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Book Review: A Scandal in Scarlet by Vicki Delany

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A Scandal in Scarlet (A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery, #4)A Scandal in Scarlet by Vicki Delany

My rating: 4+ of 5 stars

A Scandal in Scarlet is the 4th book in the ‘A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery’ series by Vicki Delany. I was introduced to this cozy after reading a different series written by the author (Christmas All Year Round) and am very glad I checked it out. Delany is a wonderful writer whose characters, plots, and settings are a prime example of why I love cozy mysteries.

In this book, Gemma notices a fire in a nearby museum while out walking the dog. To help pay for repairs, she and Jayne host the museum’s auction, but one of the members is killed just before it begins. Was it a rival member who didn’t like the poor woman’s success? Her husband or his previous wife and kids? The nasty shop owner Gemma knows? A burglary gone wrong? Lots of angles for the two Sherlock-wannabees to investigate all the while dating a local cop, chef, old friend, and rare book dealer. Then we must not forget running the tea room, fighting with the store owner across the street who just likes to be mean, and taking care of the cat and dog.

All-in-all, the setting is my favorite in this series. While many of the characters are good, it’s reading about many Sherlock Holmes items that keeps me coming back for more. Delany builds the best descriptions into her plot, effortlessly, so you feel transported into the story. I’m even thrilled when it’s a few pages of narrative or description without much action. It’s just that kind of a book to immerse yourself into.

The mystery was good. Not the best she’s written, but full of red herrings and a clear reason why someone was killed. The second murder threw me for a loop, but that’s just icing on the cake for solving the first one, right? :O Looking forward to the next edition!

View all my reviews

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. The debut book, Academic Curveball, in my new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. I read, write, and blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge –and multiple Readathons. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

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Book Review: The Cat of the Baskervilles Vicki Delany

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The Cat of the Baskervilles (A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery #3)The Cat of the Baskervilles by Vicki Delany

My rating: 4.25 of 5 stars

When an opportunity to win a free ARC of the 4th book in Vicki Delany’s ‘A Sherlock Holmes Bookshop Mystery’ series was offered up earlier in the week, I got my derriere in gear and ordered the 3rd book, the Cat of the Baskervilles, so I could get current. It was an unplanned read for this month but one I’m glad I found time to squeeze in. Let’s hope I win the chance to get an early ARC of the next book.

Delany’s a wonderful writer with a great balance of humor, levity, sincerity, mystery, trickery, and suspense. In this caper, Gemma wants to protect her friend Jayne’s mother, Leslie, who’s potentially guilty of murdering an actor she once knew. One of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock plays is coming to West London (US, not UK), and there’s a stop at Gemma’s Sherlockian bookshop. Unfortunately, during a tea party before the play opens, the lead actor is found at the bottom of a cliff. Suicide? Accidental from being drunk? Or murder? Gemma of course needs to investigate. Detective Ryan wants her to stay away. His partner wants to kill Gemma… perhaps a future plot, Ms. Delany? LOL

I really enjoy the relationships and side stories in this series. Between the always off-and-gallivanting Uncle Arthur (yes, named after the author), the nasty but lovable feline Moriarty (so aptly named), and the shenanigans in the love lives and interfering neighbors to Gemma and Jayne’s stores, it’s always a great read. This book is a traditional cozy, but at about the 85% mark, the case is closed in a way I wouldn’t expect. Surely, it couldn’t be all fluff for the last few chapters… I knew there was a twist coming, and then BAM, it’s dropped. Kudos to Delany for the nice fun surprise. Is it time for my ARC of #4 to arrive yet? Oh please, reading gods…

View all my reviews

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My stand-alone novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. The debut book, Academic Curveball, in my new mystery series, Braxton Campus Mysteries will fit those who love cozy mysteries and crime investigations. I read, write, and blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge –and multiple Readathons. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

The Cat Catches the Mouse

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This was my face (this morning) when I noticed my little Bro had liked many of our comments, over the last few days…img_3392

He knows! The mouse has been caught!

The good news is, he did not take my access to his blog away, so we are golden!  Maybe he had a bit too much grape juice again and was just “liking” everything!?  Hmmmmmm… There were over 40 likes!  And, he never left a single comment.  We also chatted yesterday afternoon, and the topic NEVER came up!  Interesting… I just might be in the clear!

img_3391The good news is, I am still here!  Let me share a few photos, of what our amazing Author Man has been up to, while I still can…

 

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This photo makes my heart happy!  Those smiles!

The adorable and extremely talented Claire from Brizzlelassbooks was one of my secret agents.  I knew she would keep Jay in line and out of trouble!  It looks like she showed up just in time!  As you can see, they had a fabulous time visiting the many sites of London!

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Parthenon: The British Museum
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London Eye
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Prime Meridian
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Navigating the Cutty Sark

By the look on Jay’s face, the wheels are turning! I know he has hundreds of story ideas floating around in that magical brain of his.  That is good news for us!

I would like to wish everyone a happy Friday!  While Jay is preparing for his next adventure, I will be checking on my new bee hives. I promise to be back on Monday (I hope) with more updates for you. I wonder where in the world Jay is going next!?

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♥Roda

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

AWARD: One Lovely Blog

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I was nominated by 5 wonderful bloggers for the One Lovely Blog Award several months ago, but I’m just coming up for air to address a few missed posts in the past… All of these women are truly inspirational and remarkable… you must visit their sites as there is something new and fun every single day. From book reviews to blog tours, learning to laughing, and all the way to recipes, you’re bound to spend hours getting lost in their amazing forums.

Read Rant Rock and Roll

The Cozy Pages

Valerie’s Musings

Two Gals and a Book

Invisible-no-more

Thank you for the nomination!

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RULES:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you
  2. Share 7 facts about yourself
  3. Nominate 15 bloggers and inform them of the nomination

***

SEVEN FACTS ABOUT  ME:

1. I’m making mini-coconut and chocolate cakes for Easter.

cake

 

2. I rarely go to the movie theater. I prefer to wait for them to come out on one of the digital apps / television subscriptions I have.

movies

 

 

3. I am starting up 3 new segments on the blog in April. I can’t wait to launch each post.

blog

 

4. My favorite season is autumn and I can’t wait for it to come back.

autumn

 

5. I’ve been back to eating healthy after the doctor yelled at me said my cholesterol is too high. I want cheese again!!!

cholestero

 

6. I’m going to England and Italy for 3 weeks in May.

ital

 

7. My second novel, Father Figure, will be released in early May, 2018.

novel

 

 

MY NOMINEES:

  1. Rugby843
  2. Carlalovestoread
  3. Thebookwormdrinketh
  4. Malia @ Princessandpen
  5. mnbernardbooks
  6. writercammieadams
  7. watchingthedaisies
  8. bookloverblogs.com
  9. wakinguponthewrongsideof50
  10. createspaceweb
  11. bvitelli2002
  12. carrierubin
  13. countdownto95
  14. theorangutanlibrarian
  15. bewareofthereader

 

Happy reading and tagging!

Jay

***

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Book Review: Copy Cap Murder by Jenn McKinlay

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Jenn McKinlay is quickly becoming one of my favorite cozy mystery authors. I received Copy Cap Murder, the 4th book in her Hat Shop Mystery series, for Christmas and wanted to catch up on Scarlett’s capers. She’s an American transplant in London who’s inherited her grandmother’s hat shop and co-runs it with her cousin, Viv. She’s socializing with a former childhood friend, Harrison, whom she’s fallen head over heels for, but after a disastrous break-up before leaving the U.S., she’s sworn off dating for a year. In this book, it’s only been 8 months when she attends a Guy Fawkes holiday bonfire at Harrison’s supervisor’s house, so she won’t let herself sneak anything other than a brief kiss. When a rival to Harrison is found strangled after hitting on Scarlett, they are both suspects. Throw in some potential underhanded dealings and an entire cast of colleagues who hated the deceased, you’re in for a real crime-solving mystery full of jealousy, masks, and innocent espionage.

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McKinlay has really rounded at this cast. I can’t decide if I like this series or her other one based in a Briar Cliff library in the U.S. New England region. There’s even a cross-over mention of Scarlett’s parents visiting the library, which makes for a fun read this time around. I love the banter between all the British friends she’s met, especially how she incorrectly learns the jargon of a new language. On the rare occasion she gets it correct, it’s always a fun adventure. Of course the poor girl almost gets killed again… what’s a cozy without a trip to the police and/or hospital for the main detective, right?

I enjoy learning about the hat-making business. Harrison’s just fine! And there’s even a hint of a ghostly presence when we sometimes hear their late grandmother’s voice. It makes for a really enjoyable and quick read. At ~275 pages, it can be devoured in about three hours… and always makes for a fun, cozy time. I’ve got the 5th book on my shelf and will pick it up next month. Kudos to McKinlay for fearlessly delivering a fantastic series that should definitely be on any cozy reader’s TBR wish list.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.
Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

Review: Death of a Mad Hatter

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Death of a Mad Hatter4+ out of 5 stars to Death of a Mad Hatter, the 2nd book in the “Hat Shop” cozy mystery series, written in 2014 by Jenn McKinlay. I enjoyed this book and it was a good, traditional cozy read full of fun characters and some great family drama. And it made me think of the wonderful adaption of the Alice in Wonderland books…



Why This Book


I’m a fan of Jenn McKinlay’s writing style and several of her other book series. I’m almost current on her “Library Lovers” mystery series and had picked up the first book in the “Hat Shop” series last year. I liked it so much, I ordered books 2 and 3 on Amazon. I was recently in a reading slump and hadn’t read for 7 day. That’s very unheard of for me, so I went with an old favorite to push me out… and it’s helping. I am even going to read book 3 next, so that I’m back on my game.



Plot, Characters & Setting


Scarlett Parker, an American, moved to London in the last book to help run the hat shop her grandmother willed to her and her British cousin, Vivian Tremont. Their grandmother has been gone for a few years, but Scarlett needed to escape a relationship disaster and thought London would provide a fresh lease on life… and it has, especially when she’s finding herself attracted to Harrison, their hat shop’s business manager. In this book, she and Harrison continue their flirting dance while trying to ensure their hat shop isn’t dragged down by a murder. An old friend of their grandmothers, Dotty Grisby, asks the girls to make all the hats for her upcoming tea party in the hopes she can have the new hospital wing named after her late husband. As Viv and Scarlett meet and work with all the members of the Grisby family, they find themselves embroiled in a sea of vipers who are all annoyed that their late father left all his money to the eldest son, as was traditional in England up until the law changed a few years ago. And the widow has a bit of dementia, believing Viv is actually her grandmother, not realizing how many years have passed since she died. When the eldest son turns up dead at the tea party, the cops find evidence potentially connecting the hat shop to the murder. Scarlett investigates while Harrison tries to keep her out of it. She becomes close to some members of the family and an annoyance to others. At one point, someone even tries to hurt both her and Harrison. But Scarlett won’t give up and keeps pushing deeper and deeper until she learns more family secrets. And when she visits one of the family members to try to warn her, Scarlett finds herself right in the line of fire again. She survives this one, but the outcome leaves a few more issues among the family and Scarlett’s newest friendships.



Approach & Style


The story is told in a first-person perspective from Scarlett’s point of view. It’s consistent throughout the story, and every so often, she pushes the envelope just a little by making comments aimed at the reader. I read the paperback version, which is 28 chapters, each about 10 pages long, totaling just under 300 pages in the book. The writing and language are light, but consistent. There is humor and a little bit of suspense, but it’s a cozy mystery, so never anything too scary, vulgar or off-putting.



Strengths


Scarlett is a strong character. She’s charming and funny without pushing the boundaries. She laughs at herself, is a bit opinionated, and is often a little too direct in the British world, but this makes the drama feel real. I like her relationship with Nick and Andre, a gay couple who she’s befriended in the previous book. And her tiptoeing around Harrison is flushing out nicely. She and Vivian haven’t quite clicked for me, but then again, they are cousins who have been a bit separated over the years, so I wouldn’t expect it to be all chummy right away.

The humor is what makes Ms. McKinlay’s books good. It’s got a balance of character, plot, setting and fun. The family drama here is strong. There are a lot of characters who could be good or bad. It keeps you guessing and you want to know who is out to kill the eldest brother. Makes you wonder how many people would really kill their brother, son or uncle in order to collect an inheritance, but still…



Concerns


The books take place in London, and although you do feel transported there, it’s mostly by the description of the setting being laced throughout the story. I’d like the language and the structure of the relationships to be more closely aligned. It happens a few times in the story, e.g. when they talk about Scarlett being too direct for the British, but I think it needs to be more obvious in the words, phrases and attitudes we see covered for each character.

For this specific plot, I had a hard-time buying the ultimate killer’s true motivation. I won’t give away any spoilers, but you know there are a few layers or relationships going on between the grandfather who recently died, his widow, his mistress he lived with in France, the machinations between the 4 children and then the grandchildren. I’m not sure it was cleanly explored enough for readers to figure this one out… not that it’s the point of the novel, but I would have liked more time to get to know the family before the revelation of who killed whom and why. At 280 pages, it felt too short for the complexity behind this story. Still good, but could have been stronger.



Final Thoughts


If you like cozy mysteries, British characters, American humor and a play on Alice in Wonderland, you will find this one amusing. I really think the author is a strong writer in the humor and cozy market, and I plan to read book #3 very soon, perhaps tonight, as I want to see if the series is growing or just maintaining its place.



About Me


For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

View all my reviews

Review: King Lear

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King Lear Book Review
3 of 5 stars to King Lear, a tragic play by William Shakespeare, published in 1603. I enjoyed the play and then watched a few film versions. My review will cover both the book and the film I saw — with a bit of sarcasm and humor (just to be different than all the other ones! LOL)

Lear is an absolutely ridiculous character who belongs in the looney bin in my opinion. He has lost all control over his life, his family, and his kingdom. He is foolish, blind, and stubborn. When reading the play, I thought Lear was some old king who couldn’t take care of anything. He was just plain ineffective. After watching a few film versions, I whole heartedly agree. Lear is still a vain, crotchety old man. However, I did see some humor in him that I didn’t notice in the first reading of the play. He was definitely not likable on a first read; however, when I started to watch the video clips, I found myself saying that I could tolerate him. All of a sudden, I classified him as likable human. Even when you just want to kill him, he is still kind of funny and tolerable.

Lear was somewhat like a grandfather in my opinion. Not one of those everyday grandfathers though. He reminded me of the much older, funny grandfather who laughs at everything, but doesn’t realize what he’s doing. In fact, I actually thought of him as a Santa Claus figure. It sounds weird, but the looks automatically qualify him to be Santa Claus. His attitude could be a problem though. He might have been a really nice guy when he was younger and not so stubborn. As for Lear’s daughters… I see Lear’s daughters as all being from 25 to 40 – no more than that, though. Gonerill though did make Lear’s anger appear believable to me. I see how much she had to say and then I realize how he can be so upset with Cordelia’s response. Cordelia seems a little too weak to be his daughter. I picture her as being stronger and able to handle herself against him. It was hard to picture three daughters surrounding their old, aging father Lear. Having each daughter one by one go to their father to say how they loved him was powerful. I watched the characters grow and then leap off the page.

The play is a good one to read, to see the life of parents and children, royalty and order of succession. It’s a great commentary on how we behave and treat our elders, especially both as parents and as humans. And on the flip side, you also see what happens when you make rash decisions, not realizing the impact down the line… and how much you want to fix them, but sometimes you cannot.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

View all my reviews