Sunday, 31 January 2016

A Letter of Mary by Laurie R. King

A Letter of Mary by Laurie R. King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Been adding reviews to the books in the Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes series on Goodreads and Edelweiss and can as well add them to my blogs. Been a while since I read the books, but most of the books in this series have I read so many times I can the storylines quite well. 

The year is 1923, Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes is at their home in Sussex Downs busy with their studies. Russell with theology and Holmes with some chemical experiments. Then they are visited by amateur archaeologist Miss Dorothy Ruskin with a startling puzzle for them. She has found in the Holy Land a roll of papyrus with a message from Mary Magdalene. A couple of days is Miss Ruskin killed in a traffic accident. But was it really an accident.

The case in this book is intriguing with an ancient papyrus claimed to be written by Mary Magdalene and the death of Miss Ruskin. Was she murdered? And, if she was murdered, why? It’s up to Russell and Holmes to find out the truth.

Like the previous two books a great story. I love the theology part of the story, with a papyrus that could very well be written by Mary Magdalene. I love how Laurie R. King manages to combine theology with crime, just like in the previous book.

A Monstrous Regiment of Women by Laurie R. King

A Monstrous Regiment of Women by Laurie R. King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The continuation of The Beekeeper's Apprentice; Mary Russell meets through her friend Veronica Beaconsfield, Margaret Childe who leads “The New Temple of God”, a charismatic sect for women. But, could New Temple be a cover for something sinister? Several women have died and left the money to the Temple. With the help of Holmes is Mary investigating the temple by going undercover.

I discovered a couple of years after I read the first book that there were more books published after the first book. But, they had not like the first book been translated into Swedish, but I decided to buy this one the rest despite the fact that I usually didn’t read that many books in English. One can say that this was the start of me reading English books. So thank you Laurie R. King.

Mary Russell is older now and her “relationship” with Sherlock Holmes is at a crossroad, will they continue as they are or will they change the nature of their relationship. Well, that’s the question that this book deals with together with the “The New Temple of God” investigation that will put Mary’s life in danger.

Just like the first book is the story superb. I’ve read the book several times, still amazingly good.

The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King

The Beekeeper's Apprentice by Laurie R. King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was fifteen when I first met Sherlock Holmes, fifteen years old with my nose in a book as I walked the Sussex Downs, and nearly stepped on him.

That’s is opening lines of The Beekeeper’s Apprentice and a book that I have read several times since the first time I read it when I was around 14-15 years old. The strange and wonderful thing is that it’s a book that never ceases to be anything other than enjoyable despite the countless times I’ve read it.

Mary Russell is a young girl when she stumbles over Sherlock Holmes in a field as he is painting bees with red and blue dots. Seems like an odd thing to do, but she quickly figures out why and tells him and then she really surprise him when she reveals that she is actually a girl under the boyish clothes she is wearing. And, that is the start of a friendship that will lead to her being accepted as his apprentice.

It’s a wonderful book. It’s one of those I return to when I feel the need to visit old friends. The story never gets boring; it feels rather like I’m still discovering new things about the book every time I read the book.

Deadly Engagement (Alec Halsey Mystery Book 1) $0.99/1.24 on Amazon


I may actually have bought it without reading the blurb first. I've seen it everywhere lately and love the cover...

Spring 1763. Career diplomat Alec Halsey returns to London to the shocking news his estranged brother, the Earl of Delvin, has not only killed his friend in a duel but is engaged to the woman Alec hoped to marry. The dead man’s mother wants Alec to investigate, so he reluctantly attends a weekend house party celebrating the engagement. Houseguests get more than they bargained for when a lady’s maid is murdered, the bride-to-be is attacked, and a guest is shot dead. Uncovering a connection between these sinister acts and his brother's duel, Alec confronts a cruel twist of fate and why his brother will go to any lengths to ruin him in Polite Society.

The Alec Halsey mysteries explore the darker side of Lucinda Brant’s deliciously romantic 18th century world. Along with her trademark wit and high drama there are deeper subplots and even quirkier characters that will have you shuddering and laughing in equal measure!


Original post: maddan3.booklikes.com/post/1335171/deadly-engagement-alec-halsey-mystery-book-1-0-99-1-24-on-amazon

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Staked by Kevin Hearne

Staked by Kevin Hearne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Iron Druid Atticus O'Sullivan has a vampire problem and he has decided to once and for all take care of that my staking the ancient and power crazy Theophilus. And, he will need some allies to help him to that. But, both Owen Kennedy and Granuaile have their own problems. Owen skipped packing custom to a troll many years ago and now he learns that a troll has a very, very long memory. Granuaile is trying to rid herself of the mark that Loki has put on her, but with the help of Odin will she perhaps finally be free of it.

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I was a bit worried that I would have a hard time getting into this book since I've only read the first book in this series. But, I was lucky. Before the story started, was it a short examination of the books before this one and that made it a lot easier to read Staked because that way I got the gist from all the books before this one. What I like about this book is the mix of humor, adventure, and mythology. I love that the books are using so many different Gods from different beliefs. It's quite cool to have Odin showing up one minute and then Jupiter.

The book is following Atticus, Owen, and Granuaile separately before they join force towards the end. I remember Granuaile from the first book, and she has come a long way from the wanna-be-druid to the fully trained druid she is now. I found her story quite good, apparently she has a big problem with Loki and last time she saw him she tried to kill him and he has put a mark on her that she will do anything to get rid of. Also, now that she is a druid will she finally be able to confront her step-father which is the reason she asked Atticus to train her in the first place. Owen is a fellow druid that Atticus knew a long time ago. For me was he a totally new character, but I instantly liked him and his, well let's say problems with adjusting to the modern world. He has agreed to tutor new druids, but vampires and trolls are getting in the way. Atticus meanwhile has finally decided enough is enough when it comes to the vampires and now he will find Theophilus and put and end to all the nasty vampire business. He does have to deal with some stuff before, like for instance stopping a war, rob a bank and deal with a lovesick ghost.

I enjoyed this book from start to finish. The thing with this book is that it's so easygoing to read. It's a lot of fun banter, puns, and a lot of action. And, since I love mythology is it really fun to have all these Gods show up here and there.

I'm now quite eager to go back and start off where I left the series. I feel that knowing what happens here in book 8 doesn't take away the fun of reading the previous books. Quite contrary, reading the short summary of the previous books just made me more excited about the prospect of reading books two and buying the books I don't have.

I recommend this series to those that like to read well-written and funny urban fantasy books with Gods, druids, witches werewolves etc.

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

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Cover Crush: My Last Continent Midge Raymond


It's Thursday again and time for this week's cover crush, and let me tell you it's not always an easy choice. This was not actually the cover I had planned to gush over today, but it was love at first sight when I saw this one

This cover captivated me at first sight. And, the story just made me more eager to read the book. There is just something about the night sky full of stars and the ship that is plowing through the ice. I can feel the coldness and the sound of the ship moving forward and still there is a silence. There is no voices, no cars just the ship purposefully moving forward.And, the sky is full of stars and you are a long away from home...



For other Cover Crushes see links:

The Lady's Command Blog Tour

The Lady's Command by Stephanie Laurens
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

About The Lady’s Command

    Series: The Adventurers Quartet (Book 1)
    Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
    Publisher: Mira (December 29, 2015)
#1 New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens brings you THE ADVENTURERS QUARTET, a riveting blend of Regency-era high seas adventure, intrigue and romance

His to cherish

Declan Frobisher chose Lady Edwina Delbraith as his wife. Scion of a bold, seafaring dynasty, he’s accustomed to getting his way—Edwina would be the woman who graced his arm, warmed his bed and remained safely at home when he returned to sea. But once the knot is tied, Declan discovers Edwina is unconventional and strong-willed, and his marriage promises to be as tempestuous as the high seas.

Hers to command

Edwina’s fairy-princess beauty hides a spine of steel. Born into the aristocracy—born to rule—and with Declan’s ring gracing her finger, she expects to forge a marriage by his side. Then bare weeks into their honeymoon, Declan is recruited to sail on a secret mission. Edwina—naturally—declares she must accompany him.

Theirs to conquer

Facing unforeseen perils and unexpected enemies while battling to expose a dastardly scheme, Declan and Edwina discover that their unusual marriage demands something they both possess—bold and adventurous hearts.
JOIN THE ADVENTURERS—four couples whose passionate voyages will transport you. Start the journey here and follow the adventures, the mysteries and the romances to the cataclysmic end!

“The narrative smoothly transitions between high society’s sophisticated yet superficial pleasantries and the romance of stolen glances and tender intimacy between Edwina and Declan…. Edwina and Declan share the narration, and their sweet, humorous thoughts give readers pleasant guidance on this romantic journey.”Publishers Weekly

REVIEW

Declan and Edwina Frobisher are newlyweds and their planned honeymoon gets interrupted when Declan has to travel to Africa and the town Freetown where four men have disappeared. His mission is to discreetly find out what has happened to the men. Edwina, on the other hand, wants to travel with him to Freetown, but Declan thinks that that is not a good idea. Instead, he promises her to take her to Amsterdam or something safer. But Edwina has decided that she will know more about what Declan does now that they are married. And, that means to travel with him, no matter what!

First and foremost the cover is ghastly. The posing of the characters and the colors (pastel colors?), Declan looks really unhappy. I usually don't comment that much about the cover when it comes to reviews unless it's so gorgeous I just have to mention it. But this cover is just so bad.

The story is a bit unusual to the ones I usually read when it comes to historical romance. For one thing, the couple is already marriage. And, happily so. I more used to stories when people falling in love, not starting off in love and married. That was an interesting change. It's also a very equally marriage. Well, as equal it can be at the time. Declan still tried to tell Edwina what to do and try to keep her from danger, but she isn't the kind of woman that stays home and is told what to do. As Declan learns when he tried to travel to Africa alone.

I found myself with difficulties to really getting into the story and connect with the characters. Declan and Edwina were just not a couple I found that interesting to read about. He is head over heels in love with her and in him. The mystery with the missing men gets a bit lost in this big declaration of their love that is this book. He misses her when she isn't by his side and constantly thinks about how much he is in love with her and vice versa. It's just a fluffy love story, but not even a really good one since neither characters is especially interesting, it's just too dull.

But if the thought about reading a book about a couple that are already married and is facing some "difficulties" during the first time after the wedding seems appealing than this book is perhaps more suiting for you than it was for me.

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About Stephanie Laurens

New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Laurens originally began writing as an escape from the dry world of professional science. Her hobby quickly became a career; she has been writing historical romance novels for more than 20 years. Currently living outside Melbourne, Australia with her husband and two cats, she spends most of her days writing new stories in her signature ‘Errol Flynn meets Jane Austen” style.

Connect with Stephanie

Website | Facebook 

Stephanie Laurens’ TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, January 4th: Romancing the Book
Tuesday, January 5th: Bewitched Bookworms
Wednesday, January 6th: The Sassy Bookster
Thursday, January 7th: Thoughts from an Evil Overlord
Friday, January 8th: A Chick Who Reads
Monday, January 11th: The Romance Dish
Tuesday, January 12th: BookNAround
Wednesday, January 13th: From the TBR Pile
Thursday, January 14th: Worth Getting in Bed For
Friday, January 15th: Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews
Monday, January 18th: Reading Reality
Tuesday, January 19th: The Maiden’s Court
Wednesday, January 20th: Black ‘n Gold Girl’s Book Spot
Thursday, January 21st: FictionZeal
Friday, January 22nd: View from the Birdhouse
Monday, January 25th: Bibliotica
Tuesday, January 26th: A Night’s Dream of Books
Wednesday, January 27th: One Curvy Blogger
Thursday, January 28th: It’s a Mad Mad World
Friday, January 29th: Stranded in Chaos

Summit Lake by Charlie Donlea

Summit Lake by Charlie Donlea
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Star reporter Kelsey Castle travels to Summit Lake in North Carolina to write an article about Becca Eckersley who was murdered in her parents home 2 weeks earlier. Is the police trying to cover up the murder and if so why? Kelsey must find out the truth...

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I initially gave this book three stars, but there are just some things that bothered me quite a lot. Things with the story that just didn't make sense. I will come to them later on, but first will I say that the book was not all bad, it was easy to read, the flashback story of Becca Eckersley, as we get to know her before she was murdered was quite good. I like Becca and it made me sad reading about her and knowing her fate. So, part of me enjoyed reading the book, but part of me was also a bit frustrated.

There are some things with the story that for me just didn't work out. Like for instance why the police didn't manage to figure it out by themselves? I mean it was not that puzzling case and if they just would have interviewed her close friends would they quickly have solved it. And, having a journalist receiving classified documents and information from the chief of the police and a doctor? Come one. A man that has worked 40 years as police would just hand over classified material to a journalist because he has been taken from the case? Because apparently there is a cover up? Why? There was no reason for a cover up, no explanation to why there even should be a cover up. Why would her father have tried to cover up his daughter's brutal murder? She hadn't done anything wrong. It felt more like incompetence than a cover up.

Then we have the thing that I can believe for a second any normal person would do. Keep an important secret after a person has been murdered. I mean I can understand if a priest couldn't talk. But, it was just not believable that an ordinary person would keep evidence. "I have in my had something that could help the police catch the killer, I will hide that". What?

Then we have the fact that the main characters, star reporter Kelsey Castle have returned to work after she's been on leave for a couple of weeks because as we learn during the progress of the story she was assaulted. And, I would guess that a woman would be quite traumatized by this. But, she has some bad moments now and then, but no biggie since the doctor is oh so nice. What? After an experience like that would someone need therapy, but she bounced back to work after a month on leave because she was tired of sitting at home doing nothing. And, she has no problem meeting a man after this. I'm sorry, I haven't been assaulted like she was in this book, but I'm sure it would make an impact on me.

Last, but not the least, the twist in the end. Which wasn't that big of a twist. I thought in the beginning of the book that it would be too easy if that person was the killer. Guess what? Yes, despite the author's brave attempt to throw out some red herrings was the ending not really surprising.

There we have it, the things that really bothered me, at least, the things that I remembered. And, that's just too bad because part of me enjoyed reading the book. But, there were just too many things that just didn't make sense, or made me annoyed.

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

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

New books!

Here we go again! A new week, and some new books, both some I bought and ARC's! 

Any book that you fancy or are going to read? 

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As World War I rages and the Romanov dynasty reaches its sudden, brutal end, a young jewelry maker discovers love, passion, and her own healing powers in this rich and romantic ghost story, the perfect follow-up to M.J. Rose’s “brilliantly crafted” (Providence Journal) novel The Witch of Painted Sorrows.
Nestled within Paris’s historic Palais Royal is a jewelry store unlike any other. La Fantasie Russie is owned by Pavel Orloff, protégé to the famous Faberge, and is known by the city’s fashion elite as the place to find the rarest of gemstones and the most unique designs. But war has transformed Paris from a city of style and romance to a place of fear and mourning. In the summer of 1918, places where lovers used to walk, widows now wander alone.

So it is from La Fantasie Russie’s workshop that young, ambitious Opaline Duplessi now spends her time making trench watches for soldiers at the front, as well as mourning jewelry for the mothers, wives, and lovers of those who have fallen. People say that Opaline’s creations are magical. But magic is a word Opaline would rather not use. The concept is too closely associated with her mother Sandrine, who practices the dark arts passed down from their ancestor La Lune, one of sixteenth century Paris’s most famous courtesans.

But Opaline does have a rare gift even she can’t deny, a form of lithomancy that allows her to translate the energy emanating from stones. Certain gemstones, combined with a personal item, such as a lock of hair, enable her to receive messages from beyond the grave. In her mind, she is no mystic, but merely a messenger, giving voice to soldiers who died before they were able to properly express themselves to loved ones. Until one day, one of these fallen soldiers communicates a message—directly to her.

So begins a dangerous journey that will take Opaline into the darkest corners of wartime Paris and across the English Channel, where the exiled Romanov dowager empress is waiting to discover the fate of her family. Full of romance, seduction, and a love so powerful it reaches beyond the grave, The Secret Language of Stones is yet another “spellbindingly haunting” (Suspense magazine), “entrancing read that will long be savored” (Library Journal, starred review).

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Passing meets The House of Mirth in this “utterly captivating” (Kathleen Grissom, New York Times bestselling author of The Kitchen House) historical novel based on the true story of Anita Hemmings, the first black student to attend Vassar, who successfully passed as white—until she let herself grow too attached to the wrong person.
Since childhood, Anita Hemmings has longed to attend the country’s most exclusive school for women, Vassar College. Now, a bright, beautiful senior in the class of 1897, she is hiding a secret that would have banned her from admission: Anita is the only African-American student ever to attend Vassar. With her olive complexion and dark hair, this daughter of a janitor and descendant of slaves has successfully passed as white, but now finds herself rooming with Louise “Lottie” Taylor, the scion of one of New York’s most prominent families.

Though Anita has kept herself at a distance from her classmates, Lottie’s sphere of influence is inescapable, her energy irresistible, and the two become fast friends. Pulled into her elite world, Anita learns what it’s like to be treated as a wealthy, educated white woman—the person everyone believes her to be—and even finds herself in a heady romance with a moneyed Harvard student. It’s only when Lottie becomes infatuated with Anita’s brother, Frederick, whose skin is almost as light as his sister’s, that the situation becomes particularly perilous. And as Anita’s college graduation looms, those closest to her will be the ones to dangerously threaten her secret.

Set against the vibrant backdrop of the Gilded Age, an era when old money traditions collided with modern ideas, Tanabe has written an unputdownable and emotionally compelling story of hope, sacrifice, and betrayal—and a gripping account of how one woman dared to risk everything for the chance at a better life.

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Gathered at their childhood home to mourn their father’s death, Ally D’Aplièse and her five adoptive sisters receive tantalizing clues to their distinct heritages. Ally soon finds herself in Norway where she begins to make sense of her elusive past in the second part of an epic new series by #1 internationally bestselling author Lucinda Riley.
Olympic hopeful Ally is in the midst of preparations for one of the world’s most challenging yacht races when news of her beloved father’s death shocks the accomplished sailor. Saying goodbye to the love of her life, a man her family knows nothing about, she rushes back to her family home, an enchanting chateau where she and her five sisters—each adopted as infants—were raised on the shores of Lake Geneva.

When new tragedy strikes on the high seas, pummeling Ally yet again with a terrible and unexpected loss, she turns her back on the water and instead follows her own North Star—an intriguing clue left by her father which leads her to Norway and the promise of unmasking her origins. Surrounded by the majestic beauty of an unfamiliar homeland, Ally begins to unpack the century-old story of a remarkable young woman named Anna Landvik, a talented singer with an astonishing link to composer Edvard Grieg and his celebrated musical accompaniment to Henrik Ibsen’s iconic play “Peer Gynt.”

Lucinda Riley’s captivating story brings together two resilient women—decades apart—weaving their stories into a moving examination of family, love, and identity. Learn more at thesevensistersseries.com.

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The author of The Pocket Wife explores the dark side of love, marriage, and infidelity in this sizzling novel of psychological suspense

“Susan Crawford is a bright new star.”—Deborah Crombie

Everybody’s luck runs out. This time it could be theirs . . .

It isn’t safe. That’s what Joe tells her when he ends their affair—moments before their car skids off an icy road in a blinding snowstorm and hits a tree. Desperate to keep her life intact—her job, her husband, and her precious daughter, Lily—Dorrie will do everything she can to protect herself, even if it means walking away from the wreckage. Dorrie has always been a good actress, pretending to be someone else: the dutiful daughter, the satisfied wife, the woman who can handle anything. Now she’s going to put on the most challenging performance of her life. But details about the accident leave her feeling uneasy and afraid. Why didn’t Joe’s airbag work? Why was his car door open before the EMTs arrived? And now suddenly someone is calling her from her dead lover’s burner phone. . . .

Joe’s death has left his wife in free fall as well. Karen knew Joe was cheating—she found some suspicious emails and followed him that fateful night, witnessing the fatal crash. Trying to cope with grief is devastating enough without the constant fear that has overtaken her—this feeling she can’t shake that someone is watching her. And with Joe gone and the kids grown, she’s vulnerable . . . and on her own.

Insurance investigator Maggie Devlin is suspicious of the latest claim that’s landed on her desk—a man dying on an icy road shortly after buying a lucrative life insurance policy. Maggie doesn’t believe in coincidences. The former cop knows that things—and people—are never what they seem to be.

As the fates of these three women become more tightly entwined, layers of lies and deception begin to peel away, pushing them dangerously to the edge . . . closer to each other . . . to a terrifying truth . . . to a shocking end.

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A family is shaken to its core after the mysterious disappearance of a teenage boy in this eerie tale, a blend of literary fiction, psychological suspense, and supernatural horror from the author of A Head Full of Ghosts

“A Head Full of Ghosts scared the living hell out of me, and I’m pretty hard to scare,” raved Stephen King about Paul Tremblay’s previous novel. Now, Tremblay returns with another disturbing tale sure to unsettle readers.

Late one summer night, Elizabeth Sanderson receives the devastating news that every mother fears: her fourteen-year-old son, Tommy, has vanished without a trace in the woods of a local park.

The search isn’t yielding any answers, and Elizabeth and her young daughter, Kate, struggle to comprehend his disappearance. Feeling helpless and alone, their sorrow is compounded by anger and frustration. The local and state police haven’t uncovered any leads. Josh and Luis, the friends who were with Tommy last, may not be telling the whole truth about that night in Borderland State Park, when they were supposedly hanging out a landmark the local teens have renamed Devil’s Rock— rumored to be cursed.

Living in an all-too-real nightmare, riddled with worry, pain, and guilt, Elizabeth is wholly unprepared for the strange series of events that follow. She believes a ghostly shadow of Tommy materializes in her bedroom, while Kate and other local residents claim to see a shadow peering through their own windows in the dead of night. Then, random pages torn from Tommy’s journal begin to mysteriously appear—entries that reveal an introverted teenager obsessed with the phantasmagoric; the loss of his father, killed in a drunk-driving accident a decade earlier; a folktale involving the devil and the woods of Borderland; and a horrific incident that Tommy believed connected them all and changes everything.

As the search grows more desperate, and the implications of what happened becomes more haunting and sinister, no one is prepared for the shocking truth about that night and Tommy’s disappearance at Devil’s Rock.

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#1 New York Times bestseller Harlan Coben delivers his next impossible-to-put-down thriller

In the course of eight consecutive #1 New York Times bestsellers, millions of readers have discovered Harlan Coben’s page-turning thrillers, filled with his trademark edge-of-your-seat suspense and gut-wrenching emotion. In Fool Me Once, Coben once again outdoes himself.

Former special ops pilot Maya, home from the war, sees an unthinkable image captured by her nanny cam while she is at work: her two-year-old daughter playing with Maya’s husband, Joe—who had been brutally murdered two weeks earlier. The provocative question at the heart of the mystery: Can you believe everything you see with your own eyes, even when you desperately want to? To find the answer, Maya must finally come to terms with deep secrets and deceit in her own past before she can face the unbelievable truth about her husband—and herself.

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Susan Elia MacNeal introduced the remarkable Maggie Hope in her acclaimed début, Mr. Churchill’s Secretary. Now Maggie returns to protect Britain’s beloved royals against an international plot—one that could change the course of history.
 
As World War II sweeps the continent and England steels itself against German attack, Maggie Hope, former secretary to Prime Minister Winston Churchill, completes her training to become a spy for MI-5. Spirited, strong-willed, and possessing one of the sharpest minds in government for mathematics and code-breaking, she fully expects to be sent abroad to gather intelligence for the British front. Instead, to her great disappointment, she is dispatched to go undercover at Windsor Castle, where she will tutor the young Princess Elizabeth in maths. Yet castle life quickly proves more dangerous—and deadly—than Maggie ever expected. The upstairs-downstairs world at Windsor is thrown into disarray by a shocking murder, which draws Maggie into a vast conspiracy that places the entire royal family in peril. And as she races to save England from a most disturbing fate, Maggie realizes that a quick wit is her best defence, and that the smallest clues can unravel the biggest secrets, even within her own family.

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Francis Bacon is charged with investigating the murder of a fellow barrister at Gray's Inn. He recruits his unwanted protégé Thomas Clarady to do the tiresome legwork. The son of a privateer, Clarady will do anything to climb the Elizabethan social ladder. Bacon's powerful uncle Lord Burghley suspects Catholic conspirators of the crime, but other motives quickly emerge. Rival barristers contend for the murdered man's legal honors and wealthy clients. Highly-placed courtiers are implicated as the investigation reaches from Whitehall to the London streets. Bacon does the thinking; Clarady does the fencing. Everyone has something up his pinked and padded sleeve. Even the brilliant Francis Bacon is at a loss — and in danger — until he sees through the disguises of the season of Misrule

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Thomas Clarady is recruited to spy on a group of radical Puritans at Cambridge University. Francis Bacon is his spymaster; his tutor in both tradecraft and religious politics. Their commission gets off to a deadly start when Tom finds his chief informant hanging from the roof beams. Now he must catch a murderer as well as a seditioner. His first suspect is volatile poet Christopher Marlowe, who keeps turning up in the wrong places.

Dogged by unreliable assistants, chased by three lusty women, and harangued daily by the exacting Bacon, Tom risks his very soul to catch the villains and win his reward.

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“An ideal pairing of talent and material... Engrossing.” —Mary Roach, New York Times Book Review
"Brown draws from the many previously published accounts of the tragedy... but he tells the tale with a novelist's touch." —Boston Globe
 Reminiscent of Into Thin Air, Miracle in the Andes, and the works of Tim O’Brien (The Things They Carried, Going After Cacciato) and Douglas Brinkley (The Wilderness Warrior, The Great Deluge), The Indifferent Stars Above by Daniel James Brown (Under a Flaming Sky) reveals the tragic story of the doomed Donner party, as seen through the prism of one young woman who survived.

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In this sequel to Maids of Misfortune, it is the fall of 1879 and Annie Fuller, a young San Francisco widow, has a problem. Despite her growing financial success as the clairvoyant Madam Sibyl, Annie doesn't believe in the astrology and palmistry her clients think are the basis for her advice.

Kathleen Hennessey, Annie Fuller's young Irish maid, has a plan. When her mistress is asked to expose a fraudulent trance medium, Arabella Frampton, Kathleen is determined to assist in the investigation, just like the Pinkerton detectives she has read about in the dime novels.

Nate Dawson, up-and-coming San Francisco lawyer, has a dilemma. He wants to marry the unconventional Annie Fuller, but he doesn't feel he can reveal his true feelings until he has a way to make enough money to support her.

In Uneasy Spirits, this cozy, historical mystery of romantic suspense, Annie delves into the intriguing world of 19th century spiritualism, encountering true believers and naïve dupes, clever frauds and unexplained supernatural phenomena.

She will soon find there are as many secrets as there are spirits swirling around the Frampton séance table. Some of those secrets will threaten the foundation of her career as Madam Sibyl and the future of her relationship with Nate Dawson, and, in time, they will threaten her very life itself.

Uneasy Spirits is the second book in M. Louisa Locke's Victorian historical mystery series, the first is Maids of Misfortune.

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Under the onslaught of supernatural evil, the acts of good people can seem insignificant, but a courageous few stand apart. These brave men and women stand up to the darkness, stare it right in the eye, and give it the finger. These are the stories of those who rage against the night, stories of triumph, sacrifice, and bravery in the face of overwhelming evil.

Rage Against the Night features the megastars of dark fantasy and horror—including Stephen King, Ramsey Campbell, Peter Straub, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, F. Paul Wilson, Jonathan Maberry, Scott Nicholson, Nancy Holder, Sarah Langan, and many, many more.

All proceeds will be donated to Rocky Wood, author and President of the Horror Writers Association, who is battling motor neurone disease.

****************

An expansive biography of David Bowie, one of the twentieth century’s greatest music and cultural icons.

From noted author and rock ’n’ roll journalist Marc Spitz comes a major David Bowie biography to rival any other. Following Bowie’s life from his start as David Jones, an R & B—loving kid from Bromley, England, to his rise to rock ’n’ roll aristocracy as David Bowie, Bowie recounts his career but also reveals how much his music has influenced other musicians and forever changed the landscape of the modern era. Along the way, Spitz reflects on how growing up with Bowie as his soundtrack and how writing this definitive book on Bowie influenced him in ways he never expected, adding a personal dimension that Bowie fans and those passionate about art and culture will connect with and that no other bio on the artist offers.

Bowie takes an in-depth look at the culture of postwar England in which Bowie grew up, the mod and hippie scenes of swinging London in the sixties, the sex and drug-fueled glitter scene of the early seventies when Bowie’s alter-ego Ziggy Stardust was born, his rise to global stardom in the eighties and his subsequent status as an elder statesman of alternative culture. Spitz puts each incarnation of Bowie into the context of its era, creating a cultural time line that is intriguing both for its historical significance as well as for its delineation of this rock ’n’ roll legend, the first musician to evolve a coherent vision after the death of the sixties dream.

Amid the sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll mayhem, a deeper portrait of the artist emerges. Bowie’s early struggles to go from follower to leader, his tricky relationship with art and commerce and Buddhism and the occult, his complicated family life, his open romantic relationship and, finally, his perceived disavowal of all that made him a touchstone for outcasts are all thoughtfully explored. A fresh evaluation of his recorded work, as well as his film, stage and video performances, is included as well.

Based on a hundred original interviews with those who knew him best and those familiar with his work, including ex-wife Angie Bowie, former Bowie manager Kenneth Pitt, Siouxsie Sioux, Camille Paglia, Dick Cavett, Todd Haynes, Ricky Gervais and Peter Frampton, Bowie gives us not only a portrait of one of the most important artists in the last century, but also an honest examination of a truly revolutionary artist and the unique impact he’s had across generations.

****************

The fireman is coming. Stay cool.

No one knows exactly when it began or where it originated. A terrifying new plague is spreading like wildfire across the country, striking cities one by one: Boston, Detroit, Seattle. The doctors call it Draco Incendia Trychophyton. To everyone else it’s Dragonscale, a highly contagious, deadly spore that marks its hosts with beautiful black and gold marks across their bodies—before causing them to burst into flames. Millions are infected; blazes erupt everywhere. There is no antidote. No one is safe.

Harper Grayson, a compassionate, dedicated nurse as pragmatic as Mary Poppins, treated hundreds of infected patients before her hospital burned to the ground. Now she’s discovered the telltale gold-flecked marks on her skin. When the outbreak first began, she and her husband, Jakob, had made a pact: they would take matters into their own hands if they became infected. To Jakob’s dismay, Harper wants to live—at least until the fetus she is carrying comes to term. At the hospital, she witnessed infected mothers give birth to healthy babies and believes hers will be fine too. . . if she can live long enough to deliver the child.

Convinced that his do-gooding wife has made him sick, Jakob becomes unhinged, and eventually abandons her as their placid New England community collapses in terror. The chaos gives rise to ruthless Cremation Squads—armed, self-appointed posses roaming the streets and woods to exterminate those who they believe carry the spore. But Harper isn’t as alone as she fears: a mysterious and compelling stranger she briefly met at the hospital, a man in a dirty yellow fire fighter’s jacket, carrying a hooked iron bar, straddles the abyss between insanity and death. Known as The Fireman, he strolls the ruins of New Hampshire, a madman afflicted with Dragonscale who has learned to control the fire within himself, using it as a shield to protect the hunted . . . and as a weapon to avenge the wronged.

In the desperate season to come, as the world burns out of control, Harper must learn the Firemans secrets before her life—and that of her unborn child—goes up in smoke.

***************


A Rip in the Veil is the first book in The Graham Saga, Anna Belfrage's time slip series featuring time traveller Alexandra Lind and her seventeenth century husband, Matthew Graham.

On a muggy August day in 2002 Alexandra Lind is inexplicably thrown several centuries backwards in time to 1658. Life will never be the same for Alex. Alex lands at the feet of Matthew Graham - an escaped convict making his way home to Scotland. She gawks at this tall gaunt man with hazel eyes, dressed in what looks like rags. At first she thinks he might be some sort of hermit, an oddball, but she quickly realises that she is the odd one out, not him. Catapulted from a life of modern comfort, Alex grapples with her frightening new existence. Potential compensation for this brutal shift in fate comes in the shape of Matthew - a man she should never have met, not when she was born three centuries after him. But Matthew comes with baggage of his own, and at times it seems his past will see them killed. How will she ever get back? And more importantly, does she want to?


***************

Matthew Graham committed the mistake of his life when he cut off his brother's nose. In revenge, Luke Graham has Matthew abducted and transported to the colony of Virginia to be sold as indentured labour. Matthew arrives in Virginia in May 1661 and any hope he had of finding someone willing to listen to his story of unlawful abduction is quickly extinguished. If anything, Matthew's insistence that he is an innocent man leads him to being singled out for the heaviest tasks. Insufficient food, gruelling days and the humid heat combine to wear him down. With a sinking feeling, he realises no one has ever survived their seven years of service on the plantation Suffolk Rose. Fortunately for Matthew, he has a remarkable wife. Alex Graham has no intention of letting her husband suffer and die. So she sets off from Scotland on a perilous journey to bring her husband home. Alex is plagued by nightmares in which Matthew is reduced to a wheezing wreck by his tormentors. Sailing to Virginia, she prays for a miracle to carry her swiftly to his side. But fate has other plans, and what should have been a two month crossing turns into a year long adventure - from one side of the Atlantic to the other. Will Alex find Matthew in time? Will she be able to pay the price of setting him free? Like Chaff in the Wind continues on from The Rip in the Veil, taking Alex and Matthew's love story to a new continent.

***************

He risks everything for his faith - but will he be able to pay the price? Safely returned from an involuntary stay on a plantation in Virginia, Matthew Graham finds the Scottish Lowlands torn asunder by religious strife. His Restored Majesty, Charles II, requires all his subjects to swear fealty to him and the Church of England, riding roughshod over any opposition. In Ayrshire, people close ranks around their evicted Presbyterian ministers. But disobedience comes at a heavy price and Alex becomes increasingly more nervous as to what her Matthew is risking by his support of the clandestine ministers - foremost amongst them the charismatic Sandy Peden. Privately, Alex considers Sandy an enervating fanatic and all this religious fervour is totally incomprehensible to her. So when Matthew repeatedly sets his faith and ministers before his own safety he puts their marriage under severe strain. The situation is further complicated by the presence of Ian, the son Matthew was cruelly duped into disowning several years ago. Now Matthew wants Ian back and Alex isn't entirely sure this is a good thing. Things are brought to a head when Matthew places all their lives in the balance to save his dear preacher from the dragoons. How much is Matthew willing to risk? How much will he ultimately lose? The Prodigal Son is the third in Anna Belfrage's historical time slip series, which includes the titles The Rip in the Veil and Like Chaff in the Wind

***************

It’s 1672, and Matthew Graham and his family have left Scotland. Having taken the drastic decision to leave their homeland due to religious conflicts, Alexandra and Matthew hope for a simpler, if harsher, life in the wilds of the Colony of Maryland.
Unfortunately, things don’t always turn out as you want them to, and the past has a nasty tendency to resurface at the most inappropriate moments. Both Matthew and Alex are forced to cope with the unexpected reappearance of people they had never thought to meet again, and the screw is turned that much tighter when the four rogue Burley brothers enter their lives.

Matters are further complicated by the strained relations between colonists and the Susquehannock Indians. When Matthew intercedes to stop the Burleys from abducting Indian women into slavery he makes lifelong – and deadly – enemies of them all.

Once again Alex is plunged into an existence where death seems to threaten her man wherever he goes.

Will Matthew see himself – and his family – safe in these new circumstances? And will the past finally be laid to rest?

A Newfound Land is the fourth book in Anna Belfrage’s time slip series featuring time traveller Alexandra Lind and her seventeenth century husband, Matthew Graham.

***************


Joan Seabrook, a fledgling archaeologist, has fulfilled her lifelong dream to visit Arabia by travelling from England to the ancient city of Muscat with her fiancé, Rory. Desperate to escape the pain of a personal tragedy, she longs to explore the desert fort of Jabrin, and unearth the treasures it is said to conceal.
But Oman is a land lost in time - hard, secretive, and in the midst of a violent upheaval - and gaining permission to explore Jabrin could prove impossible. Joan's disappointment is only alleviated by the thrill of meeting her childhood heroine, pioneering explorer Maude Vickery, and hearing first-hand the stories that captured her imagination and sparked her ambition as a child.
Joan's encounter with the extraordinary and reclusive Maude will change everything. Both women have things that they want, and secrets they must keep. As their friendship grows, the thrill of adventure seduces Joan, and only too late does she begin to question her actions - and Maude's motives. Realising she has become a pawn in a treacherous game to settle old scores, Joan must decide where her loyalties lie, and find a way to halt a chain of events that she herself has set in motion, before the terrible consequences can play out.
Will the girl that left England for this beautiful but dangerous land ever find her way back?

***************

Iron Druid Atticus O'Sullivan, hero of Kevin Hearne's epic New York Times bestselling urban fantasy series, has a point to make—and then drive into a vampire's heart.
 
When a druid has lived for two thousand years like Atticus, he's bound to run afoul of a few vampires. Make that legions of them. Even his former friend and legal counsel turned out to be a bloodsucking backstabber. Now the toothy troublemakers—led by power-mad pain-in-the-neck Theophilus—have become a huge problem requiring a solution. It's time to make a stand.

As always, Atticus wouldn't mind a little backup. But his allies have problems of their own. Ornery archdruid Owen Kennedy is having a wee bit of troll trouble: Turns out when you stiff a troll, it's not water under the bridge. Meanwhile, Granuaile is desperate to free herself of the Norse god Loki's mark and elude his powers of divination—a quest that will bring her face-to-face with several Slavic nightmares.

As Atticus globetrots to stop his nemesis Theophilus, the journey leads to Rome. What better place to end an immortal than the Eternal City? But poetic justice won't come without a price: In order to defeat Theophilus, Atticus may have to lose an old friend.

***************

“No suspects. No persons of interest. Just a girl who was alive one day and dead the next.”

Set in a small, picturesque North Carolina town, Charlie Donlea's suspenseful debut novel tells the haunting story of a murdered law school student, the reporter assigned to her story—and the intimate connection that comes when the living walk in the footsteps of the dead.

Some places seem too beautiful to be touched by horror. Summit Lake, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains, is that kind of place, with charming stilt houses dotted along the pristine water. But two weeks ago, Becca Eckersley, a first-year law student, was brutally murdered in one of those houses. The daughter of a powerful attorney, Becca was hard-working, accomplished, and ambitious. Now, while the town reels with grief and shocked residents gather to share their theories, the police are baffled.

At first, investigative reporter Kelsey Castle thinks of the assignment as a fluff piece. But the savagery of the crime, and the determined efforts to keep the case quiet, all hint at something far more than a random attack by a stranger. As Kelsey digs deeper, pushing on despite danger and warnings, she feels a growing connection to the dead girl. And the more she learns about Becca's friendships, her love life—and the secrets she was keeping—the more convinced she becomes that learning the truth about Becca could be the key to overcoming her own dark past…

***************

The fate of every soul rests upon his shoulders. His fate rests in the hands of a troubled, young girl.

It’s 1895—the cusp of the Victorian and Edwardian eras—and Bartholomew Pelletier is a gentleman and a warrior. For fifteen centuries he’s endured the depraved appetite of Famine—one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse—as she’s consumed his strength and sought to unite with her fellow Horsemen. But now Bartholomew’s chance to imprison her has appeared…in the form of his young ward Matilde.

Chosen to wield the immeasurable power of the Catcher—the one entity that can capture the escaped Horsemen—Matilde is a distrustful child from an abusive and impoverished home. She must be hidden from Famine as she grows strong, learns to fight, and reaches adulthood. But Bartholomew faces a terrible act: For Matilde to become the immortal Catcher, he must gain her trust, and then he must end her life.

By any means necessary, Bartholomew intends to conquer his enemy, but is he willing to sacrifice the one person he loves in order to save mankind?

*FAMINE is a gritty, character-driven novel that combines gothic, dark fantasy, historical, paranormal, and urban fantasy elements to create a unique twist on the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. The first novel in a four-book series, it contains graphic violence, strong language, sexual content, and bowler hats, and is intended for mature readers.*

That it I think!

The First Order by Jeff Abbott

The First Order by Jeff Abbott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The First Order is Jeff Abbott's 5th book about Sam Capra. I haven't read the previous four books, but there were no problems whatsoever to get into the story.

Six years ago, Sam's brother Danny was killed in Afghanistan, beheaded in a video. But, now Sam has found evidence that Danny may still be alive that the video was just a ploy to let everyone think that Danny was dead. But, why was Danny spared, and why haven't Sam heard from his brother since then? What has Sam been doing these last six years?

I was quickly drawn into the story, it didn't matter one thing that I hadn't read the previous book. I found the main characters Sam and his best friend Mila instantly likable and I was intrigued by the plot in this book. Sam, has before this book been through much with a wife that turned out to be a traitor and a young son that was kidnapped and that he had to get back. Now he found out that his brother may be still alive. A brother, whose death made him join CIA six years ago. And, if that's not enough it seems that his brother is a trained assassin that is hired to kill the president of Russia. So now Sam doesn't just have to find Danny, he has to stop him from killing a world leader. Luckily he has Mila by his side, or is he so lucky? Mila has some secrets of her own that could ruin everything.

The story is action-filled and exciting to read. I did feel towards the end that the story dragged a bit, I felt a bit impatient with the story and wanted it to move faster forward. Although I do understand that there were things that needed to happen, but the intensity of the story seemed to slow down a bit instead of speeding up. But, then towards the end, the story picked up the speed again when everything came to the explosive finale.

I was impressed with the book, I found it well-written and I think that it will intrigue fans of spy novels. This is a series that I want to read more from, both books before this one and future books.

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

Original post: maddan3.booklikes.com/post/1332848/the-first-order-by-jeff-abbott

Spotlight: Thirst: Blood of my Blood by R P Channing

 

 

240+ Pages
WITH BEAUTIFUL PHOTOGRAPHS


Genres

Young Adult Romance
Paranormal Romance
High School
Vampires, Demons, Witches
Dark Fantasy
Horror

Summary:


~ Kira Sutherland ~

After a near fatal accident (and getting cheated on by her 'boyfriend'), and beating up the lead cheerleader (with whom the boyfriend cheated...), and being labeled as having 'issues' in her school because she, uhm, sees ghosts, Kira is left with two choices:

1. Continue her 'therapy' (where she's told the ghost is a hallucination and also gets her legs ogled too often...)

Or

2. Go to Starkfield Academy, a boarding school for "Crazies and Convicts" (as the social media sites call them.)

She chooses the latter...

~ Cory Rand ~ 

Cory Rand has not had an easy life. His mother died in a car accident when he was twelve, and so did his mother's best friend...sort of. You see, Janice made a promise to take care of Cory just before she died, and so she lingers. Undead. A ghost that watches out for him.

Brought up in an abusive home, Cory quickly falls into a life of disreputable behavior. After his third offense (which was prompted by a girl, as usual - he has a weakness) he's left with two choices:

1. Be tried as an adult and share a cell with a guy named Bubba (he thinks...)

Or

2. Go to Starkfield Academy, which Cory is pretty sure is run by vampires. But, hey, at least he'll get an education.

He chooses the latter...

It's at Starkfield that Kira meets Cory Rand, a boy with an insatiable Rage who sees ghosts, too. As well as other things, other things from his past, things that confuse him, things like fire and witches and demons.

Things he's always ignored.

Until now.


Excerpt


PROLOGUE
-1-
The Puppy Eyes
My life was perfect.
I had the perfect shoes and the perfect friends and I lived in the perfect house.
My nails were perfect and my hair was perfect (except on Sundays, it was always
windy on Sundays) and I had the perfect clothes. My lips were a perfect red and my
hair perfectly straight. My eyeshadow was perfect, my hips were...okay, and my
waist...well...also okay. Nothing was wrong in my life.
But then there was Jack.
Jack was a problem.
He needed to go. I mean, when you’re dead, you’re dead! I had told him this
endlessly. Somehow, Jack didn’t get it. I mean, I felt sorry for the guy. Sure. Being
stuck between this life and the next. But just because I found him, does that mean I
needed to keep him?
I think not!
Sadly, when Jack got that look in his eyes, that weary, almost teary (if his tearducts
worked) look, I melted. I just couldn’t send him away. Not even Jack knew
where he would go after he died.
Would he, like, die? As in — dead, nada, kaput, finito, gone, no more? Bye bye,
sayonara, ciao, hasta la vista baby and all that?
I couldn’t have that on my conscience. No way.
I lay on my bed, wondering what to do about him. “Jaaaaaaack,” I hollered.
“Jaaaaaaack!”
Still no answer.
“Jack!”
Jack...materialized.
His eyes rolled down to the ground. He was making those puppy eyes again.
“Jack, I told you not to do that. I told you not to play on my sympathies.”
His puppy eyes became worse.
His skin was gray and, well, dead.
“Oh, brother,” I said. “I have to do something about you. If mom finds out I have
another ‘imaginary friend’ — at my age — well, I’d die of embarrassment. But, like,
really die. Not like you.” I wondered about this. Would I die? Was Jack a freak
accident, or did all people live on like him? Think of the cemeteries...
The idea excited me somewhat.
“What would you have me do, Miss Kira?”
“Knock off the Miss Kira crap. I told you it’s just Kira.”
“Yes, Miss Kira.”
The dead. There’s just no reasoning.
“Fine, Miss Kira it is then.” Rover barked like a lunatic in the garden. No one
else might be able to see Jack, but I was sure my dog could.
“I have to do something about this,” I mumbled.
-2-
The Rat
Mike knocked on the door before I had time to leave the house. Mike was the
guy I thought (at the time) was perfect.
“Who is it?”
“It’s me, baby.”
Baby, urgh — I wasn’t his baby. I dated Mike because he was the quarterback,
because girls are supposed to like the quarterback, because it’s just so darn perfect to
be seen with the quarterback, like we’re brainwashed into thinking these things from
the first romantic doll set mom buys us.
This was my previous life.
“Mike.”
“Uh-huh. Gonna let me in?”
So you can try rub me up and then complain when I don’t let you? This, dear
reader, was the big problem with Mike. The second we first kissed, his hand went way
too far south for me to be comfortable — and I pulled back.
Mike suddenly wasn’t so perfect.
“Uhm, I was just on my way out,” I said.
“Kira? C’mon, open the door.” He sounded upset. “Is there someone in there
with you?”
Boys. As if.
I didn’t know much about love (nothing, actually) but I knew this wasn’t it.
“Uhm, now’s not the time, Mike.”
“C’mon, Kira, what’s going on?” He banged harder.
When in doubt...lie. I opened the door a crack. “There’s a dead rat in the house,
Mike. Been here for days. I gotta go get some detergent and stuff to handle the
stench.”
Mike stepped back. He peered through the crack of the door.
“It’s really bad,” I said.
“I’ll drive you.”
“I’m afraid the smell” — I stuck my armpit to my nose — “has found its way all
over me. I’ll drive myself.”
“O — okay. Fine.” And then he grinned like he wanted something. “Later? My
place?”
Urgh. “Uhm, sure...er...later. Not sure when though.”
“Six.”
I fought the urge to roll my eyes. According to girls at school, he was apparently
so damn good looking — theoretically. But for me personally, he did nothing. Moved
nothing. Twisted nothing. “Look, I gotta go, Mike. I gotta — ”
“Kira.” His eyes grew stern. “You’ve been avoiding me...”
Bingo! Well done contestant number one! And what have you won? A brain!
I tilted my head. “Mike, look, this...rat — I need to deal with it. We’ll talk later,
okay? Bye.” I closed the door, not waiting for an answer, and peered out the peep
hole. Mike hung around for a second, shoulders wide and eyes glaring straight at me
through the door. Could he see me? Did he know I was looking at him?
He kicked something off the ground, and I had the distinct impression he
mouthed the word Bitch before leaving. But I wasn’t sure...
-3-
The Mack
“Roll down the window, Jack.” Jack was recently dead, so he still had a smell
about him. (Which only I could smell...)
I had purposely skipped breakfast. Maybe Jack would help me lose weight. I was
(still am) a little wide, although it had never stopped guys flirting with me. I know
how to dress.
But I could be skinnier.
Lucy Rogers was skinny. All bones and no boobs.
Charlene Carverton was a babe. Cheerleader. Big chest (which she pushed out
generously with a push-up — if only guys knew). Toned thighs. Charlene only dated
college boys (back then), which I still think is pretty gross for a girl her age.
“He’s not for you,” Jack said out the blue.
“Hmm?”
“This...Mike — he’s wrong for you, Miss Kira.” For all Jack’s faults (mainly,
being dead), he has a good heart. Factually, probably it’s why I kept him around at
first.
“You think I don’t know that?”
“Then why don’t you dump him?”
I braked at a stop sign. Looked left and right. “Because I’d look like an idiot. I
flirted with him and showed interest, and one kiss later I can’t stand the sight of him.”
“So dump him.”
“It’s not that simple. Kids at school — they can be vicious. I have to let it fade
slowly. If I drop the bomb on him, I’ll never hear the end of it through senior year.”
“And you care?”
Yes, I did. Forget Guantanamo, schools are rough. “You don’t understand, Jack.
Maybe school was different in your day. But in mine, well, we walk through metal
detectors.”
“Schools weren’t too different in my day.” I noted the sadness in his voice.
“You okay?”
“I’m dead.”
Right. “You miss...your life?”
Jack shrugged. “I like being with you, Miss Kira. And I don’t remember much of
my life. I think I’m in limbo.”
“Limbo?”
“Yes, like I have some unfinished business. If only I could remember...what...it
is...” He scratched his head.
“Any ideas?”
“Well, it can’t be love. If it were love, I’d be a vampire. That’s who teenage girls
fall in love with these days.”
“A vampire? That’s just what I need — two undead beings stalking me.”
“I feel I have something to do around you, Miss Kira. I don’t know what, but
something. Something important.”
I looked over at him. “Me?”
I was still looking at him when I missed the stop sign.
The Mack truck drove straight into us.

Buy Links

Kindle Unlimited

$20 Amazon Gift Voucher Giveaway

At the back of the book there is a giveaway link. Once the book hits fifty reviews on Amazon, one of those reviewers will win a $20 (US Dollars) Amazon Gift Voucher!

Author Bio

R P Channing started writing three years ago, but never published anything even after churning out over a million words of fiction. Thirst: Blood of my Blood is the first book he dared to publish. When asked why, he said, “Because it’s the first thing I wrote that my wife actually enjoyed reading.” When not hammering away (most literally) at his keyboard, he can be found buried in a book, reading anything from romance to horror to young adult to non-fiction to comedy.

Author Links

Twitter
Amazon

  

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

The Evening Spider by Emily Arsenault

The Evening Spider by Emily Arsenault
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

1885, Northampton Lunatic Hospital. Frances Bernett is retelling her story to a visitor. Frances is a young wife and a mother who started to question her memories and her sanity after her child was born. Could her pregnancy have hurt her sanity? And, her obsession with the (true) murder trial of Mary Stannard seems a bit odd.

Present day. Abby is a new mother and she has adjusted to motherhood just fine, but then she starts to have odd experiences in her house. It feels like there is something, someone in her daughter's room and she sometimes wakes up in the middle of the night hearing through the baby monitor “shh”, like there is someone in there comforting her baby. Through research, she finds out that Frances Barnett lived in the house 125 years before. Could Frances be haunting the house, and if so why?

**********

The cover and the interesting blurb caught my attention and I was eagerly approaching the day I could start to read this book. I love reading books with a parallel story line. And, this one appealed to me quite much because I love haunted house stories. The blurb I read said that it was a psychological suspense and I can understand that the book has been labeled that, unfortunately, I never felt any suspense while reading this book. But, I can understand that there are readers that this book will appeal to very much. I'm just a very hard reader to impress sometimes. I think my main problem was that the story set in 1885 never really got interesting enough for me, the diary notes about the trial and another case that France's husband was representing just never fully worked for me. I did wonder about Frances growing interested for arsenic, especially when she apparently had done something awful to be put in a lunatic asylum. But, I just never really found myself that deeply interested in Frances and her life.

I did, however, like Abby and reading about her struggle with coming to term if the house was haunted or not. And, through Abby's struggle, we get to know more about her and a very painful memory that she is carrying with her. I think Abby slowly learning more about the house, revealing some info here and there about her past is what makes the book truly interesting.

The ending was good, especially when the truth about Frances being in a lunatic asylum was revealed.

Would I recommend this book? Yes, just because I didn't feel that this was a thrilling psychological novel doesn't mean that other would not find it so. As I wrote before; I'm very hard to impress sometimes. However, it was interesting to read, and I think if you like reading about women in the last 1900-century and their role in society will you like this book.

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

Interview with B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree Anna Castle

I’d like to welcome B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree Anna Castle to A Bookaholic Swede to talk with me about her story, Death by Disputation. Anna Castle writes the Francis Bacon mysteries and the Lost Hat, Texas mysteries. She has earned a series of degrees -- BA in the Classics, MS in Computer Science, and a PhD in Linguistics -- and has had a corresponding series of careers -- waitressing, software engineering, grammar-writing, assistant professor, and archivist. Writing fiction combines her lifelong love of stories and learning. She physically resides in Austin, Texas and mentally counts herself a queen of infinite space.”

Hi Anna, it's nice to chatting with you. Can you tell me how you discover indieBRAG

My mentor, role model, and good friend M. Louisa Locke has B.R.A.G. medallions for her wonderful Victorian San Francisco mystery series. I do what she does, to the best of my ability. That’s what role models are for!

Can you please tell me more about your book Death by Disputation?

This is mainly Tom’s book. We see Francis Bacon mostly through his letters advising Tom about college and spycraft.

Tom is up to his eyebrows in assertive and attractive women in this book. The headmaster’s wife, Mrs. Eggerley, notices him the minute he first walks into the hall at Corpus Christi College. (She has a squint through which she can watch the hall and the chapel from the headmaster’s lodging.) She chooses him as her paramour of the year and summons him by hanging a pink scarf in the window overlooking the college yard. Second, the preacher Tom suspects as the main Puritan political agitator – the guy he’s been sent to identify – has a very beautiful daughter. She’s exactly Tom’s type – blonde, buxom, and willowy – and he falls in love with her at first sight. Alas, her name is Abstinence, which pulls up the reins everytime he thinks of her.

Did you do a lot of research before you wrote this book?

I do tons of research for every book. That’s part of my fun. I’m hopelessly addicted to the Elizabethan period and can’t learn enough about it! Also I have a PhD, which means settling in with a big stack of books to study is my idea of a good time. And happily, I have access to a great university library. I try to make every setting as real as possible, both the material culture and the social attitudes and beliefs.

For example, I read a couple of articles about the history of contraception, because Mrs. Eggerley is an experienced woman and because Tom is a conscientious guy. They didn’t have anything actually effective, but they did their best. That detail comes up in a scene between those two. And I read lots of books about Puritans in Elizabethan Cambridge, to understand why they were willing to risk serious penalties for their beliefs and why everybody else hated them so much. (They were serious kill-joys! Disputation has a scene in which the Puritans spoil everybody’s beautiful Easter ceremony by pure rudeness.)

I’m curious to why you have chosen to write a historical mystery set during the 16th-century (1500’s).  Is there any special interest behind that decision?

I’m interested in periods of great social change and this is one of the best. The late 16th  /early 17th century – the reigns of Elizabeth I and James I – is one of the most fascinating periods in the history of English-speaking peoples. Our greatest literature comes from that time – Shakespeare, the King James Bible, Francis Bacon, and more. The war with Spain forced England to become a major power, a great sea-faring nation. Internal religious conflicts eventually sent English men and women across the sea to found the American colonies, and we all know how that ended up!

Most of the novels set in the Tudor century (1500s) focus on court politics and executions, but those are the least interesting aspects of the period to me. The Tudor monarchs were nation builders. They threw out the old feudal system and created governments of professional bureaucrats, who built roads, established a postal system, made every parish start keeping census records, encouraged the wealthy to endow schools, fostered a rising class of professional lawyers, doctors, and clergymen.... They passed laws to support the poor in the worst of times and to make it easier for ordinary people to get justice in the courts. All of this fell far short of our standards, but we have to remember these ideas were new at that time. They were making it up as they went along. These are the people I find interesting, maybe because I would have been in that class.

Why did you choose to write historical mystery books?  

I’m a learning junkie, but I don’t want to argue about interpretations in academic journals. I want to tell stories. Writing historical fiction satisfies both desires. And mysteries are what I read. I enjoy the puzzle aspect, both writing and reading.

Tell me more about Thomas Clarady, he seems like such a fascinating character.

Tom does tend to take over the story. It’s because he’s so game: he’ll jump into whatever’s going and give it his best shot. I invented him as a foil for Francis Bacon. Bacon was a real person, so I have to conform to his reality. I can’t put him in a sword fight or have him romance the lady in the window. In real history, at this time of his life, he was apparently spending most of his time holed up in his chambers at Gray’s Inn reading. That’s great for a budding genius, but it makes for a dull story!

Also Bacon is a shy, introverted, cool-tempered genius. Tom is a regular guy. We can relate to him and his responses to his experiences more than we can to Bacon.

He attracts the attention of two women in this book. Is that something that happens to him often that he’s attracting the attention of women? Is there any special woman in his life?

Tom is a babe magnet; he has been since about age 10. Women want him and he is generous by nature. What can he do? He does come to recognize in this book that there is one special woman. But I can’t you who it is, because that would be a spoiler!

Who is Christopher Marlowe?

Christopher ‘Kit’ Marlowe was an Elizabethan poet and playwright. He wrote Tamburlaine, Dr. Faustus and a few other plays. He was the most admired writer in his day and for good reason. His poetry is still breathtakingly beautiful. He’s the one who wrote the famous line, “Is this the face that launched a thousand ships?” He was so important to the development of drama, we can say that without Marlowe, there would have been no Shakespeare.

He died in an altercation in an ordinary (basically a restaurant) at the age of 29. The official verdict was accidental death, but people have been speculating about whether it might have been murder and if so, who did it, for centuries. Marlowe was mad, bad, and dangerous to know. Brilliant, handsome, loyal to a few close friends, wild-tempered, untameable... It’s impossible to write in this period and not write about Kit.

I’m interested in the religious conflict in this book between the Protestants and the puritans. Can you tell me more about the puritans?  Like for instance why they seemed to be such a threat to Elizabeth’s rule?

That’s a very good question! It’s to our enormous credit that we find it hard to understand why anyone would try to prevent other people from practicing their religion in their own way (within reasonable limits.) That’s a HUGE modern achievement. In Bacon’s time, everyone believed that everyone should believe the same thing. Not just the mainstream people; everyone. Catholics thought everyone should be Catholic, Puritans thought everyone should worship in a plain and strict style. Conformity was seen as essential to a stable society.

The Puritans were a great threat because they believed in a non-hierachical Church. No bishops or archbishops ruling from on high! They believed that each parish should elect its own leaders – the elders – who would then choose a minister for the flock. This is an extremely dangerous idea for an anointed monarch. If you tear down the bishops, who’s next? The queen?

On the village level, the Puritans were just plain obnoxious. I show that a few times in this book. They disrupted time-honored festivities because they considered them ‘popish’ and pagan. They cut down Maypoles, they protested against Christmas. They poked their noses into other people’s lives and publicly shamed them in church for drinking on Sunday or adultery. They would raid churches and tear out all the beautiful things – the carved screens, altar cloths, and candles. They even broke stained glass windows that had stood for centuries!

And, a very important question for me as this is book two in a series. Can you read this book without having read the first book? 

I hope you can. One of my reviewers said it worked for him. There’s a big surprise toward the end of book 1 that will be spoiled if you read any other book first, but otherwise you should be OK. That said, the relationships among the characters do evolve over the series.

Both Tom and Francis get unexpected and unwanted visits from women who are important to them in the latter half of the book.  

Who designed your book cover?

The talented and lovely Jennifer Quinlan of Historical Editorial. She also edits my books; first a content edit and then a copy-edit.

How did you come up with the title for your book?

Titles are part exquisite crafting and part inspiration. They do a lot of work! The word ‘death’ tells readers it’s a mystery. The alliteration signals lightness of tone. ‘Disputation’ doesn’t mean much to most people, other than a sense of conflict, but it’s actually central to the plot. In the sixteenth century, students had to perform a disputation as part of their degree requirements. They stand in the main classroom building at the university with their three prepared questions and must argue their position with all comers. My character Tom has to do this too, with consequences.

Where can the book be bought?

Amazon 
Kobo

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A Message from indieBRAG:

We are delighted that Magdalena has chosen to interview Anna Castle who is the author of, Death by Disputation, our medallion honoree at indieBRAG. To be awarded a B.R.A.G. Medallion ®, a book must receive unanimous approval by a group of our readers. It is a daunting hurdle and it serves to reaffirm that a book such as, Death by Disputation, merits the investment of a reader’s time and money.