The Murder List by Hank Phillippi Ryan

51RXCV9glUL

The Murder List by Hank Phillippi Ryan

I was approved for this book on Netgalley….and I’m so glad I was.  First off, Hank is awesome as a person.  Second, Hank is an amazing writer as well.  And this book just rocketed to the top of my favorites list.  It’s out on August 20th, and I highly recommend you check it out.

This book was great. As someone obsessed with murder and law shows, this book was right in my wheelhouse.

The book follows a woman named Rachel, who, after starting out in politics, decides (with the help of her defense attorney husband) to go to law school. The reader finds out how she meets her husband, which is after she sits on a jury for one of his trials. Coincidence that they meet later, fall in love, and get married?

The Murder List refers to a group of lawyers who defend possible murder suspects who can’t afford a high priced defense attorney usually. Her husband, Jack, is constantly touting the fact that he helps people get justice, even if everyone else thinks they are guilty. One of my favorite parts of the book is Rachel describing her time in the jury room. I’m one of those weirdos who actually doesn’t mind jury duty. The law is fascinating, and I’ve only been called once for a jury in Brockton. The spot-on characters in the room with her could have been lifted from the same jury I was on. The discussions were similar too. Luckily I wasn’t involved in a murder trial, but man,

Hank does a great job getting into details of the defense and prosecuting sides of the law, and one wonders how much research needed to be done. Her investigative reporter instincts must have helped immensely.

And reader? The epilogue is banana-pants. I gasped. And I was reading it on my phone b/c I couldn’t put it down.

This thriller was great!

The Huntress by Kate Quinn

41PwH2e9fjL__SX334_BO1,204,203,200_

The Huntress by Kate Quinn

For those that love a good WWII story, this is a great book to fufill that need.  It follows three very different people in various stages of the WWII.  The end of the war, the lives of those left behind after, and the early 1950’s in the US.

The Huntress referenced in the title is the notorious Nazi war criminal who was found to have killed men, women, and children as the war was coming to an end.  Ian Graham is a Nazi hunter who has been searching for her ever since finding out his brother was one of her victims.  And while he searches for “The Huntress”, he has to confront truths of his own.

The Huntress is also the former Soviet pilot, Nina, who was with Ian’s brother in the final days of the war.  She is one of the notorious women pilots known as the “Night Witches.” During the war, the Soviets were the only ones to allow women to fly combat missions. This little it of history I didn’t know, and it was fascinating.  Nina, forced to leave due to false accusations, crashes in Poland and ends up with Ian’s brother.  As they make their way west, Nina ensures they survive.  They are drawn to the Huntress’ cabin on a lake where she takes them in under the guise of helping them.  Nina never trusts the woman, and leaves with a promise to return for Ians’ brother the next day.  She witnesses his murder and vows to avenge his death.  Through circumstance, her and Ian end up married in order to get her over to England and safety.  The reconnect five years later on the hunt for the Nazi.

Finally, Jordan is the average fresh out of high school teenager in Boston, MA.  Living with her dad and dreaming of a photography career, she is thrown for a loop when he introduces a new woman and her young daughter into their lives.  Jordan, naturally suspicious, finds herself not quite able to trust the new woman.  After her father dies unexpectedly, she bonds with her new stepmother in a deeper way, but still can’t shake her suspicions.

The book really picks up in the final parts, as Ian, his partner Tony, and Nina follow leads to Boston on their hunt.  Jordan becomes an unknowing part of their search but in the end is indispensible to their search.

I enjoyed this book, although sometimes it did drag a bit.  The historical note at the end of the book really helped put a lot of this fictional work in historical context.  Unfortuantely, we see some of the same facist tendancies cropping up now, so this book was weirdly affecting in that way.  After her novel, “The Alice Network” I couldn’t wait for this one, and I wasn’t disappointed at all.

Can’t wait to see what she does next!

Murder at First Pitch by Me!

Yup!  My BOOK!

 

Murder_First_Pitch.png

 

And you can pre-order it here:  Murder at First Pitch by Nicole Asselin

It will be out on September 4, just in time for playoff season!

As most of you know, it’s been a long few years.  I started this book back in 2016 while working at Alion, and completed it while waiting for work.  It has gone through two POV changes, and a bit of editing to tighten it up, and now it’s ready for the world!

I hope you love it as much as I do!  And don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter

Sign up for Nicole’s newsletter!

 

 

 

More Historical Fiction (this time, with illegal alcohol)

Prohibition is so hot right now.

Well, I don’t know if that’s true, but I do know that this week I read two books that featured the law quite heavily.

The first:

51WoYhP3stL__SY346_.jpg

Murder Knocks Twice by Susanna Calkins

Set in Chicago in the midst of the turblent prohibition era, this books is filled with real life characters of the time. The mystery follows Gina Ricci, who, on the recommendation of a “friend”, goes to work at the notorious speakeasy “The Third Door”.  She becomes a cigarette girl, in hopes of making enough money to support her and her ailing father.  She befriends soldiers home from the war, gangsters, and flightly debutantes.  She even makes the aquantice of a family member that she didn’t even know existed. Unfortuantely, she then finds this family member murdered and begins to investigate the mysterious happenings at the speakeasy.

Love love loved this book.  I can’t wait for more adventures.  That time period fascinates me, and the whole cast of characters are infinitely interesting too.  I especially want to learn more about the young man working in the pharmacy above the bar. But, I’ll leave the next chapters to the author.

The second book (Out in September):

51JlMjdPNML.jpg

A Dangerous Engagement by Ashley Weaver

This book is part of the excellent Amory Ames series of mysteries.  This book follows Amory and Milo across the Atlantic to NYC to attend a wedding.  Her childhood friend is having a whirlwind engagement, and Amory decides to learn more about the young woman’s finacee.  She ends up investigating in a world of speakeasies and gangsters, but still manages to keep her head.  When the best man of the wedding is murdered on her friends doorstep by apparent gangsters, Amory flings herself into the investigation much to the chagrin of her husband Milo.  I’ve written about their relationship before, but in this book Milo really bugged me right until the very end.  I like that Amory doesn’t put up with his bossiness or rules, but there were some moments I thought he was deliberatly a little mean.  He definitely redeems himself in the end, but this investigation really put a strain on the couple.  Still, the underground world of NYC gangsters was fascinating, as was the descriptions of the illegal activites of the new characters.  I hope we see more of the dashing gangster and his singing accoutant, but who knows!

Also, book update:  Murder at First Pitch is through edits, and now I’m eagerly awaiting a book cover and ARC creation so I can send it out for book blurbs.  I’m still shooting for June, but I definitely want to get it going while we’re in the midst of baseball season!  Stay tuned.

Historical Mystery Extravaganza!

Okay, maybe not that dramatic.  But I did finish two different historical mysteries this week that I adored and want to talk about!

First, via NetGalley:

518LOEuaTLL__SX318_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

Death in Kew Gardens by Jennifer Ashley

The third book in the Below Stairs Mystery series, Kat Holloway is back as the cook for fancy London house.  She stumbles, quite literally, into scholar Li Bai Chang in her neighborhood.  Accused of her neighbor’s murder, Li Bai Chang disappears into the streets of London.  Kat does not believe the kind gentleman she met would have done the henious crime and of course takes it upon herself to investigate further.  With the help of the Lady of the house, her intrepid kitchen maid Tess, and her dashing “friend” Daniel, Kat stumbles onto a scheme involving rare tea from China.

I enjoyed Kat’s steadfastness, and she provides a welome change from the bigoted members of London town.  She even starts to learn the art of chinese cooking!  And plus, Daniel…*swoon*.

The second book was one I’ve had for a while,

untitled.png

A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder by Dianne Freeman

First of all, you had me at the title. I’m obsessed with these kinds books.  Frances Wynn is one of the Dollar heiresses of English nobility.  She was American born to a wealthy family, and married off to an Earl of questionable distinction for her dowry.  He died.  Dramatically I might add.  So now she’s striking out on her own, much to the chagrin of her BIL and SIL who want to keep her money in the crumbling estate.  But, she carries on and moves in London.  Her mother sends her younger sister over for the season in hopes that she can snag herself someone of the nobility as well, and Frances takes her under wing.  After three suitors present themselves, Frances hires a dective in order to sniff out any fortune hunters.

She is also accused of killing her husband by an annoymous note to the police and has to work to clear her name at the same time.  Luckily she has her friends and the dashing neighbor, George Hazelton, who was also near when her husband died.

I loved this book so much.  In fact, at the Kensignton Cozy Con in Cambridge MA a few weeks ago, they were giving out the ARC of the next in the series.  I didn’t win it, so I essentialy accosted the lady who won and traded one of the other ARCS for this one.  She was so nice and let me take it!  It’s now next on my list to read!

Also, book updates:

Cover is coming soon.

Malice Domestic is next week and I’ll be on a panel that Sunday on “Murder in a Small Town”….with another author who currently lives in Mechanicsburg PA which is were I spent my formative high school years.

And you can also subscribe to my newsletter!

http://eepurl.com/gnr8D9

Be the first to know when my book is officially scheduled for release!

We Hunt the Flame (Sands of Arawiya) by Hafsah Faizal

411OU51CJoL__SX328_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal

I was lucky enough to win an ARC of this book through a twitter contest.  I DEVOURED it in just under two days.  I loved it.  Women who have to hide who they are in a male dominated society?  Check. Broody assasins?  Check.  Humourous mystical beings?  Double Check.  Action/Adventure in magical lands?  Check.  A mysterious object that may or may not hold the fate of their world?  SUPER check.

Zafira is a woman providing for her village the best way she knows how.  She disguises herself as “The Hunter” and braves the mysterious Arz forest to help feed her famly and village.  Nasir is known as the Prince of Death.  Assasin for the Sultan (who in turn is controlled by someone else), he thinks he has to kill in order to keep his place in the world.

The two are thrown together on a quest, for very different reasons, and ultimately learn to help each other out.  Even if they do “hate” each other.  There is a death early on in the journey that darn near broke me.  But I hope there are some magical shenanigans that might restore the character in the next book.  Also, MAJOR cliffhanger at the end.  One of the best parts of the books is “missing”.  This will propel the next adventure in the book, and I can’t wait to read what adventures they have in store.

One thing I wish this version had, was a glossary/pronunciation guide.  Some of the words needed explaining to this East Coast girl.  I fully admit my ignorance in the language, and like the “City of Brass” series, I enjoy learning about new cultures and languages.  I can’t wait for more in the future!

The Kingdom of Copper by S. A Chakraborty

512IEiKF-SL__SX329_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

The Kingdom of Copper by S. A. Chakraborty

Guys.  I love this series so much.  SO MUCH.  Starting with “The City of Brass” this book continues the The Daevabad Trilogy.  Um, and I litereally on the edge of my seat waiting for the final book.  But I digress.

51AiOrm56BL__AC_UL320_SR212,320_.jpg

 

Before picking up this book, I re-read “The City of Brass” in a weekend.  I had forgotten about the big ending, and was shocked all over again on what happened.  But I won’t spoil it.  Just know, that at least one question is answered pretty early on in the book.  So, in this continuation, we follow Nahri in her ongoing quest to become a healer and take on her family legacy in the famed magical capital.  Now married to the heir of the throne, she has to navigate her political life, but her personal life as well.

Aliyzad, bansihed from his father’s kingdom, returns a hero.  He doesn’t seek the power, but the city starts to rally around him.  Could it be a danger to his father’s reign?

Dara, oh Dara.  Not exactly my favorite character, but he does experience a lot of growth in this book, and I’m intrigued to see where it goes from here.

And it wouldn’t be a good book if there wasn’t a grand battle.  It was very fast paced and left the reader guessing which side was the “right” side the entire time.  And what side Nahri would ultimately take.

I just love it so much.  And the ending….GURRRRRLLLLL….I gasped!  Out loud!  I need to know what happens!  Which is always a sign of a good book.

So, what I’m saying is….if you like far off places, magic spells, a prince in diguise….you’ll love this book too.

*******************

Also, I just turned in the first edits of my own book…..so, *fingers crossed* you’ll be seeing more information soon (such as a pre-order link!)

The Suspect by Fiona Barton

untitled.png

The Suspect by Fiona Barton

So, do you remember the movie “Brokedown Palace” with Claire Danes?  I saw it once, years ago, and it terrified me.  It made me never want to travel to Thailand.  This book reaffirms that decision.

Okay, maybe it’s not that serious.  Thai jail is no joke, and staying in a hostel sounds like the absolute worst.  I also think its much more an aspect of British culture to travel to Thailand for holiday.  Here in the US, we just head to the beaches of Florida or Mexico.

Anyway, I digress.

I LOVED this book.  Supsenseful from the jump.  Two girls go to Thailand after High School, things don’t go as planned, their family has to cope halfway around the world.

The two girls end up staying at a ramshackle “hostel” with a sketchy looking crew.  Alex, the more mature of the two can’t wait to move on, but is scared to leave without her traveling companion.  Not the person she wanted to travel with anyway.  (This reminded me of the time I was in Europe with American Music Abroad and roomed with Martha.  She would sneak out, drink, bring boys  back, etc.  I was a soon to be Junior in high school and superemly uncomfortable the entire time….so I idenfied with Alex).

After a tragedy, the story revolves between the girls parents, the detective in England, and the Reporter who lands the story.  (The same reporter of Barton’s earlier books).  Through a twist, there is a surprising connection between the people working this case.  It threw me for a loop.  And then with about 50 pages left there is a whole other twist that made me gasp out loud whilst I read at me desk at work (shhhhhhhh!).

Super great read, I can’t wait for more of her work!