Monday Review: #TheDevilAspect #NetGalley



Author: Craig Russell

Publisher: Doubleday Books

Publication date: March 3, 2019

NetGalley Description:

My Review:

I loved first the sophisticated, polished writing style and even though I sort of guessed who the murderer was, I enjoyed the sleight-of-hand it took to get me to the reveal. Though it’s set in 1935 and the beginning of the rise of Nazism, the story has a decidedly Gothic feel—the old castle containing both an ancient and modern evil, the superstitious villagers, and the heroine with her dark, prophetic dreams. The parallel murder investigation going on in Prague is just as compelling as the interviews with the six murderers and how the author reconciles the two is fantastic. The Eastern European folklore aspect, and the references to Jung, deepen the story and balance out the more gruesome aspects.

Perhaps because the writing is so visual is why I also think this would make an excellent movie.

I enjoyed this book so much, I wish I could give it ten stars!


Thank you Net Galley and Doubleday Books!


Sunday Review: #AMurderousMalady #NetGalley



Author: Christine Trent

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Publication date: May 7, 2019

NetGalley Description:
“For fans of Charles Todd and Deanna Raybourn comes Christine Trent’s second Florence Nightingale mystery.

Cholera has broken out in London, but Florence Nightingale has bigger problems when people begin dying of a far more intentional cause—murder.

The London summer of 1854 is drawing to a close when a deadly outbreak of cholera grips the city. Florence Nightingale is back on the scene marshaling her nurses to help treat countless suffering patients at Middlesex Hospital as the disease tears through the Soho slums. But beyond the dangers of the disease, something even more evil is seeping through the ailing streets of London.

It begins with an attack on the carriage of Florence’s friend, Elizabeth Herbert, wife to Secretary at War Sidney Herbert. Florence survives, but her coachman does not. Within hours, Sidney’s valet stumbles into the hospital, mutters a few cryptic words about the attack, and promptly dies from cholera. Frantic that an assassin is stalking his wife, Sidney enlists Florence’s help, who accepts but has little to go on save for the valet’s last words and a curious set of dice in his jacket pocket. Soon, the suspects are piling up faster than cholera victims, as there seems to be no end to the number of people who bear a grudge against the Herbert household.

Now, Florence is in a race against time—not only to save the victims of a lethal disease, but to foil a murderer with a disturbingly sinister goal—in A Murderous Malady.”

My Review:

To be honest, I felt this was nothing like Raybourn or Todd, not in the writing or the narrative. The writing lacked the emotional depth and polish of the above-named authors, and I frankly don’t care much for that type of marketing, anyway, as it sets the author and the reader up.

I don’t mean to sound dire. I enjoyed Murderous Malady and the concept of using Florence Nightingale as an amateur sleuth in a 19th century medical setting is brilliant. The research is well done, but sometimes the seams show and too much time at the hospital complicated the plot, but ultimately caused the pace to drag. The mystery is well conceived and executed and kept me reading. Though I couldn’t guess who the murderer was, it was a pleasant surprise (as those things go, lol) at the reveal.

The cholera epidemic is an important character in the story, leading Florence into the deepest and dankest parts of Soho and returning because finding the killer appears to point in this direction. Florence Nightingale seemed to know intuitively that fresh air, good food and clean sheets aided the sick better than the abysmal treatment by the trained medical men, and she was pushy enough to get them to change some of their methods. That fortitude serves her well in solving the murder.

I will likely go back and read the first book, and I’m very excited about where the series is going to next.

Thank you Net Galley and Crooked Lane Books 😀



Review: What Girls Are Good For by David Blixt

What Girls Are Good For
by David Blixt

Publication Date: November 6, 2018
Paperback & eBook; 535 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction



Nellie Bly has the story of a lifetime. But will she survive to tell it?

Enraged by an article entitled ‘What Girls Are Good For’, Elizabeth Cochrane pens an angry letter to the Pittsburgh Dispatch, never imagining a Victorian newspaper would hire a woman reporter. Taking the name Nellie Bly, she struggles against the male-dominated industry, reporting stories no one else will – the stories of downtrodden women.

Chased out of Mexico for revealing government corruption, her romantic advances rejected by a married colleague, Bly earns the chance to break into the New York’s Newspaper Row if she can nab a major scoop – life inside a madhouse. Feigning madness, she dupes the court into committing her to the Insane Asylum on Blackwell’s Island.

But matters are far worse than she ever dreamed. Stripped, drugged, beaten, she must endure a week of terror, reliving the darkest days of her childhood, in order to escape and tell the world her story. Only, at the end of the week, no rescue comes, and she fears she may be trapped forever…

Based on the real-life events of Nellie Bly’s life and reporting, What Girls Are Good For is a tale of rage, determination, and triumph – all in the frame of a tiny Pennsylvania spitfire who refused to let the world tell her how to live her life, and changed the world instead.

Coffee and Ink’s review

I hope the author is going to continue writing about Nellie Bly and the world she lived in. A fantastic story told by a phenomenal historical fiction author. I had a hard time putting this book down!

Deeply offended by a column written in her local newspaper, one that claims girls are only good for marriage and raising children, Nellie fights back with her pen. She’s observed her own mother suffering beneath the boot of her husband, beneath the boot of society that keeps her ever on the edge of poverty. Nellie’s reply is passionate and appeals to the editor of the newspaper. Eventually she is offered a job as a reporter. But she has only begun fighting. Her spirited approach to every battle keeps the narrative rolling without becoming sentimental, from the lives of factory girls, “mashing” male reporters, the Mexican police, and the evil nurses at the Blackwell asylum. The story is realistically told, the research meticulous, with deeper insights into the crusading nature of Nellie Bly.

Available on Amazon

Praise for What Girls Are Good For

“Dramatic, engrossing, and spirited, What Girls Are Good For takes the reader straight to the heart of an unsung American hero–a feminist icon whose voice rings loud and true. This is a must-read for anyone who loves an underdog and celebrates justice; the perfect accompaniment for our present times.” – Olivia Hawker, international bestselling author of The Ragged Edge of Night

“With rich imagination and meticulous research, David Blixt has brought the hectic, exciting world of nineteenth-century journalism vividly to life. His Nellie Bly is determined, independent, crafty, irresistible — a heroine any reader would be delighted to get to know.” – Matthew Goodman, New York Times bestselling author

About the Author

David Blixt‘s work is consistently described as “intricate,” “taut,” and “breathtaking.” A writer of Historical Fiction, his novels span the early Roman Empire (the COLOSSUS series, his play EVE OF IDES) to early Renaissance Italy (the STAR-CROSS’D series) up through the Elizabethan era (his delightful espionage comedy HER MAJESTY’S WILL, starring Will Shakespeare and Kit Marlowe as inept spies). His novels combine a love of the theatre with a deep respect for the quirks and passions of history.

Living in Chicago with his wife and two children, he describes himself as “actor, author, father, husband. In reverse order.”

For more information, please visit David Blixt’s website. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, December 10
Review at Bookish Rantings

Thursday, December 13
Review at Bri’s Book Nook

Monday, December 17
Review at 100 Pages a Day

Tuesday, December 18
Excerpt at Donna’s Book Blog

Wednesday, December 19
Review & Guest Post at Clarissa Reads it All
Review at History From a Woman’s Perspective

Thursday, December 20
Review at Passages to the Past

Friday, December 21
Review at Just One More Chapter
Review at Tar Heel Reader

Saturday, December 22
Interview at Passages to the Past

Thursday, December 27
Review at A Bookish Affair

Friday, December 28
Review at Coffee and Ink
Interview at Reading the Past


During the Blog Tour we will be giving away 4 paperback copies of What Girls Are Good For! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on December 28th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

What Girls Are Good For

Review: Cadenza by Stella Riley #HistFic #HFVBTBlogTours #Giveaway

by Stella Riley

Publication Date: November 22, 2018
eBook; 380 Pages

Genre: Historical Romance



The performance finished in a flourish of technical brilliance and the young man rose from the harpsichord to a storm of applause.

Julian Langham was poised on the brink of a dazzling career when the lawyers lured him into making a catastrophic mistake. Now, instead of the concert platform, he has a title he doesn’t want, an estate verging on bankruptcy … and bewildering responsibilities for which he is totally unfitted.

And yet the wreckage of Julian’s life is not a completely ill wind. For Tom, Rob and Ellie it brings something that is almost a miracle … if they dare believe in it.

Meanwhile, first-cousins Arabella Brandon and Elizabeth Marsden embark on a daring escapade which will provide each of them with a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The adventure will last only a few weeks, after which everything will be the way it was before. Or so they think. What neither of them expects is for it to change a number of lives … most notably, their own.

And there is an additional complication of which they are wholly unaware.

The famed omniscience of the Duke of Rockliffe.


Harpsichord virtuoso Julian’s obliviousness to anything besides his music is both a strength and a deep flaw. It keeps him focused on his passion but someone else must manage his affairs for him. Urged by his manager not to make promises of free performances, he is nevertheless taken from Vienna and the world of music he loves when an unexpected and unwanted earldom in England falls at his feet.

For young Arabella, daughter of landed gentry, disaster strikes hard when her betrothed jilts her for another. The prospect of a London season, balls, parties, the opera, alone and without her best friend, daughter of the local curate, Elizabeth, does not excite her. In her turn, Elizabeth has been looking for a position to help her family, perhaps as a governess, housekeeper or lady’s companion.

The three of them are reluctantly stepping into roles proscribed for them by society. Arabella decides to shake things up a bit, so she and Elizabeth change places. Beautiful, but poor, Elizabeth to London for the season, perhaps to find a rich (but loving) husband, Arabella to the rapidly dilapidating home, and health, of the new earl, Julius, and relief from hurtful gossip.

While Arabella deals with the hopelessly new earl Julius, three orphans, and the tangled affairs of his earldom, Elizabeth moves on to London to take Arabella’s place. A carriage accident brings her into the cold and reluctant sphere of Lord Sherbourne. He, too, has had to make a sacrifice of love, but for darker reasons than Julius.

Well, this was lovely and wonderful! So wonderful that after I finished Cadenza, I bought the first of the series, the Parfit Knight. I loved it and can’t wait for more. The covers of all the books are a joy, bursting with color and character. The pages are steeped in historical detail and the narrative moves along at a good, even pace. Spiced with colorful secondary characters, both helpful and hindering, the stories stayed with me even after I finished the books.  The writing is superb, and the intertwined plots are emotionally complex, complicated by the manners and mores of the Georgian era.


Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes and Noble | Kobo | Smashwords

About the Author

Readers’ Favorite award-winning author and B.R.A.G. Medallion honoree Stella Riley trained as a teacher in London and now lives in Kent. She enjoys Amateur Dramatics, dancing, reading and travel. She is fascinated by the English Civil Wars and has written six books set in that period. She loves the extravagant fashions of the mid-Georgian period, likes men with long hair and her current passion is for Baroque harpsichord music.

The first 5 books of the Rockliffe series (recommended in The Times newspaper!) are also available in audio, narrated by Alex Wyndham. And Rockliffe Book Six – CADENZA – is currently available for pre-order and will be released on November 22nd.

Visit Stella at for all the latest information on her books and her ‘Who’s Who’ and Extras pages. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Thursday, November 22
Feature at Passages to the Past

Friday, November 23
Feature at What Is That Book About

Saturday, November 24
Feature at The Book Junkie Reads
Excerpt at The Never-Ending Book

Sunday, November 25
Excerpt at Old Timey Books

Monday, November 26
Feature at Donna’s Book Blog

Tuesday, November 27
Excerpt at Maiden of the Pages

Thursday, November 29
Excerpt at Among the Reads

Monday, December 3
Guest Post at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals

Monday, December 17
Review at Coffee and Ink

Tuesday, December 18
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews

Wednesday, December 19
Interview at Passages to the Past


During the Blog Tour we will be giving away eBooks from Stella Riley’s Rockliffe series – The Parfit Knight, The Mésalliance, The Player, The Wicked Cousin, or Hazard! 5 eBooks are up for grabs!

To enter, please see the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on December 19th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.



WWW Wednesday at coffee and ink #18

Sam at Taking on a World of Words is the host of WWW Wednesday.  To participate, all you have to do is answer the three W questions and post in the comments section at Sam’s blog:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

I think I’m in an in-between place or maybe I just need to let some of what I’ve read settle a bit, as I need to write reviews. I started this one and it pulled me right in:


Good Reads: “Gabriel Carver, the convict hangman of Sydney Prison, knows that none of his kind may depart Australia’s penal colony without the system’s leave. Then three people are murdered, seemingly to protect the “Rats’ Line,” an illicit path to freedom that exists only in the fevered imaginations of transported felons. But why kill to protect something that doesn’t exist?

When an innocent woman from Carver’s past is charged with one of the murders and faces execution at his hands, she threatens to reveal an incriminating secret of his own unless he helps her. So Carver must try to unmask the killer among the convicts, soldiers, sailors, and fallen women roaming 1829 Sydney. If he can find the murderer, he may discover who is defying the system under its very nose. His search will take him back to the scene of his ruin—to London and a past he can never remake nor ever escape, not even at the edge of the world.”

I’m reading this one for the Historical Fiction Virtual Blog.

and this one also pulled me right in…


Good Reads:

**From the winner of the 2017 CWA Historical Dagger Award**
India, 1921. Haunted by his memories of the Great War, Captain Sam Wyndham is battling a serious addiction to opium that he must keep secret from his superiors in the Calcutta police force.

When Sam is summoned to investigate a grisly murder, he is stunned at the sight of the body: he’s seen this before. Last night, in a drug addled haze, he stumbled across a corpse with the same ritualistic injuries. It seems like there’s a deranged killer on the loose. Unfortunately for Sam, the corpse was in an opium den and revealing his presence there could cost him his career.
With the aid of his quick-witted Indian Sergeant, Surrender-not Banerjee, Sam must try to solve the two murders, all the while keeping his personal demons secret, before somebody else turns up dead.

Set against the backdrop of the fervent fight for Indian independence, and rich with the atmosphere of 1920s Calcutta, Smoke and Ashes is the brilliant new historical mystery in this award-winning series.

This one I picked up from Net Galley. I’ll be looking at the previous books in the series, but so far it reads like a standalone for me 🙂

What did you recently finish reading?




“A terrifying novel set in Czechoslovakia in 1935, in which a brilliant young psychiatrist takes his new post at an asylum for the criminally insane that houses only six inmates–the country’s most depraved murderers–while, in Prague, a detective struggles to understand a brutal serial killer who has spread fear through the city, and who may have ties to the asylum.”

Yep, hard to put down! Excellent writing 😀

edit: Awesome! Review to Come!

Also, I love KJ Charles and this was a fun read…Gay Romance for English Majors, lol


“Sir Philip Rookwood is the disgrace of the county. He’s a rake and an atheist, and the rumours about his hellfire club, the Murder, can only be spoken in whispers. (Orgies. It’s orgies.)

Guy Frisby and his sister Amanda live in rural seclusion after a family scandal. But when Amanda breaks her leg in a riding accident, she’s forced to recuperate at Rookwood Hall, where Sir Philip is hosting the Murder.

Guy rushes to protect her, but the Murder aren’t what he expects. They’re educated, fascinating people, and the notorious Sir Philip turns out to be charming, kind—and dangerously attractive.

In this private space where anything goes, the longings Guy has stifled all his life are impossible to resist…and so is Philip. But all too soon the rural rumour mill threatens both Guy and Amanda. The innocent country gentleman has lost his heart to the bastard baronet—but does he dare lose his reputation too?”



What do you think you’ll read next?

Your guess is as good as mine 😉