Book Review

Book Review: A Murderous Relation (Veronica Speedwell #5) by Deanna Raybourn

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: Historical fiction / Mystery
Length: 308 pages
Author: Deanna Raybourn
Publisher: Berkley Books
Release Date: March 10th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Veronica Speedwell and her natural historian colleague Stoker are asked by Lady Wellingtonia Beauclerk to help with a potential scandal so explosive it threatens to rock the monarchy. Prince Albert Victor is a regular visitor to the most exclusive private club in London, known as the Club de l’Etoile, and the proprietess, Madame Aurore, has received an expensive gift that can be traced back to the prince. Lady Wellie would like Veronica and Stoker to retrieve the jewel from the club before scandal can break.

Worse yet, London is gripped by hysteria in the autumn of 1888, terrorized by what would become the most notorious and elusive serial killer in history, Jack the Ripper–and Lady Wellie suspects the prince may be responsible.

Veronica and Stoker reluctantly agree to go undercover at Madame Aurore’s high class brothel, where another body soon turns up. Many secrets are swirling around Veronica and the royal family–and it’s up to Veronica and Stoker to find the truth, before it’s too late for all of them.

LET DOWN.

A big, unfortunate let down.

This wasn’t my favorite of the series by far. Lets go ahead and get into it.

First off, I have spent FOUR books waiting for Veronica and Stoker to admit some feelings. Finally got all of that at the end of the previous book, A Dangerous Collaboration. Super excited, wonderful, revelations. Then, in the last dang book of the series I was expecting a lot more fireworks and flair (and a tiny bit of steam) between them, and NOTHING. There is one good moment between them, at the literal end and I am needed more to love this. I kept waiting for them to just have a chance to kiss and chat, but no.

Instead, time was spent rehashing old plot from the first book. Yes, the same story (which I will omit in-case you’re reading this before reading the first book). Brought in most of the same characters, got stuck in the same situation, and got out of it with the usual flair. WHY. It was like this entire series had rolled through all it had, but still needed to conclude somehow. I was hoping this was going to focus more on Jack the Ripper (mentioned throughout because his murders are happening during this book). Nothing was as I expected.

Those two big paragraphs pretty much sign-off on why I had a hard time loving this and felt entirely let down about everything. I have loved these characters and time period setting. I’ll miss this series, and definitely feel bitter with how this wrapped up.

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical fiction / Mystery
  • Language: a little light
  • Romance: kiss; one scene at the end – very little detailed
  • Violence: guns, swords, kidnapping, physical, murder

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Book Review

Book Review: A Dangerous Collaboration (Veronica Speedwell #4) by Deanna Raybourn

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Mystery / Historical fiction
Length: 323 pages
Author: Deanna Raybourn
Publisher: Berkley / Penguin Random House
Release Date: March 12th, 2019
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

Victorian adventuress Veronica Speedwell is whisked off to a remote island off the tip of Cornwall when her natural historian colleague Stoker’s brother calls in a favor. On the pretext of wanting a companion to accompany him to Lord Malcolm Romilly’s house party, Tiberius persuades Veronica to pose as his fiancée—much to Stoker’s chagrin. But upon arriving, it becomes clear that the party is not as innocent as it had seemed. Every invited guest has a connection to Romilly’s wife, Rosamund, who disappeared on her wedding day three years ago, and a dramatic dinner proves she is very much on her husband’s mind.

As spectral figures, ghostly music, and mysterious threats begin to plague the partygoers, Veronica enlists Stoker’s help to discover the host’s true motivations. And as they investigate, it becomes clear that there are numerous mysteries surrounding the Romilly estate, and every person present has a motive to kill Rosamund.

A Curious Beginning | A Perilous Undertaking | A Treacherous Curse

AT LAST.

I’ve been given something to work with because hot dang I was about to burn this series alive. I love how well this held my attention and that there wasn’t much dragging in the story. Things kept moving and the curious moments were always around the corner.

If you haven’t been following along with these reviews (I’ve linked them above), I have been desperately waiting for Stoker and Veronica to get their feelings in check and FINALLY admit something to each other. Geez. That was a long time to wait. I’m still not wholly satisfied, but I’m grateful for the small part it did give. There wasn’t as much banter in this book, but Veronica and Stoker still kept things lively. I love their contrasting (yet similar) personalities and how they play off of each other.

This installment was leaps better than the previous book. I found the mystery much more intriguing and couldn’t put my finger on who the villain/villainess was. Until they came on the page with a gun in their hand I was wondering who it would be. There was a much appreciated setting change that threw more mystical lore into the mix. I liked meeting the new characters and the creepy vibes of being in a castle.

I liked the background information I got on Stoker’s brother, Tiberius. It really humanized his choices and personality from the previous books. I found myself really liking his character by the end and feeling sorry for his situation.

There was a definite set up for [what I believe] is the last book. I’m curious how it will all end because of the villain that will be at the forefront of A Murderous Relation.

Overall audience notes:

  • Historical fiction + mystery
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: a few kisses
  • Violence: murder, poison, near drowning, guns; nothing extremely gory

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Book Review

Book Review: A Treacherous Curse (Veronica Speedwell #3) by Deanna Raybourn

Rating: ☆☆☆ 1/2
Audience: Mystery / Historical fiction
Length: 308 pages
Author: Deanna Raybourn
Publisher: Berkley Penguin Random House
Release Date: January 16th, 2018
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

London, 1888. As colorful and unfettered as the butterflies she collects, Victorian adventuress Veronica Speedwell can’t resist the allure of an exotic mystery—particularly one involving her enigmatic colleague, Stoker.

His former expedition partner has vanished from an archaeological dig with a priceless diadem unearthed from the newly discovered tomb of an Egyptian princess. This disappearance is just the latest in a string of unfortunate events that have plagued the controversial expedition, and rumors abound that the curse of the vengeful princess has been unleashed as the shadowy figure of Anubis himself stalks the streets of London.

But the perils of an ancient curse are not the only challenges Veronica must face as sordid details and malevolent enemies emerge from Stoker’s past.

Caught in a tangle of conspiracies and threats—and thrust into the public eye by an enterprising new foe—Veronica must separate facts from fantasy to unravel a web of duplicity that threatens to cost Stoker everything. 

LONGEST SLOW-BURN EVER.

STILL NOTHING.

EVEN LESS NOTHING THAN THE FIRST TWO BOOKS. Ugh. It’s entirely annoying at this point. Only because you know where it’s going, and I don’t like that it’s been carried out this long. Veronica and Stoker are destined to be together and heaven help me if that doesn’t happen in book four.

Otherwise, this book was a bit meh. Definitely one of those middle of the series books that isn’t packing a lot of punch. I didn’t love the mystery because it was a stretch compared to the previous two books. And I really didn’t love the trigger warning (see notes at the bottom) for how the mystery ended. I think that could have been handled in a better way.

I did like that the mystery gave us allllllll the history for Stoker. I finally got all of the answers I was craving and the tidbits of information that formed a solid background for him. I met his terrible former wife and in-laws, and saw a whole new side to the mystery of what happened in South America. This only made my love for Stoker grow. I love that brash cinnamon roll.

Veronica was still her fabulous self. I love her heroism and strength in making her own decisions. I don’t love all of her philosophies, but I appreciate her determination to do things as she wants to.

Forever hoping to have that *realization moment* between Veronica and Stoker.

Overall audience notes:

  • Mystery / Historical fiction
  • Language: none
  • Romance: none, just a lot of innuendo
  • Violence: murder, physical
  • Trigger warnings: cheating spouse, Chapter 19: murder-suicide by a gun

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Book Review

Book Review: A Perilous Undertaking (Veronica Speedwell #2) by Deanna Raybourn

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: Mystery + Historical Fiction + Romance
Length: 338 pages
Author: Deanna Raybourn
Publisher: Berkley Books
Expected Release Date: January 10th, 2017
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads

BOOK SUMMARY:

London, 1887. At the Curiosity Club, a ladies-only establishment for daring and intrepid women, Victorian adventuress Veronica Speedwell meets the mysterious Lady Sundridge, who begs her to take on an impossible task–saving society art patron Miles Ramsforth from execution. Ramsforth, accused of the brutal murder of his mistress, Artemisia, will face the hangman’s noose in a week’s time if the real killer is not found.

But Lady Sundridge is not all that she seems, and unmasking her true identity is only the first of many secrets Veronica must uncover. Together with her natural-historian colleague, Stoker, Veronica races against time to find the true murderer. From a Bohemian artists’ colony to a royal palace to a subterranean grotto with a decadent history, the investigation proves to be a very perilous undertaking indeed….

THE TENSION IS PALPABLE.

Seriously, Veronica and Stoker. GET WITH THE PROGRAM AND KISS FOR REAL ALREADY.

Oh y’all. I’m LOVING these books! I know I’m only saying that after two of them, but they’re so good and quick to read!

I love that the mystery keeps me on my toes. Its the forefront of each book and it’s in enough of the spotlight that you’re intrigued, but it doesn’t overshadow the main character development. I always have my guesses on who’s the culprit, and whenever the unveiling scene happens I’m surprised with more information to round out the whole book.

Veronica is still the same sassy, full of banter, does what she pleases kind of character. I love that she has continued to make decisions for herself and isn’t swayed by others perceptions of her. It’s nice to follow a confident heroine who can also understand when she needs help or encouragement. I am living for her partnership with Stoker. I sincerely hope they are endgame by the time I finish this series or I’ll RIOT. That kind of chemistry and interactions HAS TO LEAD TO SOMETHING. I’m going to sit here tapping my fingers anxiously until I find out more. I’m hoping it happens soon or the waiting will then become ridiculous.

There were a lot of great scenes throughout this novel. I found myself smiling and laughing at different conversations and wittiness of characters. Veronica and Stoker are easy to love and cheer for. The side characters are charming themselves and don’t take up so much page time that they overshadow the story. I’m curious how Veronica’s background will continue to change the narrative as these mysteries continue.

I like that we got more information about Stoker at last. I believe the third book really focuses on him so it will be nice to receive even more. Learning about him and Veronica has been in bits and pieces over both books. I am grateful there’s not any info dumping, but rather a gradual increase in further knowing these two as they get to know each other.

Overall audience notes:

  • Mystery + Historical Fiction + Romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: a kiss, a lot of sexual innuendo and conversations (the mystery revolves around a sex club)
  • Violence: murder, guns, physical

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