Category: Mystery

The Wicked Duke, by Madeline Hunter

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The third in this trilogy can be read as a stand-alone or as part of the series. Lance recently became a duke upon his brother’s death, and that unresolved death, which may have been murder, hangs over him. So when the local magistrate offers up his daughter in marriage in exchange for Lance’s acquittal, he is sorely tempted. Little does he know what Marianne will bring to such a marriage…

I enjoyed this one greatly, and the mystery of Percy’s death is as intriguing as the possibility of romance. Recommended, for 18 and up.

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The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, by Michelle Hodkin

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It took me over a week to read this book, which means it didn’t hold my interest well. Mara, our 17-year-old heroine, has come through a trauma and her PTSD makes her an unreliable narrator. We are supposed to be distracted from her confusion by the love interest, Noah, who is quite appealing. However, the abrupt (and fantastical) plot switches give this a magical realism vibe which causes the tone to change repeatedly throughout the book, to its detriment. I struggled with it, but may I read the second book in the trilogy to see if all the jerking around was worthwhile. For YA 17 and up due to gore.

The Conquest of Lady Cassandra, by Madeline Hunter

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I had strong likes and dislikes on this book, leading to a very mixed review. First – not a fan of the title, since I’m not into books about “conquering” women. Next, I struggle with our heroine and her “woman of the world” persona. Not a fan. I did love our hero, who seems like a kind guy who is willing to see past his biases. There was also so much additional baggage (almost a mystery) that the leads had to solve, that the steamy scenes are minimal. Overall, meh.

A Kiss Before the Apocalypse, by Thomas E. Sniegoski

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A really exceptional hard-boiled detective story, featuring P.I. Remy Chandler, an angel passing for human. So when the Angel of Death goes missing, Remy is the man for the job. If he fails, the Apocalypse is upon us. My favorite part of this premise is that Remy’s wife, whom he married decades ago, is now in a nursing home, but his love for her has never changed. Wonderfully done, for 18 and up.

 

It Takes a Hero, by Elizabeth Boyle

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Not my favorite of the genre, this bodice-ripper is trying to do too much: romance, mystery, suspense. I liked the romance quite a bit, though parts of it felt as overwrought as the heroine’s novels. But there were too many side characters introduced too quickly for the whodunnit to be as mysterious as it wants to be, and the suspense was brief and not very suspenseful. Sloppy editing (ring a peal, not ring a peel) added to the problems. Meh.

A Prisoner in Malta: A Christopher Marlowe Mystery, by Phillip DePoy

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While I typically love this author’s novels, this one just didn’t seem as strong to me. I liked the setting in Elizabethan London and Cambridge, but the mystery never pulled me in and I had trouble keeping all the characters straight. That said, this story is exceptionally well researched, and the set pieces and sword fights are fun. There are wonderful Shakespearean references throughout (like Easter eggs!), and this may well grow into a series I enjoy, but it’s not there yet.

Betrayed, by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast

Hi, folks – sorry I fell off the blog wagon over Thanksgiving, but I’m back! Here’s Book 2 in the totally excellent House of Night series.

The second of the House of Night series (which focuses on a vampire boarding school) has our heroine, Zoey, pulled forcibly back to her old life when students from her old high are brutally murdered and all evidence points to vampires. This series gets better and better, and I like Zoey as a heroine, because she makes hard choices rather than waiting to be rescued. For 16 and up.

Hard Magic, by Larry Correia

Interesting film noir-style alternate fantasy that focuses on hard-bitten Actives, or magic-users. War hero, magic-user, and PI Jake Sullivan is tasked by the FBI to arrest a former flame. The world-building in this is so immersive and specific, and the perspective shifts so frequent, that it took me about 100 pages to follow along, pick up the slang, and roll with it. But once I did, it was a great ride.