Thursday, July 9, 2020

The Night Swim: Review

The Night Swim

The Night Swim
Megan Goldin

Rachel Krall hosts a successful podcast about true crime. She's just arrived in a small town on the North Carolina coast to cover a well-publicized rape trial. The small town is divided about the case, and tensions are running high because a well known local swimmer and Olympian hopeful has been accused of raping a local teenage girl. But before Rachel can settle down to report on the trial, she receives a letter from a woman named Hannah, who wants Rachel to look into her sister's death. Jenny Stills died a decade ago. Her death was listed as an accidental drowning but, Hannah knows that Jenny was murdered, and she knows locals helped cover up what happened. Of course, Rachel can't help but follow her instincts. Now she has two cases on her radar, both involving despicable and deplorable treatment of women. What will it take to bring the culprits to justice?

This captivating story had me up all night. I loved the way it moved back and forth between each woman's story. I think the tension which that created was what made this one such a fantastic read. This well-written novel will be published on the fourth of August by St. Martin's Press, and I'm sure it's one you don't want to miss.

Thanks to St. Martin's Press for allowing me to read the advanced readers copy in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, July 6, 2020

Review: Autie Poldi and the Vineyards of Etna

Auntie Poldi and the Vineyards of Etna

Auntie Poldi and the Vineyards of Etna
Mario Giordano

When Auntie Poldi's water is cut off, her friend's dog found poisoned, and she hears about the murder of a young district attorney; she is sure the mafia is behind it. She's in Sicily, after all. Setting out to discover the culprit behind the dog's death, Poldi ends up getting involved in the murder case of Chief Inspector Montana. As if that weren't enough excitement for one sixty-year-old woman, she discovers a body at a vineyard on the slopes of Etna. Her senses tell her the murders are connected. And when Auntie Poldi sticks her nose into something, she can't let it go, even when she knows death is looking over her shoulder.

Auntie Poldi and the Vineyards of Etna is narrated by Poldi's nephew, an aspiring writer with his share of writer's block. As he points out, his aunt navigates life between two poles: utter joy and the depths of despair. But she knows, like him, that Sicily is a special place, full of complex characters, and mysteries yet to be solved. There is nowhere else she'd rather live. Giordano has written a firecracker of a story, layered with wit, humor, and charm. It's filled with delightful and exotic characters I won't soon forget.

This review was originally written by me for City Book Review.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Death in Paris: A Review

Death in Paris (A Death in Paris Mystery #1)

Death in Paris
Emilia Bernhard

Rachel Levis and her friend Magda are two Americans living in Paris. When Rachel discovers that her once boyfriend Edgar Bowen, also an American expat and successful banker, has drowned in his soup, she can't believe it. The police find nothing suspicious and decide it was an accidental death. However, when Rachel learns that there was a glass of Rosé wine on the table, she knows there is something wrong; Edgar couldn't bear the stuff – he never recovers.

It doesn't take Rachel and Magda long to decide they need to investigate Edgar's death. It may be a difficult since neither of the ladies has a connection to Edgar's social circle or the police, but two headstrong women like Rachel and Magda aren't going to let that hold them back. They are determined to find a way to discover the truth.
Death in Paris is a witty, charming, and cozy mystery set in a beautiful city. When the characters aren't busy honing their detective skills they are enjoying the sites, sounds, and flavors of the best districts in Paris. This captivating mystery will leave you wanting more of Rachel, Magda and the place they call home.

This review was written by me for City Book Review.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Review: Kingdom of The Blind

Kingdom of the Blind (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #14)
Kingdom Of The Blind
Louise Penny

Armand Gamache has received a strange letter directing him to an abandoned farmhouse just outside of the village of Three Pines, where he lives. Arriving at the house in a snowstorm, he's surprised to find one of his neighbors, Myra who owns the bookstore in Three Pines, and a young man from Montreal. Waiting in the derelict house is a notary who informs all three they've been named liquidators in the will of Bertha Baumgartner. The only thing is, they didn't know Mrs. Baumgartner. They can't imagine why they have been named in the will instead of the Baumgartner children.

When Anthony Baumgartner, the eldest son of Mrs. Baumgartner, is found dead in the farmhouse, Gamache wants to know what happened. Although he's been suspended from his job as head of Sûreté du Québec due to his handling of a drugs case months before, he is determined to find out what's behind this death.

Kingdom of The Blind is full of interesting local characters who are eager and willing to help Gamache solve his case. Whether that means providing information or a meal by the fire, they seem to know how to love and protect the intimate nature of Three Pines.

This review was written by me for City Book Review.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Review: The Lion Tracker's Guide to Life

The Lion Tracker's Guide to Life

The Lion Tracker's Guide to Life
Boyd Varty

The Lion Tracker's Guide to Life is basically two books in one. On the one hand, it follows Varty and his friends and fellow trackers Alex and Renias into the South African bush as they track down a lion. It relates their journey, which is full of adventure and years of experience getting to know what the land can tell them. On another level, this is a book about helping the reader find or track their own path in life. As Varty shows throughout, life is about the call. But in order to hear that call, you must be listening. If you are looking but not seeing you may very well miss your path, and as a result, life might pass you by before you even notice.

Varty's story and thoughts really resonated with me. This is definitely a well-written, not to mention well-presented, clever little gem of a book. The profound words and advice that Varty has in this slim volume might change your life if you are open and listening. So, stay alert, don't miss what's important, be that a lion in the bush or anything else you desire to experience.

This review was originally written by me for City Book Review.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Review: Olive The Lionheart

Olive the Lionheart: Lost Love, Imperial Spies, and One Woman's Journey to the Heart of Africa

Olive The Lionheart
Brad Ricca

In 1910 Olive Macleod set out on a journey across Africa to find out what happened to her fiance Boyd Alexander who disappeared while on a research expedition. She was accompanied by Percy Amaury Talbot, the district commissioner of Southern Nigeria, and his wife as they searched for answers regarding what really happened to Boyd.

This fascinating story details the thoughts and feelings of a remarkable woman, determined to follow her path wherever it took her. This book could have been simply a recollection of her diaries, but, instead, Ricca has created something magical and engrossing. I felt like I had been transported back in time on a grand journey. I almost hated for the story to end. But I did feel like I got to know Olive from the many letters presented throughout the book. And I have to say I couldn't help feeling just a little annoyed with Boyd when Olive realized that she had been relegated to the back of his mind when it came to his expedition. The fact that he hardly mentions her in his journal must have been heartbreaking to her. I was glad to find out that she was able to move on and live her life in the end.

Anyone interested in an epic tale full of adventure, romance, and a look at the colonial past will not want to miss this one.

Thanks to St. Martin's Press for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, June 1, 2020

Review: The Body in the Castle Well

The Body in the Castle Well (Bruno, Chief of Police, #12)

The Body in the Castle Well
Martin Walker

Claudia Muller is an American art student who has come to the Pèrigord region of France to study the collection of a local notable, Monsieur de Bourdeille. She is welcomed by the collector and everyone else in the area and well-liked by all. But when her body is found at the bottom of a well at the local castle Bruno, Chief of Police is tasked with finding out what happened.
The Body in the Castle Well is a mystery rich in detail, full of historical information which provides an added layer of intrigue. The magical atmosphere full of food, friends, and the glorious French countryside will no doubt leave readers wanting more. Even when there is a murder to solve there is still time for a hearty lunch and a ride through local trails on Bruno's favorite horse Hector, with his basset hound, Balzac trotting eagerly behind.

This is a series that I have come to know and love over the last few years. It's as satisfying as a good glass of wine, and I always find myself waiting for the next installment. For those wanting a good mystery and a taste of France, this is an excellent place to start.

This review was written by me for City Book Review.