Death Below Stairs has at its center a cook from Victorian Era named Kat Holloway. Recently hired as part of Lord Rankin’s household in London, she finds herself immersed in a murder mystery. Set to solve the killing of her kitchen maid, Kat turns to the resourceful Daniel McAdam, who is more than meets the eyes. With the help of a mathematical genius and Lord Rankin’s eccentric sister-in-law, Kat and Daniel will soon found out that the household murder was the tip of the iceberg of a much bigger plot against Queen Victoria.
Death Below Stairs – My Opinion
When I requested this book, I only skimmed the book’s summery. I read “murder,” “Victorian Era,” and “young cook Kat [woman]” and that was enough for me to get hooked. You can imagine the surprise I had when I realized that there is more to the murder.
First, I fell in love with Kat’s voice as a character. Her background story was unexpected. She is an ordinary woman with an unfortunate past. The overall cast of characters was intriguing. We have the eccentric woman who was born in the wrong era, the nice and work-absorbed mathematician, the rebel teenager, and the man with all the answers, Daniel. Danial was a total mystery however, I have a slight idea about what he might be. No spoilers.
Kat is smart, independent, and hard working. She has her mind set with a realistic view of the world even though her heart fancies a guy. The only person she relies on is herself. As a a woman in that time period, Kat works assiduously to be acknowledged by the pompous society. Although, she is not afraid to challenge the authority when something is wrong. As a mother figure character, Kat feels responsible for the kitchen girl’s death, thus, her courage and determination put the cook in dangerous situations.
Despite the lovely characters, the pacing of the story had a bit of an issue. The narrative was executed strangely. We are halfway through the book and merely anything happens. There is too much description of food making which feels like page fillers than part of the actual story. I know what you are going to say next, “But, wait! Isn’t she a cook?” And my follow up answer will be something like, “Yes. Yes, she is. Although, we have a murder which is tied to a plot that might threaten the queen’s life and only 50 percent of the book is dedicated to that.”
The major scenes are rushed and unpolished. It first starts as a a slow burner book then the narrative accelerates and you try to keep up. Some unfolding of events seemed improbable due to lack of development space. The murder is brushed to the side as a subplot, despite the book being called Death Below Stairs , putting the book in a precarious position. I wished the murder had a bigger role in the plot.
The ending, though… Let’s just say that it was explosive and it saved the book for me. Wink.
Overall, I gave this book a 3/5 stars on Goodreads. Death Below Stairs was somewhat my cup of tea and I am tempted to read the next book in the series. Also, I would like to thank you Penguin Random House for the ebook arc in exchange for an honest review.
This is my sole opinion. ^_^
Until next time, feel free to check my latest posts:
Book SynopsisJust shy of fifteen years old, and during a fake and impromptu wedding ceremony, Lily Scott married her best friend’s brother, Henry Dalton.It seemed harmless enough until he leaned in and whispered to her his true feelings, amorous words she has been unable to forget: Now you’re mine, forever and always.Unfortunately, growing up pulls them apart and transforms Henry into a pompous scoundrel. When they meet again at a house party hosted by Henry’s sister, will Henry remember his once faithful promise to Lily? Mine, Forever and Always – Goodreads
My Opinion5.00/5.00 starsJust read it if you are into romance. This is a lovely story about the love of two people which has to pass the test of time and society. Life forced them to go on their separate ways regardless of what their hearts wanted. And, now, they meet each other again. There is angst and there is tension. Question is: Does the love between them still exists? Or is it just a beautiful memory of the past?
What can I say? The feelings… are so overwhelming. I do not have enough words to praise this novella. Despite it’s length, we get a lot of content about the main characters and the other players in the story. It is a torturous, genuine love. Your heart will melt, ache, get butterflies, mushy, and – finally – teary. I do not want to say too much about the plot cause… spoilers. Obviously! The author has a beautiful writing because everything floated nicely. No boring part. No excessive descriptions. Right words were used to ensure the reader that there are a solid background to the narrative and well-rounded characters which are not just flat instruments of yielding a romance. I wished this was a full novel because there is so much room for expanding and exploring; although, I am afraid it might cut the beauty of the novella in some parts.
Sometimes the short length might give a writing work a feel of unresolved or anticlimactic endings. Like, there has to be more to it than what’s already published. Thus, I understand why some readers may give this one a lower rating. But for me, a strong impression on my mood while reading it’s enough sometimes. Not every good piece has to be lengthy. The information is there only not in so many words as you may like it to be.
Now, I am waiting patiently for the next story in the series. The author promised a new story in the future regarding other characters who were introduced in the book. She said that time is of the essence for her inspiration to come and the final product be good.
This was definitely my cup of tea. And, it might be yours too. Do not get mislead by the cover.
Ah… Just read it!This is my sole opinion. ^_^I would like to say thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.Genre: Adult, Romance, Historical Romance, Regency, Novella
Language: none to mild (most likely none)
Sexual content: moderate to heavy-ish
Violence: none to mild (mentioned)Drugs/Alcohol: none to mild (mentioned)
“You should not have kissed me,” she replied breathlessly.
“I do a lot of things I shouldn’t. It does not mean I won’t do them again.”
Gently bred Emma Chadwick always assumed she’d live and die the daughter of a gentleman. But when her father’s death reveals a world of staggering debt and dangerous moneylenders, she must risk her good name and put her talent for mathematics to use, taking a position as bookkeeper at London’s most notorious gambling hell. Surrounded by vice and corruption on all sides, it is imperative no one discovers Emma’s shameful secret or her reputation-and her life-will be ruined.
But Roderick Bentley, the hell’s sinfully wealthy owner, awakens a hunger Emma cannot deny. Drawn deep into an underworld of high stakes gambling and reckless overindulgence, she soon discovers that in order to win the love of a ruthless scoundrel, she will have to play the game…and give in to the pleasure of falling from grace. Luck Is No Lady – Goodreads
4.5/5 stars.I picked up this book last year. I read a good portion of it then I put it down. Why, you ask? Because:
- I’ve lost interest.
During the school time, a slow burning romance is not a good way to entertain yourself. You need adrenaline. Action. Something that keeps you going. (So that is my excuse.) In other words, I was not in the mood anymore.Putting my reasons aside, I was 100% sure I will return to this book. And not surprisingly, I did. Oh, boy! I so enjoyed the story. It was a historical, regency romance just up my alley. The romance does not monopolize the narrative and we have conflict. Yes! Three noble orphaned girls in need of money in times when a good marriage is the only solution for young women. Deceased parent with gambling addiction who caused those three girls to be in danger from a bookie. A noble bastard who owns a “gambling hell” becomes a means to an end for the girls to get out of dept. The oldest of the sisters risks her family name and reputation in an era where status is everything to save her sisters. Falling in love is out of question but it may happen in the darkest of times.A perfect recipe for an intriguing story despite the cheesy cover. (Please, ignore it!)The romance is slow burning. Tension is built up for our characters. We have chemistry at first. Then, we have period of flirting, personal exploring, and creating trust. No dominant and overly exaggerated alpha male. No weak female who appears to be strong only because the author tells us so. The main characters feel like real people, relatable people. Both are strong and weak in their own ways. They complete each other like puzzle pieces.I realized lately that I need meaning and story in my romances not jut plain romance and steam. This was definitely my cup of team. I am going to follow the author and continue the series.Yes, this is still a read for a more mature audience.Genre: Adult, Romance, Historical Romance, Regency
Language: mild to moderate
Sexual content: heavy
Violence: moderateDrugs/Alcohol: moderate
This post may contain SPOILERS!
You have been warned!Pub. Date: April 4, 2017
Book SynopsisFormer FBI agent Kendra Donovan’s attempts to return to the twenty-first century have failed, leaving her stuck at Aldridge Castle in 1815. And her problems have just begun: in London, the Duke of Aldridge’s nephew Alec—Kendra’s confidante and lover—has come under suspicion for murdering his former mistress, Lady Dover, who was found viciously stabbed with a stiletto, her face carved up in a bizarre and brutal way.
Lady Dover had plenty of secrets, and her past wasn’t quite what she’d made it out to be. Nor is it entirely in the past—which becomes frighteningly clear when a crime lord emerges from London’s seamy underbelly to threaten Alec. Joining forces with Bow Street Runner Sam Kelly, Kendra must navigate the treacherous nineteenth century while she picks through the strands of Lady Dover’s life.
As the noose tightens around Alec’s neck, Kendra will do anything to save him, including following every twist and turn through London’s glittering ballrooms, where deception is the norm—and any attempt to uncover the truth will get someone killed. A Twist in Time
My Opinion4/5 stars.The second instalment of Kendra Donovan book is going to hit the stores soon. I will try to keep my review as spoiler free as possible. Although, while reading this review, keep in mind that this is the second book in a series thus spoilers are inevitable.A Twist in Time jumps directly into the action. No more story building and no more major character introduction. Murder. Action. Story begins.
Compared to the first book, this one has a better start. The reader is hooked right away.
The themes past meets future and future woman living in the past continue to be explored by the author.In this book, there are lots of badass scenes with Kendra. Let me tell you, this woman has guts! No joke! Although, it is very interesting how society perceives them. Yeah, in the society’s mind Kendra is only for décor. Sad! I know. Also, throughout the story we read how society’s believes influences the individual’s believes about itself. But, there is more to the eye. People from high class care more about pretense than their wellbeing.
On the other hand, let’s not forget that the nobles are only the minority. So, we get a glimpse to the real ordinary people where the societal standers are not as respected as the minority (the nobles and their close servants) group thinks. “Normal” or “ordinary” humans – whatever you want to call them – care about their everyday life and not some stupid norms.The battle against women stereotype and women who believe that stereotype is so prominent here. If you are too unique you are an oddity or a freak. Men are portrayed like they want to stay out of womanly conflicts. The author touches the subject indirectly about how men have to be manly and women have to be feminine in the 1800’s. Equal but divided. I saw that in the duke when Kendra was having a conflict with the duke’s sister. And if you remember from the first book, the duke is the most open minded character in this series. Alec, on the other hand, is a different story. Kendra has a strong influence on him and he gets a modern perspective of life. At some point, he is quite mesmerized about how his mindset has changed because of Kendra.
Kendra is still having a inner struggle if she should return to the future/present time or not. The past continues to terrify her but this time is more about society norms and its way of thinking than the physical benefits of the 21st c. Although there are lost of differences between the 19th c. and 21st c. -obviously, the author does not fail to briefly touch the subject that the past is not, in some ways, different than the present. And believe it or not, I appreciated that aspect because she is right.The murder in this second book is emotional and intriguing. Our murder victim is a bad person and the controversial question, “Does a bad person deserves justice also?” is toughly explored.
The murderer happens to be in plain sight and it can be anyone even your closest friend. I was not able to figuring out the murder in this one because I was reading during a sleep deprivation period. Hahaha. Probably, I needed a cup of [black] tea. 😉I consider this book to be a light murder mystery book great for newbies of this genre.This is my sole opinion. ^_^Feel free to check out my review on the first book, A Murder in Time, <–here.I would like to say thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Genre: Adult, Mystery, Historical Fiction, Time Travel
Language: moderate to heavy-ish
Sexual content: moderate to heavy (most of it ties with the murders)
Violence: heavy (it’s a murder mystery)
Book SynopsisBeautiful and brilliant, Kendra Donovan is a rising star at the FBI. Yet her path to professional success hits a speed bump during a disastrous raid where half her team is murdered, a mole in the FBI is uncovered and she herself is severely wounded. As soon as she recovers, she goes rogue and travels to England to assassinate the man responsible for the deaths of her teammates.
While fleeing from an unexpected assassin herself, Kendra escapes into a stairwell that promises sanctuary but when she stumbles out again, she is in the same place – Aldrich Castle – but in a different time: 1815, to be exact.
Mistaken for a lady’s maid hired to help with weekend guests, Kendra is forced to quickly adapt to the time period until she can figure out how she got there; and, more importantly, how to get back home. However, after the body of a girl is found on the extensive grounds of the county estate, she starts to feel there’s some purpose to her bizarre circumstances. Stripped of her twenty-first century tools, Kendra must use her wits alone in order to unmask a cunning madman. A Murder in Time
My Opinion3.75/5 stars.I know you usually do not start a conversation with “so” but just stay with me would ya?So… I got my eyes on this book since last year when it was chosen for mystery/murder book on OverDrive. I borrowed. I kept it for 21 days and did not read it. Classic me. (For those of you who are not familiar or do not know about OverDrive, it is a website – and app – where you can also use your library card to borrow books, audiobooks, movies etc., if your library is affiliated with OverDrive.)Recently I got my hands on the eBook and trust me when I tell you that I had this baby for months on my Holds list. Yeah, that high was the waiting list for this book.Anyway, I am glad that my waiting was not in vain and the book did not disappoint. The binning was rather slow in my opinion, except for the prologue – or chapter 1, I do not remember exactly – which was creepy and got me hooked. Yes, the first seven or so chapters where a pain in the bottom to read through. After that, the book got better and better.The writing was easy to follow and understand. It flowed nicely and every detailed clicked in place.I was able to connect with main because I would react the same way if I was trapped in time/past. Finally, I encountered someone with real thoughts about time travel. Despite the romance, she knows she does not belong and the potential thought of being trapped in 1815 forever terrifies her. I mean who wouldn’t be? Especially a woman. I will go nuts without my life conditions and the ability to be who I want to be despite people’s opinions, trends, and fashion. I want my pants, my modern shoes, modern undergarments, present medication… What am I talking about? I want present everything. I mean it is not perfect but it is better than 1815. I know. I know. I know I sound selfish but so would you, trust me. And no amount of love would convince you otherwise because only death is certain in life.Ok… That’s too much of a serious topic for this book review. Ha-ha-ha! Or is it?Moving on…The romantic aspect did not captured the whole attention of the book. It was slow burning and realistic. Alec is a very fine future duke if you ask me. Another small detailed, which was under tuned in the book, was the Greek mythology. – Loved it! – If you read the book you would know what I mean.The author’s does a great job of keeping things real and not having the “character protection instinct”. My brain was in the full Sherlock Holmes mode and I was able to figure out the murderer because I was paying attention to the details. Although, I was still surprised when it was revealed because there is a twist. But I was still right!!!
Don’t judge me! :))
Now let’s move on to the stuff I did not like in the book.
For a main character who is a genetic prodigy from FBI, Kendra is not as calculated and does not show the self-control I was expecting from her. Because she used with the modern times, sometimes she appeared naïve and too confident with a killer on the loose. At some parts, Kendra herself and her actions were accepted rather quickly by the people in the 1800’s. She also expects full trust from the people who see her as a stranger. Oh! For a smart person, she did not recognize that she fits the pattern. Either that or she did not care. But that was the feeling I got from the book. I know that Alec points that to her.
Another down was that the author focused on a handful of suspects making it quite easy to guess the killer. At least from my point of view. She was not vague enough. I don’t know my previous experience with mystery-detective novel is the Cormoran Strike by Robert Galbraith (books 1-3). So, my comparison range is very limited. SPOILER – I am still amazed that I was able to find the single word which clues who’s the main killer 🙂 – END of SPOILER.
Now, there is another character who acted out of character in my opinion. 🙂 Small Spoiler – April is a prostitute business woman. She owns a brothel and she runs it too. But when it comes up to meet with a killer, she does not cover her a-s-s. Really? Woman, you should know better! – End of Spoiler.I am not an expert in mystery-murder novels. And, in my opinion, this book is a good starter for this genre. Who knows? It might be your cuppa tea! 😉 I definitely enjoyed it.I know this has been a long post. So, look! Jimmy Fallon dancing bellow!This is my sole opinion. ^_^Genre: Adult, Mystery, Historical Fiction, Time Travel
Language: moderate to heavy-ish
Sexual content: heavy (most of it ties with the murders)
Violence: heavy (it’s a murder mystery)
Kingdom on Fire #1
Book synopsisI am Henrietta Howel. The first female sorcerer. The prophesied one. Or am I?
Henrietta Howel can burst into flames. When she is brought to London to train with Her Majesty’s sorcerers, she meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, young men eager to test her powers and her heart. One will challenge her. One will fight for her. One will betray her. As Henrietta discovers the secrets hiding behind the glamour of sorcerer life, she begins to doubt that she’s the true prophesied one. With battle looming, how much will she risk to save the city–and the one she loves? A Shadow Bright and Burning
My Opinion3.5/5 starts.Overall, I liked the book. The author basically chose tropes seen in other big fandoms, put them into a big cauldron, added her own magic to them, mixed them and… Poof! A Shadow Bright and Burning was born.The writing is good.The story on the short side. It needed more development aka more pages, more words.We are not given a lot of explanation about the magic system or enough of world building.I liked the main character Henrietta. She had strong personality, very powerful, naïve sometime… ok a lot of times.Weird on the romance thou. There was a love square-ish. I like more mysterious guys than flirtatious guys. I love when the suppose love interests hate each other in the beginning and then fall slowly in love, not become friends but who knows. At the end, the love square becomes a love triangle. Spoiler – So, the flirt guy and the childhood love come to be the main focus of the romance while the mysterious guy… let’s just say that he is still mysterious. – Spoiler end. We do not have a lot of details about him.I need to know more about the origins of the magic and the Ancients (the hideous magical creatures from another world).And, we also need to know more about witches, sorcerers, and magicians (ok more about witches and magicians). The sorcerers were so self-centered and ignorant about other types of magic and magical creatures. Just because they were privileged, it does not automatically make them better than others.
Let’s see what the second instalment brings to the story in September 2017.
The series has potential. I liked it. If you like historical fiction mixed with fantasy and magic, then, this is your cup of tea.
This is my sole opinion ^_^.Genre: YA, Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, Magic
Sexual content: mild to moderate
Violence: moderate to heavy-ish (more in some sections)
Drugs/Alcohol: mild to moderate (drunk characters)
DNF Zone O_o
Book synopsisThe Bluebeard fairy tale retold. . . .
When seventeen-year-old Sophia Petheram’s beloved father dies, she receives an unexpected letter. An invitation—on fine ivory paper, in bold black handwriting—from the mysterious Monsieur Bernard de Cressac, her godfather. With no money and fewer options, Sophie accepts, leaving her humble childhood home for the astonishingly lavish Wyndriven Abbey, in the heart of Mississippi. Sophie has always longed for a comfortable life, and she finds herself both attracted to and shocked by the charm and easy manners of her overgenerous guardian. But as she begins to piece together the mystery of his past, it’s as if, thread by thread, a silken net is tightening around her. And as she gathers stories and catches whispers of his former wives—all with hair as red as her own—in the forgotten corners of the abbey, Sophie knows she’s trapped in the passion and danger of de Cressac’s intoxicating world. Glowing strands of romance, mystery, and suspense are woven into this breathtaking debut—a thrilling retelling of the “Bluebeard” fairy tale. Strands of Bronze and Gold
My opinion1.5/5 starts according to GoodreadsDNF
I start reading the book and listening the audiobook in the same time. I got bored with the narrative. I start reading some reviews (good and bad) about it and it lead to me browsing through the book. I know it is not a good thing… I am not sorry for doing that. :))
The story was not able to captivate my attention. It dragged and I was not in mood for that. I was attracted to the book by its cover and by the fact that it was a fairy tale retelling. I was not able to connect with the heroine either.
I am probably not going to pick it up again in the future even though I blame my mood for not giving this book a shot. :’)
If you like fairy tales retellings, go for it! Although, the beginning is slow and a turnoff.Original Review at: Strands of Bronze and Gold – Goodreads ReviewThe following comment is from when I was reading the book:“a little annoyed by this book; the story was not for me; frustrated by the main character acting like a naïve fan-girl over the guy(she might change by the end of the book), and like a damsel in distress(sad cause she had other good qualities).I was not the mood for this book and I had other expectations when I started it. I read just 11 chapters in case I want to turn back to it someday.”
Genre: YA, Retellings, Fairy Tales, Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Romance
Language: I do not know (IDK)
Sexual content: IDK