Category: Crime Fiction

This #CrimeFicFridays I have a #CosyMystery Blog Book Tour | feat. “Death and Decluttering” (Book One, Sparks and Joy Mysteries) by Nancy McGovern

Posted Friday, 22 January, 2021 by jorielov , , , , 1 Comment

#CrimeFicFridays banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: I had to take a leave of absence hosting for this touring company in [2015] whilst I worked towards finding better balance in my blogging and personal life. I returnt to hosting for Lola’s Book Tours in [2018] before having to take a small hiatus from requesting future blog tours for a second time. By [2020] as my health afflictions from 2018/19 started to recede I realised I could start to host for her authors with better confidence in being able to participate on the tours themselves. Thereby it was with the Dream Horse Adventures series I decided to mark my return and was quite thankful this was a series she was celebrating through her touring company.

I received a complimentary copy of “Death and Decluttering” direct from the author Nancy McGovern in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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It was meant to be a Cosy kind of ending to 2020:

I quite wickedly stumbled into an online event called: #12DaysOfCozies (you’ll find the badge and links to this in my blog’s sidebar) wherein Cosy Mystery authors & readers were readily able to engage directly with each other during 12 wicked wonderful days of December wherein a Cosy Mystery devout reader, blogger and social motivator (Angela @ Cozy Mystery Book Club) brought us all together – for chats and bingo cards and the best bit of all – the chance to unwind into a spontaneously spun chat wherein we ‘met’ #newtomeauthors of Cosy Mysteries, found new stories and/or series to add-on to our library hold queues and dearly gave us a wickedly delight of a start to December after such a hard-won year!

I had fully planned to read a sampling of those authors stories & series during the second half of December (if not over the Christmas & New Year’s holidays directly!) whilst curating some #25PagePreview posts rolled into my #blogmas schedule! However, December had other plans for me and sadly, despite being able to fetch a sleighfull of books from those lovely authors from two different libraries (ie. local and regional alike) I had to push forward those plans into January (and most likely February at this junction!) as my holidays were an insanely rescheduled affair after my Mum worked over 135+ emergency shifts at work as she’s in home health! Our holidays were not calm & festive but we found small joys and little ways of ringing in Christmas & New Year’s despite the adverse ways in which the holidays were unconventionally celebrated this year.

I even had to postpone my favourite binge reads for #ChristmasReads which (as I’m eyeing the calendar,…) I still aim to accomplish by releaseing a few last #blogmas posts before February springs itself on me!

Thereby whilst I awaited the arrival of “Death and Decluttering” my entire mindset in December was blissfully set in a Cosy kind of headspace because I was *devouring!* the #12DaysOfCozies chats and scouring my libraries card catalogues online to see what I could to put into queue next! I even found the group read book for the Cozy Mystery Book Club! Top cheers to Jorie, eh!

If you’ve been a follower and/or fervent reader of Jorie Loves A Story, you know I generally disappear off into the Cosy Historical Mystery worlds of intrique moreso than Contemporary Cosies – however, in recent years that has been changing – with my passionate love of Love Inspired Suspense novels with Mum, my JOY of discovering the witchy Cosies by Leanne Leeds and the quirkified world of the Wonky Witch (my dearly beloved Alf!) and the Wonky Inn — you could definitely say I have a stronghold on the Cosies which are keeping me wickedly entertained and heartily in love with Indie Cosies!

It is my absolute joy in welcoming the Sparks and Joy Mysteries to Jorie Loves A Story and I cannot wait to knit together my remarks on behalf of the series already in progress of being read as I itch towards #Witchathon & #WyrdAndWonder this New Year, 2021!

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This #CrimeFicFridays I have a #CosyMystery Blog Book Tour | feat. “Death and Decluttering” (Book One, Sparks and Joy Mysteries) by Nancy McGovernDeath and Decluttering
Subtitle: A Spark and Joy Mystery : Book One
by Nancy McGovern
Source: Author via Lola's Blog Tours

Joy Russo loves chaos. From her life as a busy reporter to her brawling, coffee-obsessed Italian family, there’s nothing she loves more than her messy, little life. Then the weird, slightly out-of-this-world Aurora Sparks arrives, whose life seems to revolve around creating order out of chaos.

The two of them have somehow ended up as roommates in the small Upstate New York town of Bent River, and the old adage that says “opposite attract” couldn’t be further from the truth! Sparks fly & tempers flare as each young lady tries to deal with the other’s eccentricities while not compromising their own values. Much easier said than done.

But when a man is found dead and Joy’s father is the prime suspect, the two must put aside their differences if they want to help him. They soon find that Joy’s tough, no-nonsense demeanor and Aurora’s ordered, structured nature perfectly complement each other when it comes to ferreting out clues. And, thankfully so, as the danger threatens to escalate unless they can sort through the facts and solve this mystery in a hurry!

Death & Decluttering is the first cozy mystery adventure
in Nancy McGovern’s new series, "Sparks & Joy”!

Genres: Amateur Detective, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Cosy Mystery, Crime Fiction


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 979-8656529341

Published by McGovern Books

on 29th June, 2020

Format: Trade Paperback

Pages: 222

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The Sparks & Joy Mysteries:

Notice the ostrich? Due take stock of the bird! Quite a pivotal side character!

Death and Decluttering by Nancy McGovernAlibis & Arranging by Nancy McGovernSuspects and Sorting by Nancy McGovern

Death and Decluttering (book one)

Alibis and Arranging (book two)

Suspects and Sorting (book three)

I will be reading the second & third book in this series post-tour!

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.com

Ahead of reading my reactions to “Death and Decluttering”
ENJOY this short extract of the novel:

Joy shot up out of bed as she heard the phone ring. The digital alarm clock beside her bed read 3:04am. Ricci House was one of the few houses in Bent River to still have a landline, mainly because her Nonno had insisted on it. He’d liked the fact that it was tied down in one place. A mobile phone was far too easily lost in the mountain of clutter all around the house.

Now, Joy realized with a sigh that the phone was still in her Nonno’s room. The room she’d hardly ever entered after he died. The room she’d thoughtlessly let Aurora settle into earlier that day.

The ringing stopped. Joy shrugged on a robe and tied the belt around herself. Her hazy mind had begun to clear, and panic was marching its icy feet down her spine. A call at 3am could only mean bad news. Gearing herself up mentally, Joy walked down the hallway and rapped on what was now Aurora’s door.

Aurora swung it wide open almost immediately. Her eyes were wide and panicked. “Joy…it’s…it’s for you.” She pointed behind her and Joy raced to pick up the phone. She closed her eyes for a second and took a breath – the fear that something bad had happened was now certainty.

“Joy, sweetheart.” It was her mother. Oh no. “Something terrible has happened.”

“It’s Dad, isn’t it?” Joy’s throat was so tight she could barely talk. Aurora came up behind her and put a sympathetic hand on her shoulder.

“It’s…me, actually,” her mother said. “I’m calling from the police station. Oh, Joy…could you come? Quickly? I think I might need a lawyer, too. I just…”

“You’re at the police station?” Joy blinked. “What?

“I’m being questioned,” her mother said. “Joy…it’s not looking good.”

You? Questioned by the police?” Joy was baffled. “At 3am?”

“Chip Goggins is dead.” Her mother’s voice was strangely emotionless and flat.

“Where’s Dad?” A new suspicion had begun to dawn on Joy.

“I don’t know. The police have gone to get him, too. Joy, can you please just come? Tell Uncle Pietro and the others, will you?”

“Sure. Sure. Of course,” Joy said. “Don’t you worry, Mom. We’ll sort everything out soon. Just stay strong.”

“Your time is up,” an official sounding voice said in the background.

“Just one more min-” Joy heard her mother protest just as the phone was cut off.

Aurora gave her a questioning look as Joy placed the phone down.

“I have to go,” Joy said, pushing past her and rushing to the door. No…wait…she had to call her uncles first. Struggling to remember where she’d put her purse, Joy ran to her room and began searching around. Her phone, wallet and keys – she really needed them right now.

Right. Now.

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This is a Self-Published Cosy Mystery series!

Converse on Twitter via: #CosyMystery OR #CozyMystery
as well as #SparksAndJoyMysteries and #IndieAuthor

About Nancy McGovern

Nancy McGovern

I'm a mother, wife, homemaker, pet lover, teacher, student, reader, writer, drinker of tea & wine (depending on the time of day) and sleep-deprived dreamer. I live in Northern New Jersey with my husband (a veterinarian and writer), our three children and too many furred & feathered friends to list!

Please visit my website for more information about my books and to sign up for my newsletter!

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Posted Friday, 22 January, 2021 by jorielov in Amateur Detective, Blog Tour Host, Cosy Mystery, Crime Fiction, Indie Author, Lady Detective Fiction, Lola's Blog Tours

An INSPY Victorian #25PagePreview Spotlight | “The Gentleman and the Thief” (The Dread Penny Society, Book Two) by Sarah M. Eden

Posted Wednesday, 18 November, 2020 by jorielov , , , , 1 Comment

Stories in the Spotlight banner created by Jorie in Canva.

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

This marks my first time hosting with Austenprose – although, I have been a long time admirer of her blog and it is an honour to start a new journey in hosting her blog tours! Ms Laurel reached out to me initially to host her authors for my bookish chat known for showcasing Romance & Women’s Fiction as well as stories of Feminist Lit – @SatBookChat meets on Saturdays January-November annually. Through conversing with her I had the pleasure of joy of becoming better acquainted with two authors I have been itching to start reading over the years – Ms Sarah M. Eden of whom I’m spotlighting today ahead of my review at the end of the blog tour and Ms Mimi Matthews of whom I am spotlighting on the morrow.

I started to come across Shadow Mountain Publishing authors & stories whilst participating in my favourite INSPY readathon every year during the Summer, hosted by Sydney @ Singing Librarian Books. Being a hybrid reader of both mainstream & INSPY throughout my life, I am constantly seeking out more authors who write Inspirational Fiction across both genre and publishing routes (ie. from major trade to Indie publishers (like Shadow Mountain) to self-published authors) – thus, I was delighted when I started to see Ms Eden’s novel popping up on my routes throughout the book blogosphere and being featured during Ms Sydney’s readathon.

When I first joined this blog tour, I hadn’t realised it was a series in-progress – as regular readers of Jorie Loves A Story know my personal preference for reading serials is to read them start to finish – even if that means, borrowing missing installments by inter-library loan if my local library or regional library does not carry the author, book or series. However, in this instance – between my health afflictions and my migraines, I wasn’t able to sort out a way to get a copy of “The Lady and the Highwayman” ahead of starting to read “The Gentleman and the Thief”. I decided instead to reply on a review I found quite wonderfully in-depth via Austenprose.

I even checked Scribd and was sad to see this series was not listed in their catalogue for audiobooks as that would have been a brilliant way to ‘catch’ up with the series – as being a migraineur, I regularly turn to audiobooks to help offset my migraines and/or to help me transition back into reading after having a supernova migraine such as the one I had earlier in November.

The main reason I am choosing to spotlight this novel today is because due to being taken ill at the end of October (as I was emotionally distraught over the fate of trees in my neighbourhood recently as well as other stress factors involved at the time) and the migraines I sustained as well – I haven’t had the proper chance to get into this novel and understand the story as I would  prefer as a book blogger. This novel also has a different technique in how it is being told and the layout of the novel as well – as the narrative shifts between two penny dreadful stories and the main thread of the story involving the characters of this installment.

I plan to continue reading this novel and posting my review on the last day of the tour, which is the 29th. Until then, I decided to share my thoughts on the first twenty-five pages and to give my readers & visitors alike a bit of a preview of where my thoughts are tracking as I read my first Sarah M. Eden novel as well as on diving into the second novel of the Dread Penny Society. I hope this might tip your hat towards selecting this novel and/or the fuller series to be put on your to read stack!

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An INSPY Victorian #25PagePreview Spotlight | “The Gentleman and the Thief” (The Dread Penny Society, Book Two) by Sarah M. EdenThe Gentleman and the Thief
Subtitle: Proper Romance
by Sarah M. Eden
Source: Publisher via Austenprose

A standalone novel in The Dread Penny Society set in 1865 London brimming with secrets, scandal, suspense, and romance.

From the moment Hollis Darby meets Ana Newport, he's smitten. Even though he's from a wealthy, established family and she isn't, he wishes he could have a life with her by his side. But Hollis has a secret: the deep coffers that have kept his family afloat for generations are bare, so he supports himself by writing penny dreadfuls under a pseudonym. If not for the income from his novels, he would be broke.

Ana Newport also has a secret. Though she once had a place in society thanks to her father's successful business, bankruptcy and scandal reduced his fortune to nothing more than a crumbling town house. So Ana teaches music during the day, and at night she assumes the identity of the "Phantom Fox." She breaks into the homes of the wealthy to reclaim trinkets and treasures she feels were unjustly stolen from her family when they were struggling.

When Hollis's brother needs to hire a music tutor for his daughter, Hollis recommends Ana, giving him a chance to spend time with her. Ana needs the income and is eager for the opportunity to get to know the enigmatic gentleman. What neither of them expects is how difficult it will be to keep their respective secrets from each other.

When a spree of robberies rocks the city, Ana and Hollis join forces to solve the crimes, discovering that working together deepens the affection between them. After all, who better to save the day than a gentleman and a thief?

Genres: Cosy Historical Mystery, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1629727905

Published by Shadow Mountain Publishing

on 3rd November, 2020

Format: Paperback ARC

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The Dreadful Penny Society:

The Lady and the Highwayman (book one)

The Gentleman and the Thief (book two)

The Merchant and the Rogue (book three) ← forthcoming, August, 2021!

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Published by: Shadow Mountain Publishing (@ShadowMountn)

Read a review of the first story in this series: The Lady and the Highwayman via Austenprose

Converse via: #HistoricalRomance or #HistRom
+ #TheGentlemanAndTheThief, #ProperRomance and #Austenprose

Available Formats: Trade paperback and Ebook

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Posted Wednesday, 18 November, 2020 by jorielov in #25PagePreview, Austenprose, Blog Tour Host, Book Spotlight, Content Note, Cosy Historical Mystery, Fly in the Ointment, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Jorie Loves A Story Features, Romance Fiction

A special #HistoricalMondays Guest Post | feat. the Countess of Harleigh Mysteries by Dianne Freeman

Posted Monday, 17 August, 2020 by jorielov , , , , , , 2 Comments

Guest Contributor and/or Reviewer of JLAS banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

I was hoping to share my ruminations about the third Countess of Harleigh novel with you today, however, the truth of it is I have been reading at a far slower pace recently due to having 3x migraines in 3 weeks and nearly succumbing to a fourth this past weekend. It takes quite a bit out of me to transition out of these more severe migraines (what I refer to as supernovas) and despite my earnest intentions to read on the schedules of my blog tours, sometimes I fall a bit short, which is why I’m going to be featuring a lovely Guest Post by Ms Freeman today and share my review with you about this delightful third novel during my latest #CrimeFicFridays review on the 21st which is the final day of the tour.

I should also mention, I originally was going to interview Ms Freeman about this latest release and tie it back together with the previous two installments as I had previously interviewed her during the first blog tour I hosted of hers wherein I discovered this most charmingly intriguing character and found a wicked new Cosy Historical Mystery series in which to love devouring! I loved this series so dearly much that I also had her as a guest author on my chat @SatBookChat!

However, after having a clustering of severe migraines I simply ran out of time to gather my thoughts and put forth a conversation which would honour the series. I was thankful Ms Freeman didn’t mind switching to a guest post and this topic was one of her choosing. When I read the essay I was quite charmed and think you will be too because it discusses the curious manners of ‘house parties’ and what was keenly interesting is how *structured!* and *regulated!* they were despite the illusion that it was a causal get together amongst friends!

I look forward to sharing more with you at the close of the week but for now, if this is your first introduction to the series, I hope it will whet a thirst of interest to begin reading the stories!

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On why I love reading this series:

A Lady's Guide to Gossip and Murder by Dianne Freeman

Rather immediately, I found myself drawn into the life of Frances – not just because her husband was a cad and a louse of a husband but because of how Ms Freeman endeared us to champion her cause as a woman exiting her mourning period and getting on with her life! It was quite horrid for women in the 19th Century – still attached to that tradition of wearing dearly depressing hues of black and grey (in different increments which were rather strictly enforced!) for at least a year after becoming widowed. It was only then, where she could ‘re-emerge’ into her colours and start to make her presence more widely known in society. How those women managed it, I’ll never know not – as in the case of Frances, it most have truly become a chore knowing her her husband departed his life! Oyy, vie such a rat!

Her in-laws were quite typical – only out for themselves, more concerned with the affairs relating to their estate and less enthused to even entertain a thought of concern over Frances. For her benefit, she was made of stronger stock than they would have believed and she took her daughter (Rose) and herself off to the city to carve out their future elsewhere from the throes of the Harleigh family and the responsibilities therein. Freeman gave you such a hearty and joyful introduction to her character – part of her antics reminded me of why I have such cheeky joy in reading the Anna Blanc series and part of the exchanges also reminded me of my recent over the Discreet Detective Agency – there is something to be said for well-timed satire and humour in the Cosy Historical Mysteries your reading! The appeal of course is being able to burst into giggles alongside the allure of moving deeper into the context of the building mystery!

Of course, not all is ill for Frances – she has enough resources within her means to purchase a least outright for a house which still has eighty years to be lived inside! Imagine? She might have sparse furnishings and staff but something told me her and Rose would thrive here rather than having stayed on with the relatives at the estate. One of my favourite moments is when she bribes one of the maids not to spoilt her news by giving her the chance to make haste and away with her once she moves out. It was a ploy to cover-up the fact she had a bit of a rebellious nature inside her to where she did not like to leave things to fate if there was a loophole round the unknown! Smartly written, Freeman keeps you entertained from one chapter to the next to where it is just a delight to overhear what Frances will say next and what her next actions might be which become the new concerns of the family she’s left behind!

As fate continued to give Frances more headaches than smiles, you had to give it to her – she chose to set her attitude on the positive and despite the arduous circumstances alighting towards her at an alarming speed of haste from her brother-in-law, Frances wouldn’t let her resolve falter. There was much more at stake than inconvenient delays in the normality of her life – no, she simply turnt her chin up with a strength she might not have entirely felt but one which would see her through with the kindness of her friends. This was another instance where you could see how lovely it was for her to have Fiona in her life – the kind of huckleberry friend everyone needs and is blessed to have found.

Part of the joy of reading this series are the layers of etiquette permeating into the fabric of the story-line – fitting for this debut of the series itself as it lends a certain view of the absurdity of tradition these lords and ladies were put through when their era was in its heyday! All the confining points of societal regulations and the fact, you couldn’t just remove yourself from the obligations as that would be lent to scandal and gossip; Freeman takes you through the motions of how frivolous the ton can be and how determined you must become to outwit them all the same! Frances shows this by her unwavering belief that if you lead with strength and a resolve to overcome whatever befalls you, society will either a) move on to the next lead story or b) forget you completely; which I felt was her preference. Frances wasn’t the kind who welcomed notoriety – quite the opposite, I believed she wanted to live a more ordinary life without all the pops and poms of the elevated class.

I was endeared to the plot long before I caught-on to the mysterious events happening in the background – for me, this series is wickedly driven by its characters – specifically everyone related into the  personal orbit and sphere of Frances! You can’t help but feel caught inside her life – seeing how even the most ordinary of lives can suddenly become a feast of trouble yet with a sturdy circle of friends and family; any obstacle can surely become defeated! I must admit, by the time I unearthed the actual crime and the person behind it – I was quite somber! I hadn’t expected the villain in the story to be whom they were as I was expecting it be someone else completely! The way in which Freeman related those finer details of the whys and hows lead me to believe the rest of this series is going to be as charmingly cosy to read as its debut!

-quoted from my review of A Lady’s Guide to Gossip and Murder

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A special #HistoricalMondays Guest Post | feat. the Countess of Harleigh Mysteries by Dianne FreemanA Lady's Guide to Mischief and Murder
Subtitle: A Countess of Harleigh Mystery
by Dianne Freeman
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

In Dianne Freeman’s charming Victorian-era mystery series, Frances Wynn, the American-born Countess of Harleigh, finds her sister’s wedding threatened by a vow of vengeance.

London is known for its bustle and intrigues, but the sedate English countryside can host—or hide—any number of secrets. Frances, the widowed Countess of Harleigh, needs a venue for her sister Lily’s imminent wedding, away from prying eyes. Risings, George Hazleton’s family estate in Hampshire, is a perfect choice, and soon Frances, her beloved George, and other guests have gathered to enjoy the usual country pursuits—shooting, horse riding, and romantic interludes in secluded gardens.

But the bucolic setting harbors a menace, and it’s not simply the arrival of Frances’s socially ambitious mother. Above and below stairs, mysterious accidents befall guests and staff alike. Before long, Frances suspects these “accidents” are deliberate, and fears that the intended victim is Lily’s fiancé, Leo. Frances’s mother is unimpressed by Lily’s groom-to-be and would much prefer that Lily find an aristocratic husband, just as Frances did. But now that Frances has found happiness with George—a man who loves her for much more than her dowry—she heartily approves of Lily’s choice. If she can just keep the couple safe from villains and meddling mamas.

As Frances and George search for the culprit among the assembled family, friends, and servants, more victims fall prey to the mayhem. Mishaps become full-blooded murder, and it seems that no one is safe. And unless Frances can quickly flush out the culprit, the peal of wedding bells may give way to another funeral toll…

Genres: Historical Fiction, Cosy Historical Mystery, Amateur Detective


Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781496716934

Also by this author: A Lady's Guide to Gossip and Murder, A Lady's Guide to Etiquette and Murder, A Lady's Guide to Gossip and Murder (Author Interview)

Also in this series: A Lady's Guide to Gossip and Murder, A Lady's Guide to Etiquette and Murder


Published by Kensington Books

on 28th July, 2020

Format: Paperback ARC

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The Countess of Harleigh Mysteries:

A Lady's Guide to Gossip and Murder by Dianne FreemanA Lady's Guide to Etiquette and Murder by Dianne FreemanA Lady's Guide to Mischief and Murder by Dianne Freeman

A Lady’s Guide to Gossip & Murder (book one) | see also review

A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette & Murder (book two) | see also review

A Lady’s Guide to Mischief & Murder (book three)

Published by: Kensington Books (@KensingtonBooks)

Converse via: #CosyMystery OR #Cosy #HistoricalMystery
and #CountessOfHarleighMystery

Available Formats: Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

For those on Scribd: Happily the first two audiobooks of this series are available!

About Dianne Freeman

Dianne Freeman

Dianne Freeman is a life-long book lover who left the world of corporate finance to pursue her passion for writing. After co-authoring the non-fiction book, Haunted Highway, The Spirits of Route 66, she realized her true love was fiction, historical mystery in particular. She also realized she didn’t like winter very much so now she and her husband pursue the endless summer by splitting their time between Michigan and Arizona. She’s been nominated for an Agatha and the prestigious Mary Higgins Clark Award, and won the 2019 Lefty Award for Best Debut Mystery.

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Posted Monday, 17 August, 2020 by jorielov in 19th Century, Amateur Detective, Author Guest Post (their topic), Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Cosy Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction, England, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, Jorie Loves A Story Features, Lady Detective Fiction, London, Scribd, the Victorian era

Blog Book Tour | “Solstice Shadows” (VanOps Series, Book Two) by Avanti Centrae also featuring the audiobook courtesy of #NetGalley!

Posted Wednesday, 12 August, 2020 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

Book Review banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: This is marks my first blog tour I’ve hosted for Random Things Tours as a new book blogger working with them to either review and/or host guest author features on behalf of their authors. I was thankful to join their book blogger team and look forward to joining the tours which are highlighting the stories I actively enjoy reading and discovering.

Earlier this year, in late Winter (February) I joined NetGalley for the first time as they finally announced they were going to be offering full-length audiobooks for reviewers. I was never able to join NetGalley due to having chronic migraines and being unable to read ebooks. I started requesting audiobooks to review as soon as they opened their audiobook catalogue in July, 2020. I am an eclectic reader and thereby, you will see all genres in Fiction explored from both markets of interest: mainstream and INSPY as well as from Major Trade, Indie Publishers & Press and other routes of publication, too. There might be the occasional Non-Fiction title appearing in my NetGalley queue of reviews as well. This marks a new adventure for me seeking stories for review consideration and I look forward to seeing where the stories lead me to venture.

I received a complimentary digital and temporary audiobook copy of “Solstice Shadows” direct from the publisher Thunder Creek Press via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All audiobooks via NetGalley are able to be heard via the NetGalley Shelf which is why I was thankful to be gifted an android tablet by my parents to celebrate my 7th Blog Birthday on Jorie Loves A Story.

I also received a complimentary ARC copy of “Solstice Shadows” direct from the author Avanti Centrae in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein on either the complimentary ARC edition of this novel nor the NetGalley audiobook edition.

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On how I came to have this in both print and audiobook:

I have chronic migraines and the interesting thing about chronic migraines is how they can sometimes rob you of your short-term memory! In this particular case, I was excited to start requesting audiobooks via NetGalley. I had already confirmed a print copy of this novel was available for review on the blog tour which I celebrated as I knew this won’t always be the case as their not always available to request. I knew this series had a first novel ahead of “Solstice Shadows” and I was hopeful I could have found a copy of the first novel ahead of reading this sequel but my efforts were a bit in vain as I had two severe migraines back to back in mid-to-late July. And, this is around the time NetGalley was starting to offer their audiobooks for review.

I am a new member of NetGalley this year as previously I could not participate as the only editions they offered were ebooks which I cannot read per the aforementioned migraines. As I was browsing the audiobooks available, I noticed the author’s name for this audiobook was the same for an upcoming blog tour except I mistook the names of the titles in the series and ended up requesting the audiobook for “Solstice Shadows” which is the same book I received for review via an ARC for the blog tour. I was a bit mystified about how I made that error and mistake as it was a first for me to confuse the books in a series and which I was receiving for a blog tour. I consider that was owed to the dual migraines and the severity in which they were afflicting me.

However, this became the first audiobook I listened to via NetGalley and was able to review shortly after receiving it and for that I was grateful for the experience. Also, as I have had such a slow shift back into reading this past week – whilst reading “Magnolia Storms” (see also Review) and “Josette” (see also Review), I appreciated having the audiobook to listen to as I was reading the print copy of “Solstice Shadows” as it helped me work through the last fragments of a third migraine which afflicted me this past weekend.

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On why this novel appealled to me to read and listen via the audiobook:

It is a bit of a luxury to have a book in hand whilst I’m listening to an audiobook of the same book – as generally I colour as I’m listening to audiobooks to better help me ‘tune into the narrator’s voice’ however, there are times where I’ve been blessed to have both the book and the audiobook – this particular time round, I wasn’t expecting to have the audiobook which became an unexpected blessing. What drew me into the novel itself though – aside from the fact I overlooked not being able to read or listen to the first novel in the series (as I couldn’t source a copy from either my libraries and/or Scribd until it was too late to listen to “The Lost Power” – which is currently available on audiobook via Scribd) is the fact this is a Contemporary Thriller.

I’ve been reading Technothrillers and Contemporary Thrillers for a long while – in fact, I have the tendency of either reading them and/or seeing them on film or through a tv series. I still remember what it was like to see “Sneakers” for the first time starring Robert Redford (at the time of release!). This has been compared to Indiana Jones and by extension I would believe it might suit audiences of Lara Croft – though for me, Croft is Angelina Jolie’s role as she owned it so dearly well. Plus the only Dr Jones for me is Harrison Ford. Those were the nudges of what the story would be about prior to reading and listening to Solstice Shadows and why I was drawn into the premise.

After reading and hearing Tim Campbell narrate the story I can summarise the book in this way:

As the story begins on the premise of supercomputers and super conductors, a vague memory came back to me about this as I have read and seen other stories which talk about this part of technology. It is intriguing in some ways as it involves quantum computing on a superspeed level of accuracy and computation. Generally I enjoy reading about Quantum Physics, Quantum Mechanics and Supersymmetry – as it applies to AstroPhysics and beyond – however, when it comes to supercomputers and the speed in which information is both processed and assessed and then used by those who are behind the computer(s) themselves leads into a very cunningly thesis on how far afield technology is leading us and how much of ourselves and our privacy might be put into questionable risk therein.

Yet, instead of feeling invested in the pursuit of this technology, I spent my time trying to sort out the characters and the overall scope of the story instead. There are a lot of information dumps in this novel where you feel like there is a reason you’re being shown all of these scenes but they don’t quite interconnect the way I’d had hoped they would. I was left with more questions than answers and somewhere in the mix, I started to lose traction with the overall plot and the reason I first thought this might sound interesting to read.

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Blog Book Tour | “Solstice Shadows” (VanOps Series, Book Two) by Avanti Centrae also featuring the audiobook courtesy of #NetGalley!Solstice Shadows
Subtitle: A VanOps Thriller
by Avanti Centrae
Source: Audiobook Direct from Publisher via NetGalley, Direct from Author via Random Things Tours
Narrator: Tim Campbell

DA VINCI CODE meets TOMB RAIDER in this multi-award-winning thriller series.

A computer-app designer. An encrypted relic. Can she decipher the dangerous code before extremists trigger a high-tech apocalypse?

Software expert Maddy Marshall isn't sure she's ready for a hazardous role in black ops. But when an armed Russian thief makes off with a rare ancient star chart, the aikido black belt has no choice but to join her VanOps boyfriend and twin brother in the pursuit. If her royal Spanish family legends are true, the chart leads to a superconductive treasure trove capable of powering a quantum computer used as the ultimate instrument of global destruction.

Setting off on a mad dash to uncover the secrets of a Mexican archeoastronomy site, she and the VanOps team unearth a clue dating back to biblical times. But as they race across the globe to the Sahara, Turkey, and Egypt, they find themselves only a half-step ahead of sinister assassins.

Before millions die at the hands of an anti-American Russian government, can Maddy crack the secret code?

Genres: Action & Adventure Fiction, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Thriller


Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

Book Page on NetGalley

ISBN: 978-1-7349662-2-0

Published by Thunder Creek Press

on 11th August, 2020

Format: Audiobook | Digital Review Copy (NetGalley), Paperback ARC

Pages: 404

Length: 9 hours and 28 minutes and 25 seconds (unabridged)

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The VanOps Series:

SOLSTICE SHADOWS is the second book in the fast-paced, multi-award-winning VanOps thriller series. If you enjoy smart edge-of-your-seat suspense such as James Rollins THE LAST ODYSSEY, the Sean Wyatt series by Ernest Dempsey, the NOWHERE MAN by Gregg Hurwitz, ORIGIN by Dan Brown, Steve Berry’s Cotton Malone series, the Atlee Pine series by David Baldacci, or THE ORACLE by Clive Cussler, you’ll stay up late turning the pages of Avanti Centrae’s high-stakes novel.

VANOPS: THE LOST POWER was an instant Barnes and Noble best seller. A rare multi-award-winning novel, it took home a genre grand prize blue ribbon at the 2017 Chanticleer International Book Awards, an Honorable Mention at the 2018 Hollywood Book Festival, and a shiny bronze medal at the 2019 Wishing Shelf Book Awards.

The Lost Power (book one)

Solstice Shadows (book two)

Published by: Thunder Creek Press

Available Formats: Trade Paperback, Audiobook and Ebook

Converse via: #Contemporary #Thriller as well as #VanOps and #SolsticeShadows

About Avanti Centrae

Avanti Centrae

International award-winning author who blends intrigue, history, science, and mystery into non-stop action thrillers.

Avanti Centrae is the author of the international multi-award-winning VANOPS thriller series. An instant #1 Barnes and Noble Nook bestseller, THE LOST POWER took home a genre grand prize ribbon at the Chanticleer International Book Awards, a shiny bronze medal at the Wishing Shelf Awards, and an Honorable Mention at the Hollywood Book Festival. Her father served as a U.S. marine corporal in Okinawa, gathering military intelligence during the first decade after the Korean War. Her work has been compared to that of James Rollins, Steve Berry, Dan Brown, and Clive Cussler. She resides in Northern California with her family and German shepherds.

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Posted Wednesday, 12 August, 2020 by jorielov in 21st Century, Action & Adventure Fiction, Adoption, ARC | Galley Copy, Audiobook, Blog Tour Host, Book Spotlight, Bookmark slipped inside a Review Book, Brothers and Sisters, Contemporary Thriller, Content Note, Equality In Literature, Espionage, Fly in the Ointment, Foster Care, Indie Author, Men's Fiction, Modern Day, Motherhood | Parenthood, Random Things Tours, Siblings, Spy Fiction, Vulgarity in Literature