Jane and the Waterloo Map by Stephanie Barron Blog Tour + GIVEAWAY

Waterloo cover x 350When I was first asked to join the blog tour for Jane and the Waterloo Map by Stephanie Barron, I was super excited. It’s been a while since I’ve read the other books in the Jane Austen Mysteries series, but I remember loving the idea of Jane Austen as a sleuth. It’s obvious that Jane was observant in real life, as her observations and commentary on the societal events of the day were both astute and very progressive. Therefore it’s not exactly a stretch to think that she would be observant enough to solve mysteries. From the great success that Barron has had so far, it’s clear that many other people agree with me and have loved to see Jane in this new and exciting role. This time we follow Jane as she embarks on an exciting treasure hunt that has very dangerous and real implications. (Below the book blurb and author bio are giveaway instructions so you can win your own copy!)

Book Blurb:

November, 1815. The Battle of Waterloo has come and gone, leaving the British economy in shreds; Henry Austen, high-flying banker, is about to declare bankruptcy—dragging several of his brothers down with him. The crisis destroys Henry’s health, and Jane flies to his London bedside, believing him to be dying. While she’s there, the chaplain to His Royal Highness the Prince Regent invites Jane to tour Carlton House, the Prince’s fabulous London home. The chaplain is a fan of Jane’s books, and during the tour he suggests she dedicate her next novel—Emma—to HRH, whom she despises.

However, before she can speak to HRH, Jane stumbles upon a body—sprawled on the carpet in the Regent’s library. The dying man, Colonel MacFarland, was a cavalry hero and a friend of Wellington’s. He utters a single failing phrase: “Waterloo map” . . . and Jane is on the hunt for a treasure of incalculable value and a killer of considerable cunning.

Jane and the Waterloo Map by Stephanie Barron
Soho Crime (2016)
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN: 9781616954253

Author Bio:

Stephanie Barron headshot 2016 photo credit Marea Evans x 150Stephanie Barron was born in Binghamton, New York, the last of six girls. She attended Princeton and Stanford Universities, where she studied history, before going on to work as an intelligence analyst at the CIA. She wrote her first book in 1992 and left the Agency a year later. Since then, she has written fifteen books. She lives and works in Denver, Colorado. Learn more about Stephanie and her books at her website, visit her on Facebook and Goodreads.

Grand Giveaway Contest

Win One of Three Fabulous Prizes

Waterloo Map Blog Tour Prizes x 500

In celebration of the release of Jane and the Waterloo Map, Stephanie is offering a chance to win one of three prize packages filled with an amazing selection of Jane Austen-inspired gifts and books!

To enter the giveaway contest, simply leave a comment on any or all of the blog stops on Jane and the Waterloo Map Blog Tour starting February 02, 2016 through 11:59 pm PT, February 29, 2016. Winners will be drawn at random from all of the comments and announced on Stephanie’s website on March 3, 2016. Winners have until March 10, 2016 to claim their prize. Shipment is to US addresses. Good luck to all!

JANE AND WATERLOO - Blog Tour Horizontal

12 Days of Giveaways – Day 1: For the Mystery Lover

Day 1 of the 12 Days of Giveaways is finally here!! Today we’re celebrating the mystery lover. Here at Reflections we love mysteries. (Especially me!) We’ve written reviews for Tasha Alexander, Alyssa MaxwellGone GirlMarie Force, and more. We have three mystery packages (7 books in total!) to offer up to three lucky winners. Giveaway instructions are at the bottom of the post.

Mystery Package 1:

still lifeStill Life by Louise Penny – Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Surêté du Québec and his team of investigators are called in to the scene of a suspicious death in a rural village south of Montreal. Jane Neal, a local fixture in the tiny hamlet of Three Pines, just north of the U.S. border, has been found dead in the woods. The locals are certain it’s a tragic hunting accident and nothing more, but Gamache smells something foul in these remote woods, and is soon certain that Jane Neal died at the hands of someone much more sinister than a careless bowhunter.

Still Life
introduces not only an engaging series hero in Inspector Gamache, who commands his forces–and this series–with integrity and quiet courage, but also a winning and talented new writer of traditional mysteries in the person of Louise Penny.

(Giveaway copy is a paperback)

a trick of the light louise pennyA Trick of the Light by Louise Penny – “Hearts are broken,” Lillian Dyson carefully underlined in a book. “Sweet relationships are dead.”

But now Lillian herself is dead. Found among the bleeding hearts and lilacs of Clara Morrow’s garden in Three Pines, shattering the celebrations of Clara’s solo show at the famed Musée in Montreal. Chief Inspector Gamache, the head of homicide at the Sûreté du Québec, is called to the tiny Quebec village and there he finds the art world gathered, and with it a world of shading and nuance, a world of shadow and light. Where nothing is as it seems. Behind every smile there lurks a sneer. Inside every sweet relationship there hides a broken heart. And even when facts are slowly exposed, it is no longer clear to Gamache and his team if what they’ve found is the truth, or simply a trick of the light.

(Giveaway copy is a paperback)

long way home louise pennyThe Long Way Home by Louise Penny – Happily retired in the village of Three Pines, Armand Gamache, former Chief Inspector of Homicide with the Sûreté du Québec, has found a peace he’d only imagined possible. On warm summer mornings he sits on a bench holding a small book, The Balm in Gilead, in his large hands. “There is a balm in Gilead,” his neighbor Clara Morrow reads from the dust jacket, “to make the wounded whole.”

While Gamache doesn’t talk about his wounds and his balm, Clara tells him about hers. Peter, her artist husband, has failed to come home. Failed to show up as promised on the first anniversary of their separation. She wants Gamache’s help to find him. Having finally found sanctuary, Gamache feels a near revulsion at the thought of leaving Three Pines. “There’s power enough in Heaven,” he finishes the quote as he contemplates the quiet village, “to cure a sin-sick soul.” And then he gets up. And joins her.

Together with his former second-in-command, Jean-Guy Beauvoir, and Myrna Landers, they journey deeper and deeper into Québec. And deeper and deeper into the soul of Peter Morrow. A man so desperate to recapture his fame as an artist, he would sell that soul. And may have. The journey takes them further and further from Three Pines, to the very mouth of the great St. Lawrence river. To an area so desolate, so damned, the first mariners called it The land God gave to Cain. And there they discover the terrible damage done by a sin-sick soul.

(Giveaway copy is a paperback ARC)

Mystery Package 2:

ktmmKilling Trail by Margaret Mizushima – When a young girl is found dead in the mountains outside Timber Creek, life-long resident Officer Mattie Cobb and her partner, K-9 police dog Robo, are assigned to the case that has rocked the small Colorado town.

With the help of Cole Walker, local veterinarian and a single father, Mattie and Robo must track down the truth before it claims another victim. But the more Mattie investigates, the more she realizes how many secrets her hometown holds. And the key may be Cole’s daughter, who knows more than she’s saying.

The murder was just the beginning, and if Mattie isn’t careful, she and Robo could be next. Suspenseful and smart, Killing Trail is a gripping read that will have readers clamoring for more Mattie and Robo for years to come. Fans of Nevada Barr and C.J. Box will love this explosive debut.

(Giveaway copy is a hardcover ARC)

aswagAnd She Was by Alison Gaylin – On a summer afternoon in 1998, six-year-old Iris Neff walked away from a barbecue in her small suburban town . . . and vanished.

Missing persons investigator Brenna Spector has a rare neurological disorder that enables her to recall every detail of every day of her life. A blessing and a curse, it began in childhood, when her older sister stepped into a strange car never to be seen again, and it’s proven invaluable in her work. But it hasn’t helped her solve the mystery that haunts her above all others—and it didn’t lead her to little Iris. When a local woman, Carol Wentz, disappears eleven years later, Brenna uncovers bizarre connections between the missing woman, the long-gone little girl . . . and herself.

(Giveaway copy is a mass market paperback)

Mystery Package 3:

srapSweet Revenge by Andrea Penrose – England, 1813: Lady Arianna Hadley’s desire to discover her disgraced father’s murderer has brought her back to London from exile in the Caribbean. Masquerading as a male chef, she is working in one of London’s aristocratic households in order to get close to her main suspect. But when the Prince Regent is taken ill after consuming Arianna’s special chocolate dessert, she unexpectedly finds herself at the center of a dangerous scandal.

Because of his expertise in chocolate, the eccentric Earl of Saybrook, a former military intelligence officer, is asked by the top brass at Horse Guards to investigate the suspected poisoning. But during his first interrogation of Arianna, someone tries to assassinate both of them, and it quickly becomes clear that something very sinister is afoot within the highest circles of government. They each have very different reasons for wanting to uncover the truth, yet to have any chance of doing so they must become allies.

Trust. Treachery. Arianna must assume yet another identity as their search takes them from the glittering ballrooms of Mayfair to the slums of St. Giles. And their reluctant alliance is tested in more ways that one as it becomes clear that someone is looking to plunge England into chaos . . .

(Giveaway copy is a mass market paperback)

tdclThe Drowning by Camilla Läckberg  – Christian Thydell’s dream has come true: his debut novel, The Mermaid, is published to rave reviews. So why is he as distant and unhappy as ever?

When crime writer Erica Falck, who discovered Christian’s talents, learns he has been receiving anonymous threats, she investigates not just the messages but also the author’s mysterious past…

Meanwhile, one of Christian’s closest friends is missing. Erica’s husband, Detective Patrik Hedström, has his worst suspicions confirmed as the mind-games aimed at Christian and those around him become a disturbing reality.

But, with the victims themselves concealing evidence, the investigation is going nowhere. Is their silence driven by fear or guilt? And what is the secret they would rather die to protect than live to see revealed?

International bestseller Camilla Läckberg delivers a chilling and suspenseful mystery that will grip the reader right until its staggering final twist…

(Giveaway copy is a paperback)

Giveaway Instructions – (Special thanks to Minotaur Books, Crooked Lane, and Pegasus Books for our ARC giveaway copies!)

Three lucky winners will have the opportunity to win ONE of the three packages listed above! For your chance to win simply leave a comment below about a mystery book you’ve read and enjoyed.  Comments will be accepted through midnight on Thursday, December 31, 2015.  The winner will be picked at random and announced on Friday, January 1, 2016.  Open to US residents only.  Good luck!

Series Spotlight: A Gilded Newport Mystery by Alyssa Maxwell

For me, vacations as a child were spent on Cape Cod. Every year we would pile in to our old Ford Explorer and take the 5 hour-long trek from New Jersey to Cape Cod. For small children, 5 hours in the car can be an obscenely long time. Tired of listening to my sister and I moaning, “Are we there yet? Are we there yet?” my mother decided that stopping in Newport, RI would be a great half-way point to stretch our legs. It was during these stops in Newport that we began exploring Bellevue Avenue and discovered the Newport Mansions. They are large, enormous summer homes built during the Gilded Age by the Vanderbilts, Astors, Berwinds, Oelrichs, etc. They are BEAUTIFUL. In the 22 years since my first visit I’ve been to the mansions more times than I can count. I’ve introduced my husband, brother-in-law, and friends to these amazing feats of architecture and grandeur. Alyssa Maxwell is now introducing a whole new set of people to these museums with her A Gilded Newport Mystery series.


So why am I telling you guys about this series? First, because the murders are solved by a super awesome heroine, Emma Cross. She’s smart, fiercely independent, creative, gutsy, strongly supportive of everyone around her, and one of the most generous women ever. But above all that? She’s a woman who refuses to be what the society of the time dictates. She’s a newspaper reporter – in the 1890s!!! She’s a distant Vanderbilt relative but doesn’t let that stop her from letting her house become a haven for societal outcasts. Regardless of her lower financial status, she always puts others first. She’s truly an incredible heroine.

Second, the locations and time period! I’ve been to these mansions. They are transporters to another place and time. The Gilded Age was one riddled with extravagance and extreme poverty, while also shepherding many changes on the social front. Women’s suffrage was rapidly increasing among the classes, as well as the abolition of child labor and introduction of many new industrial technologies. The amount of social, political, and economic upheval during this time period really helps drive the subplots of the mysteries.

And about those mysteries? They unfold for the reader and Emma at the same time. Nothing is kept from you that Emma herself hasn’t discovered or thought up. Mysteries told in first-person narrative are my favorite, because I think they offer the reader the ability to solve the crimes at the same time as the heroine/hero. Maxwell does a great job at letting you think you’ve figured it all out early on, then throwing a wrench in your (and Emma’s) hypothesis by adding in a new element to the crime. She really does a spectacular job.

Can I lastly just mention how beautiful the artwork on the covers is?

I highly recommend you pick up these fast-paced mysteries to take with you to the beach this summer. You’ll have a great time helping Emma solve the mysteries that just seem to keep happening in Newport!

In (story) chronological order (with my ratings) the series is:

  1. Murder at The Breakers – 4 out of 5 Stars
  2. Murder at Marble House – 4 out of 5 Stars
  3. Murder at Beechwood– 4 out of 5 Stars

Special thanks to Kensington Books for my copy of Murder at Beechwood via Netgalley!

12 Days of Giveaways – Day 3 – The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

twiwwcFor the classic literature/mystery lover, day 3 in the 12 Days of Giveaways is for you! Today’s book is Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in White, a classic gothic mystery novel from the mid 1800s.  Fun Fact: Collins was a close friend and collaborator of Charles Dickens! Instructions on how you can win a copy follow the book and author blurbs below. Good luck!

From Goodreads:

One of the greatest mystery thrillers ever written, Wilkie Collins’s The Woman in White was a phenomenal bestseller in the 1860s, achieving even greater success than works by Dickens, Collins’s friend and mentor. Full of surprise, intrigue, and suspense, this vastly entertaining novel continues to enthrall readers today.

The story begins with an eerie midnight encounter between artist Walter Hartright and a ghostly woman dressed all in white who seems desperate to share a dark secret. The next day Hartright, engaged as a drawing master to the beautiful Laura Fairlie and her half sister, tells his pupils about the strange events of the previous evening. Determined to learn all they can about the mysterious woman in white, the three soon find themselves drawn into a chilling vortex of crime, poison, kidnapping, and international intrigue.

Masterfully constructed, The Woman in White is dominated by two of the finest creations in all Victorian fiction—Marion Halcombe, dark, mannish, yet irresistibly fascinating, and Count Fosco, the sinister and flamboyant “Napoleon of Crime.”

About the Author:

Wilkie Collins was a close friend of Charles Dickens’ from their meeting in March 1851 until Dickens’ death in June 1870. Collins was one of the best known, best loved, and, for a time, best paid of Victorian fiction writers. But after his death, his reputation declined as Dickens’ bloomed. Now, Collins is being given more critical and popular attention than he has received for fifty years. Most of his books are in print, and all are now in e-text. He is studied widely; new film, television, and radio versions of some of his books have been made; and all of his letters have been published. However, there is still much to be discovered about this superstar of Victorian fiction. (From Goodreads)


One lucky winner will have the opportunity to win a paperback copy of The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins!  For your chance to win simply leave a comment below.  Comments will be accepted through midnight on Wednesday, December 31, 2014.  Winner will be picked at random and announced on Thursday, January 1, 2015.  Open to US residents only.  Good luck!

Adam’s Review of Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

gggfWhat if you lost everything of value in your world? What if, after losing all this, the world watched your every move, judging you for the decisions you made, as well as analyzing everything down to your smile and your response to questions? What if you and your family were the only ones who knew the truth of your situation, yet no one on the outside believed you? What would you do if you felt the world caving in, but knew the truth that would set you free? Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn addresses these issues and many more in a thrilling mystery of epic proportions.

Nick and Amy Dunne have been married for five years. Like any marriage, theirs has been through a lot, including the loss of both their jobs, as well as relocating to Missouri from New York City to help care for Nick’s dying mother and Alzheimer’s stricken father. On the morning of their fifth anniversary, Amy has gone missing and Nick is the primary suspect. He acts inappropriately and smiles at the wrong time, leading everyone to suspect that he is to blame for Amy’s disappearance. The only people who are on his side are his sister Margo, and to some extent Amy’s parents. What follows is a story of deceit, intrusion of the media, and how public opinion can quickly change due to one off-handed comment.

I have never in my life been so enthralled by a book. I know I’ve said this before about The Great Gatsby, The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Angels and Demons, but those books pale in comparison to the emotions I felt while reading this book. I’ve never been so emotionally involved in a book to the point where if I didn’t know what happened next, I wouldn’t be able to live anymore. It was the type of book where just one more chapter turned into a few more, and before I knew it I had read the whole thing in 24 hours. Even though the book is a quick read, every word matters. Every scenario builds upon the last, and the climax leaves the reader stunned.

Gillian Flynn has a way of writing characters that bring out emotions in the reader. Never did I think it was possible to hate one of the main characters as much as I did (I will not say which character for those readers who have yet to experience this book), but the passion I felt towards hating this character made reading the story even better. It bought out in me emotions that up until this point only movies had been able to. I truly didn’t think it was possible for a book to do so. Flynn’s writing had this cinematic flair to it with a Hitchcock-style twist, which made the book that much more effective for me as a reader. I will admit to gasping out loud probably 150 times while reading this book. Additionally, switching between Nick and Amy’s perspectives helped to get a fuller understanding of the events of the novel. So often when a novel is told from one perspective the reader doesn’t get the full story. The dual narration provided a full explanation of all of the events of the story, and made it that much more powerful.

I cannot recommend this book highly enough to any reader who likes a good mystery. Gillian Flynn creates a world using characters we know in a world we know all too well. The backdrop of modern society with paparazzi and the 24-hour news cycle really enhances this classic story of betrayal and the truth behind it. I think anyone who reads this review that hasn’t read Gone Girl yet needs to go get the book and experience the pure excitement of it. I am beyond excited to see the film adaptation and see how it translates to the screen.

7 out of 5 Stars

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Crown Publishing (2012)
Hardcover: 432 pages
ISBN: 9780307588364

Todd’s Review of The Poisoned Island by Lloyd Shepherd

At a time when the average temperature across America is a balmy negati15801724ve 300 degrees, it was a nice change of pace (and scenery) to read Lloyd Shepherd’s The Poisoned Island, which partially takes place in Tahiti.  It was an altogether warmer and intriguing story that kept me from thinking about the chills outside!

From Goodreads:

LONDON 1812: For forty years Britain has dreamed of the Pacific island of Tahiti, a dark paradise of bloody cults and beautiful natives. Now, decades after the first voyage of Captain Cook, a new ship returns to London, crammed with botanical specimens and, it seems, the mysteries of Tahiti.

When, days after the Solander’s arrival, some of its crew are found dead and their sea-chests ransacked – their throats slashed, faces frozen into terrible smiles – John Harriott, magistrate of the Thames river police, puts constable Charles Horton in charge of the investigation. But what connects the crewmen’s dying dreams with the ambitions of the ship’s principal backer, Sir Joseph Banks of the Royal Society? And how can Britain’s new science possibly explain the strangeness of Tahiti’s floral riches now growing at Kew?

Horton must employ his singular methods to uncover a chain of conspiracy stretching all the way back to the foot of the great dead volcano Tahiti Nui, beneath the hungry eyes of ancient gods.

The Goodreads description doesn’t do this book justice; Shepherd packs so much imagery and description into his prose that my imagination had to work overtime to keep up.  I could only imagine the Solander’s arrival, laden with a multitude of colors and scents as it pulled into the docks of dreary London.  This was the backdrop for a creepy murder mystery, where all of the victims were found with looks of pure delight frozen on their faces as they were brutally murdered.  The constable appointed to look into this mystery is Charles Horton.  I took an immediate liking to him, as his natural inclination to investigate connected with me intellectually, and the fact that he is an all-around good guy didn’t hurt either.  As these were the days before detective work was commonplace, Horton is forced to do much of his work alone and in secret.  What’s more, his wife is inadvertently pulled into the fray, making the level of suspense even higher.

Additionally, Shepherd doesn’t just keep us confined to London, as we travel to Tahiti itself and get to view the mystery from the point of view of a young prince.  This added another level of complexity to the story, as this point of view begins to intersect with those of Horton, Horton’s boss, the magistrate of the River Police, and the proprietor of the Solander herself, Sir Joseph Banks of the Royal Society.  With all of these characters so expertly depicted and developed, it was easy to fall right into the story from the first page.  My only complaint is that Shepherd got slightly too descriptive at times, which made things lag slightly.  Other than this, Shepherd has written a solid work that makes me excited to check out his other novel, The English Monster.

4 out of 5 Stars

The Poisoned Island by Lloyd Shepherd
Simon and Schuster UK (2013)
Hardcover: 386 pages
ISBN: 9781471100345

Special thanks to Simon and Schuster UK for my review copy!

Spotlight + GIVEAWAY: Wake of the Bloody Angel (Eddie LaCrosse #4) by Alex Bledsoe

wotbaabWith Alex Bledsoe’s fifth novel in the Eddie LaCrosse series, He Drank, and Saw the Spider, coming out in January, I figured now would be a great time to give away the fourth installment of this series.  Thanks to Tor/Forge, we have a copy available for the winner of this giveaway (see details below!)  Here’s a quick synopsis from Goodreads:

Twenty years ago, a barmaid in a harbor town fell for a young sailor who turned pirate to make his fortune. But what truly became of Black Edward Tew remains a mystery—one that has just fallen into the lap of freelance sword jockey Eddie LaCrosse.

For years, Eddie has kept his office above Angelina’s tavern, so when Angelina herself asks him to find out what happened to the dashing pirate who stole her heart, he can hardly say no—even though the trail is two decades old. Some say Black Edward and his ship, The Bloody Angel,went to bottom of the sea, taking with it a king’s fortune in treasure. Others say he rules a wealthy, secret pirate kingdom. And a few believe he still sails under a ghostly flag with a crew of the damned.

To find the truth, and earn his gold, Eddie must take to sea in the company of a former pirate queen in search of the infamous Black Edward Tew and solve the mystery of the ghost ships.

About the Author:

Alex Bledsoe is the author of three previous Eddie LaCrosse novels, The Sword-Edged Blonde, Burn Me Deadly, and Dark Jenny.  Bledsoe is also a contributor to Tor.com.  Connect with him on his website, Twitter, or Facebook.

Giveaway – Special thanks to Tor/Forge for our giveaway copy!

One lucky winner will have the opportunity to win a paperback copy of The Wake of the Bloody Angel by Alex Bledsoe!  For your chance to win simply leave a comment below.  Comments will be accepted through midnight on Friday, January 3, 2014.  Winner will be picked at random and announced on Saturday, January 4, 2014.  Open to US residents only.  Good luck!

Emerald Green (Edelstein Trilogie #3) by Kerstin Gier

emkgSo I’ve been harping on all of you to start reading the beautifully covered Edelstein Trilogie for months now (seriously those covers are GORGEOUS.) I hope you listened to me, because here comes my spiel on book three, Emerald Green, just released in the US on October 30th!  (If you’re in need of recaps of Ruby Red, book one, and Sapphire Bluebook two, just click on the titles for direct links to my previous reviews.)

From Goodreads:

Gwen has a destiny to fulfill, but no one will tell her what it is.

She’s only recently learned that she is the Ruby, the final member of the time-traveling Circle of Twelve, and since then nothing has been going right. She suspects the founder of the Circle, Count Saint-German, is up to something nefarious, but nobody will believe her. And she’s just learned that her charming time-traveling partner, Gideon, has probably been using her all along.

This stunning conclusion picks up where Sapphire Blue left off, reaching new heights of intrigue and romance as Gwen finally uncovers the secrets of the time-traveling society and learns her fate

As expected, Emerald Green wowed me page after page with its never-ending twists and turns.  The action, adventure, intrigue, danger, and romance that hooked me when I first began Ruby Red was definitely still present here.  Gwen’s narrative voice was just as funny as ever, but we also get a glimpse of the hidden depths to her personality.  She’s intelligent and good at problem solving.  She can think on her feet, as evidenced in several conflicts present in Ruby Red, Sapphire Blue, and Emerald Green.  I also enjoyed getting to know Gideon better.  He’s always been present, but on the outskirts of the story a bit.  He steps into his own in Emerald Green and proves that he isn’t just a pawn being moved by the Elders.  He definitely becomes a character worthy of your affection in this conclusion.

The only things that disappointed me were the translations and the ending.  The trilogy was originally written in German, then translated to English.  Unfortunately, some of Emerald Green reads as if this translation is incomplete, which in turn took me out of the story at parts.  Besides that, the ending seemed a bit unfinished.  You spend three books investing yourself in these characters, their lives, their tragedies and triumphs, only to end with what I felt was a weak ending.  I don’t mean that the book ended in a way I was unhappy with, but the characters’ stories aren’t really wrapped up.  The main conflict is concluded, but there is no final conclusion to the lives of all the other characters we’ve met along the way.  Despite this, I do believe that this conclusion to the Edelstein trilogy was a fitting end to a great story.  If you’ve followed Gier’s works thus far, you won’t be disappointed in how action packed the conclusion is.  If you’re new to the series, I highly suggest that you start with Ruby Red.  It’s an adventure you won’t want to miss!

4 out of 5 Stars

This is my seventh completed review for the Color Coded Challenge

Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier
Henry Holt and Co (2013)
Hardcover: 464 pages
ISBN: 9780805092677

Series Spotlight: The Fatal Series by Marie Force

I’ve long been wanting to start a new feature on the blog which spotlights book series that I’ve found and truly enjoyed.  A lot of times I get hooked on a series, find that it’s been out for a while, then binge myself on 5 or 6 books in a row, finding myself totally entranced by the series and author. One such occurrence happened when I found the Fatal series by Marie Force.  Currently 6 books and a novella, the Fatal series is a hybrid of the crime and romance genres.


The Fatal series follows Sam Holland, a police detective for the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington D.C., as well as Nick Cappuano, a chief-of-staff turned Senator.  The two had a memorable one-night stand a few years prior, but they are now brought back into each other’s lives as Nick’s boss, Senator O’Connor, has been murdered.  As the head of the murder investigation, Sam becomes a constant part of Nick’s life again, much to his surprise.  After their one-night stand Nick tried contacting Sam over and over in the hopes of beginning a relationship with her.  Circumstances neither of them could have known about kept them apart, and this reintroduction has begun to rekindle the feelings both have never been able to truly suppress over the years.


So, why do I love this series? First and foremost, the characters.  Nick is AWESOME.  He’s not threatened by Sam’s powerful career or her need for control.  Nor is he perturbed by the thick armor she wears to deal with the world.  Instead, he pushes her to think in new ways, express her emotions, and allow herself to need those around her.  His love, support, and encouragement help her shed the tremendous amount of stress, guilt, and pressure she’s carried around.  Sam’s an incredible character (AND woman) in her own right.  She’s strong, resilient, intelligent, and powerful.  The two together are awe-inspiring.  They can achieve anything together, as their love truly makes them better, stronger people.

I’m glad that Force chose to have Nick and Sam’s love story spill out over multiple books instead of having everything happen in one.  It makes their relationship and subsequent marriage more believable and realistic.  It also allows their development as a couple, individuals, and professionals  to grow leaps and bounds.

So, what else is so special about this series besides the characters? The non-stop action, for one thing.  Also, the intriguing mysteries!  While Sam and Nick’s love story is the heart of this series, it’s not the main plotline in each book.  The mysteries that Force comes up with are super fascinating, and they take up a good portion of each book, filling out the romantic portions nicely.  It’s obvious she’s a talented writer the more you read of the Fatal series.  Each book will have you guessing from start to finish.

In order (with my ratings) the series is:

  1. Fatal Affair – 5 out of 5 Stars
  2. Fatal Justice – 4 out of 5 Stars
  3. Fatal Consequences – 4 out of 5 Stars
    1. Fatal Destiny (novella) – 5 out of 5 Stars
  4. Fatal Flaw – 3 out of 5 Stars
  5. Fatal Deception – 5 out of 5 Stars
  6. Fatal Mistake – 3 out of 5 Stars

If you’re looking for something new to read that is truly out of the box (I mean come on, murder and romance!?) I suggest giving this series a shot.

Charlie’s Review of London Falling by Paul Cornell

sb10063436a-002As I have stated over and over again I am a HUGE fan of the fantasy genre, so when I was asked to read London Falling I welcomed it with open arms. To top it off, it’s written by Paul Cornell, who I was fortunate enough to interview not only about London Falling, but just chat with in general. It was a huge honor. I’m a big fan of his work, so I jumped at the chance to read his new novel.

From the publisher: Police officers Quill, Costain, Sefton, and Ross know the worst of London—or they think they do. While investigating a mobster’s mysterious death, they come into contact with a strange artifact and accidentally develop the Sight. Suddenly they can see the true evil haunting London’s streets.

Armed with police instincts and procedures, the four officers take on the otherworldly creatures secretly prowling London. Football lore and the tragic history of a Tudor queen become entwined in their pursuit of an age-old witch with a penchant for child sacrifice. But when London’s monsters become aware of their meddling, the officers must decide what they are willing to sacrifice to clean up their city.

The centralized plot of the story revolves around the main characters, who are police officers investigating the death of a local mob boss. This leads to the formation of a secret squad to further explore the mysteries surrounding the criminal enterprise they begin to uncover. As the boss died under mysterious circumstances, the team starts tracking a lead that might also connect the crime to a series of child abductions and a long-standing curse on the local football team. Something supernatural has invaded their world and it will forever bond this group of police officers together. They can now see the true horrors that no one else can see, which leads them to discover new ways to tackle the unexplained besides just relying on their police instincts and procedures. With all that being said, you can find out the rest for yourself, as there is a plethora of storytelling for you to look forward to.

I’m a big fan of the BBC’s Doctor Who franchise, and one of the main factors that piqued my interest in London Falling was Paul Cornell, who is a writing contributor to that series. His new novel, the first in a proposed series, is a great mix of not only the fantasy genre, but the horror and crime genres as well. This gives it the opportunity to appeal to a wide variety of people. While I definitely enjoyed the book, its mix of these genres presented a dilemma for me at first. Personally I grow tired of the crime genre, which is duplicated over and over again in different ways. However, the fantasy elements here gave London Falling (and the crime genre) a fresh new take, which I loved. Having a historical backstory really was a great add-on for me as well, since I am fascinated by the English culture. London is the one place in the world I would want to live outside of the US. Additionally, I’m a sucker for mythology, so the inclusion of mythical elements in the work were an added bonus as well.

All and all, Cornell has constructed an excellent new series in the world of fantasy. It’s well written, detailed, original, complex, and has great character development.  He has definitely executed a plan for the series in my eyes. He makes readers want to know what is going to happen next. His knack for the unusual really makes the book shine. Hopefully this can generate a nice fan base because I think there is a lot of potential for a wonderful adult fantasy series, especially considering that this would adapt very well to the screen. We get a whole new look at the city of London, which even though it may be supernatural, is intriguingly believable. With good word of mouth, as well as the fact that it’s written by Paul Cornell, I feel that not only does London Falling have a fan base off the bat, it has great promise to become something even greater. While some may not agree, I really believe this novel has something for everyone. Like I said earlier, it’s part horror, crime, and fantasy all wrapped into one. I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for something new, and I am eagerly awaiting the sequel, The Severed Streets.

4 out of 5 Stars

London Falling by Paul Cornell
Tor (2013)
Hardcover: 416 pages
ISBN: 9780765330277

Special thanks to Tor Books for my review copy!