What Darkness Brings by C.S. Harris

D19A4697-59AF-41AD-87CA-4E6D27AEB646 While reading What Darkness Brings I did something I never do. I flipped to the end. Which is a pretty big deal considering I like to experience a book with as little pre- knowledge as possible. I don’t even read the jacket and I read as few summaries as I can and try to forget the ones I do read. 

I hesitate to say to much. If you have not read this series and you wonder what would be so suspenseful that I would have to flip to the end to make sure everything is going to be ok, then you should start the series. I’m hesitant to say much for those who have started the series but just not to book eight yet. I don’t want to spoil the reading experience. 

This book contains all the things I have come to love about the series. A mystery which keeps me guessing to the end. An English history lesson, great atmospheric writing, characters that you come to love, or in some cases, hate. Relationships that are complicated. And finally, a lovely romance with many obstacles in its way. Oh yea, and the Hope diamond and a cat.

I hope I have convinced you to give this series a try.

When Maidens Mourn by C. S. Harris

18701FBE-B96A-4FB9-8CD9-47234F260389 I have always found King Arthur and Camelot fascinating. I was delighted that When Maidens Mourn, the seventh book in the Sebastian St. Cyr mystery series, by C.S. Harris, had a mystery based on Arthurian legends. 

Just days after Sebastian and Hero’s marriage Gabrielle Tennyson, a good friend of Hero’s, is discovered murdered. Gabrielle was causing an uproar among the male antiquaries with her identification of Camelot. Gabrielle’s two young cousins are found to be missing so we are left wondering if the murder has Arthurian links or family links. Yes, Tennyson links. What could make for a better mystery! King Arthur and Tennyson!

Once again I loved the atmosphere author Harris creates. I can picture every setting she describes from an atmospheric old moat to a grimy back alley.

In When Maidens Mourn Sebastian and Hero, having just been married, are still trying to figure out their place in this marriage and how this marriage, which began out of obligation, is going to work. I think they are both surprised to discover that they are developing feelings for the other and so are also trying to figure that out. They each have personal struggles as to what this marriage is going to mean and what they are going to have to let go of. I find their discoveries of each other so fun to watch. 

Harris pulls me in with the atmosphere she creates, with the history I learn and find myself engrossed with, and the characters and their relationships to one another. 

I’m off to read the next in the series!

The Silver Gun by L.A. Chandlar

98B9364B-C491-44D6-8DF7-FAB68A367315 About the 1930’s in New York City, author L.A. Chandler writes “…people everywhere began to feel the compelling hope that perhaps they weren’t the lost generation after all. Perhaps they were the generation that created beauty out of turmoil. They didn’t just survive. They lived.” The Silver Gun, the first in the Art Deco mystery series, shows that hope, that will to survive, and that life. 

In The Silver Gun, Lane is a twenty-three year old who is the personal aide to newly appointed Mayor Fiorello La Guardia. She is haunted by dreams of the real life event of the death of her parents when she was ten years old and a silver gun. The plot centers on New York gangsters, undercover cops, murders and plans of gangsters to take back the city from La Guardia who is working to end the influence of Tammany Hall.

I loved the setting of New York City in the 1930’s. Chandler does a great job in describing restaurants, clubs, art, and the whole vibe of the city during that time. I also loved the descriptions of the way the city looked during that time period. While I knew a little bit about Tammany Hall and the political influence I did not know anything about Mayor La Guardia and found him and his work to clean up the city fascinating. 

The Silver Gun felt like a nice easy mystery. Not nice and easy in the mystery itself, which had many parts to it and had some great surprises, but in the way the mystery was presented. The feel of the book, the language, gave it the nice, easy feel. It was not graphic in anyway and I thought the narrator had an easy going voice. 

The Silver Gun is a great choice if you are looking for a mystery that isn’t overly intense but still provides surprises. 

Maresi by Maria Turtschaninoff

9C551A54-7FD7-4B4E-B19C-B1308AC194E7 Maresi by Maria Turtschaninoff was a bit of a departure from my regular reading genres. Maresi is not only YA, which I don’t read much of, but it is also fantasy which I read even less of. 

Maresi lives at the Abbey which is an Island where only women are allowed. A big part of the beginning of the book details the Island and what happens there and who is there and why. Though this probably makes for a slow beginning, I really appreciated it, as it helped me to understand the Island and what makes it special. When Jai arrives to the Island she has had horrible things happen to her and Maresi helps her to trust those on the Island and to feel safe. When Jai’s past comes for her, Maresi, along with others on the Island, find their strengths and come to an understanding of who they are as they protect Jai. 

I found Maresi an enjoyable read. I often struggle in YA books with the complaining that characters seem to always do. I loved how Maresi did not do that but took charge of her life and found solutions to things that she struggled with in a strong way. She is a great example. I thought the descriptions of the Island and the development at the beginning really helped me to understand this fantasy read. 

This YA, fantasy read had themes of womanhood, friendships, recovering from abuse, and the power of women. It is also a book in translation, written from Swedish. 

Where Shadows Dance by C.S. Harris

C74B7CC4-D73B-4DCC-AFB9-6D28BC0A54CB I think its always hard not to say to much about a mystery book. So I won’t say much about what happens in Where Shadows Dance, the sixth book in the Sebastian St. Cyr series, by C. S. Harris. 

I will say that I really learned a lot about the history of England in this book. The history of England in 1812 and their relationships with Sweden, Russia, France and America. I love learning history in a fun way! I don’t have to feel guilty for spending a couple of hours reading when I should be working because I’m learning history and history is important. Right?

As with the past books in this series there are a lot of people who seem be involved. As Sebastian tries to gather information he finds the suspect list growing larger and larger before he is able to narrow it down. This means that for me, the reader, its a fun journey because I see how so many people could have been involved and I have no idea who really was. 

Though I won’t say much more I will say that this story has grave snatchers, a strong woman who lives up to her name but also has such tender love for her parents despite their obvious weaknesses. There is also a couple who are getting to know each other better and I think they are liking what they are discovering and I love that. 

These books just keep getting better and better and pulling me more and more into the life of Sebastian. 

 

What Comes With The Dust by Gharbi M. Mustafa

img_2764What do you do when when life as you know it is destroyed? What Comes With The Dust by Gharbi M. Mustafa tells the story of the massacre of the Yazidis people by ISIS in Iraq.

I really knew nothing about this event and I found the book to be pretty informative in showing me what happened. This is a plot driven story. Which is probably a good thing. I do not think I could have handled this book had it been more character driven and had I felt more connected to the characters. The events depicted are horrific. The author, Mustafa, does not shy away from detailing what happens in the massacre. It was a very difficult story to read about.

What I loved about the story were the many examples of kindness. Even among such horrific events which show humans doing unspeakable things to one another, there are those who despite their own hardships, show kindness and love to someone in need.

What Comes With The Dust was an interesting book. It was a difficult read and I can’t begin to imagine that unfortunately it is the life of far to many people. This book does carry with it all the violence triggers – self harm, physical abuse, shootings, rape, suicide. This is also a good book to read for an insight into refugees and what they go through and what they are seeking. It also has examples of strong women. Woman who are smart and filled with courage and who don’t give up.

My copy of What Comes With The Dust was provided by the publisher via Netgalley. Thanks!

The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain

6E59DFEF-223B-4EC1-8B05-0F2E62AB866C What will a mother do for her child?

The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain tackles that question. In 1970, Carly, a young women who recently found out her husband died while fighting in Vietnam, discovers not only that she is pregnant but that the baby has a fatal heart problem. She learns that she can save her baby’s life by time traveling to 2001, New York City, to a hospital that is able to perform a surgery that could save her baby’s life. This is only one of many decisions Carly faces as she decides what is best for this child that she loves. 

I found the time travel aspect fun and I enjoyed watching Carly as she navigates a world very different from the one she knew in 1970. I would have liked to have felt more connected with the characters. There weren’t really any that I loved and that I was excited about when they appeared in the story. There were some good characters, just not any that I connected with or wanted to read more about. Carly must make some really difficult decisions and I was surprised that I didn’t really feel that heartbroken for her. 

I would recommend The Dream Daughter to anyone who likes time traveling, or stories that show the love and bond a mother feels for her child. 

My copy of The Dream Daughter was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks!

Rutland Place by Anne Perry

09E0E711-ED3A-4FE3-B1C7-A2B76B6ADB29 When reading books in the Charlotte & Thomas Pitt series by Anne Perry I feel like the mystery is just a way to look into human nature. 

Rutland Place, the fifth book in the series, begins when Charlotte’s mother, Caroline, asks her to help her find a locket. The locket contains a picture which would reveal a secret Caroline is keeping. As Charlotte visits with neighbors to figure out if the locket was misplaced or stolen, she soon discovers that many neighbors are missing little articles. When one of the women dies and that death is soon discovered to be murder, Charlotte and Thomas, and Charlotte’s sister Emily, take a closer look into this little neighborhood to solve the mystery and save their family. 

Rutland Place is about the mystery of the stolen items and the murder but I felt like those were a way to look at secrets and what secrets do not only to us but to those around us. Is it okay to have a secret? Does it depend on what that secret is? What happens when a secret is revealed? Does knowing someone else’s secret give you power over them?

I loved looking into secrets and I loved how the author, Perry, uses lost items and a murder to look into that part of human nature. This is not a fast moving, plot driven mystery. I think when you are looking into human nature you have to take things a bit more slowly. 

This is a great series. I think you could probably read them out of order but I also think they would make more sense if you did read them in order. There are characters that have appeared in other books and so by reading the earlier books you get more background information. 

What Remains of Heaven by C. S. Harris

FBA6FA61-11CB-43E9-9D7B-A81B477BEDF6 The Sebastian St. Cyr mystery series by C. S. Harris is becoming very addicting. I love the mystery that Sebastian finds himself trying to solve in each book. The justice he is seeking for the person who has been murdered. All the while he has his own personal difficulties and mysteries that haunt him. The murder mystery gets solved by the end of each book but the mysteries and relationships surrounding Sebastian’s life is what has me coming back for more and more. 

In What Remains of Heaven, the fifth book in the series, Sebastian is asked by his Aunt Henrietta and the Archbishop of Canterbury to find out why the Bishop of London has been found murdered in an old crypt along with another unknown body. As he begins to probe into the Bishop’s life he discovers that Hero Jarvis had an appointment to see him shortly before he was murdered. Sebastian becomes more intrigued to learn what the Bishop was doing the last few days before his murder. 

It seemed to me that there were a lot of people in this book and sometimes I found it hard to keep track who was who. Sebastian’s life though, made up for any problems with keeping the people who may or may not be involved in the Bishop’s murder straight. Something that I suspected was revealed to be true and Sebastian’s life is about to change forever. 

These books are so much fun! You do need to read them in order, but they read quickly and you just may find yourself hooked after a couple of books!

This I Know by Eldonna Edwards

CE82804C-B682-455C-98E8-CCCCBF0B00D2 This I Know by Eldonna Edwards is about a young girl with a strict pastor father and a mother struggling with depression. When Grace was born her twin brother, Isaac did not survive. Though not with her brother physically, Grace is able to communicate with him. Isaac provides peace and comfort to Grace amidst a struggling family. Grace not only has the ability to communicate with her dead twin but also can see into the thoughts and future of other people. As Grace grows up and her family continues to struggle Grace figures out her place in the world around her and at home. 

I loved the look into this family’s life. Especially the parents. They both had struggles they had to overcome and had to make changes for the good of their family. I enjoyed their progress and the mistakes they made along the way. It felt very true to life. While the growth of the parents felt true to life there were many other things in this book that did not feel that way. Incidents that just felt a little to unbelievable to me. These incidents had nothing to do with the Knowing, or clairvoyance, that Grace has. Grace was a cute character and I would really have liked to have seen more character development with her. There were also a lot of characters that showed up for just a few pages. In many ways each chapter  felt like a separate story and it wasn’t really until the end that there was any kind of connectedness within the story. There were also events that I thought would give the story some climax but they passed to quickly to provide any climax. 

This wasn’t a story I loved but it also wasn’t a story I didn’t like. It would make a great easy, quick read. Those times when you want to read something but you don’t want to put much emotion or get caught up in high plot tension. Its a nice easy feel good read. 

My copy of This I Know was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thanks!