Saturday, 3 December 2016

The Forgotten by David Baldacci (SWE/ENG)

The Forgotten by David Baldacci
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

SWEDISH REVIEW

Krigshjälten John Puller är den skickligaste utredaren i den amerikanska arméns kriminalpolis, och alla förlitar sig på att han ska lösa de svåraste fallen som nationen ställs inför. Nu får Puller ett nytt fall - och den här gången är det personligt. 

Pullers faster hittas död i turiststaden Paradise i Florida. Den lokala polisen förklarar hennes död som en tragisk olycka, men precis innan hon dog skickade hon ett brev till Pullers far. I brevet berättar hon att skenet bedrar, och att ett mörker döljer sig under Paradise vackra yta. Puller blir alltmer övertygad om att hennes död inte var en olycka. Han misstänker att stadens palmer och kritvita sandstränder döljer en konspiration så chockerande att vissa är beredda att gå hur långt som helst för att hålla sanningen undangömd.

De bortglömda är den andra fristående delen i David Baldaccis serie om John Puller.


**********

Jag läste bok fyra just precis innan jag fick chansen att läsa denna bok. Men det bekymrade mig inte så mycket då jag fann den senaste boken i John Puller series fantastiskt bra och jag hade hoppas på chansen att få läsa de tidigare böckerna. John Puller är en man som har en vana att hamna i strul verkar det som, lite som Lee Childs Jack Reacher. Kan vara det militära kopplingen som får mig att att tänka på Jack Reacher. I den här boken börjar allting med ett brev som Pullers far får från sin syster. Detta brev blir startskottet på ett helvete i paradiset kan man säga. För något är verkligen fel i Paradise i Florida....

De bortglömda är en spännande thriller som är svårt att lägga ifrån sig. Man blir uppslukad av handlingen och frågan är vem kan Puller egentligen lita på? Speciellt när t.o.m polisen i Paradise beter sig mystiskt. Blir ju inte bättre av att fler och fler personer plötsligt börjar dö. VCad är kopplingen mellan dödsfallen och vem är den stora mannen som räddar Pullers liv när han mitt i natten är i fara? Är han en vän eller fiende? För det verkar som han har är iblandad i fallet på något sätt...

Jag tyckte att de bortglömda var en mycket bra bok, det är absolut inga problem att läsa denna bok fristående från de andra serien. Själv är jag väldigt sugen på att läsa de två böcker jag ännu inte har läst i denna serie. Och självklart hoppas jag på att David Baldacci kommer att skriva många fler John Puller böcker.

Tack till Bokfabriken för recensionsexemplaret!


ENGLISH REVIEW

In Paradise, nothing is what it seems...Army Special Agent John Puller is the best there is. A combat veteran, Puller is the man the U.S. Army relies on to investigate the toughest crimes facing the nation. Now he has a new case-but this time, the crime is personal: His aunt has been found dead in Paradise, Florida.

A picture-perfect town on Florida's Gulf Coast, Paradise thrives on the wealthy tourists and retirees drawn to its gorgeous weather and beaches. The local police have ruled his aunt's death an unfortunate, tragic accident. But just before she died, she mailed a letter to Puller's father, telling him that beneath its beautiful veneer, Paradise is not all it seems to be.

What Puller finds convinces him that his aunt's death was no accident . . . and that the palm trees and sandy beaches of Paradise may hide a conspiracy so shocking that some will go to unthinkable lengths to make sure the truth is never revealed.

**********

I read book four in this series right just before I got the chance to read this book. But it didn't worry me much since I found the last book in the series fantastic and I was hoping to get the chance to read the previous books. John Puller is a man who has a habit of getting into trouble. It reminded me a bit of Lee Child's Jack Reacher. It may be the military connection that made me think of Jack Reacher. In this book, everything begins with a letter that Puller's father gets from his sister. This letter will mark the start of a Hell in Paradise one could say. For something is really wrong in Paradise in Florida ...

The Forgotten is an exciting thriller that is hard to put down. You become immersed in the action, and the question is who can Puller really trust? Especially when even the police in Paradise behave mysteriously. Then, more and more people suddenly begin to die. What is the connection, and how is the big man that one night save Puller's life? Is he a friend or foe? For it seems that he is involved in the case in some way ...

I thought The Forgotten was a very good book, there is absolutely no problem reading this book without having read the other books in the series. Personally, I'm very eager to read the two books I have not yet read in this series. And of course, I hope that David Baldacci will write more John Puller books.


Thanks to Bokfabriken for the review copy!

Dark Shadows: Heiress of Collinwood by Lara Parker

Dark Shadows: Heiress of Collinwood by Lara Parker
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dark Shadows: Heiress of Collinwood is the continuing the story of the classic TV show, Dark Shadows by series star, Lara Parker.

“My name is Victoria Winters, and my journey continues . . . .”

An orphan with no knowledge of her origins, Victoria Winters first came to the great house of Collinwood as a Governess. It didn’t take long for the Collins family’s many buried secrets, haunted history, and rivalries with evil forces to catch up to Victoria and cast the newcomer adrift in time, trapped between life and death.


At last returned to the present, Victoria is called back to Collinwood by a mysterious letter. Hoping to fill in the gaps of her memories by meeting with the people who knew her best, Victoria returns to the aging mansion. However, she soon discovers that the entire Collins family is missing—except for Barnabas Collins, a vampire whose own dark curse is well known. Victoria discovers that she has been named sole heir to the estate, if only she can prove her own identity.


Beset by danger and dire warnings, Victoria must discover what dread fate has befallen Collinwood, even as she finally uncovers a shocking truth long hidden in the shadows . . .


**********

It's actually a bit strange how I looked forward to reading this book when it showed up in a package the other day. I mean I have only seen the movie version which was OK (I would love to see a non-Tim-Burton DARK SHADOW movie) and I have never seen the TV series. But, I do know some about the history of the TV series (thanks to the internet) and that wonderful cover intrigued me not to mention the description of the book. I have a thing for time-slips and here we have a woman that has traveled not once, but twice back in time...

READ THE REST OF THE REVIEW OVER AT FRESH FICTION

Friday, 2 December 2016

Blog Tour: Scared to Death by Rachel Amphlett (Q&A and a review)

Scared to Death by Rachel Amphlett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A serial killer murdering for kicks.

A detective seeking revenge.

When the body of a snatched schoolgirl is found in an abandoned biosciences building, the case is first treated as a kidnapping gone wrong.

But Detective Kay Hunter isn’t convinced, especially when a man is found dead with the ransom money still in his possession.

When a second schoolgirl is taken, Kay’s worst fears are realised.

With her career in jeopardy and desperate to conceal a disturbing secret, Kay’s hunt for the killer becomes a race against time before he claims another life.

For the killer, the game has only just begun…

Scared to Death is a gripping fast paced crime thriller from author Rachel Amphlett, in a new series introducing Kay Hunter – a detective with a hidden past and an uncertain future…


*********

Review

I have a lovely Q&A with Rachel Amphlett to share today, but first I want to say something about the book. Scared to Death is the first in a new series by Rachel Amphlett. I had not read anything by Rachel Amphlett before I read this book, but as a big time crime fan was I intrigued by the premise and the cover of the book. So, what makes this so special that you should pick it over other crime books?

Personally, I just love when I instantly like the main character and Kay Hunter was just the kind of tough female cop that I like to read about. And, it was quite nice that she seems to be quite stable, despite recent problems both at home and at work. Not, that I don't like my heroines flawed, I do. But, having a woman cop, in a stable relationship felt like a nice change. I just loved that she and Adam have a loving and understanding relationship, despite that they have just been through hell together.

As for the case, it's tragic, the whole case feels like just an awful nightmare. Without giving too much away is this case a typical example of what could happen when someone that has been abused for years suddenly snaps. It's such a chilling story. Also, the story has some brilliant twists. Just the way I like it.

So now, I think you should read the Q&A to find out more about the book and Rachel Amphlett!

Author Q&A

1. Let's start with the basic question, can you please tell me what your book is about for the readers that haven't yet read it?

Scared to Death is the first novel in a new series featuring DS Kay Hunter – a detective with a hidden past, and an uncertain future.

Here’s the blurb:

A serial killer murdering for kicks.

A detective seeking revenge.

When the body of a snatched schoolgirl is found in an abandoned biosciences building, the case is first treated as a kidnapping gone wrong.

But Detective Kay Hunter isn’t convinced, especially when a man is found dead with the ransom money still in his possession.

When a second schoolgirl is taken, Kay’s worst fears are realised.

With her career in jeopardy and desperate to conceal a disturbing secret, Kay’s hunt for the killer becomes a race against time before he claims another life.

For the killer, the game has only just begun…


2. One thing that struck me when I started to read the book was that Kay Hunter has gone through a really tough time before the story in the book. I found her a strong, but vulnerable character, just the kind of character I like. Can you tell the readers more about her and her wonderful husband Adam?

I think Kay is resilient, rather than strong. As you say, she’s had a tough time as we meet her for the first time, but she’s determined to claw her way back professionally and expose those behind the vendetta against her.

I read too many books where there’s a fractured home life for a detective – poor Kay has been through enough, both professionally and personally, so I wanted to show that Adam supports her, even if their jobs do mean they don’t spend a lot of time together. It’s the same reason I wanted Kay to be a bit OCD with her CD collection – it gives her a little sense of order amongst the chaos of her life!

3. I love Sid, seriously that snake was a wonderful addition to the story. Will there be more animals taken care of at home with Kay and Adam in the future? Or Sid perhaps needs a new stable home?

Absolutely. I love animals, so I’m going to have a lot of fun with Kay’s home life over the course of the series! I think perhaps Kay will be glad when Sid’s owner gets back from holiday though…

4. I found the book to be very interesting and engrossing and I hope you have more books planned, perhaps even one in mind (Yes?)?

I’ve finished the first draft of the second in the Kay Hunter series in time to launch Scared to Death, and I plan to publish that early in 2017. I hope to be in a position to unveil the cover in January. However, while that’s fermenting in a virtual drawer over the course of December, I’m plotting out books 3 and 4 in the series, which I also hope to write and publish during 2017.

5. Now to something completely different, if you could meet any author for a chat, dead or alive. Who would you pick, and why?

I’d pick Charles Dickens. I think he was a brilliant businessman as well as a great writer – you only have to look at how he serialised his books before they became complete novels. He eked them out as much as possible to support his family while he was writing the next one. Very clever.

6. Any authors that have inspired you?

Oh, lots! The authors I keep returning to though include Michael Connelly, Peter James, Val McDermid, Lee Child and Robert Crais – all fast-paced crime thrillers.

While I was writing Scared to Death, I read every single interview I could find with those authors and took copious notes about their advice on writing crime – it was like going back to school.

7. And the last question! What was the last book you read and what are you reading now?

The last book I read was Blood Lines by Angela Marsons, and I’m eyeing up The Crossing by Michael Connelly next. I need a spare nanosecond to sit down for a moment to start it though…!


Blog Tour: Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham

Favorite Lorelai moments

I started to re-watch Gilmore Girls a little while back, while I waited for Gilmore Girls Revival to come to Netflix and some series just doesn't work well a second time. However, seeing Gilmore Girls again is like meeting old friends. And, this time I'm planning on watching the whole series since I haven't watched the last season or so.

This blog Tour is a bit different from the usual one with that this is not a review of the book (it will come). Instead, we were asked to write about a favorite Lorelai moment or a couple of favorite moments. Piece a cake? Not really since there are so many wonderful moments.

There are so many. From begging Luke for Coffee, waking Rory up when it's her birthday or all those dinners at Emily's. Lorelai and Sookie buying Dragonfly Inn, Luke and Lorelai finally getting together, etc. or the whole wonderful marathon dance episode, moments with her father like when he's in the hospital. I could go on and on with this. The more I'm thinking, more moments pop up in my mind. Like when Lorelai smell snow, or Rory's birthday party when Emily and Richard for the first time visit Lorelai's house. And all those lovely moments between Lorelai and Rory all through the seasons.

In short, I can't pick one or two, or even three. I have so many that I could probably go on and on, but I will not do that. Instead, will I ask you what's your favorite moment/moments?

**********

About the book

In this collection of personal essays, the beloved star of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood reveals stories about life, love, and working as a woman in Hollywood—along with behind-the-scenes dispatches from the set of the new Gilmore Girls, where she plays the fast-talking Lorelai Gilmore once again.

In Talking as Fast as I Can, Lauren Graham hits pause for a moment and looks back on her life, sharing laugh-out-loud stories about growing up, starting out as an actress, and, years later, sitting in her trailer on the Parenthood set and asking herself, “Did you, um, make it?” She opens up about the challenges of being single in Hollywood (“Strangers were worried about me; that’s how long I was single!”), the time she was asked to audition her butt for a role, and her experience being a judge on Project Runway (“It’s like I had a fashion-induced blackout”).

In “What It Was Like, Part One,” Graham sits down for an epic Gilmore Girls marathon and reflects on being cast as the fast-talking Lorelai Gilmore. The essay “What It Was Like, Part Two” reveals how it felt to pick up the role again nine years later, and what doing so has meant to her.

Some more things you will learn about Lauren: She once tried to go vegan just to bond with Ellen DeGeneres, she’s aware that meeting guys at awards shows has its pitfalls (“If you’re meeting someone for the first time after three hours of hair, makeup, and styling, you’ve already set the bar too high”), and she’s a card-carrying REI shopper (“My bungee cords now earn points!”).

Including photos and excerpts from the diary Graham kept during the filming of the recent Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life,this book is like a cozy night in, catching up with your best friend, laughing and swapping stories, and—of course—talking as fast as you can.


Thursday, 1 December 2016

Cover Crush: The Dastardly Miss Lizzie by Viola Carr



Erin over at Flashlight Commentary is the one that came up with the cover crush idea and I loved it so much that I decided that every Thursday would I post a cover that I really love. 

***********

You know what at first glance, before I checked out the bigger pic of this cover on Goodreads did I not really fancy the cover as much as I love the previous two books cover. I think the purple colour just didn't rock my boat. However, when I took a closer lock at the cover and then found this large picture on Edelweiss did I find myself quite taken with the cover.



Description:

Dr. Eliza Jekyll must turn to her dark side, Miss Lizzie Hyde, to stop a madman targeting London’s most important scientists and sorcerers terrorizing the city with dark magic in this third Electric Empire novel—a dazzlingly original steampunk fantasy set in the gritty world of alternate Victorian London, with echoes of H G. Wells classic, The Time Machine

Being two people in one body isn’t easy. Metropolitan Police crime scene physician Eliza Jekyll is trying to maintain a semblance of control, even as her rebellious second self, Lizzie, grows increasingly wild—threatening the respectable Eliza’s reputation and her marriage to Remy Lafayette, the Royal Society investigator and occasional lycanthrope. With England on the brink of war, Remy’s away in sorcery-riddled Paris on a secretive mission that grows ever more sinister. Has he been an enemy agent all along? Or is coping with Eliza’s secret divided self finally driving her mad?

Eliza needs her mind clear and sharp if she’s to catch an evil genius who is killing eminent scientists. The chase uncovers a murky world of forbidden books, secret laboratories, and a cabal of fanatical inventors whose work could change the world—or destroy it—and who may hold answers to Eliza's past.

As sorcery-wielding terrorists attack London, Eliza discovers her own enemies are closing in, driving her to desperate measures—enlisting the aid of the wily, resourceful, mercurial Lizzie—to thwart the killer. But Lizzie’s got her own life now, and true to her nature, will resort to the devious and diabolical to keep it. Even if it means throwing Eliza to the wolves, and letting the world burn. . . .

Except for wily, resourceful, mercurial Lizzie. But Lizzie’s got her own life now. And she’ll do anything to keep it. Even if it means attempting the unspeakable and finding her own body. Even if it means throwing Eliza to the wolves, and letting the world burn. . .
.

***********

Check out this week's cover crush over at 



Layered Pages 

The Maidens Court

Someone Is Watching by Joy Fielding

Someone Is Watching by Joy Fielding
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Bailey Carpenter is a smart and savvy private investigator, until a horrific attack leaves her trapped at home in her Miami high-rise apartment, crippled by paranoia.

Everywhere she looks, she sees the face of her attacker.

Including in the apartment directly opposite her.

Where someone is watching.

A tour de force from a master of psychological suspense, Joy Fielding's devilish and gripping novel will have you holding your breath until the very end.

*********

Joy Fielding is a name that I recognize from books at my mother's place( I have browsed her bookshelves many times during the years). However, I haven't read a Joy Fielding before I read this book. And funny enough, neither has my mom. I guess we both like to hoard books.   

Someone Is Watching is a thrilling and chilling book about a woman who is attacked and raped, never seeing the man's face, just remembering small details about him. She is struggling after the assault to return to a normal life, and just leaving the apartment becomes an obstacle. And, every man she sees could be the rapist. She starts to observe a neighbor across her street with her binoculars. And, she becomes more and more obsessed with that. And, she starts to think that the man in questions is watching her too...

What I liked about this book, besides the whole is Bailey crazy or is the neighbor really watching her storyline, is that Joy Fielding has created an interesting backstory for Bailey that adds intrigue to the story. She together with her brother is the youngest children of a man that has been married three times, and with children from each marriage. He died four months prior and left all assets to Bailey and her brother. However, their five is now contesting the will. This adds drama to the story. I did, I have to admit suspect some of the twists in the book, but I was so caught up in the story that I didn't mind that so much. I found the book to be hard to put down and for me was it a real page-turner. So, I guess I have to check out the Joy Fielding books that my mom has. I really want to read more from her!

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

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Blog Tour: Fifteen Words Blurb by Monika Jephcott Thomas

Fifteen Words Blurb

Two young doctors form a profound and loving bond in Nazi Germany; a bond that will stretch them to the very limits of human endurance. Catholic Max - whose religious and moral beliefs are in conflict, has been conscripted to join the war effort as a medic, despite his hatred of Hitler’s regime. His beloved Erika, a privileged young woman, is herself a product of the Hitler Youth. In spite of their stark differences, Max and Erika defy convention and marry.

But when Max is stationed at the fortress city of Breslau, their worst nightmares are realised; his hospital is bombed, he is captured by the Soviet Army and taken to a POW camp in Siberia. Max experiences untold horrors, his one comfort the letters he is allowed to send home: messages that can only contain Fifteen Words. Back in Germany, Erika is struggling to survive and protect their young daughter, finding comfort in the arms of a local carpenter. Worlds apart and with only sparse words for comfort, will they ever find their way back to one another, and will Germany ever find peace?

Fifteen Words is a vivid and intimate portrayal of human love and perseverance, one which illuminates the German experience of the war, which has often been overshadowed by history.

Purchase on Amazon UK

‘Book Spotlight’ on Fifteen Words 

It’s 1945 and Max Portner, a newly qualified and newly married doctor, has been assigned to Hitler’s fortress city of Breslau where he strives to be the best physician he can with the limited resources of a country on its knees. His field hospital is the basement of a ruined monastery and, in the convent nearby, the Nazis have vindictively housed prostitutes serving the troops, much to the nuns’ dismay. But among the working girls Max is surprised to find a confidante and a friend, the warm-hearted Jenny. However, the convent is soon bombed along with his hospital and Max is captured by the advancing Russians.

He and the surviving troops are herded into cattle trains and imprisoned in a Siberian labour camp within the eternal gloom of the Arctic Circle. Max and his two fellow doctors Edgar, a homosexual, jazz-loving church organist and Horst, Max’s ebullient childhood friend, do their best to continue to care for the sick with no resources in a place where the climate is a cruel as their captors. This cruelty is embodied in the Russian Sergeant Volkov, who is jealous of the favour he believes Max’s expertise buys him with the inmates and the officers, and consequently he engineers tortuous situations for the doctor.

But far from feeling favoured, Max’s faith takes a battering as he witnesses a catalogue of horrors, and is kept from returning to his young wife Erika for four years.

Erika, also a newly qualified doctor, is pregnant with Max’s first child. As Max is hauled across Siberia, she hurtles across a decimated Germany as she tries to get to the safety of Max’s home town with the help of her father-in-law Karl. Unlike Erika’s parents, Karl’s duty to his family far outweighs his physical limitations, which leads to some comic and some terrifying moments on the chaotic rail network of the broken country he leads Erika across.

Karl, like his son and Edgar and Horst, is not a supporter of the Nazi regime, but for Erika things are not so clear. As a child, longing to escape her parents’ home, she was willingly recruited into the Hitler Youth and stuffed with propaganda. Her scientific anti-religious reasoning chimes with her own medical studies, leaving her floundering when she falls in love with the devoutly Catholic Max at Freiburg University.

But the increasing horrors of war soon begin to shake Erika’s faith in the Fürher, just as Max’s experiences in Siberia are enticing him to reject his faith in God altogether.

Both the physical dangers of war and unlikely new companions threaten to keep the two lovers apart forever: Jenny and Max become closer, whilst in Germany a lonely Erika is tempted by a local carpenter Rodrick.

So the question is will Max make it back to Erika and the daughter he’s never met? And, if so, will they both be the same people they knew and loved before they were separated?

For me this is a book about faith in all its forms. It is also about PTSD in a time when PTSD was not remotely recognized; as well as a study in how an ordinary life can be so surprisingly hard to stomach after such an extreme existence as many people endured during the Second World War.

I think it is safe to say all writers want their novels to be a critical and commercial success, so writing a novel in English (since I came to live in the UK in 1966) about two young Germans struggling to survive the war in Nazi Germany may seem to be commercial suicide when there has been a tendency in recent years to decry any depiction of the German perspective of the war as revisionist in the pejorative sense.

But my novel doesn’t seek to suggest a moral equivalence between the Axis and the Allies, or to minimize Nazi crimes, or deny the Holocaust. On the contrary. I felt compelled to write this novel now in an age when Europe is once again seeing how war can displace and tear apart the lives of families from so many different countries at the same time, just as it did in World War Two.

German concentration camps are synonymous with the war, but some people will be surprised to find out that the Soviets ran equally barbaric camps for their millions of German prisoners. In my novel Fifteen Words I hope the reader will find the many other truths told there eye-opening.

But I think my aim with this novel was to write a human story first and foremost. A story about two people in love, struggling to reconcile their different opinions, being swayed by all the powerful forces vying for their faith, be that friends, parents, religion or political parties; the kind of things anyone around the word can relate to. And the more stories we read and tell which show how similar we are, beneath all the wonderful and incredible cultural differences we possess, surely the better the world will be.

About Monika Jephcott Thomas

 

Monika Jephcott Thomas grew up in Dortmund Mengede, north-west Germany. She moved to the UK in 1966, enjoying a thirty year career in education before retraining as a therapist. Along with her partner Jeff she established the Academy of Play & Child Psychotherapy in order to support the twenty per cent of children who have emotional, behavioural, social and mental health problems by using play and the creative Arts. A founder member of Play Therapy UK, Jephcott Thomas was elected President of Play Therapy International in 2002.



The Night Bell by Inger Ash Wolfe

The Night Bell by Inger Ash Wolfe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The new novel in this acclaimed series is brilliantly paced, addictively suspenseful—the author's best yet. 

Hazel Micallef (played by Susan Sarandon in the recent film of the series' debut, The Calling) has become one of crime writing's most memorable detectives. The Night Bell moves between the past and the present in Port Dundas, Ontario, as two mysteries converge. A discovery of the bones of murdered children is made on land that was once a county foster home. Now it's being developed as a brand new subdivision whose first residents are already railing against broken promises and corruption. But when three of these residents are murdered after the discovery of the children's bones, frustration turns to terror.
While trying to stem the panic and solve two crimes at once, Hazel Micallef finds her memory stirred back to the fall of 1959, when the disappearance of a girl from town was blamed on her adopted brother. Although he is long dead, she begins to see the present case as a chance to clear her brother's name, something that drives Hazel beyond her own considerable limits and right into the sights of an angry killer.

*********

THE NIGHT BELL is book four in the Hazel Micallef Mystery series, but I didn't have any problems reading the book, despite not having read the previous three books. However, since I have seen the movie do I have some previous knowledge of the characters in the book. But, I don't think you have to read the previous books to enjoy this one.

READ THE REST OF THE REVIEW OVER AT FRESH FICTION