Trace of Deceit by Karen Odden

Book cover of a Trace of Deceit by Karen Odden

Book cover of a Trace of Deceit by Karen Odden

A review copy of this book was provided by Karen Odden

Historical mysteries are an often-overlooked sub-genre in today’s popular fiction. While the popularity of modern psychological, serial and true crime mystery books has been on the rise, it’s begun to feel like the same story is being told over and over. When the author (Karen Odden) reached out to me about A Trace of Deceit, I was thrilled – I’ve been feeling burnt out with mystery books lately and this felt like a breath of fresh air in an oversaturated genre. True to its name, A Trace of Deceit is a mystery full of deceit, beautiful art, and an immersive atmosphere.

A young painter digs beneath the veneer of Victorian London’s art world to learn the truth behind her brother’s murder…

Edwin is dead. That’s what Inspector Matthew Hallam of Scotland Yard tells Annabel Rowe when she discovers him searching her brother’s flat for clues. While the news is shocking, Annabel can’t say it’s wholly unexpected, given Edwin’s past as a dissolute risk-taker and art forger, although he swore he’d reformed. After years spent blaming his reckless behavior for their parents’ deaths, Annabel is now faced with the question of who murdered him—because Edwin’s death was both violent and deliberate. A valuable French painting he’d been restoring for an auction house is missing from his studio: find the painting, find the murderer. But the owner of the artwork claims it was destroyed in a warehouse fire years ago.

As a painter at the prestigious Slade School of Art and as Edwin’s closest relative, Annabel makes the case that she is crucial to Matthew’s investigation. But in their search for the painting, Matthew and Annabel trace a path of deceit and viciousness that reaches far beyond the elegant rooms of the auction house, into an underworld of politics, corruption, and secrets someone will kill to keep.

Continue Reading

Destination Wedding by Diksha Basu

Book cover of Destination Wedding by Diksha Basu

Book cover of Destination Wedding by Diksha Basu

A review copy of this book was provided by Ballantine Books in exchange for an honest review.

India is a place I’ve always wanted to visit and while it’s still on my bucket list I’m trying to read as many books set there as possible. Destination Wedding by Diksha Basu definitely ticked a lot of boxes for me – it’s a work of literary fiction set in India about a millennial woman attending a lavish wedding. Destination Wedding is a big vibrant book with lush settings, family drama, and an interesting story of a woman trying to figure out what she wants in life.

When Tina Das finds herself at a crossroads both professionally and personally, she wonders if a weeklong trip to Delhi for her cousin’s lavish wedding might be just the right kind of escape. Maybe a little time away from New York will help get her mind straight about her stalled career, her recent breakup, and her nagging suspicion that she’ll never feel as at home in America as she does in India. Tina hopes this destination wedding, taking place at Delhi’s poshest country club, Colebrookes, will be the perfect way to reflect and unwind.

But with the entire Das family in attendance, a relaxing vacation is decidedly not in the cards. Her amicably divorced parents are each using the occasion to explore new love interests—for her mother, a white American boyfriend, for her father, an Indian widow arranged by an online matchmaker—and Tina’s squarely in the middle. A former fling is unexpectedly on the guest list, a work opportunity is blurring the lines of propriety on several fronts, and her best friend Marianne’s terrible penchant for international playboys is poised to cause all sorts of chaos back home. The accommodations are swanky, the alcohol is top-shelf, but this family wedding may be more drama than Tina can bear and could finally force her to make the choices she’s spent much of her life avoiding.

Infused with warmth and charm, Destination Wedding grapples with the nuances of family, careers, belonging, and how we find the people who make a place feel like home.

Continue Reading

10 Books on My Summer 2020 TBR

ttt-new

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme by The Artsy Reader. This week’s topic is Books on My Summer 2020 TBR. I’ve got some really great books on my list for this summer – some ARCs for the fall, some for the summer, and some backlist books I’ve been dying to read for forever. Have you read any of the books on this list? Let me know what I should read first.

Continue Reading

Blitzed by Alexa Martin

Book cover of Blitzed by Alexa Martin

Book cover of Blitzed by Alexa MartinAlex Martin continues to tell the tales of the wives of the Denver Mustangs in this third entry to the Playbook series. Blitzed by Alexa Martin follows the story of a previously-just-a-plucky-side-character / bar owner Brynn. She’s a serially single lady with a massive crush on Maxwell, an NFL player who has frequented her bar for years. This quiet hovering and eye contact based relationship they had builds up an odd, chemistry driven rapport. Just as Brynn’s ready to make her move, Maxwell inexplicably destroys part of her bar in a fit of rage. While this would be the end to most conventional crushes, this is just the beginning of Brynn and Maxwell’s romance.

According to Brynn Larson, Maxwell Lewis is more trouble than he’s worth. She doesn’t care if he’s a football god with a rock-hard body that brings most women to their knees. After an encounter that ends poorly, she’s not interested in giving him a second chance. The last thing Brynn expects is for him to turn up at her bar months later, hat in hand. It doesn’t matter if he brings more customers to her business–she’s still not going on a date with him.

Maxwell knows he made a mistake. He’d been waiting to make his move on Brynn since the day he laid eyes on her and he was finally ready to go for it until he screwed up. He wishes he could tell her the truth about what happened that night, but he just can’t. He can’t tell anyone, so he’ll make amends and hope she’ll forgive him.

Brynn’s not like other women, though. Playing for the Mustangs doesn’t impress her and gifts make her scoff. Max will have to bring his A game if he hopes to win her over.

Continue Reading