel as though I were missing pieces of the characters' interactions with each other, though, having not read the previous books. This is a series that truly should be read in order.  

So, book one is highly recommended for readers who enjoy a good historical mystery and like the idea of a female behind the incredible mind of the infamous Sherlock Holmes

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

2019 5 Star Review #14 - Thrall

Thrall by Carina Cook
Supernaturals of Las Vegas, book one
Published Jan 2018

Format Read: eBook I Own

Description from Goodreads:
Liss Lorensson is a thrall–born to be a servant of the vampire crown prince.

Gregor Valdemar is a vampire prince who chafes under the strict rule of his sire and longs for a different life.

When the two finally meet on Liss’s 21st birthday, sparks fly. But blood magic, murder, and political intrigue stand in the way of their growing romance.

My Review: 
Okay, upfront confession. I know (and am friends with) the author of this book.  However, when I say I gave this five stars it is in no way because of who wrote the book.  I love urban fantasy and paranormal romance and when I realized - and I did NOT realize this right away because I'm a dummy - that my YA author friend had branched out to adult UF/PR I was delighted to try her other books.  I LOVED the YA books she wrote (under her real name Carrie Harris) featuring a SMART girl protagonist and weird happenings, so I was pretty sure I'd like her other books, as well. 

Anyway, so I purchased the first book in her Supernaturals of Las Vegas series and dove in, emerging only once I'd finished it.  This was a consuming, quick, amazingly enjoyable read! I loved the main character, Liss, and her love interest, Gregor. They both felt real and relatable, even though they were a vampire and his thrall, so I shouldn't really have felt that way at all! LOL. The book was written in a way that divulged the necessary information to set up this world where vampires exist without taking away from the immediate storyline and romance.  

If you're a fan of books that take place in our world, but have vampires or any other "supernaturals" and you love action and romance, this would be a great series to check out.  I read the second book, as well, and even though I didn't love it quite as much - the standard was pretty high after book one! - I plan to continue on and read book three, as well. 

The Vanished Bride

The Vanished Bride by Bella Ellis
Bronte Sisters Mysteries, book one
Published Sept 2019 by Berkley Books

Physical book received in exhange for an honest review

Description from Goodreads:
Yorkshire, 1845. A young wife and mother has gone missing from her home, leaving behind two small children and a large pool of blood. Just a few miles away, a humble parson's daughters--the Brontë sisters--learn of the crime. Charlotte, Emily, and Anne Brontë are horrified and intrigued by the mysterious disappearance.

These three creative, energetic, and resourceful women quickly realize that they have all the skills required to make for excellent "lady detectors." Not yet published novelists, they have well-honed imaginations and are expert readers. And, as Charlotte remarks, "detecting is reading between the lines--it's seeing what is not there."

As they investigate, Charlotte, Emily, and Anne are confronted with a society that believes a woman's place is in the home, not scouring the countryside looking for clues. But nothing will stop the sisters from discovering what happened to the vanished bride, even as they find their own lives are in great peril...

My Review: 
As some of you may know, I read a lot of cozy mysteries. I lead the cozy mystery book club at my Library.  So, I was really excited when Berkley Books (Penguin Random House) offered to let me read this book as part of the release tour.  And while this book is truly a love letter to the Bronte sisters, the actual mystery itself was a little disappointing.

So, the positives - each Bronte sister has her own distinct personality and watching them interact was not only fun and interesting, it made me want to go research them more on my own.  The author is obviously very familiar with both their lives and their works.  Seeing the relationship they had with their father and brother was also illuminating.  I loved that these smart, independent women would be brave enough to go out "detecting."

What I didn't love, as I said, was the mystery itself.  It was messy. There were a lot of bits and pieces and while some of it seemingly tied into how the sisters developed their published works later, which was an intriguing concept, there was just too much going on sometimes.  That was what led to me pretty much losing interest in the mystery itself. I honestly didn't care by about two-thirds of the way into the book what had happened to the young bride who disappeared.  Which... was about when things circled back around and I figured out what happened before the sisters did.

So, overall, I was not really impressed with this book as a mystery per se.  I did, however, thoroughly enjoy it as a piece of fictionalized history focusing on three famous women authors.  I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys the Bronte sisters' works, but if you purely want a cozy mystery, sadly, this would not be at the top of my recommendation list.