Happy Release!

Wishing Susan Elia MacNeal a (belated) Happy Release Day for the sixth book in her fantastic Maggie Hope series!  If you haven’t read them, I highly suggest that you do. If, like me, you’re a fan of Agent Carter from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, then Maggie will really win a spot in your heart. In a world where there were rules and regulations on how to act, Maggie Hope is breaking down those barriers. Of course, as Prime Minister Winston Churchill said often in the first book, ‘there’s a war on!’ The Second World War really helped change things for women; they joined the work force, they joined the service, they did their part as opposed to being compliant little women and sitting about at home raising the children. It’s a strange thing to think that a war is what really helped women
break free of society’s expectations.

I mean, in particular, the Princess Elizabeth served in the war as a mechanic and driver intsft9 the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service. It would have been hard and viewed as highly unpatriotic for women not to do their part since the boys were putting their lives on the line. Knowing what we know now, the British Royals did not hide, nor flinch, remaining in London during the bombings and even went out and about to view the wreckage and to walk amongst the people. Today, the Princess is now the longest reigning monarch in British history and she is also the last remaining head of state to have served in WWII. Yes, that picture is of the nearly 91 year old monarch!

Getting back to Maggie, she’s a spy and a code-breaker and she has had to work damn hard to be where she is. Bright, beautiful and determined, Maggie makes for a splendid lead and the usual cast of characters that are with her only add to the story, making it shine as usual. Mrs. MacNeal has quite the talent in how she can draw you into Maggie’s world and make you feel like you are right in the thick of it with her. It’s a disappointment when you’re drawn away and have to go do ‘adulting’, as my friends and I joke. I always endeavor to rush back as soon as I possibly can. agent-carter-season-3-pic

Whilst I don’t yet have a copy, I will post a review as soon as I have devoured this. Also, I totally envision Hayley Atwell as Maggie. I know it’s typecasting but Hayley has that perfect look, the attitude and we know she can play a badass, code breaking, no sh*t-taking secret agent. I took the liberty of editing her hair to red much like Maggie’s infamously stubborn tresses. If you were going to cast an actress to play Maggie, who would you pick?

I’ve included links below, so please go show love to this wonderful series of novels and enjoy them!

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51fesnje8dlSynopsis: Spy and code-breaker extraordinaire Maggie Hope returns to war-weary London, where she is thrust into the dangerous hunt for a monster, as the New York Times bestselling mystery series for fans of Jacqueline Winspear, Charles Todd, and Anne Perry continues.
 
England, 1942. The Nazis’ relentless Blitz may have paused, but London’s nightly blackouts continue. Now, under the cover of darkness, a madman is brutally killing and mutilating young women in eerie and exact re-creations of Jack the Ripper’s crimes. What’s more, he’s targeting women who are reporting for duty to be Winston Churchill’s spies and saboteurs abroad. The officers at MI-5 quickly realize they need the help of special agent Maggie Hope to find the killer dubbed “the Blackout Beast.” A trap is set. But once the murderer has his sights on Maggie, not even Buckingham Palace can protect the resourceful spy from her fate.

Praise for the Maggie Hope series
 
“You’ll be [Maggie Hope’s] loyal subject, ready to follow her wherever she goes.”O: The Oprah Magazine

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Again, congratulations! I can’t wait for book 7, The Paris Spy!
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Get A Copy!

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  • About the author:517286  New York Times-bestselling author Susan Elia MacNeal is the author of the Maggie Hope Mystery series from Bantam/Random House. She is the winner of the Barry Award, and her books have been nominated for the Edgar, Macavity, and Dilys Awards.

    The first novel in the series is Mr. Churchill’s Secretary. It won the Barry Award and was nominated for the Mystery Writers of America’s Edgar Award for Best First Novel and the Mystery Readers International’s Macavity Award for Best First Mystery Novel. It was also nominated for the Independent Mystery Booksellers Association’s 2013 Dilys Award for “the mystery title of the year that booksellers have most enjoyed hand-selling,” Mr. Churchill’s Secretary was also declared one of Suspense Magazine’s Best Debut of 2012, Deadly Pleasures’s Best Paperback Original of 2012, and chosen as one of Target’s “Emerging Authors” series.

    The sequel, Princess Elizabeth’s Spy, was a New York Times bestseller and chosen by Oprah.com as “Mystery of the Week” and one of “7 Compulsively Readable Mysteries (for the Crazy-Smart Reader),” as well as Tagret’s “Emerging Authors” series. It was nominated for the Macavity Award’s Sue Feder Historical Memorial Award.

    His Majesty’s Hope made the New York Times- and USA Today-bestseller lists and was chosen as one of Target’s Emerging Author Series.

    Books #4, The Prime Minister’s Secret Agent, will be published in spring of 2014.

    Susan graduated cum laude from Wellesley College, with departmental honors in English Literature and credits from cross-registered classes at MIT. She attended the Radcliffe Publishing Course at Harvard University.

    Her first job was as an intern at Random House for then-publisher Harold Evans, before moving her way up the editorial ladder at Viking/Penguin and McGraw-Hill, then becoming an associate editor at Dance Magazine.

    Her writing has been published in The Wall Street Journal, The Huffington Post, Fodor’s, Time Out New York, Time Out London, Publishers Weekly, Dance Magazine, and various publications of New York City Ballet. She’s also the author of two non-fiction books and a professional editor.

8 Favorite Book Covers From 2014's reading!

Last year, I read a lot of books that have covers that I thought were absolutely stunning. Whilst the old saying goes, “never judge a book by it’s cover”, I admit that if the cover is pretty, I am drawn in. I’m certain that there are others amongst you who feel similarly to me. Granted, there are authors I’d read in general, but I do like a pretty cover. I decided that for fun, I’d pick my eight favourites and would display them here for you. I’d love to hear your thoughts and what your favorites are too. You can sign below or send me an e-mail. 🙂

Continue reading “8 Favorite Book Covers From 2014's reading!”

The Maggie Hope Mysteries

When I first heard about ‘Mr. Churchill’s Secretary’, I admit, I wasn’t expecting a lot. (Don’t hate me, Susan!)  However, as I read a lot of Tudor novels and such, I was looking for something more modern. Hearing about kings and queens in corsets, Protestants and Catholics, families warring against one another…it does get a bit tiring. So I took a chance and BOOM! I was (and remain) glad that I did. Susan Elia MacNeal has mixed history and fiction together to weave a wonderful tale about Maggie Hope, who moves up the ranks from secretary to spy to a secret agent. I thought I would share the synopsis of each book for you, in the hopes that you’ll give them each a try. It is best to read them in order so you can keep up. If you do in fact give it a try, let me know what you think. And if not me, let Susan know! She’s on FB and really, she’s a delight to chat with. I think if you enjoy mystery, a fast pace, well developed characters and history, of course, then you’ll enjoy these greatly.

 

Book 1: Mr. Churchill’s Secretary

London, 1940. Winston Churchill has just been sworn in, war rages across the Channel, and the threat of a Blitz looms larger by the day. But none of this deters Maggie Hope. She graduated at the top of her college class and possesses all the skills of the finest minds in British intelligence, but her gender qualifies her only to be the newest typist at No. 10 Downing Street. Her indefatigable spirit and remarkable gifts for codebreaking, though, rival those of even the highest men in government, and Maggie finds that working for the prime minister affords her a level of clearance she could never have imagined—and opportunities she will not let pass. In troubled, deadly times, with air-raid sirens sending multitudes underground, access to the War Rooms also exposes Maggie to the machinations of a menacing faction determined to do whatever it takes to change the course of history.

Ensnared in a web of spies, murder, and intrigue, Maggie must work quickly to balance her duty to King and Country with her chances for survival. And when she unravels a mystery that points toward her own family’s hidden secrets, she’ll discover that her quick wits are all that stand between an assassin’s murderous plan and Churchill himself.

In this daring debut, Susan Elia MacNeal blends meticulous research on the era, psychological insight into Winston Churchill, and the creation of a riveting main character,  Maggie Hope, into a spectacularly crafted novel.

 

Book Two: Princess Elizabeth’s Spy 

As World War II sweeps the continent and England steels itself against German attack, Maggie Hope, former secretary to Prime Minister Winston Churchill, completes her training to become a spy for MI-5. Spirited, strong-willed, and possessing one of the sharpest minds in government for mathematics and code-breaking, she fully expects to be sent abroad to gather intelligence for the British front. Instead, to her great disappointment, she is dispatched to go undercover at Windsor Castle, where she will tutor the young Princess Elizabeth in math. Yet castle life quickly proves more dangerous—and deadly—than Maggie ever expected. The upstairs-downstairs world at Windsor is thrown into disarray by a shocking murder, which draws Maggie into a vast conspiracy that places the entire royal family in peril. And as she races to save England from a most disturbing fate, Maggie realizes that a quick wit is her best defense, and that the smallest clues can unravel the biggest secrets, even within her own family.

 

Book Three:  His Majesty’s Hope

For fans of Jacqueline Winspear, Laurie R. King, and Anne Perry, whip-smart heroine Maggie Hope returns to embark on a clandestine mission behind enemy lines where no one can be trusted, and even the smallest indiscretion can be deadly.World War II has finally come home to Britain, but it takes more than nightly air raids to rattle intrepid spy and expert code breaker Maggie Hope. After serving as a secret agent to protect Princess Elizabeth at Windsor Castle, Maggie is now an elite member of the Special Operations Executive—a black ops organization designed to aid the British effort abroad—and her first assignment sends her straight into Nazi-controlled Berlin, the very heart of the German war machine. Relying on her quick wit and keen instincts, Maggie infiltrates the highest level of Berlin society, gathering information to pass on to London headquarters. But the secrets she unveils will expose a darker, more dangerous side of the war—and of her own past.

Book Four: The Prime Minister’s Secret Agent 

World War II rages on across Europe, but Maggie Hope has finally found a moment of rest on the pastoral coast of western Scotland. Home from an undercover mission in Berlin, she settles down to teach at her old spy training camp, and to heal from scars on both her body and heart. Yet instead of enjoying the quieter pace of life, Maggie is quickly drawn into another web of danger and intrigue. When three ballerinas fall strangely ill in Glasgow—including one of Maggie’s dearest friends—Maggie partners with MI-5 to uncover the truth behind their unusual symptoms. What she finds points to a series of poisonings that may expose shocking government secrets and put countless British lives at stake. But it’s the fight brewing in the Pacific that will forever change the course of the war—and indelibly shape Maggie’s fate.