The Madness of Mercury by Connie di Marco

the madness of mercury

Book was gifted by NetGalley for review.

Julia Bonatti is an astrologer that has a life she has always wanted, the perfect place to live, a job she loves and great friends, but Reverend Roy of the Prophet’s Tabernacle is about to turn all that upside down. When Julia answers a letter from her Zodia newspaper column about the Prophet cult her life becomes one of a moving target. The Prophet’s followers attack her home, her business and friends. She tries to get the authorities to help, but they seem to be either bought and paid for by the Reverend or do not want to suffer the wrath of him if they go against him.
If that was not bad enough, a friend of Julia’s, Dorothy is having issues with her two elderly aunts who she cares for. Evandra seems hell bent on accusing her niece of trying to kill her and Eunice wants to move to the Prophets Paradise. Julia checks the astrological charts for all of them and it does not look good. When the elderly gardener dies under mysterious circumstances, things go from bad to worse.

Will Julia be able to help her friend and her aunts or will Mercury weave it’s madness and leave a trail of destruction?

I have to admit the reason I requested this book from NetGalley was the cover, being a cat person I loved the cover and wanted to find out what the story was about. I have never read a cozy mystery either, so it had two things in its favour before I had even started. As an introduction to the cozy mystery genre I was very impressed. The story itself was very engaging, with believable characters. Being a person who is interested in all things to do with spirituality and the such, I found the seance scene really well written, I was a bit disappointed that it did not go a bit longer as it would have been interesting to know for sure if the psychic had in fact contacted Lily for sure. Another part of the story that had me totally enthralled was when Julia went in search of Eunice. There is enough of a “who done it” aspect to keep you guessing till the very end. I had my own theory on who it as and was quite surprised when the culprit was revealed.

If you love cozy mysteries, then you might want to check out this delightfully tale.

The Little Old Lady Who Struck Lucky Again! (Pensionärsligan #2) by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg

the little old lady that struck it lucky again

Book was gifted by The Reading Room for review.

Martha and the League of Pensioners are back again, determined to help out those less fortunate by pulling off the crime of the century. Having moved from Sweden to America to hide from authorities, they are trying to keep a low profile, but this group of unlikely criminals can not stay out of trouble for long. Without even trying they became involved in a diamond robbery. Now with diamonds in their possession they have to find a way to move them on, the answer. Go back to Sweden. But being on the most wanted list in Sweden, means they need to keep a low profile, but Martha has other ideas…

The pensioners are back to their very best in the sequel to The Little Old Lady Who Broke All The Rules. Whilst I did not find this book had as many laugh out loud moments, the storyline was just as interesting as the first book. The pensioners were at the bumbling best, with a few twists in the plot it made for a very enjoyable read. Martha’s anguish and frustration at the government and social attitudes is very strong, I can understand why she does what she does, although I do not condone crime, I truly understand her motives. I feel for her and understand that she feels the need to help others.

Highly recommended, although I would read the first book in the series before reading this one.

The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules (Pensionärsligan #1) by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg

the little old lady who broke all the rules

Imagine if you were in the golden years of your life, what would you wish to do? Relax, do a bit of knitting or reading perhaps? Not Martha Andersson, she wants adventure and not the lawn bowls type, she wants to escape the confines of her nursing home and rob a bank. Yes, you read that correctly, she wants to rob a bank. So she enlists the help of her four friends and they set a course to, first make a break from the nursing home from hell, then set about pulling off the “perfect” crime. Unlike other criminals, though this group of pensioners wish to be caught so they can go to prison and live the high life. What follows is a tale of adventure, and ultimately the story of 5 friends who took on the world of crime and proved that you are never too old to commit a crime, albeit a crime with a difference.

I have to admit when I first brought this book (I was gifted the second one for review so thought it would be wise to read the first book), I had no idea of the adventure that was awaiting me. The author has done a wonderful job of bringing to life these five wonderful characters, they may be slower than your average criminals, but, that does not stop them having the adventure of a lifetime. There are many twists and turns in the plot that leaves the reader wondering what will happen next and will it all work out how the League of Pensioners want it to. There are many times that I was thinking that things were going to go terribly wrong for them all, but, it all seems to work out in the end, even if it doesn’t quite go the way they planned it. There is a lot of laugh out loud moments and plenty of twists and turns to keep the reading wanting to know more. I look forward to reading the second book to see just what else this unruly group of pensioners gets up to next.

Highly recommended reading.

McKellan’s Run by Nicole Hurley-Moore

mckellan's run

I won this book as part of a Goodreads “First Reads” Give Away.

Violet left her grandfather’s home years ago when he threw her out in a fit of rage, but now, the grandfather has passed away and left her the old homestead. She has returned to the town where she grew up and to people that affected her past… Mac McKellan is one memory that she had forgotten about, but it appears that Mac had never forgotten her. Violet settles back into life in the country getting her life and business in order when out of the blue the mother of her childhood sweetheart calls her with a desperate plea, to help organise the wedding of the her son Jason, the man who destroyed any thoughts of loving any man ever again. Can Violet forget the past and see a new future for herself and her daughter Holly? Will Mac’s brother Jason, the man who broke a Violet’s heart, break it all over again, or, will love eventually find its true path?

This is the first book I have read by Nicole and I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised by it. There is not one thing that I can fault about the story at all, other than it ended way too soon. The book as a whole is the perfect package, there is romance, a bit of mystery and a hell of a lot of action especially when Jason’s fiancée comes to town throwing orders around. That woman in my opinion got off very lightly, I do not want to give anything away, but she deserved more than she got. I found all the characters very believable and easy to relate to. It may look like your average boy loves girl and tries to win her heart romance, but, there are so many different things going on that it rises above average romance novel and becomes a firm favourite in the hearts of fans of the romance genre.

Highly recommended.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Harry Potter #1) by J.K. Rowling

harry potter1

I found the idea of this series of books wonderful. When they were released there were not a lot of children’s books that were set in the world of magic. I think for me the greatest thing about this book is, it teaches children and adults alike that, you can achieve anything you wish even when you think that it is impossible. I also think the theme of friendship is important, people can be friends whether you agree with everything about them or not, Hermione is a great example of that throughout the book, she is more of a straight-laced student but she befriends Ron and Harry. She tells them it is to keep them out of trouble, but I believe deep down she is actually happy that she has found people that like a bit of adventure, it is something new to her.

One aspect of the story that there has been a lot of discussion about is, why Harry was left with the Dursley’s after the death of his parents. Although it is clear that Harry is not treated very well at all, I think this was the best place for Harry to grow up. Although he cannot understand why they do not like him because of his magical ability, they teach Harry a very valuable lesson…kindness, when he comes across all different kinds of people at Hogwarts, he is more prone to showing kindness to them after the way he has been treated by the Dursley’s. They also have taught him how to stand up for himself when he is taunted by Draco Malfoy.

Rowling has the ability to create a world that every reader of these books wishes to enter and never leave. With owls that deliver the mail, a magical school where anything is possible and lets not forget the moving pictures, Hogwarts is a place that will live in the hearts of fans for years to come.

All and all a great start to what looks like a fantastic series. If you are a fan of all things magical and have not delved into the world of Harry Potter yet, I would highly recommend you give this series a chance.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

PandP

Pride and Prejudice is one of the most well known and treasured love stories in the world today, and with very good reason. Jane Austen had a talent for making her characters very real, with lots of faults. From Elizabeth to Mr Collins, there are characters galore for the reader to fall in love with and despise. She also understood how to use humour in a way that makes the reader laugh at something even though they know they probably shouldn’t. It is a book that totally polarises the reader, you either love it or you hate it. I personally believe that a lot of readers do not understand the complexities of the time. I have read some reviews of the book which stated that they could not understand why Mrs Bennet was so obsessed with her daughters finding husbands. We live in totally different times to the characters in the book. If you were a gentleman’s daughter you were expected to marry and to marry well. It is that simple, there was very little freedom in that and if you happen to find someone you love, then you were very lucky indeed.

If you are new to Austen’s works and do not quite grasp what all the fuss is about, a bit of research on the time period the books are set in, looking up the manners and etiquette of the time period, might help to understand how all the relationships in the book work. It is a great study of human nature, its success, its failures, and its prejudices.

Highly recommended.

Wickham’s Diary by Amanda Grange

wickham's diary

The bad boy of Pride and Prejudice finally tells his side of this most famous of tales and what a side he has to tell. Brought up by a mother who has only his best interests at heart, but those interests are to get her son in a position in life that she missed out on. One that would see him married to a rich wife and have a high standing in society. Despite his mother’s plan Wickham, has other ideas.

Wickham wishes to have all the things in life that his childhood friend Fitzwilliam Darcy has had the privilege of enjoying but instead of working hard and take on the employment that was granted to him by Darcy’s father, Wickham moves through life living off the generosity of others until their generosity runs out, then, he moves onto his next pursuit. He is the worst kind of scoundrel, one that tries to gain the pity of others through lies and deceit.

Amanda Grange takes us on another interesting inside look at the characters of Pride and Prejudice. Once again captures the very heart and soul of those characters that have become like a family to those that love Jane and her books. The writing is flawless, flows wonderfully and is very Austen in its delivery. Grange writes such a convincing tale of Wickham that you could be forgiven for thinking this book was a prequel to Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen herself.