Maia Chance

Book Review – Bad Housekeeping (An Agnes and Effie Mystery) by Maia Chance.

Bad Housekeeping

4 out of 5 stars

I would like to thank Crooked Lane Books for providing me with a free electronic ARC of this book, via Netgalley, in exchange for an open and honest review.

Okay, open and honest bit… I was introduced to Ms Chance’s writing via an anthology of Christmas themed short stories. Due to liking that book I was approached and asked to read her 1920’s cosy crime/ mystery series and loved it. To the point I started fan following Ms Chance on social media. And a fan I did become. So when I saw another story by her on Netgalley, I wanted to see what else she could do… and I was once more not disappointed by Ms Chance’s skill to write in another era, style and tone. No cookie cut outs from this author! Yet another new world, new characters and new ways things got done. Simply her great level of humour – similar to my own – and her talented ability to weave a good story linked this book to previous works I have read.

Fine, enough fan-girling from me, on to the review of the actual book… In two words – loved it. It reminded me of Sharyn McCrumb’s Elizabeth MacPherson series, without it being in any way a rip off. There were no actual similarities… it was more a feel. And as I have been a fan of Ms McCrumb’s for decades… this is a big compliment.

It also had that small town America cosy crime/ mystery feel I enjoy and ticked all the right boxes for an entertaining read – our self-doubting, sarcastic protagonist, erratically eccentric side kick, a town of its own colourful characters, the dud ex, the cute new guy, some red herrings and entertaining padding out of the tale and a crime to solve. And it did have me thinking whodunit until near the end and then finished it off with a good bit of drama and a neat wrap up. All in all – the perfect cosy crime/ mystery and something fans of this genre will delight in adding to their summer/ winter reading lists.

Would I recommend this book to others?

Um, I think I just did. 😉 But yes, cosy crime/ mystery fans – you will love ‘Bad Housekeeping’. Better yet, it’s the first book in a rather promising new series so you’re getting in at the beginning and will no doubt enjoy the tales as they are brought to us.

Would I buy this book for myself?

Yes I would, as an eBook – my virtual shelves are far bigger than my real ones. When a story reminds you of one of your other favourite authors, without being in any way a rip off of their work… you know you’re onto a good thing and so yes, a book – and series – for me.

In summary: Great first book to a potentially highly entertaining new cosy crime/ mystery series. Highly recommend.

Until next time,

Janis.

Book Review -Teetotaled by Maia Chance.

teetotaled

4 out of 5 stars.

New disclaimer due to new Amazon rules: I was approached by St. Martin’s Press and gifted a free electronic copy of this book, via Netgalley. I am not obligated, nor being forced, to post a review – I’m doing it of my own free will as I enjoy reviewing.

On advice from Amazon, and based on their emailed reply I can say – “My review is given voluntarily and the Author/publisher does not require a review in exchange for the book, or attempt to influence my review.”

My Review:

As regular readers of my reviews know, I am not usually a fan of starting a series mid-way through. ‘Teetotaled’ by Maia Chance is most definitely an exception to that rule! I simply loved this book and found it a refreshing new area of cosy crime for me – New York state in the 1920’s. I have not recently read a lot of work from this era and so loved this new look on old styles. Most works I have read that are based in the 1920’s were actually written in the 1920’s and in England. So this modern revival of the style, language and characters of the time mixed into a cosy crime has created a simply scrummy cake… er, book.

I enjoyed it so much that I will not only keep an eye on more in the series – ‘Discreet Retrieval Agency Mysteries’ – but will be looking out for ‘Come Hell or Highball’, the first book in this series.

Okay, I can’t do all praise, sorry. I will admit now I found the characters a little sketchy and confusing at first but soon came to grips with all they were and things settled down as the story kicked off. I put this sketchiness down to it being the second book in the series as I got the feeling the things being skipped over had been covered in more detail in the first book. It didn’t deter me from the story, I was still able to be read and enjoyed as a stand-alone, but did start the book off a little wobbly. No biggie, if you stick with it is gets better quickly and is well worth the read.

A little more description on the characters for age, appearance, the usual stuff would have been nice too as that was another area I struggled with at times. I kept forgetting the ages and appearance of some characters. That and I suffered from my usual ‘characters with names that start with the same letter getting mixed up’ problem. But I do feel that is more my problem than the book or authors. I do it a lot. 😉

Would I recommend this book to others?

Yes I would. Although the second book in a series, ‘Teetotaled’ is very easy – and enjoyable – to read as a stand-alone story. If you like your female sleuths to be seeking the answers in a not too distant past, you will enjoy this tale too.

Would I buy this book for myself?

Yes I would, it was indeed my sort of cosy crime. I mean, yes I am a cosy crime junkie… but I am picky with what I choose when it comes to a new series and I can definitely see myself choosing books from the ‘Discreet Retrieval Agency Mysteries’ and I am just thrilled St. Martin’s Press asked me to read it as I’ve been trying to get them to let me review their cosy crimes for a while as they seem to do such good ones. However I am locationally challenged being in Australia and I know that puts a few publishers off choosing me as a reviewer.

In summary – Second book in a series, but enjoyable to read as a stand-alone tale. Lovers of cosy crime would definitely enjoy this book. Highly recommended, thank me later. 😉

Until next time,

Janis.

Book Review – Joy to the Worlds: Mysterious Speculative Fiction for the Holidays by Maia Chance, Janine A. Southard, Raven Oak, G. Clemans.

4 out of 5 stars.

I would like to thank Grey Sun Press for providing me with a free ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an open and honest review.

Christmas time is almost upon us, I’m a dyed in the wool speculative fiction/ urban fantasy fan… how could I not find this group of short stories enjoyable?

Yes, as with any anthology, some of the tales were more a miss with me than a hit… but the overall selection was good and made for an enjoyable read.

‘Joy to the Worlds’ is a compilation of little snippets of urban fantasy worlds (some within our own, some not) all with the under lying theme of Christmas. No two stories alike – other than the Christmas theme – and for me, a great introduction to some authors I’d not yet read before. Which is exactly what an anthology is meant to be about, so a really great combo all round.

I couldn’t give it the full five stars as there was the odd bit here and there I didn’t enjoy or connect with. Sorry for being an overly picky Pagan, but making Yule and the winter Solstice two separate occasions still haunts me as annoying two days after I read that story. I’m cruel, I know… but that was a fantastic story all the same.

Would I recommend this book to others? Yes I would. It was a great little anthology of Christmas themed stories. I would advise people it had more of a YA/ NA feel to it… but as I love these sub-genres too I had no issues. But I would mention it just to prepare the reader a little more as I’ve known people to dislike a book I’d recommended as I failed to mention it was YA. Oops!

Would I buy this book for myself? Yes, I can see it being added to my electronic bookshelves and one to read when it ‘tis the season’. But I am the kind of book nerd who matches her reading lists to the times of the year they suit. So I do grab a certain Zelazny come October… and read about Green Knowe come Christmas. What is life without a little literary whimsy?

In summary: A good, well-paced and enjoyable anthology of speculative fiction/ urban fantasy short stories set around Christmas time. It is an enjoyable read, suits to season for this urban fantasy junkie and all in all something I suggest you pop in your eBook stocking tomorrow!

Until next time,

Janis. XXOO