Genre: Crime Fiction

#SatBookChat New Year Spotlight | featured guest Dianne Freeman discusses her Countess of Harleigh Mysteries during #SatBookChat!

Posted Saturday, 11 January, 2020 by jorielov , 0 Comments

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

You might remember how much I enjoyed reading the Countess of Harleigh novels last July? I had the pleasure of interviewing Ms Freeman during the blog tour as well – as I was blessed to cross paths with this Cosy Historical Mystery novelist whilst hosting her tour as it routed through the book bloggers who like me have a fierce passion for Historical Fiction; hosting with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.

I remember when the books first arrived by #bookpost and how curiously I had looked upon them before I began reading the stories – the cover art danced in front of my eyes, a bit on the cheekier side and definitely with a keen eye for drawing your attention to their design! You had to wonder about the Countess of Harleigh and how her life and this Cosy Historical Mystery was going to resonate with you as you dug into her story and sorted out a new author’s cosy style of relating a mystery set during an era you rather enjoy visiting.

If you’ve missed my previous ruminations about this series let me share this ahead of #SatBookChat this Saturday morning:

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!

-a quote from my review of The Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder

I’ve been listening to the audiobook version of the first novel in the series The Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder finding myself re-attached to the world Ms Freeman alights us inside and cheekily finding myself smirking into ready smiles all over again as I had when I first read the novel in print!

The narrator Sarah Zimmerman is a good match for bringing Frances to life – she has her sensibility and her personality perfectly perfected. I would imagine this might have been a hard role to fulfill because as soon as you begin reading these Mysteries you’ll notice the curiously brilliant styling of Freeman – she has the marked fixures of the era she’s writing but with the added bonus of giving us a heroine who reminds me of Lady Emily Ashton (from Tasha Alexander’s Lady Emily series) and Lady Darby (from Anna Lee Huber’s Lady Darby Mysteries).

The audio versions are a brilliant entrance and revisit of the series – Zimmerman has a tone of delivery I felt resonated with how I felt Frances would talk and relate her life to her listeners whilst at the same time, Zimmerman has one of those hypnotic voices which implores you to listen and to see how she delivers the story until the very end. I look forward to re-listening to these prior to the forthcoming third release A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Murder this Summer!

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I hope you’ve brewed a cuppa to enjoy the information on this spotlighted post in conjunction with @SatBookChat whilst taking time to visit our past chats archived via the Moments on the chat’s feeds via Twitter. This chat will be archived after it concludes and a bit lateron from there to allow everyone the chance to interact, share and respond.

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Without further adieu,
I give you the latest #SatBookChat spotlight
wherein you can learn a bit more about the author & her story.

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

The 3rd novel releases 28th July, 2020!

The Synopsis for A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Murder:

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. . . .

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Posted Saturday, 11 January, 2020 by jorielov in #SatBookChat, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event

Audiobook Series Spotlight and Mini-Review | “Cradle to Grave” (Book Eight: the Kay Hunter Detective series) by Rachel Amphlett, narrated by Alison Campbell

Posted Wednesday, 6 November, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

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Acquired Audiobook By: I started to listen to audiobooks in [2016] as a way to offset my readings of print books whilst noting there was a rumour about how audiobooks could help curb chronic migraines as you are switching up how your reading rather than allowing only one format to be your bookish choice. As I found colouring and knitting agreeable companions to listening to audiobooks, I have embarked on a new chapter of my reading life where I spend time outside of print editions of the stories I love reading and exchange them for audio versions. Through hosting for the Audiobookworm I’ve expanded my knowledge of authors who are producing audio versions of their stories whilst finding podcasters who are sharing their bookish lives through pods (ie. AudioShelf and Talking Audiobooks; see my sidebar). Meanwhile, I am also curating my own wanderings in audio via my local library who uses Overdrive for their digital audiobook catalogue whilst making purchase requests for audio CDs. It is a wonderful new journey and one I enjoy sharing – I am hoping to expand the percentage of how many audios I listen to per year starting in 2018.

Similar to the blog tour for the sixth novel of the #KayHunter series, the blog tour review copies are being provided directly by the author off-site from Audible. The key reason I decided to not accept the review copies from “Gone to Ground”, “Bridge to Burn” and “Cradle to Grave” is because the new format is mostly directed for mobile listeners and I do not listen to audiobooks in that style of format. Eventually as I want to have a full set of all the Kay Hunter installments – I will be purchasing the ones I am missing from Audible to house them all in one place unless I find them available on mp3 CD – until then, I was able to join this lovely blog tour because the audiobooks are readily available via Scribd! For which, I am especially grateful as I can continue to listen to one of my beloved and favourite Crime Drama series!

Thereby my copy of “Cradle to Grave” is self-provided through my subscription to Scribd rather than being provided with a complimentary copy of the story. Thereby, I am choosing to participate on the audiobook tour, sharing my ruminations with my readers for my own edification but also, as a continuation of a reader’s love for a dramatic crime serial. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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What held me in the throes of “Bridge to Burn” and why I was itching for the next novel:

As soon as Kay walked onto the crime scene, I felt like it was old home week again – being treated to seeing another view of her life and to catch-up with the friends I’ve found along the way of peering into her world. In classic Kay Hunter fashion, she quite assessed what was happening with the investigation – whilst her team was close at hand, doing their bit and at the ready to give her the details of what they’d come to understand in the initial analysis of the scene. There were a few changes in their designations – as Kay herself was recently promoted but it was the announcement that Barnes had followed her suit of promoting himself which was quite the lovely news. I still remember how anguished he was over making that choice and why he was hesitating to do it. Seems like between then and now, he’s resolved that this would not only be a good choice for himself but it would allow the close cohesiveness of the team to remain intact. On that level, I was relieved as sometimes if you upset the apple cart, you simply can’t re-establish what you’ve lost.

Harriet never fails to make me smile – then again, I have a soft spot for Medical Examiners and Crime Scene Investigators as that is what originally drew me into NCIS (x3) outside of the fact I simply find Mark Harmon charmingly engaging! She has such a keen sense of self about her and she knows how to keep the scene at hand serious but with a calming bit of levity as well – something I love to see as their lives are stressful enough without having to find some way of alleviating the difficult things they’re having to witness.

Amphlett never fails to knit her continuity tightly anchoured to the previous installments – it is one of the wicked best reasons why I love listening to to this series, as she honestly never lets you forget the moments in her characters’ lives which are intimately important to remember. Herein, when she was having Kay reminisce about her miscarriage you felt immediately drawn back to the installments which discussed this and how it was such an upheaval for Kay and Adam. Of how they drew closer together, how they tried not to let their family try their patience and how putting the pieces together to move forward was one small step at a time. Still, like any tragic loss – her grief lingers, even years on as there are small reminders everywhere about how others can enjoy the blessings of motherhood whilst she cannot. It was a simple inclusion right in the midst of the workday but it was important because it owned the truth of who Kay Hunter is and of how intricately connected this series becomes to her sense of self, her psychological state of mind and how she emotionally processes her job.

It wasn’t until lateron when Adam was brought into scene where we pulled back the layers of Kay’s healing and recovery (as it wasn’t simply a miscarriage which affected her heart, soul and mind) – where we peer into how hard it has been for her to continue to transition beyond what afflicted their lives. They were both emotionally distraught not just to the loss of a child but due to everything during that period of time which not only frayed their nerves but nearly overtook their ability to survive. Adam and Kay have a very strong marriage but even a strong marriage can have a breaking point – Amphlett has never shied away from honing in on the honesty of their marriage and for showing the realistic ways in which a couple comes back from the loss of their child.

If this is the first installment someone wanted to listen to they would be dearly impressed because it held within it a recapture of all the key moments and timeline of the series thus far along. They would find out within one installment why I’ve become so dearly attached to this cast and the drama behind their lives inasmuch as how much they support one another like all families do who work together. I am fond of the ‘family’ knitted together like this – where its a found family story and it speaks to why all the crime dramas I watch on television are of the same kinship of closeness.

What I loved about this installment were the interactions between Kay, Barnes, Sharpe, Gaven and the rest of the team – they keep drawing closer together, re-forming the bonds they share as a ‘found family’ and prove that despite the high risks associated with their job, they truly care about one another. There are lovely details towards exploring this bond they have – such as the pizza party, the breakfast food runs and the ways in which they look out for Kay, understanding her emotional traumas and how as a family unit they never leave anyone behind.

Bridge to Burn also focused more intuitively on Kay’s Mum, Dad and sister – there was a family emergency which took Adam and Kay outside their routines over a weekend to where they had to travel over six hours to reach the family. During this sequence, Amphlett re-highlights the strain Kay has with her mother, the closeness she shares with her sister and how her father gives her unconditional support. A lot of what was fracturing the relationship with Kay and her mother are explored more in-depth as well – a lot of which surprised me, as I never thought Kay’s Mum would be open to meditation but you find out why she came to that new stage of reconciliation as something pushed her towards that goal with Kay. They’re not entirely on solid footing – as they have a chasm as wide as the Grand Canyon between them but ooh! You don’t want to miss their exchanges of dialogue — listening to how Ms Campbell approached their scenes nearly makes you want to reach for the tissues!

-quoted from my review of Bridge to Burn

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Audiobook Series Spotlight and Mini-Review | “Cradle to Grave” (Book Eight: the Kay Hunter Detective series) by Rachel Amphlett, narrated by Alison CampbellCradle to Grave
Subtitle: A Detective Kay Hunter novel
by Rachel Amphlett
Source: Scribd | Subscription
Narrator: Alison Campbell

When a faceless body is found floating in the river on a summer's morning, Detective Kay Hunter and her team are tasked with finding out the man's identity and where he came from.

The investigation takes a sinister turn when an abandoned boat is found, covered in blood stains and containing a child's belongings. Under mounting pressure from a distraught family and an unforgiving media, the police are in a race against time - but they have no leads and no motive for the events that have taken place.

Will Kay be able to find a ruthless killer and a missing child before it's too late?

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781916098817

ASIN: B07YZ63BBV

Also by this author: Scared to Death, Will to Live, One to Watch, Hell to Pay, Call to Arms, Author Inteview: Rachel Amphlett (Gone to Ground), Gone to Ground, Bridge to Burn

Also in this series: Scared to Death, Will to Live, One to Watch, Hell to Pay, Call to Arms, Gone to Ground, Bridge to Burn


Genres: Crime Fiction, Hard-Boiled Mystery, Police Procedural, Thriller


Published by Saxon Publishing

on 15th October, 2019

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 7 hours, 56 minutes (unabridged)

Published by: Saxon Publishing

Audiobooks by: Audiobook Factory (@audiofactoryuk)

Order of the Kay Hunter Detective series:
Scared to Death | Book One (see also Review)
Will to Live | Book Two (see also Review)
One to Watch | Book Three (see also Review)
Hell to Pay | Book Four (see also Review)
Call to Arms | Book Five (see also Review)
Gone to Ground | Book Six (see also Review)
Bridge to Burn | Book Seven (see also Review)
Cradle to Grave | Book Eight

About Rachel Amphlett

Rachel Amphlettt

Before turning to writing, Rachel Amphlett played guitar in bands, worked as a TV and film extra, dabbled in radio as a presenter and freelance producer for the BBC, and worked in publishing as a sub-editor and editorial assistant.

She now wields a pen instead of a plectrum and writes crime fiction and spy novels, including the Dan Taylor espionage novels and the Detective Kay Hunter series.

Originally from the UK and currently based in Brisbane, Australia, Rachel cites her writing influences as Michael Connelly, Lee Child, and Robert Ludlum. She’s also a huge fan of Peter James, Val McDermid, Robert Crais, Stuart MacBride, and many more.

She’s a member of International Thriller Writers and the Crime Writers Association, with the Italian foreign rights for her debut novel, White Gold sold to Fanucci Editore's TIMECrime imprint, and the first four books in the Dan Taylor espionage series contracted to Germany’s Luzifer Verlag.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Wednesday, 6 November, 2019 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, 21st Century, Audiobook, Audiobookworm Promotions, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Book Review (non-blog tour), British Literature, Crime Fiction, Detective Fiction, England, Good vs. Evil, Hard-Boiled Mystery, Indie Author, Lady Detective Fiction, Mental Health, Modern Day, Post-911 (11th September 2001), Psychological Suspense, Realistic Fiction, Sociological Behavior, True Crime

#SpooktasticReads Audiobook Review | “A Nest of Vipers” (Ruritanian Rogues series, No.2) by Richard Storry, narrated by Jake Urry [an audiobook I began during #FraterfestRAT]

Posted Thursday, 24 October, 2019 by jorielov , , , , 1 Comment

#SpooktasticReads Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Audiobook By: I started to listen to audiobooks in [2016] as a way to offset my readings of print books whilst noting there was a rumour about how audiobooks could help curb chronic migraines as you are switching up how your reading rather than allowing only one format to be your bookish choice. As I found colouring and knitting agreeable companions to listening to audiobooks, I have embarked on a new chapter of my reading life where I spend time outside of print editions of the stories I love reading and exchange them for audio versions.

By hosting for Audiobookworm Promotions, I’ve expanded my knowledge of authors who are producing audio versions of their stories whilst finding podcasters who are sharing their bookish lives through pods (ie. AudioShelf and Talking Audiobooks in particular). Meanwhile, I am also curating my own wanderings in audio via my local library via Overdrive for their digital audiobook catalogue whilst making purchase requests for audio CDs. It is a wonderful new journey and one I enjoy sharing – I began to expand the percentage of how many audios I listen to per year starting in 2018.

Through hosting with Audiobookworm Promotions, I crossed paths with Mr Urry, as my first audiobook review was for “The Cryptic Lines” – a story I listened to at least four times, as I was simply captivated by both the story and the narrator! This was back in [2016] and in this small frame of time, Mr Urry has remained my favourite narrator of Suspense – although my short-list now includes Moira Quirk (of Anna Blanc series) and Alison Campbell (of Kay Hunter series) – as well as the other lovely narrators I mentioned in this tweet s/o of narrator appreciation!

In early 2018, Mr Urry approached me about considering his titles for review – I was able to select which titles interested me, even though I think he knew I was keen on hearing the next installment of this particular series (Ruritanian Rogues) as I enjoyed the first story and was interested in seeing what the next chapter would reveal. In regards to my second choice, I wanted to try a different kind of Suspense story which was slightly unique in concept and plot direction which is why I selected “The Tesla Gate”. This marks my first review working directly with Mr Urry – as I have three planned to be featured during #SpooktasticReads Year II with a fourth following suit in early November.

I received a complimentary audiobook copy of “A Nest of Vipers” from the narrator Jake Urry in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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What I loved about ‘A Looming of Vultures’:

aside from my obvious appreciation of: Storry & Urry!

It surprises me not, this story begins with a dash of prose – of poetic insinuation to set the tone of the story yet to be told. Storry has a curiously instinctive way of placing you exactly where you need to be at the beginning of his stories – of enveloping you in the ominously unknown setting you’ve not yet had a proper glimpse of but one you can feel is lurking there – slightly shadowed and held back from your direct observation; lingering a bit to give you a fuller breadth of why this story needs to be one you must hear. He builds the curiosity by slowly shifting your perspective into his world-view – combined with the gentle nudging by Urry, to guide you within these realms, whose voice is as alluring and addictive as your favourite actor whose transformation confirms the role he’s taken on – the stage is magnificently set for your immersion.

There is a metaphoric overlay about vultures – of their creature specific personalities and how they appear in the sky, as their flights are of particular choosing – where only their motivations for going where they go is not as well known to those who observe them. They seek their own way, of choosing to visit certain places for specific reasons – whether to eat what was left behind for them to consume (as they were scavengers; part of the team of the nature’s world band of undertakers) or whether their presence was needed for something else entirely. They had keen minds, nothing escaped their attention, where their olfactory senses were intensively attuned to their environment.

With reasons to avoid human encampments – it was curious to find one such creature was more daringly moving in circles of closeness to where the humans were already gathered. His patience was part of his fortitude, his mannerisms held their own truths but his eyes drank in everything moving in front of him; to be dissected for what it would yield for his own means of enjoyment.

There are a lot of layers to this story – as you peer into each of them, you start to see things differently than what you first hear the first time round. However, having said this – one of the joys is observing the thief – the gull this person has at keeping their promises to carry out their plans, but also, how passionate they are in being able to carry off whatever they deem is worthy of their time. One of my favourite scenes was actually a moment where the thief was nearly found out – because it showed the other side of thieving – of how close one can become to being caught! Mind you, this person is so blinded by their pursuit of what they want – they can’t process any other observation on their actions!

I truly loved how Storry makes this an immersive experience for the reader – you get to feel guided a bit by how he’s setting everything up to be followed in direct pursuit of his characters, but there are moments where even the characters themselves are not as certain about where they are going – as they have to move through their setting as if visiting it for the first time, to navigate themselves out of it. There is a particular moment where you felt most intrigued for how little elements are knitted into the background each step of the way, as there are remnants of the historical era of this story here and there; little touches of grounding you in a time-line which makes sense for the general awareness of ‘when’ we’ve been transported.

And, in regards to Mr Urry’s narration:

This is dearly theatrical because you get caught up in the height of how each character is presented – they are so very well attuned to their distinct personalities, you can listen to how they are dimensionally being portrayed. In this kind of performance it is easier to alight inside the narrative because you can see each of the characters in turn, their voices altering between each other and this never sounds like a novel being voiced by one narrator. The joyful bit is unravelling the plot through what your listening too – as Mr Urry gives such depth to everyone he’s portraying as it automatically thickens the plot because your feeling your way through the story the same way you do as your reading a book in print. This is why I love listening to how he narrates his stories!

-quoted from my review of A Looming of Vultures

I still lament: I’m addictive to listening to Urry’s voice and I am musefully happy to see what Mr Storry is going to write next because his stories are a brilliant match to Urry’s narration.

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#SpooktasticReads Audiobook Review | “A Nest of Vipers” (Ruritanian Rogues series, No.2) by Richard Storry, narrated by Jake Urry [an audiobook I began during #FraterfestRAT]A Nest of Vipers
Subtitle: Ruritanian Rogues, Volume Two
by Richard Storry
Source: Direct from narrator
Narrator: Jake Urry

A string of unexplained, gruesome deaths brings fear and uncertainty to the streets of Ruritania’s capital.

And it could not have happened at a worse time. The planned visit by the Vice Chancellor of Jermania to commence peace talks is thrown into jeopardy. Will all the preparation for the negotiations come to nothing? Will the brutal war between the two nations escalate once again?

Meanwhile, the spate of thefts from wealthy homes continues. Who is responsible? And how can they be stopped?

And who is the mysterious figure who continually gains illegal access to the city apothecary?

With many conflicting and intertwining agendas, this proud and noble city faces the very real danger of becoming a nest of vipers.

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing

ASIN: B078WXYG4G

Also by this author: The Cryptic Lines, A Looming of Vultures

Also in this series: A Looming of Vultures


Genres: Crime Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Thriller Suspense, Suspense


Published by Self Published

Format: Audiobook | Digital

Length: 5 hours 5 minutes (unabridged)

Published By: Cryptic Publications

Ruritanian Rogues series:

A Looming of Vultures by Richard Storry (audiobook)A Nest of Vipers by Richard Storry (audiobook version)A Shroud of Darkness by Richard Storry, narrated by Jake Urry (audiobook)

A Looming of Vultures | Book One
(see also Review)

A Nest of Vipers | Book Two

A Shroud of Darkness | Book Three

A Betrayal Of Trust | Book Four

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Thursday, 24 October, 2019 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, Audiobook, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Cosy Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Mystery, Historical Thriller Suspense, Indie Author, Self-Published Author