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Crowned and Dangerous by Rhys Bowen

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I have been a fan of Rhys Bowen’s books for a couple of years, and I always look forward to new releases. All of her books are lovely, but I must admit that her Royal Spyness series is my favorite. If you’re not familiar with this series, here’s a brief explanation: the books take place in 1930s England, and Georgiana Rannoch is 35th in line for the throne. She is an astute young woman, and she often receives royal requests for help. Of course, one cannot refuse the Queen of England. Georgie has all sorts of adventures, and solves mysteries.

Crowned and Dangerous is the 10th book in the Royal Spyness series. When we last encountered our heroine Georgie, she was attending the wedding of her cousin Prince George to Princess Marina. As the story begins, she has been swept away by her enigmatic beau Darcy O’Mara, who after several years of casual dating, intends to take her to Gretna Green and marry her.

Alas, fate intervenes and Darcy sees a newspaper bearing grim tidings: his father, Lord Kilhenny has been arrested for the murder of the wealthy American man who bought the Kilhenny estate several years ago. Continue reading

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The Memory of Us by Camille DiMaio

51-g1gh-lflI received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The Memory of Us was written by debut author Camille DiMaio. One of the first scenes involves protagonist Julianne visiting her twin brother at the institution that serves as his home. Julianne is not supposed to know that her brother exists; not only is she aware of him, she also makes regular clandestine visits to spend time with him. This defiance of convention and of parental wishes sets the tone for the rest of the book.

It is at Bootle House that Julianne first encounters Kyle McCarthy. Julianne is accustomed to moving in the upper echelons of Liverpool society, and Kyle is completely like any of the other boys that she knows. Not only is he an Irish Catholic, but he also attends a seminary and intends to become a priest. Continue reading

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Tru and Nelle by G. Neri

51tb2cayyflI received a copy of this book from Netgalley/the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

My oldest daughter is almost nine years old, and she is in the third grade. She is a voracious reader, and I have asked her to help me with the middle grade books that I receive advanced copies of.

We recently read Tru and Nelle by G. Neri. This is a fictional account of the real childhood friendship between Truman Capote and Harper Lee. We finished reading a few days before Harper Lee passed away, and this book had such a profound affect on my daughter that the news of Lee’s passing brought her to tears.

When they first meet, Tru is a fastidious little boy, and Nelle is clad in dirty overalls. These two children don’t seem like they have much in common, but they bond over their love of books and their family woes: Nelle’s mother spends much of her time in various hospitals, and Tru’s parents have virtually abandoned him. Tru and Nelle have all sorts of adventures in Monroeville, Alabama, including opening a detective agency and trying to track down a mysterious vandal. At the end of the book, there are a handful of anecdotes. These short stories didn’t fit into the main narrative, although there are some plot elements that are alluded to in the main story.       Continue reading

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Buckingham Babylon by Peter Fearon

71qgt050qzlI found Buckingham Babylon by Peter Fearon at my town library. I was looking for some British history books, and this book was in the same section. I love books/movies about the Royal Family, so I was pleased to have discovered it.

Buckingham Babylon is subtitled “The Rise and Fall of the House of Windsor”, and it was published in 1993. There are some major Royal Family life events that have happened since the early 1990s, so in some respects, this book is woefully out of date. Continue reading

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Murder is Bad Manners by Robin Stevens

I first found out about Murder is Bad Manners via a Common Sense Media article. This book had not been on my radar at all, so I’m glad I took the time to read that article!

Murder is Bad Manners is the American version of a middle grade novel originally published in England as Murder Most Unladylike. Author Robin Stevens has published two more titles in the Wells & Wong mystery series, but we Americans are going to have to wait patiently for the American release of the second book.

Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong are students at the English Deepdean School in the 1930s. They have decided to form a detective society, and as the story begins, their cases have been relatively unremarkable. However, when Hazel inadvertently stumbles across the body of a teacher in the gym, Daisy is excited about the prospect of an actual case. But when the body disappears, the girls know there is something sinister afoot. The teachers are all acting suspicious, and almost everyone has a motive. Are Daisy and Hazel getting involved with something larger than they can handle? Continue reading

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Malice at the Palace by Rhys Bowen

In the interest of full disclosure, I received an ARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest and fair review.

I first discovered Rhys Bowen’s Royal Spyness series during an Audible sale last year. It was absolutely love at first sight. In a matter of months, I read and/or listened to all 8 books in the series- and the novella Masked Ball at Broxley Manor.

For those of you who might be unfamiliar with the series, allow me to offer a brief explanation: Georgiana Rannoch is a young woman who is 35th (or so) in line for the British throne. Her brother is a duke, but the family fortune has been spent, and they all live in genteel poverty. Georgie is a particular favorite of Queen Mary (George V’s wife), and she is often called in to discreetly solve a problem on the behalf of the Queen. Georgie is resourceful and has a good sense of intuition, which help her with her sleuthing. The series is infused with a wonderful sense of humor, and the 1930s setting is just delightful. Continue reading

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Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan

I found Echo at the library a couple of months ago. I had not heard anything about the book, but the plot sounded interesting, so I checked it out. I enjoyed it so much that I ended up using one of my Audible credits to purchase the audiobook version. This middle grade novel was written by Pam Munoz Ryan.

Echo begins with a fairy tale: a duplicitous monarch, the midwife following his orders, a witch, three magical little girls, and a little boy lost in the woods.

The bulk of the book is broken up into three sections that take place over a ten-year period in three different parts of the world. At first the stories seem decidedly modern, and not like fairy tales at all. But just like any good fairy tale, there are obstacles to overcome. Friedrich lives in Germany during a time when Hitler is gaining power. He loves music, and hopes to go to the conservatory, but the large birthmark on his face is considered to be a deformity that must be addressed. That, along with his father’s opinions regarding the new regime, is attracting the wrong kind of attention. Can Friedrich summon the courage to face his fears in order to help his father? Continue reading