Blog Tour: The Golden Hour by Malia Zaidi @MaliaZaidi @damppebbles

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London, 1927… Lady Evelyn Carlisle has barely arrived in London when familial duty calls her away again. Her cousin Gemma is desperate for help with her ailing mother before her imminent wedding, which Evelyn knew nothing about! Aunt Agnes in tow, she journeys to Scotland, expecting to find Malmo Manor in turmoil. To her surprise, her Scottish family has been keeping far more secrets than the troubled state of their matriarch. Adding to the tension in the house a neighbour has opened his home, Elderbrooke Park, as a retreat for artistic veterans of the Great War. This development does not sit well with everyone in the community. Is the suspicion towards the residents a catalyst for murder? A tragedy at Elderbrooke Park’s May Day celebration awakens Evelyn’s sleuthing instinct, which is strengthened when the story of another unsolved death emerges, connected to her own family. What she uncovers on her quest to expose the truth will change several lives forever, including her own. With the shadow of history looming over her, Evelyn must trust in her instinct and ability to comb through the past to understand the present, before the murderer can stop her and tragedy strikes aga

My review:

Hear me out for a minute here: what if Lady Evelyn Carlisle is actually a serial killer? Think about it: everywhere she goes, there’s a murder: Greece, Oxford, Scotland… And she always helps bring the killer to justice… It’s the perfect plan! This was also my theory for Murder She Wrote 😉

Jokes aside, THE GOLDEN HOUR is the fourth installment in the Lady Evelyn historical mystery series set in the 1920s. This time, our amateur detective travels to Scotland to visit her family for her cousin’s imminent wedding. Well, she and her aunt Agnes actually travel several weeks before the wedding because Evelyn’s cousin, Gemma, asks them to come help her and calm the matriarch, who seems quite agitated and nervous. Soon after they arrive to Malmo Manor, there’s a murder that reminds the villagers of an old mystery that was never solved…

Lady Evelyn Carlisle starts investigating the murder with the help of some unlikely allies. I really like that she’s no expert detective, she’s just a smart woman who’s curious and brave and willing to help others. What I enjoyed the most about this book was Evelyn’s relationship with her aunt, which is complex and interesting, and something which is not usually explored. I also love Daniel, although he was more of a secondary character in this book.

Lady Evelyn mysteries are historical mysteries with a focus on the everyday moments and personal relationships between the characters. Because of the dialogue-heavy nature of these novels, the rich atmosphere and the era they’re set, they remind me of Poirot’s books, although the main character is quite different, I can assure you.

This is a slow-paced cozy historical mystery with a lovely Scottish atmosphere and not one but two interesting mysteries to solve. I admit I guessed the identity of Tilly’s killer, but both crime motives were a total shock for me and, to be honest, quite controversial, which I always enjoy.

About Malia Zaidi

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Malia Zaidi is the author of the Lady Evelyn Mysteries. She studied at the University of Pittsburgh and at the University of Oxford. Having grown up in Germany, she currently lives in Washington DC, though through her love of reading, she resides vicariously (if temporarily) in countries around the world.

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MaliaZaidi

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/maliazaidiauthor/about/?tab=page_info

Website: https://www.maliazaidi.com/

Blog: https://www.princessandpen.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14197546.Malia_Zaidi

Purchase Links:

Amazon UK & Amazon US

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Review: Never Tell by Lisa Gardner @LisaGardnerBks

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A man is shot dead in his own home, and his pregnant wife, Evie, is found with the gun in her hands. Detective D.D. Warren instantly recognises her. Sixteen years ago, Evie also shot her own father. That killing was ruled an accident. D.D. doesn’t believe in coincidences. But this case isn’t as open and shut as it first appears, and her job is to discover the truth. Evie might be a victim. Or she might be about to get away with murder again.

My review:

I’ve read a few books by Lisa Gardner before, and a couple  featuring DD Warren herself. NEVER TELL was an amazing addition to the series and a book that had me completely captivated from the get go. Don’t worry if you haven’t followed the series, this book can easily be read as a standalone.

The premise for this book was amazing and the prologue already sets up the mystery in such a great way: a woman comes home and shoots a weapon. Her husband is dead and she was already involved in a similar case sixteen years ago. But is she innocent? Or could have she been guilty both times? The plot thickens when Flora, kidnapped and rescued many years ago, swears she knows the dead husband from her time in captivity.

This is a complex and multi-layered plot narrated by three women: DD Warren, Evie, and Flora. While I understand that DD Warren is the title character, her pov was my least favorite, perhaps because Evie and Flora’s were SO FREAKING GOOD that I was dying to discover all their secrets. I really mean it, Evie was such a mysterious character and her whole family history had me intrigued all the way through. But Flora and her kidnapping story and the tapping scene were fascinating.

What I found most interesting about this book is that, unlike other procedurals, the focus wasn’t on the investigation itself and the detectives, but the Evie and Flora’s stories. This made NEVER TELL refreshing and a different kind of read for me. Lisa Gardner is such a great writer! I can’t wait to continue reading this series, can you tell me which are your favorites?

Did you love NEVER TELL as much as I did? Weren’t Evie and Flora awesome characters? 💙

Review: Dead Memories by Angela Marsons @WriteAngie @bookouture

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On the fourth floor of Chaucer House, two teenagers are found chained to a radiator. The boy is dead but the girl is alive. For Detective Kim Stone every detail of the scene mirrors her own terrifying experience with her brother Mikey, when they lived in the same tower block thirty years ago. When the bodies of a middle-aged couple are discovered in a burnt-out car, Kim can’t ignore the chilling similarity to the deaths of Erica and Keith – the only loving parents Kim had ever known. Faced with a killer who is recreating traumatic events from her past, Kim must face the brutal truth that someone wants to hurt her in the worst way possible. Desperate to stay on the case, she is forced to work with profiler Alison Lowe who has been called in to observe and monitor Kim’s behaviour. Kim has spent years catching dangerous criminals and protecting the innocent. But with a killer firmly fixed on destroying Kim, can she solve this complex case and save her own life or will she become the final victim?

 

My review:

This review will be short, as I’d rather you experience this adventure by yourselves!

I always enjoy Angela Marson’s Kim Stone series, but when I read the blurb for this one, DEAD MEMORIES, I was even more excited about it than with any of her other books. I loved the idea of a serial killer recreating Kim Stone’s painful memories and traumas. Who would do something so twisted and horrible?

This might be my favorite book of the series, or top 3 for sure. Both cases were fascinating (there was a secondary storyline involving profiler Alison Lowe), and I love Kim’s team and how they reacted to their boss’ involvement. As for the characters, there’s no secret that Bryant is currently my favorite character, he cares so much about Kim and he’s such a thoughtful and good natured person!

I love how this book served as a homage to the whole series, celebrating the 10th book by taking a trip down memory lane and recalling every person that Kim has ever locked up and might held a grudge against her.  You can imagine how long that list is… But who would go to the extent of recreating Kim’s traumatic past? That’s what the team needs to find out before the next crime occurs…

A thrilling and unforgettable homage to the Kim Stone’s series.

Do you follow this series? Isn’t every new book better than the previous one? 💙

Review: Forgiveness Road by Mandy Mikulencak @DurangoWriter

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On a hot, humid July morning, sixteen-year-old Cissy Pickering calmly and deliberately shoots her father in the back. To their Mississippi community, the death of well-regarded attorney Richard Pickering is a fascinating scandal. To Cissy’s distraught mother, Caroline, it’s an unforgivable crime. But in Cissy’s troubled mind, killing her father was the only way she knew to save the two people she loves most in the world. For years, Cissy has endured a devil’s bargain with her father, hoping that he would leave her younger sisters alone if she kept his abuse to herself. When that thin trust shattered, she saw no other choice. Janelle Clayton, the family’s matriarch, has kept her distance from her daughter, Caroline–a fact she now regrets–yet she hopes to do right by her granddaughter. Cissy has always been an unusual girl, given to compulsive counting and list-making, but Janelle believes her implicitly. When Cissy is remanded to the Greater Mississippi State Hospital, a caring psychiatrist tries to help, yet new revelations drive Cissy to retreat even further from reality. It will fall to Janelle, despite her own failing health, to become Cissy’s advocate and rescuer. And over the course of an unlikely road trip, Janelle and Cissy will confront the truths they’ve hidden from the world and themselves, finding courage, deep-rooted resilience, and a bond tender and tough enough to transform them both.

 

My review:

I read Mandy Mikulencak’s previous novel last year: The Last Suppers and I really enjoyed it. It was a very original novel and I’m glad to say that her new book FORGIVENESS ROAD was also quite unique and I loved it even more. This was a moving, beautiful and delicate book that I would recommend to fans of historical and southern fiction.

The book starts with a bang… literally. When shy and fragile Cissy kills is father, everyone is shocked and can’t understand why this has happened. Soon enough, Cissy begins telling the truth and my heart broke when I realized not everyone believed her. Cissy is then sent to a psychiatric hospital and her life will never be the same.

I don’t want to dive too much into the plot, but let me assure you that this book was a wonderful adventure. It’s sad, beautiful, emotional and, in the end, hopeful. What I loved the most is, of course, the relationship between Cissy and her grandmother Janelle. Janelle was such a fascinating character, I thought their dynamics were unique and depite Janelle’s apparent coldness, she was such a caring person underneath.

This book deals with important themes and topics, some of which are not easy to read about. And although what happens to Cissy in this book is definitely something that we’ve read in other books, I love how Mandy offers a unique perspective and strengthens the relationship between a girl and her grandmother. The road trip part was my favorite and I never knew how the story would end.

In the end, there wasn’t a moment when I was reading FORGIVENESS ROAD when I didn’t feel like I was reading something truly special. This book touched me deeply and had me crying more than once. I know I won’t ever forget it.

Have you read any of Mandy Mikulencak books? Would you be interested in reading this one? 💙

Mini Reviews: A Criminal Defense & The Ringmaster

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Good morning and welcome to the new mini-review post! Today I’m featuring two crime books: one legal and one police procedural which I quite enjoyed. I would recommend both to genre fans.

A Criminal Defense by William L. Myers Jr

32487612.jpgAs soon as I started reading this book I realized it was like reading a legal blockbuster flick. It had all the cliché ingredients (not that I care…), despicable characters, a high-profile case and a mystery that seems pretty clear from the beginning (of couse… nothing is as it seems). The book was non-stop entertaining, super fun to read and there were also plenty of twists, some of which were GREAT. While the writing wasn’t excellent (too much telling, not showing, in my humble opinion), I believe this novel is the perfect “summer” read and I wouldn’t mind reading the sequels when I’m in the mood for a fast-paced, thrilling legal mystery.

The Ringmaster by Vanda Symon

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I read and enjoyed Vanda Symon’s first book in the Sam Shepard series and I am happy to admit that the sequel was as good as its predecessor! The setting was quite different this time, changing the rural setting of the first book for Dunedin, but it was still pretty original. I’m gonna be honest here: New Zealand is so far away that I’m super fascinated by it, I wish I could visit it! As for the book, the mystery was intriguing and full of red-herrings. In addition, I never saw that ending coming, so I don’t really have any complaints. What’s more: Sam is wonderful as ever, her best friend Maggie is fierce and fun as well, and there were other supporting characters that made this book stand out.

Have you read any of these books? What do you think of them? 💙