Saturday, 31 December 2016

Bout of Books 18

Woop woop! It's time again for the Bout of Books! 

This is an excellent way of getting to the bottom of your reading pile, or in my case make a dent. I will post later on my reading plan, the books I plan to read!  

What is Bout of Books?
The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, January 2nd and runs through Sunday, January 8th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 18 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team
Bout of Books 18

Friday, 30 December 2016

My neverending eARC pile: Historical Fiction (Part 1)

I have a lot of eARCs ( advanced reader copies), and I thought I would do something about the situation next year. namely go through and read old ones that I have wanted to read for some time but forgotten. This is part one since I can't cover them all in one post (have over 400 eARCs).

I also thought I theme them. So this one is Historical Fiction. And, comments is appreciated since I want to star off reading books that are good!

**********

The Pretender's Lady by Alan Gold

In the page-turning popular genre trail-blazed by Antonia Fraser and Phillippa Gregory, The Pretender’s Lady, Alan Gold’s meticulously researched novel, accurately opens history’s pages on a peerless woman who helped change the course of history and whose legend lives on in Scotland today—Flora MacDonald.

She was the most famous Scotswoman of her day, single handedly saving Bonnie Prince Charlie. This is her fictionalized life story—her relations with the Prince, her flight to America, Ben Franklin’s influence, and her return to Britain to lobby for peace

But what’s hidden from history, revealed now for the first time in Gold’s dazzling new work of fiction, is the result of Flora’s and Charlie’s love: a beautiful and talented boy raised on an American farm. But only she knows his true heritage and his claim to the world’s greatest throne. And only the genius of Ben Franklin understands how to use this naïve boy to change the history of America.

Clash of Eagles (Hesperian Trilogy #1) by Alan Smale

It’s The Last of the Mohicans meets HBO’s Rome in this exciting and inventive debut novel from Sidewise Award-winner Alan Smale that will thrill fans of alternate history, historical fiction, and military fiction.

In a world where the Roman Empire never fell, a legion under the command of general Gaius Marcellinus invades the newly-discovered North American continent. But Marcellinus and his troops have woefully underestimated the fighting prowess of the Native American inhabitants. When Gaius is caught behind enemy lines and spared, he must reevaluate his allegiances and find a new place in this strange land.




The Marriage Game (Elizabeth I #2) by Alison Weir

The relationship between the young Elizabeth I and the dashing but married Lord Robert Dudley is the most extraordinary and controversial of royal love affairs.

Whether the self-styled Virgin Queen and Robert, the son and grandson of traitors, slept together or not was a pre-occupation of the court and their open flirtation, whether or not it was consummated, very nearly cost Elizabeth the crown.

As a bestselling historian, Alison Weir has her own theories about Elizabeth's motivations and intentions. In THE MARRIAGE GAME she brings all her knowledge of this captivating, tempestuous young woman to vivid life in a novel of intrigues, sex, plots, mysteries and tragedies with all the colour and pageantry of the Tudor court.

The Accidental Empress (Sisi #1) by Allison Pataki

New York Times bestselling author Allison Pataki follows up on her critically acclaimed debut novel, The Traitor’s Wife, with the little-known and tumultuous love story of “Sisi” the Austro-Hungarian Empress and captivating wife of Emperor Franz Joseph.

The year is 1853, and the Habsburgs are Europe’s most powerful ruling family. With his empire stretching from Austria to Russia, from Germany to Italy, Emperor Franz Joseph is young, rich, and ready to marry.

Fifteen-year-old Elisabeth, “Sisi,” Duchess of Bavaria, travels to the Habsburg Court with her older sister, who is betrothed to the young emperor. But shortly after her arrival at court, Sisi finds herself in an unexpected dilemma: she has inadvertently fallen for and won the heart of her sister’s groom. Franz Joseph reneges on his earlier proposal and declares his intention to marry Sisi instead.

Thrust onto the throne of Europe’s most treacherous imperial court, Sisi upsets political and familial loyalties in her quest to win, and keep, the love of her emperor, her people, and of the world.

With Pataki’s rich period detail and cast of complex, bewitching characters, The Accidental Empress offers a captivating glimpse into one of history’s most intriguing royal families, shedding new light on the glittering Hapsburg Empire and its most mesmerizing, most beloved “Fairy Queen.”



The Last Bookaneer by Matthew Pearl


book'a-neer' (bŏŏk'kå-nēr'), n. a literary pirate; an individual capable of doing all that must be done in the universe of books that publishers, authors, and readers must not have a part in

London, 1890—Pen Davenport is the most infamous bookaneer in Europe. A master of disguise, he makes his living stalking harbors, coffeehouses, and print shops for the latest manuscript to steal. But this golden age of publishing is on the verge of collapse. For a hundred years, loose copyright laws and a hungry reading public created a unique opportunity: books could easily be published without an author’s permission. Authors gained fame but suffered financially—Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Robert Louis Stevenson, to name a few—but publishers reaped enormous profits while readers bought books inexpensively. Yet on the eve of the twentieth century, a new international treaty is signed to grind this literary underground to a sharp halt. The bookaneers are on the verge of extinction.

From the author of The Dante Club, Matthew Pearl, The Last Bookaneer is the astonishing story of these literary thieves’ epic final heist. On the island of Samoa, a dying Robert Louis Stevenson labors over a new novel. The thought of one last book from the great author fires the imaginations of the bookaneers, and soon Davenport sets out for the South Pacific island. As always, Davenport is reluctantly accompanied by his assistant Fergins, who is whisked across the world for one final caper. Fergins soon discovers the supreme thrill of aiding Davenport in his quest to steal Stevenson’s manuscript and make a fortune before the new treaty ends the bookaneers’ trade forever. But Davenport is hardly the only bookaneer with a mind to pirate Stevenson’s last novel. His longtime adversary, the monstrous Belial, appears on the island, and soon Davenport, Fergins, and Belial find themselves embroiled in a conflict larger, perhaps, than literature itself.

In The Last Bookaneer, Pearl crafts a finely wrought tale about a showdown between brilliant men in the last great act of their professions. It is nothing short of a page-turning journey to the heart of a lost era.


The Virgin's Daughter (Tudor Legacy #1) by Laura Andersen

Since the death of her brother, William, Elizabeth I has ruled England. She’s made the necessary alliances, married Philip of Spain, and produced a successor: her only daughter, Anne Isabella, Princess of Wales. Elizabeth knows that her beloved Anabel will be a political pawn across Europe unless she can convince Philip to grant her a divorce, freeing him to remarry and give Spain its own heir. But the enemies of England have even greater plans for the princess, a plot that will put Anabel’s very life and the security of the nation in peril. Only those closest to Elizabeth—her longtime confidante Minuette, her advisor and friend Dominic, and the couple’s grown children—can be trusted to carry forth a most delicate and dangerous mission. Yet, all of the queen’s maneuverings may ultimately prove her undoing.




Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule by Jennifer Chiaverini

The New York Times bestselling author of Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker and Mrs. Lincoln's Rival imagines the inner life of Julia Grant, beloved as a Civil War general’s wife and the First Lady, yet who grappled with a profound and complex relationship with the slave who was her namesake—until she forged a proud identity of her own.

In 1844, Missouri belle Julia Dent met dazzling horseman Lieutenant Ulysses S Grant. Four years passed before their parents permitted them to wed, and the groom’s abolitionist family refused to attend the ceremony.

Since childhood, Julia owned as a slave another Julia, known as Jule. Jule guarded her mistress’s closely held twin secrets: She had perilously poor vision but was gifted with prophetic sight. So it was that Jule became Julia’s eyes to the world.
And what a world it was, marked by gathering clouds of war. The Grants vowed never to be separated, but as Ulysses rose through the ranks—becoming general in chief of the Union Army—so did the stakes of their pact. During the war, Julia would travel, often in the company of Jule and the four Grant children, facing unreliable transportation and certain danger to be at her husband’s side.

Yet Julia and Jule saw two different wars. While Julia spoke out for women—Union and Confederate—she continued to hold Jule as a slave behind Union lines. Upon the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, Jule claimed her freedom and rose to prominence as a businesswoman in her own right, taking the honorary title Madame. The two women’s paths continued to cross throughout the Grants’ White House years in Washington, DC, and later in New York City, the site of Grant’s Tomb.

Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule is the first novel to chronicle this singular relationship, bound by sight and shadow.


A Dangerous Place (Maisie Dobbs #11) by Jacqueline Winspear

Maisie Dobbs returns in a powerful story of political intrigue and personal tragedy: a brutal murder in the British garrison town of Gilbraltar leads the investigator into a web of lies, deceit and danger

Spring 1937. In the four years since she left England, Maisie Dobbs has experienced love, contentment, stability—and the deepest tragedy a woman can endure. Now, all she wants is the peace she believes she might find by returning to India. But her sojourn in the hills of Darjeeling is cut short when her stepmother summons her home to England; her aging father Frankie Dobbs is not getting any younger.

But on a ship bound for England, Maisie realizes she isn’t ready to return. Against the wishes of the captain who warns her, “You will be alone in a most dangerous place,” she disembarks in Gibraltar. Though she is on her own, Maisie is far from alone: the British garrison town is teeming with refugees fleeing a brutal civil war across the border in Spain.

Yet the danger is very real. Days after Maisie’s arrival, a photographer and member of Gibraltar’s Sephardic Jewish community, Sebastian Babayoff, is murdered, and Maisie becomes entangled in the case, drawing the attention of the British Secret Service. Under the suspicious eye of a British agent, Maisie is pulled deeper into political intrigue on “the Rock”—arguably Britain’s most important strategic territory—and renews an uneasy acquaintance in the process. At a crossroads between her past and her future, Maisie must choose a direction, knowing that England is, for her, an equally dangerous place, but in quite a different way.


I, Ripper by Stephen Hunter

The electrifying new thriller from New York Times bestseller Stephen Hunter takes you deep inside the mind of the most notorious serial killer of all time: Jack the Ripper.

In the fall of 1888, Jack the Ripper slaughtered five prostitutes in London’s seamy Whitechapel District. He did not just kill—he ripped with a butcher’s glee—and then, after the particularly gruesome slaying of Mary Jane Kelly, he disappeared. For 127 years, Jack has haunted the dark corners of our imagination, the paradigm of the psychotic killer. We remember him not only for his crimes, but because, despite one of the biggest dragnets in London history, he was never caught.

I, Ripper is a vivid reimagining of Jack’s personal story entwined with that of an Irish journalist who covered the case, knew the principals, charted the investigation, and at last, stymied, went off in a bold new direction. These two men stalk each other through a city twisted in fear of the madman’s blade, a cat-and-mouse game that brings to life the sounds and smells of the fleshpot tenderloin of Whitechapel and all the lurid acts that fueled the Ripper headlines.

Dripping with intrigue, atmosphere, and diabolical twists, this is a magnificent psychological thriller from perennial New York Times bestseller Stephen Hunter, who the San Francisco Examiner calls “one of the best storytellers of his generation.”


Tiffany Girl by Deeanne Gist

From the bestselling author of It Happened at the Fair and Fair Play comes a compelling historical novel about a progressive “New Woman”—the girl behind Tiffany’s chapel—and the love that threatens it all.

As preparations for the 1893 World’s Fair set Chicago and the nation on fire, Louis Tiffany—heir to the exclusive Fifth Avenue jewelry empire—seizes the opportunity to unveil his state-of-the-art, stained glass, mosaic chapel, the likes of which the world has never seen.

But when Louis’s dream is threatened by a glassworkers’ strike months before the Fair opens, he turns to an unforeseen source for help: the female students at the New York Art Institute. Eager for adventure, the young women pick up their skirts, move to boarding houses, take up steel cutters, and assume new identities as the “Tiffany Girls.”

Tiffany Girls is the heartwarming story of the impetuous Flossie Jayne, a beautiful, budding artist who is handpicked by Louis to help complete the Tiffany chapel. Though excited to live in a boarding house when most women stayed home, she quickly finds the world is less welcoming than anticipated. From a Casanova male, to an unconventional married couple, and a condescending singing master, she takes on a colorful cast of characters to transform the boarding house into a home while racing to complete the Tiffany chapel and make a name for herself in the art world.

As challenges mount, her ambitions become threatened from an unexpected quarter: her own heart. Who will claim victory? Her dreams or the captivating boarder next door?

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Cover Crush: In the Month of the Midnight Sun by Cecilia Ekbäck


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. 

***********
The cover for In the Month of the Midnight Sun by Cecilia Ekbäck caught my eye the other day. This is the English cover of the book, but I saw the Swedish version, which is pretty much the same, but as you can see there are some difference...



Description:

An orphaned boy brought up to serve the state as a man. A rich young woman incapable of living by the conventions of society. Neither is prepared for the journey into the heat, mystery, violence and disorienting perpetual daylight of the far North.

Stockholm 1856. 

Magnus is a geologist. When the Minister sends him to survey the distant but strategically vital Lapland region around Blackasen Mountain, it is a perfect cover for another mission: Magnus must investigate why one of the nomadic Sami people, native to the region, has apparently slaughtered in cold blood a priest, a law officer and a settler in their rectory. 

Is there some bigger threat afoot? Blackasen seems to be a place of many secrets. 

But the Minister has more than a professional tie to Magnus, and at the last moment, he adds another responsibility. Disgusted by the wayward behaviour of his daughter Lovisa - Magnus's sister-in law - the Minister demands that Magnus take her with him on his arduous journey. 

Thus the two unlikely companions must venture out of the sophisticated city, up the coast and across country, to the rough-hewn religion and politics of the settler communities, the mystical, pre-Christian ways of the people who have always lived on this land, and the strange, compelling light of the midnight sun. 

For Lovisa and Magnus, nothing can ever be the same again.

***********

Check out this week's cover crush over at 

Flashlight Commentary


Layered Pages

The Maidens Court

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Arton grader minus (Eighteen Degrees Minus) by Stefan Ahnhem (SWE/ENG)

Arton grader minus by Stefan Ahnhem
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

SWEDISH REVIEW

En bil kör ut över kajkanten i Helsingborgs hamn efter en våldsam biljakt. Allt pekar på att det var en olycka, men när föraren, en it-entreprenör som gjort sig en förmögenhet på mobilspel, obduceras visar det sig att han redan varit död i två månader då han hållits nedfryst.

Det är vår och nästan två år har passerat sedan händelserna i Offer utan ansikte. På Helsingborgs kriminalavdelning har det varit ovanligt lugnt. Fabian Risk har kunnat ägna det mesta av sin energi åt att lappa ihop sin familj. Men även om varken han eller någon av hans kolleger skulle säga det högt börjar de bli uttråkade, och när det märkliga fallet med den nedfrusna miljonären landar på deras bord känner de alla samma sak: Äntligen händer det något.

Rakt över sundet har Dunja Hougaard tvingats ta på sig uniformen igen i sitt nya jobb som ordningspolis i Helsingör. Men när en hemlös utsätts för en så pass brutal misshandel att han avlider kan hon inte hålla sig från att dra igång en egen utredning där spåren snart leder till Helsingborg.

Fabian och hans team kämpar mot klockan i en utredning där ingenting visar sig vara som det ser ut. Snart vågar han inte längre lita på sitt eget omdöme, och finner de inte lösningen kommer snart nästa offer att hamna i frysen.

Arton grader minus är en gastkramande och suggestiv kriminalroman om jakten på en iskall mördare. Det är den tredje fristående delen i serien om Fabian Risk efter de internationella succéerna Offer utan ansikte och Den nionde graven.


**********

Arton grader minus är den första boken jag har läst i Fabian Risk serien, men jag har hört mycket gott om serien. Nu är det alltid lite vanskligt att börja läsa mitt i en serie, men har man tur så är boken lätt att komma in i och man blir intresserad av att läsa föregående böcker. Arton grader minus handling var intressant i och med att det första offret de hittar har varit död i 2 månader men att någon har använt sig av hans identitet under den tiden. Frågan är har detta hänt tidigare och kommer det hända igen? I Danmark kämpar Dunja Hougaard med att anpassa sig till sitt nya jobb. Efter att ha förfalskad sin chefs namnteckning miste hon sitt jobb och blev degraderad. Men, kanske kan hennes nya fall få henne på fötter igen?

Arton grader minus är en intressant bok, men jag hade vissa svårigheter med boken, och det allra största var att jag fann karaktärerna en aning flata och ointressanta. Hela delen med Dunja Hougaard kändes i stort sett som en helt annan bok och det var första på slutet som en viss koppling anknöts till fallet i Sverige, eller snarare till Fabian Risk. Och sorry, men Dunja och hennes ex-chefs vendetta mot henne känns som gammal skåpsmat och ett till synes ointressant sådant. Då var fallet med den nedfrysta kroppen mer intressant, men den delen av boken förstördes också en aning av det tråkiga sidospåret med Fabians son Theodore som till sår dela ömkade sig.

Allt i allt, inte en helt perfekt bok, men jag gillar sista delen av boken när allting började dra ihop sig och intressant vändningar i handlingen uppstod. 

Tack Bokförlaget Forum for recensionsexemplaret!

ENGLISH REVIEW

A car drives out of the quayside in the port of Helsingborg after a violent car chase. Everything indicates that it was an accident, but when the driver, an IT entrepreneur who made a fortune in mobile games, is autopsied is it revealed that he had already been dead for two months and that he has been kept frozen.

It is spring and almost two years have passed since the events in Victim Without a Face. In Helsingborg, the criminological department has been unusually quiet. Fabian Risk has been able to devote most of his energy to patch up things with his family. But even if neither he nor any of his colleagues would say it out loud, are they starting to get bored, and when the strange case of the frozen millionaire lands on their table they all feel the same thing: At last something is happening.

Straight across the strait in Denmark have Dunja Hougaard put on her uniform again in her new job as a community police in Elsinore. But when a homeless person is subjected to such a brutal beating that he dies, can she not stop herself from launching her own investigation where the tracks soon lead to Helsingborg.

Fabian and his team must race against the time in an investigation where nothing turns out to be as it looks. Soon, he dares no longer trust their own judgment, and if they don't find a solution soon will the next victim soon end up in a freezer.

**********

Eighteen Degrees Minus is the first book I have read in the Fabian Risk series, but I have heard very good things about the series. Now, it is always a bit risky to start reading in the middle of a series, but if you're lucky, is the book easy to get into and you become interested to read the previous books. The story was interesting in that the first victim they find have been dead for two months, but that someone has used his identity during that time. The question is has this happened before and will it happen again? In Denmark, is Dunja Hougaard struggling to adapt to her new job. She lost her job and was demoted after forging her boss's signature. But, perhaps her new case will get her on her feet again?

Eighteen degrees minus is an interesting book, but I had some difficulties with the book, and the biggest was that I found the characters a little too flat and uninteresting. The storyline with Dunja Hougaard felt almost like a completely different book and it was the first at the end as the storyline was linked to the case in Sweden, or rather to Fabian Risk. And sorry, but Dunya and her ex-boss vendetta against her feel like it's been done so many times before and it was pretty uninteresting to read about. The case with the frozen body was much more interesting, but not even that storyline was perfect as it contained a tedious side track with Fabian's son Theodore who spent his time moaning about his awful life.

All in all, not a perfect book, but I like the last part of the book when everything began to come together and interesting twists in the plot occurred.

Thanks Bokförlaget Forum for the review copy!

Love Volume 4: The Dinosaur by Frédéric Brrémaud

Love Volume 4: The Dinosaur by Frédéric Brrémaud
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Life in the primordial swamps of prehistoric Earth was a daily trial of survival, especially for the smaller dinosaurs just trying to get by without being trampled, attacked, or eaten. Not even the biggest beasts were safe, as there always seemed to be an even bigger threat looming on the horizon. This exciting tale, written by Frederic Brremaud, is told without narration or dialogue, conveyed entirely through the beautiful illustrations of Federico Bertolucci. A beautiful, powerful tale of survival in the animal kingdom that explores the all-too-identifiable, universal concepts of Life, Courage, Aging, and ultimately Love.

The fourth volume in the lavishly illustrated series of wildlife graphic novels, each following a single central animal through an adventurous day in their natural environment. Each tale depicts genuine natural behavior through the dramatic lens of Disney-esque storytelling, like a nature documentary in illustration.


**********

I love this series of graphic novels. This is the fourth and I tell you it's a pure joy "reading" each of them. The graphic is fantastic and it's hard not to be caught up with the story or feel sorry for the animals that don't survive. And, the ending of this book ... well, it's heartbreaking.




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


Sunday, 25 December 2016

The Secret Language of Stones by M.J. Rose

The Secret Language of Stones by M.J. Rose
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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.


**********

The Secret Language of Stones is the sequel to The Witch of Painted Sorrows. In this book, we get to meet Opaline, the daughter of Sandrine who was the main character in the previous book. And just like Sandrine is Opaline a Daughter of La Lune, a descendant from La Lune, the famous courtesans from the sixteenth century Paris.

I read the first book last year and I found it intriguing and looked forward getting the chance to read this one. However, it has taken me forever to get to this book, despite having had this book for a long while. But, the third book will be released next year so I thought I should take the time to read this one. And, I liked this one just as much as I liked the first one. I like the whole La Lune storyline, with women being descended from her with different abilities, like Opaline who can read stones and by doing that receiving messages from the dead. And, now in the time of war is that a gift that is a comfort too many,

The story in this book is about Opaline embracing her gift, she has long struggled with her gifts, wanting to be normal, and she has never really accepted her abilities fully. But, now she faces many difficulties, she finds herself in love with a fallen soldier, and a daughter of La Lune can only love once. Is she doomed to love a man that she can never have? And, the world is in turmoil and perhaps she can help the Romanov dowager empress find out what happened to her grandchildren...

The Secret Language of Stones is a sensual, well-written story about a woman that has to face many obstacles in her quest to find herself. I did suspect the ending, it felt very predictable, but I still liked it because I wanted just that ending for Opaline.

It was a good book, and I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

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

The Top 15 books of 2016


My Top 10 books of 2016 quickly turned into top 15 instead of 10 when I started to go through the books I've read. It could just as easily have been top 20, but I had to draw a line somewhere. The books are in no particular order because that would just mean hours of agony and indecision. So, on to the books: 


From New York Times bestselling author and famed former Manhattan prosecutor Linda Fairstein comes a chilling new Alexandra Cooper novel, Entombed, in which Alex matches wits with the master of detective fiction himself-Edgar Allan Poe...

READ MY REVIEW OF THE BOOK HERE


Sometimes I wish that she’d just leave me in peace . . .

Psychologist Evi is worried about one of her patients – a woman who is convinced her little girl is still alive. Two years after the fire that burnt their house down.

Meanwhile, the new vicar in town is feeling strangely unwelcome. Disturbing events seem designed to scare him away.

And a young boy keeps seeing a strange, solitary girl playing in the churchyard. Who is she and what is she trying to tell him?

READ MY REVIEW OF THE BOOK HERE


Media calls him "The Birthday boy" because he kidnappers girls just before they turn thirteen and then he sends pictures of them home to their families showing how he slowly tortures them to death. Every year they get a new card. 5 years ago Detective Constable Ash Henderson's daughter Rebecca was kidnapped. One year later get a card, but he keeps that a secret for his colleagues and because if they would know would he not be able to stay on the investigation...

READ MY REVIEW OF THE BOOK HERE


From the bestselling author of Girl in Translation, a novel about a young woman torn between her family duties in Chinatown and her escape into the world of ballroom dancing...

READ MY REVIEW OF THE BOOK HERE




West Hall, Vermont, has always been a town of strange disappearances and old legends. The most mysterious is that of Sara Harrison Shea, who, in 1908, was found dead in the field behind her house just months after the tragic death of her daughter...

READ MY REVIEW OF THE BOOK HERE


Mary Russell is used to dark secrets—her own, and those of her famous partner and husband, Sherlock Holmes. Trust is a thing slowly given, but over the course of a decade together, the two have forged an indissoluble bond...

READ MY REVIEW OF THE BOOK HERE


Jerome Burnel was once a hero. He intervened to prevent multiple killings and in doing so damned himself. His life was torn apart. He was imprisoned, brutalized.

But in his final days, with the hunters circling, he tells his story to private detective Charlie Parker. He speaks of the girl who was marked for death but was saved, of the ones who tormented him, and an entity that hides in a ruined stockade...


READ MY REVIEW OF THE BOOK HERE


The world is on the brink of an apocalyptic disaster. An ancient species, long dormant, is now very much awake...

READ MY REVIEW OF THE BOOK HERE


Lorena "Hick" Hickok is assigned to cover Eleanor Roosevelt in the 1932 political campaign. This is the start of a love story that would last for years, despite long periods of separations and the fact that Eleanor Roosevelt was to become The First Lady of United States. But, this love story could not last. Madame, that Hick so lovingly called Eleanor could never become someone anonymous again, even after FDR death.

READ MY REVIEW OF THE BOOK HERE


In her storied career as a Texas Ranger, Caitlin has confronted all manner of villains, but nothing that’s prepared her for the terrorist group ISIS’s pursuit of a devastating weapon on Lone Star State soil. The land in question lies on an Indian reservation where a drilling operation steeped in mystery and controversy is about to commence under the auspices of shadowy billionaire Cray Rawls...

READ MY REVIEW OF THE BOOK HERE


Beautiful and brilliant, Kendra Donovan is a rising star at the FBI. Yet her path to professional success hits a speed bump during a disastrous raid where half her team is murdered, a mole in the FBI is uncovered and she herself is severely wounded. As soon as she recovers, she goes rogue and travels to England to assassinate the man responsible for the deaths of her teammates...

READ MY REVIEW OF THE BOOK HERE


Held captive for eight years, Lily has grown from a teenager to an adult in a small basement prison. Her daughter Sky has been a captive her whole life. But one day their captor leaves the deadbolt unlocked...

READ MY REVIEW OF THE BOOK HERE


Samantha Whipple is used to stirring up speculation wherever she goes. As the last remaining descendant of the Brontë family, she's rumored to have inherited a vital, mysterious portion of the Brontë's literary estate; diaries, paintings, letters, and early novel drafts; a hidden fortune that's never been shown outside of the family.,,

READ MY REVIEW OF THE BOOK HERE


The dead don’t tell secrets… unless you listen.

The girl’s smashed-in face stared unseeing up to the blue sky, soil spilling out of her mouth. A hundred flies hovered above the bloodied mess.


READ MY REVIEW OF THE BOOK HERE


A five-year-old boy from a remote farm on the plains of Skåne disappear late one summer evening in 1983. The only trail after him is a shoe in the tall corn fields. 

Although the whole neighborhood gets involved in the search do they not find him, and rumors and suspicions spread quickly. And, the clumsy criminal investigation is, in the end, closed down when they can't find the boy, and the grief and uncertainty get the boy's family to slowly fall apart.


READ MY REVIEW OF THE BOOK HERE

Thoughts and honorable mentions:


The hardest part was I found other really great books while making this list. But, I decided when I made this list that I would not change since it would only make everything messy. And, soon I would be up in Top 25 instead of top 15...;)

But, I would like to mention some really great books that I read during 2016 that I found to be brilliant: Dead Man Walking by Simon R. Green, Arrowood by Laura McHugh, Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire, Melody Bittersweet and The Girls' Ghostbusting Agency by Kitty French and Redemption Road by John Hart...Honestly I could go on and list all my 5-star books, but instead just check out my Goodreads page! 😉

When you are done here can you check out my friend's lists/wrap ups:



Friday, 23 December 2016

The Visitor's Book by Sophie Hannah

The Visitor's Book

by Sophie Hannah

on Tour November 1 - December 17, 2016

The Visitor's Book by Sophie Hannah
A collection of spine-tingling ghost stories from one of today's most acclaimed suspense novelists. In this small but perfectly formed collection of supernatural short stories, bestselling author, Sophie Hannah, takes the comforting scenes of everyday life and imbues them with a frisson of fear. Why is a young woman so unnerved by the presence of a visitors book in her boyfriend’s inner-city home? And whose spidery handwriting is it that fills the pages? Who is the strangely courteous boy still lingering at a child’s tenth birthday party when all the parents have gathered their children and left? And why does the presence of a perfectly ordinary woman in a post office queue leave another customer pallid and quaking with fear?

Book Details:

Genre: Short Stories, Thriller
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: November 1st 2016
Number of Pages: 120
ISBN: 0062562126 (ISBN13: 9780062562128)
Purchase Links: Amazon  Barnes & Noble  Goodreads 
Sophie Hannah

Learn More:

Sophie Hannah is the New York Times-bestselling author of numerous psychological thrillers, which have been published in 27 countries and adapted for television, as well as The Monogram Murders, the first Hercule Poirot novel authorized by the estate of Agatha Christie.

Catch Up with Sophie Hannah on her Website  & Twitter !


 


Tour Participants:


Enter for a chance to WIN!

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Sophie Hannah and Witness Impulse. There will be 5 US winners of one (1) eBook copy of The Visitor’s Book by Sophie Hannah. The giveaway begins on November 1st and runs through January 2nd, 2017.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Harley Quinn, Vol. 5: The Joker's Last Laugh by Amanda Conner

Harley Quinn, Vol. 5: The Joker's Last Laugh by Amanda Conner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mason Macabre is more than just Harley Quinn s neighbor in her new Coney Island digs he just might be the man of her dreams. But to save his life, she ll have to face the clown of her nightmares!
With Harley and her gang of merry maidens battling to keep innocents out of the crossfire of her enemies latest vendetta, Mason s been whisked away to the one place our hellacious heroine never wanted to set foot in again: Arkham Asylum. Inside its horrific halls, Mason is at the tender mercies of none other than the Joker and Harley and the Clown Prince of Crime have had the mother of all bad break-ups. 

Will she and the madman who helped make her what she is kiss and make up long enough for her new beau to escape with his life? Or this time, will the joke be on Harley Quinn for good?
It s the reunion you ve been waiting for! Courtesy of acclaimed creative team Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti, HARLEY QUINN VOL. 5: THE JOKER S LAST LAUGH proves that when it comes to true love, Harley s not joking around! Collects issue #22-25 of the ongoing series and the special issue, HARLEY QUINN: BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR."

*********

The problem with waiting let's say around two months to write a review is that the memory is a bit hazy. However, there are some things that I do remember from this volume and that's that I was disappointed that the Joker was hardly in it especially when you see the cover and read the description and the description pretty much tells you what will happen. They fight and break up. Ta da! I liked the last part of the volume best, with Harley finding a genie...hilarious.

That doesn't mean that the volume is bad, I did like it, I found it amazing and it was a hell of a lot better than the previous volume. The art is, as usual, good as well. I had when I start to read a comic and the change the artist along the way and ruin everything. But with Harley Quinn, is the art pretty much always good!

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

Cover Crush: The Library of Light and Shadow by M. J. Rose


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. 

***********

Sometimes I'm really lucky when it comes to picking a Cover Crush, while other times I have to search a while for the right one. This week's cover crush pretty much "fell into my lap" and I knew that it would be the one I pick! I always find the covers for M. J. Rose books entrancing and this one is not an exception!


Description:

In this riveting and richly drawn novel from “one of the master storytellers of historical fiction” (New York Times bestselling author Beatriz Williams), a talented young artist flees New York for Paris after one of her scandalous drawings reveals a dark secret—and triggers a terrible tragedy.

In the wake of a dark and brutal World War, the glitz and glamour of 1925 Manhattan shine like a beacon for the high society set, desperate to keep their gaze firmly fixed to the future. But Delphine Duplessi sees more than most. At a time in her career when she could easily be unknown and penniless, like so many of her classmates from L’École des Beaux Arts, in America she has gained notoriety for her stunning “shadow portraits” that frequently expose her subjects’ most scandalous secrets. Most nights Delphine doesn’t mind that her gift has become mere entertainment—a party trick—for the fashionable crowd.

Then, on a snowy night in February, in a penthouse high above Fifth Avenue, Delphine’s mystical talent leads to a tragedy between two brothers. Devastated and disconsolate, Delphine renounces her gift and returns to her old life in the south of France where Picasso, Matisse, and the Fitzgeralds are summering. There, Delphine is thrust into recapturing the past. First by her charismatic twin brother and business manager Sebastian who attempts to cajole her back to work and into co-dependence, then by the world famous opera singer Emma Calvé, who is obsessed with the writings of the fourteenth-century alchemist Nicolas Flamel. And finally by her ex-lover Mathieu, who is determined to lure her back into his arms, unaware of the danger that led Delphine to flee Paris for New York five years before.

Trapped in an ancient chateau where hidden knowledge lurks in the shadows, Delphine questions everything and everyone she loves the most—her art, her magick, her family, and Mathieu—in an effort to accept them as the gifts they are. Only there can she shed her fear of loving and living with her eyes wide open.


***********

Check out this week's cover crush over at 

Flashlight Commentary

2 Kids and Tired Books


The Maidens Court

The House Between Tides by Sarah Maine

The House Between Tides by Sarah Maine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An atmospheric debut novel about a woman who discovers the century-old remains of a murder victim on her family’s Scottish estate, plunging her into an investigation of its mysterious former occupants.

Following the death of her last living relative, Hetty Deveraux leaves London and her strained relationship behind for Muirlan, her ancestral home in Scotland’s Outer Hebrides. She intends to renovate the ruinous house into a hotel, but the shocking discovery of human remains brings her ambitious restoration plans to an abrupt halt before they even begin. Few physical clues are left to identify the body, but one thing is certain: this person did not die a natural death.

Hungry for answers, Hetty discovers that Muirlan was once the refuge of her distant relative Theo Blake, the acclaimed painter and naturalist who brought his new bride, Beatrice, there in 1910. Yet ancient gossip and a handful of leads reveal that their marriage was far from perfect; Beatrice eventually vanished from the island, never to return, and Theo withdrew from society, his paintings becoming increasingly dark and disturbing.

What happened between them has remained a mystery, but as Hetty listens to the locals and studies the masterful paintings produced by Theo during his short-lived marriage, she uncovers secrets that still reverberate through the small island community—and will lead her to the identity of the long-hidden body.

*********

The House Between Tides is one of those books that I have wanted to read for a long time, I just never got the time for it. But, I've decided to go through my ARC's and read the ones that I've been meaning to read. And, I started with this one.

The House Between Tides title, description, and cover captured my imagination. The discovery of a hidden body that's been buried for decades is not the start Hetty had counted on when she arrives at the old house she has inherited. And, her restoration plan seems to fall to pieces too. However, she can't help being fascinated by whom the body could be and bit by bit will she discover deep dark buried secrets...

The book's story takes place both during 1910 and 2010 and I found both time frames fascinating to read about. Sarah Maine has written a captivating tale about forbidden love, regrets and how memories can consume one's life. Some secrets are perhaps not that surprising, but all and all was this book quite intriguing. The only drawback was that now and then did I feel a bit impatient with the story, not bored, I just wanted the characters to get some things to grip, like Hetty telling Giles off or Beatrice realizing why Theo was so obsessed with Cameron (which was pretty obvious why). I loved the books scenery. I could really picture the island and its wildlife.

But, the ending was perfect, tragic, but at the same time uplifting and I'm looking forward to reading more from Sarah Maine in the future.

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

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

The River at Night by Erica Ferencik

The River at Night by Erica Ferencik
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

'A thought came to me that I couldn't force away: What we are wearing is how we'll be identified out in the wilderness.'

Win Allen doesn't want an adventure.

After a miserable divorce and the death of her beloved brother, she just wants to spend some time with her three best friends, far away from her soul-crushing job. But athletic, energetic Pia has other plans.

Plans for an adrenaline-raising, breath-taking, white-water rafting trip in the Maine wilderness. Five thousand square miles of remote countryside. Just mountains, rivers and fresh air.

No phone coverage. No people.

No help…


**********

This will not be a long review. I just want to explain why I did not find this book enjoyable. And, it's because I really, really disliked the 4 main female characters in the book. I can take, the whole being stranded in a forest away from people and having to get back to civilization while facing dangerous situations. I love stuff like that. What I can't deal with are stupid characters. I honestly should have stopped reading the book, when O read that they spent 45 min in the car trying to find a toilet whiles driving through a forest.

Thre are many, many moments through the book when I wanted to either give up or throw something heavy on a character, but I managed to finish the book. Yes, I did start to skim a bit (or very much) towards the end just to put me out of the misery. I should have listened to reason and stopped after 30%, but I'm just a tenacious idiot sometimes...

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

December Wishlist: Winter Wonderland

This is the last wishlist for the year 2016. And, it felt suitable to end the year with it with a snowy theme since it's December. And, since Crime & Horror are two of my favorite genres is it obvious I go for books that are not that jolly...

Clouded Vision (Keisha Ceylon #1) by Linwood Barclay

Keisha Ceylon is a psychic. At least, that's what she passes herself off as. The truth is, Keisha's real powers have more to do with separating troubled families from their money than actually seeing into the netherworld. Keisha watches the news for stories of missing family members. She gives it a few days, then moves in, tells these families she's had a vision, that she may have some clue to where these missing people are. And by the way, she charges for this service, and likes to see the money up front. Keisha's latest mark is a man whose wife disappeared a week ago. She's seen him on TV, pleading for his wife to come home, or, if she's been abducted, pleading with whoever took her to let her go. Keisha knows a payoff when she sees one.

 So she pays a visit to our troubled husband, tells him her vision. Trouble is, her vision just happens to be close enough to the truth that it leaves this man rattled. And it may very well leave Keisha dead.

Dead Man's Reach (Thieftaker Chronicles #4) by D.B. Jackson

Boston, 1770. The city is a powder keg as tensions between would-be rebels and loyalist Tories approach a breaking point. One man is willing to light the match to ensure that he has his revenge.

The presence of the British Regulars has made thieftaking a hard business to be in. Ethan Kaille has to resort to taking jobs that he would otherwise pass up, namely protecting the shops of Tories from Patriot mobs. When one British loyalist takes things too far and accidentally kills a young boy, even Ethan reconsiders his line of work. Even more troubling is the fact that instances of violence in the city are increasing, and Ethan often finds himself at the center of the trouble.

Ethan discovers that some enemies don't stay buried… and will stop at nothing to ruin Ethan's life. Even if that means risking the lives of everyone in Boston, including the people that Ethan loves most.


The Dead of Winter by Chris Priestley

Michael Vyner recalls a terrible story, one that happened to him. One that would be unbelievable if it weren't true! Michael's parents are dead and he imagines that he will stay with the kindly lawyer, executor of his parents' will ...Until he is invited to spend Christmas with his guardian in a large and desolate country house. 

His arrival on the first night suggests something is not quite right when he sees a woman out in the frozen mists, standing alone in the marshes. But little can prepare him for the solitude of the house itself as he is kept from his guardian and finds himself spending the Christmas holiday wandering the silent corridors of the house seeking distraction. But lonely doesn't mean alone, as Michael soon realises that the house and its grounds harbour many secrets, dead and alive, and Michael is set the task of unravelling some of the darkest secrets of all. 

Dead of Winter by Brian Moreland

A predator stalks the frozen woods.

At a fort deep in the Ontario wilderness in 1878, a ghastly predator is attacking colonists and spreading a gruesome plague—his victims turn into ravenous cannibals with an unending hunger for human flesh. Inspector Tom Hatcher has faced a madman before, when he tracked down Montreal’s infamous Cannery Cannibal. But can even he stop the slaughter this time?

In Montreal, exorcist Father Xavier visits an asylum where the Cannery Cannibal is imprisoned. But the killer who murdered thirteen women is more than just a madman who craves human meat. He is possessed by a shape-shifting demon. Inspector Hatcher and Father Xavier must unravel a mystery that has spanned centuries and confront a predator that has turned the frozen woods into a killing ground where evil has come to feed.

The Detective's Daughter (Detective's Daughter #1) by Lesley Thomson

Kate Rokesmith's decision to go to the river changed the lives of many. Her murder shocked the nation. Her husband never pressed charges and moved abroad under a cloud of suspicion. Her son, just four years old, grew up in a loveless boarding school. And Detective Inspector Darnell, vowing to leave no stone unturned in the search for her killer, began to lose his only daughter. The young Stella Darnell grew to resent the dead Kate Rokesmith for capturing her father's attention in a way she never could.

Thirty years later, Stella is dutifully sorting through her father's attic after his sudden death. The Rokesmith case papers are in a corner gathering dust: the case was never solved. Stella knows she should destroy them. Instead, she opens the box, and starts to read...



Want to see more wishlist?
Check out these that my friends have posted:

Erin at Flashlight Commentary
Stephanie at Layered Pages
Heather at The Maiden's Court
Holly at 2 Kids and Tired

The You’re the Cream in My Coffee by Jennifer Lamont Leo Blog Tour

You’re the Cream in My Coffee by Jennifer Lamont Leo

Publication Date: September 15, 2016
Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas
eBook & Paperback; 292 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction/Christian

Add to GR Button

In 1928, Chicago rocks to the rhythm of the Jazz Age, and Prohibition is in full swing. Small-town girl Marjorie Corrigan, visiting the city for the first time, has sworn that coffee’s the strongest drink that will pass her lips. But her quiet, orderly life turns topsy-turvy when she spots her high school sweetheart–presumed killed in the Great War–alive and well in a train station. Suddenly everything is up for grabs.

Although the stranger insists he’s not who she thinks he is, Marjorie becomes obsessed with finding out the truth. To the dismay of her fiancé and family, she moves to the city and takes a job at a department store so she can spy on him. Meanwhile, the glittering world of her roommate, Dot, begins to look awfully enticing–especially when the object of her obsession seems to be part of that world. Is it really so terrible to bob her hair and shorten her skirt? To visit a speakeasy? Just for a cup of coffee, of course.

But what about her scruples? What about the successful young doctor to whom she’s engaged, who keeps begging her to come back home where she belongs? And what, exactly, is going on at the store’s loading dock so late at night?

Amid a whirlwind of trials and temptations, Marjorie must make a choice. Will the mystery man prove to be the cream in her coffee–the missing ingredient to the life she yearns for? Or will he leave only bitterness in her heart?

The cat’s pajamas! Rich in jazzy details of 1920s Chicago, You’re the Cream in My Coffee is a sparkling debut novel. With an adventurous heroine, intriguing side characters, and a thought-provoking message, this story will keep you riveted. Jennifer Lamont Leo is a name to watch in historical fiction!” -Sarah Sundin, award-winning author of Anchor in the Storm

Every single inch of this novel is delightful. From the start Marjorie Corrigan felt like a friend, one I was glad to see each time I returned to her story. With charming characters and a plot that keeps moving, this is a novel you don’t want to miss. Jennifer Lamont Leo is a fresh voice in Christian fiction. I can’t wait to read more of her work.” -Susie Finkbeiner, author of A Cup of Dust: A Novel of the Dust Bowl

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | IndieBound


About the Author

With a passion for all things historical, Jennifer Lamont Leo captures readers’ hearts through stories set in times gone by. She is also a copywriter, editor, and journalist. An Illinois native, she holds a deep affection for Chicago and its rich history. Today she writes from the mountains of northern Idaho, where she shares her home with her husband, two cats, and abundant wildlife.

For more information, please visit Jennifer’s website and blog. You can also follow her on FacebookTwitterPinterest, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule 

Monday, December 12
Blog Tour Kick Off at Passages to the Past

Tuesday, December 13
Spotlight at The Lit Bitch

Wednesday, December 14
Guest Post at Kinx’s Book Nook

Thursday, December 15
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Friday, December 16
Interview at T’s Stuff

Monday, December 19

Tuesday, December 20
Review at Luxury Reading
Review at Turning the Pages
Guest Post at Books, Dreams, Life

Wednesday, December 21
Spotlight at A Bookaholic Swede

Thursday, December 22
Review at Book Nerd

Friday, December 23