Murder for the Modern Girl by Kendall Kulper

Book Description

Gatsby-era glamour, a swoon-worthy love story, and an indomitable heroine dazzle in this romp that captures the extravagance of the Roaring Twenties and the dangers of vigilante justice.

A ravishing young mind reader stalks the streets at night in kitten heels, prowling for men to murder.

A soft-spoken genius toils away in the city morgue, desperate to unearth the science behind his gift for shapeshifting.

It’s a match made in 1928 Chicago, where gangsters run City Hall, jazz fills the air, and every good girl’s purse conceals a flask.

Until now, eighteen-year-old Ruby’s penchant for poison has been a secret. No one knows that she uses her mind-reading abilities to target men who prey on vulnerable women, men who escape the clutches of Chicago “justice.” When she meets a brilliant boy working at the morgue, his knack for forensic detail threatens to uncover her dark hobby. Even more unfortunately: sharp, independent Ruby has fallen in love with him.
 
Waltzing between a supernaturally enhanced romance, the battle to take down a gentleman’s club, and loyal friendships worth their weight in diamonds, Ruby brings defiant charm to every page of Murder for the Modern Girl—not to mention killer fashion. An irresistible caper perfect for fans of The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, in an exquisite hardcover package with rose-gold foil.
 
A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection

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The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont

Book Description

Why would the world’s most famous mystery writer disappear for eleven days? What makes a woman desperate enough to destroy another woman’s marriage? How deeply can a person crave revenge?

In 1925, Miss Nan O’Dea infiltrated the wealthy, rarefied world of author Agatha Christie and her husband, Archie. In every way, she became a part of their life––first, both Christies. Then, just Archie. Soon, Nan became Archie’s mistress, luring him away from his devoted wife, desperate to marry him. Nan’s plot didn’t begin the day she met Archie and Agatha.

It began decades before, in Ireland, when Nan was a young girl. She and the man she loved were a star-crossed couple who were destined to be together––until the Great War, a pandemic, and shameful secrets tore them apart. Then acts of unspeakable cruelty kept them separated.

What drives someone to murder? What will someone do in the name of love? What kind of crime can someone never forgive? Nina de Gramont’s brilliant, unforgettable novel explores these questions and more.

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The Missing Page by Cat Sebastian

Book Description

England, 1948: Semi-retired spy Leo Page and country doctor James Sommers team up to solve a decades-old mystery.

When James learns that an uncle he hasn’t heard from in ages has left him something in his will, he figures that the least he can do is head down to Cornwall for a weekend to honor the old man’s parting wishes. He finds the family home filled with half-remembered guests and unwanted memories, but more troubling is that his uncle has tasked his heirs with uncovering the truth behind a woman’s disappearance twenty years earlier.

Leo doesn’t like any of it. He’s just returned from one of his less pleasant missions and maybe he’s slightly paranoid about James’s safety, but he’s of the opinion that rich people aren’t to be trusted where wills are concerned. So he does what any sensible spy would do and infiltrates the house party.

Together they unravel a mystery that exposes long-standing family secrets and threatens to involve James more than either of them would like.

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Murder Most Actual by Alexis Hall

Book Description

From the author of Boyfriend Material and Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake comes a cozy mystery that revisits the Golden Age of detective fiction, starring a heroine who’s more podcaster than private eye and topped with a lethal dose of parody — perfect for fans of Clue, Knives Out, and Only Murders in the Building!

When up-and-coming true crime podcaster Liza and her corporate financier wife Hanna head to a luxurious hotel in the Scottish Highlands, they’re hoping for a chance to rekindle their marriage – not to find themselves trapped in the middle of an Agatha Christie-esque murder mystery with no way home. But who better to take on the case than someone whose entire profession relies on an obsession with all things mysterious and macabre? Though some of her fellow guests may consider her an interfering new media hack, Liza knows a thing or two about crime and – despite Hanna’s preference for waiting out the chaos behind a locked door – might be the only one capable of discovering the killer. As the bodies rack up and the stakes rise, can they save their marriage — and their lives?

My Review

A common refrain when examining classic entertainment is, “This would never happen in the modern age because we have smartphones and the internet!”

WELL, Alexis Hall proves that phones and the internet won’t always help you if you happen to be dropped into the plot of a Golden Age mystery. As protagonists Liza and Hanna prove, sleuthing and wits are paramount to survival when trapped with a killer on the loose.

The core of every good mystery is a well-rounded cast of victims—er, characters. Hall delivers here: in addition to our main duo, there’s a vicar, a retired colonel, a professor, a dowager, a femme fatale, and several others. There isn’t a lot of character development with the secondaries, but that’s kind of the point: these characters need to stick to their assigned roles as a part of the bigger picture.

Liza and Hanna, however, do experience growth over the course of the mystery. They were supposed to have a relaxing getaway, and being thrust into the middle of a MURDER is the opposite of relaxing. So, on top of trying to work through their personal issues, they also have to avoid being murdered whilst snowed in, with no way to escape.

The narrative unfolds from Liza’s perspective, which makes sense because she’s the true crime podcaster. I loved Liza’s determination to solve the case, as well as her refusal to be dismissed by others for being an amateur. There’s a bit early in the book about Liza feeling a bit adrift with her degree in art history—compared to Hanna’s maths degree—until finding her niche with the podcast. That resonated with me personally as an English major married to a computer science major, so it was great to see Liza take on the challenge of solving the mystery.

The murder mystery is at the forefront of the plot, but the simmering tension of Liza and Hanna’s failing marriage is a constant presence in the background. This added an additional layer of depth to the narrative, and I found myself just as concerned about whether their marriage would survive the weekend as I was with both of them avoiding being murdered.

I would absolutely recommend Murder Most Actual. This book is a delightful mashup of Agatha Christie and board Cluedo/Clue. Some of the references are subtle, and some are more overt, but they both had me laughing out loud as I nodded in recognition.

Please note, this is a Kobo Original title, and there are multiple ways to access Kobo books via desktops, smartphones, and tablets.

I received a digital ARC of this book from Kobo Original/NetGalley.

About the Author

Alexis Hall is an English author of urban fantasy, science fiction, and m/m romance. His novels include Murder Most Actual, Boyfriend Material, Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake, For Real, Glitterland, Iron & Velvet, Looking for Group, and Pansies.

His work has been nominated for to the 26th Lambda Literary Awards, 28th Lambda Literary Awards, and 29th Lambda Literary Awards in the category of Gay Romance.

Connect with Alexis Hall online at https://quicunquevult.com/ 

Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche by Nancy Springer: Review and Excerpt

Book Information

“A young girl who is empowered, capable, and smart…the Enola Holmes book series convey an impactful message that you can do anything if you set your mind to it, and it does so in an exciting and adventurous way.”–Millie Bobby Brown

Enola Holmes is back! Nancy Springer’s nationally bestselling series and breakout Netflix sensation returns to beguile readers young and old in Enola Holmes and the Black Barouche.

Enola Holmes is the much younger sister of her more famous brothers, Sherlock and Mycroft. But she has all the wits, skills, and sleuthing inclinations of them both. At fifteen, she’s an independent young woman–after all, her name spelled backwards reads ‘alone’–and living on her own in London. When a young professional woman, Miss Letitia Glover, shows up on Sherlock’s doorstep, desperate to learn more about the fate of her twin sister, it is Enola who steps up. It seems her sister, the former Felicity Glover, married the Earl of Dunhench and per a curt note from the Earl, has died. But Letitia Glover is convinced this isn’t the truth, that she’d know–she’d feel–if her twin had died.

The Earl’s note is suspiciously vague and the death certificate is even more dubious, signed it seems by a John H. Watson, M.D. (who denies any knowledge of such). The only way forward is for Enola to go undercover–or so Enola decides at the vehement objection of her brother. And she soon finds out that this is not the first of the Earl’s wives to die suddenly and vaguely–and that the secret to the fate of the missing Felicity is tied to a mysterious black barouche that arrived at the Earl’s home in the middle of the night. To uncover the secrets held tightly within the Earl’s hall, Enola is going to require help–from Sherlock, from the twin sister of the missing woman, and from an old friend, the young Viscount Tewkesbury, Marquess of Basilwether!

Enola Holmes returns in her first adventure since the hit Netflix movie brought her back on the national bestseller lists, introducing a new generation to this beloved character and series.

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Subtle Blood by KJ Charles

Book Description

Will Darling is all right. His business is doing well, and so is his illicit relationship with Kim Secretan—disgraced aristocrat, ex-spy, amateur book-dealer. It’s starting to feel like he’s got his life under control.

And then a brutal murder in a gentleman’s club plunges them back into the shadow world of crime, deception, and the power of privilege. Worse, it brings them up against Kim’s noble, hostile family, and his upper-class life where Will can never belong.

With old and new enemies against them, and secrets on every side, Will and Kim have to fight for each other harder than ever—or be torn apart for good.

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The Maidens by Alex Michaelides

Book Description

Edward Fosca is a murderer. Of this Mariana is certain. But Fosca is untouchable. A handsome and charismatic Greek tragedy professor at Cambridge University, Fosca is adored by staff and students alike—particularly by the members of a secret society of female students known as The Maidens.

Mariana Andros is a brilliant but troubled group therapist who becomes fixated on The Maidens when one member, a friend of Mariana’s niece Zoe, is found murdered in Cambridge.

Mariana, who was once herself a student at the university, quickly suspects that behind the idyllic beauty of the spires and turrets, and beneath the ancient traditions, lies something sinister. And she becomes convinced that, despite his alibi, Edward Fosca is guilty of the murder. But why would the professor target one of his students? And why does he keep returning to the rites of Persephone, the maiden, and her journey to the underworld?

When another body is found, Mariana’s obsession with proving Fosca’s guilt spirals out of control, threatening to destroy her credibility as well as her closest relationships. But Mariana is determined to stop this killer, even if it costs her everything—including her own life.

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One Last Stop by Casey McQuiston

Book Description

For cynical twenty-three-year-old August, moving to New York City is supposed to prove her right: that things like magic and cinematic love stories don’t exist, and the only smart way to go through life is alone. She can’t imagine how waiting tables at a 24-hour pancake diner and moving in with too many weird roommates could possibly change that. And there’s certainly no chance of her subway commute being anything more than a daily trudge through boredom and electrical failures.

But then, there’s this gorgeous girl on the train.

Jane. Dazzling, charming, mysterious, impossible Jane. Jane with her rough edges and swoopy hair and soft smile, showing up in a leather jacket to save August’s day when she needed it most. August’s subway crush becomes the best part of her day, but pretty soon, she discovers there’s one big problem: Jane doesn’t just look like an old school punk rocker. She’s literally displaced in time from the 1970s, and August is going to have to use everything she tried to leave in her own past to help her. Maybe it’s time to start believing in some things, after all.

Casey McQuiston’s One Last Stop is a magical, sexy, big-hearted romance where the impossible becomes possible as August does everything in her power to save the girl lost in time.

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A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Mayhem by Manda Collins

As a young widow in Victorian England, Lady Katherine’s social station provides her with more opportunities than a less-connected widow in the same position, but nevertheless, there are some things that are frowned upon, such as using her journalistic skills to uncover a serial killer

NB: The text doesn’t refer to the perpetrator as a serial killer, but there’s a clear pattern between a series of killings around London.

When Kate runs afoul of Detective Inspector Andrew Eversham, she retires to the countryside and runs right into (quite literally) another victim.

And guess who shows up to investigate? Yes, that’s right—none other than infuriating…handsome Detective Eversham. At first, this development annoys Kate, but perhaps Andrew is not so bad after all.

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Surrender Your Sons by Adam Sass

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I want to begin this review by saying that I have followed Adam Sass on Twitter for quite awhile and when I saw Surrender Your Sons pop up on NetGalley, I immediately “wished” for it. When my wish was granted a couple of months, I literally shrieked out loud.

Connor Major trusted his boyfriend when he suggested that Connor come out to his family, but it turns out to be an utter disaster. Connor’s religious mother strongly objects to the revelation, confiscates his phone, and ultimately has him shipped off to a conversion camp on a secluded island near Costa Rica.

In theory, if Connor follows all the directions, he can leave after a week.

But no one ever leaves after only a week. Read more