This Chick Read: When Falcons Fall (Sebastian St. Cyr #11) by C.S. Harris

Sebastian, Viscount Devlin, and his wife Hero are in an idyllic Shropshire village to pay homage to a dead friend when the the new magistrate of that same village asks for his help. A visiting young woman was found dead in a field and having heard of Sebastian’s investigations in London the magistrate wants to make sure they do well by her. As Sebastian and Hero look into the days leading up to Emma Chance’s death they discover that her murder is not the first. As with other St. Cyr novels there are also political implications at play as Lucien Bonaparte, the estranged brother of the famed General Napolean Bonaparte is in residence at a nearby hall. Does his presence have anything to do with Emma Chance’s death?

It’s been a little while since I listened to the previous Sebastian St. Cyr novel and had forgotten how the narrator, Davina Porter, gives life to each character in the story. She imbues them with life and personality and the listener is engrossed with the implications of each character and how they are tied to the plot. This novel is no different and I found myself listening to it when I probably should’ve been doing other things. These are not light hearted novels and the mystery’s are very intricate so I like to really pay attention to each detail so I don’t miss a thing.

The reason for Sebastian and Hero being in the village was to look up the family of Sebastian’s half brother Jamie, who died in the last novel because of his similarity in looks to Sebastion. In When Falcons Fall, we learn a little bit more about who may have fathered Sebastian, as well as meeting Jamie’s twin sister and his grandmother. These glimpses towards who Sebastian may really be tied to are few and far between but oh so interesting! I know as I get closer to the truth that our journey may soon be over.

It is hard to talk about the plot in these novels because each tidbit is a reveal towards the underlying stories and not just the mystery that plays out in this book itself. I will say that the Bonaparte connection was truly interesting and as with past books where we meet famous characters (Ben Franklin) the pages bring life to what they may have been like even if in this novel it’s based only in fiction and not fact.

If you haven’t read any of the novels in this series I’d recommend starting at the beginning. Yes, each mystery is a stand alone but there are so many plot points that tie to earlier novels. I think your experience will be enhanced by how much each character has grown through the series rather than what actually happens on these pages. This novel was enjoyable on it’s own but when you think of how you feel about these characters on the whole it makes the novel go from good to great. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase this book!* When Falcons Fall (Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery)

Copyright The Reading Chick 2021 All Rights Reserved

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

It’s Monday, what are you reading? (7/26/21)

I have been blowing through books lately and I hate to say it, but some of them have not been that good. You know when you find a great book by an author that is relatively new to you and they have a huge back list? Sometimes you think, Score! Then as you start to go through them you realize well, they might not be the same quality as the most recent book that brought you back in. Usually I don’t give up because sometimes you find a hidden gem. This last one was pretty good, although it did take an unexpected mild dominant/submissive turn. LOL I was NOT expecting that!

JUST FINISHED

I probably should’ve read the reviews but for some reason I thought this was just going to be a slow burn novel. It played that way when I was reading it too when all of a sudden my characters got together and there was spanking involved. LOL. Although that took an unexpected turn I will say that the plot was super good! There was just a bit of dominating to skim through to get to those moments. I haven’t yet decided if I’ll write a review on this one although I did give it a 3.5 rating on Goodreads….

JUST STARTED

Sometimes you just need a palate cleanser and moving to a historical mystery will certainly do that for me! A Lady Compromised is the fourth book in the series and I have an ARC for the fifth so I needed to read this one first to be up to date on my characters. It’s a good series if you haven’t read it!

I’m on vacation the first week in August and am gathering my list of books I want to read. If you have any favorites please let me know. Otherwise, what books are you reading this week?

Happy Monday!

Deb

This Chick Read: Death at the Crystal Palace (A Below Stairs Mystery #5) by Jennifer Ashley

While attending an exhibit at the Crystal Palace, cook and amateur investigator, Kat Holloway is approached by the Duchess of Covington who has heard of her reputation for solving crimes. The Duchess believes that someone is poisoning her and she’d like Kat to solve the mystery. As Kat steps in to negotiate, she calls on her friends to help. She sets up her friend Cynthia as a houseguest with Lady Covington to determine the dynamics of the household and receives police information from the beau of her assistant. At the same time she is drawn into another mystery by her friend and almost boyfriend Daniel to help him with a possible terrorist. When does Kat have time to cook?!!

I love these below stairs mysteries. Kat Holloway, although in service as a cook seems to have gained a reputation as a person who can solve crimes in different levels of society. Her place as a respected cook allows her to gain access below stairs while at the same time finding out all manners of things by the people living upstairs. It’s a fascinating look at the different levels of historical London society.

Her relationship with Daniel seems to have evolved emotionally yet Kat, being a single mother, is hesitant to allow anything untoward to happen. She is not the most trusting woman and Daniel’s predilection to going undercover as some sort of spy keeps her from going all in in her relationship with him. He, on the other hand, seems to be head over heels. Isn’t it nice when the man is more involved emotionally than the woman? She can take her time figuring out what she wants to do with her heart.

I’m not sure how this author switches gears from writing shifter romances to historical whodunnit’s but this series is very effective. It has charm, mystery, and a hint of romance that keeps me entertained and coming back for more. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase!* Death at the Crystal Palace (A Below Stairs Mystery)

Copyright 2021 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: An Unexpected Peril (Veronica Speedwell #6) by Deanna Raybourn

While putting together an exhibit for a female mountain climber who died mysteriously. Veronica comes to the attention of the royal retinue of a visiting foreign country. When their princess goes missing, Veronica is asked to step in and take her place. The resemblance to each other is strong enough to fool people from far away. Veronica and Stoker accept so that they can investigate the death of the mountain climber, a woman whom Veronica had met before and felt a kinship with. Of course, dangerous plots ensue and the duo finds themselves again in peril. Will they discover who killed pushed their friend off a mountain and also why the princess went missing?

What I love the most about this series is that Veronica is an independent woman living during a time in history when women weren’t independent and had to fight for every extra freedom. Stoker, her best friend and lover, as he fallen her who was once part of the English nobility, knows how different Veronica’s life could have been. He adores her for her strength of character, even though at times that same character makes him want to tear his hair out. We’ve seen through this series how their relationship has evolved from adversaries, to friendship, to being in love and how those feelings have changed who each of them are; an interesting evolution during normal times but fascinating in the Victorian era. It is these two characters that keep me coming back to this series, not the mysteries they find themselves solving, although those are also interesting.

I think this mystery was probably the least interesting for me. I think because it didn’t help reveal anything new about these characters beyond a little hint of familial want in Veronica. Otherwise, it was just two characters I seriously like solving a somewhat interesting crime. I wasn’t enraptured, but I was captured by the plot.

If you love historical mysteries, this series is truly a fun one. As I said above, these two main characters have a lot of heart and their involvement with each other has been a long time coming and it’s fun to see them in a romantic relationship. If you haven’t read any of these novels, I’d start with the first. I don’t think these should be read as a stand alone novel.

I received a copy of this novel through NetGalley for my honest review and it was honest.

Click this link to purchase! An Unexpected Peril (A Veronica Speedwell Mystery)

Copyright 2021 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’s Audio Review: Who Buries the Dead (Sebastian St. Cyr #10) by C.S. Harris

When a peer of the realm is found beheaded at Bloody Bridge Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin is compelled to investigate. When this murder has ties to an enemy of Sebastian’s the memories dredged up make it difficult for Devlin to separate his wanting to pin this murder on Lord Oliphant and the truth behind who is the murderer. C.S. Harris weaves an intricate mystery to create a story that is very hard to put down.

I read the first few books in this series initially but then used a credit to pick up the audio book and never turned back. Narrated by Davina Porter whom some of you may know from narrating the Outlander books, she brings an award worthy performance to the reading of these mysteries. Fluidly voicing multiple characters she makes it easy for the reader to immerse themselves in the story.

Yes, the mysteries are thrilling but what really sets these novels apart is how the reader gets to know Sebastian, Hero and the other characters inhabiting these novels. The Sebastian from book 1 is not the same man as the first time father and husband to hero in book 10 and those nuances of his character and depth of feeling makes every clue revealed to have hidden meaning to both the reader and how what he finds out may reflect on his character. I, like Hero, find myself falling in love with this character. He’s flawed, but as with most great fictional characters, those flaws make the man.

One interesting thing of note in this novel is the introduction of Jane Austen and her brother as central characters in the mystery. Society is a twitter reading Jane’s anonymous novel at the same time as Sebastian is seeing similarities between her characters and the people he is investigating for this grisly murder. It adds an element of humor and interest to this very somber tale. It’s the first time this author has created this type of hook, and I really enjoyed how different it made the story feel.

This has been a series that I’ve slowly listened to over the past couple of years and I still have quite a few of these novels to go as there is currently 16 books in the series. I recommend them whole-heartedly but believe that in order to really enjoy the nuances of the story and these characters the reader would benefit from reading them from the start and in order. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

This Chick Read: A Murderous Relation (Veronica Speedwell #5) by Deanna Raybourn

In 1888, London is being stalked by the notorious Jack the Ripper. At the same time as those gruesome murders Veronica and her friend Stoker are asked by Lady Wellington to step in to recover a diamond gifted to a “friend” of the royal Prince, Veronica’s half brother. Not wanting to be manipulated by a family who has never recognized her, Veronica refuses, until Lady Welly comes down sick and they discover in her notes that she’s afraid the Prince may have something to do with these Jack the Ripper killings.

Veronica and Stoker’s adventurous have something to do with my own recent trend towards reading historical mysteries. It’s intriguing to think that before technology, murders were solved by only acting questions and in Veronica’s case, good instinct. I like the way my brain works to solve these mysteries along with the main characters!

Veronica and Stoker, not hampered by their societal connections have become rather known for solving crimes and despite her misgivings Veronica can’t help but look into the goings on behind giving an enormous diamond gift to a known benefactress or madame. This mystery, like the last novel did for Stoker, allows the reader to connect with Veronica by allowing us to see her interactions with the prince. A brother she’d never met, and one who never knew he had a secret sister. I enjoyed those tender scenes, or as tender as one can be in Victorian England.

The first four novels in this series set the stage and amped up the tension in a will they or won’t they between Veronica and Stoker until this novel, where we’d assume there would be a conclusive union. I’ll admit to a little impatience on that front because the investigation got in the way of my romance, but finally, as the book was ending Veronica and Stoker found the time (my feelings and words) to embrace their future. Finally! I’ll admit I was disappointed that it happened at the end of the book, and again left you with a feeling of ‘now what?’ because I’m not sure where I want to see them go from here. Together, yes, but how? I’m curious to see how the author will settle them into their future. It will be untraditional, of that I’m pretty certain.

Do you like historical mysteries? If so, Deanna Raybourn’s Veronica Speedwell series may be the right books for you. I’ve really enjoyed them and look forward to re-reading them as I’ve purchased every one!

❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* A Murderous Relation (A Veronica Speedwell 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 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.