Monday, 29 February 2016

Uncommon Stock: Version 1.0 Blog Tour + Giveaway

Uncommon Stock: Version 1.0

by Eliot Peper

on Tour February 15 - March 31, 2016

Uncommon Stock: Version 1.0
by Eliot PeperBook 1 of The Uncommon Series - Continued in Book 2, Uncommon Stock: Power Play. Mara Winkel is rock climbing, mountain biking, and 'studying' her way through school at the University of Colorado, Boulder. But when her best friend James asks her to partner with him to start a disruptive new software company she discovers that the world of technology startups is fraught with intrigue, adrenaline, soaring successes, and scorching failures. It turns out this is especially true when your technology threatens entrenched drug cartels. Mara has to juggle mysterious investors, opaque partners, critical customers, and a team that is as brilliant as it is dysfunctional until only one question remains: win or die.

Book Details:

Genre: Technothriller Published by: Previously FG Press; now Self-Published Publication Date: March 2014 Number of Pages: 231 ISBN: 9781517513214 Series: Uncommon, #1 Purchase Links: Amazon Barnes & Noble Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

Chapter 1
Mara Winkel turned onto the muddy single track and lifted her body off the seat as her mountain bike plunged down the slope through the aspens. It jolted up and down beneath her, the suspension struggling to keep up with gravel and rocks. She yanked the handlebars to the right to avoid a nasty root. Mara quickly corrected her course to keep her front wheel on the two-foot-wide path.
She accelerated as the track cut down the slope at a sharp angle, sucking in a deep breath of Rocky Mountain air as the bright yellow leaves and white trunks flashed by. She lived for this, adrenaline pumping through her body, complete mental focus, and high-speed natural beauty. What more could a girl want?
Craig let out a “Whhoooooppp,” as he launched down the path behind her. He was fast but she had enough of a head start to keep her lead to the bottom.
The course dropped off into a steep switchback and Mara threw her body to the left and torqued the front wheel around hard to the right to make it through the turn. She raised her body farther off the bike and hit the next section of rolling bumps, catching some air in between each one. The suspension thumped rhythmically and she jerked the bike up onto the mossy side of the path to avoid a large mud puddle.
As Mara turned around the next switchback, a small clearing dropped away from the bottom side of the path and she had a clear view of the surrounding mountains awash in textured patches of green and yellow, battling for deciduous September supremacy. The white trunks of the aspens flashed up again as the track dropped into another thick grove.
It took half an hour to get to the bottom of the mountain. By the time Mara sped through the last section of the trail her quadriceps burned and her knuckles had a death grip on the handlebars. She came around a turn and jumped the bike up over an angled rock in the path. Her front wheel landed on a bare aspen root and skittered to the right along the slick wood. Shit.
She desperately tried to wrench the wheel to the left but the bike nosed into the ground and her momentum carried her up and over the handlebars. Goddamnit. She was in the air and her stomach instantly turned into a roiling pit of butterflies, instinctively clenching her jaw so she wouldn’t shatter her teeth on impact. The green-brown blur ended abruptly as she hit the ground so hard it knocked the wind out of her. As she cleared the cobwebs from her head, she realized she was lying in another muddy puddle that tasted like dirt. Oh well, what’s fun without a little danger? Ever since the situation with her and James’ family she’d always liked adrenaline.
She rolled over and spat, heard a metal screech, and then “Fuuuck.” She lost all of her air again as Craig’s shoulder slammed into her stomach and he landed in the same puddle. Shit, she had forgotten he was so close behind her. Stars glimmered and her vision narrowed as she gasped for breath again.
After a few seconds her sight returned to normal and she turned her head to look at Craig. He was spitting out mud and looked up at her looking at him and then they were both laughing and laughing as the cold rush of adrenaline surged through their systems. He leaned over and kissed her hard on the mouth and she could taste sweat, mud, and Clif Bar. She kissed him back and then punched him playfully in the stomach. “I thought you were supposed to be good at this whole mountain biking thing.”
“I wasn’t expecting you to be one of the obstacles.” He raised an eyebrow.
“‘Dynamic course design — the track changes while you’re on it. But you make a good point, I’m an obstacle you have no chance of overcoming.”
“We’ll see about that,” he laughed, dimples creasing the scar on his right cheekbone.
They walked the bikes the rest of the way to the base of the mountain. Luckily the worst of the damage seemed to be a few bent spokes and several bruises that would no doubt surface the next day. Mara was still feeling shaky when they reached the car. Her muscles were disobedient noodles.
She glanced at Craig as they loaded the bikes onto the rack. She still wasn’t quite sure what to make of him. They met in a Greek history course they were both taking to fulfill general education requirements and had been dating for the past two months. He wasn’t really her type, a little too jockish for her taste. On the other hand, he was smart, ambitious, liked the outdoors, and had fantastic shoulders.
They got in the car and Craig pulled out on the highway. Mara’s phone beeped from her purse on the floor and she reached down to grab it. Craig glanced over, annoyed. “Let me guess, little Mr. Precious as always?”
“Shut the hell up! Just because I actually have friends of the opposite gender and don’t resort to fucking them doesn’t mean you have the right to judge me.”
“Come on… whatever.” He looked back to road, pouting.
“Get a life.” It was going to be a long ride back to Boulder.
Mara pulled up the text message on her phone. It was from James after all. All it said was, “3 p.m. tomorrow, The Laughing Goat.”
Chapter 2
“Double cap extra dry?” James’ hair was long, straight, and black. It came down almost to his shoulders, but outside of that he looked more or less like he had since high school. He had on a long-sleeve T-shirt with “e=mc2” emblazoned on the front, jeans, and brown leather flip-flops. Mara was always amazed at his tenacity for wearing sandals through Colorado winters. He pushed the cup and saucer across the table to her. Like all Laughing Goat espressos, the foam was drizzled on in abstract swirls reminiscent of Japanese stone gardens.
“You know me too well. Thanks for the drink.” She took a sip, savoring the airy richness of the steamed milk and the sharp earthy bite of the espresso.
“Oolong for me.” James’ mother had fled from western Taiwan in the 80s and he had inherited her love for tea. He had an entire cupboard filled with exotic varieties and drank it like water. “How’s the quarter going?”
“Meh, lots of work ahead. I’m in Swarson’s governance class, which would need its own library to house the reading list. The rest of my courses are fine but the real pain in the ass is doing LSAT prep at the same time. It’s incredible how illogical logic can be.” She wasn’t a fan of the how the LSAT classes were starting to eat into her free evenings. “How’s life on the other side of campus? Is your massive brain tearing apart whatever syllabi the computer science professors have tried to throw at it?”
James smiled thinly. “Hardly.” He glanced down at his coffee and pursed his lips. Mara could see he was thinking hard about something. He looked up again. “Do you really want to be a lawyer?” “Yeah, I mean, obviously my parents are lawyers. There are a number of family friends who are partners at law firms who would give me an internship. I’ve done well in all the recommended prerequisites. Plus, it seems pretty cool to argue with people for a living.”
“But do you want to be a lawyer, like, day-to-day?”
“Yes, well, yeah I think so. It just seems natural, you know?”
“Oh yeah, I’m sure you’d excel at law school and everything. It just seems like it’s so, well, detail-oriented. You’re so outgoing and active. Mike is a lawyer now, and don’t get me wrong, he loves it.” His older brother was halfway through Hastings Law School in San Francisco. “But I just have sort of a hard time picturing you enjoying pulling all-nighters reading through thousands of pages of contracts and stuff.”
“Well, you’re nerdy and introverted so programming seems perfect for you.” Mara was put off by his attitude. He was acting sort of strange. “Sorry, I guess I haven’t really devoted that much thought to it. James, what’s up? Why the mystery text? You know Craig got all pissy again because you’re my best friend.”
James grimaced with obvious distaste. “I really don’t like that guy. He thinks that just because you two are dating, you can’t hang out with any other guys. He’s such a frat boy, seriously, what do you see in him?”
“Dude, get off my back already! I don’t need two men jealous of each other over nothing. You don’t get to decide who I get to date any more than he gets to decide who I’m friends with. I’ll have you know he’s extremely well endowed.”
He held up his hands in mock surrender. “Alright, alright, T.M.I.! I just don’t like the guy…” “James, I know you like beating around the bush, but why are you interrogating me about my legal ambitions and romantic prerogatives? What’s the deal, man? Are we just here to sip coffee or do you actually have something that you want to talk about?”
James took a sip of tea, put the cup down and looked directly into Mara’s eyes.
“I’m dropping out,” he said.
Chapter 3
This made no sense at all. Mara had known James since he had fallen out of a canoe and she had pulled him back out of the water at a camp near the Russian River in Northern California. He had proceeded to explain that he was trying to figure how the water skeeters did their skeeting and was so focused that he didn’t even notice the branch that knocked him out of the boat. They talked for the rest of the way down the river and it was the first time in Mara’s eleven years that she had met someone she thought might actually be smarter than her. Ever since then they had been inseparable. She remembered the shocking brightness of blood on tablecloth. But that was another story.
James went on to blitz every mathematics competition he could find and his parents sent him to nerd camps at MIT and UC Berkeley during high school summers. He loved chess but his real passion was go, the ancient Chinese strategy board game. Mara had never understood. She didn’t like either game. Why play with toys when the real world was so much more interesting?
Though James still had to master the social side of life, he was a genius, or at least the closest to a genius that Mara had ever met. There was simply no way he was flunking out of college.
Mara drained the last of her cappuccino and tried to regain her composure. “What are you talking about, James? I thought you were blowing all of your C.S. coursework out of the water. Last February one of your professors invited you to be a research assistant in his lab. You can’t be dropping out of school.”
James took a deep breath. “What do you know about pattern recognition?”
After an hour of discussion, the espresso had worked its way through Mara’s system and she had to take a bathroom break. Thoughts were spinning through her head. She took a deep breath and tried to clear her mind as she entered the restroom.
James had been working on a new project for over a year now. Apparently it had started when he was hired as a course reader for one of the upper division math courses. The professor asked him to grade the final assignments for all seventy students in the class. The projects had been submitted online. James started to read them but soon discovered that each one took at least an hour to thoroughly review. Mara couldn’t see James spending two weeks going through assignments and apparently James hadn’t been able to see himself doing it either. Instead, he combined a series of algorithms into a computer program that could automatically flag problems in the student assignments, resulting in much less to review.
The approach ended up working so well that he started adding new functionality. He called the program “Mosaic” after the first popular web browser developed by Marc Andreessen in the early 90s. By the end of the grading process, Mosaic could not only identify incorrect final answers, but also where the logic in students’ proofs had gone awry. At this point, James’ description started going over Mara’s head.
He had shared the program with a few other course readers to test it out and the results were strong. Mosaic was able to ferret out mistakes extremely accurately. Then James had added some “machine learning” layers to Mosaic. Apparently that meant that the program could adapt and evolve on its own based on the problems it faced. Mara had thought that that was the realm of Hollywood robots, but James assured her it was standard practice in computer programming. Mosaic then started to identify not only incorrect answers in the student assignments but also to flag other irregularities. James thought there was a bug in the code and it had stymied him for two weeks before he double checked a few assignments and realized they were plagiarized. Mara grinned. How like James to train a computer to catch cheaters.
As Mara was washing her hands her phone chirped. It was a text from Craig asking if she wanted to go trail running. It was enticing. She hadn’t worked out today and her mind was racing. But she needed to find out what was really going on with James so she texted back that tomorrow might be better. As she slid her phone into her pocket her elbow throbbed, a painful reminder of yesterday’s bike crash.
She walked back out into the flurry of sounds and smells of the coffee shop and sat back down at the table. “Okay, so what gives? Your program can catch math geeks copying each other’s homework?” James smiled. “I call it ‘quantitative pattern recognition.’ Mosaic can take a dataset and deduce how logic sort of flows through it. It can tell when there’s something that doesn’t fit. I set it up to play chess against the freeware game on my computer and after it had played about ten games it started to win every time. Then I set it up to play go against me. I won ninety-five times in a row but then it started to beat me.” James flushed.
“Okay… who cares? I mean, can’t you play any game against a computer?” Mara was more impressed that he had won almost a hundred times in a row.
“No, no, you don’t understand. Go is infamous because, unlike chess, computers can’t beat even moderately good human players. There are just too many different strategic approaches to the game. The analytical artificial intelligence of the computer can’t match the flexibility and pattern recognition of the human brain. It’s crazy that Mosaic is beating me, I haven’t lost to a computer in years.”
“Fine, so Mosaic can beat you in go. But where is this conversation going? Why are you dropping out of school?” she asked.
James squared his jaw. “I’m going to start a company. And I need your help to do it.”

Author Bio:

Eliot PeperEliot is a writer and strategist based in Oakland, CA. He is the author of The Uncommon Series and when he’s not hacking away at his next novel, he works with entrepreneurs and investors to build new technology businesses as a drop-in operator and adviser. He was an entrepreneur-in-residence at a venture capital firm where he accelerated portfolio companies, sourced/vetted deals and advised foreign governments on innovation policy and capital formation. He has been a founder and early employee at multiple startups.

Catch Up With Eliot: Eliot Peper's website Eliot Peper's twitter Eliot Peper's facebook

Tour Participants:

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This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Eliot Peper. There will be 3 winners of 1 $10 Amazon.com US Gift card. The giveaway begins on February 15th and runs through March 31st, 2016.
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Saturday, 27 February 2016

To DNF or not?

I've been thinking today about DNF's. Most people that are writing or reading reviews probably knows it, but DNF means Did Not Finish. Before I started to write book reviews (for real) in 2014 was the idea of not finishing a book, not a big deal. Then, I discovered Goodreads, I started my own blog over at Booklikes and I joined sites like NetGalley and Edelweiss. And, I started to receive ARC's (Advance Reading Copy) and that's when DNF's started to play a big part in my life for suddenly I was given books and I was expected to write reviews and as much as I did and still enjoy that, sometimes a book is not that good or just not to my taste. So what to do?

Well, sometimes I forced myself through a book and even 200-300 pages long book can feel pretty long when you dislike it and I often noticed that my mood turned sour when I was reading something that displeased me. It even made me get sick and tired of reading altogether. So now and then I started to DNF a book. I felt a bit guilty about writing to the publisher and informing them that the book didn't work, and I do still feel a bit guilty. I have been given this ecopy and sometimes send home a book for free and I failed to like it. What's wrong with me?



But last year in December was I going through my book at NetGalley, trying to get my ratio up and wonder what on earth possessed me to request some books. And, I realized that I can't keep forcing myself through books, I needed to set a limit. I will read 20% of the book and if it's not working for me will I DNF it and it has pretty much made my life better.

Yesterday I read a book and I DNF't it at 50%. Why? Because I knew that it would not work for me. I felt that every page just made me more and frustrated with the story, I disliked the main character to a point that I even raged about her when I talked to my mother and made her dislike the person too. So, I quite and then I wrote to the publisher and explained that the book didn't work for me. I think it's actually better to stop early, write perhaps a short "review" about why the book didn't work for you rather than forcing your way through the book and writing a review about how much you dislike the book. In the end, this is a hobby, and no hobby should make you feel bad...

  • How do you feel about DNF? 
  • Do you always finish a book?


Thursday, 25 February 2016

Cover Crush: Murder on the Quai by Cara Black



Erin over at Flashlight Commentary is the one that came up with the cover crush idea and I loved it so much that I decided that every Thursday would I post a cover that I really love. Because let's face it, we all choose books because of the cover. It's the cover that makes us stop and take out a book from its shelf, turn the book around and read the blurb. Without a good looking cover it's a big chance a potential reader will walk away from a book. 

This week's Cover Crush is the gorgeous cover for Murder on the Quai by Cara Black! Oh là là, that's one fine looking cover with the Eiffel tower really catching your eyes! I have this book as an ARC, but I do wish I had this in hardcover instead. It's just not the same thing with an ebook and especially not an ARC...



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Other blogs Cover Crushes

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

The Shadow Hour by Kate Riordan

The Shadow Hour by Kate Riordan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The year is 1922 and Grace has been hired to be a little boy's governess in the crumbling Fenix House. She is following in her grandmother's footsteps who was governess there years ago. Grace has heard stories since she was little about the house, but she realized when she arrives at Fenix House that her grandmother's stories perhaps not are all true. Why did her grandmother that she should work at the house and what really happened all the years ago when her grandmother worked a summer at Fenix House?

**********

I read The Girl in the Photograph by Kate Riordan last year and liked the book and I knew that I wanted to read this one when I saw that this one also had to a story about two women in different eras, one in 1878 and one in 1922. In 1878, we meet Harriet who has lost her father and has to work as a governess since she because her father's business crashed. Around 40 years later her granddaughter Grace also takes the job as a governess. Both women have what her grandmother calls “glimmers”; vague visions of the future. Grace realized quite soon that everything her grandmother told her is not entirely true. For instance, the room she gets is not the one that her grandmother described for her, but it's the room that every governess has slept in. And, that is just a little thing, the more she learns the more she realizes that her grandmother has told her quite a lot of embellished stories while the truth seems to be that the summer all those years ago is a much darker story.

There was a moment around 60-70% into the book when I felt a bit frustrated with the fact that there were 200 pages left of the book. I did enjoy the story, but I felt that a 500+ pages book need to have a story that keeps the interest up all the time and right at that moment I felt that too much of the time was spent on less interesting events and I wanted to know what really happened in 1878. Fortunately, the story picked up the pace and I was rewarded with a really good ending.

I enjoyed most of the book, I did, however, feel that the "romance" in 1878 was a bit predictable. But Harriet's past with the wife in the house made the story really good. The book was a bit darker that I expected. I thought it would just be a granddaughter discovering that her grandmother had a different past than she had been told since she was little. Which, in a way is true, but still the story turned out different from what had I expected, which I liked.

I liked both storylines. Sometimes a storyline is weaker than the other, but in this book both are interesting to read. I also think that this book is better than The Girl in the Photograph. The story is more interesting and I loved they way Riordan decided to end the book.

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

The Damage Done by James Oswald

The Damage Done by James Oswald
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An Edinburgh police vice squad raid goes embarrassingly wrong when the house they raid is not a brothel, but a private home. However, it seems that the people there seem to be having sex (kinky sex in a cage kind of sex), but it's not illegal. But, there is something about the place that is familiar with Tony McLean, it reminds him of a case when he was a young cop.

**********

My mother read the first book a little while ago and she loved it. So, I didn't hesitate when I got the chance to read this one. Strangely enough, I had some problem getting really into the story which confused me since I couldn't really find anything faulty with the tale. It felt more like there was just something about the story that just didn't work for me. I'm thinking the case, sex crimes aren't really my favorite book subject. And, I felt like I kept waiting for the story to take off, but it never did. I was actually on the verge of giving up. But, instead, I closed the book, well closed my Ipad and decided to continue the next day.

And, the next day the book started to work, either a break was what I needed or the book's story took off. It's probably a combination I was a bit tired at the end the day before. Anyway, the last around 160 sides of the book was quite enjoyable and the ending was intriguing. And, after I read the book did I ask my mother if there is anything supernatural going on in the book she had read and sure it was. And, that explained a lot that mystified me during the time I read the book.

The case was in a way interesting, but it felt like it took forever for Tony McLean to figure things out. I kept waiting for him to realize who the Heather was and it was frustrating to read about how he knew he had seen her before, but couldn't place her. It just took a bit too long time for the penny to drop. The case got better when Tony and the rest figured out the connection a cold case had with the deaths in the present. And, now thinking back to the story with knowledge about the paranormal aspect of the story makes some things that happened so much more sense. Especially the confrontation towards the end,

The book and I had a shaky start, I was thinking of giving up, but I prevailed and I was rewarded with a book that in the end turned out to be quite good. I'm looking forward to reading the first book in the series.

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

View all my reviews

Try Not to Breathe by Holly Seddon

Try Not to Breathe by Holly Seddon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Amy Stevenson was attacked 15 years ago and have ever since been in a coma. No one has been caught for the brutal attack. Alex Dale was once a loving wife, a mother to be and a brilliant journalist. Now she has nothing left. But, then she does an interview with a doctor about coma patients and meets Amy. They are close in age and grew up close by, but they never met. Amy remembers the case and the more she investigates about it the more obsesses is she to solve what happened to Amy. But, how to solve a crime when the only witness can't talk?

I was intrigued by the blurb, about a coma patient being the only witness to a crime. Alex Dale is an alcoholic who drank away her marriage and career. She is now trying to put her life together, which isn't that easy and it's especially hard for her to learn that her ex-husband has moved on with his life. So, Amy Stevenson becomes in many ways her lifeline, something to focus on while she tries to sort of her life. We also have Jacob, who is a sitter. He sits by the coma patients and keeps them company talking. But, he seems to have a special connection to Amy.

I had some trouble getting into the story; I found the story a bit trying sometimes. Not so much the storyline with Amy, but with Jacob. I was sometimes quite frustrated with him and his secrets and even though I often found his wife Fiona a bit annoying do I understand her frustration with Jacob. He should have come clean to her years ago.

I found it not that hard to figure out the identity of the attacker. Sure, I was not completely sure, but I had a gut feeling of whom it would be. There were some clues scattered in the book that made me more and more sure during the progress of whom it would be. Still, the confrontation scene towards the end of the book was intense, there is always a possibility that I could be wrong. But, I was right. However, I did enjoy the book, despite having a suspicious feeling about who the attacker was. Sometimes half the fun with a whodunnit book is trying to find out who the attacker is and see if you have the right person at the end.

This may not be the best thriller I have read, but still it was a good one and I quite liked Alex Dale and wouldn't mind reading more books by the author.

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

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Spotlight: Death of a Nurse by M.C. Beaton

About DEATH OF A NURSE
The Hamish Macbeth series continues with a new mystery featuring Scotland's most quick-witted but unambitious policeman….
James Harrison has recently moved to a restored hunting lodge in Sutherland with his gorgeous private nurse Gloria Dainty. When Hamish visits Mr. Harrison to welcome him to the neighborhood, the cantankerous old man rails at him and tosses him out. The sting of Harrison’s dismissal diminishes somewhat when Gloria takes it upon herself to smooth things over and apologizes. Charmed by her, Hamish invites her out for dinner yet on the appointed evening, she never arrives at the restaurant. Four days later, Gloria's body washes up on the beach. Now battling more than the embarrassment of being stood up at dinner, Hamish must find out who killed the beautiful new resident of Sutherland and why, before the truth devastates the community…
For a quick sneak peek, you can download our free e-preview for the first three chapters herehere, or here!
About M.C. Beaton
M. C. Beaton has won international acclaim for her New York Times bestselling Hamish Macbeth mysteries. The BBC has aired 24 episodes based on the series. Beaton is also the author of the bestselling Agatha Raisin series, which will air as an eight-episode dramatic series on Sky1, starring Ashley Jensen. She lives in the Cotswolds with her husband. For more information, you can visit http://www.mcbeaton.com/us/ or at http://facebook.com/MCBeatonAuthor
Praise for M.C. Beaton & Hamish MacBeth 
"Longing for escape? Tired of waiting for Brigadoon to materialize? Time for a trip to Lochdubh, the scenic, if somnolent, village in the Scottish Highlands where M. C. Beaton sets her beguiling whodunits featuring Constable Hamish Macbeth.”—New York Times Book Review 
"Hamish Macbeth is that most unusual character, one to whom the reader returns because of his charming flaws. May he never get promoted."—New York Journal of Books 
"With residents and a constable so authentic, it won't be long before tourists will be seeking Lochdubh and believing in the reality of Hamish Macbeth as surely as they believed in Sherlock Holmes."—Denver Rocky Mountain News 
"Macbeth is the sort of character who slyly grows on you."—Chicago Sun-Times
 "The latest appearance by the charming Scot...provides all the quirky characters and striking Highlands scenery you could want, along with one of Beaton's most successful mysteries."—Kirkus Reviews 
"Macbeth, when roused to action, is very canny at solving mysteries, and the Highlands setting is always satisfying. A fine mix of eccentric characters, vivid landscape, and engaging mystery."Booklist 

The Silent Girls by Ann Troup Blog Tour

The Silent Girls by Ann Troup
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What if everything you knew was a lie…

This house has a past that won’t stay hidden, and it is time for the dead to speak.

Returning to Number 17, Coronation Square, Edie is shocked to find the place she remembers from childhood reeks of mould and decay. After her aunt Dolly’s death Edie must clear out the home on a street known for five vicious murders many years ago, but under the dirt and grime of years of neglect lurk dangerous truths.

For in this dark house there is misery, sin and dark secrets that can no longer stay hidden. The truth must come out.

Finding herself dragged back into the horrific murders of the past, Edie must find out what really happened all those years ago. But as Edie uncovers the history of the family she had all but forgotten, she begins to wonder if sometimes it isn’t best to leave them buried.

An unforgettable and addictive story, perfect for fans of Lesley Thomson, Diane Chamberlain and Tracy Buchanan.

Review:

I got the opportunity to participate in the blog tour for Anne Troup's book The Lost Girl last year. I liked the book so when I got the opportunity to participate in a blog tour, for her second book The Silent Girls did I say yes right away. And, let me tell you this book is great!

Edie is returning to Number 17, Coronation Square to clean out the house after aunt has died, but her aunt Dolly has one or two secrets hidden in the house. And, not every friendly face is trustworthy will Edie learn during the progress of the book. I like the fact that the street where Edie's aunt lived seems so normal, at first. Then, you slowly see that the street has a darker side. Of course, the murders decades back in the past has given the street a place on the map (there are even murder tours for tourists).

The pacing in the book is good, it doesn't give away all the secrets too fast and I really feel for Edie who is slowly realizing that not everything is fine. She is just there to clean out a house and suddenly the secrets from the past are being revealed and perhaps some secret should not be revealed.

This is the kind of book I love to read, with buried secrets that have been waiting to be revealed. It's a page-turner with a truly great ending. I did have some suspicions that proved to be right. But, that never bothered me. In some cases, like in this book is nice to discover that you were, after all, right. The book never gets boring. I wanted to find out what really happened all the years ago when several women were killed. Did they catch the right killer?

In the end, I just want to say that this is a great book, perfect for anyone that likes to read mystery books with people with deep dark secrets.



About Ann Troup: Ann Troup tells tales and can always make something out of nothing (which means she writes books and can create unique things from stuff other people might not glance twice at). She was once awarded 11 out of 10 for a piece of poetry at school – she now holds that teacher entirely responsible for her inclination to write.

Her writing space is known as ‘the empty nest’, having formerly been her daughters bedroom. She shares this space with ten tons of junk and an elderly Westie, named Rooney, who is her constant companion whether she likes it or not. He likes to contribute to the creative process by going to sleep on top of her paperwork and running away with crucial post-it notes, which have inadvertently become stuck to his fur. She is thinking of renaming him Gremlin.

She lives by the sea in Devon with her husband and said dog. Two children have been known to remember the place that they call home, but mainly when they are in need of a decent roast dinner, it’s Christmas or when only Mum will do. She also has extremely decent stepchildren.

In a former incarnation she was psychiatric nurse, an experience which frequently informs her writing. She has also owned a cafe and an art/craft gallery. Now she only makes bacon sandwiches as a sideline, but does continue to dabble with clay, paint, paper, textiles, glue…you name it. Occasionally she may decide to give away some of these creations (you have been warned!).




Monday, 22 February 2016

Mrs. Houdini by Victoria Kelly

Mrs. Houdini by Victoria Kelly
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Escape artist Harry Houdini promised his wife Bess before he died that if it was possible would he find a way to speak to her again after death with a coded message only she would understand. Through this book, we get to follow Bess as she struggles through a life without Harry and hoping to get a message from him that he is waiting for her. The book also has a parallel storyline with her meeting Harry and their life together up until his death.

I have a longstanding fascination with Harry Houdini and knew instantly I wanted to read this book. But, strangely enough, I had a bit of a hard time getting into the story. I felt that the characters never really came to life for me. It was a good, book just not a riveting book. I had hoped to really get lost in the story, instead, if felt that I struggled to read, despite the book being not that thick. However, towards the end of the book, did I finally feel that the book's story started to get to me. There was just something about the last part that resonated with me. I wish I had felt the same connection towards the rest of the book, but I'm happy that at least did I feel that the book got to me.

It was not in any way a bad book. Both storylines are good and I did enjoy reading about the Houdini's and I liked the way Victoria Kelly took some liberties with their story. And, I absolutely loved the ending! Also, I like the cover, but I didn't know the meaning of if until I had finished the book. I love reading a book and when you are done you finally realize the meaning of the cover.

I recommend this book. It's an interesting mix of fiction and fact and it's fascinating to read a story from Bess point-of-view, her life with Harry Houdini. A love story that not even death could stop...

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

Sunday, 21 February 2016

The Girl In The Ice by Robert Bryndza

The Girl In The Ice by Robert Bryndza
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

DCI Erika Foster is called in to lead a missing person case, but the investigation is changed to a murder investigation when the body of the girl is found under the ice in a South London park. Erika, still traumatized after recently losing her husband clash both with fellow police officers, especially the man she replaced in the investigations and the dead girls family. And, the trail she follows seems to point to other dead girls, but it's a lead that she has to fight with higher powers to follow. They seem to be more inclined to try to pin the murder on an ex-boyfriend than thinking that it's a serial killer loose.

I caved in and requested The Girl In The Ice from NetGalley after seeing the book everywhere. I mean crime novels are one of my favorite genres and everyone seems to love this book so what the heck. And, it was good. It's the kind of book that I love to spend an evening reading, with a cup of hot chocolate and a sleeping cat on my stomach/chest. Yeah, that's his place, no wonder I can read for hours since it's not always easy to move.

Erika Foster is a bit unstable after the death of her husband. Personally, I feel that she should not be working so soon. Perhaps some more time off would have made her less impulsive. She is not a bad cop, but she did do things against order (quite a lot) that makes me understand that the higher officers got a bit fed up. But, one can also see that her line of thinking when it comes to the case was more about finding the real killer and not kiss ass and do what the high and mighty think, like the girl's father that seemed to have way too much power over the investigation just because he has a high-status in society.

The revealing of the killer was never in my opinion that surprising. I had my suspicion and it turned out I was right. Still, it was a thrilling ending, despite the lack of surprise when it came to the killers identity. I liked how it all came together, how it all was revealed. I don't mind being right on who the murderer is in a book as long as the ending is good and thrilling. And, this book managed that.

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

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Cover Reveal: Caught Bread Handed by Ellie Alexander

Welcome to the cover reveal of Caught Bread Handed by Ellie Alexander! This is the fourth book in the Bakeshop Mystery series and releases June 28 by St. Martin's Press.

About the Book:
Welcome to Torte—a friendly, small-town family bakeshop where the oven is heating up as high as the body count…

Jules Capshaw is still chewing over her husband Carlos’s return to Ashland, Oregon. Could there be too many cooks in the kitchen? Whatever is stirring between those two will have to wait. Despite the Oregon Shakespeare Festival being dark for the winter, the bakeshop is bustling, the dough is rolling, and there’s no rest for the weary… especially when murder is thrown into the mix.

When Mindy Nolan, the owner of a new restaurant in town, turns up dead, the batter at hand thickens. Jules knows that there was bad blood between Mindy and others in town, and tracking the killer could prove to be an unwelcome treat. And to top it all off, there’s Carlos, who is pleading—with those delicious dark eyes and sexy Spanish accent—for Jules to take him back. Is home where the heart is or will she make a fresh start… and risk getting burned?
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About the Author:

Ellie Alexander is a Pacific Northwest native who spends ample time testing pastry recipes in her home kitchen or at one of the many famed coffeehouses nearby. When she’s not coated in flour, you’ll find her outside exploring hiking trails and trying to burn off calories consumed in the name of research. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter to learn more.

***

GIVEAWAY:

Signed copies of the first 3 books in the series plus a signed cover flat of CAUGHT BREAD HANDED
Triple chocolate chip cookie mix
Oregon Chai
Dagoba (Ashland) chocolate chai
Dagoba chocolates
Spiced apple cider
Open to US addresses only
Ends March 23, 2016
Prizing is provided by the author, hosts are not responsible. Must be 13 or older to enter and have parental permission if under 17. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary to win.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
This event was organized by CBB Book Promotions.


Wish List: 5 historical fiction books based on real people

The Wishlist post is something that I started to do January 2016, together with a couple of bookish friends. We each do it and link to each other. 

This month's 5 books I want to read are fictional books about real people. This is a favorite genre of mine. There is just something really tantalizing to read books that are about real people. It's probably one of my absolutely favorite kind of historical fiction. And, probably one genre where I without a problem can read romance. Whether it be a happy or a sad one...

These 5 books are quite different, there is no theme about the books, well 3 of them you can say have an artistic tone, but other than that, there are just 5 of a bunch of books I've chosen from...

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I wish I could tell everyone who thinks we’re ruined, Look closer…and you’ll see something extraordinary, mystifying, something real and true. We have never been what we seemed.
When beautiful, reckless Southern belle Zelda Sayre meets F. Scott Fitzgerald at a country club dance in 1918, she is seventeen years old and he is a young army lieutenant stationed in Alabama. Before long, the “ungettable” Zelda has fallen for him despite his unsuitability: Scott isn’t wealthy or prominent or even a Southerner, and keeps insisting, absurdly, that his writing will bring him both fortune and fame. Her father is deeply unimpressed. But after Scott sells his first novel, This Side of Paradise, to Scribner’s, Zelda optimistically boards a train north, to marry him in the vestry of St. Patrick’s Cathedral and take the rest as it comes.

What comes, here at the dawn of the Jazz Age, is unimagined attention and success and celebrity that will make Scott and Zelda legends in their own time. Everyone wants to meet the dashing young author of the scandalous novel—and his witty, perhaps even more scandalous wife. Zelda bobs her hair, adopts daring new fashions, and revels in this wild new world. Each place they go becomes a playground: New York City, Long Island, Hollywood, Paris, and the French Riviera—where they join the endless party of the glamorous, sometimes doomed Lost Generation that includes Ernest Hemingway, Sara and Gerald Murphy, and Gertrude Stein.

Everything seems new and possible. Troubles, at first, seem to fade like morning mist. But not even Jay Gatsby’s parties go on forever. Who is Zelda, other than the wife of a famous—sometimes infamous—husband? How can she forge her own identity while fighting her demons and Scott’s, too? With brilliant insight and imagination, Therese Anne Fowler brings us Zelda’s irresistible story as she herself might have told it.

For fans of The Paris Wife, Loving Frank, The Other Boleyn Girl and Shanghai Girls . . . a novel inspired by the true-life love affair between Sigmund Freud and his sister-in-law, Minna Bernays.

Minna Bernays is an overeducated woman with limited options. Fired yet again for speaking her mind, she finds herself out on the street and out of options. In 1895 Vienna, even though the city is aswirl with avant-garde artists and writers and revolutionary are still very few options for women besides marriage. And settling is not something Minna has ever done.

Out of desperation, Minna turns to her older sister, Martha, for help. But Martha has her own problems — six young children, a host of physical ailments, a household run with military precision, and an absent, overworked, disinterested husband who happens to be Sigmund Freud. Freud is a struggling professor, all but shunned by his peers and under attack for his theories, most of which center around sexual impulses, urges, and perversions. While Martha is shocked and repulsed by her husband’s "pornographic" work, Minna is fascinated.

Minna is everything Martha is not—intellectually curious, an avid reader, stunning. But while she and Freud embark on what is at first simply an intellectual courtship, something deeper is brewing beneath the surface, something Minna cannot escape.
From a talented new author comes a poignant and haunting novel of creation and desire, passion and madness, art and love.

"I'd heard about him but had never seen him, the foreigner with the funny name who wandered the countryside painting pictures."

A young prostitute seeking temporary refuge from the brothel, Rachel awakens in a beautiful garden in Arles to discover she is being sketched by a red-haired man in a yellow straw hat. This is no ordinary artist but the eccentric painter Vincent van Gogh—and their meeting marks the beginning of a remarkable relationship. He arrives at their first assignation at No. 1, Rue du Bout d'Arles, with a bouquet of wildflowers and a request to paint her—and before long, a deep, intense attachment grows between Rachel and the gifted, tormented soul.
But the sanctuary Rachel seeks from her own troubled past cannot be found here, for demons war within Vincent's heart and mind. And one shocking act will expose the harsh, inescapable truth about the artist she has grown to love more than life.

A spellbinding historical novel about a woman who befriends Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, and is drawn into their world of intrigue, from the author of Margot.

On June 19, 1953, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg were executed for conspiring to commit espionage. The day Ethel was first arrested in 1950, she left her two young sons with a neighbor, and she never came home to them again. Brilliantly melding fact and fiction, Jillian Cantor reimagines the life of that neighbor, and the life of Ethel and Julius, an ordinary-seeming Jewish couple who became the only Americans put to death for spying during the Cold War.

A few years earlier, in 1947, Millie Stein moves with her husband, Ed, and their toddler son, David, into an apartment on the eleventh floor in Knickerbocker Village on New York’s Lower East Side. Her new neighbors are the Rosenbergs. Struggling to care for David, who doesn’t speak, and isolated from other “normal” families, Millie meets Jake, a psychologist who says he can help David, and befriends Ethel, also a young mother. Millie and Ethel’s lives as friends, wives, mothers, and neighbors entwine, even as chaos begins to swirl around the Rosenbergs and the FBI closes in. Millie begins to question her own husband’s political loyalty and her marriage, and whether she can trust Jake and the deep connection they have forged as they secretly work with David. Caught between these two men, both of whom have their own agendas, and desperate to help her friends, Millie will find herself drawn into the dramatic course of history.

As Millie—trusting and naive—is thrown into a world of lies, intrigue, spies and counterspies, she realizes she must fight for what she believes, who she loves, and what is right.

From Erika Robuck, bestselling author of Hemingway’s Girl, comes a brilliant new novel about a literary couple. The unlikely marriage between Nathaniel Hawthorne, the celebrated novelist, and Sophia Peabody, the invalid artist, was a true union of passion and intellect.…

Beset by crippling headaches from a young age and endowed with a talent for drawing, Sophia is discouraged by her well-known New England family from pursuing a woman’s traditional roles. But from their first meeting, Nathaniel and Sophia begin an intense romantic relationship that despite many setbacks leads to their marriage. Together, they will cross continents, raise children, and experience all the beauty and tragedy of an exceptional partnership. Sophia’s vivid journals and her masterful paintings kindle a fire in Nathaniel, inspiring his writing. But their children’s needs and the death of loved ones steal Sophia’s energy and time for her art, fueling in her a perennial tug-of-war between fulfilling her domestic duties and pursuing her own desires.

Spanning the years from the 1830s to the Civil War, and moving from Massachusetts to England, Portugal, and Italy, The House of Hawthorne explores the tension within a famous marriage of two soulful, strong-willed people, each devoted to the other but also driven by a powerful need to explore the far reaches of their creative impulses. It is the story of a forgotten woman in history, who inspired one of the greatest writers of American literature.…

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Check out Heather's Wish List 5: Ancient Lands
Stephanie's The Love of a Good Thrill
Erin's Wishlist Reads: February 2016
Collen's Fiction Based on Real-Life Artists

Friday, 19 February 2016

RIP Harper Lee


Thank You, Harper Lee, for To Kill a Mockingbird. There are good books, then there are books like To Kill a Mockingbird a book that made an impact on me and my life. RIP and say hello to Gregory Peck from me. 

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Cover Crush: The City of the Lost by Kelley Armstrong


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

2 Kids and Tired Books also post cover crushes. Take a look at her new cover crush post! 

This week I'm going to do a bit of a different kind of Cover Crush. As I was going through my books at Goodreads to find a nice cover did I stumble over Kelley Armstrong's The City of the Lost. I have never read a book by Armstrong, but this cover and the blurb intrigues me.

However there are two other covers for the book and I have added them too. Which cover do you like best? I have placed the cover in the order I like them best, with the one I like the most on top.

I think the first one appeals to me because of the forest and the light. I also like the font.The second one is also nice, with the trees and what looks like blood. The last one I have some problem with, there is just something with he text that almost hurts my eyes. It's too blurry.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase


Black Rabbit Hall
by Eve Chase
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Amber Alton knows that the hours pass differently at Black Rabbit Hall, her London family’s country estate, where no two clocks read the same. Summers there are perfect, timeless. Not much ever happens. Until, of course, it does.

More than three decades later, Lorna is determined to be married within the grand, ivy-covered walls of Pencraw Hall, known as Black Rabbit Hall among the locals. But as she’s drawn deeper into the overgrown grounds, half-buried memories of her mother begin to surface and Lorna soon finds herself ensnared within the manor’s labyrinthine history, overcome with an insatiable need for answers about her own past and that of the once-happy family whose memory still haunts the estate.

Stunning and atmospheric, this debut novel is a thrilling spiral into the hearts of two women separated by decades but inescapably linked by the dark and tangled secrets of Black Rabbit Hall.


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I love books with parallel storylines, especially those that involve grand houses, a mystery that has to be solved and skeleton in the closet. So, when I saw this book I just knew I had to read it. And, I wasn't disappointed. I was instantly hooked and couldn't wait out to find out more about what really happened in the 60s that could destroy a family so.

Sometimes one storyline can be weaker than the other, but this time, I found both equally interesting to read. In the 60s are Amber Alton's trials and tribulations touching to read about. She is a young girl that is desperately trying to keep her family together, but at the same time, she is on the verge of womanhood and sometimes actions can have dire consequences. Lorna, on the other hand, is moving forward in life after suddenly losing her mother, a loss that is still raw for her. And, Black Rabbit Hall has a special connection to her. She has photos of her there with her mother standing at the house. Why was her mother so eager to travel just to Black Rabbit Hall when she was little?

I liked the book very much. I was intrigued by the mystery of the Alton family and the mystery of Lorna's connection to the mansion. I think this book will appeal to those that like me like to read books about secrets, old mansions and the people that used to live there. It's a well-written book and I hope to read more from Eve Chase!

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

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

The Devious Dr. Jekyll by Viola Carr

The Devious Dr. Jekyll by Viola Carr
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Dr. Eliza Jekyll (and Lizzie Hyde) and Remy Lafayette are back in The Devious Dr. Jekyll, the sequel to the fantastic The Diabolical Miss Hyde. Once again they have to team up to find a killer, this time, a ritual torturer called the Pentacle Killer. But, there is an enemy that could very well destroy Eliza, and it's not the dangerous Razor Jack who escaped in the confrontation at the end of the last book. No, the enemy is much closer. Much…much closer…

To say that I was very eager to read this book is an understatement. This is by far one of my favorite Steampunk series. But, actually, that isn't saying so much because despite liking the genre I do not read much Steampunk and for two good reasons. First, and most, I so damn sick and tired of vampires! Steampunk and vampires seem to go hand in hand in a way that I just can't understand. I can take anything, zombies, werewolves, monsters whatever, but please no more vampires. Secondly, the damn romance thing, with of course a lot of sex scenes because a book must have at least 250-200 pages and if the plot is razor thin, why not fill it out with sex.Gah!

This book, however, has a plot, an interesting, complex, and enthralling plot (and no vampires). I especially enjoyed reading this book because of the mix of historical characters with literary characters. The mystery is intriguing and Viola Carr has created great characters. Poor Eliza has to fight with Lizzie her devious counterpart who is yearning to be free. Remy Lafayette has his own secret and then there is Mr. Todd, Razor Jack, the dangerous serial killer who seem to be quite taken with Eliza, and her with him, although her fascination with him could be based on a wish to cure him because if she can perhaps, then she can cure herself…

I was a bit surprised of Eliza's and Remy's “relationship”. In the first book I got the feeling it was Lizzie he liked most, but in this, it seemed that Eliza was the one he is after. But then again, they are the same person and it would perhaps be easier to have a relationship with the one in “control”. Personally, I'm not totally sold when it comes to their relationship. I do prefer her more dangerous bond with Razor Jack. But, then again, he is a serial killer so perhaps Remy is better for her (although he has his own problem…hmm)…

I loved this book and I hope for a third book soon!

Northwoods by Bill Schweigart

Northwoods by Bill Schweigart
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ex–Delta Force Davis Holland is now working for the Customs and Border Protection up in the North. It's a more peaceful place to work than Douglas, Arizona where he worked until his bosses transferred him up north after an attack against him. But that is about to change when he and a local sheriff stumbles over a massacre in the woods. Someone or something is loose in the woods, something dangerous.

Wealthy cryptozoologist Richard Severance sends Ben McKelvie, Lindsay Clark, and Alex Standingcloud to investigate. They have not seen each other for around a year, not since a deadly shapeshifter almost killed dem in Barcroft. Now they must once against face danger together.


Northwoods is the sequel to The Beast of Barcroft and despite the fact that I haven't read the book was it quite easy to get into the story. The three main character Ben, Lindsay, and Alex have all bad memories of facing down the shapeshifter the year before and now they are once again investigating something paranormal.

Davis and Barnabus Sheriff Gil were attacked in the woods where the massacre took place and they are still a bit jumpy 2 months later when Ben (and his cat Gus), Lindsay, and Alex travels up north and soon all hell breaks loose.

This book is really great, I find that Bill Schweigart did a marvelous work with creating both very likable characters and an intensive story. I loved the setting of the peaceful towns like Barnabus and how everything very fast goes to hell when the town is attacked. When people start to die and Ben, Lindsay, Alex, and Davids have to start fighting then the book really gets thrilling. I was constantly worried that something would have happened or the main characters or poor Gus the cat and I was almost exhausted when I finished the book after worrying so much about the characters.

Northwoods is one of the best monster books I have ever read. I love the monster-of-the-week episodes X-files when Mulder and Scully were out in the woods hunting bigfoot etc. and this book had some X-files vibes. Now I really want to read The Beast of Barcroft!

Thanks to Hydra and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Monday, 15 February 2016

Harrow County, Vol. 2: Twice Told by Cullen Bunn

Harrow County, Vol. 2: Twice Told by Cullen Bunn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After the events in the first volume, has peace returned to Harrow County, and Emmy is using her powers for good. But peace is shattered when a girl arrives from the city. A girl that looks just like Emmy...

I liked the first volume quite much, but this one was even better. Emmy's story was established in the first volume and here the story progress with Emmy getting more used to her powers and the neighbors seem to appreciate her help when they have a supernatural problem. But, this peaceful situation changes when a young girl arrives. And, with that, the story takes off. I like the difference between the girls, despite looking alike are the motives quite different and all this will lead to a big confrontation.

The art is wonderful. I know I was a bit doubtful about the art when I started to read the first volume, but it grew on me and now I really like it. I quite like how the story progress and I can't wait to read more about Emmy and what will happen next to her.


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

View all my reviews

Sunday, 14 February 2016

The Beast of Barcroft by Bill Schweigart only $0.99/1.24 on amazon!


I loved the sequel Northwoods (review will go live in a couple of days when the book is published) and buying the first book in this series for just 1.24 was great!

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Fans of Stephen King and Bentley Little will devour The Beast of Barcroft, Bill Schweigart’s brilliant new vision of dark suburban horror. Ben thought he had the neighbor from hell. He didn’t know how right he was. . . .

Ben McKelvie believes he’s moving up in the world when he and his fiancée buy a house in the cushy Washington, D.C., suburb of Barcroft. Instead, he’s moving down—way down—thanks to Madeleine Roux, the crazy neighbor whose vermin-infested property is a permanent eyesore and looming hazard to public health.

First, Ben’s fiancée leaves him; then, his dog dies, apparently killed by a predator drawn into Barcroft by Madeleine’s noxious menagerie. But the worst is yet to come for Ben, for he’s not dealing with any ordinary wild animal. This killer is something much, much worse. Something that couldn’t possibly exist—in this world.

Now, as a devilish creature stalks the locals, Ben resolves to take action. With some grudging assistance from a curator at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and the crackpot theories of a self-styled cryptozoologist, he discovers the sinister truth behind the attacks, but knowing the Beast of Barcroft and stopping it are two different animals.


Original post: maddan3.booklikes.com/post/1343028/the-beast-of-barcroft-by-bill-schweigart-only-0-99-1-24-on-amazon

Friday, 12 February 2016

The House of Eyes by Kate Ellis

The House of Eyes by Kate Ellis
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars

After reading The Death Season, last year was I pleasantly surprised to receive The House of Eyes a while back from Piatkus. This was a book I really looked forward to reading, I just needed to get some other books done first. The story seemed interesting; A young girl goes missing and her father goes to the police to file a missing person report. But, is she really missing or did she just ditch her job at Eyecliffe Castle to go to London to become a model that she dreamed of and just not tell her parents about it? Or, has something bad happened to her? Could there be some truth in what the father says that a photographer has been stalking her before she disappeared? That's what DI Wesley Peterson has to find out.

Everything sounds interesting, and yet, I just couldn't get into the story. The intro chapter was interesting and hooked me right away with a baby being kidnapped, and then the story just fell flat for me. I couldn't for me life get pulled into the case with the missing girl. I put the book down several times reading other things instead until I finally just sat down to finish the book. And, still the case just didn't work for me. Oh, there were things here and there that worked, but that mostly was related to the past with the missing girls from the 50s and the kidnapped baby. The last 60 pages or so were where I felt the book truly become a bit better for me and I started to enjoy reading the book a bit more. The conclusion of the book was good, and I loved that the ending felt open for a future book. But, still I'm really sad that this book just didn't work out for me since the previous book was so good.

One thing that I had a problem with that definitely didn't do this book any favors was the diary notes at the beginning of each chapter. I don't like cursive fonts in books, ever! It's hard to read and frankly, I tend to just browse through the text just to get on with it.

So, despite my love for the previous book, was this just not for me. The story isn't bad, I just felt disconnected with it and the characters. Wesley's wife Pam has some personal problem for instance and I just couldn't muster any concern for her. I do think that readers will like this book, it's not badly written, it just wasn't for me.

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

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Cover Crush: The Diabolical Miss Hyde by Viola Carr


Erin over at Flashlight Commentary is the one that came up with the cover crush idea and I loved it so much that I decided that every Thursday would I post a cover that I really love. Here is the cover Erin choose this week, also take a look at 2 Kids and Tired Books new cover crush post! 

This is a truly favorite cover. I totally fell in love with this cover last year and luckily the book proved to be really good as well. As you probably notice this is a steampunk novel and I love how the characters are posed and the images behind them, with the cogwheels and the houses. It's a nice blend of historical fiction and steampunk. I'm quite sure that it's Lizzie Hyde and not Dr. Eliza Jekyll on the cover. The clothes are a dead giveaway...;)