Review: Queen’s Progress (Kit Marlowe #9)

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Title: Queen’s Progress (Kit Marlow #9)
Author: M.J. Trow
Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Publisher: Severn House Publishers
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: July 1, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

As advance guard for the Queen’s Progress, Christopher Marlowe tackles murder and intrigue within some of England’s grandest stately homes.May, 1591. When Queen Elizabeth decides to embark on a Royal Progress, visiting some of the grandest homes in England, her new spymaster, Sir Robert Cecil, sends Kit Marlowe on ahead, to ensure all goes smoothly. But Marlowe’s reconnaissance mission is dogged by disaster: at Farnham Hall, a body is hurled from the battlements; at Cowdray Castle, a mock tournament ends in near tragedy; at Petworth, a body is discovered in the master bedroom, shot dead.

By the time he reaches Chichester, Marlowe fears the worst. Are the incidents linked? Is there a conspiracy to sabotage the Queen’s Progress? Who is pulling the strings – and why? To uncover the truth, Marlowe must come up with a fiendishly clever plan.

Review:

This is the first book I’ve read in the Kit Marlow series, and I loved it. Even though I haven’t read the other books, I still understood everything. Some of the characters weren’t described in detail, because they were probably introduced in past novels, but it wasn’t a big problem.

I loved the mystery elements of the story. I had no idea what the solution would be. Each of the stops on the planned route of the Queen’s Progress had to be cancelled due to a commotion or death on the property. Each situation seemed so unique that I wondered how they could be connected. The mystery came together in a great ending.

Some of Christopher Marlow’s contemporaries were in the story. Robert Cecil, Queen Elizabeth’s spymaster, was an important character. Will “Shaxsper” also made a couple of appearances in the Rose theatre. I loved how he made up words when he spoke to other people, because he created many of the words that we use today.

I loved this story, and I will definitely look for more in this series in the future!

Have you read this book or the series? What did you think?

Review: A Study in Treason (The Daughter of Sherlock Holmes Mysteries #2)

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Title: A Study in Treason (The Daughter of Sherlock Holmes Mysteries #2)
Author: Leonard Goldberg
Genre: Mystery, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: June 12, 2018
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A continuation of USA TODAY bestselling author Leonard Goldberg’s The Daughter of Sherlock Holmes, A Study in Treason is a new intriguing locked room mystery for Joanna and the Watsons to solve.

The following case has not previously been disclosed to the public due to the sensitive information on foreign affairs. All those involved were previously bound by the Official Secrets Act. With the passage of time and the onset of the Great War, these impediments have been removed and the story can now be safely told.

When an executed original of a secret treaty between England and France, known as the French Treaty, is stolen from the country estate of Lord Halifax, Scotland Yard asks Joanna, Dr. John Watson, Jr., and Dr. John Watson, Sr. to use their keen detective skills to participate in the hunt for the missing treaty. As the government becomes more restless to find the missing document and traditional investigative means fail to turn up the culprit, Joanna is forced to devise a clever plan to trap the thief and recover the missing treaty.

Told from the point of view of Dr. John Watson, Jr. in a style similar to the original Sherlock Holmes stories, A Study in Treason is based partly on facts in our world and partly on the facts left to us by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Full of excitement and intrigue, this mystery is sure to be enjoyed by fans of Sherlock Holmes as well as the works of Laurie R. King and Charles Finch.

Review:

I loved this adaptation of Sherlock Holmes.

This story follows the daughter of Holmes, who is now married to the son of Watson. Watson is also in this story, though he had a stroke so he isn’t able to do much physical work.

I really liked how this story followed the same style of the original Sherlock Holmes stories. The story was told by John Watson Jr. Though Joanna didn’t know her father, Sherlock, she inherited his talent for deduction. She also likes to study different areas of interest, like tobacco and languages, just like Sherlock.

The ending of the story was good too. The culprit was who I suspected. But it was a very clever mystery. It played out just like a Sherlock Holmes mystery, with very complex and hidden clues.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

Blog Tour Review: The Development

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Title: The Development
Author: Jackie Kabler
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Accent Press
Source: Neverland Blog Tours
Release Date: May 10, 2018
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

After a stressful week, TV reporter Cora Baxter is ready for a quiet weekend. What she isn’t counting on is witnessing the shocking death of a young woman on her way home.

Cora discovers that seventeen-year-old Leanne has been protesting against a new housing development, angering the powerful establishment. Leanne’s death is ruled a suicide but, when puzzling information comes to light, Cora decides to investigate further.

She might not know what an unscrupulous businessman, a suspended police officer and hate-mail sending neighbours have to do with the case – but she does know there is a news story there.

With her eccentric camera crew on hand to help, can Cora work out what happened in the days before Leanne’s death? And was it really suicide after all?

Review:

I enjoyed this mystery!

I felt a personal connection to this story because the main character lives near Gloucestershire, which is home to my university, University of Gloucestershire. I’m currently doing my Master’s remotely, but I will be going to Gloucester to graduate in the fall, so I loved reading about the town!

This story really kept me on the edge of my seat. I couldn’t predict what the clues would reveal. I also liked that Cora worked as a news reporter. She had a perfect position to explore the case, while also being removed from it. She also was able to get permission to work on it for the news, which was a bonus. Most of the time in books when someone who isn’t on the police force wants to investigate something, they get in trouble, but Cora was lucky.

I really enjoyed this crime filled mystery!

About the Author:

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Jackie Kabler is a journalist, TV presenter and author. She spent twenty years as a TV news reporter for GMTV, ITV and BBC news, and now works as a presenter for shopping channel QVC and is author of the Cora Baxter Mysteries, a series of  murder mysteries set in a television newsroom. The Development is her third novel. Jackie lives in Gloucestershire with her husband, who is a GP.

Website jackiekabler.com

Twitter @jackiekabler

Facebook www.facebook.com/jackiekablerauthor

Instagram @officialjackiekabler

Thank you Neverland Blog Tours for letting me participate in this blog tour.

Review: The Stone of Destiny


Title: The Stone of Destiny: A Sherlock Holmes Adventure
Author: Richard T. Ryan
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: MX Publishing
Source: Author
Release Date: June 5, 2017
Rating: ★★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

During the elaborate funeral for Queen Victoria, a group of Irish separatists breaks into Westminster Abbey and steals the Coronation Stone, on which every monarch of England has been crowned since the 14th century. After learning of the theft from Mycroft, Sherlock Holmes is tasked with recovering the stone and returning it to England. In pursuit of the many-named stone, which has a rich and colorful history, Holmes and Watson travel to Ireland in disguise as they try to infiltrate the Irish Republican Brotherhood, the group they believe responsible for the theft. The story features a number of historical characters, including a very young Michael Collins, who would go on to play a prominent role in Irish history; John Theodore Tussaud, the grandson of Madame Tussaud; and George Bradley, the dean of Westminster at the time of the theft. There are also references to a number of other Victorian luminaries, including Joseph Lister and Frederick Treves. For fans of Conan Doyle’s immortal detective, the game is always afoot. However, for the great detective the stakes have never been higher as he must mollify a king who refuses to ascend the throne until “order has been restored.”

Review:

I have never read a Sherlock Holmes mystery that wasn’t written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I was always worried the author wouldn’t capture the true essence of Sherlock. Luckily, Richard Ryan did a great job at creating a new mystery for the iconic detective. 

Watson’s narration read just like the original stories. He went along with whatever Sherlock suggested. Also, like many Sherlock mysteries, I learned something new along the way. I didn’t realize that contact lenses were invented so long ago (and now you’ll have to read the story to find out how/why Sherlock encountered contact lenses!). 

I also liked the way that the narration alternated between Watson’s account and a narration of the theives. I could see the whole story unfolding, but it still wasn’t clear how Sherlock would find the missing stone (and I knew he would because Sherlock always figures out the mystery). When John and Sherlock were separated, Sherlock explained to him later what he was doing in his absence. This was a great way of explaining what was happening without a narrator present for it. 

One thing that I would have liked to see more of was Sherlock’s deducing. That was always one of my favourite parts of his mysteries. There was some seducing but I would have liked to see more of it, because that skill is what makes Sherlock unique. 

I loved this story! I highly recommend it for any fans of Sherlock Holmes. 

Emma Watson as Belle

For my first blog post I am writing about one of my idols, Emma Watson. She’s such a role model with her He for She campaign and her Our Shared Shelf book club. She has also portrayed two of my favourite characters on the big screen: Hermione Granger and Belle. Both characters are avid readers, and were a huge inspiration to me when I was a kid. I wouldn’t be writing this today if it weren’t for those two characters, so it means so much that this amazing actress is the face of both of them.

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Photo from Elle.com

This dress from the London premiere of Beauty and the Beast says it all! She is a real princess in this gown. Just look at that train! Her co-star, Dan Stevens even carried the train for her, proving her princess status.

I think she’s an amazing person and I admire her so much!

Here’s the link to the article at Elle.com about her dress: http://www.elle.com/fashion/celebrity-style/news/a43291/emma-watson-cinderella-dress-london-beauty-and-the-beast-premiere/