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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Restaurant Weeks Are Murder by Libby Klein – a #BookReview

Restaurant Weeks Are Murder by Libby KleinTitle: Restaurant Weeks Are Murder by Libby Klein

Genre: Cozy Culinary Mystery, Amateur Sleuths, Cozy Animal Mysteries

Publisher: Kensington

  • ISBN-10:1496713079
  • ISBN-13:978-1496713070
  • ASIN: B07DBQBVYJ

 Print Length: 304 pages

Publication Date: February 26, 2019

Source: Publisher and NetGalley

Title Link: Restaurant Weeks Are Murder (A Poppy McAllister Mystery Book 3)

Book Blurb:

Cape May, New Jersey, is the site of a big culinary competition—and the knives are out . . .

Poppy McAllister is happy about opening a Jersey Shore B&B—but working in a professional kitchen has always been her real dream. Now it’s coming true, at least briefly, as she teams up with her former fiancée, Tim—and his condescending partner, Gigi—during the high-profile Restaurant Week challenge. Poppy’s specialty is pastries, despite her devotion to a Paleo diet. But if anyone can make glorious gluten-free goodies, it’s Poppy.

Things get heated quickly—especially when some ingredients get switched and Tim’s accused of sabotage. Relatively harmless pranks soon escalate into real hazards, including an exploding deep fryer. And now one of the judges has died after taking a bite of Poppy’s cannoli—making her the chef suspect . . .

Includes Seven Recipes from Poppy’s Kitchen!

My Review:

Restaurant Weeks Are Murder by Libby KleinMs. Klein has ramped up her cooking expertise in Book 3 of her Poppy McAllister series. Poppy and her Aunt Ginny are finishing up the touches on their Butterfly Wings Bed and Breakfast. Tim, Poppy’s one-time fiancé, has asked her to team with him and Gigi in the Restaurant Week Challenge where she will create her specialty desserts and pastries. The competition of seven days comprises three stages that include a “mystery basket” of ingredients and is judged by well-known celebrities, if possibly questionable, local judges and is to be recorded to show on Jersey area daytime TV.

One of the six teams is comprised of Gia, a steamy, mcDreamy Italian for whom Poppy has been supplying some of her pastries for him and his mother’s Italian restaurant. Teams include a head chef, a sous chef, and a pastry chef per each restaurant team. It’s obvious from the beginning that this is a serious competition, each vying for the prize of $10,000 as well as the notoriety, air time, and press. Unfortunately, few of the team members get along with each other and the judges are brutal. So, this being a cozy is not too difficult to guess who will be the victim.

Before the mics are on and the cameras are rolling, there is sabotage (changing labels of food ingredients), bickering, materials are disappearing, and a fight breaking out between two of the competing chefs. You can almost visualize Chef Ramsey delivering a scathing review to one of the dishes as the 10-year-old looks on teary-eyed.

The author’s wicked sense of humor sparks off the characters, including her Aunt Ginny who is up to her usual antics and her naughty kitty Figaro who figures out which judge housed in their B&B is allergic to felines and does his best to make sure she is sneezing and miserable. The dialogue ranges between snarky, hilarious, and believable in an honest conversational tone. The secondary characters work well with the main characters and protagonist providing that tension in a real kitchen competition atmosphere, scrambling to the pantry for their ingredients only to have another chef snatch it out from under them.

The characters have been developed in previous series entries and there is little further fleshing here, although with the plot focus on food could still work as a stand alone. It is a very well paced plot, albeit slow to deliver a victim as the focus is the restaurant challenge and all the outrageous events happening while trying to film each day’s segment concluding with judging scores. Red herrings, twists, and new discoveries every chapter lead to a conclusion you may have guessed, but it’s been fun.

I had two problems, and yes, it is acknowledged that her aunt is an active, saucy octogenarian, but she and her friends were referred to constantly as the “biddies and cronies.” (Ouch) And, the dreaded romantic triangle. (I’m so over it–can we move on now?). Also the judge, “Stormin’ Norman,” weatherman. (Perhaps Ms. Klein is unaware of the scandal that took place in the 80s out west and it did give me icky pause.)

I received this ebook download from the publisher and NetGalley and appreciated the opportunity to read and review. The author has a writing style I enjoy, characters that engage, and I’m looking forward to Book 4.

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

Libby Klein - authorThe Author: Libby Klein graduated Lower Cape May Regional High School sometime in the ’80s. Her classes revolved mostly around the culinary sciences and theater, with the occasional nap in Chemistry. She loves to drink coffee, bake gluten free goodies, and befriend random fluffy cats. She writes from her Northern Virginia office while trying to keep her cat Figaro off her keyboard. Most of her hobbies revolve around eating, and travel, and eating while traveling.

©2019 V Williams Blog author

Murder in Tranquility Park by J D Griffo #BlogTour #BookReview #Giveaway

Murder in Tranquility Park

I am so delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for Murder in Tranquility Park (A Ferrara Family Mystery-Book 2) by J D Griffo on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Scroll down to enter your chance to win the Giveaway!

Book Details

Murder in Tranquility Park (A Ferrara Family Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Kensington (March 26, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 1496713966
ISBN-13: 978-1496713964
Digital ASIN: B07F5XG3CQ

Book Blurb

Alberta Scaglione and her twentysomething granddaughter, Jinx, love to spend time—and solve crime—together . . .

Ever since Alberta Scaglione inherited her spinster aunt’s Cape Cod cottage, she’s been enjoying the good life in Tranquility, New Jersey, with her black cat, Lola. But since things are mostly quiet in this town, she finds other things to do—like joining Jinx for morning jogs in Tranquility Park. She has to do something to stay healthy, as long as it doesn’t involve Jinx’s healthful tofu sausages and gluten-free pasta. But when they stumble across a treehouse hidden in the trees, and a dead body underneath it, they take a detour into solving a murder. Now the Ferrara ladies will have to exercise extreme caution to avoid a permanent decline in their health . . .

Includes Italian recipes from Alberta’s kitchen!

My Review

Murder in Tranquility Park by J D GriffoCozy mystery with a slightly different premise in that it is not one female protagonist but a family combining skills from the 65-year-old grandmother, Alberta, to 25-year-old granddaughter Jinx. In between are a sister (ex-nun Helen) and sister-in-law (Joyce). Vinny, now police chief for whom Alberta babysat and Nola, Zinx’s roomy are also featured a second time. Yes, she is a recent transplant, which delightfully has put her in close proximity to family members in Tranquility, New Jersey. Jinx is working on becoming an investigative reporter for the local newspaper and has a boyfriend, Freddy.

Jinx has convinced Alberta that she needs some exercise to keep those old bones running smoothly and she and Gram begin by jogging very early in the morning only to discover a huge tree house neither had previously noticed in the small town park. On their way back they run to the tree house to further check it out and discover the body of well-known life-long occupant, Jonas.

The characters are very well developed (could function as a standalone) and each exhibit a whole host of personalities, from sweet and naive to biting but all work to create a well-paced narrative. Alberta is hardcore Sicilian Catholic and each chapter heading is infused with hints of the new chapter in beautiful Italian. Alberta is brought up old-school Victorian and is somewhat shocked from time to time with her sister’s and granddaughter’s view of sexuality invoking a smattering of easy religious thought. Dialogue often bordering on humorous with some innuendo is enough to be fun and keep things light, sometimes peppered with “Holy Marcello Mastroianni”–or enter your own Italian movie star…).

Lots of twists, turns, red herrings, but really you have your suspicions early on and it’s a matter of just enjoying how the author lays out the investigation, the role the sisters play, and mastering the shouting match when they all get together which brings to mind “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.”

It’s a fun, fast character-driven cozy mystery where the mystery is not forgotten and the family value theme recurs often. I had a small problem with the conclusion when Alberta and Jinx went off to confront their number one perp without back-up who at this point is a double murderer. A couple of last twists into the climax you didn’t see coming, so you can’t guess it all (and pushing disbelief with a gas pipe in a furnace room–uh, no…just, no).

I was given this ebook download by the publisher and NetGalley for this blog tour and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review. Easy to push right through this one and look for another. Recommended for cozy mystery fans looking for a slightly different, but very pleasant character.

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Giveaway

Sign up for your chance to win one of (3) Sets – Print Copies – Murder on Memory Lake and Murder in Tranquility Park (U.S. Only) Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

J D Griffo - authorItalian by birth, Jersey by upbringing, J. D. Griffo is an award-winning playwright and author who has written ten novels, over twenty plays, and a handful of screenplays that have yet to see the light of day.

Griffo studied Journalism and Marketing at New York University, graduating magna cum laude many, many years ago, as well as Creative Writing at the New School and Gotham Writer’s Workshop.

And the J. D. stands for the author’s mother – Jean Dolores – who absolutely loved to read and tell stories.

Author Links

Website – https://michaelgriffo.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Michael2264

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/j.d.griffo/

Purchase Links – Amazon – B&N – Kobo – Google Play – IndieBound 

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

Tour Participants:

April 1 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

April 1 – Literary Gold – SPOTLIGHT

April 2 – Here’s How It Happened – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE

April 2 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

April 3 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW, RECIPE

April 3 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

April 4 – I’m all About Books – SPOTLIGHT

April 4 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

April 5 – A Wytch’s Book Review Blog – REVIEW

April 5 – StoreyBook Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

April 6 – Readeropolis – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE

April 7 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

April 7 – 4covert2overt  A Place In The Spotlight  – GUEST POST

April 8 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT, RECIPE

April 8 – Sneaky the Library Cat’s Blog – CHARACTER INTERVIEW

April 8 – Books Direct – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

April 9 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

April 9 – Reading Is My SuperPower – CHARACTER GUEST POST

April 10 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW

April 10 – A Blue Million Books – GUEST POST

April 10 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT Great Escapes Book Tours

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

©2019 V Williams Blog author

Confessions of a Red Herring by Dana Dratch – a #BlogTour #BookReview and #Giveaway

Confessions of a Red Herring by Dana Dratch

Title: Confessions of a Red Herring (A Red Herring Mystery #1) by Dana Dratch

Genre: Mystery, Cozy, Amateur Sleuths

Publisher: Kensington Books

Publication Date: HAPPY RELEASE DAY – May 29, 2018

Great Escapes Book ToursSource: Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours and NetGalley

Pages: 336 pages

ISBN-13: 978-1496716569

ASIN: B075C8FDT5

I am super-excited today to participate in the Publication Day for Confessions of a Red Herring by Dana Dratch on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour.

Book Blurb:

Alex Vlodnachek has been a reporter for 12 years, a P.R. rep for three months, and a murder suspect for all of 24 hours. When her agency’s double-dealing CEO is stabbed, scheming co-workers cast the new redhead as a compelling red herring. The story is media catnip—especially her salacious nickname: Vlod the Impaler.

Even Alex has to admit she looks guilty.

Out of a job and under suspicion, Alex is running low on cash, when she’s visited by a second disaster: her family. Soon her tiny bungalow is bursting with her nearest and not-so-dearest. To keep herself out of jail—and save what’s left of her sanity—Alex returns to her reporting roots. She goes undercover to reclaim her life, break the story, and unmask a murderer. Pretty much in that order.

What she doesn’t know: The killer also has a to-do list.
And Alex is on it. Continue reading “Confessions of a Red Herring by Dana Dratch – a #BlogTour #BookReview and #Giveaway”

Splintered Silence – a Book Review

Splintered Silence by Susan FurlongTitle: Splintered Silence (A Bone Gap Travellers novel) by Susan Furlong

Genre: Currently #956 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Women’s Fiction, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Women Sleuths

Publisher: Kensington Press

Publication Date: December 26, 2017

Source: Kensington Press and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Splintered Silence – Backwoods road, country setting

Former Marine MP Brynn Callahan and Wilco (her cadaver dog) have returned to the Appalachians of Tennessee to stay with her grandparents who raised her after three tours with the Marines. Brynn and Wilco (Will Comply) are both suffering from PTSD after an IED explosion ended their tour. Splintered Silence is the first in the Bone Gap Travellers Mystery series, featuring the Irish Travellers. Often in conflict with the “settled” of the nearby town of McCreary, the Irish Travellers prefer to keep to themselves as a strong knit clan. Brynn’s Human Remains Detection (HRD) dog reverts to his training when he detects a body in the nearby woods.   Continue reading “Splintered Silence – a Book Review”

Stowed Away – a Book Review

Stowed Away - A Maine Clambake Mystery by Barbara RossTitle: Stowed Away (A Maine Clambake Mystery) by Barbara Ross

Genre: Currently #30 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Mystery

Publisher: Kensington Books

Publication Date: To be released December 26 2017

Source: Kensington Books and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Stowed Away – Cover promises cute cozy mystery

I love it when the cute and compelling book cover delivers on its promise to be a fun, sweet little ride. This sixth book in the series also makes you envy what appear to be a gorgeous Maine, Atlantic Coast blue skies, fair winds location and seaward lifestyle. And you know I’m all over that!

This little romp in the Maine Clambake Mystery series by Barbara Ross features versatile and capable Julia Snowden as protagonist and amateur sleuth. She is low-key, perceptive, and quick to catch any nuance. She is part of the Snowden family that offers an annual sail and clambake to their little tourist retreat on Morrow Island twice a day for the summer season. During the off-season, she is part owner of a little diner with Quentin Tupper in Busman’s Harbor, Maine. Continue reading “Stowed Away – a Book Review”

Mayhem & Mass – a Book Review

Mayhem & Mass by Olivia MatthewsTitle: Mayhem & Mass (A Sister Lou Mystery) by Olivia Matthews

Genre: Currently #623 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Mystery, Cozy, Crafts & Hobbies (and Animals) (huh?)

Publisher: Kensington Books

Publication Date: To be released November 28, 2017 – Happy Release Day!

Source: Kensington Books and NetGalley

Title and Cover: Mayhem & Mass Simple cover includes a church in the background; not representative of the novel location setting, nor is there a cat in the book that I remember. “For a plain clothes nun, sleuthing is a habit…”

Yes, I must admit to being Protestant. My husband is the Catholic. After more than 50 years with him, I still scratch my head over some of the rituals, beads, saints (some that have been desainted), but must also admit to many practices and ceremonies that I’ve enjoyed as well. My hubby and I were extremely privileged to sing in a choir for (Saint) Pope John Paul II in 1989 at Castle Gondolfo. (You can’t deny that holy aura.) So it was when I saw the title and read the blurb that I had to request and read this book. Continue reading “Mayhem & Mass – a Book Review”

The Plot Is Murder (Mystery Bookshop) – a Book Review

The Plot is Murder by V M BurnsTitle: The Plot Is Murder (Mystery Bookshop) by V. M. Burns

Genre: Currently #1139 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank for Books, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Mystery, Cozy, Crafts & Hobbies

Publisher: Kensington Books

Publication Date: To be released November 28, 2017

Source: Kensington and NetGalley

Title and Cover: The Plot is Murder – Great cover includes the protagonist’s poodles

Here is a 1930’s British Cozy Mystery within a contemporary American cozy mystery. The protagonist, Samantha (Sam) Washington has lost her husband with whom she shared a dream to open a mystery bookshop in North Harbor, Michigan. She sells the home they owned, collected the insurance money, and buys an older building downtown where she will convert the upper story into living quarters and the main level into her mystery book retail space with hopes of providing a limited assortment of teas and scones. She has a support group that includes her grandmother, Nana Jo, and her grandmother’s friends from the retirement community. Unfortunately, closing the sale was difficult, had to involve an attorney, and left her with major animosity toward the real estate agent–the weasel. Unfortunately, before she can open the store, Clayton Parker, the agent, is found murdered in her back yard. Continue reading “The Plot Is Murder (Mystery Bookshop) – a Book Review”