Best Sellers Club September Authors: Jojo Moyes and J.R. Ward

Want the hottest new release from your favorite author? Want to stay current with a celebrity book club? Love nonfiction? You should join the Best Sellers Club. Choose any author, celebrity pick, and/or nonfiction pick and the Davenport Public Library will put the latest title on hold for you automatically. Select as many as you want! If you still have questions, please check out our list of FAQs.

New month means new highlighted authors from the Best Sellers Club! September’s authors are Jojo Moyes for fiction and J.R. Ward for romance.

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Our September fiction author is Jojo Moyes. She studied journalism at City University and then worked at The Independent for 10 years. In 2001, she became a full-time novelist. Jojo has sold over thirty-eight million copies of her novels worldwide and has hit the number one spot in twelve countries. Her novels have been translated into forty-six languages. She won the Romantic Novelists’ Association Romantic Novel of the Year in 2004 for her novel, Foreign Fruit aka Windfallen. Her novel Me Before You was adapted into a movie starring Sam Claflin and Emilia Clarke that was released in June 2016. Jojo currently lives in Essex with her husband and has three children. She writes historical fiction, romance, and general fiction.

Kingsbury’s newest book is The Giver of Stars, which was published in October 2019.

Curious what this book is about? Check out the following description provided by the author:

Set in Depression-era America, a breathtaking story of five extraordinary women and their remarkable journey through the mountains of Kentucky and beyond, from the author of Me Before You.

Alice Wright marries handsome American Bennett Van Cleve hoping to escape her stifling life in England. But small-town Kentucky quickly proves equally claustrophobic, especially living alongside her overbearing father-in-law. So when a call goes out for a team of women to deliver books as part of Eleanor Roosevelt’s new traveling library, Alice signs on enthusiastically.

The leader, and soon Alice’s greatest ally, is Margery, a smart-talking, self-sufficient woman who’s never asked a man’s permission for anything. They will be joined by three other singular women who become known as the Packhorse Librarians of Kentucky.

What happens to them–and to the men they love–becomes an unforgettable drama of loyalty, justice, humanity and passion. These heroic women refuse to be cowed by men or by convention. And though they face all kinds of dangers in a landscape that is at times breathtakingly beautiful, at others brutal, they’re committed to their job: bringing books to people who have never had any, arming them with facts that will change their lives.

Based on a true story rooted in America’s past, The Giver of Stars is unparalleled in its scope and epic in its storytelling. Funny, heartbreaking, enthralling, it is destined to become a modern classic–a richly rewarding novel of women’s friendship, of true love, and of what happens when we reach beyond our grasp for the great beyond.

This book is also available in the following formats:

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Our September romance author is J.R. Ward. This is a pseudonym used by author Jessica Bird. As Ward, she has written over thirty novels. The Black Dagger Brotherhood series is both a #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling series. So far, there are more than 15 million copies of her novels in print worldwide published in 25 different countries.Ward first majored in Art History and History at Smith College, but then decided to go to law school. After law school, she worked in healthcare in Boston, eventually worked many years as Chief of Staff at one of the premier academic medical centers in the United States. She currently lives with her husband and her golden retriever in the south. Ward primarily writes romance while focusing on paranormal romance and romantic suspense.

Ward’s newest book is The Viper, set to be published in September 2022. This is the third book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood: Prison Camp series.

Curious what this book is about? Below is a description provided by the publisher:

In this newest Prison Camp installment, #1 New York Times bestselling author J. R. Ward pens a heart-wrenching tale of love and betrayal in the Black Dagger Brotherhood world…

Framed for the grisly murder of his shellan, Kane is condemned to the notorious prison camp—unaware of the dark truth behind his arranged mating. Centuries later, when he is horribly burned while attempting to save others, he prays he’ll finally be reunited in the Fade with his mate…not knowing what revelations await him.

Nadya is a self-taught nurse who does what she can to ease the suffering of the prisoners. When Kane comes under her care, she cannot help but empathize with his condition for very personal reasons—and as the guards take him away one last time, she fears he is facing a terrible death.

After a daring rescue, Kane is offered a treatment that will change his very nature. Choosing life, for the time being, he goes back for the female who took such good care of him—but his duty to Nadya sets him on a collision course with his own past. When long-buried secrets are exposed, his self-destruction is inevitable…unless true love can save his soul.

Romance Reads: Wedding Date series by Jasmine Guillory

“I’ve never seen you look at anyone or anything like you look at her. And you’re just going to throw all of that away for some bullshit reason? Because you’re too scared for something real?”
― Jasmine Guillory, The Wedding Date

The Wedding Date is the first book in the Wedding Date series by Jasmine Guillory. I enjoyed this title as it’s a contemporary multicultural romance with one of my favorite romance tropes: fake dating!

Alexa Monroe works in Berkeley as the mayor’s chief of staff. She has a busy professional life, but with her sister living across the country in New York, her personal life isn’t as fulfilled as she wishes it was. When Olivia comes to California for a visit, Alexa is excited and a bit hesitant to see her. Their relationship isn’t the best, but she’s determined to try fixing it. Deciding to visit Olivia at the hotel where she is staying, Alexa is so caught up in her emotions that she misses the attractive guy who is in the hotel elevator with her. Fate intervenes, the elevator gets stuck, and Alexa soon finds herself as a last-minute date to a wedding with elevator guy.

Drew Nichols is a pediatric surgeon in Los Angeles. Spending the weekend in Berkeley for his ex’s wedding festivities is not how he wanted to spend his time, especially since his date wasn’t able to come. Getting stuck in the elevator with the stunningly attractive Alexa Monroe is the perfect distraction that Drew needed. In fact, he is so drawn to her, he asks her to be his last-minute wedding date and his fake girlfriend to the wedding.

Alexa and Drew have more fun than they originally thought they would have had at the wedding. After the weekend is over, the two head back to their high-stress jobs, but soon find that they can’t stop thinking about each other and the good times that they had. Alexa and Drew begin talking and decide to spend more time together with the assumption that their relationship, or whatever they want to call it, is only short-term. This long-distance dating situationship starts to get messier and messier, soon leaving the two to have to think about what they actually want and need from each other.

This book is also available in the following formats:

Wedding Date series

  1. The Wedding Date (2018)
  2. The Proposal (2018)
  3. The Wedding Party (2019)
  4. Royal Holiday (2019)
  5. Party of Two (2020)
  6. While We Were Dating (2021)

Cozy Mystery Reads: Pies Before Guys Mystery series by Misha Popp

“Like there are these things that matter on a large grand scale, the kind of things Melly cares about, like stopping fascism and curing climate change, and that’s obviously super important, but then there are the little individual things, like a woman who’s getting hit at home or a girl whose rapist gets a free pass for being popular. Do you go for the big sweeping save-the-world changes that will help the most people, or do you chip away at the little problems, fixing one and another and another until you have this huge snowball of good deeds built up?”
― Misha Popp, Magic, Lies, and Deadly Pies

Magic, Lies, and Deadly Pies is the first book in the Pies Before Guys Mystery series. The description drew me in and I knew I needed to read it: a woman seeks vengeance on men who have wronged women by baking pies laced with deadly magic. Best part: there are recipes listed at the end of the book!

Daisy Ellery comes from a long line of magic women. Each woman’s magic manifests in different ways though: her grandmother sewed her magic into beautiful dresses, her mother opened a beauty salon where she used her magic to help cut women’s hair, and Daisy bakes her magic into pies. For years Daisy has believed that the family’s magic twisted and changed for the worse when it came to her. After all, her mother and grandmother used their magic for good, while Daisy’s magic mostly manifests for revenge.

Daisy’s first murder by pie was an accident. She has been on the move ever since, but has still found ways to deliver magic through baking. Daisy travels with her dog Zoe around the country in her refurbished RV baking vengeance into her pastries. Daisy delivers them to men who have done wrong to women in the towns wherever she chooses to stop.

Daisy currently parks her Pies Before Guys van outside a local diner, where she bakes pies for Frank, the diner owner. One day, Frank tells Daisy that someone has been prowling around her van. Daisy later discovers a letter stuck to her door. Her prowler knows about her secret murder pie business and is threatening to out her unless Daisy bakes pies for his own list of targets.

Daisy feels violated. Who dares blackmail her? This person obviously has no idea who or what they are dealing with, but without identifying who has it out for her, Daisy is left floundering. She decides to take whatever action she can: using her databases to research past abusive men, investing in security equipment, and staying aware of her surroundings.

When Daisy learns of a statewide pie contest that has the ability to help her promote Pies Before Guys everywhere, she decides to take the leap and enter. This contest, and the prize money, could change her life for the better as long as her blackmailer doesn’t get to her first.

Pies Before Guys Mystery series

  1. Magic, Lies, and Deadly Pies (2022)
  2. A Good Day to Pie (2023)

Young Adult Series: The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,’ Neeve said. ‘Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.’
― Maggie Stiefvater, The Raven Boys

The Raven Boys is the first book in The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater. Stiefvater has created a gorgeously written world for her characters that will leave you wanting to learn more. She leaves hints in books that you pick up later that will leave you wondering at the way that Stiefvater constructs these books.

Blue Sargent has grown up in a family of clairvoyants. For as long as she can remember, her house has been full to bursting with random cousins, aunts, and friends of her mothers who all have some version of clairvoyance. Blue, however, doesn’t have any abilities. Instead she is like a battery – she makes other people’s talents stronger. Blue amplifies the powers of others. That’s why her mother takes her with to the churchyard on St Mark’s Eve to note the names of the soon-to-be dead walking past. In that freezing churchyard, Blue meets Gansey for the first time and her life is changed.

Blue discovers that Gansey is one of the rich students who attends Aglionby, a local private school. She has no desire to learn what is going to happen to that Raven Boy, what they call the Aglionby Boys, as her association with them can only mean trouble.

Despite her declaration to stay away from Gansey and the other Raven Boys, their paths continue to cross. When Blue realizes that Gansey is more than his good looks and family money, she finds herself drawn into a quest that has consumed Gansey and his friends for years. The problem: for as long as she can remember, Blue has been told that she will cause her true love to die. If she kisses her true love, he will die. This has never been an issue for Blue until she starts hanging around with the Raven Boys. Their life is strange and sinister and full of more mystery than she ever thought possible.

This book is also available in the following formats:

The Raven Cycle series

  1. The Raven Boys (2012)
  2. The Dream Thieves (2013)
  3. Blue Lily, Lily Blue (2014)
  4. The Raven King (2016)
  5. Opal (2018) – a novella that takes place after the events of The Raven King

Related to The Raven Cycle series, Stiefvater has written the Dreamer Trilogy which delves more into Ronan Lynch:

  1. Call Down the Hawk (2019)
  2. Mister Impossible (2021)
  3. Greywaren (2022)

Romance Reads: Bellinger Sisters series by Tessa Bailey

“What she thought was living life to the fullest had actually been living life for other people to watch. To gawk at. She wouldn’t lie to herself and pretend one month had completely cured her of her deeply rooted yen for attention. For praise. For what she’d once interpreted as love. Now though? She is participating in her life. Not just posing and pretending. The world was so much bigger than her, and she was really seeing it now. She was really looking.”
― Tessa Bailey, It Happened One Summer

It Happened One Summer is the first book in the Bellinger Sisters series. This title was also my first read by Tessa Bailey, an author that I’ve seen pop up on TikTok and other social media sites a lot more recently. This novel also reminded me a lot of the television show Schitt’s Creek as I was reading it. Let’s get into the first book!

Piper Bellinger is a Hollywood ‘It Girl’, well at least she was until she threw a spectacularly outrageous and out-of-control rooftop party that left the influential wild child cut off from her wealthy family and sent to a small Pacific Northwest town. Piper’s stepfather has decided that it’s time for Piper to learn some responsibility. He sends both Piper and her sister to Washington to run their late father’s dive bar.

Piper is shocked that her stepfather would even consider sending her away, let alone cutting her off. With her sister’s support, the two arrive in Westport to hopefully make the next three months fly by so they can head back to LA. As soon as Piper steps foot outside her late father’s bar, she meets Brendan, a big, burly, bearded sea captain who has nothing nice to say to her. He doesn’t think that Piper will last a night in Westport, especially when she sees the state of the apartment where the two women will be staying. Fed up with everyone, men especially, expecting little from her, Piper is determined to show the town of Westport that she’s more than just a pretty face. After all, this is her late father’s town and he is a legend. She has big shoes to fill.

As soon as Piper decides to show up Brendan, she of course starts running into him everywhere (mostly due to Westport being such a small town – but let’s be honest the two have an undeniable chemistry). Piper is bubbly, while Brendan is gruff and set in his ways. Although the two couldn’t be more opposite, there’s a simmering tension and attraction between the two. Piper does not want anything to do with Brendan, especially since she plans to head back to LA as soon as possible. The more time she spends reconnecting to her Westport past and getting to know the area, the more Piper starts to wonder if she really wants to go back home where no one really knows her. Where does her heart want to be?

This book is also available in the following formats:

Bellinger Sisters series:

  1. It Happened One Summer (2021)
  2. Hook, Line, and Sinker (2022)

Best Sellers Club August Authors: Karen Kingsbury and Janet Dailey

Want the hottest new release from your favorite author? Want to stay current with a celebrity book club? Love nonfiction? You should join the Best Sellers Club. Choose any author, celebrity pick, and/or nonfiction pick and the Davenport Public Library will put the latest title on hold for you automatically. Select as many as you want! If you still have questions, please check out our list of FAQs.

New month means new highlighted authors from the Best Sellers Club! August’s authors are Karen Kingsbury for fiction and Janet Dailey for romance.

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Photograph © Dean Dixon
Photograph © Dean Dixon

Our August fiction author is Karen Kingsbury. She is a New York Times bestselling novelist with more than 25 million copies of her books in print. Many of her novels are in development as major motion pictures.  The Baxter family book series has been developed into a television series. In addition to being an author, she is an adjunct professor of writing at Liberty University.  She currently lives in Tennessee with her husband, where they are close to their children and grandchildren. Kingsbury writes inspirational fiction.

Kingsbury’s newest book is The Baxters: A Prequelpublished in April 2022. This is the prequel to the Baxter Family series.

Curious what this book is about? Check out the following description provided by the publisher:

This warmhearted and moving prequel to the “heart-tugging and emotional” (RT Book Reviews) #1 New York Times bestselling Baxter Family Series follows the family members as they face rising tensions during a wedding and a colossal storm.

A terrible storm builds in the early morning sky over Bloomington, Indiana, as Elizabeth Baxter prepares to celebrate her daughter Kari’s wedding to Tim Jacobs. It’s supposed to be the happiest of days, but Elizabeth can’t shake a growing sense of dread. Is the storm a sign? Something bad is about to happen. Elizabeth knows it.

Indeed, there are dark currents of conflict and doubt coursing through the Baxter family. In the midst of them, Kari Baxter is starting to panic. Is marrying Tim a mistake? And what about her family? Her brother Luke is angry and resentful of their sister Ashley, who has recently returned from Paris, a single mom with a son she too often leaves with their parents. At the same time, Ashley and their sister Brooke have lost the faith that is the family’s glue. Against all this, Kari sees Ashley rejecting her longtime love, Landon Blake, who clearly cares for her, no matter what happened in Paris.

When the storm reaches a terrifying crescendo, a shocking moment of danger brings important truths to light. At the end of the long day, can the Baxters remain a family, tested but stronger?

From an author who “writes with seemingly effortless poetic elegance” (Booklist), The Baxters is an unforgettable testament to the power of love, family, and faith.

This book is also available in the following formats:

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Our August romance author is Janet Dailey. Dailey was born in Storm Lake, Iowa and knew that she wanted to be a writer from a very young age. Dailey worked with her husband in construction and land development before they decided to travel the United States. During this traveling, Dailey was inspired to write her Americana series of romances. In this series, Dailey set a novel in every state in the United States. She was also the first American author to write for Harlequin, starting her tenure with them in 1974. She has written 90 plus novels with 21 of them appearing on the New York Times bestseller list. As of today, there are over 324 million print copies of her novels all over the world in 98 countries and in 19 different languages. Janet Dailey died in December 2013 at the age of 69.

Dailey’s newest book is Quicksand, set to be published in August 2022. This is the third book in the Champions series.

Curious what this book is about? Below is a description provided by the publisher.

New York Times bestselling author Janet Dailey’s latest Champions novel tells the rugged, romantic story of an Arizona family ranch in trouble, as the Champion sisters fight to keep their legacy bull-rearing operation strong, going head-to-head —and heart to heart—with some of the toughest men on the rodeo circuit.

Tess Champion knows better than to trust Brock Tolman, the rancher who once swindled her late father in a land deal. But with the Alamo Canyon Ranch in foreclosure, Tess is forced to accept Brock’s offer of a partnership. Brock claims he only wants to breed the Champion bloodline into his own herd. In exchange, he offers Tess one of his own young bulls. Soon enough, Quicksand is the rising star of the rodeo circuit, which only proves Tess is better at picking bulls than she is men. Because she’s way too tempted to surrender to her attraction to Brock, despite her certainty he’s only out to steal her family ranch . . .

It’s not until the tycoon’s private plane crashes in the wilderness, stranding him with Tess, that the truth of their relationship will come out. The Champion family’s future is on the line, but it’s Tess’s heart that will take the hit if she’s fallen for the wrong man . . .

This book is also available in the following format:

Romance Reads: Witches of Thistle Grove series by Lana Harper

‘That was the thing about growing up with magic. Until you left it behind for good, you had no idea how incredible it felt just to be around it.’ – Lana Harper, Payback’s a Witch

Over the last year, I have noticed an increase in paranormal witchy romances, so naturally I decided to read some! My latest adventure into this genre was the first in the Witches of Thistle Grove series by Lana Harper titled Payback’s a Witch. I found this title to be uniquely engaging and full of world-building, yet not overwhelming with the amount of information given.

Emmy Harlow is back in Thistle Grove. After leaving this magical town right after high school, she never though she’d be back. Harlow may be a witch, but she’s not a very powerful one. The time she has spent away from Thistle Grove, plus the physical distance separating her from the town, has depleted her magic. Her exile from her family has been self-imposed due to a complicated relationship with her family, her family history, and relationships with her peers. Emmy has always wanted to forge her own destiny that had nothing to do with being a Harlow witch in Thistle Grove. Add in a nasty breakup with Gareth Blackmoor when she was in high school and Emmy was drawn to leave quicker than she had planned. After all, Gareth is the heir to the most powerful magical family in town. He oh so casually shattered her dreams and broke her heart without a second thought. She had to leave.

Flash forward: Emmy is back in Thistle Grove to perform her family’s role as arbiter in a spellcasting tournament held every fifty years. A massive guilt trip from her family and the lure of tradition was enough to bring her back. Emmy’s plan is to do her duty as arbiter, spend time with her best friend Linden Thorn, and then immediately leave to head back to her life in Chicago. The universe has other plans.

On her first night back in town, Emmy runs into Talia Avramov at a local bar. Talia is another heir to a different magical family who practices darker magic. She is also fresh off a bad breakup of sorts with Gareth Blackmoor. It turns out that Gareth was also dating Emmy’s best friend Linden, at the same time he was messing around with Talia – with both women not realizing the either was in a relationship with him! Scandal! Linden and Talia want revenge on Gareth and believe that with Emmy they can finally get back at him for what he has done to all three. Emmy has to decide if she wants in and if so, what the plan should be. Add in friend drama and romantic drama between the three and Emmy’s short trip home becomes even more complicated than she originally hoped.

This book is also available in the following format:

Witches of Thistle Grove series

  1. Payback’s a Witch (2021)
  2. From Bad to Cursed (2022)
  3. Back in a Spell (2023)

Cozy Mystery Reads: Island Sisters Mystery series by Hannah Dennison

It’s been a while since I have found a new cozy mystery series to read. After talking to some other book lovers, I decided to start Hannah Dennison’s newest series: the Island Sisters Mystery series (I’ll admit that the cover is what pulled me in first – lucky for me, the plot was thoroughly engaging too).

Death at High Tide is the first book in the Island Sisters Mystery series. Evie Mead is devastated. Her husband Robert has suddenly died of a heart attack. During a meeting with his accountant after his death, Evie and her sister Margot learn that Evie may own the rights to an old hotel on Tregarrick Rock, one of the Scilly Islands. At a loss of what to do, Evie wants to leave all the arrangements in the hands of her accountant. Margot has other plans. Having left her glamorous career and fancy life behind in Los Angeles to come help Evie, Margot is determined to help Evie relax. She suggests a weekend getaway to Tregarrick Rock so the two can scope out the hotel and the area.

Once at the Scilly Islands, Evie and Margot realize that the area is not what they thought it would be. When they eventually arrive at the hotel, the two are fascinated by the history. Famous detective novelists used to visit the hotel in its prime, but now the hotel is definitely more of a fixer upper than either of them expected. When Evie starts asking questions, the answers she receives are off. The cranky hotel owner say that he has never met Robert, as do many other island inhabitants. Evie finds evidence to contradict them though, specifically framed photos of Robert with various people she meets over the weekend. She can’t be sure what they are all hiding and why.

When a two murders happen at the hotel in quick succession, Evie and Margot are desperate to escape Tregarrick Rock and forget this place and its weird inhabitants ever existed. Their escape is thwarted by the local police when both are named suspects. With all eyes on them, the sisters start searching for answers and find multiple secrets hidden for years, including their own.

Island Sisters Mystery series

  1. Death at High Tide (2020)
  2. Danger at the Cove (2021)

Best Seller’s Club June Authors: Lisa Jackson and Christine Feehan

Want the hottest new release from your favorite author? Want to stay current with a celebrity book club? Love nonfiction? You should join the Best Sellers Club. Choose any author, celebrity pick, and/or nonfiction pick and the Davenport Public Library will put the latest title on hold for you automatically. Select as many as you want! If you still have questions, please check out our list of FAQs.

New month means new highlighted authors from the Best Sellers Club! June’s authors are Lisa Jackson for fiction and Christine Feehan for romance.

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Our June fiction author is Lisa Jackson. Jackson is a New York Times bestselling author of more than 85 novels. She also writes the Colony Series with her sister, Nancy Bush. Over 20 million copies of Lisa’s books are in print in twenty languages. Jackson writes a wide variety of genres: historical romance, mystery, romance, and romantic suspence. She describes her books as being ‘neck deep in murder’. She is fascinated by both sides of the criminal system: the killers and their pursuers. She strives to learn more about the minds and motives of each.

Photo by Shelby Kohler Photography

Jackson’s newest book is The Girl Who Survived, set to be published on June 28, 2022.

Curious what this book is about? Check out the following description provided by the author:

In an all-consuming novel of suspense from #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Jackson, the survivor of a brutal family massacre must uncover the shocking truth about a fateful night that left her forever marked . . .

All her life, she’s been the girl who survived. Orphaned at age seven after a horrific killing spree at her family’s Oregon cabin, Kara McIntyre is still searching for some kind of normal. But now, twenty years later, the past has come thundering back. Her brother, Jonas, who was convicted of the murders has unexpectedly been released from prison. The press is in a frenzy again. And suddenly, Kara is receiving cryptic messages from her big sister, Marlie—who hasn’t been seen or heard from since that deadly Christmas Eve when she hid little Kara in a closet with a haunting, life-saving command: Don’t make a sound.

As people close to her start to die horrible deaths, Kara, who is slowly and surely unraveling, believes she is the killer’s ultimate target.

Kara survived once. But will she survive again? How many times can she be the girl who survived?

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Our June romance author is Christine Feehan. Christine Feehan is a #1 New York Times bestselling author, with 83 published works in seven different series: Dark Series, GhostWalker Series, Leopard Series, Drake Sisters Series, Sea Haven Series, Shadow Series, and Torpedo Ink Series. All seven of her series have hit the #1 spot on the New York Times bestseller list. Judgment Road, the first book in her newest series, Torpedo Ink, debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. More than 13 million copies of her books are in print. They have also been published and translated in 14 countries. Christine Feehan writes primarily paranormal romance and urban fantasy.

Christine lives in the beautiful Redwoods near the ocean on California’s Pacific North Coast surrounded by family, friends and several dogs.

Feehan’s newest book is Dark Whisper, which should be published in October 2022. This is book 36 in the Dark series.

Curious what this book is about? Below is a description provided by the author.

Vasilisa Sidkorolyavolkva is a Lycan of royal blood. She knows what’s expected of her, but all she wants is to be out from under her family’s watchful eyes. There is a fire inside her that is building. A restlessness coupled with a sense of growing dread. Every day she feels the weight of the legacy passed down through generations. The prophecy that says a man will come to claim her as his mate and that she will guard his soul. She knows nothing about him, except that he is hers. But nothing seems real until the night she meets him in the flesh…

Afanasiv Belan is a Carpathian, and an ancient one. In all the centuries of his existence, no one has ever affected him like Vasilisa. He can see into her mind and feel what’s in her heart. They are so alike, warriors bound by honor and plagued by secrets. They both know they must reveal the darkest parts of their souls if they hope to survive and protect the ones they love.

But if they claim each other as lifemates it will change them down to the bone. They will become something more — something both of their kinds fear…

Historical Mystery Reads: Captain Jim Agnihotri series by Nev March

Nev March started writing in her teens, drawing inspiration from authors like Neville Shuts, Rudyard Kipling, Mary Stewart, and Arthur Conan-Doyle. Her love of Sherlock Holmes is apparent in her debut novel, Murder in Old Bombay.

In 2015, Nev left her job in business and returned to writing fiction. She now teaches creative writing at Rutgers-Osher Institute. Nev immigrated from India thirty years ago and currently lives in New Jersey with her family. She is Parsee Zoroastrian.

Murder in Old Bombay is the first book in the Captain Jim Agnihotri series. The plot of this book was inspired by the hundred-plus-year-old unsolved deaths of the Godrej sisters in 19th century Bombay. The author wrote a fascinating article detailing this for the website Criminal Element. Let’s talk about the book!

1892: Bombay is the center of British India. Cultures of all sort mix in the streets. Captain Jim Agnihotri is recovering in Poona military hospital from serious injuries sustained in a battle on the northern frontier. With not much to do, Captain Jim finds himself re-reading his favorite Sherlock Holmes stories and pouring over the news in the daily papers. One day, a case called the crime of the century captures his attention. Two women fell to their deaths of the busy clock tower at the university in broad daylight. One of the victim’s husbands, Adi Framji, is certain that his wife and sister did not commit suicide and writes to the paper demanding justice for them. This case fascinates Captain Jim and he soon finds himself approaching Adi and his family searching for answers. Adi hires him to investigate what really happened to the women.

Captain Jim begins his investigation and discovers that the case is full of more secrets than he originally thought. He must chase down witnesses, running across country looking for answers. Asking questions proves increasingly dangerous as Captain Jim shakes out secrets that haunt the Framji family’s past. Each member of the Framji family wants to help, including Lady Diana who insists on getting more hands-on in the investigation. The friendship between Lady Diana and Captain Jim starts to blossom and soon feelings develop. Captain Jim’s personal and professional relationships are in jeopardy the closer he gets to the truth of what happened the afternoon the Framji women died.

If that description wasn’t enough to make you want to read this book, maybe accolades will sway you! This debut novel won the Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Award. It was also 2021 nominees for the following: Edgar and Barry Awards, as well as Anthony, Macavity and Hammett Awards for Excellence in Crime Fiction.

Captain Jim Agnihotri series

  1. Murder in Old Bombay (2020)
  2. Peril at the Exposition (2022)