Book Review: Broken Bones by Angela Marsons

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

BROKEN BONES (D.I. Kim Stone, #7) by Angela Marsons is an intricately woven web of clues under investigation by Kim and her team that brings together international sex slavery, illegal immigrant exploitation and prostitution into a realistic and brutally honest story. Once again, I can highly recommend this book and series!

It is Christmas and as D.I. Kim Stone is leaving the station, she finds a baby abandoned on the steps. As the team comes together to watch Kim deal with a baby, a call comes through for Kim and her team of a murdered prostitute. As Kim and Bryant follow the trail of clues, they get pulled into a world of not only prostitution, but also the grooming and entrapment of young girls into modern day slavery and gangs.

At the same time, Stacey and Dawson investigate to find the mother of the abandoned baby. Their investigation leads to a factory of Romanian workers that just does not seem quite right and a dead Romanian man, who appears to be a vagrant. As they work the clues, they are introduced to a world of illegal immigrants forced into indebtedness that will never be overcome and is therefore just a form of slavery.

At first, there appear to be too many threads to follow and I was not sure of how all of the plotlines would come together, but under the deft plotting of Ms. Marsons everything all tied together beautifully with a very surprising ending. I believe all of the issues covered throughout this book were handled with truth and empathy, including the revelations in the main characters lives. Kim, Bryant, Stacey and Dawson are a realistic group of investigators/characters that have all grown in various ways throughout this series. Another great addition to the series that can be read as a standalone, but I believe if you give it a try, you will become as hooked as I am and read the whole series.

Thanks very much to Bookouture and Net Galley for allowing me to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review. I hope this series continues on for many years to come!

Book Review: Rubies In the Roses by Vivian Conroy

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

RUBIES IN THE ROSES (Cornish Castle Mystery, Book 2) by Vivian Conroy is the second cozy mystery in the murderous adventures on Cornisea Island. I fell in love with Guinevere and Dolly in the locked room mystery in the first book, “Death Plays a Part”. In this second book, you become more intimately involved with Guinevere’s personal life and emotions as she works to solve the new mystery and murder on the tidal island.

As in the first book, Guinevere and her Dachshund Dolly are on Cornisea Island on a working summer break from the theater in London were she is a costume maker. She is helping Lord Bolingbrooke catalogue his vast library in the castle.

Usually Lord Bolingbrooke hides from anyone trying to visit the castle, but he surprises Guinevere by actually greeting Gregory Wadencourt, historian and artifact hunter, when he arrives with his own photographer, Max DeBurgh in tow. Wadencourt has a history with Lord Bolingbrooke, but it is not necessarily friendly. Wadencourt is on the island to find the bejeweled wedding goblet called The Rose and Stars which he believes is hidden on the castle grounds, but he is not the only person claiming rights to the goblet if found.

Several players, new and old, race to figure out the clues to the goblet’s location and claim it as their own. When a body is found floating under the small private pier by the castle, the islanders are devastated. Once again Guinevere and Dolly search for clues to bring a murderer to justice, but Oliver is not always by her side on this adventure. Oliver does not like or trust Max, but Max makes Guinevere feel beautiful and needed. She does not know if these feelings are real or if she can trust Max, but she wants to.

I really enjoyed this second trip to Cornisea Island and the visit with Guinevere and Dolly. This cozy mystery draws you in with an intricate plot, interesting characters, emotional motives and red herrings. The goblet mystery and the murder mystery both keep you turning the pages. You get to read more of Guinevere’s history as she reveals emotional pain from her past which makes her more realistic and dear to my heart. The secondary characters, whether returning from book one or new to this story, are all fully fleshed and not just caricatures.

This book is a wonderful addition to the series!

Thanks so much to HQ Digital, Net Galley and Vivian Conroy for allowing me to read this eARC for free in exchange for an honest review.

Please continue to follow the blogs and reviews from my fellow book lovers on the blog tour for Rubies In the Roses:

 

Book Review: Weave a Murderous Web by Anne Rothman-Hicks, Ken Hicks

RATING: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

WEAVE A MURDEROUS WEB by Anne Rothman-Hicks and Ken Hicks is a fast paced thriller full of duplicity and a twisted murder mystery featuring a strong, smart-mouthed female protagonist who narrates the story. Even though the main character is a lawyer and it begins with a custody case, it is not a legal thriller set in a courtroom. This book is the second in the Jane Larson series, but it is easily read as a standalone.

Jane Larson is an intense litigator for a major New York City law firm who does not like to lose. An associate in her firm asks Jane for her assistance for a friend in a simple divorce and custody case. The case turns out to be anything, but simple. Jane’s client, Gail Hollings is only interested in how much money her ex is hiding from her. The associate, Francine is more of a mother to Courtney than Jane’s client. The ex is a slimy attorney with mob associates and dealing drugs on the side until he turns up dead.

Jane finds that every person involved in this case has a secret or motive to hide and they all could be the killer. As she delves deeper, her friends and enemies warn her to get out, but Jane just has to figure out what is really happening and why. It could cost her more than just the case.

Jane is an intelligent, witty and dogged main character. Even after several attempts on her life, she just has to find the answers to what is really happening. The plot is fast paced and full of twists and red herrings. The only problem I had with this story was the number of characters involved. They all seem important, but you also need to keep a score card to keep all of their relationships straight. Other than that small point, I would definitely recommend this to all who love a strong female protagonist and/or a tightly woven thriller.

Book Review: Death Plays a Part by Vivian Conroy

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

DEATH PLAYS A PART (Cornish Castle Mystery Book 1) by Vivian Conroy is the first of a new cozy mystery series featuring Guinevere Evans and her adorable dachshund, Dolly. It is a clever locked room cozy set in an old castle on a tidal island off the coast of Cornwall.

Guinevere is a costume designer for a London theater that has to close for renovations over the summer. She receives an offer to work and live at Cornisea castle cataloguing their library. She is excited to have a summer of island adventures with Dolly to tell all of her theater family about in the fall.

When she arrives on Cornisea, she is immediately thrown into the mix of players that are producing a reenactment of the medieval trial of Branok the Cold-hearted. Arthur Haydock is playing Branok and is locked in a cell in the dungeon for the rehearsal and found stabbed to death by the cast. Only Lord Bolingbrooke has a key to the cell, but he swears he is innocent even though he and Haydock were at odds. Guinevere and Dolly, with the help of Oliver, Lord Bolingbrooke’s son who has returned after traveling the world, work to uncover all of the players’ secrets and motives for wanting Haydock dead.

I enjoyed every aspect of this story. The plot was tightly woven and had me guessing until the end, even though I suspected who was responsible, I could not figure out the “How”. The pacing is steady and as you read the story, you are always given some new piece of the puzzle that makes you want to continue on. The setting of the castle and village on the tidal island was vividly described and a unique setting.

Guinevere is a main character that I am looking forward to reading more about. We gets peeks into her past, but some things are still unclear. She is mature and steady even though she is only 24 years old, which could come from being raised by her grandmother and/or being on her own. One thing is certain, she and Dolly are a great pair. Oliver, Lord Bolingbrooke’s son, makes an interesting co-sleuth and possibly more in future books? Ms. Conroy portrays the islanders vs. the main landers mentality realistically and shows how it effects the characters’ moods and actions.

I am looking forward to more Cornisea adventures with Guinevere and Dolly.

**Please visit all of the Death Plays A Part Blog Tour stops and check out all of the great blogs/reviews for this new book!

Book Review: Searching for Gatsby (A Ronnie Lake Mystery #3) by Niki Danforth

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

It has been a while since I have read a first person classically written private detective novel and this was a great one to remind me of my love of this genre!

SEARCHING FOR GATSBY: A Ronnie Lake Murder Mystery by Niki Danforth is the third book in this series. It can be read as a standalone, but I will definitely be going back for more character backstory and new mysteries in the first two books.

This is a new to me P.I. that I should have already been following. I love that Veronica “Ronnie” Lake is a mature character who is starting a second career as a P.I., has grown children, a second degree black belt in Aikido, a bright red mustang convertible and a retired German shepherd war dog. She is still learning the trade of being a P.I. under Will Benson, a former cop turned private eye.

At a dinner party held by Ronnie’s friends Win and Marilyn Watson, she meets an intriguing newcomer to the community, Jamie Gordan. The flirtation is interrupted by a loud gunshot and the body of a thief falling from the roof outside of Win’s library of rare books. The thief has a valuable diamond necklace in his pocket, when he could have much more easily and for more of a reward stolen Win’s rare edition of “The Great Gatsby”.

This starts a mystery that has many well place red herrings and twists between the main plot and two secondary plots. Ronnie has many mysteries pulling her in different directions. She would like to know who killed the thief, but the police, especially Detective Sofia Rossi, are anything but accommodating. She needs to find who took Win’s copy of Gatsby. She is suspicious of Katya Alessandro who owns Alessandro Rare Books in regards to her connection to Win and Jamie. Also, all of the players are connected by four WWII soldiers who happen to have left a treasure map for their descendants to solve.

The cast of characters could walk off the page, they are so realistically portrayed. I love the fact that Ronnie has a dog and when you learn of his backstory it will break your heart. Then throw in a fun and feisty terrier named Peachie and I just could not put this mystery down.

I will definitely be going back to read the first two books in this series. I love Ronnie!

Book Review: Dead Souls by Angela Marsons

RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

Most times you read a series because you love the characters and the author gives you interesting, intriguing and/or entertaining plots that keep the characters fresh and growing. Sometimes there may be a book that doesn’t move you as much as the others, but you continue to read the series because the characters are like family.

Occasionally you get a book in a series that is a so well done that you know it will live on in your memory because it makes you question basic humanity. No matter the first or the tenth book in the series, you will recommend it to everyone, whether they have read the whole series or not. DEAD SOULS (Detective Kim Stone #6) by Angela Marsons is that book!

During a routine archaeological dig, human bones are unearthed. As Dr. A evaluates the grave site, both Kim and Tom Travis show up to the scene and once again battle over control of the investigation. Ms. Marsons shakes up this book in the series by separating Kim from her regular team. She has been ordered to work alongside Tom, who she has had a troubled past with.

Bryant, Dawson and Stacy are left to work on a series of brutal attacks and work out their own interpersonal relationships without Kim as a boss and referee. The investigations all start to tie together into one connected hate crime conspiracy. When one of the team does some investigating on their own, it leads to dire consequences that start the clock ticking on solving both cases and saving one of their own.

This addition to the series is definitely my favorite to date even with the uncomfortable look into prejudice and hate crimes. Ms. Marsons handled the subject perfectly.  It is especially poignant considering the current climate in society today. In addition to the author bringing together two mysteries separated by over twenty years, this story is rich on character development and backstory. It also could not have had a better title that covers people both literally and figuratively. I give this author and series, especially this book, my highest recommendation!

Thank you very much to Bookouture and Net Galley for allowing me to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review. It was definitely my pleasure!