Madam Tulip and the Serpent’s Tree by David Ahern

Welp, here we are, all pandemic-y together.

Many of us are practicing some form of isolation/shelter in place/ quarantine and there seem to be a lot of people touting that they are going to write/read/create out of paper mache an epic novel. Meanwhile I’m grateful to have far too much to do as well as three whole acres available when I’m trying to hide from my children but even with those blessings I am not in the mood for epic anything right now. Right now I’m more in the mood for something fun, easy, engaging, humorous and which involves not a single bit of hand washing. If you are feeling the same, I have got you covered – at least in the book department.

Would I recommend it? Why yes, yes I would, but it is in fact book four of the Madam Tulip series and while it would stand alone just fine, I think it would be much more enjoyable if you started from the beginning.

The good news is that gives you four of just the right kind of books to read mid-pandemic before you think about doing something foolish like ripping the carpet off your stairs (P.S. Please someone stop me if I try to rip my old, dirty, ugly carpet off the stairs no matter what reasons I give you, now is not the time!).

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I discovered this book because I’m a proud member of Rosie’s Book Review Team!

Tom Wasp and the Seven Deadly Sins by Amy Myers

A Victorian London murder mystery being solved by a chimney sweep?

You have my attention!And once my attention was captured, this book kept it!

The characters were rich enough that I thought in the back of my mind that this must not be the first of the Tom Wasp books (Great news, it isn’t!) but wholly contained enough that I didn’t feel I was missing anything. The chimney sweep lifestyle and idioms were so well done I went out and found another book on chimney sweeps just so I could learn more. And the mystery was different enough to keep me flipping pages past bedtime.

Would I recommend it? A page turner that sent me to the library looking for more on the subject? Oh, and did I mention that it made me laugh out loud on more than one occasion? Really, what’s not to love?

Just in case it was unclear the answer to all those questions is, “Yes, get the book!” (Though perhaps you should start with the first one, it wasn’t necessary but it is definitely now on my “to read” list!)
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I discovered this book because I’m a proud member of Rosie’s Book Review Team!

Courageous Cain by D.J. Davis

I read this book and I was torn.

The romantic in me loved the sweetly developing romance.
The dog lover in me wants to be the main character.
The mystery lover in me loved watching the plot unfurl.
And the scaredy-cat in me is afraid I’m going to have nightmares for months…

…but I think it’ll be worth it!

Would I recommend it? No really, I started reading this one, decided it would scare me too much, stopped and then finished it almost a year later. It is good…in a serial killer sort of way…

Madam Tulip and the Knave of Hearts by David Ahern

I’m so grateful that I was once reeled in by a cute frog on the cover of a book. That book, Madam Tulip, introduced me to Derry O’Donnell and her accompanying, charmingly over the top, literary comrades.

David Ahern’s newest book cover isn’t as cute…

… but that’s alright because I loved it even more!

Would I recommend it? Yes! This is the new series I’m recommending to anyone who loves a humorous mystery! It made me giggle (so many times) and almost gag (there’s an eyeball…) and had me on the edge of my seat (Well, that’s just a lie on my part. I was reading in bed. But it did have me refusing to put the book down and go to bed at a reasonable time) all at once. A perfect fun, quick read!

Rosie's Book Review team 1

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I discovered this book because I’m a proud member of Rosie’s Book Review Team!

Primed by Eric J. Gates

Primed is the sequel to Outsourced. Perhaps you remember, Outsourced as the book I read last year that had me so caught up in it’s dramatic conclusion that I didn’t get out of bed in time to brush my teeth before my friend came to visit. (True story.)

But I’ve learned my lesson. When I started nearing the end of Primed I made sure I was ready for bed with nothing to lose but sleep. And a good thing, because twists started twisting and cliff hangers started hanging and things got exciting. Which is saying something because things, involving two writers, a DIA agent, a homicide detective, a mysterious device and the Russian mob start out fairly exciting even before the twists start twisting and the turns start turning!


Also, I’m tired now.


Would I recommend it? If high octane mysteries are your style, check these books out. Just be sure to start with Outsourced and clear your calendar!

The Dead Dog Day by Jackie Kabler

Conversation stops as my husband stares at me and asks, “How do you know that?”

There I stand, once again flummoxed that not everybody knows whatever random nugget of information just popped into conversation.

It can only mean one thing.

I read it in a book.

While it’s true that I love a good fantasy realm, many of my favorite books are grounded in fascinating reality.

Murder mystery and romance set amongst the facets of everyday life.

Not my everyday life but someone who lives in a different area. Works a different job. Lives a different life.

A single, childless, woman living in England who works as TV news reporter?

Yup, that’ll do for different!

While I hope never to be enmeshed in a murder mystery in any way, I suspect the life and times of a TV news journalist will filter to the surface from time to time. Once again conversation will stop as my husband gives me that questioning look.

“Oh” I’ll say, “I read about that in The Dead Dog Day.”

Would I recommend it? The beginning had me hooked. The end was riveting. I felt that the action fell off a bit in the middle as we muddled through the who-done-it with the main character,  but it was consistently fun to hear about shenanigans at the news station.

Rosie's Book Review team 1

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I discovered this book because I’m a proud member of Rosie’s Book Review Team!

The Devil in Montmartre by Gary Inbinder (& Pinterest)

For years I’ve kept an ongoing lists of books to read on numerous pieces of scrap paper tucked into the pages of a journal of books I have read.

It was a semi-functional system.

Recently I decided to embrace both technology and organization and upgraded to Pinterest.

I’m loving it.

It’s often just as easy to pin a book as it is to jot it down on a piece of paper and it’s much harder to lose. Then, when I’m in need of a new book, I scan through my “books to read” board, hop on my favorite inter-library loan system and request a few books.

It’s a significant upgrade from lost scraps of paper and I love that my new “list” shows me the collection of covers rather than just titles. books to readSince my upgrade I have been known to hone in on a book cover that looks familiar at book stores, libraries and friends bookshelves, finding what I would never have remembered had I relied on my list of titles. And when the miracles of inter-library loan puts a copy in my hand, the title may still be unfamiliar but the cover will often remind me why I wanted to read it in the first place.

Often, but not always…

Sometimes I get a book I have requested from the library and wonder things like, ” Why on earth was I planning on reading a book titled The Devil in Montmartre?” 

But I read it anyway because I wouldn’t have pinned it and then requested it from the library without reason, even if I couldn’t for the life of me remember why I would have wanted to read such a terrifying sounding and looking book.

Which was good because once I read it I discovered that the reason I must have requested it was that it was focused on the 1889 forensic techniques used to solve a murder in Montmartre Paris, and that was pretty darn cool.

Would I recommend it? This is set in Montmartre at the time of the Moulin Rouge. And yes, everything illicit that comes to mind is in here, plus a bit more, as well as a really irritating doormat of a wife and a rather gruesome murder. So it’s not for the feminist, squeamish, prudish or my mother because sometimes there are books that you’d rather your mother didn’t also read no matter how old you are.

But the forensic stuff was good…

Bells on her Toes by Diana J. Febry

I seem to be stuck with an unfortunate combination: the love of a good mystery and a proneness to an overactive, nightmare-inducing imagination. I blame Nancy Drew for my love of a good mystery with all its twists, turns, sleuthing and excitement. Unfortunately, now mysteries are often of the murder type, which plays to that overactive imagination of mine and so they aren’t my typical fare.  Back, ages ago, when we had a TV I could occasionally be sucked into a random crime drama. I’d divide my time between watching icky things between my fingers, enjoying the thrill of the investigation and being majorly confused as to what sort of shenanigans the characters were up to outside their day jobs. I loved it and hated it all at the same time.

I am still tempted by the occasional murder mystery but now exclusively in the written format. Fortunately, books are always better and this one was no exception.


For starters I never had to read any of it from behind my fingers. Because, let’s face it, unless you are the Cat in the Hat, reading with your eyes shut tight makes the whole experience very difficult. I may never look at a pitchfork without wincing again but other than that minor incident the gore was kept to a minimum. The book focused on the sleuthing, investigating and the general fascinating rottenness and strangeness of humans pushed to their limits. You know, all the best parts. It did become apparent early on that this wasn’t the detective’s debut novel but unlike the television crime dramas I’ve seen, I was able to pick up the lines of their personal lives without a problem.

Would I recommend it? Its got twists, its got turns, it’s got drama and horses and tea and it didn’t give me a single nightmare. My only disappointment is that I didn’t read The Skeletons of Birkbury first.

Rosie's Book Review team 1

This honest review was given in return for a free copy of the book from its author.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour BookstoreA excerpt from A.A. Milne’s The house at Pooh Corner sums up my feelings on this book quite nicely:

…”Christopher Robin tried to teach it to me once, but it didn’t.”

“What didn’t?” said Rabbit.

“Didn’t what?” said Piglet.

Pooh shook his head.

“I don’t know,” he said. “It just didn’t.”

Would I recommend it? It started out really promising, I thought I would love it, I thought I was loving it… and then, in the words of Pooh, “It just didn’t.”

Speaking From Among the Bones by Alan Bradley

Flavia is back!!!Speaking From Among the Bones

Of course to be fair she’s been back before this in I Am Half-Sick Of Shadows but I see I didn’t manage to write a post about that.


Would I recommend it? Yes! I’d recommend all five and this one I liked better than the last two.

If you haven’t already please, do yourself a favor, read The Sweetness At The Bottom of the Pie where it all starts.