Tag: Crooked Lane Books

#SaturdaysAreBookish Book Review | “The Butterfly Conspiracy” (Book One: A Merriweather & Royston Mystery) by Vivian Conroy

Posted Saturday, 14 September, 2019 by jorielov , , , 0 Comments

#SaturdaysAreBookish created by Jorie in Canva.

After launching this lovely new feature of mine during [Autumn, 2018] it is a pleasure of joy to continue to bring #SaturdaysAreBookish as a compliment focus of my Twitter chat @SatBookChat. If you see the chat icon at the top of my blog (header bar) you can click over to visit with us. The complimentary showcases on my blog will reflect the diversity of stories, authors and publishers I would be featuring on the chat itself. As at the root and heart of the chat are the stories I am reading which compliment the conversations.

#SaturdaysAreBookish throughout [2019] will be featuring the Romance & Women’s Fiction authors I am discovering to read across genre and point of interest. Every Saturday will feature a different author who writes either Romance or Women’s Fiction – the stories I am reading might simply inspire the topics in the forthcoming chats or they might be directly connected to the current guest author.

I am excited about where new guests and new stories will lay down the foundation of inspiring the topics, the conversations and the bookish recommendations towards promoting Romance & Women’s Fiction. Here’s a lovely New Year full of new authors and their stories to celebrate!

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Acquired Book By: I am quite active on the socially bookish side of the twitterverse (ie. #bookishTwitter); a lot of the writers and readers I enjoy conversing with on a yearly basis were first ‘met’ somewhere in a chat or a serendipitously lovely convo – either organised through a Twitter chat or a randomly engaged convo between them and I. I do not recollect how I first came to find Vivian Conroy or if in fact, she originally found me – I do know I immediately took to liking her Historical Fiction focused Twitter chat: #HistFicChat. Similar to my passion for #HistoricalFix (hosted and founded by Erin Lindsay McCabe – of which, due to her return to writing has been on sabbatical for two years) – this is a chat where Historical readers and writers can happily find each other, interact and chatter their bookish hearts out about the historic past whilst discovering new #mustreads!

She had mentioned to me she had two new stories being published to celebrate the fact she would have her 10th novel published in [2018]. She first mentioned to me about “The Butterfly Conspiracy” and then, “In Peppermint Peril”. I had meant to plan my reviews to be shared on my blog leading into the holiday season of [2018]; however, my health issues grew past what I could overcome and my reading life was dearly affected. I was thankful to share my review of “In Peppermint Peril” prior to re-reading “The Butterfly Conspiracy” at the end of Summer to coincide with featuring Ms Conroy during @SatBookChat wherein the main focus of the chat is this series whilst also talking a bit about her collective works from her Cosy Mysteries to her new Romance novel.

I received a complimentary copy of “The Butterfly Conspiracy” direct from the publisher Crooked Lane Books in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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What drew me into wanting to read “The Butterfly Conspiracy”:

I grew up on atmospheric mysteries and novels of suspense as much as I avidly watched films and tv series involving murder and intrigue! Everything from the Miss Marple series by Dame Christie to Murder, She Wrote and Alfred Hitchcock! The latter of whom granted me a deep appreciation for Gothic and Psychological Suspense! I love the pull of this kind of narrative and the grace of dissolving inside a story set in the historical past. The fact the lead character is a Victorian Zoologist reminded me why I loved Dr Julia Ogden (the ME) on Murdoch Mysteries – I love strong female characters in the historic past who are solving crimes!

Quite curiously, I remember vividly soaking inside this novel and writing reflective thoughts on its behalf – I wasn’t blogging my notes though, as I was using a word processing programme instead – and yet, when I went back to transcribe those notes back into my blog to share on this review, guess whose lost the file? I searched for over a month to find them – waiting out my recovery from a Winter virus and the leftover effects of migraines; to no avail. I had to resolve whatever those original reactions were – I could either re-tap into them when I went to re-read those passages or I would have to share wholly new, original takeaways which would start to curate on my review written more than a year after I first began reading The Butterfly Conspiracy.

For the reasons I’ve stated which first encouraged me into wanting to seek out this title – what was quite lovely of the experience of receiving it is having had the proper chance to dig into the heart of the story-line through a series of Twitter chats which sought out to delve into the back-story of how Ms Conroy wrote the novel but also, how she developed the back-histories of her characters, curating how the crime was centered inside the mystery and why she personally has a passion for writing Cosies.

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#SaturdaysAreBookish Book Review | “The Butterfly Conspiracy” (Book One: A Merriweather & Royston Mystery) by Vivian ConroyThe Butterfly Conspiracy
Subtitle: A Merriweather & Royston Mystery
by Vivian Conroy
Source: Direct from Publisher

In late Victorian times, when new inventions cause both excitement and terror, a mysterious death at a zoological lecture brings together two unlikely allies in a quest through London’s upper crust and underbelly to unravel the ingenious murder method and killer behind it.

Miss Merula Merriweather is not like other women her age: instead of hunting for a husband at balls and soirees she spends her time in a conservatory hatching exotic creatures. As the Royal Zoological Society won’t accept a woman’s accomplishments, she has her uncle Rupert take credit for her achievements. But at a zoological lecture, the guest of honor dies after contact with one of Merula’s butterflies, and Merula’s uncle is arrested for murder.

In an attempt to safeguard evidence to prove his innocence, Merula almost gets killed but for the timely interference of enigmatic Lord Raven Royston. Viewing natural history as a last resort to regain respectability lost by too many dubious business investments, Raven didn’t expect his first lecture to take a murderous turn. Feeling partially responsible because he encouraged Merula to release the gigantic butterfly from the glass case in which it was kept, Raven suggests they solve the puzzle of Lady Sophia’s sudden death together by looking closer at her relations with estranged friends, long suffering staff and the man groomed to be her heir, so close to her money and yet unable to touch any of it.

With the police looking for them, and every new discovery raising more questions than answers, especially about the murder method which left no traces of foul play on the body, Merula will have to risk her own life to get at the truth and save her uncle from the gallows in The Butterfly Conspiracy, Vivian Conroy’s enchanting series debut.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1-68331-765-4

Genres: Amateur Detective, Cosy Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction


Published by Crooked Lane Books

on 7th August, 2018

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 297

Published By: Crooked Lane Books (@crookedlanebks)

Merriweather & Royston Mysteries:

The Butterfly Conspiracy by Vivian ConroyDeath Comes to Dartmoor by Vivian Conroy

The Butterfly Conspiracy – Book One

Death Comes to Dartmoor – Book Two
← released 13th August, 2019

Available Formats: Hardback and Ebook

Converse via: #Conroy10, #CosyMystery + #Victorian
and #MerriweatherAndRoystonMysteries

About Vivian Conroy

Having spent many afternoons as a teen on the Nile with Poirot or confronting sinister spinsters in sleepy English towns with Miss Marple, it was only natural Vivian Conroy would start writing mysteries of her own.

Atmospheric descriptions, well developed characters and clever plotting made several of her cozy mysteries #1 Amazon US and Canada bestsellers in multiple categories.

Her new Victorian mystery series features a female zoologist, allowing Vivian to share her fascination with natural history, a field where in the Victorian age costly deceit, questionable experiments and extraordinary theories offer great inspiration for a mystery writer’s fertile imagination.

Besides writing, Vivian enjoys hiking, collecting stationery and trying new desserts, especially if chocolate is involved.

Due note: She is also the hostess of a wicked brilliant Twitter chat: #HistFicChat which arrives in the twitterverse every Thursday at 3p NYC (EST) and 8p UK. This is the best way to interact with fellow Historical Fiction readers and writers outside of Jorie's other beloved #HistFic quarterly chat: #HistoricalFix!

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Saturday, 14 September, 2019 by jorielov in #SaturdaysAreBookish, 19th Century, Amateur Detective, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Botany, Cosy Historical Mystery, Crime Fiction, Jorie Loves A Story Features, Lady Detective Fiction, Science, the Victorian era, Zoology

A #cloakanddaggerchristmas Book Spotlight | “A Murder by Any Name” (Book One: An Elizabethan Spy Mystery series) by Suzanne M. Wolfe

Posted Thursday, 27 December, 2018 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

Book Spotlight banner created by Jorie in Canva

Acquired Book By: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess! I received a complimentary copy of “A Murder by Any Name” direct from the author Suzanne M. Wolfe in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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On finding a new publisher of Mysteries & Suspense:

Earlier in [2018] I crossed paths with Vivian Conroy on Twitter – this led me to the weekly #HistFic chat known as #HistFicChat, wherein I had the delightful joy of being able to engage in conversation with like-minded bookish spirits who loved devouring Historical stories across genres of interest whilst having the happiness of interacting with today’s writers of Historical Fiction. I attempted to join each of the convos as I could as they run on Thursdays at 3pm (EST)(NYC) – bearing weather or connectivity issues or illness, I can honestly say they became a fixture of bookish loveliness for me! I continue to look forward to each new chat as they arrive, which will be resuming on the 3rd of January, 2019!

Due to this connection, I was noting a new publisher I hadn’t come across previously or if I had, I hadn’t had the opportunity to read their titles – as I felt I had known of them (in name only) prior to conversing with Ms Conroy. This new publisher is Crooked Lane Books – if you visit their website you’ll find they have a delightful array of Mysteries, Suspense & Thrillers! So much so, I have a feeling I’ll be reading through more of their catalogue of authors throughout the coming New Year!

I have been reading Ms Conroy’s series this Christmas Week – specifically the first of her Book & Tea Mysteries and the first of her Historical Mysteries: A Merriweather and Royston Mystery. How lovely is it then, during the same week I had the chance to read a second author by this lovely publisher?

You’ll find that I have a soft spot for Mysteries – especially of the Cosier side of the ledger, as most of my #cloakanddaggerchristmas showcases are of that particular variety, however, I also love to sink my teeth into something more daring within the realms of Suspense & Thrillers, yielding to my affinity for Historical narratives within that scope as there is nothing more enjoyable than traversing through History whilst caught up in a suspenseful plot!

Thereby, I am happy to say, I think I have found a lovely new publisher and I continue to look forward to expanding my readerly life with their stories and serials! Even if some of their releases are not my cuppa tea there is such a wide variety of stories to chose from it will be a joy to figure out which authors and their stories will become my favourites as I explore the publisher’s offerings.

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A #cloakanddaggerchristmas Book Spotlight | “A Murder by Any Name” (Book One: An Elizabethan Spy Mystery series) by Suzanne M. WolfeA Murder by Any Name
Subtitle: An Elizabethan Spy Mystery
by Suzanne M. Wolfe
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

When a brutal murder threatens the sanctity of the Elizabethan court, it’s up to a hot-tempered spy to save the day.

The court of Elizabeth I is no stranger to plotting and intrigue, but the royal retinue is thrown into chaos when the Queen’s youngest and sweetest lady-in-waiting is murdered, her body left on the high altar of the Chapel Royal in Whitehall Palace. Solving the murder will require the cunning and savvy possessed by only one man. Enter Nicholas Holt, younger brother of the Earl of Blackwell—spy, rake, and owner of the infamous Black Sheep tavern in the seedy district of Bankside. Nick quickly learns that working for the Queen is a mixed blessing. Elizabeth—salty-tongued, vain, and fiercely intelligent—can, with a glance, either reward Nick with a purse of gold or have his head forcibly removed.

When a second lady-in-waiting is slain at Whitehall, the court once again reels with shock and dismay. On the trail of a diabolical killer, Nick and his faithful sidekick—an enormous Irish Wolfhound named Hector—are treading on treacherous ground, and only the killer’s head on a platter can keep them in the Queen’s good graces.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781683317142

Genres: Crime Fiction, Historical Fiction


Published by Crooked Lane Books

on 9th October, 2018

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 336

Published by: Published By: Crooked Lane Books (@crookedlanebks)

Converse via: #HistoricalMystery, #HistMys #HistFic or #HistNov

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

About Suzanne M. Wolfe

Suzanne M. Wolfe

Suzanne M. Wolfe grew up in Manchester, England and read English Literature at Oxford University, where she co-founded the Oxford C.S. Lewis Society. She served as Writer in Residence at Seattle Pacific University and taught literature and creative writing there for nearly two decades. Wolfe is the author of three novels: A Murder by Any Name, The Confessions of X, and Unveiling.

Thirty years ago, she and her husband, Gregory Wolfe, co-founded Image, a journal of the arts and faith. They have also co-authored many books on literature and prayer including Books That Build Character: How to Teach Your Child Moral Values Through Stories, and Bless This House: Prayers For Children and Families. Her essays and blog posts have appeared in Image and other publications. She and her husband are the parents of four grown children. They live in Richmond Beach, Washington.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Thursday, 27 December, 2018 by jorielov in 15th Century, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Spotlight & Announcement, Crime Fiction, Elizabeth I, Elizabethan Era, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Historical Mystery, Indie Author, Queen Elizabeth I

A #cloakanddaggerchristmas Book Review | “In Peppermint Peril” (Book One: A Tea and Read Mysteries) by Joy Avon

Posted Wednesday, 26 December, 2018 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Acquired Book By: I often cross paths with writers in the twitterverse, as I’m a social reader who likes to engage directly with fellow book bloggers, readers, reviewers and writers. I talk with writers who are in the process of launching their writing careers inasmuch as established writers who have quite a few releases out for us to discover. The blissitude of finding this author is the fact she writes under two separate names (Vivian Conroy for Cosy Historical Mysteries; Joy Avon for the Book Tea Shop Mysteries) whilst she hosts a weekly Historical Fiction Twitter Chat I am in love with attending inasmuch as the quarterly #HistoricalFix; as you see, #HistFicChat brings all of us together who love devouring Historical stories across genres and eras of interest. It is a conversational meet-up featuring today’s Historical authors – from all gambits of the umbrella in which you could find a writer writing a Historical novel!

Due to her encouragement, I reached out to her publisher Crooked Lane Books to see if I could receive two of her novels for review – “The Butterfly Conspiracy” and “In Peppermint Peril”. I was happily surprised to receive both and this marks the first of two reviews featuring my first introductions to her characters. I elected to share both during my personal readathon within the hours of the #cloakanddaggerchristmas readathon happening between #booktube and the book blogosphere! I was unfortunately delayed until Christmas Week to begin my readings due to a bad Winter virus and am overjoyed I can finally read the stories I’ve been keenly interested in discovering!

I received a complimentary ARC copy of “In Peppermint Peril” direct from the publisher Crooked Lane Books in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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The reasons why I was dearly keen on discovering

this new Cosy Mystery series:

(as much as an explanation of how I’m connected to the author)

It might not be a very well known fact – as throughout the past five years as a book blogger, I’ve been focusing on so many different genres of entrance, I am never quite sure if any of my dear hearted visitors & readers know what my top favourite genres are to explore? Ever since I met Miss Marple I have had a penchant for Cosy Mysteries; from that day forward, I also adopted a British affinity for writing them in the Brit fashion rather than the American. It felt only right being that Dame Christie is who endeavoured to inspire a lifelong passion for the genre!

Over the years, I am thankful if I can find a new author (singular) or a new series (if they prefer a serial over a one-off) within the Cosy umbrella of stories. It is a hard call really – how to find an author who is writing the kind of stories I want to be seeking out & which series therein are being written in a style that I can sink my literary teeth into with the cosy comforting joy of feeling as if I’ve entered a world I would love to reside inside for quite a long time afterwards!

Reading Cosy Mysteries has been quite a luxury – a pleasurable exploration of Crime Fiction due to how soft & gentle the writers take us into the minds of their criminals & their sleuths. It is a lighter & fluffier side to Mysteries, Suspense & Thrillers – for the most part – as sometimes Cosies can broker a fine line between Noir, Cosy & Hard-Boiled.

I have such an attachment to Cosy Historical Mysteries that I oft-time have to remind myself to seek out a Contemporary Cosy – as a book blogger I sort of side-lined my adventures into the Lady Emily series, the Mary Russell series & the Aunt Diminty series – all of which are part of my #beatthebacklist for 2019 reading challenge – however, prior to sorting out where I am traversing in Cosies for 2019, I was thankful I crossed paths with Ms Conroy (Avon) as through the conversations we’ve shared on Twitter during her chat #HistFicChat I found a like-minded spirit – someone who is as giddy happy over these Cosies as I am myself – and her readerly habits are a mirror of my own, dear hearts!

We oft find ourselves musefully talking about the same takeaways & insights into the Mysteries & Historical stories we are discussing – in that regard, it has been a benefit of minds to have met each other in the twitterverse! As how lovely is it when you find a fellow bookish soul who reads the stories you want to be seeking out yourself to read?

So, imagine my joyfulness in being able to read two of her lovely releases as typically her stories are *not released!* into print – their Digital First. I am thankful to have found an author out there who appreciates what I do in Crime Fiction and I couldn’t wait to get invested into her stories – seeing how she set the tone for her series & which of her characters would win me over the most!

Truly though – it boiled down to this: I drink copious amounts of tea, I’m in love with chai and I could literally spend a lifetime inside a library and a book shoppe without the need to exit! Combing a love of books and the art of tea into a Cosy series? The premise of that potential surely secured my interest! 

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A #cloakanddaggerchristmas Book Review | “In Peppermint Peril” (Book One: A Tea and Read Mysteries) by Joy AvonIn Peppermint Peril
Subtitle: A Book Tea Shop Mystery
by Joy Avon
Source: Direct from Publisher

This Christmas, Callie Aspen returns to her childhood hideout Heart's Harbour, Maine, where her great-aunt runs Book Tea, a vintage tearoom where every sweet treat contains a bookish clue. Upon arrival in the fairy-tale snowy town, Callie is drawn into the preparations for a special tea party at Haywood Hall, the rambling house of Heart's Harbour's oldest resident, rich but lonely widow Dorothea Finster, who invited her estranged relatives, old friends, and the elite of the town to make a mysterious announcement about her will.

Believing they can touch a part of her fortune, everybody is determined to come, despite not liking each other or even their hostess. And Callie's old friend Sheila complicates things by using the tea party to announce her daughter's engagement, even though her daughter isn't sure she's in love with the young lawyer her mother thinks is so perfect for her.

Catering to people who each have their own agenda isn't easy for the Book Tea crew, especially once the valuable engagement ring goes missing and a dead body turns up in the conservatory. Can Callie and her great-aunt use their love of clues to dig into the crimes and show their unhappy hostess and squabbling guests the true Christmas spirit?

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 9781683317937

Genres: Amateur Detective, Christmas Story &/or Christmas Romance, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Cookery, Cosy Mystery, Crime Fiction


Setting: Heart's Harbour, Maine


Published by Crooked Lane Books

on 13th November, 2018

Format: Paperback ARC

Pages: 288

Christmas Cosy Mystery Book Icon made by Jorie in Canva.ARC Review Icon made by Jorie in Canva.Amateur Detective Icon made by Jorie in Canva.

Published By: Crooked Lane Books (@crookedlanebks)

A Tea and Read Mysteries:

(I was rather partial to the original title of the series “A Book Tea Shop Mystery”)

In Peppermint Peril (book one)

→ Sweet Tea & Secrets (book two) *forthcoming, 11th June, 2019!

Available Formats: Trade paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #Conroy10, #CosyMystery + #TeaAndReadMysteries

About Joy Avon

Having spent many afternoons as a teen on the Nile with Poirot or confronting sinister spinsters in sleepy English towns with Miss Marple, it was only natural Joy Avon would start writing mysteries of her own. Besides writing, Joy enjoys hiking, collecting stationery, and trying new desserts, especially if chocolate is involved.

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Wednesday, 26 December, 2018 by jorielov in 21st Century, Amateur Detective, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Review (non-blog tour), Cookery, Cosy Mystery, Crime Fiction, Lady Detective Fiction, Modern Day, Twitterland & Twitterverse Event