The Alchemist of Lost Souls by Mary Lawrence #BlogTour #BookReview #Giveaway

I am so delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for The Alchemist of Lost Souls by Mary Lawrence on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Scroll down to enter your chance to win the Giveaway!

The Alchemist of Lost Souls by Mary Lawrence

Book Details

The Alchemist of Lost Souls (A Bianca Goddard Mystery)
Historical Mystery
4th in Series
Kensington (April 30, 2019)
ISBN-10: 1496715314
ISBN-13: 978-1496715319
Digital ASIN: B07G6R99SR

Book Blurb

A dangerous element discovered by Bianca Goddard’s father falls into the wrong hands . . . leading to a chain of multiple murders.

Spring 1544: Now that she is with child, Bianca is more determined than ever to distance herself from her unstable father. Desperate to win back the favor of King Henry VIII, disgraced alchemist Albern Goddard plans to reveal a powerful new element he’s discovered–one with deadly potential. But when the substance is stolen, he is panicked and expects his daughter to help.

Soon after, a woman’s body is found behind the Dim Dragon Inn, an eerie green vapor rising from her breathless mouth. To her grave concern, Bianca has reason to suspect her own mother may be involved in the theft and the murder. As her husband John is conscripted into King Henry’s army to subdue Scottish resistance, Bianca must navigate a twisted and treacherous path among alchemists, apothecaries, chandlers, and scoundrels–to find out who among them is willing to kill to possess the element known as lapis mortem, the stone of death . . .

My Review

The Alchemist of Lost Souls by Mary LawrenceBoy I love it when I discover a new author and a historical series I can really get into! True to my series record, of course, a new author and the Bianca Goddard mystery is her fourth in the series. (I’m batting a thousand.) And perhaps I’d have understood a bit more of the characters if I’d read the first three, but still, I absolutely devoured this book as if it were the first of a remarkable premise and a standalone.

Set in Elizabethan London, Bianca Goddard is a wife to John and recently discovered she is pregnant. Her mother Melva is a white witch, her father the alchemist, albeit a disgraced alchemist having fallen out of favor with the king for whom he is manic to regain his former position. To that end, he has made a remarkable discovery. Unfortunately, his sample has disappeared and he politely (not) requests that his daughter ascertain whether or not his wife was responsible.

Bianca has her own concerns. John has flunked his archery test and is being conscripted to the king’s army to march on the border of Scotland as a pikesman. (Good luck) She is an herbalist with a growing list of clients, one of whom, Meddybemps, is a street peddler and an old friend.

Meddybemps, however, is just one of a number of support characters that catapults you back to sixteenth-century London. Another character, otherworldly Rat Man, lives under the bridge and sees and knows all. Sometimes he has a hand in divining the direction of human endeavor or their evil deeds.

The sights, sounds, and smells (nasty odors) emanate from the pages. You are there. It’s wet…and chilly. Rainy streets slick with all manner of human detritus combine with the cooking odors. The inns with their serving maids run to deliver a Southwark version of ale–drank morning, noon, and night (in place of fetid water).

The well-plotted storyline flows quite naturally given the female gender of the protagonist and the times. So much fun reading about the herbs, common and otherwise and their application.

Her father’s breakthrough element quickly ends up in the hands of an unscrupulous couple. The death of the wife puts her in touch with Constable Patch, with whom she has had dealings in prior series entries. Constable Patch is not a terribly gifted sleuth and it’s good he’s not generally armed. But that’s not the end of it. Those elements will change hands more than once, resulting in another couple very unusual, unique but not wholly undeserved deaths.

The conclusion came following the climax of a harrowing scene pitting Bianca and her very capable inn wench friend, Cammy, against the antagonist. Is Bianca able to retrieve the elements? Or if so, at what cost? If I had any niggles at all, it would be the conclusion. Damn…I’ll be thinking that one over for awhile.

I was given this eBook download by the publisher and NetGalley for this blog tour and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review. What an exciting book! The author took great pains to deliver authentic dialect and syntax, words I was looking up, Latin or French phrases, descriptions of costume and dress. This would make such a fantastic TV series. If I can’t watch it, I’ll wait (im)patiently for the next book.

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Giveaway

Sign up for your chance to win one of two (2) Signed Copy The Alchemist of Lost Souls (A Bianca Goddard Mystery) by Mary Lawrence Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

Mary Lawrence - authorMary Lawrence lives and farms in Maine and worked in the medical field for over twenty-five years before publishing her debut mystery, The Alchemist’s Daughter (Kensington, 2015). The book was named by Suspense Magazine as a “Best Book of 2015” in the historical mystery category. Her articles have appeared in several publications most notably the national news blog, The Daily Beast. The Bianca Goddard Mystery series also includes Death of an AlchemistDeath at St. Vedast, The Alchemist of Lost Souls, and the fifth title for 2020.

Website: www.marylawrencebooks.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/marylawrence.author/

Twitter:  @mel59lawrence

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/84420.Mary_Lawrence

Purchase links: Amazon  Barnes & Noble

Thank you for visiting my stop on the tour and please visit the other stops listed below!

Tour Participants:

June 3 – I’m All About Books – GUEST POST

June 3 – Reading Reality – REVIEW

June 4 – Ruff Drafts – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

June 4 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT with EXCERPT

June 5 – The Editing Pen – REVIEW

June 5 – The Book’s the Thing– SPOTLIGHT with EXCERPT

June 6 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

June 6 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT with EXCERPT

June 7 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

June 7 – Kelly P’s Blog – SPOTLIGHT

June 8 – Readeropolis – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

June 9 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

June 9 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

June 10 – LibriAmoriMiei – REVIEW

June 10 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

June 11 – A Chick Who Reads – REVIEW

June 11 – Elizabeth McKenna – Author – SPOTLIGHT

June 12 – fundinmental – SPOTLIGHT

June 12 – Ebook Addicts – REVIEW Great Escapes Book Tours

Thanks to Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review this medieval historical fiction mystery!

©2019 V Williams Blog author

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Murder in the Reading Room by Ellery Adams – a #BookReview

Murder in the Reading Room by Ellery AdamsTitle: Murder in the Reading Room (A Book Retreat Mystery Book 5) by Ellery Adams

Genre: Amateur Sleuths, Cozy Mystery

Publisher: Kensington

  • ISBN-10:1496715659
  • ISBN-13:978-1496715654
  • ASIN: B07G6NJK5W

Print Length: 320 pages

Publication Date: Released April 30, 2019-Happy Publication Day!

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link: Murder in the Reading Room

Book Blurb:

Storyton Hall, Virginia, is a paradise for book lovers who come from all over for literary getaways. But manager Jane Steward is temporarily leaving for another renowned resort—in hopes of solving a twist-filled mystery . . .

Jane’s boyfriend is missing, and she thinks she may find him at North Carolina’s historic Biltmore Estate. Officially, she’s there to learn about luxury hotel management, but she’s also prowling around the breathtaking buildings and grounds looking for secret passageways and clues. One of the staff gardeners promises to be helpful . . . that is, until his body turns up in the reading room of his cottage, a book on his lap.

When she finally locates the kidnapped Edwin, his captor insists that she lead him back to Storyton Hall, convinced that it houses Ernest Hemingway’s lost suitcase, stolen from a Paris train station in 1922. But before they can turn up the treasure, the bell may toll for another victim . . .

My Review:

Murder in the Reading Room by Ellery AdamsDefinitely a book lovers paradise, the author knows her books and has created a beautiful picturesque setting in Storyton Hall, aptly named for it’s multiple private, cozy settings.

This being the fifth in the series and yes, of course, my first with the author and the series, I seem to have missed a well-developed fleshing of the protagonist and the storyline leading to this last(?) of the series. This is one series where you might do well to begin with number one. I greatly enjoyed the author’s writing style, very subtle, full of prose, and so descriptive of the idyllic venue that you want to start packing for your bags.

Apparently in the Book 4, Jane Steward’s boyfriend went missing. Jane is a widow with two young precocious boys. She is the manager of Storyton Hall, a pseudo-resort, with a strong literary style that includes a number of themed rooms/ libraries; i.e., Henry James Library, Daphne du Maurier Morning Room, and William Faulkner Conference Room. In her role as manager, she has joined a luxury hotel management seminar that is taking place at North Carolina’s historic Biltmore Estate–specifically because she believes that is where her Edwin Alcott is being hidden. The seminar will give her access sufficient to haunt the halls and grounds in an effort to find Edwin. The first, very shocking problem, however, manifests when she and Landon successfully discover him–and confront despot rogue Templar Ramsey Parrish as well.

Storyton itself has been in the Steward family for generations and is home to a wide variety of beautiful arts and treasures, not the least of which is possibly the Secret Library which may hide a suitcase stolen from Ernest Hemingway, lost in 1922. With the rumor that the Stewards are holding the suitcase and its priceless content comes many a problem, including the one that is currently the target of the Templar Ramsey, current manager of the behemoth Biltmore Estate. He will apparently stop at nothing to get to the secret library and the suitcase, including kidnapping. Jane’s own Landon Lachlan (head of Storyton Hall’s Recreation Department), is part of an elite group called “the Fins” also their first line of defense. In addition, she has a ladies group called “the Cover Girls” a literature club. Eloise is her best buddy, sister of Edwin. (She might have gone too far, however, when she named her boys Fitzgerald and Hemingway.)

The characters are all complex, literate, and deep in the bookish world, upper-class society, and southern history with associated activities. More twists are incorporated into the well-plotted mystery, dripping with charm, nostalgic quotes from many famous and classic authors. (Test yourself on how many you recognize!)

There are just too many secrets associated with the theme resort, hidden society, however, and push come to shove, Jane is tired. While there are casualties, they happen “off page.” I really enjoyed the wide variety of support characters, so appropriately named, the location so visual, the atmosphere cerebral. The pace works well right into a downplayed climax almost smoothed over in the blurred conclusion which forms part of the reason for the epilogue.

I was given this ebook download by the publisher and NetGalley and totally appreciated the opportunity to read and review this unique and captivating novel. Recommended for any bibliophile who can quote from the classics or book lovers in general, as well as cozy mystery lovers. There is something here for everyone–including that touch of romance!

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five of Five Stars Four point Five of Five Stars

Ellery Adams - authorThe Author: Ellery Adams, a USA Today and New York Times bestselling author, has written over thirty-five mystery novels. She shares her North Carolina home with her husband, two trolls, and three keyboard-hogging felines. Ellery loves coffee, bubbly, boxing, jigsaw puzzles, baking, and black jelly beans.

Her traditionally published series include The Secret, Book, and Scone Society Mysteries, The Book Retreat Mysteries, The Books By the Bay Mysteries, and The Charmed Pie Shoppe Mysteries.

Her Indie series include The Supper Club Series, The Hope Street Series, and The Molly Appleby Collectible Series.

For discussion questions and more, visit http://www.elleryadamsmysteries.com

©2019 V Williams Blog author

Solomon vs Lord by Paul Levine – a #BookReview

Solomon vs Lord by Paul LevineTitle: Solomon vs Lord (Solomon vs Lord Legal Thrillers Book 1) by Paul Levine

Genre: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Legal Thriller, Literature & Fiction, Humor & Satire, General Humor

Publisher: Nittany Valley Productions, Inc.

Publication Date: March 6, 2014

578 pages

ASIN:B007RTS9VE

Source: BookBub

Title and Cover: Solomon vs Lord – Legal thriller–tilt!

Book Blurb:

“LEGAL THRILLERS SHOULDN’T BE THIS MUCH FUN!”

Victoria Lord follows all the rules…
Steve Solomon makes up his own…
Defending a murder trial, they’ll either end up in ruin, in jail…or in bed.

Steve Solomon is the sharpest lawyer to barely graduate from law school. Victoria Lord toils for an ambitious D.A., before Solomon gets her fired. Thrown together, they defend a sexy young widow charged with killing her kinky husband in Miami’s steamiest trial of the century.

“Hiaasen meets Grisham in the court of last retort. A sexy, wacky, wonderful thriller with humor and heart.” – Harlan Coben

***My associate reviewer has been fully engaged in reading the free offerings from BookBub, many of which have been outstandingly delightful, resulting in laugh out loud passages and recitations to me. As this one seemed exceptional, I asked that he provide a review even though the book published in 2014 could constitute a proper Throwback Thursday offering. (The author released Bum Deal, the 13th and final book in the Jake Lassiter series, in June. ) 

The C.E.’s Review:

Levine’s writing is comical and engaging from the beginning.

Stephan Solomon is a rogue lawyer working against a rookie prosecutor. The abrasive repartee between Steph and Victoria Lord is immediately humorous and engaging and quickly builds into an excellent story. Solomon has a number of rules he has created for his practice. Rule #1 When the law doesn’t work, work the law.

Victoria was at the top of her class in law school and prepares well and documents everything. His lackadaisical style aggravates her immensely when she is trying to do everything by the book while Solomon as the defense lawyer is nearly impossible. They wind up in jail for getting into a scuffle in court which results in a contempt charge. Steph wants to “tutor” her in the finer elements of jurisprudence. His motto is, “A lawyer who’s afraid of jail is like a surgeon who is afraid of blood.”

In the first offering of the series, these two find themselves on opposing tables in court. She is a rookie state’s attorney and as opposites attract while offering friction, he’s smitten and thinking she’d be a great partner (in more ways than one).  Lord has other ideas (and guys) and isn’t ready to give up either. It’s not long before a trophy wife ends up in trouble with Lord pushing to take her case and Solomon rushing to help.

The banter and sexual tension between the two is not a new stratagem and the dialogue often goes from funny to silly, but the well-plotted story grabs and holds interest and doesn’t flag as it develops a sub-plot. Solomon is well developed, showing a multi-dimensional personality as he cares for his nephew. Victoria Lord is well educated but still very naive.

C.E. Williams - Associate ReviewerThe characters have been compared to Hepburn and Tracy and the story is fun and fast-paced; hard to put down. I highly recommend it.

Free eBook provided to me by BookBub. C. E. Williams

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars Five Stars of Five Rating

Paul Levine - authorThe Author:

(Bio truncated from Amazon) Eleven of [Paul] Levine‘s thrillers have hit Number One bestseller status on Amazon in their genres, and in June 2015, he was the Number One bestselling author on Amazon Kindle.

BUM RAP was a Number One bestseller out of six million books in the Amazon Kindle Store. The setup: Lassiter has had it with sleazy clients, shifty prosecutors, and a legal system out of whack. He’s about to hang up his shingle when Victoria Lord calls. Solomon has been arrested for murder. What’s worse: the only person who can clear him has disappeared. Now it’s up to Lassiter and Lord to track down the witness–a stunning Bar girl–before she’s roped in by the feds…or eliminated by the Russian mob.

Levine’s first novel, TO SPEAK FOR THE DEAD, introduced the world to Jake Lassiter, an NFL linebacker turned hard-nosed lawyer. Lassiter has been described by Booklist as “one of the most entertaining series characters in contemporary crime fiction.”

Levine’s other series features squabbling lawyers – and lovers – Steve Solomon and Victoria Lord, who duel in and out of court. The Chicago Sun-Times praised “Solomon vs. Lord” as “remarkably fresh and original with characters you can’t help loving and sparkling dialogue that echoes the Hepburn-Tracy screwball comedies. A hilarious, touching and entertaining twist on the legal thriller.”

Levine has won the John D. MacDonald fiction award and has been nominated for an Edgar Allan Poe Award, the Macavity, the International Thriller Writers Award, the Shamus Award, and the James Thurber Humor Prize. A graduate of Penn State and the University of Miami School of Law, he was a trial lawyer before becoming a full-time novelist. He divides his time between Santa Barbara, CA and Miami.

Here is a list of Levine’s novels that have hit Number One bestseller status on Amazon in their genres:

LEGAL THRILLERS: “To Speak for the Dead,” “Solomon vs. Lord,” “Fool Me Twice,” “Illegal,” and “Bum Rap.”

MYSTERIES: State vs. Lassiter, The Deep Blue Alibi, Kill All the Lawyers and Mortal Sin.

SERIAL KILLERS and INTERNATIONAL CRIME: Night Vision.

HARD-BOILED MYSTERIES: Mortal Sin.

ORGANIZED CRIME THRILLERS and SPORTS FICTION: Paydirt.

The “Solomon vs. Lord” series:

Solomon vs. Lord
The Deep Blue Alibi
Kill All the Lawyers
Habeas Porpoise (previously titled Trial & Error)

OTHER ENDEAVORS: Paul wrote 21 episodes of the TV series “JAG” and co-created the Supreme Court drama “First Monday,” both on CBS.

More info at http://www.paul-levine.com
Follow Paul @Jake_Lassiter
Visit Paul’s updated Facebook Author Page for the latest news: https://www.facebook.com/PaulLevine

(From Goodreads) NEW and available in print, e-book and audio editions: Paul Levine’s latest legal thriller, BUM DEAL, debuted June 2018.

©2018