Tuesday, 27 June 2017

#BookReview Knife Creek by Paul Doiron (@pauldoiron) @FreshFiction @StMartinsPress

Knife Creek by Paul Doiron
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When Maine game warden Mike Bowditch is tasked with shooting wild boars that are tearing up the forest and farms in his district, he makes a horrific discovery—the body of a baby buried in a shallow grave. Even more disturbing: DNA tests link the infant to a young woman who has been missing and presumed dead after she disappeared from a group rafting trip four years earlier.

As he assists the reopened investigation, Bowditch begins to suspect that some of his neighbors aren’t who they seem to be. When violence strikes close to home, he realizes that his unknown enemies will stop at nothing to keep their terrible secrets. Mike Bowditch has bucked the odds his whole career, but this time the intrepid warden may have finally followed his hunches one step too far.

*********

KNIFE CREEK is book eight in the Mike Bowditch series and together with his girlfriend Stacey, Mike is tasked with shooting some wild boars that are tearing up the forest and the farms. But, they make an awful discovery, the body of a baby has been buried in a shallow grave, left for the pigs to find and eat. If Mike and Stacey hadn't unearthed the grave nothing would have been left to find after the pigs had been done. It gets even stranger when the DNA links the baby to a young woman that disappeared four years earlier while rafting with some friends. Everyone now thinks she is dead, but apparently, she must have survived. What happened to her?

READ THE REST OF THE REVIEW OVER AT FRESH FICTION!

#BlogTour The Competition by Donna Russo Morin @hfvbt @DiversionBooks @DonnaRussoMorin

The Competition by Donna Russo Morin
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

The Competition by Donna Russo Morin

Publication Date: April 25, 2017
Diversion Publishing
eBook & Paperback; 268 Pages

Series: Da Vinci’s Disciples, Book Two
Genre: Historical/Mystery

Donna Russo Morin returns with a follow-up to Portrait of a Conspiracy, called “a page-turner unlike any historical novel, weaving passion, adventure, artistic rebirth, and consequences of ambition,” by C.W. Gortner.

In a studiolo behind a church, six women gather to perform an act that is, at once, restorative, powerful, and illegal. They paint. Under the tutelage of Leonardo da Vinci, these six show talent and drive equal to that of any man, but in Renaissance Florence they must hide their skills, or risk the scorn of the city.

A commission to paint a fresco in Santo Spirito is announced and Florence’s countless artists each seek the fame and glory this lucrative job will provide. Viviana, a noblewoman freed from a terrible marriage and now free to pursue her artistic passions in secret, sees a potential life-altering opportunity for herself and her fellow female artists. The women first speak to Lorenzo de’ Medici himself, and finally, they submit a bid for the right to paint it. And they win.

But the church will not stand for women painting, especially not in a house of worship. The city is not ready to consider women in positions of power, and in Florence, artists wield tremendous power. Even the women themselves are hesitant; the attention they will bring upon themselves will disrupt their families, and could put them in physical danger.

All the while, Viviana grows closer to Sansone, her soldier lover, who is bringing her joy that she never knew with her deceased husband. And fellow-artist Isabetta has her own romantic life to distract her, sparked by Lorenzo himself. Power and passion collide in this sumptuous historical novel of shattering limitations, one brushstroke at a time.




For a limited time pick up both books in Donna Russo Morin's Da Vinci's Disciples series are on sale for Kindle!

Portrait of a Conspiracy (Book One) is only $.99
The Competition (Book Two) is only $1.99

Amazon Link: http://amzn.to/2s7WFkD

REVIEW

I have had some time thinking about the book before I wrote this review and I think although it's a good book, would I have preferred to have read the previous book first. Now, I don't mean that it was hard to get into the story in this book, it's more like the mentioning of events from the first book made me curious about that book, to get the past stories behind all the characters. And, reading the first book would have made it easier to understand the characters, instead of learning during the books progress more about them.

Nevertheless, despite my lack of previous knowledge did I enjoy this book. I find the era fascinating and one thing I truly loved was reading a book about Leonardo da Vinci. Yes, it's a story about da Vinci's disciples, but I can't help being fascinated by the man and I loved that his POV was included in the book. I was also intrigued by Lorenzo de Medici. I really need to find more books about both men to read.

Anyway, besides that was it the women's struggles to be accepted as artists the thing that I found absolute fascinated to read about. It's OK for a woman to draw at home, but to be an artist? Nah, that's just for men. Made my blood boil I tell ya when I read some parts of the books when they were found out and had to take the public's scorn.

The Competition is an interesting book, and thankfully I have the first book so I can read it when I get some time over!


Praise for The Competition

“THE COMPETITION is a page-turning, provocative romp through a fascinating time and place―15th-century Florence. Donna Russo Morin has given us a novel for our time, a book featuring strong female characters fighting the odds to break the “glass ceiling,” and reminding us that this battle is not new: women have been waging it for centuries. ―Sherry Jones, author of The Sharp Hook of Love: A Novel of Heloise and Abelard

“…a page-turner unlike any historical novel, weaving passion, adventure, artistic rebirth, and consequences of ambition…a masterful writer at the peak of her craft.”―C. W. Gortner, author of The Confessions of Catherine de’Medici

“A 15th-century Florence of exquisite art, sensual passion and sudden, remorseless violence comes vividly to life in Donna Russo Morin’s new novel.”―Nancy Bilyeau, author of The Crown

“In Portrait of a Conspiracy, Russo Morin’s rich detailing transports the reader to the heart of Renaissance Italy from the first page.”―Heather Webb, author of Becoming Josephine

“Illicit plots, mysterious paintings, and a young Leonardo da Vinci all have their part to play in this delicious, heart-pounding tale.”―Kate Quinn, author of The Empress of Rome Saga


“In elegant prose, Morin paints a captivating tale of courageous women painters who battle against prejudices in Renaissance Florence. Featuring strong women characters, each with distinctive personalities, this is exactly the type of historical novel I enjoy. Exhilarating and compassionate, The Competition sings a beautiful tribute of women’s talents and underscores Morin’s masterful storytelling. Delightful!”―Weina Dai Randel, author of The Moon in the Palace and The Empress of Bright Moon


“An inspiring tale of determined women, empowered by undeniable talent, in the male-dominated art world of Renaissance Florence. In The Competition, Ms. Morin delivers a captivating story rich with historical detail and beautifully woven through with atmosphere.”―Diane Haeger, author of Courtesan


About the Author

Donna earned two degrees from the University of Rhode Island. In addition to writing, teaching writing, and reviewing for literary journals, Donna works as a model and actor; highlights of her work include two seasons on Showtime’s Brotherhood and an appearance in Martin Scorsese’s The Departed. Donna is the proud mother of two sons, one a future opera singer, the other a future chef.

Donna’s titles include The Courtier’s Secret, The Secret of the Glass, To Serve a King, The King’s Agent, Portrait of a Conspiracy, and The Competition.

Donna enjoys meeting with book groups in person and via Skype chat. Visit her website at www.donnarussomorin.com.

You can also connect with her on Facebook and Twitte
r.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, June 26
Interview at The Book Junkie Reads

Tuesday, June 27

Wednesday, June 28
Spotlight at Passages to the Past

Thursday, June 29
Spotlight at The Lit Bitch
Spotlight at A Holland Reads

Friday, June 30

Monday, July 3
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Wednesday, July 5
Guest Post at Books of All Kinds

Thursday, July 6
Spotlight at The Writing Desk

Saturday, July 8

Monday, July 10
Spotlight at The Never-Ending Book

Tuesday, July 11
Spotlight at A Literary Vacation

Friday, July 14

Monday, July 17

Tuesday, July 18
Guest Post at Bookfever

Thursday, July 20

Monday, July 24

Wednesday, July 26

Thursday, July 27

Friday, July 28

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a paperback copy of The Competition & a Key Pendant necklace! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.
Giveaway Rules
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on July 28th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to residents in the US only.
– 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.

The Competition
Direct Link: https://gleam.io/hCwBT/the-competition


#BookReview Take Out by Margaret Maron @GrandCentralPub #giveaway

Take Out by Margaret Maron
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sigrid is still reeling from the untimely death of her lover, acclaimed painter Oscar Nauman, when she is called to investigate the deaths of two homeless men in the West Village. The police at first assume an overdose, until they realize that one of the men shows no signs of drug use. Then when containers of poisoned takeout food are found nearby, Sigrid's case is suddenly much more complicated. As Sigrid investigates, she uncovers an intriguing neighborhood history: a haughty mafia widow and her disgraced godson, a retired opera star with dark secrets, an unsolved hit-and-run, and the possible discovery of a long-missing painting that will rock the art world. Soon the case is fraught with myriad suspects and motives. Who killed the two homeless men, and why? And which one was the intended victim? Or was the poisoned food meant for someone else entirely?

Throwing herself into the murder investigation to distract herself from her personal grief, Sigrid still can't stop wondering what led Nauman across the country to the winding mountain road that took his life. Until she meets a man who may hold the answers she seeks.

**********

This is both the first book I have read in the Sigrid Harald series and the first book by Margaret Maron. To be honest, hadn't I heard of Maron before I read this book. But, after finishing this book can I only say that Maron is an author that I want to read more books from.

It wasn't hard to get into the book, despite being book nine in a series that I previously didn't know a thing about. Vice versa, to be honest, I felt right from the start that this was a book just for me. I liked Sigrid Harald (One of the reasons I was curious to read this book her Scandinavian name), she's a tough cop, but the loss of her lover, Oscar Nauman, one year previously still rattles her. Especially when she learns something unexpected concerning Oscar Nauman in this book.

Then we have the murder of the two homeless men in West Village. I liked the case, the secrets the murders uncovered among the people that were interviewed and those among them that had a connection to either of the men. There are a lot of people in the book, but still, it wasn't so hard to keep track of them after a while.

Take Out turned out to be an excellent mystery book and I'm eager to get my hands on the rest of the books in the series.

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

Take Out by Margaret Maron

#BookReview Harley Quinn, Volume 2 by Amanda Conner @DCComics

Harley Quinn, Volume 2: Joker Loves Harley by Amanda Conner
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Harley Quinn's punk-rock epic concludes with a BANG. Too deep and not covered enough, their undercover mission comes to an end as the gang takes on thieves and murderers. All the laughs and some of the quacks are all here.

Taking a break comes with unexpected woes when Harley and Ivy head to the Bahamas for sun-kissed beaches and ice-cold drinks.

Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti continue their mammoth run on this New York Times best-selling title in Harley Quinn, Volume 2: Joker Loves Harley!


**********

I'm always thrilled to read a new Harley Quinn volume and this started off fun with Harley and Ivy taking a break and traveling to the Bahamas. Then, they discover that the place they are staying at is housing nudists, so they try to blend in with the crowd...

The Bahamas is actually the best part of the volume. One would think that the next story that involves the Joker would be better, but it just wasn't that interesting to read. I just never really found it to be that engrossing, and though it ended with a bang...

Did it feel more like a whimper. It was an Ok story, and definitely better than the last story that involved Santa Claus. Have you seen Innerspace with Dennis Quaid, about a store clerk who is miniaturized and injected into a man? Well, replace the store clerk with Harley and the man with Santa Claus and you get the idea...

The art was OK, not earth-shattering, but I liked it, so at least that. I sure hope the next volume is better!



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

Monday, 26 June 2017

#BookReview Sidney Chambers and the Persistence of Love by James Runcie @FreshFiction

Sidney Chambers and the Persistence of Love by James Runcie
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The sixth book in the James Runcie's much-loved series, adapted for ITV's Grantchester which stars James Norton as Sidney Chambers. Perfect for fans of M. C. Beaton.

It is May 1971 and the Cambridgeshire countryside is bursting into summer. Archdeacon Sidney Chambers is walking in a bluebell wood with his daughter Anna and their ageing Labrador Byron when they stumble upon a body. Plunged into another murder investigation, Sidney discovers a world of hippies and psychedelic plants, where permissive behaviour seems to hide something darker.

This is the first of many disturbing secrets that Sidney unearths beneath the tranquil surface of the diocese: a celebrated photographer is accused of rape; a priceless religious text vanishes from a Cambridge college; the authentication of a lost masterpiece proves a slippery business; and Sidney's own nephew goes missing.

Endeavouring to fit in his clerical duties around sleuthing, Sidney continues to reflect on the divine mysteries of love, life and faith, while wrestling with the earthly problems of parish scandals, a progressive new secretary, the challenges of parenthood, and a great loss.


**********

In the first book we meet a young Sidney Chambers some years after WW2, unmarried and vicar of Grantchester. It's now the 70s and Sidney and Hildegard are married and they have a young daughter, Anna. He has risen in the ranks and is now archdeacon. But, he still can't stay away from trouble as the stories in this book will prove. This book is, as the rest I have read, divided into short stories that have different cases that Sidney takes one. And, I have to say that so far this is my favorite book in the series, all six stories are quite good with interesting cases, from murder and rape cases to Sidney's nephew going missing. And the years go by in the book. In the first story, is it early 70s and Anna is a little girl, but she is a teenager in the last story in this book.

READ THE REST OF THE REVIEW OVER AT FRESH FICTION!

#BookReview Dancing with Death by Amy Myers

Dancing with Death by Amy Myers
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Introducing chef-sleuth Nell Drury in the first of a delightful series of 1920's traditional country house mysteries.

1925. The fashionable Bright Young Things from London have descended on Wychbourne Court, the Kentish stately home of Lord and Lady Ansley, for an extravagant fancy dress ball followed by a midnight Ghost Hunt - and Chef Nell Drury knows she's in for a busy weekend. What she doesn't expect to encounter is sudden, violent death.

When a body is discovered in the minstrels' gallery during the Ghost Hunt, Nell finds herself caught up in the police investigation which follows. As the darker side of the Roaring Twenties emerges and it becomes increasingly clear that at least one person present that night has a sinister secret to hide, Nell determines to unmask the killer among them. Could the Wychbourne Ghosts hold the key to the mystery?


**********

Oh, I'm so disappointed. This book looked and seemed so good, but alas I couldn't find myself getting into the story and towards the end did I find myself pretty bored.

Now, the book did feel promising in the beginning, but somewhere along the way when Miss Marple ... Eh I mean Nell started to investigate the case because the lady of the house trusts her to be able to talk to the servants, the family, and guest and find out the truth about the murder. Yeah, because the chef is the obvious person to go to when someone has been murdered. Anyway, the book was OK, in the beginning, thanks to the list of characters, in the beginning, was it not so hard to know who was who. The story seemed interesting and I was curious to see who would get killed.

However, the book started to go downhill somewhere along the way as Nell was trying to find out where everyone was during the murder. And, the ghost thing? It was just ridiculous. It should perhaps have been seen as a funny thing with the Lord Ansley's sister being quite positive about the house being haunted by a legion of ghosts. It wasn't!

By the time the inspector at the end revealed the truth had I already abandoned this book mentally and was just reading to find out who the killer was. Would I read more books in this series? No, Nell was not an interesting person to read about, too dull for my taste and she felt not very substantial, which I felt is the big problem with most of the characters in the book. They just didn't come to life.

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

#BookBlast The Fortune Teller by Gwendolyn Womack (@Gwen_Womack) @hfvbt @PicadorUSA

The Fortune Teller by Gwendolyn Womack

Paperback Publication Date: June 6, 2017
Picador
Paperback; 368 Pages
ISBN: 9781250099778
Genre: Fiction/Historical/Mystery



FROM THE AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR OF THE MEMORY PAINTER COMES A SWEEPING AND SUSPENSEFUL TALE OF ROMANCE, FATE, AND FORTUNE.


Semele Cavnow appraises antiquities for an exclusive Manhattan auction house, deciphering ancient texts—and when she discovers a manuscript written in the time of Cleopatra, she knows it will be the find of her career. Its author tells the story of a priceless tarot deck, now lost to history, but as Semele delves further, she realizes the manuscript is more than it seems. Both a memoir and a prophecy, it appears to be the work of a powerful seer, describing devastating wars and natural disasters in detail thousands of years before they occurred.

The more she reads, the more the manuscript begins to affect Semele’s life. But what happened to the tarot deck? As the mystery of her connection to its story deepens, Semele can’t shake the feeling that she’s being followed. Only one person can help her make sense of it all: her client, Theo Bossard. Yet Theo is arrogant and elusive, concealing secrets of his own, and there’s more to Semele’s desire to speak with him than she would like to admit. Can Semele even trust him?

The auction date is swiftly approaching, and someone wants to interfere—someone who knows the cards exist, and that the Bossard manuscript is tied to her. Semele realizes it’s up to her to stop them: the manuscript holds the key to a two-thousand-year-old secret, a secret someone will do anything to possess.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | IndieBound | Powell's


Praise for The Fortune Teller

“Beginning as a clever mystery based on an ancient manuscript and evolving into a family epic spanning centuries, an international thriller, and a destined romance, The Fortune Teller has something for everyone. Offer it to fans of A.S. Byatt’s Possession and Lauren Willig’s Pink Carnation series.”―Booklist

“Womack alternates back and forth between a whirlwind history that spans thousands of years and the suspense of Semele’s search…Entertaining.”—Kirkus Reviews

“The Fortune Teller is a gripping, twisting tale that spans thousands of years, thousands of miles, and perhaps even crosses over to the ‘other side.’ A fascinating read that is that unlikely combination of unputdownable and thought-provoking.”—B.A. Shapiro, bestselling author of The Art Forger and The Muralist

“There aren’t enough words to adequately describe how much I love The Fortune Teller. It is a gripping and masterfully woven combination of history, mystery, fate, adventure, and family ties: a true page-turner that enthralls from the first sentence with unique characters, fascinating settings, and intriguing artifacts. Womack brilliantly illuminates how there is more at play in the world than logic can explain.”—Kelli Estes, USA Today bestselling author of The Girl Who Wrote in Silk

“The Fortune Teller takes you on an international thrill ride across centuries—with fascinating research and memorable characters—proving once again that Gwendolyn Womack is a magician, keeping readers turning pages with wonder and awe.”—M.J. Rose, New York Times bestselling author

“What a mesmerizing journey. The suspense increases steadily throughout the novel, as Semele realizes her identity is caught up in the mysterious manuscript and that the truth of her own abilities is a secret people will kill for. Readers who enjoy the novels of Katherine Neville, Kate Mosse and Diana Gabaldon will savor this treat.”—Nancy Bilyeau, author of The Crown

Link to Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/Ws3VTKpjnGc

About the Author

Originally from Houston, Texas, Gwendolyn Womack studied theater at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. She holds an MFA in Directing Theatre, Video, and Cinema from California Institute of the Arts. Her first novel, The Memory Painter, was an RWA PRISM award winner in the Time Travel/Steampunk category and a finalist for Best First Novel. She now resides in Los Angeles with her husband and her son. For more information please visit Gwendolyn Womack's website.

You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Goodreads.



Book Blast Schedule 


Tuesday, June 6

Wednesday, June 7

Thursday, June 8

Friday, June 9

Monday, June 12

Tuesday, June 13

Wednesday, June 14

Thursday, June 15

Friday, June 16

Monday, June 19

Tuesday, June 20

Wednesday, June 21

Thursday, June 22

Friday, June 23

Monday, June 26

Tuesday, June 27

Wednesday, June 28

Thursday, June 29 

Friday, June 30 

Giveaway

During the Book Blast we will be giving away a Tarot Deck & Book Set! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Description: This deck/book set provides everything you need to understand tarot. The full-size deck is a vibrantly recolored version of the classic Rider-Waite deck, updated with subtle shading that gives depth to the familiar tarot scenes. The 272-page, user-friendly handbook with full-color illustrations is perfect for beginners as well as experienced readers who want to refresh their tarot skills.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on June 30th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to residents in the US only.
– 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.

 The Fortune Teller Book Blast

Sunday, 25 June 2017

#BookReview Ice Lake: by John A. Lenahan @KillerReads

Ice Lake: by John A. Lenahan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A BODY IN THE WOODS
Deep in the woods of North-Eastern Pennsylvania, the body of a man is found – shot three times, once in the back of the head, dumped under the trees where the local kids will find him.

A MAN ON THE CASE
When psychologist Harry Cull arrives in the picturesque town of Ice Lake to help with the murder investigation, he begins to unravel a web of lies and deceit that leads from the close-knit community to the dark heart of the Fracking industry.

A KILLER ON THE HUNT
It’s not long before the second corpse turns up, a lawyer left for dead in the forest, and Harry finds himself on the trail of a twisted killer – who will do anything to keep the town’s darkest secrets buried.


**********

The cover fooled me into believing it was a story set in the winter. But, I soon learned that I was wrong. I didn't mind it, but it's interesting how a cover can make you expect something like that.

Ice Lake starts off with a man getting shot to death by someone unknown. Pennsylvania State Trooper Edward Cirba calls his friend psychologist Harry Cull to come and help him with the case since ex-cop Cull has a knack for knowing if someone is lying. Cirba and Cull met at a conference in Las Vegas and that was a memorable experience that included a visit to a strip bar that Cirba has forbidden Cull to ever bring up again. Of course, Cull doesn't mind mentioning the strip bar now and then.

I found the book to be entertaining to read, but at the same time did I feel that I had some difficulties to really get into the story. I mean, I loved the banter between Cirba and Cull, their friendly relationship made the book quite fun to read. Also, a small town, with eccentric people with a lot of secrets are usually my kind of thing. However, the story never really clicked for me, but I can't say that I was bored either. I liked the book, but it lacked thrilling moments and a stronger story.

Ice Lake is an OK book, no more no less. I liked Cirba and Cull so much that I would love to read more about them in more books. I did, however, feel that Cull, who has been quite an ordeal in his life was surprisingly cool about it. I can't reveal what happened, but I would have expected a man to be a bit more broken than Cull seemed to be. And, it bothered me a bit. I guess I prefer my main characters to suffer more anxiety and be more complex.

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