Saturday, 18 November 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Friday, 17 November 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Thursday, 16 November 2017

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

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


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

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

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

#CoverCrush The Other Lady Vanishes by Amanda Quick @Marablaise

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


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

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

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

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

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

Some thoughts about the cover:

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

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

Stephanie @ Layered Pages

Heather @ The Maiden's Court

Holly @ 2 Kids and Tired Books

Colleen @ A Literary Vacation

Meghan @ Of Quills & Vellum

Erin @ Flashlight Commentary

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

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

SWEDISH REVIEW

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tack till Bazar Förlag för recensionexemplaret!

ENGLISH REVIEW

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks to Bazar Förlag for the review copy!

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

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

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

Some secrets never stay buried for long…

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

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

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

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


Purchase from Amazon UK: amzn.to/2k7xLmq

BOOK REVIEW

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

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

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


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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

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

Follow E.A. Clark on…

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


Tuesday, 14 November 2017

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

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

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

But now, Blue Man is missing.

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

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

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


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

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


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


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



End Game by David Baldacci
ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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


FACEBOOK: @writer.david.baldacci

TWITTER: @davidbaldacci

INSTAGRAM: @davidbaldacciauthor

PRAISE FOR BALDACCI’S WILL ROBIE SERIES:


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

--- Providence Sunday Journal on The Guilty

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

--- Associated Press on The Guilty

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

--- BookReporter.com on The Guilty

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

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

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

--- Richmond Times-Dispatch on The Target

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

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

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

--- Associated Press on The Hit

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

--- Suspense Magazine on The Innocent

#BookReview The Woman in the Camphor Trunk by Jennifer Kincheloe (@jenkincheloe) @SeventhStBooks @Marablaise

The Woman in the Camphor Trunk: An Anna Blanc Mystery by Jennifer Kincheloe
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Los Angeles, 1908. In Chinatown, the most dangerous beat in Los Angeles, police matron Anna Blanc and her former sweetheart, Detective Joe Singer, discover the body of a white missionary woman, stuffed in a trunk in the apartment of her Chinese lover. Her lover has fled. If news gets out that a white woman was murdered in Chinatown, there will be a violent backlash against the Chinese. Joe and Anna plan to solve the crime quietly and keep the death a secret. So does good-looking Mr. Jones, a prominent Chinese leader who has mixed feelings about helping the LAPD and about Anna.

Meanwhile, the Hop Sing tong has kidnapped two slave girls from the Bing Kong tong, fuelling existing tensions. They are poised on the verge of a bloody tong war that would put all Chinatown residents in danger.

Joe orders Anna out of Chinatown to keep her safe, but to atone for her own family's sins, Anna must stay to solve the crime before news of the murder is leaked and Chinatown explodes.


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I read The Secret Life of Anna Blanc in the beginning of this year and I loved the book. It's one of those historical mystery books that really had it all, interesting mystery, humor and a romantic side story that worked. The big question was, would the sequel, The Woman in the Camphor Trunk, be as good? I'm glad to say that this book also was a great read, although I found that I was more captivated by the story in the first book. But, that doesn't mean that this one is in any way bad. It just that the first book had so much hilarious moment with Anna trying to work as a police matron and keep this as a secret from her father. Now in this book is the cat out of the bag and she's thrown out and living on crumbles.

Still, how can you not love a book that starts off with Anna sprinting from a police officer with a stolen Chinese head? Then, we have the small problem with Anna having to work with Detective Joe Singer who loves her, but whom Anna determent to not marry since she wants to be a free woman. Which has meant that Joe is starting to look to find love with another woman to Anna's consternation. Then, we have the white women stuffed in a trunk in Chinatown that has to be kept a secret so that it won't turn out into a riot since the finding of a dead white woman in Chinatown could have serious repercussions. So, now Joe and Anna have to try to find who killed the woman and why as well as keeping everything hush hush. Anna also has to fight to keep her jealousy in check every time she sees Joe with a woman that she suspects he's courting.

The Woman in the Camphor Trunk is a worthy sequel to The Secret Life of Anna Blanc. If you haven't read the first book do I really urge you to do so, especially if you love historical mystery books. And, of course, I also recommend this book. And, I'm looking forward to reading book three!

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

Monday, 13 November 2017

#BookReview The Unclaimed Victim by D.M. Pulley @amazonpub @Marablaise

The Unclaimed Victim by D.M. Pulley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In 1938, at the height of the Great Depression, a madman hunts his victims through the hobo jungles of Cleveland, terrorizing the city. Ethel Harding, a prostitute struggling to survive both the cold streets and the Torso Killer, takes refuge with a devout missionary sect—only to find that its righteous facade conceals the darkest of secrets.

Sixty years later, the police find the butchered body of Alfred Wiley in the woods. But before his daughter, Kris, can even identify the remains, things he never told her begin to surface one by one—a mysterious private eye who’d been tracking him, an eerie website devoted to the unsolved “Torso” murders, missing archives, stolen books, and an abandoned Bible factory harboring vagrants. The more she learns about her father’s obsession with the Torso Killer, the more Alfred’s death appears to be related, pulling Kris further into Cleveland’s hellish past.

Living decades apart, Ethel and Kris must unravel the truth behind the city’s most notorious serial killer…or die trying.


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I read The Dead Key by D.M. Pulley in 2015 and it was a good book, but it was the second book The Buried Book that really made an impression on me. So, when I saw this books cover and read the blurb did I know I just had to read it.

I have a thing for dual storylines so I was quite thrilled to get a story that is both sets in 1938 and in 1999. This is quite a dark story, with both women from different periods getting involved in the Torso killings. Ethel Harding lives a hard life a prostitute and by accident does she get involved when she sees and hears things she shouldn't. 60 years later and Kris Wiley learns that there is a possibility that the butchered remains of a body is her father. But, there are odd things in her father's life and she learns things that make her wonder if she knew the man at all.

The Unclaimed Victim is a bleak book. The story is interesting, it just never gets really thrilling to read. I found the pacing of the story slow and there came a moment when I had read half the book, and I just was unsure if it was worth continuing. Thankfully, I kept going and the last part of the book was better with a faster pace and revelations that I didn't expect. I think what the book lacks is suspense. I mean it has everything for a good creepy setting, a spooky big old house where one easily can get lost in. But, I never felt that it got under my skin and to be honest neither Kris nor Ethel really made an impression on me. Truthfully, I found that the 1938 storyline worked not as well as the one in 1999. I can see the necessity to have it, but everything the story shifted did I wait for it to go back to 1999. 

Still, as I wrote above was it worth reading the book. I did not expect the twist that came towards the end of the book and I love it when I get surprised like that. I liked how the book was set in 1999, it's not that long ago, but reading this book makes me realize how much has happened since then. I look forward to reading the next book D.M. Pulley will publish. 

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

Friday, 10 November 2017

#BlogTour The It Girl and Me by Laini Giles (@4gottenflapper) @hfvbt @Marablaise

The It Girl and Me: A Novel of Clara Bow by Laini Giles
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The It Girl and Me: A Novel of Clara Bow by Laini Giles

Publication Date: March 25, 2017
Sepia Stories Publishing
eBook & Paperback; 341 Pages
Series: Forgotten Actresses, Book #2
Gere: Historical Fiction/Biographical

Daisy DeVoe has left her abusive husband, her father has been pinched for bootlegging, and she’s embarrassed by her rural Kentucky roots. But on the plus side, she’s climbing the ladder in the salon of Paramount Pictures, styling hair for actress Clara Bow.

Clara is a handful. The “It” Girl of the Jazz Age personifies the new woman of the 1920s onscreen, smoking, drinking bootleg hooch, and bursting with sex appeal. But her conduct off the set is even more scandalous. Hoping to impose a little order on Clara’s chaotic life, Paramount persuades Daisy to sign on as Clara’s personal secretary.

Thanks to Daisy, Clara’s bank account is soon flush with cash. And thanks to Clara, Daisy can finally shake off her embarrassing past and achieve respectability for herself and her family.

The trouble begins when Clara’s newest fiancé, cowboy star Rex Bell, wants to take over, and he and Daisy battle for control. Torn between her loyalty to Clara and her love for her family, Daisy has to make a difficult choice when she ends up in the county jail.

Here, Daisy sets the record straight, from her poverty-stricken childhood to her failed marriage; from a father in San Quentin to her rollercoaster time with Clara, leaving out none of the juicy details.


BOOK REVIEW

First I just want to say that I had no idea that Daisy DeVoe was a real person when I started to read this book. I was looking forward to reading a fictional tale about Clara Bow. It wasn't until around halfway through when I googled Clara Bow and realized that this is based on a true story (yes I totally missed that this is a biographical fiction I just saw the cover, Clara Bow and knew I had to read the book since I love books set in the 1920s). Anyway, The It Girl and Me is a fabulous book, from the very start until the end.

What really thrilled me about this book is how authentic it felt to read. From the phraseology to the way people behaved. This made the story so much better because it really felt like you were transported back to the 20s. To Hollywood and all the glam. But, it's now all roses and glam. It's actually a very tragic story in many ways. Both Daisy and Clara had to overcome much in life and their friendship was strong. However, Clara's desperate need for love and her love affairs damaged her career and her reputation. And, the consequences for Daisy are also grim.

To be honest, towards the end did I have a hard time feeling sorry for Clara. Sure there were times when she was annoying in the book, but she was also very charming. But, her actions towards the end, what she did to Daisy. Well, that wasn't very nice.

The It Girl and Me is a book you just must read if you like me love the 1920s. It's a fabulous book that gives a glimpse into Tinseltown. I particularly loved to read about the problems that arise when movies went from silent to sound. Clara's problem really made me think about Singin' in the Rain.

About the Author


Originally from the counterculture mecca of Austin, Texas, Laini discovered a love of reading early on, and when she was eight, decided to be Nancy Drew. This dream was dashed when she realized she was actually a big chicken, and that there were no guarantees of rescue from tarantulas, bad guys with guns, and other fiendish plot twists. She finished her first “mystery novel” (with custom illustrations) when she was nine.

She set the writing aside for a while when life got in the way, but was led back to it through her interest in genealogy and 18 months of enforced unemployment due to moving north for maple-flavored goodies and real beer. Reading old microfilm stirred new life into her interest in writing, and watching early silent films struck the match.

Like most other writers, most of her monthly budget is spent on coffee and books. She lives with her husband and their two gray cats in Edmonton, Alberta.

For more information, please visit Laini Giles’ website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Wednesday, November 1 

Kick Off at Passages to the Past

Thursday, November 2 


Friday, November 3 


Monday, November 6 

Review at Bookish

Tuesday, November 7 

Feauture at WS Momma Readers Nook

Thursday, November 9 


Friday, November 10 

Review at A Bookaholic Swede

Monday, November 13 

Review at Creating Herstory


Wednesday, November 15

Review at A Chick Who Reads

Friday, November 17

Excerpt at A Literary Vacation

Monday, November 20 

Feature at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, November 22 

Feature at The Lit Bitch

Thursday, November 23 


Friday, November 24 


Saturday, November 25 

Excerpt at T's Stuff

Tuesday, November 28 


Wednesday, November 29 

Review at A Book Drunkard

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away 5 paperback copies of The It Girl and Me! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.
Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on November 29th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US & Canada only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.
The It Girl and Me Direct Link: https://gleam.io/Ieh6N/the-it-girl-and-me

Thursday, 9 November 2017

#BookReview Smugglaren (The Smuggler) by Jan-Erik Fjell (@JanErikFjell) @Marablaise

Smugglaren by Jan-Erik Fjell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

SWEDISH REVIEW

Det är snart jul och den småkriminelle Bernandas från Litauen kör in i Norge med en förseglad last, på uppdrag av den ryske gangsterbossen Doskino. Men kontakten som ska ta emot lasten dyker aldrig upp där de stämt träff, vid en avlägsen stuga utanför Fredrikstad. När Bernandas inser vad det är för last han smugglat över gränsen grips han av panik. Dagen efter hittas den äldre läraren Viggo Holm brutalt knivmördad i sitt hem i Sarpsborg, och det visar sig att han var Bernardas kontakt. En motvillig Anton Brekke får fallet, och medan han börjar följa spåren kämpar Bernardas desperat för att ta sig ur fällan han fastnat i - strandad i ett främmande land med polisen på ena sidan och sin uppdragsgivare på den andra.

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Bok två i Anton Brekke serien är precis som den första boken, Angivaren, en spännande och välskriven berättelse. Dock kändes det som om Smugglaren hade en mer brutal och rå berättelse än den i Angivaren. För känsliga läsare vill jag varna för en rå våldtäktsscen. 

Nu är inte boken rakt igenom mörk och dyster, Anton Brekke och den nyexaminerade polisen Magnus Torp livar upp tillvaron mellan varven och sedan har vi det där lilla problemet med att Anton's exfru har hittat en nya man och hur mycket Anton än gräver i mannens bakgrund så hittar han inga fel. 

För Anton Brekke blir fallet Viggo Holm en besvärlig gåta att knäcka, vem ville döda en gammal lärare? Vad är motivet? Kan det ligga i det förflutna? Tillsammans med kollegan Ole Kval och Magnus Torp börjar han gräve i det förflutna och ju mer de gräver desto mer verkar det vara så att gamle Viggo hade mörka hemligheter. 

Smugglaren är en stark uppföljare till Angivaren. Boken var svår att sluta läsa och jag bara älskar upplägget med korta kapitel. Bara ett kapitel till var min mantra medan jag läste denna bok. Slutet förbluffade mig, jag hade verkligen inte väntat mig den vändning i berättelsen. Och nu vill jag ha bok tre!

Tack HarperCollins Nordic för recensionsexemplaret!

ENGLISH REVIEW

It's close to Christmas and small-time criminal Bernandas from Lithuania is traveling to Norway with a sealed cargo, commissioned by the Russian gangster boss Doskino. But the contact to receive the cargo never shows up at the destined meeting place at a remote cabin outside Fredrikstad. When Bernandas understands what the cargo is that he has smuggled across the border, is he struck by panic. The next day, the old teacher Viggo Holm is found to be a brutal knife murderer in his home in Sarpsborg, and it turns out he was Bernard's contact. A reluctant Anton Brekke gets the case, and as he begins to follow the tracks, Bernardas fights desperately to get out of the trap he stuck in - stranded in a foreign country with the police on one side and the Russian gangster boss Doskino on the other.

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Book two in the Anton Brekke series is just some the first book, The Informer, thrilling and well-written. However, The Smuggler felt like a more brutal and cruel story than that of The Informer. For sensitive readers, do I wanna warn of a brutal rape scene.

Now the book is not through dark and gloomy, Anton Brekke and the newly graduated policeman Magnus Torp lighten the mood and then we have that little problem that Anton's ex-wife who has found a new man and no matter how much Anton is digging in the man's background, can't he find something wrong with the man.

As for the case. For Anton Brekke is the murder of Viggo Holm a difficult mystery to crack. Who would kill an old teacher? And why? Could the answer lie in the past? Together with his colleague Ole Kval and Magnus Torp, does Anton begin digging in the past and the more they dig, the more it seems that old Viggo had some pretty dark secrets.

The Smuggler is a strong sequel to The Informer. I found it hard to stop reading the book and I just love the short chapter form of the book. Only one chapter was my mantra while I read this book. The end surprised me, I really did not expect it to end that way. And now I want to have a book three!

Thanks HarperCollins Nordic for the review copy!

#CoverCrush Nemo Rising by C. Courtney Joyner @Marablaise

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


An exciting sequel to the Captain Nemo adventures enjoyed by millions in Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

Sea monsters are sinking ships up and down the Atlantic Coast. Enraged that his navy is helpless against this onslaught and facing a possible World War as a result, President Ulysses S. Grant is forced to ask for assistance from the notorious Captain Nemo, in Federal prison for war crimes and scheduled for execution. 

Grant returns Nemo’s submarine, the infamous Victorian Steampunk marvel Nautilus, and promises a full Presidential pardon if Nemo hunts down and destroys the source of the attacks. Accompanied by the beautiful niece of Grant’s chief advisor, Nemo sets off under the sea in search of answers. Unfortunately, the enemy may be closer than they realize...


Some thoughts about the cover:

I love steampunk and I absolutely adore the cover for Nemo Rising, the sequel to 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. The cover with Nautilus fighting a what looks like a robotic octopus feels like a perfect image for this book. 

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

Stephanie @ Layered Pages





#BookReview Black Goat Blues by Levi Black @torbooks @Marablaise

Black Goat Blues by Levi Black
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In Red Right Hand, Charlie Tristan Moore was thrust into a nightmarish world of lurking Lovecraftian horrors when The Man In Black, a diabolical Elder God, chose her as his unwilling Acolyte. Discovering her own power, Charlie ultimately defied The Man In Black, but at a cost.

Now armed with a magic coat made from the skin of a flayed angel, Charlie is out to destroy The Man In Black and save her boyfriend Daniel--and she doesn't care how many bloodthirsty gods and monsters get in her way...


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I was a bit on the fence about this book, if I should read it or not since I hadn't read the first book, Red Right Hand. However, the fabulous cover and my weakness for Lovecraftian stories made me dare to start this book and I'm thrilled to say that the book worked very well, despite that I had not read the first book.

The story in this book takes place some weeks after the story ended in the first book. Charlie defeated The Man In Black, but he's still alive and Charlie goes after him in this book. If you have read the previous book will you know everything that happened in, Red Right Hand, however, if you like me decides to read this one without having read the previous book will it be easy getting into the story Black Goat Blues. Much of what happened in Red Right Hand is mentioned in this book, so it's easy to understand Charlie's plight to destroy The Man in Black and save her boyfriend Daniel. Also, I just want to say that I quite enjoyed the characters around Charlie, like Javier who becomes an important part of the story. And, then we have Ashtoreth, The Scarlet Harlot, Unholy Ishtar, Concubine of Chaos, and Whore Goddess Galore. Yeah, she just like The Man In Black is an Elder God. But, my favorite characters, or creature rather, is the skinhound. Yup, that surprised me too. What is a skinhound? Just imagine a dog skinned and you will get the picture. Sounds creepy I know, but this is a Lovecraftian novel so creepy things are expected.

I quite enjoyed this book and I hope to read book one some day. And, speaking of reading, this book ended with a hell of an unexpected cliffhanger so now I must read the next book!

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

Friday, 3 November 2017

#BookReview Broken Bones by Angela Marsons (@WriteAngie) @bookouture @Marablaise

Broken Bones by Angela Marsons
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

They thought they were safe. They were wrong.
The murder of a young prostitute and a baby found abandoned on the same winter night signals the start of a disturbing investigation for Detective Kim Stone – one which brings her face to face with someone from her own horrific childhood.

As three more sex workers are murdered in quick succession, each death more violent than the last, Kim and her team realise that the initial killing was no one-off frenzied attack, but a twisted serial killer preying on the vulnerable.

At the same time, the search begins for the desperate woman who left her newborn baby at the station – but what looks like a tragic abandonment turns even more sinister when a case of modern slavery is uncovered.

The two investigations bring the team into a terrifying world of human exploitation and cruelty – and a showdown that puts Kim’s life at risk as shocking secrets from her own past come to light.


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Broken Bones is book seven in the Kim Stone series and the series is going strong! I pretty much throw myself over this book when I got it since I always find that Angela Marson's has an uncanny ability to write crime books that make your heart ache. And, this book is not an exception.

Sex workers have a low position in society and this book really explores their situations. Their vulnerability and tragic life. Marson's really knows how to write about situations that feel so right in time. That's what I love about this series. From racism in the last book to this book with young girls falling prey to other people's vileness. She knows how to write engaging stories that are tuned into the problem of this modern world. I won't give away too much of the storyline, but reading about these young girls and how other people prey on them, well it's awful!

The story is straight through engaging and thrilling. And, also very sad and of course. There is so much evil in the world and this book truly shows that. It's also surprising, although I did suspect that there must be some twist to the story.

There is a sideline story to this book, about a baby that has been left on the steps at the police station, and that storyline was equally interesting to follow. And, it grabbed your heart just as much as the murder of the sex worker storyline did.

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

Thursday, 2 November 2017

#CoverCrush Scorched Shadows by Steve McHugh @Marablaise

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



In the final chapter of the Hellequin Chronicles, secrets will be revealed, friendships will be tested, and destinies will be fulfilled.


Avalon is under siege. A shadowy cabal, headed by a mysterious figure known only as “My Liege”, has launched a series of deadly attacks across the globe, catching innocent human bystanders in the crossfire.

Emerging from the debris of battle, Nate Garrett, the sixteen-hundred-year-old sorcerer also called Hellequin, and his friends must stop My Liege once and for all. But powerful forces stand in their way. To save Avalon, they will need to enlist the help of Mordred, once Nate’s greatest nemesis, now his most formidable ally. But Mordred is grappling with a dark prophecy that could spell Nate’s doom…

The fate of the world hangs in the balance. Even if Nate can halt the war, will there be anything left worth saving?


Some thoughts about the cover:

This cover sums up pretty much how I want the cover to an urban fantasy novel to look with an image to appeals to me right from the start. I mean look at it with the mysterious man (Nate) sitting on a throne with sword (I thought it was a cane first, but when I started to write about the cover did I see that it's a sword and now I suspect that it's Excalibur) and the other hand sparkles magic. What's not to like? 

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

Stephanie @ Layered Pages





#BookReview The Vanishing Box by Elly Griffiths @QuercusBooks @Marablaise

The Vanishing Box by Elly Griffiths
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Christmas 1953. Max Mephisto and his daughter Ruby are headlining Brighton Hippodrome, an achievement only slightly marred by the less-than-savoury support act: a tableau show of naked 'living statues'. This might appear to have nothing in common with DI Edgar Stephens' investigation into the death of a quiet flowerseller, but if there's one thing the old comrades have learned it's that, in Brighton, the line between art and life - and death - is all too easily blurred...


The fourth book in the Stephens and Mephisto mystery from the author of the bestselling Dr Ruth Galloway series.

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I started to read Elly Griffith's Ruth Galloway series several years ago and I quite liked reading about an archaeologist involved in murder cases. So, when the first book in the Stephens & Mephisto Mystery was released was I curious to see how this series, set in the 50s would be. And, there is something quite pleasant and different with a crime series with a policeman and magician as "partners". Well, it's not like they work together, Max and Edgar were in the army together and now Edgar's work as a DI will sometimes need help from his old buddy, and btw the father of Edgar's fiance Ruby.

This time is it the death of a young girl that starts off it all. Why would anyone want to kill an innocent and shy girl that works selling flowers in Brighton? While Edgar tries to solve the murder, are Max and Ruby performing together, but soon will Max be drawn into Edgar's world when more people get killed...

The Vanishing Box is a pleasant book to read. Max and Edgar feel like old friends and I love the setting of the 50s England. The case is puzzling and tragic. I did find the story sometimes a bit slow, not that it was hard to focus on what was going on instead it was more like it just didn't grip me. Not even the end, when everything was revealed. Also, there is a kind of love triangle in this book and the development in this book with the three people felt a bit rushed. Still, I will definitely read the next book and see what's next for Edgar and Max.

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