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Book Review: Murder at Hawthorn Cottage (Melissa Craig #1) by Betty Rolands

Murder at Hawthorn Cottage by Betty Rowlands
My rating: 🌟🌟🌟 (3 stars)
Publisher: Bookouture

Author Melissa Craig thought her move from chaotic London to the Cotswolds would be idyllic and full of bucolic charm. Unfortunately, she's found a hamlet with linked murders and some crazy seedy dealings going on and before she knows it, her new novel ideas are all too like life and if she can't solve the mysteries it won't just be the end of her novel, it'll be the end of her life.

Book Review: Polite Society by Mahesh Rao

Polite Society by Mahesh Rao
My rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟 (4 stars)
Publisher: G.P. Putnam & Sons

Ania is just as exhausting as I remember Austen's Emma so Rao hit that mark perfectly. Actually maybe a little more because she had social media preoccupation & lived in a state of perpetually being accessorized appropriately just in case some random took a pic and posted on Instagram (she'll carry around an empty hatbox just to look "casually" perfectly accessorized). Admittedly, while I'm an Austen fan and always want to get my hands on retellings, Emma is not my favourite work. I'm a Persuasion and Anne devotee so based on personality and tone alone, Emma's disposition is, for me, a harder sell as anything remotely charming. But Rao reeled me in by vividly painting the landscape that is Dehli, the Khurana estate and environs and all of the others who populate these places and have to deal with Ania's breathtaking entitlement and machinations (the self-serving explanation of "check your privilege" she gives to her father was hilarious). There's rich detail expressed in landscape, furnishings, food and even the weather. It was witty, immersive and I was swept up in the entire story. I even admit to taking complete delight in Ania's spectacular failures of judgment. Couldn't happen to a more deserving meddler.

Book Review: She Regrets Nothing by Andrea Dunlop

She Regrets Nothing by Andrea Dunlop
My rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟 (4 stars)
Publisher: Washington Square Publishing

Well this was certainly a page-turner. I don't want to say too much and give the whole thing away but I wish to tell it all in a spoiler-filled rant (mostly about one character). I picked this up because the author has a book due out this year (We Came Here to Forget: A Novel) that I'm looking forward to reading and wanted to read one of her works to get a feel of her writing style. I had no expectations but the blurb did sound interesting so I dove in.

Book Review: The Bayern Agenda: Book One of the Galactic Cold War by Dan Moren

The Bayern Agenda: Book One of the Galactic Cold War by Dan Moren
My rating: 🌟🌟🌟 (3 stars)
Publisher: Angry Robot (March 2019)

This had a bit of a slow start that while mildly interesting was more focused on making sure the reader knows that the characters have good banter and prior history. I didn't mind that but it seemed to almost eclipse the set up of the thing that, according to the title is the bigger deal: The Bayern Agenda also known as, the plot. For the first 20% or so there's nary a mention or seemingly any urgency by Kovalic, his ops team or handlers to do something, anything with the scant intel they got from the asset who was killed in the opening of the story. I was a more than a bit surprised that that great opener wasn't capitalized on.

Book Review: The Winter Mystery (Jenny Starling #2) by Faith Martin

The Winter Mystery by Faith Martin
My rating: 🌟🌟🌟 (3 stars)
Publisher: Joffe Books

This is the winter themed book that caught my eye and prompted me to read this series, to begin with, and it delivered on all the Christmas & snow promise. It's the second in the Jenny Starling series and once again the reluctant sleuth has landed in another murder investigation in between cooking delicious meals over a fortnight at Christmas time.

Book Review: Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful by Arwen Elys Dayton

Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful by Arwen Elys Dayton
My rating: 🌟🌟 (2 stars)
Publisher: Delacorte Press

My YA reads are far and few between but when I saw this one, its science fiction and futurology hooks got into me so I put it on my TBR list. I picked it up to read and surprisingly got through it in about a day (started in the evening, finished next morning), so it earned points for swift readability.

Book Review: The Favorite Daughter by Kaira Rouda

The Favorite Daughter by Kaira Rouda
My rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟(4 stars)
Publisher: Graydon House (May 2019)
No one leaves a star. That's what makes one a star.
- Norma Desmond (Sunset Boulevard)

Jane Harris is a modern-day Norma Desmond but with a smidge more crazy, tracker apps and a higher body count.