This Chick Read: Murder in the East End (Kat Holloway #4) by Jennifer Ashley

Head cook, Kat Holloway, can’t resist helping those in need and when she finds out some children have gone missing from London’s Foundling Hospital she decides to investigate. As a single mother whose daughter is growing up with another family, Kat is aware of how quickly her daughters circumstances could change. Helped by her friends she quickly delves into the mystery and despairs over finding the children unharmed.

This series takes us downstairs from the society folk Kat serves and gives us a behind the scenes look at what the lower levels of society in Victorian London may face. Each novel in the series ensnares the reader in the mystery while captivating our minds and hearts with the strength of Kat’s character as well as those of the staff and friends around her. What could be a simple tale ends up having many layers and gives depth to these simple people who are just trying to work to survive a harsh landscape. Kat Holloway navigates these various levels of society never forgetting her circumstances and how a wrong word can affect she and her daughters survival. Murder in the East End laid bare the fine line she walks as well as the emotional balance she strikes between her friendship and love, no matter the level of society those people reside in.

What did I think of Murder in the East End? I enjoyed not only the resolution to the mystery but also how Kat’s relationship with Daniel moved to the next step emotionally. After being betrayed by her husband Kat is very careful with her feelings but Murder in the East End revealed secrets that allowed Kat to give Daniel her trust, and hopefully her heart will follow. I’ll admit to being fascinated with the Victorian era as well. Society is filled with rules and yet below stairs their lives are much more base. The contrast between the two makes the division between classes even more apparent which makes novels riveting reading. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

I received a copy of the ARC from the publisher through NetGalley for my honest review and it was honest.

Click this link to purchase!* Murder in the East End (A Below Stairs Mystery)

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate- if you should purchase this book through the above link I’ll receive a small stipend.

This Chick’s Audio Review: Why Kings Confess (Sebastian St. Cyr #9) by C.S. Harris

Sebastian is brought onto this case by the doctor who found two bodies lying next to each other in a dark alley. One, Frenchman and Dr. Damian Pelletan, dead with his heart removed from his body. The second body was still alive, a young French woman name Alexi Sauvage. A woman that Sebastian met while taken prisoner during the war. Their reunion was not a welcoming one. As Sebastian investigates it takes him into the circle of the living child of Marie Antionette and the story of her family’s imprisonment during the French Revolution.

I love the historical aspects of all of these St. Cyr mysteries. Each book reveals another historical realm to its readers. Why Kings Confess explores the rumor that the young Dauphin, or Prince, may not have died during his imprisonment. As Sebastian navigates the people who may or may not have known whomever was involved in this plot we are given a peek into that time in history. These peek’s keep me coming back to the story but the narrator, the estimable Davina Porter, makes these stories come alive.

The pace of historical novels are ultimately slow. It would seem silly to have someone narrate in a tripping merrily kind of voice. Davina Porter while keeping a slow and steady kind of pace, gives each character an energy and verve that makes them real. You forget you are listening to a book because the characters become so vivid, your imagination turns them into a movie.

In Why Kings Confess, my interest was not only held by the historical mystery but also the unfolding emotions between Sebastian and his new (ish) wife Hero. She is now over eight months pregnant with his child and that due date brings with it all of the fears of the mortality rate for women and children in Regency time. He is faced with the fact that his wife may not live through the birth of their child and comes face to face with his feelings for her. This, so far, has been one of my favorite books in the series, in large part due to the scenes between Hero and Sebastian. They are fast becoming one of my favorite literary couples.

If you haven’t read this series, but love historical mysteries, please give it a try. I love the audiobooks in particular because of the skills of the narrator, but you need to invest a little time to get through one. They run over 12 hours each but are well worth the investment.

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* Why Kings Confess (Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery Book 9)

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate- if you should purchase this book through the above link I’ll receive a small stipend.

This Chicks Audio Review: What Darkness Brings (Sebastian St. Cyr #8) by C.S. Harris

I haven’t written about this series lately but have still been occasionally listening to the audiobooks narrated by the very talented Davina Porter. She also narrates the Outlander books and convincingly voices characters from a number of countries. In this historical series we follow Sebastian St. Cyr who uses his investigative skills developed during the war to solve mysteries among his peers in London.

When his one time love Kat Boleyn’s new husband Russell Yates gets pinned for a murder he comes to her aid and investigates the murder of a former military comrade. As is the case with most of these mysteries there are political ties to the crown and his new father-in-law. As he fears those connections because of how it creates a wall between he and his newly pregnant wife, Hero, I love these connections. They always move their relationship into a more personal space tying them tighter together. Their feelings are no longer as one time lovers who now find themselves married, they now truly care for each other so their decisions about her father are carefully thought out. It’s both revealing and enthralling.

There are many plots, sub plots, and red herrings in When Darkness Brings and I love how I’m led down dark alleys and left to wonder what just happened to that plot point. Aha, foiled again! I had to say that, but really, C.S. Harris does a great job of giving the reader a piece of yarn to follow and then making us feel surprised but not disappointed when it doesn’t solve the mystery. As the next piece of evidence is revealed I’m immediately caught up again in the story and led down what I hope is the path that will lead to to enlightenment. Seriously, the plot was artfully woven and skillfully built. I loved this mystery, but I’ll admit, I’m a romantic at heart and I enjoy seeing Sebastian and Hero grow closer as each novel comes to a close.

❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* What Darkness Brings: A Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery

Copyright 2020 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate- if you purchase this book through the above link I’ll receive a small stipend.

This Chick Read: And Dangerous to Know (Rosalind Thorne Mystery #3) by Darcie Wilde

Rosalind Thorne, due to the error’s of her father, finds herself in an unusual circumstance, managing her own household and making due with “gifts” from the ladies of the ton whom she has helped. Her livelihood is trust and she can’t afford her good name to be smudged, taking that income away. When Lady Melbourne needs help solving the disappearance of some personal letters she agree’s to help track them down but it seems she hasn’t been told the entire story. These letters are connected to a woman’s murder on the estate’s property and Rosalind once again finds herself embroiled in a more serious investigation.

It’s been almost two years since the previous novel in this series but I easily fell back into these characters and remembered why my instinct was to add this one to the top of my TBR. The era of 18th century England is a fascinating one and this series gives us a different viewpoint of what it’s like to live that we haven’t seen in other novels, tv shows or movies. What happens to young women whose families fall on unfortunate circumstances? Well, worse things than what’s happened to Rosalind and her friend Alice, definitely, but having to “work” for a living while retaining your social status? Interesting and quite hard to navigate as Darcie Wilde portrays so well in her character Rosalind Thorne. I’ll admit that the social intricacies are as interesting to me as the actual mystery Rosalind is trying to solve, but in And Dangerous to Know that mystery is actually quite well done.

As Rosalind is investigating the disappearing letters and murder of a young woman she is also figuring out her feelings for her two beau’s. One a dashing Duke from her past life and the other a Bow Street Runner who is closer to the life she is now living. I think this novel brings us closer to a resolution to that storyline, but only just slightly. We are closer to seeing what’s going on in Rosalind’s mind and heart though. The next novel should reveal quite a bit more, or at least I hope so!

If you love historical mysteries as much as I but you haven’t read the first two novels in this series then please start at the beginning. Part of the fascination is getting to know these characters and I think you need to do that by reading the books in sequential order. The pace will help you immerse yourself in their world and sets the mood for Rosalind’s investigation. I can’t wait for the next novel, but since it took a while for this novel to be written I probably need to dial down my anticipation, just slightly. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

I received a free copy of this book through NetGalley and the publisher for my honest review and it was honest!

Click this link to purchase!* And Dangerous to Know (Rosalind Thorne Mystery Book 3)

Copyright The Reading Chick 2019 All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate- If you purchase this book through the above link, I will receive a small stipend.

This Chick’s Audio Review: What Angels Fear (Sebastian St. Cyr #1) by C. S. Harris

I read this novel and a few others in the series a long time ago and I’ll admit that with the amount of books I read in a year that if some time has gone by I can pick up a book again and read it like it was new with only a hint of familiarity. I am currently listening to the Outlander series and LOVE that narrator Davina Porter. I wanted to see if there were any other books that she’s narrated that sounded interesting and was surprised to see that she narrates this wonderful historical mystery series. Of course, I used my Libro.fm credit to purchase this book.

Set in the early 1800’s a young woman is found murdered on the altar of a church. It is a particularly gruesome crime and the only evidence is a dueling pistol and piece of jewelry that belongs to Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin. Accused of the crime, Sebastian escapes the police and decides to investigate to clear his own name. 

This novel introduces us to characters that will reappear in future books. As Sebastian investigates this twisted mystery the characters morals and motivations are unveiled surprising even the jaded Viscount Devlin. Davina Porter who narrates these books does an amazing job with her characterizations of each character. You are never in doubt as to who is speaking as their voice is immediate clear. I am in awe of her ability to voice an accent from a number of different countries. It is in large part her portrayal of these characters that allowed me to fall into the story as quickly as I did. 

I love historical mysteries and What Angels Fear was an excellent one. The pacing wasn’t slow as some are and the story held a lot of action sequences that moved the plot along quickly. Sometimes while listening to a novel I get frustrated and wish to speed it along, but this was a novel that I relished and enjoyed as the author C. S. Harris and the narrator, Davina Porter, portrayed it. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* What Angels Fear: Sebastian St. Cyr, Book 1

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

This Chick Read: Death in Kew Gardens (A Below Stairs Mystery #3) by Jennifer Ashley

Kat and her cooks assistant Tess run out on errands for the evenings meal and run into a Chinese man in the street. Literally. Picking up their various packages, Mr. Li and Kat strike up a brief friendship that grows stronger when he gives her the gift of a fabulous blend of tea. When her next door neighbor is murdered and a “chinese man” is the main suspect, Kat is determined to clear Mr. Li, convinced that this nice man would not harm her neighbor. With the help of her usual casts of characters including the enigmatic handyman Daniel she finds herself enmeshed in another whodunnit that reveals as much about her as the other characters in this novel, including our killer.

I’m a sucker for a great historical mystery and the Below Stairs Mysteries have not yet disappointed. This is the third novel in the series and as each mystery is solved the reader learns more about Kat, Daniel, Tess and the other characters in these books. These tidbits have helped keep my interest making me eager to read the next novel to see what new bit of knowledge will be revealed. Daniel is the biggest mystery still unsolved. He’s a handyman, yet is also a bit of a gentleman making the reader feel as if he’s trying on parts for each investigation. Which is the real man and once that mystery is resolved how will he and Kat’s relationship play out? I will definitely keep reading to find out.

The mystery in this novel was just a little lackluster for me. I enjoyed the new cultural references and found the history of tea to be really interesting, however, I wasn’t as invested in some of the new characters as I had been in the first two books of the series. Not to say it was bad, it really wasn’t! I enjoyed the interaction between Kat, Cynthia, Thanos and Daniel more than I did the mystery and sped through the investigation to get to the meat of their relationships. I’m sure it’s because I’m such a huge fan of romance novels, so I focused on that part of the book more than the mystery.

Do you like historical mysteries with a hint of romance? If so, then this novel and series should be added to your TBR. Each book can be read as a stand alone but they’re so much more enjoyable if you have some back story for the main characters. I’d recommend reading the other novels before picking this one up. Once you do, you’ll really enjoy your trips to Jennifer Ashley’s historical London.

❤️❤️❤️❤️

I received a free copy of the ARC through NetGalley for my honest review and it was honest!

Opinions from around the Blogosphere

“Death in Kew Gardens reminded me of both Downton Abbey and Grand Hotel, with a touch of Agatha Christie. I will definitely be reading the forerunners in this series and anxiously await for book number four.” A Wondrous Bookshelf

Click this link to purchase!* Death in Kew Gardens (A Below Stairs Mystery)

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

It’s Monday, What are you Reading? (5/27/19)

Happy Monday everyone! I ran across this post on Book Date and liked the idea of sharing what I’m currently reading, so here goes!

Today is Memorial Day and I’d like to thank all of our men and women who serve our country and help make the US a great place to live!

JUST FINISHED!

Death in Kew Gardens (A Below Stairs Mystery #3) by Jennifer Ashley

First Sentence Read: “The Chinese gentleman ran from between the carriages packed the length of Mount Street and straight into my path.”

JUST STARTED

Turn the Tide (A Heart Pounding Romantic Suspense Anthology) with stories by Katie Ruggle, Adriana Anders, Connie Mann, and Juno Rushdan

First Sentence Read: ‘”I hate the mall.” Molly Said’

I’m a big fan of Katie Ruggle and I’m looking forward to reading the prequel short story to her new series about sisters who are bounty hunters. I also love finding new authors and I think an anthology is a great way to discover if you like an authors style of writing. Will they grab my attention? I’ll let you know!

Now you know what I’ll be doing on my day off, what will you be reading?

Deb

This Chick Read: A Dangerous Collaboration (Veronica Speedwell #4) by Deanna Raybourn

At a house party on a secluded island with her partner Stoker and his brother Lord Templeton-Vane, Veronica and Stoker find themselves enmeshed in the mystery of the vanishing bride of their host Malcolm Romilly. This novel intertwines the electric attraction between Stoker and Veronica with the story behind the disappearance of Rosamund. The building tension as they discover each clue and fight their feelings for each other escalates until I was eagerly flipping pages to reach the climax of this story.

As the fourth novel in the series, A Dangerous Collaboration is on the cusp of finally giving the reader what we’ve been waiting for… the end of Veronica and Stoker dancing around their feelings for each other. Well, at least that’s what I’ve been waiting for! Each novel has also had a great mystery for them to solve, and this one is no different. Adding in the personal element of Stoker’s brother Tiberius’ relationship with both the bride and groom and this made for a great whodunnit. However, I continue to eagerly pick up these novels because of the tension filled dialog between our two main characters. This novel did not disappoint in that regard.

I’ve admired Veronica through this series for her modernity, her pursuit of a career, and her intelligence. I’ll admit to being just a little frustrated with her desire to talk herself out of her feelings for Stoker wanting that aspect of this series to speed up. Especially how the last novel ended with their feelings revealed! BUT, this was such a great follow up and true to Veronica’s personality that I can’t stay mad for too long that I didn’t quite get what I’d been looking for from the two of them… I can only hope that day will come soon!

The supporting characters in this book gave this novel a more Agatha Christie feel to the mystery. Unlike the previous novels which were mostly set in a big city, A Dangerous Collaboration was set in a remote island location and the characters were simpler or more country which added charm to what had been a more urban feeling series. I really enjoyed the change of scene and the Clue-like aspect to the mystery. Was Rosamund killed in the observatory with a candlestick? I’ll never tell! ❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️

I received a free copy of this ARC for my honest review and it was honest!

Opinions from around the Blogosphere

“This book’s setting is one of the strongest out of the whole series. It’s nice to get out of London proper and explore this remote island besieged by stormy weather and comprised of eccentric locals. I had as much fun with it as Veronica did. ” Where the Words Take Me

If you haven’t had a chance to read this series yet and you’re a fan of murder mysteries, historical fiction, and slow-burn romances, then please do yourself a favor and pick up the first book! A Dangerous Collaboration is the fourth book of this wonderful, thrilling series and I’m highly anticipating the next (and I believe last) installment! ” Paws and Paperbacks

Click this link to purchase!* A Dangerous Collaboration (A Veronica Speedwell Mystery)

Copyright 2019 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate

This Chick Read: A Twist in Time (Kendra Donovan #2) by Julie McElwain

A Twist in Time has our FBI Investigator turned time traveler on the hunt after another murderer. This time she travels to London because the Duke of Aldridge’s nephew, Alec is a suspect in the murder of his ex-mistress Lady Dover. Kendra, the Duke, Bow Street Runner Sam Kelly and her lover, Alec have two weeks until the House of Lords decides to try Alec. More importantly, his reputation is on the line and in 1815, reputations are more deadly than the stiletto used in this murder.

This series is so much fun because we are watching a prodigy investigator use her mental skills to catch a killer instead of technology. Socially inept at best, Kendra has to (somewhat) play by society’s rules. Her roll as the ward of the Duke of Aldridge will only get her so far. Her best means of finding out the facts seem to be pissing people off enough to make mistakes. The fact that Alec and she are new lovers adds a little personal tension that makes the scintillating details of his past affair, well, fun!

The Kendra Donovan series has quickly become one of my favorites. I do love a great historical mystery and a time travel mystery scores this author some bonus points in my eyes! If you haven’t tried out the first novel, A Murder in Time, and you enjoy this genre, please give it a try. You won’t regret the time spent, I promise! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

A Twist

Click this link to purchase!* A Twist in Time: A Novel (Kendra Donovan Mysteries)

Copyright 2018 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserve

*Amazon Associate

This Chick Read: Scandal Above Stairs (A Below Stairs Mystery #2) by Jennifer Ashley

When Kat’s employer asks for her help in solving the disappearance of some artwork from her friends home, Kat discovers there are a series of thefts occuring in the upper echelons of society. While investigating she is surprised to find her friend (and love interest) Daniel McAdams ensconced in a pawn shop fencing stolen goods. When a man turns up dead in his shop Kat ends up investigating more than stolen goods and once again finds herself in the drawing rooms of the elite, when all she wants is to be quietly cooking in her kitchen.

This series takes place at the turn of the century in London, in a time where upstairs downstairs lines are drawn severely. As the head cook responsible for feeding not only the family that lives there, but the 20 or so servants who work in that house, I am amazed that Kat can find the time to investigate the crimes she finds herself embroiled in. A couple of months have passed since the previous novel and she has not heard a word from Daniel. When she finds him at the center of her investigation, she’s pretty relieved and we see how much she is starting to care for him. The mystery that is Daniel McAdams is slowly being unveiled, but we still don’t know exactly who he is working for, but I’ll admit to loving his roguish charm and the twinkle in his eye as he makes Kat forget she’s mad at him.

This mystery was very well plotted out, but it’s the characters that keep me coming back to these novels. As I learn more about them, I care more about how their lives are enmeshed and I’ll admit that I find it fascinating to read about the lives of the servants in a big London house. It’s very Mansfield Park, although not as boring. LOL.

If you love historical mysteries and haven’t read the first novel Death Below Stairs, please read it! These are not lively books, but the mysteries are very good and Jennifer Ashley really knows how to write great characters. I know you’ll get caught up in their daily lives and will want to see how all of the relationships will pan out- oh, and you’ll also help catch a killer or two. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Death Below Stairs

Click this link to purchase!* Scandal Above Stairs (A Below Stairs Mystery)

Copyright 2018 Deborah Kehoe The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate