Tuesday, 19 September 2017

#BookReview Caroline: Little House, Revisited by Sarah Miller @WmMorrowBooks

Caroline: Little House, Revisited by Sarah Miller
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In this novel authorized by the Little House estate, Sarah Miller vividly recreates the beauty, hardship, and joys of the frontier in a dazzling work of historical fiction, a captivating story that illuminates one courageous, resilient, and loving pioneer woman as never before—Caroline Ingalls, "Ma" in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s beloved Little House books.

In the frigid days of February, 1870, Caroline Ingalls and her family leave the familiar comforts of the Big Woods of Wisconsin and the warm bosom of her family, for a new life in Kansas Indian Territory. Packing what they can carry in their wagon, Caroline, her husband Charles, and their little girls, Mary and Laura, head west to settle in a beautiful, unpredictable land full of promise and peril.

The pioneer life is a hard one, especially for a pregnant woman with no friends or kin to turn to for comfort or help. The burden of work must be shouldered alone, sickness tended without the aid of doctors, and babies birthed without the accustomed hands of mothers or sisters. But Caroline’s new world is also full of tender joys. In adapting to this strange new place and transforming a rough log house built by Charles’ hands into a home, Caroline must draw on untapped wells of strength she does not know she possesses.

For more than eighty years, generations of readers have been enchanted by the adventures of the American frontier’s most famous child, Laura Ingalls Wilder, in the Little House books. Now, that familiar story is retold in this captivating tale of family, fidelity, hardship, love, and survival that vividly reimagines our past.


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OK, I just wanted to say that this book, I really wanted to love the story more than I did. I love the TV series and the books the show is also good. And, this book is one that I really, really looked forward to reading. However, I found that the story never really got to me.

I liked the whole idea of reading the book from Caroline's perspective, as a young wife and mother on her way to a new home. Her fears as she is pregnant and the whole idea of leaving everything and everyone behind got to me. It's just the everyday worries during the travel, well it felt a bit tedious to read about. Sure, it was interesting, but at the same time did I feel that it went on and one now and then. 

I liked the idea of the book, about reading about Charles, Caroline, and the children traveling to Kansas. If you have read the books and/or seen the TV series is this a must read. Sure, I found the story not perhaps living up to my expectations, but at the same time was it interesting to get Caroline's POV on leaving the old life behind. And, her worries about the baby was the thing that really got to me, just the thought of how worrisome everything would be, not even knowing if there would be someone in Kansas there to help her with the birthing. I just wish the story had been a bit more moving or in some way more engrossing. 

I almost forgot to bring up the best thing, Mr. Edwards. I was so thrilled when he showed up. He's my favorite character and he did bring much enjoyment to the book and I loved reading about how he saved Christmas for the children. I can't believe that I almost forgot this. So, there were some bright spots in this boo, like the presence of Mr. Edwards. 

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

Monday, 18 September 2017

#CoverReveal Seven Seconds by Lisa Compton (@LisaCompton1210) @PerpetuityBooks


Seven Seconds by Lisa Compton marks the debut of a thrilling paranormal crime series.

Olivia Osborne, a forensic psychologist and former FBI agent, is blessed (or cursed depending on who you ask) with unique gifts. Olivia is able to sense what others cannot--the spiritual presence of those who have "crossed over," as well as the living who are influenced, or some cases possessed, by evil. The passing of her beloved Gran was the catalyst Olivia Osborn needed to leave the FBI behind and return to her native San Antonio. But a familiar evil has followed her home. 

When a series of brutal murders rock her hometown of San Antonio, Texas, Olivia is pulled into the investigation despite her plans to leave that part of her life behind. What if she isn’t supposed to run? What if she was always supposed to stand and fight?
  
Seven Seconds will launch in December 2017 through all major retailers in eBook, paperback, and hard cover formats. 

Additional information about the author can be found at www.Perpetuitybooks.com.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

#BookReview Close to Home by Robert Dugoni @AmazonPub

Close to Home by Robert Dugoni
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

While investigating the hit-and-run death of a young boy, Seattle homicide detective Tracy Crosswhite makes a startling discovery: the suspect is an active-duty serviceman at a local naval base. After a key piece of case evidence goes missing, he is cleared of charges in a military court. But Tracy knows she can’t turn her back on this kind of injustice.

When she uncovers the driver’s ties to a rash of recent heroin overdoses in the city, she realizes that this isn’t just a case of the military protecting its own. It runs much deeper than that, and the accused wasn’t acting alone. For Tracy, it’s all hitting very close to home.

As Tracy moves closer to uncovering the truth behind this insidious conspiracy, she’s putting herself in harm’s way. And the only people she can rely on to make it out alive might be those she can no longer trust.


**********

I was not sure that I would like this book or not. I have felt that the spark has gone out of this series while reading the last couple of books, and the one before this one was a real struggle to finish. However, I decided to give this series one more chance since I did like the first book very much.

So, how was it? To be honest, did I struggle at first with the book. The story did feel better than in the previous book, but I was several times mentally debating if I should stop reading or not since the story didn't offer any big surprises and it felt a bit sluggish. However, the story picked up when Dugoni decided to twist the story in a way that I did not foresee (thanks to not reading the blurb before starting the book) and then it got much better.

I'm not a big fan of reading about drugs, but one of the cops nieces overdosed before the events in this book, and for him did it get very personal to stop the deadly heroin from killing more people than it had already done by then. Then, we have the kid that was killed by a hit-and-run driver that case is also tragic. I was a bit surprised about how much of the story the blurb gives away. As I wrote before did I did not read the blurb before starting the book. I seldom do since they often give away too much information. And, here I was painstakingly trying to keep spoilers to the minimum and the blurb gives away several key factors. Why do I even bother? Anyway, I'm glad that I had not read the blurb before, that made some things more surprising and kept me interested in continuing reading the book.

Close to Home is an upswing from the book before. Not as interesting as the first book in the series, but interesting enough that I will read the next book in the series, especially because the way the book ended...

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

Friday, 15 September 2017

#BookReview Last Breath by Robert Bryndza (@RobertBryndza) @bookouture

Last Breath by Robert Bryndza
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

He’s your perfect date. You’re his next victim.

When the tortured body of a young woman is found in a dumpster, her eyes swollen shut and her clothes soaked with blood, Detective Erika Foster is one of the first at the crime scene. The trouble is, this time, it’s not her case.

While she fights to secure her place on the investigation team, Erika can’t help but get involved and quickly finds a link to the unsolved murder of a woman four months earlier. Dumped in a similar location, both women have identical wounds – a fatal incision to their femoral artery.

Stalking his victims online, the killer is preying on young pretty women using a fake identity. How will Erika catch a murderer who doesn’t seem to exist?

Then another girl is abducted while waiting for a date. Erika and her team must get to her before she becomes another dead victim, and, come face to face with a terrifyingly sadistic individual.

Gripping, tense and impossible to put down, Last Breath will have you on the edge of your seat, racing to the final dramatic page.


**********

First I want to say that this series is great and that you really should start to read them from the beginning. Sure, they are readable as stand alone, but I think it's worthwhile to read from the start, to get to know, Erika, Moss, Peterson and the rest of the characters from the very start.

One of the reasons that I like this series so much is that I enjoy reading about Erika Foster, who is still struggling to move on after her husband was killed in the line of duty. She's practically married to her work and, despite her cautious steps towards a new relationship is Mark still present in her life, despite him being dead for so many years now. I do like to see her taking steps towards a relationship, she has not many friends and, despite being a good cop does she deserve a happy home life as well.

Robert Bryndza is such a great writer and he really manages to write compelling stories that just makes you think one more chapter and suddenly you are halfway through the book. And, Last Breath is not an exception. I'm not always that fond of following the killers POV, when you know who he is from the start, name, and everything, but now and then it works. And, this time it did. And, let me tell you that is one sicko. A really creepy dude that appalled me. But, then again, his family, the milieu he has grown up in seemed not really have made it easier for him. Still, something must be seriously wrong in his head.

Luckily Erika manages to persuade Sparks to let her take on the case. I was a bit surprised over the fact that it did seem like Erika and Sparks were finally burying the hatchet. Although without giving away too much, did Bryndza manage to really surprise me here. You just have to read and find out for yourself.

A great book, just as the previous and a must read if you like this series!

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

#BookReview Angel: Out of the Past by Corinna Bechko

Angel: Out of the Past by Corinna Bechko
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Angel, a reformed vampire cursed with a soul, is tormented by a vision linking his shameful past to something very big—and very bad—that is coming. As Angel and his friend Fred begin trying to solve the mystery, the goddess Illyria gives Angel some insight and incentive. Then she really gets involved, and Angel discovers that it might be possible to change the future by changing the past.

Taken by Illyria, Angel and Fred find themselves in Illyria’s ancient past. The goddess claims it is a mistake, but when she discovers just when they are—in the middle of a battle between her past self and another god—she’s not ready to leave without attempting to change the battle’s outcome.

With no choice, Angel must help both past and present Illyria in a battle for their people and their land…

Collects Angel Season 11 issues #1-#4.


**********

Angel: Out of the Past was (thankfully) short so it didn't take much time reading it. The story isn't that memorable, with Angel and Fred going back in time to help Illyria destroy another god.   

Well, what to say other than this graphic novel really didn't turn out the way I expected it to do. I was charmed by the lovely cover and then I was seriously disappointed with both the art and the story. OK, the story was not totally bad, but at the same time was it not totally good. I have never been a big fan of Fred, and reading a whole graphic novel about her and Illyria was not really my cup of tea. 

I gave the graphic novel 3 stars at first, but as I was sitting down to write this review did I ask myself did I enjoy it enough to give it 3 stars? I mean the art was cringeworthy, they didn't even look like the characters from the TV series. And, neither was the art that appealing. It was just not the kind of art that I like, too sloppy. 


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

Thursday, 14 September 2017

#CoverCrush The Flicker of Old Dreams by Susan Henderson

For new visitors do I want to explain that Cover Crush is something that my friend Erin over at Flashlight Commentary came up with and I adopted the idea together with some other friends. And, now we try to put up a Cover Crush every week. You can check below my pick of the week for their choices this week!


With the quiet precision of Jane Smiley’s A Thousand Acres and the technical clarity of Mary Roach’s Stiff, this is a novel about a young woman who comes most alive while working in her father’s mortuary in a small, forgotten Midwestern town

“The dead come to me vulnerable, sharing their stories and secrets…

Mary Crampton has spent all of her thirty years in Petroleum, a small Midwestern town once supported by a powerful grain company. Living at home, she works as the embalmer in her father’s mortuary: an unlikely job that has long marked her as an outsider. Yet, to Mary there is a satisfying art to positioning and styling each body to capture the essence of a subject’s life.

Though some townsfolk pretend that the community is thriving, the truth is that Petroleum is crumbling away—a process that began twenty years ago when an accident in the grain elevator killed a beloved high school athlete. The mill closed for good, the train no longer stopped in town, and Robert Golden, the victim’s younger brother, was widely blamed for the tragedy and shipped off to live elsewhere. Now, out of the blue, Robert has returned to care for his terminally ill mother. After Mary—reserved, introspective, and deeply lonely—strikes up an unlikely friendship with him, shocking the locals, she finally begins to consider what might happen if she dared to leave Petroleum.

Set in America’s heartland, The Flicker of Old Dreams explores themes of resilience, redemption, and loyalty in prose as lyrical as it is powerful.

Some thoughts about the cover:

I love the open field and the blue sky. I get the sense of serenity when I see the cover and even though the cover doesn't show much more than that is it one that I find in all its simplicity, beautiful!    

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

Stephanie @ Layered Pages






indieBRAG

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

#BookReview Taste of Marrow by Sarah Gailey (@gaileyfrey) (@torbooks)

Taste of Marrow by Sarah Gailey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A few months ago, Winslow Houndstooth put together the damnedest crew of outlaws, assassins, cons, and saboteurs on either side of the Harriet for a history-changing caper. Together they conspired to blow the damn that choked the Mississippi and funnel the hordes of feral hippos contained within downriver, to finally give America back its greatest waterway.

Songs are sung of their exploits, many with a haunting refrain: "And not a soul escaped alive."

In the aftermath of the Harriet catastrophe, that crew has scattered to the winds. Some hunt the missing lovers they refuse to believe have died. Others band together to protect a precious infant and a peaceful future. All of them struggle with who they've become after a long life of theft, murder, deception, and general disinterest in the strictures of the law.


**********

I'm seriously tempted to re-read the first novella in this series after finishing Taste of Marrow. This novella had everything that I hoped River of Teeth would have, a compelling story and characters that I cared for. I had some trouble getting to know and keep apart all the character (and hippos) when I read River of Teeth. But, this time it went fine. So, perhaps it was just me and not the story?

Anyway, this novella is a fast read, a what-if story about what would have happened if hippos was imported to the marshlands of Louisiana and the story takes place just a couple of month's after the ending of River of Teeth with Winslow Houndstooth's group split and he's now fearing that Hero is dead and desperately trying to find him/her. Hero (who is traveling with Adelia after she saved his life), on the other hand well, has a problem of his/her (he is mentioned as they during the book which trust me is confusing) own when Adelia's baby is being kidnapped and they have to get her back. And, that leads to new problems. A lot of action during this short novella, just the way I liked it! Btw, you just probably read River of Teeth before reading this one. Much easier to understand what happened and who they all are if one reads the first novella.

Taste of Marrow is great and I'm waiting eagerly for the next installment to be published!


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

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

#BookReview The Twilight Pariah by Jeffrey Ford @torbooks

The Twilight Pariah by Jeffrey Ford
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

All Maggie, Russell, and Henry wanted out of their last college vacation was to get drunk and play archaeologist in an old house in the woods outside of town. When they excavate the mansion's outhouse they find way more than they bargained for: a sealed bottle filled with a red liquid, along with the bizarre skeleton of a horned child

Disturbing the skeleton throws each of their lives into a living hell. They feel followed wherever they go, their homes are ransacked by unknown intruders, and people they care about are brutally, horribly dismembered. The three friends awakened something, a creature that will stop at nothing to retrieve its child.

**********

Isn't the cover absolutely ominously stunning? I have to admit that part of the reasons for me to want to read this book was the cover and of course the fascinating blurb. Who doesn't love a devil child, and brutally murders? Well, not everyone perhaps, but I love horror books like this.

I especially liked the historical part of this story, when Maggie, Russell, and Henry learn more about the horned child skeleton that they found when they started to dig around the house in the woods. What I felt the story lacked, however, was a chilling vibe. The story is definitely interesting and well-written. I just felt that it never really hooked me or got my pulse racing, in the way I want when I read a horror tale. I was fascinated, but I also felt a bit disconnected with the characters, which can be because of the shortness of the tale. I was never really worried about them, they never got under my skin. They are not flat, but neither do they flesh out properly. The same problem did I have with the victims in this story if there had been more interactions, then I would have felt more for them. With other words, if the story had been longer, then perhaps it would have gotten to me more.

Nevertheless, it's definitely is a story I would recommend and I do want to read more books by Jeffrey Ford.

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

Monday, 11 September 2017

#BookReview The Last to See Me by M. Dressler @skyhorsepub

The Last to See Me by M. Dressler
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In a small logging town along the coast of northern California, young Emma Rose Finnis was born and died. Now, no one remembers her hardworking life and her grand dreams--but she remembers. She remembers everything. Emma Rose still walks the coves and cliffs of her village, one hundred years after her death . . . and she doesn't plan on leaving. 

But when a determined hunter arrives with instructions to "clean" Emma Rose out of her haunt, the stately Lambry mansion, death suddenly isn't the worst fate imaginable. Emma Rose refuses to be hounded from the only place she's ever found peace, even if it means waging a war on the living . . . and the dead. 

Lyrical and haunting, this spellbinding American ghost story alternates between Emma Rose's life and afterlife as the past and present become entwined in a compelling tale of love, loss, and tenacity over a century in the making.

*********

The Last to See Me by M. Dressler is a different kind of haunted house books with it being the ghost herself that is telling the tale. Emma Rose Finnis died a century ago, but she doesn't plan on leaving the place soon. Not even when an experienced ghost hunter arrives to clean the house and make it ghost free. No, she will do anything to stay...

The Last to See Me is an interesting ghost story, a bittersweet story about a young girl that grew up in a small village, but never got the chance to get the life she wanted. Instead, is she still there, haunting the Lambry mansion. The present story is what I found the most interesting, I usually love flashbacks to the past, but I have to admit that I was not always that interested in Emma Rose's life. It just dragged on a bit and as a character, before she died, was she just not especially interesting, nor had Emma Rose an interesting life. You know, young poor girl meets a rich young man that is not suited for her...

I was more interested in the battle between her and the ghost hunter, with the ghost hunter trying to figure out who is haunting the place. One thing I really liked was that the writing was so imaginative. It was easy to picture the landscape and the village. Loved the beginning of the book when the couple that was interested in the mansion got spooked. It was not that hard to pick a side in this book, who you wanted to win. The ghost or the ghost hunter. I mean, who has been there the longest? 

The ending of the book felt a bit confusing and I had to re-read it. Still, a couple of weeks since I read it does it still feel strange. However. I did find the book interesting and I would definitely read more books by the author.  

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

Saturday, 9 September 2017

#BookReview Dark Water by Robert Bryndza (@RobertBryndza) @bookouture

Dark Water by Robert Bryndza
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Beneath the water the body sank rapidly. She would lie still and undisturbed for many years but above her on dry land, the nightmare was just beginning.

When Detective Erika Foster receives a tip-off that key evidence for a major narcotics case was stashed in a disused quarry on the outskirts of London, she orders for it to be searched. From the thick sludge the drugs are recovered, but so is the skeleton of a young child.

The remains are quickly identified as seven-year-old Jessica Collins. The missing girl who made headline news twenty-six years ago.

As Erika tries to piece together new evidence with the old, she must dig deeper and find out more about the fractured Collins family and the original detective, Amanda Baker. A woman plagued by her failure to find Jessica. Erika soon realises this is going to be one of the most complex and demanding cases she has ever taken on.

Is the suspect someone close to home? Someone is keeping secrets. Someone who doesn’t want this case solved. And they’ll do anything to stop Erika from finding the truth.


**********

I love reading about cold cases and this case, about the finding of the skeleton of a child that went missing twenty-six years ago is both tragic and chilling to read. This book is the third book in the Erika Foster series, but you can read them without any problem stand-alone.

Erika is a brilliant police, but with some problem with both keeping her mouth shut and her temper in check. She is still quite pissed about not getting the promotion she thinks she deserved, and changing unit after that have not made her life happier. She, therefore, is quite thrilled to get the chance to try to crack this case, although not many want it to be honest. The detective in charge of the case back in the 90s, Amanda Baker, career was ruined thanks to this case. But, Erika is hell-bent on solving it, despite lack of evidence.

Cases that involve children are always so tragic to read about and this is not an exception. It gets even worse when it is revealed that a pedophile was keeping the young girl under surveillance, although he apparently has an alibi. For Erica is this a tough case, trying to bring justice to little Jessica will be hard when so many years have gone by. I found this book to be just as good as the previous books in the series, and it was also nice for the first time to meet Erika's sister and her daughters. Although I did understand Erika's frustration with them. And, speaking of family, Erika is still mourning her dead husband, but she finally seems to be able to perhaps move on with a certain colleague...


Dark Water is a great book in a great series!

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

#BookReview The Wardrobe Mistress by Meghan Masterson @StMartinsPress

The Wardrobe Mistress: A Novel of Marie Antoinette by Meghan Masterson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It's Giselle Aubry's first time at court in Versailles. At sixteen, she is one of Marie Antoinette's newest undertirewomen, and in awe of the glamorous queen and her opulent palace life. A budding designer, it's a dream come true to work with the beautiful fabrics and jewels in the queen's wardrobe. But every few weeks she returns home to visit her family in the Parisian countryside where rumors of revolution are growing stronger.

From her position working in the royal household, Giselle is poised to see both sides of the revolutionary tensions erupting throughout Paris. When her uncle, a retired member of the secret du roi, a spy ring that worked for the old King, Louis XV, suggests that she casually report the Queen s actions back to him as a game, she leaps at the chance. Spying seems like an adventure and an exciting way to privately support the revolution taking the countryside by storm. She also enjoys using her insight from Versailles in lively debates with Leon Gauvain, the handsome and idealistic revolutionary who courts her.

But as the revolution continues to gain momentum, and Giselle grows closer to the Queen, becoming one of the few trusted servants, she finds herself dangerously torn. Violence is escalating; she must choose where her loyalty truly lies, or risk losing everything...maybe even her head.


**********

I think that writing a book about a woman that worked at the Versailles and got to see firsthand the event's right before the French Revolution and during the revolution was a great idea. Giselle Aubry works as an untertirewoman for Marie Antoinette meant that she could both see how the people rose up against the royal family and at the same time she could also follow how the royal family dealt with it. This is the best part of the book, with Giselle being torn between being loyal to the royal family, but at the same time warming to the revolutionary ideas. I found the book great when it dealt with the actual historical events, like the failed escape plan, and the execution of the King and Queen.

However, it's the love story between Leon Gauvain and Giselle that just didn't work for me. I found myself quite uninterested in that side story, and to be honest, I skimmed through most of their "romance", especially when problems arise between them. But, towards the end did their relationship work a bit better for me, but that's probably because it coincided with the end of the monarchy. I did feel that the book ending was a bit abrupt. I would have loved an epilogue, because, despite me not being fond of the romance did I like Giselle and would have liked to know how her life turned out after the event at the end of the book.

The Wardrobe Mistress is a good book about the French revolution. You get to see both sides, Louis XV and Marie Antoinette's versus and the revolutionists and between them Giselle who, despite wanting a change still cared for the royal couple.

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

Friday, 8 September 2017

#BookReview House. Tree. Person by Catriona McPherson @midnightinkbook

House. Tree. Person.: A Novel of Suspense by Catriona McPherson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A year ago, she was happily married, running her beauty salon, raising her son, living in her dream house. Now Ali McGovern’s dreams are slipping away and all her old ghosts are rising.

A job at Howell Hall, the private psychiatric facility nearby, seems too good to be true. Why have they employed her? How can they afford her? And what are they hiding? When a body is discovered in a shallow grave on Ali’s first day at work, it feels like one last horror. But it’s just the beginning of her descent into a nightmare world she never imagined existed, far too close to home.


*********

I found the title for House. Tree. Person to be very odd, but now after finishing the book do I understand the reference. It's actually a kind of clever kind of title and you have to read the book to figure out what it points to and what so important with it.

House. Tree. Person is a book that I felt did not really live up not my expectations. The mystery was in a way interesting, the book just lacked suspense and some really good twists. I did like this book, I found that I wanted to figure out what was wrong with Howell Hall, it was just that much of the twist was pretty obvious and it felt like I was one step ahead of Ali as she tried to figure out things like why was employed, who the dead person is that was found at the cemetery in a shallow grave.

Honestly, that Ali got the job, despite clearing not having any qualifications for it is the first hint that something is wrong. I knew that, she knew that. Then we have her husband and son her husband Marco is not really in the story that much, more like a figure in the background, but he is the one that found her the job, and he is also the reason they have financial problems which led to her taking the job. And, then we have their son, Angel, who is being questioned by the police after the body is found. Poor Ali has a lot to deal with.

House. Tree. Person was an interesting book. I just wish the story had been more intense and the ending more shocking.

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

Thursday, 7 September 2017

#CoverCrush The Phantom's Apprentice by Heather Webb

For new visitors do I want to explain that Cover Crush is something that my friend Erin over at Flashlight Commentary came up with and I adopted the idea together with some other friends. And, now we try to put up a Cover Crush every week. You can check below my pick of the week for their choices this week!

In this re-imagining of Phantom of the Opera, meet a Christine DaaĆ© you’ve never seen before…

Christine faces an impossible choice: be a star at the Paris opera as Papa always wanted, or follow her dream—to become a master of illusions. First, she must steal the secrets of the enigmatic master who haunts her, survive a world of treachery and murder, and embrace the uncertain promise of love. To succeed, she will risk her life in the grandest illusion of all.

Some thoughts about the cover:

I have loved The Phantom of the Opera since the first time I heard the musical on cd as child and after that have I seen a lot of movies, read the book, and read other authors version of this story. And, I was thrilled to learn that Heather Webb was doing her own book from Christine's POV. And, look at the cover, it's so gorgeous with the mask and the rose petals. 

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

Stephanie @ Layered Pages





Erin @ Flashlight Commentary

indieBRAG

#BookReview Lost In The Lake by A.J. Waines (@AJWaines)

Lost In The Lake by A.J. Waines
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

She came at first for answers…now she’s back for you

Amateur viola player Rosie Chandler is the sole survivor of a crash which sends members of a string quartet plunging into a lake. Convinced the ‘accident’ was deliberate, but unable to recall what happened, she is determined to recover her lost memories and seeks out clinical psychologist, Dr Samantha Willerby.

But Rosie is hiding something…

Sam is immediately drawn to the tragic Rosie and as she helps her piece the fragments together, the police find disturbing new evidence which raises further questions. Why is Rosie so desperate to recover her worthless viola? And what happened to the violin lost in the crash, worth over £2m?

When Rosie insists they return to the lake to relive the fatal incident, the truth about Rosie finally creeps up on Sam – but by now, she’s seriously out of her depth…

The second book in the Dr Samantha Willerby series, Lost in the Lake is a nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat Psychological Thriller that will leave you glancing over your shoulder.

**********

It wasn't until I finished the book that I realized that this was book two in a series. Yes, I have a short memory, but in this case did I not read up on the book before I started the book. The less I know about the book the better, and since I had forgotten what the book was about (lots of book in my head, hard to keep track on them all) did I start to read this book without having a clue about the story. And, I loved not knowing a thing about the story nor its characters. I was intrigued by the story, sure right from the start did I mistrust Rosie and I was worried about Sam who after an incident the year before with a patient was vulnerable. And, Rosie, her behavior through the book was very suspicious. 

Lost In The Lake is a great book, I loved reading about Sam and her troubled relationship with her sisters and how Rosie started to insinuate herself into Sam's life. And, then we have the mystery with the accident when all people in the car drowned except Rosie, was it really an accident? 

Now I'm quite eager to read the first book in the series and I'm looking forward to the next one after this one!

I want to thank the author for granting me a copy of this book for an honest review!

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

#BookReview Arrowood by Mick Finlay @HarlequinBooks

Arrowood by Mick Finlay
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

London Society takes their problems to Sherlock Holmes. Everyone else goes to Arrowood.

The Afghan War is over and a deal with the Irish appears to have brought an end to sectarian violence, but Britain's position in the world is uncertain and the gap between rich and poor is widening. London is a place where the wealthy party while the underclass are tempted into lives of crime, drugs and prostitution. A serial killer stalks the streets. Politicians are embroiled in financial and sexual scandals. The year is 1895.

The police don't have the resources to deal with everything that goes on in the capital. The rich turn to a celebrated private detective when they need help: Sherlock Holmes. But in densely populated south London, where the crimes are sleazier and Holmes rarely visits, people turn to Arrowood, a private investigator who despises Holmes, his wealthy clientele and his showy forensic approach to crime. Arrowood understands people, not clues.


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I just can't resist reading a book that is set in the same time as Sherlock Holmes. And, the book did seem really promising with Arrowood being the poor man's Sherlock Holmes. However, I had some problems with the story. First, with Arrowood himself and his Sherlock envy. I mean his alias is Locksher and he can't seem to be able to deal with Sherlock Holmes being so popular. Several times does he rant about that. And, it was irritating, and it didn't get better as the story progressed. Thankfully his trustworthy assistant Norman Barrett saves the day. He is, in my opinion, the one that saved this story and made continue reading. Barrett is also very clever and has not the temperament that Arrowood has. Barrett may be Arrowood's Dr. Watson, but Barrett is pretty clever himself and honestly, he would probably do better on his own.

As for the story. It was not easy to get into. The first time I tried reading it did I put it away because the intro didn't grab hold of me. This time did it go better, but I did feel now and then that the story just didn't hold my interest. What kept me going is that I wanted to know the truth about the missing Frenchman and I also hoped that Sherlock Holmes would make an appearance. All and all the mystery was OK, although I had a hard time remember all the characters that showed up. And, to be honest, Arrowood isn't as clever as Holmes and without Barett would he be at a loss. 

So, would I read more books in this series? Only if the author promised me that Holmes himself would be in it, otherwise I do not have much interest reading more books. This one was OK, but reading more about Arrowood isn't something that interests me much.

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

#BlogTour Angels in the Moonlight by Caimh McDonnell (@Caimh) @McFori_Ink

Angels in the Moonlight by Caimh McDonnell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For Detective Bunny McGarry, life is complicated, and it is about to get more so.

It’s 1999 and his hard-won reputation amongst Dublin’s criminal fraternity, for being a massive pain in the backside, is unfortunately shared by his bosses. His partner has a career-threatening gambling problem and, oh yeah, Bunny's finally been given a crack at the big time. He is set the task of bringing down the most skilled and ruthless armed robbers in Irish history. So, the last thing he needs in his life is yet another complication.

Her name is Simone. She is smart, funny, talented and, well, complicated. When her shocking past turns up to threaten her and Bunny’s chance at a future, things get very complicated indeed. If the choice is upholding the law or protecting those he loves, which way will the big fella turn?

Angels in the Moonlight is the standalone prequel to Caimh McDonnell’s critically acclaimed Dublin Trilogy, and it is complicated.


Book Review

The Day That Never Comes is one of the funniest books I have ever read! So, when I got the chance to read Caimh McDonnell next book (and prequel to the previous two books) did I do not hesitate for a second. Bunny had not a prominent role in the previous books (although he was important to the story) and I was curious to learn more about him as a younger man. 

Angels in the Moonlight felt less hysterical funny was The Day That Never Comes. Don't take me wrong, I still found this book to be good and there very several really funny scenes, mostly with the nuns. God, I love the nuns in this book. I also liked how this book gave a background to Bunny, his relationship with Simone and friendship with Gringo. The book was definitely much more serious than The Day That Never Comes, and much sadder. Buffy is such a fabulous characters and I loved getting to know him better, and the storylines, both the one with Simone (and what she is hiding) and the robberies are great.

I still haven't read A Man With One of Those Faces, the first book in the series, but I'm thinking of waiting until a day comes when I feel low to read it. Caimh McDonnell is a fabulous writer, the mix of action, humor and heart gets me every time!

Links



About the Author

Caimh McDonnell is an award-winning stand-up comedian, author and writer of televisual treats. Born in Limerick and raised in Dublin, he has taken the hop across the water and now calls Manchester his home.

He is a man who wears many hats. As well as being an author, he is an award-winning writer for TV, a stand-up comedian and 'the voice’ of London Irish rugby club. His debut novel, A Man with One of Those Faces was released in 2016 and it is the first book of the Dublin Trilogy series. The follow-up, The Day That Never Come was published in 2017. Both books are fast-paced crime thrillers set in Caimh's home town of Dublin and they are laced with distinctly Irish acerbic wit.

Caimh’s TV writing credits include The Sarah Millican Television Programme, A League of Their Own, Mock the Week and Have I Got News for You. He also works as a children’s TV writer and was BAFTA nominated for the animated series ‘Pet Squad’ which he created.

During his time on the British stand-up circuit, Caimh has firmly established himself as the white-haired Irishman whose name nobody can pronounce. He has brought the funny worldwide, doing stand-up tours of the Far East, the Middle East and Near East (Norwich).

Follow Caimh's witterings on @Caimh
Facebook: @CaimhMcD



Tuesday, 5 September 2017

#BookReview Friend Request by Laura Marshall (@laurajm8) @GrandCentralPub #Giveaway

Friend Request by Laura Marshall
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

DESCRIPTION

A paranoid single mom is forced to confront the unthinkable act she committed as a desperate teenager in this addictive thriller with a social media twist.

Maria Weston wants to be friends. But Maria Weston's dead. Isn't she?

1989. When Louise first notices the new girl who has mysteriously transferred late into their senior year, Maria seems to be everything Louise's other friends aren't. Authentic. Funny. Brash. Within just a few days, Maria and Louise are on their way to becoming fast friends.

2016. Louise receives a heart-stopping email: Maria Weston wants to be friends on Facebook. Long-buried memories quickly rise to the surface: Those first days of their budding friendship; cruel decisions made and dark secrets kept; the night that would change all their lives forever.

Louise has always known that if the truth ever came out, she could stand to lose everything. Her job. Her son. Her freedom. Maria's sudden reappearance threatens it all, and forces Louise to reconnect with everyone with whom she'd severed ties in order to escape the past. But as she tries to piece together exactly what happened that night, Louise discovers there's more to the story than she ever knew. To keep her secret, Louise must first uncover the whole truth, before what's known to Maria-or whoever is pretending to be her-is known to all.

With her mesmerizing debut, Laura Marshall offers a timely and essential story of how who we were shapes who we become, the hidden cost of our increasingly connected world, and the dangerous shape that revenge can take in our modern era.

BOOK REVIEW

One thing struck me as I read this book and that is that one should not post too many personal details about one's life on Facebook, nor should you befriend a person you thought was dead and that you feel guilty about. Now, many of us probably don't have to worry about dead old classmates coming back to life to haunt us, but it makes an excellent story in a book.

I have a bit of a hate/love relationship with damaged female characters in psychological thrillers. It's a pretty standard thing, and if you read many psychological thrillers will you encounter a lot of this kind of women that have skeletons in the wardrobe and who is driven to paranoia. However, if it is done well will the woman in question be someone you will cheer along the way. If not, well then you have a problem. I'm a bit torn in this book between liking and being a bit frustrated with Louise. I can honestly say that young Louise did I not like especially much, but I can still understand her situation. I have also been young and school girls are awful. The grown up Louise is a bit easier to like, although I often just wanted her to go to the police and tell everything, but that had made it to easy and not made it a good story if the character did that. Also, towards the end, I did understand her hesitance to do so.

Friend Request is a very good book, through flashbacks do we get to see what happened 1989 when Louise and her friends made Maria's life a living hell right until the very last night she disappeared. The ending of the book, the truth of what happened that night was something that I did not suspect until the very last moment before it was revealed. I just knew that something was wrong, and I was right about the direction the book would take. 

The book is very well written and I'm looking forward to reading more books from Laura Marshall.

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




ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Laura Marshall was shortlisted for several international awards for an as-yet-unpublished work for her debut novel FRIEND REQUEST. She lives in Kent, England.

TWITTER: @laurajm8

"Just try to keep the chills away.” —Cosmopolitan

"FRIEND REQUEST by Laura Marshall is a cleverly plotted, enticing mix of suspense, regret and redemption. Marshall skillfully skips back in forth in time, building unrelenting tension in this utterly riveting psychological thriller. After reading FRIEND REQUEST, I will never look at social media the same way again.”  —Heather Gudenkauf, New York Times bestselling author of The Weight of Silence and Not a Sound

"Suspenseful...Marshall leaps skillfully back and forth between past and present.”  Publishers Weekly

"A brilliant novel.” —Jenny Colgan, author of the New York Times bestsellers Little Beach Street Bakery and The Bookshop on the Corner

"An incredible debut novel that's not to be missed! Fantastic writing that instantly drew me in. I simply couldn't put it down - such a fast-paced, exciting thriller with some unexpected twists and turns. I loved it!” —Hollie Overton, author of the international bestseller Baby Doll

"Imagine getting a Facebook message from a school friend whose death you blame yourself for . . . That's the eerie premise for Laura Marshall's unnerving novel, FRIEND REQUEST, about mean girls and dark secrets.”  Good Housekeeping

"A read-it-in-one-sitting thriller . . . Twisty and gripping but always relatable, FRIEND REQUEST is the ultimate it-could-happen-to-you read.”  —Erin Kelly, author of He Said/She Said

"A strong thriller debut featuring a compelling protagonist whose self-discovery and mounting paranoia create gripping suspense.”  Booklist

"Laura Marshall ramps up the tension page by page until it's impossible to know who to trust. It's a book that should make everybody realize how vulnerable social media can make them. I loved it!”  —Rachel Abbott, author of the international bestsellers Only the Innocent and Sleep Tight

"Sharp, relevant and tightly plotted, and with a fabulous twist, psychological thriller fans should definitely say yes to this impressive debut.” Sunday Mirror

"Fast-paced plotting and a gripping conclusion make this one of the better offerings in this genre.” RT Book Reviews

#BookReview The Brightest Fell by Seanan McGuire @BerkleyPub

The Brightest Fell by Seanan McGuire
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

For once, everything in October “Toby” Daye’s life seems to be going right. There have been no murders or declarations of war for her to deal with, and apart from the looming specter of her Fetch planning her bachelorette party, she’s had no real problems for days. Maybe things are getting better.

Maybe not.

Because suddenly Toby’s mother, Amandine the Liar, appears on her doorstep and demands that Toby find her missing sister, August. But August has been missing for over a hundred years and there are no leads to follow. And Toby really doesn’t owe her mother any favors.

Then Amandine starts taking hostages, and refusal ceases to be an option.


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All right, book 11 in a series is perhaps not the best book to start with. But, I "discovered" Seanan McGuire thanks to her Wayward Children series and thought I try this, the latest book to see if it's to my liking.

Now, the book is perfectly all right, it was a lot to take in, a lot of characters to get to know, and a lot of history, but I enjoyed learning more about Toby, her friends, and family, etc. However, the story was a bit slow, with the hunt for Toby's sisters August not awfully thrilling. It's started off amusing with the bachelorette party for Toby, then Amandine, her mother shows up and kidnaps two important people in Toby's life and she will only get them back if she finds August. Yeah, she makes Joan Crawford feel warm and cuddly. I liked the story, but I did not love it. But, it did make me interested in reading the previous books.

In the end, I will say that it was a pleasant book, I liked the characters, it was not hard to get into this book and understand what was going on, I just wish I had connected more with the story. The interesting thing is that there is a novella at the end of the book, which stars April O'Leary. And, story-wise was the novella much more interesting than the book's story.

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

Sunday, 3 September 2017

#BlogBlitz The Accident by S.D. Monaghan (@SeanMonaghan16) @bookouture

The Accident by S.D. Monaghan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

One mistake could change your life forever.

Tara has it all. Married and about to move into her dream home, she can’t explain why she is tempted by one last fling with her ex before she settles down.

David would do anything for Tara. So when he finds her with another man, his world starts to crumble around him.

Ryan isn’t prepared for the punch David throws at him. Stumbling, he slips over the balcony and falls three storeys to the patio below. In one split second a man will be killed. In one split second David and Tara’s life will change forever.

How far would you go to save everything you have?

A twist-filled thriller for fans of The Couple Next Door, T.M. Logan and Rachel Abbott.


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One mistake. That's is all it took for Tara and David's life to go haywire. One mistake that quickly turned their life into a living hell. Now, they have to figure out how to get out of the mess.

The Accident is a fast-paced thriller that thrilled me from the beginning until the end. Tara's mistake of having one last fling with her ex quickly unravel her and David's life. At first was I unsure about how I felt about David and Tara, but as the story progressed and through flashbacks did we get to know them, how they met, etc. did I start to feel that I liked them more and more and wanted them somehow getting out of the mess. And, what a mess, this is like one of those movies when everything keeps getting worse, every decision just pulls David or Tara deeper into a web of duplicity and danger. I loved it! I loved the twist and turns and I loved that you never knew for sure what was going on.

The Accident is a fabulous book. I came to really like David and Tara, how they each had to figure out a way out of the mess that Tara's fling and David punch created. I love the whole chain reaction story, and there were several times during the books progressed when I thought "what now? What can go wrong now?"

The Accident is a great thriller (Although the cat scene towards the end of the book could I have lived without) and I recommend it warmly!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

S. D. Monaghan grew up in Dublin before travelling extensively in Asia, Europe and America. After teaching English in Thailand for two years, he moved back to Ireland and gained an honours degree in psychology.

While living in Canada for four years, he studied screenwriting in Toronto. S. D. Monaghan completed the Masters in Creative Writing at Trinity College, Dublin with the editorial guidance of the Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Ford and Orange Prize nominee, Deirdre Madden. On the strength of his work there, he was chosen to represent both the university and the Oscar Wilde Writers’Centre to read excerpts at the Dublin Publishers Festival and on Dublin Culture Night.

He lives in Dublin with his wife, where he is currently working on his new novel. He is represented by Zoe Ross at United Agents.


https://www.facebook.com/S.D.MonaghanAuthor/


Friday, 1 September 2017

#BookReview Death Shall Come by Simon R. Green @severnhouse

Death Shall Come: A Country House Murder Mystery by Simon R. Green
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Ishmael Jones is faced with a dead body and a missing mummy in this highly entertaining, genre-blending mystery.

Death shall come on swift wings to whoever desecrates this tomb ...

Ishmael Jones and his partner Penny have been summoned to remote Cardavan House, home of the world's largest private collection of Ancient Egyptian artefacts, for the unveiling of George Cardavan's latest acquisition: a bone fide Egyptian mummy.

When a bloodstained body is discovered beside the empty sarcophagus, Ishmael is dismissive of the theory that the mummy's curse is to blame. Instead he sets out to uncover the human killer responsible. But how can Ishmael explain the strange, shuffling footsteps that creep along the corridors? Who is playing games with them ... and why?

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As much as I liked this series did I feel that this one did not reach the same level as the previous three books. Honestly, it is starting to feel a bit repeating reading the books, which isn't all that bad since the whole mystery in a house far from everyone is entertaining. But, the problem is when I read this book did it feel like I have already read this story, just with a different kind of setting and motive for the killing. But, all the people felt like ones I read about before, just different names, no point in getting attached since few of them will probably survive. This time is it the Colonel's family that is getting into the problem. Well, the new Colonel since the previous one died in the first book. This could be why it felt so familiar since Ishmael was invited to the Colonels family in the first book as well because of some danger threatening the family, 

However, there are things I liked about the book, like Penny's love for mummy movies (I love the Mummy movies with Brendan Fraser too) and her comments about shuffling footsteps in the corridors were amusing. Unfortunately, that was pretty much the only amusing comments in the book. Would have loved some more banter between Ishmael and Penny. It was also interesting to get some more information about Ishmael's past.

Death Shall Come is not a bad book. Just not my favorite in the series and I hoped the next one will be a lot better!

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