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Thursday, April 19, 2018

Cover Crush: Tallgrass

Cover Crush

We can all say that you should never judge a book by its cover, but I guarantee that we all have done so at least once! Cover Crush is designed to feature some of those covers that have caught the eye as a standout on the bookshelf.

tall grass

This cover gives off such a gritty, western feel to it.  Like a wind is blowing in and the dust is blowing around.  Even those clouds look dirty.  The house appears isolated, especially from this perspective low to the ground.  Very different from a lot of what we tend to see.

What are your thoughts on this cover?

I wonder what my friends are crushing on this week? Let’s check it out: To update after going live.

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Copyright © 2018 by The Maiden’s Court

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Wish List 5: Historical Crime–Nonfiction


Once a month I am planning on sharing with you all 5 of my biggest wish list books broken up by theme.  I know that you all need more on your TBR!!!  This month’s wish list had a couple different sources of inspiration.  Growing up I was a much more devoted reader of modern day mysteries and crime dramas.  I haven’t read as much of this genre recently, but love catching them on TV.  My husband recently asked me to help him find non-fiction books about Victorian Era serial killers, based off of his reading of Devil in the White City by Erik Larson.  Finally, I have been inspired by Erin at Flashlight Commentary’s recent delve into high profile murder stories.  So this month’s feature is non-fiction on historical crimes – early 20th century or before.

Hell's Princess: The Mystery of Belle Gunness, Butcher of Men by Harold Schechter

hells princessIn the pantheon of serial killers, Belle Gunness stands alone. She was the rarest of female psychopaths, a woman who engaged in wholesale slaughter, partly out of greed but mostly for the sheer joy of it. Between 1902 and 1908, she lured a succession of unsuspecting victims to her Indiana “murder farm.” Some were hired hands. Others were well-to-do bachelors. All of them vanished without a trace. When their bodies were dug up, they hadn’t merely been poisoned, like victims of other female killers. They’d been butchered.

Hell’s Princess is a riveting account of one of the most sensational killing sprees in the annals of American crime: the shocking series of murders committed by the woman who came to be known as Lady Bluebeard. The only definitive book on this notorious case and the first to reveal previously unknown information about its subject, Harold Schechter’s gripping, suspenseful narrative has all the elements of a classic mystery—and all the gruesome twists of a nightmare.

Bestial: The Savage Trail of a True American Monster by Harold Schechter


San Francisco, the 1920s. In an age when nightmares were relegated to the fiction of Edgar Allan Poe and distant tales of the Whitechapel murders, a real-life monster terrorized America. His acts of butchery have proved him one of history's fiercest madmen.

As an infant, Earle Leonard Nelson possessed the power to unsettle his elders. As a child he was unnaturally obsessed with the Bible; before he reached puberty, he had an insatiable, aberrant sex drive. By his teens, even Earle's own family had reason to fear him. But no one in the bone-chilling winter of 1926 could have predicted that his degeneracy would erupt in a sixteen-month frenzy of savage rape, barbaric murder, and unimaginable defilement -- deeds that would become the hallmarks of one of the most notorious fiends of the twentieth century, whose blood-lust would not be equaled until the likes of Henry Lee Lucas, John Wayne Gacy, and Jeffrey Dahmer.

Drawing on the "gruesome, awesome, compelling reporting" (Ann Rule) that is his trademark, Harold Schechter takes a dark journey into the mind of an unrepentant sadist -- and brilliantly lays bare the myth of innocence that shrouded a bygone era.

The Thames Torso Murders by M.J. Trow

thames torso murdersDismembered corpses are discovered scattered along the banks of the river Thames, a calculating clinical multiple murderer is on the loose, and the London police have no inkling of the killer s identity and, more than a century later, they still don t. In this, M.J. Trow s latest reinvestigation of a bizarre and brutal serial killing, he delves deep into the appalling facts of the case, into the futile police investigations, and into the dark history of late Victorian London.The incredible criminal career of the Thames torso murderer has gripped readers and historians ever since he committed his crimes in the 1870s and 1880s. The case poses as many questions as the even more notorious killings of Jack the Ripper. How, over a period of fifteen years, did the Thames murderer get away with a succession of monstrous and sensational misdeeds? And what sort of perverted character was he, why did he take such risks, why did he kill again and again?

The Man from the Train: The Solving of a Century-Old Serial Killer Mystery by Bill James and Rachel McCarthy James

the man from the trainUsing unprecedented, dramatically compelling sleuthing techniques, legendary statistician and baseball writer Bill James applies his analytical acumen to crack an unsolved century-old mystery surrounding one of the deadliest serial killers in American history.

Between 1898 and 1912, families across the country were bludgeoned in their sleep with the blunt side of an axe. Jewelry and valuables were left in plain sight, bodies were piled together, faces covered with cloth. Some of these cases, like the infamous Villasca, Iowa, murders, received national attention. But few people believed the crimes were related. And fewer still would realize that all of these families lived within walking distance to a train station.

When celebrated baseball statistician and true crime expert Bill James first learned about these horrors, he began to investigate others that might fit the same pattern. Applying the same know-how he brings to his legendary baseball analysis, he empirically determined which crimes were committed by the same person. Then after sifting through thousands of local newspapers, court transcripts, and public records, he and his daughter Rachel made an astonishing discovery: they learned the true identity of this monstrous criminal. In turn, they uncovered one of the deadliest serial killers in America.

Riveting and immersive, with writing as sharp as the cold side of an axe, The Man from the Train paints a vivid, psychologically perceptive portrait of America at the dawn of the twentieth century, when crime was regarded as a local problem, and opportunistic private detectives exploited a dysfunctional judicial system. James shows how these cultural factors enabled such an unspeakable series of crimes to occur, and his groundbreaking approach to true crime will convince skeptics, amaze aficionados, and change the way we view criminal history.

The Murder of the Century: The Gilded Age Crime that Scandalized a City and Sparked the Tabloid Wars
by Paul Collins

the murder of the centuryOn Long Island, a farmer finds a duck pond turned red with blood. On the Lower East Side, two boys playing at a pier discover a floating human torso wrapped tightly in oilcloth. Blueberry pickers near Harlem stumble upon neatly severed limbs in an overgrown ditch. Clues to a horrifying crime are turning up all over New York, but the police are baffled: There are no witnesses, no motives, no suspects.

The grisly finds that began on the afternoon of June 26, 1897, plunged detectives headlong into the era's most baffling murder mystery. Seized upon by battling media moguls Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst, the case became a publicity circus. Reenactments of the murder were staged in Times Square, armed reporters lurked in the streets of Hell's Kitchen in pursuit of suspects, and an unlikely trio — a hard-luck cop, a cub reporter, and an eccentric professor — all raced to solve the crime.

What emerged was a sensational love triangle and an even more sensational trial: an unprecedented capital case hinging on circumstantial evidence around a victim whom the police couldn't identify with certainty, and who the defense claimed wasn't even dead. The Murder of the Century is a rollicking tale — a rich evocation of America during the Gilded Age and a colorful re-creation of the tabloid wars that have dominated media to this day.

Here is another non-fiction historical crime book that I have read and enjoyed:

Wish List 5
Devil in the White City
★★★★ ½☆

If you are looking to add more books to your list, here are some of the wishlists from a few of my friends this month: (to be updated as they go live)

  • Magdalena @ A Bookaholic Swede -
  • Colleen @ A Literary Vacation –
  • Erin @ Flashlight Commentary –
  • Holly @ 2 Kids and Tired Books –
  • Stephanie @ Layered Pages –

keep calm and support book bloggers

Copyright © 2018 by The Maiden’s Court

Friday, April 13, 2018

Audiobook Review: A Promise of Ruin by Cuyler Overholt

a promise of ruin
A Promise of Ruin
by Cuyler Overholt
Book 2 in the Dr. Genevieve Summerford Mystery series
Unabridged, 12 hr. 20 min.
Recorded Books
Carly Robbins (narrator)
August 8, 2017
★★★★ ½☆
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Genre: Historical Fiction/Mystery

Source: Received from publisher for review

To stop the trafficking ring plaguing her city, Dr. Genevieve Summerford must dive into New York’s underworld

In early 1900s New York, the formidable crime syndicate known as the Black Hand has been terrorizing the city's Italian community with bombings and kidnappings. When a young Italian girl is found drowned and sexually defiled, Dr. Genevieve Summerford suspects the organization has expanded into forced prostitution, and she won't rest until the trafficking ring is brought to justice.

While A Deadly Affection (book 1) very much had its roots in the medical field that Genevieve was making inroads into, in A Promise of Ruin it plays second string to the kidnapping and trafficking storyline. Genevieve still attends to her clients and uses the knowledge to help some of the other characters cope with things they are dealing with, but it was not the focus here. Genevieve actually struggles with the fact that her psychiatry practice is not taking off and she is spending more time providing actual physical medical assistance, which felt very real. While this was something that I enjoyed in the first book, the characters held my rapt attention here and I didn’t miss it.

And oh the characters! I love the Genevieve and Simon back and forth. Their relationship is full of fun banter and tension between them that keeps the reader on their toes. We also get to know more about the retainers in the Summerford household who worry about Genevieve as one of their own; Katey is quite the spitfire and I loved how she helped resolve the mystery. Even the men and boys who are a part of the world Simon moves in were well fleshed out and entertaining. You gotta love those little boys!

There is much more focus on the police investigation (and Genevieve’s meddling in it), but it felt very well set in the time period and not out of place at all. I’m a huge fan of police procedurals and this worked here, although I hope the books to come to not all feature this. I have done some studying of the Black Hand and the Italian camorra and I enjoyed how these elements were seamlessly woven into the fabric of the story here. Additionally, a lot more of this novel is committed to Genevieve helping those from the lower classes, whereas previously we were more set in the upper class – it was very different.

I really enjoyed spending time with Genevieve and friends again and look forward to seeing where the next book take her – especially in terms of her relationship and her medical profession.


★★★★ ½☆

My opinions on the narration are very much in line with my thoughts on book 1, as they are both narrated by the same person, Carly Robins. Robins was able to relay the author’s pacing well in this audiobook presentation. There is an interplay between slow or fast reading based on the need of the scene. I appreciated the appropriate pause length between sentences – just the right amount of time. Robbins imbues her Genevieve with an earnestness, but also demonstrates fear or hesitation when appropriate. It certainly feels like she spent some time getting to know the characters before recording the passages. There is some voice work here to make characters unique, and this is one of the few times I have found myself feeling comfortable with a narration of characters of the opposite sex from the narrator. Additionally, I feel that she handled the variety of accents well as we have American, Irish, and Italian among the characters. An admirable job that never felt jarring or out of place.

You can check out a sample from the audiobook below (links to Audible):

Play symbol 85x85

Reviews of this book by other bloggers:

Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | RJ Julia

Also by Cuyler Overholt:

a deadly affection
A Deadly Affection
(Book 1)
[My Review]

Find Cuyler Overholt:
Website | Twitter | Facebook

Copyright © 2018 by The Maiden’s Court

Thursday, April 12, 2018

New Book Alert: The Earl in My Bed by Stacy Reid–Excerpt & Giveaway

The Earl in my Bed

The Earl in My Bed by Stacy Reid
Book 2 in the Rebellious Desires series
e-Book; 191 pages
Entangled: Scandalous
April 9, 2018
Genre: Historical Romance
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Book Blurb:

For years, Daphne Wentworth, Countess Carrington has loved her powerful, enigmatic husband, despite the fact that they married under less than ideal circumstances. But no more. Finally at her breaking point, Daphne intends to create a scandal so big, her austere husband will have no choice but to divorce her. Except everything goes awry when he surprises her with the last thing she expected.

Sylvester Wentworth, Earl of Carrington, has returned to London for one reason—to seduce his wife. After a near-death experience, he is in need of an heir and means to make his marriage a real one. To his shock, though, his wicked, beautiful countess wants the exact opposite, and he must now do everything possible to entice his countess to stay forever.

Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

About Stacy Reid:

 Stacy Reid 

Stacy is an avid reader of novels with a deep passion for writing. She especially loves romance and adores writing about people falling in love. Stacy lives a lot in the worlds she creates and actively speaks to her characters (out loud). She has a warrior way, never give up on her dreams. When Stacy is not writing, she spends a copious amount of time drooling over Rick Grimes from Walking Dead, watching Japanese anime and playing video games with her love.

Find Stacy Reid: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Check out this excerpt from The Earl in My Bed

It was unbearably tempting to press her mouth to his. If she allowed the intimacy of a kiss, wasn’t that the doorway to her undoing? She was already so very aware of him. That echoing emptiness crept from the corners of her heart and darted through her. Daphne knew the press of his lips, the scent of him, the comfort of touch, the thrill of passion would suppress the chasm.

She should be doing everything in her heart to resist whatever this was, for if she allowed him close enough, he would soon be in her bed, and that way led to disaster, she knew it with a certainty that defied logic. Her lips paused a whisper below his, and the fingers on her hips tensed. A rush of fierce anticipation flowed through her veins, yet the dratted man did not press his advantage at her evident willingness. Instead, he waited, an odd sort of tension riding the air.

He kissed her. She made a soft sound and parted her lips. He tasted of mint, spice, and Sylvester himself. His tongue lightly skimmed along her lower lip, and she softened more against him. Then it was over.

Her lids fluttered open, and she stared at him in bemusement.

“Thank you,” he said.

She suddenly knew with a shattering certainty that their marriage as it had existed in that cold, indifferent state was over. What stood on the other side of the invitation, pain or happiness, she did not know, but she was willing for the next several weeks to discover it.


In celebration of the release of The Earl in My Bed and its tour, I can offer entries to a giveaway for a $15 Amazon gift card!  This is a tour wide giveaway and entries can be made at any hosting site.  All entries will be made via the Rafflecopter app below.  Any questions should be directed to the tour coordinator, Author’s Pal.  Good luck! 

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The Earl in my Bed Tour Banner

Follow the tour!

Copyright © 2018 by The Maiden’s Court

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Cover Crush: 1929

Cover Crush

We can all say that you should never judge a book by its cover, but I guarantee that we all have done so at least once! Cover Crush is designed to feature some of those covers that have caught the eye as a standout on the bookshelf.


I love the clothing from this time period – men were so dapper in their suits and the ladies so daring.  As this novel is set surrounding the events of Black Friday, I think the grey overtones are perfect to set the mood.  And the NY skyline just puts us right into the setting.  I think this was a great choice all around.

What are your thoughts on this cover?

I wonder what my friends are crushing on this week? Let’s check it out: A Literary Vacation; A Bookaholic Swede; Flashlight Commentary; Layered Pages; 2 Kids and Tired Books.   

keep calm and support book bloggers

Copyright © 2018 by The Maiden’s Court

Monday, April 9, 2018

Book Review: The Duke of Ruin by Darcy Burke

Burke%2c Darcy- The Duke of Ruin (final) 800 px %40 72 dpi low res

The Duke of Ruin by Darcy Burke
Book 8 in The Untouchables series
ARC, e-Book; 304 pages
Darcy Burke Publishing
March 27th, 2018
★★★★ ½☆

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Genre: Historical Romance

Source: Received from publicist for review

With her betrothal to a duke in tatters and scandal imminent, Diana Kingman has two choices: live in certain ignominy or flee into obscurity. Diana wants solitude. She never wished to wed in the first place. However, her father will stop at nothing to betroth her to one of the finest titles in the realm...no matter how loathsome the bearer. Escape is Diana’s only option, and she’ll pay any price to achieve freedom.

Universally blamed for the death of his wife and unborn child, Simon Hastings doesn’t dispute his guilt over an accident he cannot even remember. He hasn’t had a drink since, nor a moment’s peace. Determined to be a better man, Simon rescues a young woman in need—only to be accused of kidnapping. They must marry to save him from prison. But how can a man haunted by the love he lost and a woman afraid to get too close find happiness together?

I have now read 5 of the 8 books in this series and I can comfortably say that this is among the strongest in the bunch. In a series of this length (with more on the horizon) it can be easy to fall into the belief that all of the books need to fit nicely together in some ways, and I felt like some of the earlier books in the series relied on this convention FAR too heavy handedly. ALL the ladies from prior books popped in and out and we had a conversational recap of pretty much everything that came before, which I felt entirely unnecessary. Now, don’t get me wrong, I think that The Duke of Ruin absolutely should be read after The Duke of Ice as it essentially picks up there the predecessor left off, but these two books are connected to the series MUCH more loosely and without all the added baggage of the prior novels. There is a sense of freedom when reading this book, especially if you have read others in the series. I didn’t sense like I knew what was going to happen at any given time. The majority of the characters are fresh and new and I was happy to continue turning the pages on this one.

As I stated, while this is technically a standalone novel within the series, I highly recommend reading The Duke of Ice first. While you are given the necessary details to start of this book and set the scene, that would be the one part of the book that I would describe as slightly clumsy. I have often struggled with how the books in the series interconnect or how much is told to the reader, and while it was still not quite on the mark here, it was must more successfully executed than in earlier novels. Simon and Diana were secondary characters if The Duke of Ice, however with significant roles, and I was happy to see them back in this novel as I enjoyed them both immensely in the prior book, even in their separate spheres. The characters motives will make much more sense to you if you read these books in order as you will have a complete sense of what led them to the point they are at upon the opening of the book.

In a sense I feel like this book is almost like a “bottle episode” of a sitcom – where the majority of it takes place between very few characters (Simon and Diana in this case) and within tight settings (mostly in a coach or at coaching inns). This setup, much like its television counterpart, really sets you up for a character driven narrative that can just build and build. Simon and Diana do not know much about each other as the novel opens, but that changes as their journey both literally and figuratively progresses.

One interesting aspect of the romance factor here was the “lesson” style, at least in the first instance, but it was one that I felt was done right. As with many historical romances, it is usually the first time for the heroine, but the hero has been well experienced in his past; that is no different here. When was most successful here is the authors use of “show vs. tell”, both for the reader as well as the characters. Nothing has been more awkward than to read a first encounter scene where it reads like a textbook and you walk away feeling grossly voyeuristic. That was NOT the case here and while it was a little surprising how it arose between the two characters, it was well handled in my opinion.

I look forward to reading more in this series and hope that they continue to follow in the style of The Duke of Ruin.

Reviews of this book by other bloggers:

Buy the Book:
Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Also by Darcy Burke:

forbidden duke
The Forbidden Duke
(Book 1)

duke of daring
The Duke of Daring
(Book 2)

duke of deception
The Duke of Deception
(Book 3)
[My Review]

duke of desire
The Duke of Desire
(Book 4)
[My Review]

duke of defiance
The Duke of Defiance (Book 5)
[My Review]

duke of danger
The Duke of Danger
(Book 6)

duke of ice
The Duke of Ice
(Book 7)
[My Review]

Find Darcy Burke:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


Copyright © 2018 by The Maiden’s Court

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Cover Crush: The Little Shop of Found Things

Cover Crush

We can all say that you should never judge a book by its cover, but I guarantee that we all have done so at least once! Cover Crush is designed to feature some of those covers that have caught the eye as a standout on the bookshelf.

the little shop of found things

Wow this one is a beauty!  I love the rich blue jewel tones and the swirls give off the magic that the blurb suggests.  I always am drawn to doorways or windows that have overgrown flowers above them (I have a painting like this in my house).  So beautiful!

What are your thoughts on this cover?

I wonder what my friends are crushing on this week? Let’s check it out: A Literary Vacation; A Bookaholic Swede; Flashlight Commentary; Layered Pages; 2 Kids and Tired Books.   

keep calm and support book bloggers

Copyright © 2018 by The Maiden’s Court