First Chapter, First Paragraph Tuesday Intros #27


Diane over at Bibliophile by the Sea hosts this meme.

The Masque of a Murderer

Today I’m featuring a review book that I’m reading. 

“Let me tell you –!” Lucy Campion shouted, trying to make her voice heard against the rising wind. She scrambled onto the overturned barrel outside of Master Aubrey’s printer’s shop. “–Of a murder most absurd!”

I read and reviewed Susanna Calkins’ first Lucy Campion book, A Murder at Rosamund’s Gate a couple of years ago. I remember liking it quite a bit. Somewhere along the line, I missed the release of her second Lucy novel, From the Charred Remains. Bummer. But when I was contacted by Ms. Calkins for a potential review of this third book, I jumped on the opportunity. So far I’m about 35% into it and am really enjoying it. It releases mid-April, so look for my review around that time.

Mailbox Monday, March 2, 2015

Mailbox Mondays

Just one book this week. An e-galley from an author I’ve reviewed in the past. (Why, why, why can I *never* follow through with not accepting review books?! Oh, maybe because a really great one comes through and I can’t resist!)

The Masque of a MurdererIn Susanna Calkins’s next richly drawn mystery set in 17th century England, Lucy Campion, formerly a ladies’ maid in the local magistrate’s household, has now found gainful employment as a printer’s apprentice. On a freezing winter afternoon in 1667, she accompanies the magistrate’s daughter, Sarah, to the home of a severely injured Quaker man to record his dying words, a common practice of the time. The man, having been trampled by a horse and cart the night before, only has a few hours left to live. Lucy scribbles down the Quaker man’s last utterances, but she’s unprepared for what he reveals to her—that someone deliberately pushed him into the path of the horse, because of a secret he had recently uncovered.

Fearful that Sarah might be traveling in the company of a murderer, Lucy feels compelled to seek the truth, with the help of the magistrate’s son, Adam, and the local constable. But delving into the dead man’s background might prove more dangerous than any of them had imagined.

In The Masque of a Murderer, Susanna Calkins has once again combined finely wrought characters, a richly detailed historical atmosphere, and a tightly-plotted mystery into a compelling read.

February 2015 Wrap-Up

February was a pretty good month. Numbers wise, I only read 4 books. However, three of the four were all really good. And quality over quantity any day! Also I know I had said that I wasn’t taking on any review books this year. I wish I had more self-control. But I’ve been contacted twice by authors that I’ve reviewed in the past and I simply couldn’t say no to either one. I tried…

Anyway, on to the books:

Books read: 4 (YTD: 8)

port mortuaryAngels FlightAlex Cross, RunDead as a Doornail

  1. Port Mortuary by Patricia Cornwell – REVIEW
  2. Angels Flight by Michael Connelly – REVIEW
  3. Alex Cross, Run by James Patterson – REVIEW
  4. Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris – REVIEW

Pages Read: 1,621 (YTD: 2,861 )

Books Received: 5 (See list here)

  • E-Galley Received From the Author: 1
  • Purchased at used book store: 4

Memes Posted: 1

Events Participated In: None

Recipes Shared: 0

2015.8 REVIEW – Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris

Dead as a Doornail
by Charlaine Harris

Pages: 295
Rating: 4/5
Read: Feb. 20 – Feb. 25, 2015
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 8
Format: Print
Source: Personal Copy
Series: Sookie Stackhouse #5

Dead as a DoornailBlurb: Small-town cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse has had more than her share of experience with the supernatural – but now it’s really hitting close to home. When Sookie sees her brother Jason’s eyes start to change, she knows he’s about to turn into a were panther for the first time – a transformation he embraces more readily than most shape-shifters she knows. But her concern becomes cold fear when a sniper sets his deadly sights on the local changeling population, and Jason’s new panther brethren suspect he may be the shooter. Now Sookie has until the next full moon to find out who’s behind the attacks – unless the killer decides to find her first…

Review: This is the 5th book in the Sookie series and I’m kicking myself for waiting so long before starting this series.

I find these books to be fun escapes. There’s not much thinking involved in them and sometimes that’s exactly what I need. Even though paranormal will never be my favorite genre, these books really appeal to me.

I found this book to be interesting. Sookie is always finding herself in trouble. And this installment is no exception. I’m so intrigued by the world Ms. Harris has created in this series. There’s so much pomp and circumstance regarding the vamps and weres and shifters. It’s just so interesting.

Overall, I liked this book and I enjoy this series. Definitely recommended.

Book Spotlight: The Strange Death of Fiona Griffiths by Harry Bingham

The Strange Death of Fiona GriffithsBritish author, Harry Bingham, blew critics and readers away with his crime debut, Talking to the Dead. His second novel, Love Story, with Murders, established DC Fiona Griffiths as the most compelling heroine in crime fiction. With this, the third novel in the series, comes Fiona’s darkest, strangest and most challenging assignment yet . . .

It started out as nothing much. A minor payroll fraud at a furniture store in South Wales. No homicide involved, no corpses. Detective Constable Fiona Griffiths fights to get free of the case, but loses. She’s tasked with the investigation.

She begins her enquiries, only to discover the corpse of a woman who’s starved to death. Looks further, and soon realizes that within the first, smaller crime, a vaster one looms: the most audacious theft in history.

Fiona’s bosses need a copper willing to go undercover, and they ask Fiona to play the role of a timid payroll clerk so that she can penetrate the criminal gang from within.

Fiona will be alone, she’ll be lethally vulnerable – and her fragile grip on ‘Planet Normal’ will be tested as never before …

About the Author: 

Harry-BinghamHarry is currently writing a crime series, featuring a young Welsh detective, Fiona Griffiths. The series has sold to publishers in the UK (Orion), the US (Random House), as well as FranceGermanyItalySpain, the Netherlandsand elsewhere. The first novel was televised by Bonafide and broadcast onSky Living. The novels are notable mostly for the strong voice and strange character of their protagonist. The first three titles in the series are Talking to the Dead, Love Story with Murders, and The Strange Death of Fiona Griffiths.

The books have had nice reviews in the BooksellerPublishers Weekly,KirkusNew York TimesNew York Daily NewsBoston GlobeSeattle Times,Washington PostDaily MailTelegraph, Times, Sunday Times, Western Mail (all behind paywall) Shelf Awarenesscrimefictionlover, and many more fine publications.

Connect with Harry Bingham:
Website | Twitter

Buy Links:
Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Please be sure to check out the other stops on the tour:

February 2 Book featured at 3 Partners in Shopping
February 3 Guest blogging at What is That Book
February 4 Book reviewed at Rainy Day Reviews
February 5 Interviewed at A Little Bit of R & R
February 6 Guest blogging at I Heart Reading
February 9 Book reviewed at The Phantom Paragrapher
February 11 Book featured at The Zen Reader
February 12 Interviewed at Review From Here
February 13 Guest blogging at From Paperback to Leatherbound
February 17 Interviewed at Literal Exposure
February 19 Book featured at Confessions of a Reader
February 20 Book featured at Tales of a Book Addict
February 24 Guest blogging at A Taste of My Mind
February 26 Interviewed at Niume
March 2  Book featured at Voodoo Princess
March 4 Book featured at The Literary Nook
March 6  Book reviewed at Harlie’s Books
March 9 Guest blogging at Romancing the Darkside
March 11 Interviewed at Blirt
March 12 Book featured at Inkslinger’s Opus
March 13 Interviewed at Pimp That Character
March 17 Interviewed at Pump Up Your Book
March 18 Guest blogging at She Writes
March 19 Interviewed at I’m Shelf-ish
March 23 Guest blogging at The Writer’s Life
March 25  Interviewed at As the Page Turns
March 27 Guest blogging at Fiction to Fruition
April 6 Book review and Author interviewed at The Gal in the Blue Mask
April 7 Book featured at Lover of Literature
April 8 Interviewed at Straight From the Author’s Mouth
April 9 Guest blogging at Literarily Speaking
April 13 Book featured at Blogher
April 14 Interviewed at Examiner
April 15 Guest blogging at Bent Over Bookwords
April 16 Book reviewed at Celticlady’s Reviews
April 17 Book featured at The Revolving Bookshelf
April 21 Book featured at The Dark Phantom
April 22 Interviewed at Book Marketing Buzz
April 23 Book reviewed at Review From Here
April 24 Book featured at All Inclusive Retort

2015.7 REVIEW – Alex Cross, Run by James Patterson

Alex Cross, Run
by James Patterson

Pages: 378
Rating: 4/5
Read: Feb. 15 – Feb. 18, 2015
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 7
Format: Print
Source: Personal Copy
Series: Alex Cross #20

Alex Cross, RunBlurb: Alex Cross is on the hunt of his life … In Washington, D.C., top plastic surgeon Elijah Creem is renowned for his operating skills – and his wild parties of drugs, champagne, and illicit sex. When Detective Alex Cross busts one of Creem’s soirees, the doctor takes the most drastic step to avoid prison. Before Alex can finish this case, a beautiful woman is murdered with a lock of her hair viciously ripped off. Then a second woman is found, hanging from a window with a brutal scar slashed across her stomach. After a third mutilated body is discovered, rumors of three serial killers on the loose send the city into an all-out frenzy. But under intense pressure to solve all these grim cases, the detective doesn’t notice that someone very obsessed and twisted is stalking him – and won’t stop until Alex is dead.

Review: I used to gobble James Patterson up. Somewhere along the way he slowly fell off my radar. Probably because he churns out book after book with the aid of “co-authors” and they just aren’t as good as when he is writing them. For whatever reason, Mr. Patterson has kept the Alex Cross books all to himself. For that, his readers should thank him. Because they are by far (in my opinion of course) the best books that his name appears on.

So when I signed up a Goodreads challenge for us to read 3 books by authors we love in February, I had to go scouring my shelves for something. And as much as I am ashamed to admit it, James Patterson is where my eyes kept coming back to. So I figured I’d pick up the next Alex Cross book I had (I’m a couple behind now).

Looking back through my archives, it had been a little over 3 years since I last read an Alex Cross book. But you know what … I fell right back in with the family with no problems at all. It was like reuniting with an old friend from grade school. It was also a lot of fun.

I feel like the blurb highlighted above really leaves a lot of the book’s plot out. There’s a lot more to this book than just what’s in that simple blurb. And I found it to be a really fun, exciting read!

While these books do not require a lot of thinking, I still enjoy them. Patterson has a bad rep with a lot of people nowadays, but I am not ashamed to admit that I still like Patterson (kind of like I’ll admit to watching Keeping Up With the Kardashians).

So, yeah, I’d recommend this book. It’s a fun, fast read. And I just really like Alex Cross’s character. While you don’t have to, I would definitely recommend reading this series from the beginning, because there’s a lot of great early books in this series.

2015.6 REVIEW – Angels Flight by Michael Connelly

Angels Flight
by Michael Connelly

Pages: 454
Rating: 4/5
Read: Feb. 5 – Feb. 11, 2015
Challenge: No challenge
Yearly count: 6
Format: Print
Source: Personal Copy
Series: Harry Bosch #6

Angels FlightBlurb: An activist attorney is killed in a cute little L.A. trolley called Angels Flight, far from Harry Bosch’s Hollywood turf. But the case is so explosive – and the dead man’s enemies inside the LAPD are so numerous – that it falls to Harry to solve it. Now the streets are superheating. Harry’s year-old Vegas marriage is unraveling. And the hunt for a killer is leading Harry to another high-profile LA murder case, one where every cop had a motive. The question is, did any have the guts?

Review: I am very slowly making my way through the Harry Bosch series. And so far I’m quite enjoying myself. This particular installment was very good in my opinion.

A lot of things are happening in Harry’s life and to Harry in this book. And I think it will be interesting to see where Mr. Connelly takes Bosch next, on a personal level. I definitely have a soft spot for Harry.

But do you know what I loved most about this book … I had absolutely no idea how it was going to end until it was right on top of me. And when I say “absolutely no idea,” I seriously mean that. I had no idea who the killer was in this book. I had no idea how things would end up. And that’s what makes a great mystery/thriller/suspense novel in my opinion.

So overall, I really had a fun time with this book. It’s a good read, a good installment in a great series. And I can’t wait to read more Harry Bosch in the near future!