Friday, 19 January 2018

#BookReview The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn @WmMorrowBooks

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

What did she see?

It’s been ten long months since Anna Fox last left her home. Ten months during which she has haunted the rooms of her old New York house like a ghost, lost in her memories, too terrified to step outside.

Anna’s lifeline to the real world is her window, where she sits day after day, watching her neighbours. When the Russells move in, Anna is instantly drawn to them. A picture-perfect family of three, they are an echo of the life that was once hers.

But one evening, a frenzied scream rips across the silence, and Anna witnesses something no one was supposed to see. Now she must do everything she can to uncover the truth about what really happened. But even if she does, will anyone believe her? And can she even trust herself?


**********

The Woman in the Window is a book that I'm on the fence about. The writing is good, the storyline is, for the most part, both interesting and engaging. However, the book lacks surprises and suspense. And, the twists to the story is easy to foresee.

Yet, I found myself quite liking the book. It could be that the book reminded me of Rear Window with James Stewart, or the main characters love for old movies that charmed me since I adore old classic Hollywood movies. The biggest problem, however, is the use of a main character that is unstable, thanks to mental issues because of a past trauma (that was easy to figure out) and the combination of drugs and alcohol. I've come across too many unstable characters on books lately that I've started to avoid psychological thrillers with even the mentioning of characters with mental issues or in any.

The writing is good, the story, however, lacks the necessary twist to truly engage and the ending was too obvious. Although part of me enjoyed the last confrontation. I can actually see how this book would make a great movie. I just wish the story had been more surprising.

I want to thank William Morrow for providing me with a free copy for an honest review through Edelweiss!

#BookReview The Alice Network by Kate Quinn @KateQuinnAuthor @Morrow_PB ‏

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In an enthralling new historical novel from national bestselling author Kate Quinn, two women—a female spy recruited to the real-life Alice Network in France during World War I and an unconventional American socialite searching for her cousin in 1947—are brought together in a mesmerizing story of courage and redemption.

1947. In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She's also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie's parents banish her to Europe to have her "little problem" taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister.

1915. A year into the Great War, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance when she's recruited to work as a spy. Sent into enemy-occupied France, she's trained by the mesmerizing Lili, the "Queen of Spies", who manages a vast network of secret agents right under the enemy's nose.

Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. Until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn't heard in decades, and launches them both on a mission to find the truth...no matter where it leads.

**********

The Alice Network is a book that many of my bookish friends have read and loved and yet it took ages for me to get to it. Perhaps it was just the right time for it when I finally got to it. Sitting here trying to write a review of the book feels a bit daunting, to be honest. The blurb explains the story quite excellently without giving away to much and I don't want to spoil the story a bit.

So, I will start off by praising the authors writing. This is the first Kate Quinn book I have read and I was impressed with the wonderful flow of the story, how the two storylines so effortlessly fitted together. There is always the risk of one storyline dominated the other, but in this case, I think both were equally good. The women that worked as spies in WW1 really amazed me, their bravery, despite the danger. And the risk they took. Truly amazing! Here I also must say that I just I love how Quinn blended true events with fiction. As always when it comes to author's notes was I fascinated to learn more about true events.

Likewise, was I taken with Charlie's haunt for her cousin in France after WW2. And the connection between the storylines, or rather the connected person; Eve Gardiner is such a wonderful character, from her youthful spies day to the older, quite bitter version.

The Alice Network is a fabulous book and I'm quite eager to read more from Kate Quinn. I recommend this book warmly!

I want to thank William Morrow for providing me with a free copy through Edelweiss for an honest review!

#BookReview The Redeemers by Ace Atkins @aceatkins ‏@PutnamBooks

The Redeemers by Ace Atkins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The electrifying new novel in New York Times–bestselling author Ace Atkins’s acclaimed series about the real Deep South.

He is only in his early thirties, but now Quinn Colson is jobless—voted out of office as sheriff of Tibbehah County, Mississippi, thanks to the machinations of county kingpin Johnny Stagg. He has offers, in bigger and better places, but before he goes, he’s got one more job to do—bring down Stagg’s criminal operations for good.

At least that’s the plan. But in the middle of the long, hot summer, a trio of criminals stage a bold, wall-smashing break-in at the home of a local lumber mill owner, making off with a million dollars in cash from his safe, which is curious, because the mill owner is wealthy—but not that wealthy. None of this has anything to do with Colson, but during the investigation, two men are killed, one of them the new sheriff. His friend, acting sheriff Lillie Virgil, and a dangerous former flame, Anna Lee Stevens, both ask him to step in, and reluctantly he does, only to discover that that safe contained more than just money—it held secrets.


Secrets that could either save Colson—or destroy him once and for all.


**********

I've found a series to fill the void left after reading all Longmire books by Craig Johnson. Now, starting with book five in a series is perhaps not the smartest thing to do, but it's my thing and, despite some struggle, in the beginning, to get the hang on the characters is this a book that I felt was just right up my alley. From the fabulous team of ex-sheriff Quinn Colson and deputy sheriff Lillie Virgil to the hapless criminals that are hired by a disgruntled man to break into a safe. Its action, it's humor and it's definitely captivating to read, or in my case listen to since I partly read, but mostly listened to the audiobook. The story is fabulous, especially the break-in part. Man, this robbery plan is doomed from the start.

The Redeemers is a fabulous thriller. I had a blast reading/listening to this book. The storyline is both funny and thrilling and I instantly liked both Quinn and Lillie. This is the kind of book that works reading as a stand-alone after one has figured out who is who. However, I bet it's even better to read this series from the beginning. What I did after finishing this book was listening to book three and four that were available as audiobooks and when they were done did I order the two first books in the series. Yup, you can say that I was hooked! So, now I'm waiting for my books to arrive!

If you are a Longmire fan, then I definitely recommend this series to read.

I want to thank G.P. Putnam's Sons for providing me with a free copy through Edelweiss for an honest review!

#BlogTour An Argument of Blood by Matthew Willis & J.A. Ironside @hfvbt @airandseastories @DystopianIronside #bookbloggers #booklovers

An Argument of Blood by J.A. Ironside & Matthew Willis

Publication Date: June 19, 2017
Penmore Press
Paperback & eBook; 369 Pages

Series: Oath and Crown, Book 1
Genre: Fiction/Historical/War

 
William, the nineteen-year-old duke of Normandy, is enjoying the full fruits of his station. Life is a succession of hunts, feasts, and revels, with little attention paid to the welfare of his vassals. Tired of the young duke’s dissolute behaviour and ashamed of his illegitimate birth, a group of traitorous barons force their way into his castle. While William survives their assassination attempt, his days of leisure are over. He’ll need help from the king of France to secure his dukedom from the rebels.

On the other side of the English Channel lives ten-year-old Ælfgifa, the malformed and unwanted youngest sister to the Anglo-Saxon Jarl, Harold Godwinson. Ælfgifa discovers powerful rivalries in the heart of the state when her sister Ealdgyth is given in a political marriage to King Edward, and she finds herself caught up in intrigues and political manoeuvring as powerful men vie for influence. Her path will collide with William’s, and both must fight to shape the future.

An Argument of Blood is the first of two sweeping historical novels on the life and battles of William the Conqueror.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes and Noble | Chapters


About the Authors


J.A. Ironside (Jules) grew up in rural Dorset, surrounded by books – which pretty much set he up for life as a complete bibliophile. She loves speculative fiction of all stripes, especially fantasy and science fiction, although when it comes to the written word, she’s not choosy and will read almost anything. Actually it would be fair to say she starts to go a bit peculiar if she doesn’t get through at least three books a week. She writes across various genres, both adult and YA fiction, and it’s a rare story if there isn’t a fantastical or speculative element in there somewhere.

Jules has had several short stories published in magazines and anthologies, as well as recorded for literature podcasts. Books 1 and 2 of her popular Unveiled series are currently available with the 3rd and 4th books due for release Autumn/ Winter 2017.

She also co-authored the sweeping epic historical Oath and Crown Duology with Matthew Willis, released June 2017 from Penmore Press.

Jules now lives on the edge of the Cotswold way with her boyfriend creature and a small black and white cat, both of whom share a god-complex.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Matthew Willis is an author of historical fiction, SF, fantasy and non-fiction. In June 2017 An Argument of Blood, the first of two historical novels about the Norman Conquest co-written with J.A. Ironside, was published. In 2015 his story Energy was shortlisted for the Bridport short story award.

Matthew studied Literature and History of Science at the University of Kent, where he wrote an MA thesis on Joseph Conrad and sailed for the University in national competitions. He subsequently worked as a journalist for Autosport and F1 Racing magazines, before switching to a career with the National Health Service.

His first non-fiction book, a history of the Blackburn Skua WW2 naval dive bomber, was published in 2007. He now has four non fiction books published with a fifth, a biography of test pilot Duncan Menzies, due later in 2017. He currently lives in Southampton and writes both fiction and non-fiction for a living.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


Blog Tour Schedule


Monday, January 15
Review at Jaffa Reads Too

Tuesday, January 16
Feature at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, January 17
Review at Historical Fiction Reviews

Friday, January 19
Feature at A Bookaholic Swede

Monday, January 22
Review at Broken Teepee

Tuesday, January 23
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Friday, January 26
Feature at Let Them Read Books

Monday, January 29
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books

Tuesday, January 30
Feature at What Cathy Read Next

Wednesday, January 31
Feature at Just One More Chapter

Thursday, February 1
Feature at The Lit Bitch

Friday, February 2
Review at Bookramblings
Review at Impressions In Ink

Monday, February 5
Review at Back Porchervations

Tuesday, February 6
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views
Wednesday, February 7

Review at The Writing Desk
Review at Donna's Book Blog

Giveaway

During the Book Blast we will be giving away a signed copy of An Argument of Blood! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.
Giveaway Rules
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on February 7th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Argument of Blood

Direct Link: https://gleam.io/8Gt1d/argument-of-blood

Thursday, 18 January 2018

#CoverCrush Kill the Farm Boy by Kevin Hearne and Delilah S. Dawson

For new visitors do I want to explain that Cover Crush is something that my friend Erin over at Flashlight Commentary came up with and I adopted the idea together with some other friends. And, now we try to put up a Cover Crush every week. You can check below my pick of the week for their choices this week!


The start of a magical, witty new series in the tradition of Terry Pratchett and The Princess Bride, from the New York Timesbestselling author of The Iron Druid Chronicles and the author of the New York Times bestseller Star Wars: Phasma.

Kevin Hearne has enchanted millions with the tales of two-thousand-year-old Irishman/Druid, Atticus O’Sullivan; Delilah S. Dawson is the up-and-coming talent behind the action-packed Star Wars novel Phasma. Together they have created The Tales of Pell, a new fantasy series as heartwarming as it is humorous. Gustave the Talking Goat, Fia the Unusually Tall, Argabella the Ensorcelled Bard, and Grinda the Sand Witch are on a mission to stop LØCHER, the chamberlain to King Benedick, and his lust for the throne. Along the way, they are joined by Toby the Hedge Wizard and Poltro the Clumsy Rogue, who have their own evil agendas, while all of them try to figure out the conundrum of The Chosen One. This magically unforgettable new world fractures all the tropes of the fairytale genre with a subversive sense of humor.

Thoughts:

I'm absolutely charmed by this cover. From the fabulous border, to the colorful motive. Isn't this a absolutely delightful fantasy book cover? 

Check out what my friends have picked for Cover Crush's this week:

Stephanie @ Layered Pages





#BlogTour The Swedish Girl by Alex Gray @Alexincrimeland @partnersincr1me @Marablaise

The Swedish Girl: A DCI Lorimer Novel by Alex Gray
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Swedish Girl

by Alex Gray

on Tour January 8 - February 12, 2018

Synopsis:

The Swedish Girl by Alex Gray

Another gripping Lorimer novel from Alex Gray, evoking Glasgow like no other writer can

When Kirsty Wilson lands a room in a luxury Glasgow flat owned by Swedish fellow student Eva Magnusson she can’t believe her luck. But Kirsty’s delight turns to terror when she finds the beautiful Swedish girl lying dead in their home and their male flatmate accused of her murder. Kirsty refuses to accept that he is guilty and, inspired by family friend Detective Superintendent Lorimer, sets out to clear his name.

Meanwhile, Lorimer calls on trusted psychologist Solly Brightman to help unravel the truth behind the enigmatic Eva’s life and death. But it is not long until another woman, bearing a marked resemblance to Eva, is brutally murdered. Horrified, Lorimer realises that Kirsty could be right. Is it possible that Glasgow’s finest detective has put the wrong man behind bars? And is there a cold-blooded killer out there orchestrating the death of the next innocent victim?

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: January 9th 2018
Number of Pages: 368
ISBN: 9780062659255
Series: A DCI Lorimer Novel, #10 (Stand Alone)

BOOK REVIEW

I couldn't pass up the chance to read this book with a title like this. I mean The Swedish Girl. It's like it's written just for me...

Anyway, I have read a couple of Lorimer books by now and this one is one of the best so far. I quite enjoyed the storyline with a young girl getting murdered it what seems like an open an shut case. But, is it really so. Jo Grant, the police in charge seem to think so. However, Kirsty, one of the roommate with Eve, the Swedish girl, doesn't believe that her fellow roommate and friend Colin is the one that killed Eva. And, with some help from DCI Lorimer is she going to prove that.

I found the story to be engaging from the very start. I liked the premise of the story, with five young students living together and later one is one found murdered. Who would kill a girl everyone liked and why? I also enjoyed the contrast between the police investigation that went straight for the one person that seemed most likely to have done it, vice versa to Kirsty who instead started to dig a bit deeper. And, it turned out that Eva had some skeletons in the closet.

I really like Kirsty, she's the daughter of a college to Lorimer, and she turned out to be a pretty fine amateur detective. In contrast, to Jo Grant, who seemed more eager to grab the very first suspect just to be able to close a case quickly. I have to be honest, Jo Grant is a pretty annoying character. Thankfully, Kirsty has Lorimer on her side.

On a side note, I love that the story takes place both in Glasgow and in Stockholm. The author did a fine job describing Stockholm. Reading it felt like was back there.

As for the ending, here I found the only real let down, don't take me wrong. It's a good ending. However, it was hardly surprising. I would have wanted a more shocking ending. And, ending I had not seen coming. But, all and all is this a great book!

Read an excerpt:

From Chapter 9
December
Kirsty turned the key in the door and closed it behind her with a sigh. The hall was in darkness and there was no sound coming from the living room. Her shoulders moved up and down in a shrug of resignation; she was alone in the flat again. Then she remembered. Wasn’t there some party that Eva had mentioned? They’d all be there, wouldn’t they? Pulling off her thin raincoat and hanging it on the old-fashioned wooden coat stand, Kirsty sauntered into the bedroom next to the front door, unbuttoning her jacket. It was fair handy having this big room to herself, especially when she was working late shift at the hotel. Nobody would be disturbed by her comings and goings. She took off her shoes and tossed her jacket, bag and mobile phone onto the bed. Oh, it was good to be home. A wee cup of hot chocolate and some of her own gingerbread would go down well, she thought, already imagining her teeth sinking into a thick slab of treacly cake.
She stopped for a moment, listening. There was a swish then a click as the front door opened and closed again. Then, nothing.
‘Colin? Is that you back already?’ Kirsty wandered out into the hall, her bare feet sinking into the pile of the hall carpet, still thick and soft despite all their winter boots tramping back and forth. Eva’s father had spared no expense in doing up this flat for his daughter and Kirsty Wilson was grateful for those small luxuries that were absent from most of her friends’ student flats.
Frowning slightly, Kirsty padded down the unlit corridor, one hand out ready to flick on the light switch as she reached the kitchen. But something made her turn left into the living room instead, just to see if anyone was at home after all.
At first she imagined the girl had fallen asleep, sprawled out in front of the television.
‘Eva?’
Kirsty moved forward and bent down, expecting the girl to sit up and yawn. One hand reached out to touch the back of her head but then she drew back as though guided by some inner instinct.
She stood up again and stepped around the recumbent figure, unaware that she was holding her breath.
Then, as Kirsty saw the expression in the dead girl’s eyes, the thin wail escaping from her open mouth turned into a scream of terror.
* * *
Detective Superintendent Lorimer crouched over the body, aware of the sounds of voices coming from the hall. The dead girl was lying on her back, one arm flung out, the fist curled tightly in the moment of death. Her head was bent to one side, blond hair partly obscuring her features, but Lorimer could see enough to make him wonder about the cause of death.
‘Manual strangulation?’ he asked, glancing up at the consultant pathologist who was kneeling on the other side of the girl’s body. The on-duty pathologist tonight was his friend, Dr Rosie Fergusson. He glanced at her with his usual admiration for her calm efficiency, knowing how different she could be at home as a doting mother and as the wife of Professor Brightman, an eminent psychologist and sometime criminal profiler who had worked with Lorimer in the past.
‘Looks like it,’ Rosie murmured, her gloved hands smoothing the hair from the victim’s face, letting Lorimer see for the first time what Kirsty Wilson had found earlier that night.
Eva Magnusson still had that ethereal quality in death that had captivated those who had gazed upon her: Lorimer saw the perfect oval face with flawless skin and bow-shaped lips that were slightly parted as though she had been taken by surprise. He watched as Rosie reached out to close the dead girl’s eyelids, seeing for the final time those pale blue Scandinavian eyes staring out at a world that had proved less than kind.
***
Excerpt from Swedish Girl by Alex Gray. Copyright © 2018 by Alex Gray. Reprinted by permission of Witness Impulse, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

Alex Gray
Alex Gray was born and educated in Glasgow. After studying English and Philosophy at the University of Strathclyde, she worked as a visiting officer for the Department of Health, a time she looks upon as postgraduate education since it proved a rich source of character studies. She then trained as a secondary school teacher of English. Alex began writing professionally in 1993 and had immediate success with short stories, articles, and commissions for BBC radio programs. She has been awarded the Scottish Association of Writers' Constable and Pitlochry trophies for her crime writing. A regular on the Scottish bestseller lists, she is the author of thirteen DCI Lorimer novels. She is the co-founder of the international Scottish crime writing festival, Bloody Scotland, which had its inaugural year in 2012.

Catch Up With Alex Gray On: Website , Goodreads , & Twitter !


Tour Participants:

Visit the other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Alex Gray and Witness Impulse. There will be 3 winner of one (1) eBook copy of Alex Gray’s A Pound of Flesh. The giveaway begins on January 8 and runs through February 14, 2018.
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Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

#BookReview City of Endless Night by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child @GrandCentralPub @Marablaise #Giveaway

City of Endless Night by Douglas Preston
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What begins as a manhunt for the missing daughter of a wealthy tech billionaire becomes something altogether different when the young woman's body is discovered in an abandoned warehouse in Kew Gardens, Queens, the head nowhere to be found. It appears there may be two killers on the loose--one responsible for the young woman's death, another responsible for the mutilation. A pair of such dastardly killers requires a team of equally talented investigators. Luckily, both Vincent D'Agosta and Special Agent Pendergast are back in town.

D'Agosta hopes that working a case back on his home turf for the first time in years will reinvigorate the FBI Special Agent and give him an opportunity to flex his investigative might. But neither is prepared to face a killer--or killers--as diabolical as this. It will take all of Pendergast and D'Agosta's intelligence and strength simply to match wits--let alone stay alive.

**********

City of Endless Night is the seventeen book in the Pendergast series, and I have read every single one of them. My personal favorite is the ones that have a slight supernatural element to the story like the first book Relic with the monster in the New York Museum of Natural History, which is why I felt a bit disappointed while reading this one. Don't take me wrong, it's a great thriller, and it's nice to have D'Agosta and Pendergast working together to catch a murderer.

However, it feels just like an ordinary thriller. Sure, the killings and beheadings is an interesting mystery especially since there seems to be no link to the people killed. I just wished that the book had been a bit more extraordinary. Instead, we get a straight-forward thriller, with not a very memorable killer. Well, besides the fact that this is one of the first times that Pendergast goes up against an enemy that seriously could outsmart him. The best part of the book is the end part when the killer and Pendergast face-off and Pendergast truly has to fight for his life against an enemy that is better than him. And, yes that is a very unusual scene since Pendergast is someone that often seems more than human.

City of Endless Night is a good thriller, as always is the writing great and, despite my reservations about the story, did I enjoy reading the book. It's only that I really enjoy when the stories take a more suspenseful feeling when Pendergast is up against something beastly and since the killer in this book is an ordinary killer (well he was psycho, but still very much human) did I get a bit disappointed.

Nevertheless, it's not a bad book, never boring and I enjoyed both the main story and the side stories. 

I want to thank Grand Central Publishing for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review!


City of Endless Night by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

#BookReview I Know My Name by C.J. Cooke @CJ_Cooke_Author @GrandCentralPub @Marablaise #Giveaway

I Know My Name by C.J. Cooke
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

…But what if that’s the only thing you can remember?

Komméno Island, Greece: I don't know where I am, who I am. Help me.

A woman is washed up on a remote Greek island with no recollection of who she is or how she got there.

Potter’s Lane, Twickenham, London: Eloïse Shelley is officially missing.

Lochlan’s wife has vanished into thin air, leaving their toddler and twelve-week-old baby alone. Her money, car and passport are all in the house, with no signs of foul play. Every clue the police turn up means someone has told a lie…

Does a husband ever truly know his wife? Or a wife know her husband? Why is Eloïse missing? Why did she forget?

The truth is found in these pages…


***********

I Know My Name by C.J. Cooke is one of those books that instantly, from the very first page makes me curious and engrossed. I'm really impressed with the fact that this is C.J. Cooke's first book. The writing pulls you in and to be honest, I had some serious problems with closing the book, despite the fact that I needed to get up early and the time just disappeared while I was reading the book.

The story shifts focus between Lochlan who discovers that his wife has gone missing without a trace, and a woman that is washed up on the shore of a remote Greek island with amnesia. This seems like a straightforward story, but is it really so? Without giving away too much, did I as the story progressed suspect how it would turn out, and yeah, I was on the right track. However, that only made the story more interesting to read, to see if I was right. I was also thrilled to read a book where the husband wasn't treated as a suspect from the very first minute. I could clearly picture how he would have to get on the run to find his wife to prove that he was innocent, but that never happened and that made me very glad.

I also found the ending to be very satisfying, and once again I face the trouble of trying to explain why without giving the story away. It's just that it could have ended more abrupt when Lochlan learns the truth, etc. However, the epilogue gives a more satisfying ending.

All and all is this a great book and I can't wait to read more books by C.J. Cooke.

I want to thank Grand Central Publishing for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review!

I Know My Name by C.J. Cooke