This Chicks Audio Review: Where the Dead Lie (Sebastian St. Cyr #12) by C.S. Harris

Sebastian St. Cyr, Viscount Devlin, has become aware that someone is preying on the cities children. After a young boy has been found mutilated and his younger sister missing, Sebastian starts to investigate, uncovering a sadistic world among London’s brothels. Following a trail of rare books by the Marquis de Sade he finds the killer may be among his peers.

There are many things that I love about these audiobooks but first and foremost is the narrator, Davina Porter. She is a talent beyond compare, narrating all of the voices in these novels, handling multiple accents from different countries and even different parts of London. I forget that it is one woman that I’m listening to as I immerse myself in these very well written mysteries.

As this is book twelve in the series, I am completely invested in all of the regular characters. We have seen Sebastian grow from a youthful love for an actress, to an honorably married man and father. What hasn’t changed are his skills as an investigator, which are greatly tested in Where the Dead Lie. This is the first novel where his investigation is taken on because of who he is as a husband and father, not because of his place in the peerage. I found that an interesting contrast as he didn’t throw his title around as much as he’s done in previous novels, in order to get an answer to his question. In fact, that wouldn’t work, would it? His frustrations at being unable to get answers made him dig in even harder and truly use every skill in his toolbox. This made the novel stand out for me, which is hard to do because this author has written a series of great novels.

As Sebastian searches for the killer, his wife Hero undergoes her own interviews of these orphan’s, hoping to write a book to help bring light to their plight as they try to survive on the street. She often pays them for their time speaking with her and I can feel her helplessness as she gives them a little bit of money for their time. I’m sure she’d like to give away all of her money in order to open up a home and I’ve often wondered why she hasn’t done this already as this theme has continued through a few books. Interestingly her interviews often bring to light small nuggets that help Sebastian understand a situation better, or in fact gives him an answer. Despite not wanting her to be in danger he should think of using her more because she has serious skills!

This novel had a gruesome topic and again dredged through London’s darkest corners, which I both love and hate. These dark corners do make a great contrast to the glitter and glam of the peerage and help strike home that some of this world’s cruelties are wrapped up in pretty paper to help disguise it’s dark center. C.S. Harris is an amazing writer crafting a novel where you are both disgusted and made to feel hope at the same time. I think that’s why I keep coming back. Well that and the talent of this author and the estimable Ms. Davina Porter who brings the characters to life in audio form.

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to order this book!* Where the Dead Lie (Sebastian St. Cyr Mystery)

Copyright 2022 The Reading Chick 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? (3/21/22)

Isn’t it awesome when you have a bunch of free time and can read just any ol’ thing you want? I’ve been going through my library wishlist and checking out what sounds good as well as taking a look at what’s been on my Kindle and have read through a few great books over the last week. It’s been so fun!

Thanks again to Book Date for starting this conversation and allowing us all to share what we’re reading.

JUST FINISHED

I saw this book on a Goodreads list about great romances of 2022 and thought I’d give this author a try. It’s the third book in the series but I didn’t miss not reading books 1 and 2. It was a different kind of historical novel that I actually really liked. I may go back and read the other two books!

JUST STARTED

This book has been on my Kindle for over three years. I didn’t read it during the Pandemic because it’s about a virus that kills off a majority of the world’s population but I picked it up yesterday to give it another try. It is very Nora Roberts in writing style and it was easy to get interested. I’ll admit, it’s kind of weird reading about a deadly virus but I’m going to power through and see where this book leads me. I know it’s a three book series so I’ll make my decision later on whether I continue reading the other books.

Have you read either of these books? What did you think? If they aren’t books you’d see yourself reading, please share what’s on your coffee table.

Happy Monday and happy reading!

Deb

This Chick Read: An Impossible Imposter (Veronica Speedwell #7) by Deanna Raybourn

When Veronica and Stoker are approached by Sir Hugo Montgomerie, head of special branch, to look into the reappearance of a missing heir Veronica knew she was going to be facing a phantom from her past. She once knew Jonathon Hathaway but had thought him dead in a volcano eruption in Krakatoa six years ago. It’s up to her to identify him for the family but things are never as simple as they appear. If he is the missing heir he would gain access to an incredible fortune in jewels and Veronica is their only hope. During this investigation Veronica must come face to face with a ghost from her past and reveal her secrets to Stoker, the man she now loves.

An Impossible Imposter had the same drama and adventure as previous Veronica Speedwell novels, but what intrigued me and kept me reading was again her relationship with her partner and lover, Stoker. We have gotten to know the two of them over these seven novels but I feel like it’s always Stoker’s secrets that are revealed. This time Veronica’s own past comes back to haunt her making her fearful of what he will think if her past is revealed. This added a fine bit of tension that is sometimes missing from the more personal aspects of these novels.

In addition to the mystery of Jonathan Hathaway and if he is or isn’t the heir to Hathaway Hall is only the tip of the mystery iceberg. The background behind the fortune in jewels becomes the center of the story adding some historical relevance to the fictional story by taking the story briefly back to the past when England occupied India. This background added color to an already lurid mystery making this story a page turner.

If you’re a fan of this series you MUST pick up this novel. There is plenty of angst and passion between our two main characters and the mystery while not very mysterious, had all the drama of a good soap opera. I keep expecting this series to taper off, but this author is skilled at making me want to read the next installment. Unfortunately I know I’ll have to wait another year for the next one to appear.

❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️

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 this book!* An Impossible Impostor (A Veronica Speedwell Mystery Book 7)

Copyright 2022 The Reading Chick 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? (1/7/22)

Good morning! I hope you all had a great weekend of reading! I’ll admit, one of my favorite authors had a new audiobook release and so I was listening to her book all weekend and didn’t get much reading done. I did everything with my ear buds in this weekend. LOL. My poor husband was pretty ignored. I did get a book finished last week, so let’s get to what I’ve been reading.

Thanks again to Book Date for starting up this fun dialog for all of us to chime in on what we read.

JUST FINISHED

I have a love for mixing in a historical romance in between my fantasy, romance, and science fiction genre’s. I love how in the past couple of years the diversity of characters has probably mirrored how life was historically. In this case our main characters are white, but the women of Athena’s Retreat are very diverse both intellectually and racially. It’s so refreshing! I enjoyed this book and all of the very diverse characters.

JUST STARTED

YAY! An audiobook released late last week from one of my favorite contemporary romance authors, Mariana Zapata. She is a true genius when it comes to slow burn romances, which also make for great audiobooks. I have been listening to this one in all my free time. The narration truly brings the characters to life.

I am totally in the mood for a mystery next, does anyone have a good one to read?

Happy Monday and happy reading!

Deb

This Chick Read: A Modest Independence (Parish Orphans of Devon #2) by Mimi Matthews

Solicitor Tom Finchley was taken out of the orphanage where he grew up and apprenticed to a solicitor in London. Under his tutelage, Tom learned the Machiavellian ways of manipulation and threats that the solicitors of the time crafted. He is ready to change his ways and settle down to a quiet life as his friend Justin Thornhill has done (in book #1). While helping Justin and Helena he had met Helena’s companion Jenny Holloway and been intrigued. After having been given a modest amount of money which would allow her independence, Jenny is ready for adventure. She comes to Tom to receive those funds so she may go off to India to search for Helena’s brother the Earl of Castledon. While there having the adventure she always wanted and without the help of any man. Needless to say, Tom upsets these plans.

In A Modest Independence Mimi Matthews gives us more of a glimpse of how a woman’s life during this time in history is curtailed by who she is tied to; a husband, brother, or father. In this case Tom decides to join Jenny on her journey as her “brother” as it would not be correct for a man and woman to travel alone, despite his having hired two Indian servants to join her. Their attraction for each other grows due to the close confines, the question is how or if they will do anything about it and the societal rules that would be broken if they did. I’ll admit to finding that fascinating.

Another glimpse behind how people lived during this time is provided through Ahmad and Mira the two half Indian cousins that Tom hired as Jenny’s servants on the journey. As they are half British and half Indian, how are they treated? There are plenty of moments that show their inequality and provide great context to this time as well as help us get to know these two characters who are in A Siren in Sussex.

As an aside, part of the novel takes place in Egypt, which I am currently vacationing in and found fun to read and see through our heroine‘s eyes the sites and sounds of a Cairo That is much different than it is today.

I am again fascinated by this author’s writing style and the realism that she imbues into her story. I’m not sure I would have enjoyed this novel so much without the moments of inequality, conflict, and concerns that our heroine would retain her independence. I loved Tom Finchley’s bravery in the face of this type of woman and loved that they found a way to be together. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️

Click this link to purchase!* A Modest Independence (Parish Orphans of Devon)

Copyright 2022 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

This Chicks Sunday Commentary: My Top 5 Most Anticipated Book Releases- Feb’22

Sometimes when I look ahead for my top releases I have trouble coming up with five, which is why January only had three. February does not have that problem at all. Guys, there are a lot of good books coming out next month! A good mixture of genre’s that will keep me turning pages. Here are my top 5!

#5 BOOK RELEASE

I love a great fantasy novel and when you pair that with my love for this author’s book A Queen’s Rising, I know I’m going to pick up this book and read it. Despite the ugly cover.

Synopsis:

Jack Tamerlaine hasn’t stepped foot on Cadence in ten long years, content to study music at the mainland university. But when young girls start disappearing from the isle, Jack is summoned home to help find them. Enchantments run deep on Cadence: gossip is carried by the wind, plaid shawls can be as strong as armor, and the smallest cut of a knife can instill fathomless fear. The capricious spirits that rule the isle by fire, water, earth, and wind find mirth in the lives of the humans who call the land home. Adaira, heiress of the east and Jack’s childhood enemy, knows the spirits only answer to a bard’s music, and she hopes Jack can draw them forth by song, enticing them to return the missing girls.

As Jack and Adaira reluctantly work together, they find they make better allies than rivals as their partnership turns into something more. But with each passing song, it becomes apparent the trouble with the spirits is far more sinister than they first expected, and an older, darker secret about Cadence lurks beneath the surface, threatening to undo them all.

With unforgettable characters, a fast-paced plot, and compelling world building, A River Enchanted is a stirring story of duty, love, and the power of true partnership, and marks Rebecca Ross’s brilliant entry on the adult fantasy stage.

Click this link to purchase this book!* A River Enchanted: A Novel (Elements of Cadence Book 1)

#4 BOOK RELEASE

I’ve actually had the privilege of reading Hunt the Stars already and guys, it’s really good! The first book in a new series, it starts off fast and keeps on moving! This is a science fiction serial and I can’t wait to read the next installment.

Synopsis:

Octavia Zarola would do anything to keep her tiny, close-knit bounty hunting crew together—even if it means accepting a job from Torran Fletcher, a ruthless former general and her sworn enemy. When Torran offers her enough credits to not only keep her crew afloat but also hire someone to fix her ship, Tavi knows that she can’t refuse—no matter how much she’d like to.

With so much money on the line, Torran and his crew insist on joining the hunt. Tavi reluctantly agrees because while the handsome, stoic leader pushes all of her buttons—for both anger and desire—she’s endured worse, and the massive bonus payment he’s promised for a completed job is reason enough to shut up and deal.

But when they uncover a deeper plot that threatens the delicate peace between humans and Valoffs, Tavi suspects that Torran has been using her as the impetus for a new war. With the fate of her crew balanced on a knife’s edge, Tavi must decide where her loyalties lie—with the quiet Valoff who’s been lying to her, or with the human leaders who left her squad to die on the battlefield. And this time, she’s put her heart on the line.

Click this link to purchase this book!* Hunt the Stars: A Novel (Starlight’s Shadow Book 1)

#3 BOOK RELEASE

This series character driven series is at times eery, mysterious, and mystifying. It takes place in the middle of the wilderness in a town called Rockton. A town filled with people who are looking to escape their reality. These people may be hunted or they may be hunters. A mystery always needs to be solved and Detective Casey Duncan and her boyfriend Sheriff Eric Dalton are the only two who can solve them. I love this series! This is book #7.

Synopsis:

It’s not always easy to live in the hidden town of Rockton, something Detective Casey Duncan knows firsthand. Tucked away in the Yukon wilderness, the community survives—and thrives—because the residents’ many secrets stay just that—secret.

But what happens when these secrets start to come out? Overnight, no one is safe. It’s not a question of if your secret will come out—but when.

Casey and her boyfriend, Sheriff Eric Dalton, need to find the culprit while protecting those who have been thrust into the spotlight. For a place built on privacy and new beginnings, Rockton isn’t handling these revelations very well. People are turning on one another, and when one of the loudest complainers turns up barely alive, it’s clear that their trickster is actually a murderer.

The threat of exposure is reaching its breaking point, and no one knows what’s going to happen next.

Click this link to purchase this book!* The Deepest of Secrets: A Rockton Novel (Casey Duncan Novels Book 7)

#2 BOOK RELEASE

This is #7 in a wonderfully written historical mystery series. Each mystery reveals more about our two main characters Veronica and Stoker. I can’t wait to see what new piece of information will be revealed in An Impossible Imposter.

Synopsis: London, 1889. Veronica Speedwell and her natural historian beau Stoker are summoned by Sir Hugo Montgomerie, head of Special Branch. He has a personal request on behalf of his goddaughter, Euphemia Hathaway. After years of traveling the world, her eldest brother, Jonathan, heir to Hathaway Hall, was believed to have been killed in the catastrophic eruption of Krakatoa a few years before.
 
But now a man matching Jonathan’s description and carrying his possessions has arrived at Hathaway Hall with no memory of his identity or where he has been. Could this man truly be Jonathan, back from the dead? Or is he a devious impostor, determined to gain ownership over the family’s most valuable possessions—a legendary parure of priceless Rajasthani jewels? It’s a delicate situation, and Veronica is Sir Hugo’s only hope.
 
Veronica and Stoker agree to go to Hathaway Hall to covertly investigate the mysterious amnesiac. Veronica is soon shocked to find herself face-to-face with a ghost from her past. To help Sir Hugo discover the truth, she must open doors to her own history that she long believed to be shut for good.

Click this link to purchase this book!* An Impossible Impostor (A Veronica Speedwell Mystery Book 7)

MY MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE IN FEB’22!

This book wasn’t even on my radar until I started looking at all of the book releases, but this synopsis hooked me. I have to read this book!

Synopsis:

Jess needs a fresh start. She’s broke and alone, and she’s just left her job under less than ideal circumstances. Her half-brother Ben didn’t sound thrilled when she asked if she could crash with him for a bit, but he didn’t say no, and surely everything will look better from Paris. Only when she shows up – to find a very nice apartment, could Ben really have afforded this? – he’s not there.

The longer Ben stays missing, the more Jess starts to dig into her brother’s situation, and the more questions she has. Ben’s neighbors are an eclectic bunch, and not particularly friendly. Jess may have come to Paris to escape her past, but it’s starting to look like it’s Ben’s future that’s in question.

The socialite – The nice guy – The alcoholic – The girl on the verge – The concierge

Everyone’s a neighbor. Everyone’s a suspect. And everyone knows something they’re not telling.

Click this link to purchase this book!* The Paris Apartment: A Novel

*Amazon Associate- if you purchase a book through one of the above links I’ll receive a small stipend.

What do you think about my top 5 picks? They may be completely different than your own. I am seriously committed to a couple of series and when those books come out they automatically drop into my must read list. I have a couple of those this month. Please share any books that you can’t wait to read that may be released next month. I’d love to get them on my radar!

Happy reading!

Deb

This Chick Read: The Matrimonial Advertisement (Parish Orphans of Devon #1) by Mimi Matthews

When ex-army captain Justin Thornhill advertises for a wife in the paper he expects to receive interviews with homely widows and women of a certain rank. He doesn’t expect the beautiful Helena Reynolds. Despite his misgivings over why an obvious Lady is applying to be his wife he jumps at the chance to have this lady as his wife. It can’t come soon enough for Helena is on the run from a “bad situation” and needs marriage to find her freedom.

I was fascinated with Mimi Matthews writing when I read The Siren of Sussex and knew that I was going to read her entire catalog, starting with this series, and I am not disappointed! Our two protagonists were so interesting! Justin Thornhill was an orphan who grew up in a nearby village and joined the army to become something and earn his fortune. Captured by Indians, he was tortured and bears scars on his body and face, things that only make him more perfect to Helena as she needs a strong hero to save her. She is the daughter and sister of an Earl. Her brother may be dead in India and her cousin has taken over the Earldom. However, her brother left her all of the money. As women are property the only way she can save herself is by marrying someone. Justin Thornhill’s advertisement is the perfect escape.

Mimi Mathews gives us more than great characters in her stories, she provides historical context and facts. She also doesn’t hide from the hard truth. How women were treated, the horrible atrocities for Indians during the British colonialism of India, and more. Her books are historical romances, but they are not light on hard facts and truths, which are a difference maker when it comes to my feelings on a book. In this case, those facts were interesting, provided context, and gave our heroine’s story more conflict providing more enjoyment. I finished this novel and immediately moved on to the next, I liked it so much.

This novel was certainly a romance, so never fear if that is what you are looking for but the romance is specific to the time in history. A kiss can be just as devastating to a scene as intercourse, and be just as exciting. If you are looking for a bodice ripper, this is not that. The Matrimonial Advertisement is storytelling at its best. Great depth of character, romance, and conflict with a hero that is swoon worthy and a heroine who is bright and daring. A five star read from this blogger!

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

Click this link to purchase!* The Matrimonial Advertisement (Parish Orphans of Devon)

Copyright 2022 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

This Chick Read: The Siren of Sussex (Belles of London #1) by Mimi Matthews

Evelyn Maltravers has traveled from the countryside of Sussex to the social scene in London, needing to make a match so that she and her younger sisters futures will be secure. Although she may not be traditionally beautiful, Evie knows that she needs to set herself apart in order to catch a man’s eye. She thinks her Appalusian stallion and haute couture, along with her superb horsemanship might do just that. When she approaches an Indian tailor, Ahmad Malik, to partner with her in her scheme he decides to attach his rising star to this unique and intriguing woman. What neither of them count on is their unfailing attraction and growing friendship. Can this pair from two different worlds and backgrounds face the bigotry of the upper class and find success so they can be together? This story captured my interest but it was Evie and Ahmad who captured my heart. What a fantastic novel!

I was unprepared for how I would react to a historical romance novel that delved into the history of England’s habitation and conquering of India. The narration has the reader seeing through both Evie’s and Ahmad’s eyes and it is eye opening to see how the heritage is taken for granted without thought to what those people may have gone through. Ahmad’s own background of a mixed heritage Indian man who belonged in neither India or England was interesting, revealing, and inspiring. Evie’s character growth as she comes to care for Ahmad and want to know him, his background, and what it would mean to be in his place in society took this novel to another plane of existence. I felt like what I was reading was relevant and real, not just an interracial romance novel. I actually felt Ahmad’s pain and could see why he chose the path he was on. I think it’s the first time in a long time where I was so interested in a subject that it made me do my own research and want to know more.

Evie was also a different sort of heroine. She was not frivolous or flighty, she had a plan and if it wasn’t for her growing feelings for Ahmad, she would have stuck to it. I enjoyed her own path of discovery she made about herself, her decisions about what was important, and also seeing how she came to that decision. This was not a fluffy novel, the story led our hero and heroine down some dark paths which altered the course of their lives. Sometimes you read a novel at the right time and it hits all of your sweet spots. This was my right time to read The Siren of Sussex.

I have never heard of Mimi Matthews nor read one of her books prior to picking up this novel. You can be certain I am going through her backlog and choosing my next read based upon all of my feelings for The Siren of Sussex and how this author led me down that path. Sometimes the reading gods are looking after us, aren’t they?

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase!* The Siren of Sussex (Belles of London)

Copyright 2022 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

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

This Chicks Sunday Commentary: My Top 5 Book Releases – Dec’21

It’s always a shock when you hit that last month of the year isn’t? With everything else I’m working ahead. I have my tree up, the majority of my presents purchased, and plans made for the holidays. I just forgot to take a look at the book releases for next month, but hey! It’s only Nov. 28th so I’m not too far behind.

#5 MOST ANTICIPATED

It only takes two words for me to want to pick up this book. Penny Reid. She has escapism reading down to an art form. Her writing is sweet, funny, and romantic. Enough said.

Synopsis:

Rex “TW” McMurtry’s perpetual single-hood wouldn’t bother him so much if all his ex-girlfriends didn’t keep marrying the very next person they dated, especially when so many of those grooms are his closest friends. He may be a pro-football defensive end for the Chicago Squalls, but the press only wants to talk about how he’s always a groomsman and never a groom. Rex is sick of being the guy before the husband, and he’s most definitely sick of being the best man at all their weddings.

Bartender Abigail McNerny is the gal-pal, the wing-woman, the she-BFF. She’s dated. Once. And once was more than enough. Privy to all the sad stories of her customers, ‘contentment over commitment’ is her motto, and Abby is convinced no one on earth could ever entice her into a romantic relationship . . . except that one guy she’s loved since preschool.

The guy who just walked into her bar.

The guy who doesn’t recognize her.

The guy who is drunk and needs a ride home.

The guy who has a proposition she should definitely refuse.

Click this link to purchase this book. Homecoming King (Three Kings Book 1)

#4 MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE

I might have put this one on November’s most anticipated list because the drop date is 11/30, but I’m just going to add it to the December list as well. It looks so good!

Synopsis:

Their union is his revenge.

Isolde de Lara considers her wedding day to be her death day. To end a years-long war, she is to marry vampire king Adrian Aleksandr Vasiliev, and kill him.

But her assassination attempt is thwarted, and Adrian threatens that if Isolde tries to kill him again, he will raise her as the undead. Faced with the possibility of becoming the thing she hates most, Isolde seeks other ways to defy him and survive the brutal vampire court.

Except it isn’t the court she fears most—it’s Adrian. Despite their undeniable chemistry, she wonders why the king—fierce, savage, merciless—chose her as consort.

The answer will shatter her world.

Click this link to purchase!* King of Battle and Blood (Adrian X Isolde Book 1)

#3 MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE

I am totally invested in this series. It’s fantasy, mystery, and action adventure all rolled into one. Plus the main character is a strong willed female who is in charge and takes no prisoners. These novels are totally fun.

Synopsis:

In this thrilling historical fantasy, time-traveling Librarian spy Irene will need to delve deep into a tangled web of loyalty and power to keep her friends safe.

Irene is trying to learn the truth about Alberich-and the possibility that he’s her father. But when the Library orders her to kill him, and then Alberich himself offers to sign a truce, she has to discover why he originally betrayed the Library.

With her allies endangered and her strongest loyalties under threat, she’ll have to trace his past across multiple worlds and into the depths of mythology and folklore, to find the truth at the heart of the Library, and why the Library was first created. 

Click this link to purchase!* The Untold Story (The Invisible Library Novel Book 8)

#2 MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE

So many of us fell in love with Amanda Gorman’s gorgeous poem at the inauguration and even if it might be the first book of poetry I read, I am curious enough to give it a try and see if she can inspire me with her words and imagery as she did on that day.

Synopsis: Formerly titled The Hill We Climb and Other Poems, the luminous poetry collection by #1 New York Times bestselling author and presidential inaugural poet Amanda Gorman captures a shipwrecked moment in time and transforms it into a lyric of hope and healing. In Call Us What We Carry, Gorman explores history, language, identity, and erasure through an imaginative and intimate collage. Harnessing the collective grief of a global pandemic, these poems shine a light on a moment of reckoning and reveal that Gorman has become our messenger from the past, our voice for the future.

Click this link to purchase!* Call Us What We Carry: Poems

MY MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK RELEASE

I work for a ballet company and despite how I hear that no one ever gets details right in a novel, I have to read this one! It sounds so good and it might be an edge of your seat thriller. I can’t wait.

Synopsis:

Dare Me meets Black Swan and Luckiest Girl Alive in a captivating, voice-driven debut novel about a trio of ballerinas who meet as students at the Paris Opera Ballet School.

Thirteen years ago, Delphine abandoned her prestigious soloist spot at the Paris Opera Ballet for a new life in St. Petersburg––taking with her a secret that could upend the lives of her best friends, fellow dancers Lindsay and Margaux. Now 36 years old, Delphine has returned to her former home and to the legendary Palais Garnier Opera House, to choreograph the ballet that will kickstart the next phase of her career––and, she hopes, finally make things right with her former friends. But Delphine quickly discovers that things have changed while she’s been away…and some secrets can’t stay buried forever.

Moving between the trio’s adolescent years and the present day, Rachel Kapelke-Dale’s The Ballerinas explores the complexities of female friendship, the dark drive towards physical perfection in the name of artistic expression, the double-edged sword of ambition and passion, and the sublimated rage that so many women hold inside––all culminating in a twist you won’t see coming, with magnetic characters you won’t soon forget.

Click this link to purchase!*The Ballerinas: A Novel

*Amazon Associate- if you purchase any of these books through the above links I’ll receive a small stipend.

These are the book releases I am most looking forward to reading next month. I’m sure they are not the same as your own. Please feel free to give your favorites a shout out in the comments.

Happy reading!

Deb

This Chick Read: The Vanished Days (The Scottish Series #3) by Susanna Kearsley

Set in 1707 in Scotland the citizens are unsettled at their union with England. In order to appease them, England has gone to their coffers to pay those families of men who died in the Darien expedition eight years earlier, an event that made Scotland all but bankrupt. When a young widow of a Darien soldier comes forward to claim her husband’s wages an investigation takes place to determine if they were actually wed. Set at the cusp of the eighteenth century during a politically motivated time, Adam Williamson finds that there is more involved than the meager wages of a sailor and must set aside his own growing feelings for the widow to figure out the truth.

Other than reading the Outlander series which is set slightly later than this book, I don’t know that much about this time in Scotland’s history. Set during the Jacobite rebellion with flashbacks to the late 17th Century you get a good feeling of what it was like to live during this troubled time when the change in monarchy also meant a change in accepted religions. You also learned a lot about what it meant to be female during this times and were made glad that you live now versus then. Narrated through the investigator, Adam Williamson’s eyes, we learn of Lily’s life from childhood to adult and as we do we serve as judge and jury in deciding if we believe in her story.

During the flashbacks we learned about Lily’s life. Her mother died when she was very young and her father sent her to his mother to be raised in the country where she met her childhood best friend Jamie. Although they were from different levels of society her country upbringing allowed her a closeness with his family that she wouldn’t have had in a city environment. When she moved to Edinburgh and her father dies she is raised by her Stepmother but circumstances force her into becoming a maid to help bring in money. As she grows older her circumstances change again but she still stays on that lower rung of Scottish society and it was really interesting to read, especially in how she viewed herself at these different times of her life. Did it help Adam Williamson determine the truth? You’ll have to read this one to find out. I will say I became very engrossed with her story.

When I read a historical mystery I like a nice methodical pace and The Vanished Days was a slow moving book. Despite the author stating this is book 3 in the series, the characters are not interconnected and this can be read as a standalone novel. If you are like me and really like historical mysteries with a hint of romance I think you’ll really enjoy this novel. The characters were believable, had emotional depth, and I got invested in their story very quickly. This was a good book!

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

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