Saturday, 18 November 2017

#BookReview Dark Screams: Volume Seven by Brian James Freeman @DelReyBooks @Marablaise

Dark Screams: Volume Seven by Brian James Freeman
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Robert McCammon, James Renner, Kaaron Warren, Brian Hodge, Bill Schweigart, and Mick Garris reveal sinister secrets and unsavory pasts in a haunting anthology of short stories collected by acclaimed horror editors Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar.

LIZARDMAN by Robert McCammon
The lizardman thinks he knows about all the mysterious dangers of the Florida swamps, but there are things lurking in the bayou that are older and deadlier than his wildest dreams.

A MONSTER COMES TO ASHDOWN FOREST (IN WHICH CHRISTOPHER ROBIN SAYS GOODBYE) by James Renner
Although every child dreams of visiting Hundred Acre Wood, only one has ever actually frolicked in that fabled forest—and survived.

FURTHEREST by Kaaron Warren
She’s been going to the beach since she was a child, daring the other kids to go out past the dunes where those boys died all those years ago. Now she realizes that the farther out you go, the harder it is to come back.

WEST OF MATAMOROS, NORTH OF HELL by Brian Hodge
After the success of their latest album, Sebastián, Sofia, and Enrique head to Mexico for a shoot under the statue of Santa Muerte. But they have fans south of the border who’d kill to know where they get their inspiration.

THE EXPEDITION by Bill Schweigart
On a quest to bring glory to the Führer, Lieutenant Dietrich Drexler leads his team into the ruins of the Carpathian Mountains. But the wolf that’s stalking them is no ordinary predator.

SNOW SHADOWS by Mick Garris
A schoolteacher’s impulsive tryst with a colleague becomes a haunting lesson in tragedy and terror when he’s targeted for revenge by an unlikely, unhinged rival.


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This collection of short stories had more misses than hits for me. Frankly, there was just one story that I truly enjoyed and that was A Monsters Comes to Ashdown Forest. There is just something so chilling when it comes to a horror tales about beloved figures from children's books. This tale was haunting and really good and I wished the rest had been as good.  - 4 stars to this tale!

Then we have Lizardman and The Expeditions. They were OK, not as good as A Monsters Comes to Ashdown Forest, but they didn't bore me and had an interesting story to tell. What they lacked, however, were any chilling feeling. - 3 stars to these tales.

Finally, at the bottom, we have Furtherest, West of Matamoros, North of Hell and Snow Shadows. These three stories really didn't work for me. When a short story feels too long then you know you have a problem. Furtherest was just odd and not in a good way. I was bored reading that one. West of Matamoros, North of Hell could have been interesting, with the Santa Muerte theme. But, it was just a long short story that I couldn't wait to get through. And then we have Snow Shadows. I just don't see the point of adding this story to this collection? Now the other two at least felt like they belonged in this collection (even though I didn't enjoy them). But, this story? Sure, it seems like there is some kind of ghost thing going one, but it was lacking anything remotely chilling or thrilling. - 1 star to these stories. 

There we have it. Not the best collections I've read, although I need to check up James Renner's work.

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

Friday, 17 November 2017

#BookReview The Innkeeper's Sister by Linda Goodnight (@LindaGoodnight) @HarlequinBooks @MaraBlaise

The Innkeeper's Sister by Linda Goodnight
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Welcome to Honey Ridge, Tennessee, where Southern hospitality and sweet peach tea beckon, and where long-buried secrets lead to some startling realizations…

Grayson Blake always has a purpose-and never a moment to lose. He's come home to Honey Ridge to convert a historic gristmill into a restaurant, but his plans crumble like Tennessee clay when the excavation of a skeleton unearths a Civil War mystery…and leads him back to a beautiful and familiar stranger.

Once a ballet dancer, now co-owner of the Peach Orchard Inn, Valery Carter harbors pain as deep as the secrets buried beneath the mill. A bright facade can't erase her regrets any more than a glass of bourbon can restore what she's lost. But spending time with Grayson offers Valery a chance to let go of her past and imagine a happier future. And with the discovery of hidden messages in aged sheet music, both their hearts begin to open. Bound by attraction, and compelled to resolve an old crime that links the inn and the mill, Grayson and Valery encounter a song of hurt, truth…and hope.

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To be honest I'm more of a horror fan than a romance fan. However, I do have one weakness. I love reading books set in the American South and I don't even mind romance that much if I get a good mystery and that was what appealed to me with this book. 

A skeleton found that dates back to the Civil War. I was curious and I wanted to know more. Now, this is the third book in a series, I haven't read the previous two books, but that doesn't hinder one from enjoying this book. If you are anything like me will you probably be eager to get the two books after finishing this one.

Now, the story isn't filled with that many surprises. It was easy to figure out most of what would happen next. However, it's an enjoyable book. Sure, I had moments when I thought the drama between Grayson and Valery dragged out a bit. I mean I wanted to know more about the skeleton from the Civil War not the skeletons from Valery's past. Or rather, it was not hard to figure out what she was hiding and I just wanted her to tell Grayson. But, then again she's a southern belle, and her mama has sworn her never to talk about her problems. Because, you never talk about your problems, you drink instead.

There is also parallel storyline from just after the Civil War about the family that used to live at Peach Orchard Inn before it was an inn and just a farm and I quite enjoyed the back and forth between the present story and the one in the past. Now I just want to know what happened to Valery's nephew that went missing years before. Hopefully, a book in this series will deal with that. 

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

#BookReview The Designer by Marius Gabriel (@Scribbler4Bread) @AmazonPub @Marablaise

The Designer by Marius Gabriel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In 1944, newly married Copper Reilly arrives in Paris soon after the liberation. While the city celebrates its freedom, she’s stuck in the prison of an unhappy marriage. When her husband commits one betrayal too many, Copper demands a separation.

Alone in Paris, she finds an unlikely new friend: an obscure, middle-aged designer from the back rooms of a decaying fashion house whose timid nature and reluctance for fame clash with the bold brilliance of his designs. His name is Christian Dior.

Realising his genius, Copper urges Dior to strike out on his own, helping to pull him away from his insecurities and towards stardom. With just a camera and a typewriter, she takes her own advice and ventures into the wild and colourful world of fashion journalism.

Soon Copper finds herself torn between two very different suitors, questioning who she is and what she truly wants. As the city rebuilds and opulence returns, can Copper make a new, love-filled life for herself?


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It was the mentioning of Christian Dior that made me curious to read the book. Well, not only that, but I was intrigued by the fact that the main character, Copper, strikes up a friendship with the well-known fashion designer. A man I know next to nothing about.

The book took me by surprise, at first I thought this would be the usual woman finds herself and has to choose between two men. But, yeah Copper does leave her husband after he has one affair too many, but after that, her life takes a pretty drastic turn as she tries to fulfill her dream as a journalist. Her friendship with Dior is a strong point in her life and I loved how to book introduced all the bohemian artist, painters writers, etc. that are living in Paris at the time. A lot of name dropping (in a good way) and I love how Copper embraces the bohemian world. And, there is love waiting around the corner, two very different people enter her life and both stir feeling inside her. But, who will win her heart? Or rather, will she sacrifice her new-won freedom she gained after her divorce? I was engrossed in the story and I really enjoyed reading about Copper's life in Paris.

The Designer is a fabulous book. I loved reading about Paris after the liberation, how the city slowly tries to return to normal after the occupations. But, there is unrest in the city and collaborators are frowned and often roughly treated.And, the war is yet over. This part of the book, everything going on that concerns the war added a deeper layer to the story. The Germans may have left the city, but the memory of their occupations is a deep wound.

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

Thursday, 16 November 2017

#Giveaway Novel Expressions Book Promotions & Blog Tours is giving away a $100 AMAZON GIFT CARD! @Layeredpages @FCBookReviews @MaraBlaise

Novel Expressions Book Promotions & Blog Tours is giving away a $100 AMAZON GIFT CARD!


There are just a few things you need to do to qualify to win:
To enter you need to do ALL of the following: 
1. Like and follow Novel Expressions on Facebook
2. Like this global giveaway post.

Additional entries may be earned by doing the following: 
1. Comment below.
2. Tagging a friend. 
3. Sharing this post.

Giveaway will be open through December 15th and the winner will be announced December 16th!

#CoverCrush The Other Lady Vanishes by Amanda Quick @Marablaise

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 New York Times bestselling author of The Girl Who Knew Too Much sweeps readers back to 1930s California—where the most dazzling of illusions can’t hide the darkest secrets…

After escaping from a private sanitarium, Adelaide Blake arrives in Burning Cove, California, desperate to start over.

Working at an herbal tea shop puts her on the radar of those who frequent the seaside resort town: Hollywood movers and shakers always in need of hangover cures and tonics. One such customer is Jake Truett, a recently widowed businessman in town for a therapeutic rest. But unbeknownst to Adelaide, his exhaustion is just a cover.

In Burning Cove, no one is who they seem. Behind facades of glamour and power hide drug dealers, gangsters, and grifters. Into this make-believe world comes psychic to the stars Madame Zolanda. Adelaide and Jake know better than to fall for her kind of con. But when the medium becomes a victim of her own dire prediction and is killed, they’ll be drawn into a murky world of duplicity and misdirection.

Neither Adelaide or Jake can predict that in the shadowy underground they’ll find connections to the woman Adelaide used to be—and uncover the specter of a killer who’s been real all along…

Some thoughts about the cover:

This is a cover that really suits the 30s theme of the book. Love the bright colors and the young lady with the teacup adds to the charm.

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

Stephanie @ Layered Pages

Heather @ The Maiden's Court

Holly @ 2 Kids and Tired Books

Colleen @ A Literary Vacation

Meghan @ Of Quills & Vellum

Erin @ Flashlight Commentary

#BookReview De sju systrarna (The Seven Sisters) by Lucinda Riley (@lucindariley) @BazarforlagSE @Marablaise

The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

SWEDISH REVIEW

Äntligen i Sverige - första boken i romansviten om adoptivsystrarna som älskas över hela världen!

Maia D'Aplièse och hennes fem adoptivsystrar samlas i sitt barndomshem Atlantis, ett vackert slott vid Genevasjöns kust, efter att deras adoptivfar, den mystiske miljardären Pa Salt, har gått bort. Underligt nog har han redan begravts till havs, men varje syster tilldelas varsin ledtråd som ska vägleda henne i sökandet efter sitt ursprung.

Maias ledtråd leder henne till en förfallen herrgård i Rio de Janeiro. Väl där börjar hon lägga samman pusselbitarna.

Åttio år tidigare, 1927, under Rios Belle Epoque, planerar Izabela Bonifacios far för hennes giftermål in i aristokratin. Under tiden arbetar arkitekten Heitor da Silva Costa på en kristusstaty som ska kallas Cristo Redentor och behöver resa till Paris för att finna den rätta skulptören som kan färdigställa hans verk. Den äventyrslystna och passionerade Izabela övertalar sin far att låta henne följa med Heitor och hans familj till Europa innan sitt giftermål. Där, i Paul Landowskis studio utanför Paris och på de intima kaféerna i Montparnasse träffar hon den unga och ambitiösa skulptören Laurent Brouilly, och genast vet hon att hennes liv aldrig kommer bli sig likt.

De sju systrarna är den första boken i en unik, förtrollande serie om sju böcker baserad på legenden om Plejaderna, de sju systrarnas stjärnkonstellation, och Lucinda Riley visar sin talang för historieberättande som aldrig förut. Rättigheterna till en tv-serie har köpts.

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Jag har verkligen sett fram emot att läsa denna serie. Jag har tidigare läst två böcker av Lucinda Riley varav en från denna serie (på engelska) och jag har verkligen längtat att få läsa den första boken. Att få följa den äldsta systern, Maia, på hennes färd att få reda på sitt förflutna. Jag älskar verkligen böcker med två olika parallella handlingar, en nutida och en dåtida och jag blev verkligen betagen i båda berättelserna i denna bok.

Maias berättelse tar oss till nutida Rio de Janeiro, till en förfallen herrgård och en äldre dam som inte vill ha något med henne att göra. Men hon ger inte upp, tillsammans med en författare som hon översatt en bok för så börjar hon pussla samman ledtrådarna till hennes förflutna, men det är först när hon får tag på gamla brev som sanningen börjar uppenbara sig och hon kan gå till botten angående adoptionen av henne. I breven får hon reda på vad som hände 80 år tidigare i Rio de Janeiro, då den unga Izabela Bonifacios slets mellan att följa sitt hjärta och att lyda sin familj.

De sju systrarna är en fantastisk bok. Något som jag märkt tidigare är att Lucinda Riley är otroligt bra på att skriva så inlevelsefullt att man kan verkligen se allting framför sig. I denna bok så beskriver hon Rio de Janeiro så målande att det känns som om jag vore där. Jag var inte alls insatt i själva bygget av kristusstatyn i staden och att använda sig av det som grund för en kärlekshistoria var verkligen underbart. Jag fann boken mycket bra och jag ser fram emot att få läsa nästa bok och följa nästa syster på hennes äventyr.

Tack till Bazar Förlag för recensionexemplaret!

ENGLISH REVIEW

Maia D’Apliese and her five sisters gather together at their childhood home, “Atlantis”—a fabulous, secluded castle situated on the shores of Lake Geneva—having been told that their beloved father, who adopted them all as babies, has died. Each of them is handed a tantalizing clue to her true heritage—a clue which takes Maia across the world to a crumbling mansion in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Once there, she begins to put together the pieces of her story and its beginnings.

Eighty years earlier in Rio’s Belle Epoque of the 1920s, Izabela Bonifacio’s father has aspirations for his daughter to marry into the aristocracy. Meanwhile, architect Heitor da Silva Costa is devising plans for an enormous statue, to be called Christ the Redeemer, and will soon travel to Paris to find the right sculptor to complete his vision. Izabela—passionate and longing to see the world—convinces her father to allow her to accompany him and his family to Europe before she is married. There, at Paul Landowski’s studio and in the heady, vibrant cafes of Montparnasse, she meets ambitious young sculptor Laurent Brouilly, and knows at once that her life will never be the same again.

In this sweeping, epic tale of love and loss—the first in a unique, spellbinding series of seven novels—Lucinda Riley showcases her storytelling talent like never before.

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I have really looked forward to reading this series. I have previously read two books by Lucinda Riley, one of them from this series (in English) and I really wanted to read the first book. I wanted to follow the oldest sister, Maia, on her journey to find out about her past. I really love books with two different parallel stories, one present and one in the past and I was really taken by both stories in this book.

Maia's story takes us to contemporary Rio de Janeiro, to a dilapidated mansion and an elderly lady who does not want anything with her to do. However, Maia does not give up, along with a writer who she has translated a book for, does she start to go through the clues to the past, but it's only when she gets some old letters that she finally will get to the bottom of the mystery of her adoption. In the letters, she finds out what happened 80 years earlier in Rio de Janeiro, when the young Izabela Bonifacios was torn between following her heart and obeying her family.

The Seven Sisters is a wonderful book. Something that I noticed before is that Lucinda Riley is incredibly good at writing so compelling that you can really see everything in front of you. In this book, is she describing Rio de Janeiro so marvelous that it feels like I'm there. I had no previous knowledge of the construction of the Cristo Redentor statue in the city and making use of it as the basis for a love story was truly wonderful. I found the book very good and I look forward to reading the next book and following the next sister on her adventure.

Thanks to Bazar Förlag for the review copy!

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

#BlogTour Lay Me to Rest by E.A. Clark (@EAClarkAuthor) @rararesources @Marablaise

Lay Me to Rest by E.A. Clark
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Some secrets never stay buried for long…

Devastated by the death of her husband, Annie Philips is shocked to discover she is pregnant with his unborn child. Hoping for a fresh start, she travels to a remote stone cottage in Anglesey, amidst the white-capped mountains of North Wales.

She settles in quickly, helped by her mysterious new neighbour, Peter. But everything changes when Annie discovers a small wooden box, inlaid with brass and mother-of-pearl. A box she was never supposed to find…

Annie soon realises that she isn’t alone in the cottage. And now she’s trapped. Can she escape the nightmare that she has awoken, or will the dark forces surrounding the house claim her life – and that of her baby?

A gripping thriller from E. A. Clark, perfect for fans of Kerri Wilkinson, Sarah Wray and Stella Duffy. You won’t be able to put it down!


Purchase from Amazon UK: amzn.to/2k7xLmq

BOOK REVIEW

Ghost stories are something that I truly enjoy reading. The description of Lay Me to Rest instantly appealed to me. The book did turn out to be a bit different than I expected, less sinister and more tragic. I think I just imagined more evil things when I read about Annie finding a small wooden box that isn't supposed to be found. I guess my mind went directly to more sinister things when I read the blurb. However, there are still ghosts in the book. Plenty of them and Annie seems to be a catalyst that will not only bring them forth, but also be the one that could put them to rest.

Lay Me to Rest is the first book in the series about Annie Philips (at least I hope is a series since the book ended with a cliffhanger). She's recently widowed and has found herself not only bereft of her husband, but pregnant with his child. Through the book will we learn more about what happened to him and that their marriage was not at the strongest point when he died. Personally, do I think that this is one of the strongest points of the book, showing how Annie was before her husband died. She's not only grieving for her husband, she is also feeling guilty. And, now she has gone away for a while to find herself, but instead, she finds herself in a haunted house.

The story is interesting, although I did find it a bit predictable now and then. However, I was a bit surprised over some of the things that happened. But, it just shows that you don't really know what's hiding behind a person's facade. What thrilled me was the ending that it was not over for Annie, that this seeing ghost thing seems to be the start. It's why I hope there will be more books.    


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

E. A. Clark lives in the Midlands with her husband and son, plus a rather temperamental cat, a rabbit and a chinchilla. She has three (now grown-up) children and five grandchildren. She is particularly partial to Italian food, decent red wine (or any coloured wine come to that …) and cake – and has been known to over-indulge in each on occasions.

She has a penchant for visiting old graveyards and speculating on the demise of those entombed beneath. Whilst she has written short stories and poetry for many years, a lifelong fascination with all things paranormal has culminated in her first novel for adults, Lay Me to Rest. The setting is inspired by her love of Wales, owing to her father’s Celtic roots.

Follow E.A. Clark on…

Twitter - https://twitter.com/EAClarkAuthor
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/elizabeth.clark.779857


Tuesday, 14 November 2017

#BookReview End Game by David Baldacci (@davidbaldacci) @GrandCentralPub #Giveaway @Marablaise

End Game by David Baldacci
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Will Robie and Jessica Reel are two of the most lethal people alive. They're the ones the government calls in when the utmost secrecy is required to take out those who plot violence and mass destruction against the United States. And through every mission, one man has always had their backs: their handler, code-named Blue Man.

But now, Blue Man is missing.

Last seen in rural Colorado, Blue Man had taken a rare vacation to go fly fishing in his hometown when he disappeared off the grid. With no communications since, the team can't help but fear the worst.

Sent to investigate, Robie and Reel arrive in the small town of Grand to discover that it has its own share of problems. A stagnant local economy and a woefully understaffed police force have made this small community a magnet for crime, drugs, and a growing number of militant fringe groups.

But lying in wait in Grand is an even more insidious and sweeping threat, one that may shake the very foundations of America. And when Robie and Reel find themselves up against an adversary with superior firepower and a home-court advantage, they'll be lucky if they make it out alive, with or without Blue Man...


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I have read several David Baldacci books, but this is the first I've read in his Will Robie series. And, after finishing this one so do I, of course, want to read the previous four books. As usual is Baldacci's writing on top and I love how the book from page one to the last is filled with action. No slow parts in this book for sure.

For a new reader is this book pretty easy to get into. I find it very easy to get the gist of the main characters Will Robie and Jessica Reel. From what I learned through reading are they both very good at what they do and that they, on a more personal level care very much for each other. However, Reel seems to have had a change of heart after the events in the last book and Robie is both hurt and confused about it. And, now they have to work together to find the Blue Man, their handler. And, that will not be a walk in the park. The handler has disappeared from his hometown, and the town has quite a lot of people with secrets. Thankfully both Robie and Reel are used to dangerous situations. However, this mission might be too dangerous even for them...


End Game is an awesome thriller. This is just my kind of book with short chapters that often end with cliffhangers so you just have to read one more chapter. And, it's full of surprises, all the bloody time. You just didn't know whom to trust, or what the hell would happen next. I'm thrilled to know that I have the previous four books to read (as soon as I get them). This book is without any problem easy to get into even if you haven't read a single book in this series before, or a Baldacci book. 


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



End Game by David Baldacci
ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Baldacci is a global #1 bestselling author, and one of the world’s favorite storytellers. His books are published in over 45 languages and in more than 80 countries, with over 130 million worldwide sales. His works have been adapted for both feature film and television. David Baldacci is also the cofounder, along with his wife, of the Wish You Well Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting literacy efforts across America. Still a resident of his native Virginia, he invites you to visit him at DavidBaldacci.com and his foundation at WishYouWellFoundation.org.


FACEBOOK: @writer.david.baldacci

TWITTER: @davidbaldacci

INSTAGRAM: @davidbaldacciauthor

PRAISE FOR BALDACCI’S WILL ROBIE SERIES:


“David Baldacci has never been better than in The Guilty. His latest to feature conflicted assassin extraordinaire Will Robie takes the character — and series — to new heights… A stunning success from one of America’s greatest literary talents.”

--- Providence Sunday Journal on The Guilty

“The story sings… Baldacci is a gifted storyteller, and he knows how to keep the pages turning.”

--- Associated Press on The Guilty

“A fast-moving thriller that will force readers into that “zone,” where you don’t want to put the book down… Whether you are a diehard fan or a newcomer to his work, you will not be disappointed in The Guilty.”

--- BookReporter.com on The Guilty

“A first-class thriller… David Baldacci’s four bestselling novels about government assassin Will Robie have straddled that line of edgy, high-concept suspense, augmented with a bit of the political thriller, and deep character studies. In The Guilty, Baldacci takes a different track with a more personal, but just as thrilling tale about Will’s past, giving compelling insight about how he became a man so willing to kill for his country.”

--- Sun-Sentinel (Fl) on The Guilty

“Baldacci has been on a hot streak for the past few years, and The Target continues the trend. This isn’t a garden-variety thriller or even a garden-variety Baldacci. It’s among his most exhilarating books yet.”

--- Richmond Times-Dispatch on The Target

“With a lightning pace, captivating characters, and astonishing twists throughout, The Hit is guaranteed to keep your attention from the first page to the last.”

--- The Times-News (NC) on The Hit

“The best Baldacci novel in years… What makes The Hit live up to its title is the payoff at the novel’s end. By then, Baldacci has planted an emotional hook that remains long after readers have turned the last page of the book.”

--- Associated Press on The Hit

“This book is a definite one-day ‘edge-of-your-chair’ read, with an ending that is a complete surprise. One of the best Baldacci’s since Absolute Power, this is one that will have all suspense readers enthralled.”

--- Suspense Magazine on The Innocent