Sunday, 22 January 2017

City of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong

City of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Casey Duncan is a homicide detective with a secret: when she was in college, she killed a man. She was never caught, but he was the grandson of a mobster and she knows that someday this crime will catch up to her. Casey's best friend, Diana, is on the run from a violent, abusive ex-husband. When Diana's husband finds her, and Casey herself is attacked shortly after, Casey knows it's time for the two of them to disappear again.

Diana has heard of a town made for people like her, a town that takes in people on the run who want to shed their old lives. You must apply to live in Rockton and if you're accepted, it means walking away entirely from your old life, and living off the grid in the wilds of Canada: no cell phones, no Internet, no mail, no computers, very little electricity, and no way of getting in or out without the town council's approval. As a murderer, Casey isn't a good candidate, but she has something they want: She's a homicide detective, and Rockton has just had its first real murder. She and Diana are in. However, soon after arriving, Casey realizes that the identity of a murderer isn't the only secret Rockton is hiding—in fact, she starts to wonder if she and Diana might be in even more danger in Rockton than they were in their old lives.

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I was interested in reading the book from the first time I saw it. A town for people that needs to get away. A secret town in the middle of nowhere. It sounded bloody fantastic. But, sometimes my expectations are too high, and when it came to this book did I expect a more mysterious and darker story.

Now, I don't say that the City of the Lost is a bad book, it started off interestingly with Casey and her friend Diana needing to get away, especially Diana after she once again had problems with her ex-boyfriend who beat her badly. Casey's problem is a bit more complicated, she killed a man when she was in college and have since then been waiting for the day the past would catch up with her. And, now it seems that it has happened. For them is Rockton a perfect solution, although Casey because of her past has a hard time getting approved for going to the town, in the end, is she allowed, but there are some conditions for her and one of the reasons they agree to accept her is because they need a homicide detective to solve a murder.

It's in Rockton that I felt the story started to drag now and then, it just went on and on, sometimes it felt that the investigation didn't go anywhere. I was also a bit disappointed with the town, it felt that it was just really bad people there and if you were a woman then you had to watch out (I think I had a town like the one in Pines (Wayward Pines by Blake Crouch in mind, normal but mysterious). There were some promising things with the story, the rumors about cannibals were interesting, it just never becomes much more than a rumor. Then, the obvious and expected romance occurred (I have read reviews of the books so I was prepared), and it took more time away from the investigations, but at the same time was it an important part of the story that I can't discuss since it would spoiler the book.

The ending, well it was good, perhaps not fantastically good, but Casey did solve the murder and all. She also discovered some secrets that someone close to her had kept and I loved the confrontation between Casey and this person.

So, City of the Lost did not turn out to be this fantastic book I had hoped for. It was more of a bumpy ride with both ups and downs. Would I read the next book? Yes, I would! I did enjoy more of the book than I disliked. I just hope the next book will have a less bumpy ride.

Friday, 20 January 2017

A Ghostly Reunion by Tonya Kappes Blog Tour

A Ghostly Reunion

by Tonya Kappes

on Tour January 16 - February 17, 2017

Synopsis:

A Ghostly Reunion by Tonya Kappes

A Ghostly Reunion

Proprietor of the Eternal Slumber Funeral Home, Emma Lee can see, hear, and talk to ghosts of murdered folks. And when her high school nemesis is found dead, Jade Lee Peel is the same old mean girl—trying to come between Emma Lee and her hot boyfriend, Sheriff Jack Henry Ross, all over again.
There’s only one way for Emma Lee to be free of the trash-talking ghost—solve the murder so the former prom queen can cross over.
But the last thing Jade Lee wants is to leave the town where she had her glory days. And the more Emma Lee investigates on her own, the more complicated Miss Popularity turns out to be. Now Emma Lee will have to work extra closely with her hunky lawman to get to the twisty truth.

Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Mystery, Paranormal
Published by: HarperCollins / Witness
Publication Date: December 27th 2016
Number of Pages: 352
ISBN: 006246695X (ISBN13: 9780062466952)
Series: Ghostly Southern Mysteries #5
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads 

Read an excerpt:

Sexy isn’t a firm fanny in a thong, ladies.”
Hettie Bell didn’t seem so sexy in her hot pink leggings and matching top as she gasped for breath in her downward dog position in the middle of Sleepy Hollow, Kentucky. Her butt stuck straight up in the air, right there on display for everyone to see. Her black, chin-length bob was falling out of the small ponytail on both sides and her bangs hung down in her eyes.
“Sexy is confidence and self-acceptance. It’s exactly what yoga provides.”
Hettie Bell curled up on her tiptoes with her palms planted on one of the mats she provided for us. The rickety old floor of the gazebo, in the middle of the town square, groaned as we all tried to mimic her pose. “Yes!” Beulah Paige Bellefry hollered out like we were in the first pew of the Sleepy Hollow Baptist Church getting a good Bible beating from Pastor Brown himself.
“Amen to a good pose!”
Beulah continued to adjust her feet and hands each time she started to slip. If she wasn’t a bit overweight, I’d say it was her eighties silk sweat suit that was slicker than cat’s guts giving her problems. Or it could’ve been those pearls around her wrist, neck and ears weighing her down. Beulah never took off those pearls. She said pearls were a staple for a Southern gal.
“You said it, sister,” Mary Anna Hardy gasped. She teetered side to side, nearly knocking into Granny. Her sweat left streaks down her makeup. Who on earth got up this early and put makeup on to do yoga? Mary Anna Hardy, that’s who.
“God help us!”
“That’s it.”
I pushed back off my heels and crossed my legs, staring at all the Auxiliary women’s derrieres at my eye level.
“I’m here to do some relaxing, not Sunday school.”
Sleepy Hollow was smack-dab in the middle of the Bible Belt and if God wasn’t thrown in our conversations, then we weren’t breathing. But the last thing I wanted to think about was my butt stuck up to the high heavens and everyone up in the Great Beyond looking down upon me.

Author Bio:

Tonya KappesTonya Kappes has written more than fifteen novels and four novellas, all of which have graced numerous bestseller lists including USA Today. Best known for stories charged with emotion and humor and filled with flawed characters, her novels have garnered reader praise and glowing critical reviews. She lives with her husband, two very spoiled schnauzers, and one ex-stray cat in northern Kentucky. Now that her boys are teenagers, Tonya writes full-time but can be found at all of her guys’ high school games with a pencil and paper in hand.

Catch Up with Tonya Kappes on her Website , Twitter , & Facebook 


Tour Participants:


Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Tonya Kappes and Witness Impulse. There will be 1 US winner of one PRINTED set of The Ghostly Southern Mysteries #1-5 by Tonya Kappes. The giveaway begins on January 15th and runs through February 18th, 2017.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Cover Crush: The Red Hunter by Lisa Unger


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!

Touchstone (Simon & Schuster)
FRONTLIST | April 25, 2017 
ISBN 9781501101670, 1501101676
Hardcover | 368 pages |
Fiction / Thrillers / Suspense

What is the difference between justice and revenge? In this buzzworthy new standalone thriller by New York Times bestselling author Lisa Unger, two wronged women on very different paths find themselves in the same dark place…

Claudia Bishop’s perfect life fell apart when the aftermath of a brutal assault left her with a crumbling marriage, a newborn daughter, and a constant sense of anxiety about the world around her. Now, looking for a fresh start with a home restoration project and growing blog, Claudia takes on a crumbling old house—one that unbeknownst to her has an ugly history and may hide long buried secrets.

For Zoey Drake the defining moment of her childhood was the horrific home invasion murder of her parents. Years later, she has embraced the rage that fuels her. Training in the martial arts has made her strong and ready to face the demons from the past—and within.

Strangers to each other, and walking very different paths in the wake of trauma, these two women are on a collision course—because Zoey’s past nightmare and Claudia’s dreams for her future take place in the very same house. As Zoey seeks justice, and Claudia seeks peace, both will confront the monsters at the door that are the most frightening of all.

Some thoughts about the cover:

I love thrillers, and this cover caught my attention today when I was browsing Edelweiss for this week's Cover Crush. I'm actually a bit late doing this, should have made this post yesterday, but I had a computer free evening just reading. And, today was it hard to find anything inspiring until I found this one. It looks positively...wicked! 

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

The Elusive Elixir by Gigi Pandian Blog Tour

Gigi Pandian

on Tour January 9-20 with

the-elusive-elixir-cover

The Elusive Elixir

(mystery / paranormal mystery) 
Release date: January 8, 2017 at Midnight Ink 
ISBN: 978-0738742366 336 pages

SYNOPSIS

Dorian Robert-Houdin, the three-and-a-half-foot gargoyle chef who fancies himself a modern-day Poirot, is slowly turning into stone, and it’s up to Zoe Faust to unravel the alchemical secrets that can save him. When they discover that a long-lost stone gargoyle with a connection to Dorian has reappeared in Europe, the stakes are even higher. From Portland to Paris, Zoe searches for the hidden knowledge she needs, but a cold case that harkens back to 1942 throws her off course. With an ailing friend desperately trying to discover his own elixir of life and a new romantic interest offering the first chance at love she’s had in nearly a century, Zoe is torn between a dangerous form of alchemy and her desire for a safer life.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gigi Pandian USA Today bestselling author Gigi Pandian spent her childhood being dragged around the world by her cultural anthropologist parents, and now lives outside San Francisco with her husband and a gargoyle who watches over the garden. Gigi writes the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt mysteries, Accidental Alchemist mysteries, and locked-room mystery short stories. Gigi’s fiction has been awarded the Malice Domestic Grant and Lefty Awards, and been nominated for Macavity and Agatha Awards.

Visit her website.

Follow her on Facebook, Twitter Subscribe to her newsletter Visit her Gargoyle photography blog: http://www.gargoylegirl.com Pre-order the book: Indiebound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Midnight Ink

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You can enter the global giveaway here or on any other book blogs participating in this tour. Be sure to follow each participant on Twitter/Facebook, they are listed in the entry form below.

Enter here

Visit each blogger on the tour: tweeting about the giveaway everyday of the Tour will give you 5 extra entries each time! [just follow the directions on the entry-form] Global giveaway open to all: 1 winner of a Grand prize: the first two books in the series (The Accidental Alchemist and The Masquerading Magician) plus a set of gorgeous 7 book-themed recipe cards

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CLICK ON THE BANNER TO READ REVIEWS AND EXCERPTS

the-elusive-elixir-banner  

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

The Green Mill Murder by Kerry Greenwood

The Green Mill Murder by Kerry Greenwood
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Phryne Fisher is doing one of her favorite things --dancing at the Green Mill (Melbourne's premier dance hall) to the music of Tintagel Stone's Jazzmakers, the band who taught St Vitus how to dance. And she's wearing a sparkling lobelia-coloured georgette dress. Nothing can flap the unflappable Phryne--especially on a dance floor with so many delectable partners. Nothing except death, that is.

The dance competition is trailing into its last hours when suddenly, in the middle of "Bye Bye Blackbird" a figure slumps to the ground. No shot was heard. Phryne, conscious of how narrowly the missile missed her own bare shoulder, back, and dress, investigates.

This leads her into the dark smoky jazz clubs of Fitzroy, into the arms of eloquent strangers, and finally into the the sky, as she follows a complicated family tragedy of the great War and the damaged men who came back from ANZAC cove.

Phryne flies her Gypsy Moth Rigel into the Australian Alps, where she meets a hermit with a dog called Lucky and a wombat living under his bunk....and risks her life on the love between brothers.


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The Green Mill Murder is book five in the Phryne Fisher series and you can read them as stand-alone's, although you probably will get a better insight into the characters by reading from the beginning. I have so far read all but one prior to this book, but I have also seen the TV-series. And, have you seen the TV-series will you definitely both have a familiar feeling reading these books, but also feel that so much is different. And, the one thing I miss most of all is the flirtatious relationship between Phryne and Detective Jack Robinson. In this book, at least he was present for a little while, although I would have loved for him to have had a larger part.

As for the murder case at the Green Mill was it pretty easy to figure out how the man was murdered and I had an inkling to whom the murderer was. But, I was still a bit surprised when it all came together at the end. I may have guessed the murder weapon and the murderer, but I did have the whole picture. But, the part that I found myself liking the best was the later part of the book when Phryne flies into the Australian Alps looking for a man who wandered off years ago, left his family and civilization and become a hermit. The milieu that was described made me yearn to travel to Australia.


As for the hermit, I did wonder how long it would take for Phryne to seduce him since well, she has a knack for that. Did she seduce him? Well, I guess you have to read the book since I'm not giving the answer away!

The Green Mill Murder was an easygoing cozy mystery book, and I felt it was perfect for the moment. Sometimes I need something light between heavier books. And this worked like a charm!

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review!

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

The Stranger by Harlan Coben (SWE/ENG)

The Stranger by Harlan Coben
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

SWEDISH REVIEW

Spänningens mästare levererar en chockerande thriller om lögnens makt och förbannelse.

Främlingen dyker upp från ingenstans. Hans identitet och motiv är okända. Men informationen han bär på är obestridlig. Han viskar några ord i ditt öra och försvinner medan din värld rasar samman. Adam Price är gift med en vacker kvinna, har två underbara söner, ett välbetalt jobb och ett stort hus. Han har ett perfekt liv tills han möter främlingen. Snart inser Adam att hans äktenskap är baserat på en mörk lögn, och han dras in i en konspiration där människoliv står på spel.

Främlingen skildrar på ett skrämmande sätt vilka krafter som kan släppas lösa när den lögn som våra liv bygger på plötsligt avslöjas. Det är en mörk thriller om människans behov att uppnå sina mål till vilket pris som helst.


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Harlan Coben har lyckats igen. Det skulle jag kunna inleda varje recension med har jag en känsla av. Men så är Harlan Coben en av mina favoritförfattare och det finns ett väldigt bra skäl till till varför det är så och det är för att han om och om skriver fantastisk bra böcker. Främlingen är inget undantag, den börjar kolossalt bra med att en främling kommer fram till Adam Price och berättar en hemlighet som Adams fru har och Adam vill inte tro på främlingens ord men långsamt förgiftar det hans sinne och till slut måste han konfrontera henne och det blir starten på en spännande och förbryllande thriller.

Nu vill jag inte på något sätt avslöja handlingen i denna bok, Främlingen är en bok som bör läsas utan tidigare vetskap om vad som kommer att hända. Men jag vill poängtera att boken är oerhört intressant och att Harlan Cobens förmåga att skapa intressanta karaktärer är som vanligt på topp. Jag läste nästan klart boken samma dag jag fick boken, men tyvärr var jag tvungen att arbeta dagen efter så jag fick vänta med slutet till dagen efter. Det enda med boken jag saknade var ett mer wow slut. Inte för att slutet på något sätt var dåligt, men jag kände att det saknade det lilla extra.

Främlingen kan sälla sig till resten av Harlan Cobens grupp av fantastiska thrillers. Personligen så anser jag att om man ska välja en thrillerförfattare att läsa så är Coben val nummer 1!

Tack till Bookmarks förlag för recensionsexemplaret!

ENGLISH REVIEW

The Stranger appears out of nowhere, perhaps in a bar, or a parking lot, or at the grocery store. His identity is unknown. His motives are unclear. His information is undeniable. Then he whispers a few words in your ear and disappears, leaving you picking up the pieces of your shattered world.

Adam Price has a lot to lose: a comfortable marriage to a beautiful woman, two wonderful sons, and all the trappings of the American Dream - a big house, a good job, a seemingly perfect life.

Then he runs into the Stranger. When he learns a devastating secret about his wife, Corrine, he confronts her, and the mirage of perfection disappears as if it never existed at all. Soon Adam finds himself tangled in something far darker than even Corrine's deception, and realises that if he doesn't make exactly the right moves, the conspiracy he's stumbled into will not only ruin lives - it will end them.



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Harlan Coben has once again done it! I have a feeling I could start any review with that when it comes to Coben's books. But, then again Harlan Coben is one of my favorite writers and there is a very good reason for it and that is his ability to over and over write great books. The Stranger is no exception, it starts tremendously good with a stranger telling Adam Price a secret that Adam's wife has and Adam do not want to believe the stranger's words, but slowly it is poisoning it his mind and finally he must confront her and that becomes the start of an exciting and intriguing thriller.

Now I will not in any way reveal the plot of this book, the Stranger is a book that should be read with no prior knowledge of what was going to happen. But I want to point out that the book is extremely interesting and Harlan Coben's ability to create interesting characters are as usual on top. I almost finished the book the same day I got it, but unfortunately, I had to work the day after so I had to wait to finish it to the day after. The only thing with the book that I felt was missing was a more wow ending. Not that the end was somehow bad, but I felt it lacked that little extra.

The Stranger can join the rest of Harlan Coben's group of amazing thrillers. Personally, I think that if you have to choose a thriller writer to read is so Coben choice number 1!

Thanks to Bookmarks förlag for the review copy!

Blog Tour: Gilding The Lily by Justine John (Author Spotlight)

A gripping mystery of jealousy, murder and lies.

An invitation to her estranged, wealthy father’s surprise 75th birthday party in New York sees Amelia and her husband, Jack, set off across the pond to meet a whole new world of family politics.

Amelia, now a successful businesswoman, feels guilty about never liking her father’s women, so does her upmost to give his new socialite partner, Evelyn, the benefit of the doubt. Wouldn’t it be nice if they could just all get along? But there’s something very dark, determined and dangerous about her…

When Amelia’s father, Roger, becomes ill, Jack grows suspicious that there is more to it. Amelia understands why, but no one else will believe them. They travel back to America to piece together the puzzle, but when Roger goes missing, the couple are driven to their wits' end. It takes a DEA officer and a secret assassin to bring them answers, but the ruthless truth is something no one expected…


Purchase from Amazon UK

AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT 

I’ve always had a need or a passion to write – journals, short stories, poetry, articles. But, even though I always had the urge to write a novel, I didn’t do anything about it until I felt myself to be in an imaginary world (in my head) after my father passed away. His death was very sudden and knocked me sideways. Once I came through the process of grieving, a story emerged in my head. I found it very cathartic, getting it all down on paper.

In the beginning I used certain people to help me create my characters – that is, used their idiosyncrasies, or their specific type of body language. Putting those things on a character that looks differently, or of a different sex, created a whole new person in my head and that’s how the characters developed. In the end, they were their own people, they emerged with their own backgrounds, needs and desires, hopes and dreams. That’s how the novel became a story – it’s their story, not mine.

I found the whole writing process fascinating, addictive and certainly enjoyable. Also very challenging. Once I’d completed my first draft, I worked with a mentor/editor and she really helped me to focus on re-drafting several times, adding depth and suspense – right up to the fifth draft. The hardest part was re-reading. I read it so many times (internally, out loud, on a computer, on a kindle, on paper) that I lost sight of the meaning of it all for a while. I did get it back though, thankfully. Sometimes, I pick up the book now, open a page, begin reading and think ‘ooh I don’t remember writing this bit’. Then I read on and think ‘wow, this is good – did I really write this’?

I can be pretty self-disciplined when I want to be. When I set up my event business in the late 1990s, it was easy because then I deadlines to meet, and client’s to impress. I find the writing business very solitary though, and it’s harder not to get distracted. I find I have to manage my time more thoroughly, and give myself small rewards when I’ve completed so-many-thousand words, or a chapter, or something similar. 

I’m looking forward to writing the next novel. I have in my head the idea of a sequel, including the same characters, but from different points-of-view and a different time. I feel I have a bit more experience now and no so many more people, and where to get advice and help, I’m hoping the journey will be a slightly less bumpy ride.

ABOUT JUSTINE JOHN

After over thirty years of working in the corporate sector in London Justine John left the rat race for the stunning countryside of the Surrey Hills where she lives with her husband, horses and two dalmatians.







Sunday, 15 January 2017

Olmec Obituary by L.J.M. Owen

Olmec Obituary by L.J.M. Owen
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Archaeologist Dr Elizabeth Pimms thoroughly enjoys digging up old skeletons.

But when she is called home from Egypt after a family loss, she has to sacrifice her passions for the sake of those around her.

Attempting to settle into her new role as a librarian, while also missing her boyfriend, Elizabeth is distracted from her woes by a new mystery: a royal Olmec cemetery, discovered deep in the Mexican jungle, with a 3000-year-old ballplayer who just might be a woman.

She soon discovers there are more skeletons to deal with than those covered in dirt and dust.

Suitable for readers young and old, Olmec Obituary is the first novel in a delightful cosy crime series: Dr Pimms, Intermillennial Sleuth. Really cold cases.


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For some reason did I not expect Olmec Obituary to take place in present time. I thought it would take place at the beginning of the 20th century. It's odd how a cover and the blurb can make you expect something else than what you get.

I'm actually a bit surprised that this book is labeled cozy crime because that's not the feeling I got when I read the book. Sure there are no sex scenes and not much violence, but it felt too serious to be a cozy crime book. Sure it had its funny moments, but most of the time it had a serious tone, especially since the main character and her family is recovering from a death in the family and Elizabeth herself has had to give up on her career as an archaeologist to support her family. So, she's not always a happy camper. But I guess since it's not many bloody murder scenes sprinkled in the book can one see this book as a cozy crime novel.

Olmec Obituary is a page-turner. I started to read the book in the evening and finished in the middle of the night. I came to enjoy Elizabeth Pimms and her family quite much and the flashbacks 3000 years ago to the life of the skeletons Emily is examining adds drama to the story. What was is that killed all those people and will Elizabeth get to the bottom of the mystery?

This is definitely a new favorite series of mine. I was intrigued by the mystery with the skeletons and Elizabeth's problem with both her family and work kept my interest up from the beginning until the end of the book. It was such a splendid book.

Olmec Obituary is one of those books that I hoped would be entertaining to read, but in the end, surpassed my expectations. I can't wait to read the next book in the series!

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through Netgalley for an honest review!