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!

❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase this book!* The Vanished Days (The Scottish series, 3)

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.

It’s Monday, what are you reading? (9/27/21)

It was a busy weekend with another family members birthday and lots of time spent in the kitchen making food for the celebration. It was my job to make a couple of pies. I’ll have to admit I enjoyed the quiet time, put in my ear buds and listened to a good book. I love it when I have a couple of hours where I can be in the book zone. When my minds split between two things it’s better to listen to something I’ve already read, so I got a copy of The Love Hypothesis. My pick for the best romance I’ve read yet this year. Narrated by Callie Dalton, it is fab-u- lous. What else have I been reading? See below!

JUST FINISHED

Luke Daniels is the narrator for this audiobook series and he voices Atticus, his dog Oberon, and all of the other characters in these books, perfectly. The mix of Kevin Hearne’s fluid plots, humor, and great world building with Daniels take on what these characters should sound like is book listening gold. I really enjoyed Tricked, the fourth novel in the series and highly recommend these if you are an urban fantasy fan.

JUST STARTED

I have a soft spot for historical mysteries and The Vanished Days is pushing all of the right buttons. Set during the Jacobite rebellion in the 1700’s I’m immediately swept away by the characters, setting, and yes, the mystery. If you are also a fan of this genre this book is out on Oct. 13, 2021.

As you can tell from all three of the books I’ve talked about in this post I’m all over the place when it comes to my reading tastes! What genre of book has you hooked?

Happy Monday and happy reading!

Deb

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.

This Chick Read: The Paris Apartment by Kelly Bowen

In 2017 Aurelia Leclaire inherits an apartment in Paris from her recently deceased grandmother. Surprised that her grandmother ever lived in Paris, when Lia opens the door it’s as if she stepped into a time machine to 1943, the apartment was untouched, filled with artwork, beautiful cocktail dresses, and elegant antiques. When she finds Nazi paraphernalia she becomes worried that her grandmother may have been a sympathizer and that the artwork may have been stolen. In Paris 1942 Estelle Allard lives in her family’s luxurious apartment in the exclusive Sacré-Coeur neighborhood. Paris is occupied by Nazi’s and their military elite are inhabiting The Ritz. Estelle, a young, beautiful, socialite uses her looks and lifestyle to socialize with the Nazi’s, turning over everything she’s learned to their enemies.

The Paris Apartment is told from two perspectives both Lia’s and her grandmother Estelle. As we read about all of LIa’s fears we are living through Estelle’s worries during WWII. The story unfolds in a way that is emotional and riveting. We live through both women’s stories and we know the answers as to why Estelle’s apartment is found untouched, what the secret apartment was used for, and why she had Nazi paraphernalia where she lived. As Lia was worried, we would find out an answer in Estelle’s storyline. Kelly Bowen did a wonderful job describing life during WWII and all of the horrors that an occupied city faced, but all with a veneer of civility.

I think this is the first time where I’ve read a dual storyline novel where both of the plots were of equal interest to me. LIa had a mystery that she wanted to unravel and had the help of a handsome art restorer to help her do that. The budding love story wasn’t the main plot but it did provide her character with a bit of warmth that I think she might have lacked with out those feelings of attraction and love. As a juxtaposition, Estelle’s story was filled with emotional warmth and also darkness. Living during a time where people you knew were being killed, either in the war or in concentration camps her emotions were all hidden by this face she had to wear to both survive, and collect whatever information she could. The mystery that connected these to timelines was what moved both of their stories forward so effectively.

I was drawn into this novel right from the first page. It was so easy to read I found myself reading the book late into the evening, not wanting to break away from the story. If you like historical novels, I think you’ll enjoy the characters in this book. I’ve read a lot of WWII novels lately but haven’t read one set in Paris so I thought it was unique and the stylization of the time and the ease I had reading it really set it apart from the others. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❣️

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!* The Paris Apartment

Copyright 2021 The Reading Chick All Rights Reserved

*Amazon Associate- if you purchase this book through the above link I’ll receive credit for your purchase.

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.

A Rogue of One’s Own (A League of Extraordinary Women #2) by Evie Dunmore

Lady Lucy, a young woman with a high social background, has been living on her own since her father kicked her out of the house when she was 17. Thankfully one of her aunt’s left her some money which allows her to live comfortably, if not frugally. Lucy uses her independence to continue to fight for women’s rights. When her consortium finally gathers enough money to purchase a publishing house that prints a set of women’s periodicals their plans to use them for the Suffrage movement are foiled when the other half is sold to her nemesis, Tristan, Lord Ballantine. He has always gotten under Lucy’s skin, and now he is in her way! Their sizzling chemistry distracts her from her purpose, but as she gets to know him she is surprised at his hidden depths.

I didn’t think it was possible to like a book better than the first. I loved Bringing Down the Duke, but A Rogue of One’s Own? Even better! This series is set during the Women’s Suffrage Movement in England at the turn of the 19th century. Men held all of the rights over woman, considering them purchased when married. Lucy is determined to never get married but she needs society and their wealth and privilege to continue her fight. She has always considered Tristan to be a rake, believing all of the stories about his conquests. He certainly plays the part but as he discovers more about her world and how women are not ok with their treatment he is enraged on their behalf. This paragraph below, I hope doesn’t give anything away but explains why I liked this story so much.

“Until now, she had not been sure how her lover would respond to realities most people refused to see. Until now, she had not been entirely certain whether he would fall victim to the peculiar, selective blindness which afflicted so many otherwise perfectly sensible people when confronted with something ugly; whether he would claw for explanations, no matter how ludicrous, or would try to belittle away what unnerved him rather than face inconvenient truths.”

A Rogue of one’s own by Evie Dunmore

Maybe it’s the time I’m living in right now, with what is going on in the US, but this quote struck me to the heart. Lucy fell in love because Tristan opened his eyes and could see her struggle and he was not going to stand by without supporting her. Oh, this was a powerful moment in the book for me, as it was probably meant to be.

I’m a particular fan of historical fiction and I’ll admit, I love a good romance. What makes this series different is the place in time, the depth the author goes to make the reader feel like this world is real, and some of the accurate historical notes she adds to the tale. A League of Extraordinary Women is in a league of its own; entertaining, educational, heartbreaking, and sizzling with heat. I recommend this series, and this novel whole-heartedly. It’s on my best list for the year so far. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase!* A Rogue of One’s Own (A League of Extraordinary Women)

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 Chick Read: Her Last Flight by Beatriz Williams

Her Last Flight tells the story of two women, wartime photographer Janey Everett, and legendary pilot Irene Foster. Told in current time (1947) and in flashbacks to the mid 1920’s, Janey is hunting down the story of Sam Mallory, Irene’s one time teacher and co-pilot. She travels to Hawaii where she has tracked down Irene and hopes to convince her to tell her story.

Historical novels can often be slow and get bogged down in the details of the era in which the story is told. Her Last Flight, taking place in two timelines does a great job of giving you the flavor of those era’s yet doesn’t take time away from the plot by being over descriptive. Because of this, the pace was quick and I found myself speeding through this fascinating novel of these two women.

Janey is tracking down the story of the famous pilot Sam Mallory which is done through Irene’s memories, yet at the same time we are given flashbacks to Janey’s own life and the people who have influenced who she has become. As we read her story we are given hints that she and Irene’s stories have parallels and I read eagerly to see how or if they might intersect.

Did I have a favorite between the two characters? I’ll admit I leaned a little more towards Irene’s story because it was a little more glamorous, despite her life’s hiccups. Janey as the narrator, didn’t lay all of her cards on the table until the end, but with each reveal about her past you realized her’s was the more difficult life and I ended up pulling for her to find her happiness by the end. So, it was kind of a toss up! I liked them both for different reasons.

As a pilot’s daughter myself I was fascinated to read about the early days of flight and how women became involved in it. Irene’s and Sam’s story took place in the 1920’s when the country was recovering from the Great Depression and flying and air shows were a bit like going to the circus At that time; exciting and dangerous. To read how far flight advanced, even in the 25 years told in this story, was also pretty incredible, a point made by Irene’s love of aviation becoming tainted when she realized the damage in Spain from bombs being dropped from planes. A much more modern view of the capabilities technology brings.

There were quite a bit of twists and turns in Her Last Flight, none of which I want to go into as it would spoil your enjoyment of reading this story on your own. I’ll just say that it was deftly done and despite the turbulents the journey was completely enjoyable. I would recommend this story to everyone who loves this genre, it’s not one to be missed. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

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

Click this link to purchase!* Her Last Flight: A Novel

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.