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Book Review: The Birthday Mystery (Jenny Starling #1) by Faith Martin

The Birthday Mystery by Faith Martin
My rating: 🌟🌟🌟(3 stars)
Publisher: Joffee Books

To begin another cozy series is kind of what I don't need but I find resisting them difficult and so, here I am having read the first in a series. Actually, it was the second book that originally caught my eye as it has a Christmas/winter theme and I'm still in the mood for my mystery reads to be snowy. I like to be orderly so I read The Birthday Mystery.

Book Review: The Perfect Liar by Thomas Christopher Greene

The Perfect Liar by Thomas Christopher Greene
My rating: πŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸ (3 stars)
Publisher: St Martin's Press (January 2019)

This is a 3.5 or 3.75 for me. I have to admit that the first third was good but felt too familiar to me. The setup with Max being this arch liar and the circumstances of how he became the storied Max W all felt to me like I knew this story. Is there such a thing as deja vu in reading?

Book Review: Behind the Throne (The Indranan War #1) by K.B. Wagers

Behind the Throne by K.B. Wagers
My rating: 🌟🌟🌟(3 stars)
Publisher: Orbit

I was gifted this book by a friend a Christmas or two back, and also its sequel so I'm glad that by the end of this, I was interested in reading the next. It was hard going and quite a slog in the first third owing to the main character Hail and her petulant, self-involved and generally juvenile personality traits (btw, she's 38). She was downright annoying and that sapped most of my sympathy for her plight (pulled back into a royal life after the death of her significant other, three more of her family members are murdered & finding out her mother, the Empress, has a dementia disorder). When you're tired of the whining and whinging of someone who's sustained all that loss, you know they're a hard case. At about the halfway mark, she showed a sign of being worth continuing on reading about which is good, because if not for one moment at a festival ceremony, I'd have quit this book.

Book Review: The Au Pair by Emma Rous

The Au Pair by Emma Rous
My rating: πŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸ4 stars
Publisher:  Berkley Books (January 2019)

This was my first read of 2019 (when I read this back in August 2018) and I was both thrilled and sad. Thrilled that I'd read such a great story and sad that I'd read it already. When it arrived in the post months before, I sat it aside to take on vacation. So I read it on vacation and it was such an engaging read, I started to get a bit resentful of having to put it down to participate in vacation activities. And I'm one who plans in reading time!

Book Review: The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley
My rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟 (4 stars)
Publisher: HarperCollins UK (January 24, 2019); William Morrow US (February 12, 2019)

Talk about a good read for a winter's night! I'm a sucker for the Christiesque set up in The Hunting Party (I grinned at the "little grey cells" mention). A group of college friends sequester themselves away at a remote resort for several days leading into New Year's Eve and right from the opening, the reader knows one of them hasn't made it to the second day of the year. Add in an epic snowstorm, long-held resentments to one friend's long reign of cruelty, two resort staff members with their own secrets and struggles and just to keep things interesting, a serial killer on the loose in the adjacent area and two random guests who even with all this strangeness, seem out of place and you have all the makings for a gripping read.

Book Review: Mystery in White by J. Jefferson Farjeon

Mystery in White by J. Jefferson Farjeon
My rating: 🌟🌟🌟 (3 stars)
Publisher: The British Library

As the year closes, I'm still getting in mysteries with snow and Christmas themes and Mystery In White seemed a good choice. Funnily enough, it reminded me of The Christmas Card Crime that I just read in an anthology with regard to the setup. On Christmas Eve, passengers on a snowbound train disembark and in this instance, take refuge in a country house. Here, the blizzard rages and the house stands empty but appears set for guests with a boiling kettle on the stove, fires ablaze in multiple hearths and tea set out. And one more disquieting fact, a bread knife lays on the kitchen floor.

Book Review: Portrait of a Murderer by Anne Meredith

Portrait of a Murderer by Anne Meredith
My rating: πŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸπŸŒŸ (4 stars)
Publisher: The British Library

When the patriarch of a family is found to be dead on Christmas morning and not one of his six children nor their accompanying spouses can be bothered to even give the pretence of mourning him, you know it's going to be a ripping read. Adrian Gray is that patriarch and even more unfortunate than not being mourned by his brood, one of them has murdered him.