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Gemini Moon (Lella York #1)

3.81  ·  Rating Details ·  115 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
Italian-born Lella York leads a very predictable life as an average housewife in Southern California... until a strange encounter on the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, Italy predicts a very different future.

Upon returning from her vacation, Lella is shocked to find that her best friend, Ruby, has not only accidentally shot her own husband, but also mysteriously disappeared. To
Paperback, 200 pages
Published December 1st 2013 by Gemma Halliday Publishing
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Sydney Katt
Jul 24, 2014 Sydney Katt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm rounding up. I give the book 3.5 stars.

This ebook was offered in exchange for an honest review. Since I was looking for a fun read while I was on vacation, I jumped at the chance.

What I liked: It's a fun book that's a fast read. There's romance, mystery and a lot of mayhem.

What I didn't like: Two things.

1. The romance felt like it came out of nowhere to me. I found the actions of the love interest to be creepier than sexy. I might've called the cops on him myself in a similar situation.

2. I
Italo Italophiles
Aug 20, 2014 Italo Italophiles rated it it was amazing
Murder Under the Italian Moon (also published as Gemini Moon) is the first book in the Lella York Mysteries series. Lella, short for Donatella, is Italian-born but has lived in The States for twenty-five years with her American husband Nick, until his death four years earlier. Despite her many years in the U.S., Lella is all Italian-woman-of-a-certain-age, adding a very Italian flavor to this story.

The beginning of the book, in Florence, Italy, is very evocative, with wonderfully accurate descri
Traci Andrighetti
Jan 28, 2014 Traci Andrighetti rated it it was amazing
When Lella York has her best friend Ruby's astrology chart read on the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, the fortune teller angrily accuses her of asking him to read the chart of a dead woman. Confused, Lella returns home to find that Ruby's husband has been killed and Ruby has gone missing. In a bizarre twist, Lella's actor son is arrested for kidnapping Ruby and stealing her Ferrari Testarossa, even though Ruby is still nowhere to be found. Lella turns to a sexy homicide detective for help, but he, ...more
Black Butterfly
Mar 03, 2014 Black Butterfly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: ADULTS
Recommended to Black Butterfly by: BOOKBBUB
Shelves: mystery-romance
Dec 19, 2013 Jmrhine rated it it was amazing
I’ve been looking forward to bedtime each day this week because of Gemini Moon. Reading this novel by Maria Grazia Swan has been my reward after too many hours working on end-of-the-year tasks. The characters are complex and believable, the plot is fascinating, and the suspense is psychological as well as physical. Just the right combination to pull me right into the story each time I opened the book.

The story opens in a happy moment as Lella York is finalizing a surprise birthday gift for a fri
R.P. Dahlke
Dec 02, 2013 R.P. Dahlke rated it it was amazing
I love this author's mysteries, my favorites are the ones based in Italy (Read Italian Summer!). This one begins in Florence, close to the Ponte Vecchio and near the Uffizzi museum where the African vendors lay out their trinkets for tourists. Donatella, or Lella to her friends, is Italian born, and recently widowed, takes a brief vacation in Italy. On her last night, she stops at an astrologer's table. In a cheerful mood, she gives the man her friend, Ruby's, birthday instead of her own. The ...more
Diana Huffer
Jan 17, 2014 Diana Huffer rated it it was amazing
This is my first experience with Ms. Swan but I am absolutely in love with this book! I was captivated from page one and hated with "life" interfered with my reading! :) I was so caught up in the events evolving around Lella that I couldn't wait to see what would happen next!
Dec 04, 2013 Margaret rated it it was amazing
Ms. Swan does it again. I have read most of her books and like all the others she has hit a home run. Great plot, strong characters.
Must warn you though, once you pick up this book you won't want to put it down. Waiting on the next one.
Kristine (A Cozy Booknook)
Feb 23, 2014 Kristine (A Cozy Booknook) rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014, mystery
This is a wonderfully written story, it drew me in right away! The author does a wonderful job of weaving together an intricate story of a mysterious disappearance, murder and personal discovery. The pacing is well done and keep you turning the pages. A wonderful read!
Aug 19, 2014 Tricia rated it liked it
Liked the mystery, but the romance - not-so-much. See full review here:
Sep 07, 2014 Marilyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this story. The main character was a bit hard to follow at times. It was a good storyline with a difficult romance. Good cozy mystery. Will check out more in this series.
C.A. Larmer
Dec 05, 2016 C.A. Larmer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fun, fast, feisty

Maria Grazia Swan had me hooked from the very first line. A fun, fast-paced mystery, this book has two big pluses for me - great writing and interesting characters. I especially like strong and feisty female characters in fiction and none come feistier than Lella York. She has a vulnerable side, too, and we see it all on display is this action-packed story. This was my first in the series and I'm looking forward to reading more.
Jun 03, 2014 Hannah rated it it was ok
"Take your money. Take this chart. The chart of a dead woman." He let go of me as if the touch had scorched his fingers.

Lella York is a widow, who takes a vacation to Italy, Ponte Vecchio, to be exact.

She finds an astrologer, and has him read her, but for her best friend Ruby. He talks for a few minutes, and then tells Lella to leave, and gives her her money back, with no explanation.

She returns home to discover that Ruby, her pet and house sitter has neglected her job, something she's neve
Home. Love. Books.
Sep 19, 2014 Home. Love. Books. rated it really liked it
To read this review and others like it check out my site at

So I went for this book because it came from Gemma Halliday's publishing house, and I love Gemma's books so I was very intrigued to see what kind of books this publishing house would be publishing. I do love a good mystery book, but I also like them to fast paced, have some elements of funny in them, and to have a side of romance going on, so that's really what I was looking for when I opened this book. I would say
Sep 12, 2016 Michele rated it it was amazing
This story has so many twists and turns I admit I got lost every once in a while. What in the world was going on here? Who is that sexy police officer and who is that lawyer that he hired to try to get Lella's son out of jail. And her poor cat----I'm surprised she didn't run away from home! But all will be revealed by the end which came rather quickly for me since I really wanted to know and read it in one sitting!! I am now looking forward to the second in this series.
Gemini Moon
Sally J. Smith
Jan 09, 2014 Sally J. Smith rated it it was amazing
Maria Grazia Swan has a knack for pulling the reader into the character then taking both for a little ride down Who-Dunnit Lane. Lella York is widowed, trying to determine who she is without her spouse. A trip to her beloved Italy doesn't help, drawing even more memories of things past into her heart and mind.
On the last night of her trip, a gypsy casts an astrological chart, conveying the ominous message he's just cast the chart of a dead woman. If Lella is to believe the gypsy, the dead wom
Mar 06, 2015 Sardis rated it it was amazing
Gemini Moon or Murder Under the Italian Moon has one evaluating our relationships with our friends & family. How well do you know your best friend? Donatello (Lella) York thinks she knows her friend well as she wonders if romance ends at 50. As she ends her Italian holiday, she imagines she's returning to a hum-drum existence. If you imagine yourself in many possible roles in a story as you read, you'll become enmeshed in the scenario Lella finds herself. Upon her return to LA., nothing is ...more
Ross Homer
Mar 11, 2014 Ross Homer rated it it was amazing
Shelves: great-book
If I could give a book 10 stars, this would be the one. I read a lot and have all my life. Gemini Moon is one of the single best books I've ever read. With the twists and turns, red herrings and hints that things may not be as they seem, I was completely engrossed from the first page to the last. Lella is the perfect heroine. She's smart and strong and someone you'd love to know. She is caught up in a web of lies that leave you guessing until the end who's doing what to whom. Is she as innocent ...more
JoAnn Wells
Murder under the Italian moon

Wish I could have liked it but while not horrible it wasn't great either. Lella meets a detective, knows basically nothing about him and falls into bed the second time she sees him. He seems incapable of telling her what's going on and the story jumps all over the place before we get the info that Kyle is in jail. It takes another chapter before we find out why. Frankly this read was more work than it was worth. It was no great leap to figure out that it was Ruby but
Feb 13, 2015 K'tee rated it it was amazing
How well do you know your best friend? Donatello (Lella) York wonders if decadent romance ends at 50 as she ends her Italian holiday. If you see yourself in every possible role in a story as you read and try to determine everyone's motives & intentions, you'll become enmeshed in the scenario Lella finds herself upon her return to LA. You may question your relationships with friends, family, & lovers. Just when you think you understand the plot, it turns. Lella is not your typical widow ...more
Carol Ann
Jul 24, 2014 Carol Ann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review is from: Murder under the Italian Moon (Lella York Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
Well, I just finished MURDER UNDER THE ITALIAN MOON by Maria Grazia Swan, and I highly recommend it. It is a psychological mystery of murder and betrayal and a little romance, where people are not who they seem to be, and soon I suspected everybody! Set in beautiful Florence and sunny Southern California this book with well-drawn characters and a swift-moving plot was hard to put down, easily one of the best m
Oct 30, 2015 Emilia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, cosy-mystery
Not your regular cozy, where everything happens so fast. Here there is time for some memories, maternal worries, trust and distrust intertwining throughout the book.
Lella - main character - has a lot new and strange things to digest all of a sudden, and when she comes back from her Italian vacation - nothing is as she remembers it anymore, lots of creepy and ugly truths are coming out, and now not only she has to come to terms with her Husband`s affair (with Ruby - her best friend!), but also f
Mar 01, 2014 Paula rated it really liked it
I enjoyed Gemini Moon by Maria Grazia Swan. Perfectly satisfying mystery with just enough romance. Lella is an easy character to like as you go along with her to solve the case of missing friend and more. The astrology fortuneteller’s reading is the hook that drew me in to this story. I found this to be an intriguing suspenseful tale with its evenly paced action and family of characters. It was a just-right-read to perk up some long dreary winter evenings. Did I mention handsome police ...more
I was looking for a new cozy mystery series to start on and downloaded this one. I enjoyed it but not sure if I'll continue with the series or not. The writing is good and it kept me tuned in but I can't put my finger on the why I might not continue?
Oct 01, 2014 Anne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book in a day. It was very good. Great buildup to a nice ending. A good mystery and kept my interest throughout.
Denise Williams
Jun 11, 2015 Denise Williams rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good story!

I enjoyed the author and the characters. Good read, I recommend it. It is nice to read a romance when the heroine is over 40. Larry was a pretty good character too.
Julie Sarff
Julie Sarff rated it it was amazing
Nov 12, 2014
Sandra Simmons
Sandra Simmons rated it really liked it
May 23, 2014
Lisa rated it really liked it
Apr 16, 2014
Marcia Walton
An OK book. Fast read...."heroine" not very believable character for me.
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Maria Grazia Swan was born in Italy, but this rolling stone has definitely gathered no moss. She lived in Belgium, France, Germany, in beautiful Orange County, California where she raised her family, and is currently at home in Phoenix, Arizona—but stay tuned for weekly updates of Where in the World is Maria Grazia Swan?

As a young girl, her vivid imagination predestined her to be a writer. She won
More about Maria Grazia Swan...

Other Books in the Series

Lella York (3 books)
  • Death Under the Venice Moon (Lella York, #2)
  • Murder Under the Desert Moon (Lella York, #3)

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“I felt clueless and nervous--pretty much the same way I'd been feeling ever since I came back from Italy.” 1 likes
“Why can't relationships come with an instruction manual for unsophisticated adults like me?” 1 likes
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