Saturday 25 January 2020

#BookReview Bad Axe County by John Galligan @AtriaMysteryBus

Bad Axe County: A Novel by John Galligan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Dennis Lehane meets Megan Miranda in this tense, atmospheric thriller about the first female sheriff in rural Bad Axe County, Wisconsin, as she searches for a missing girl, battles local drug dealers, and seeks the truth about the death of her parents twenty years ago—all as a winter storm rages in her embattled community.

Fifteen years ago, Heidi White’s parents were shot to death on their Bad Axe County farm. The police declared it a murder-suicide and closed the case. But that night, Heidi found the one clue she knew could lead to the truth—if only the investigators would listen.

Now Heidi White is Heidi Kick, wife of local baseball legend Harley Kick and mother of three small children. She’s also the interim sheriff in Bad Axe. Half the county wants Heidi elected but the other half will do anything to keep her out of law enforcement. And as a deadly ice storm makes it way to Bad Axe, tensions rise and long-buried secrets climb to the surface.

As freezing rain washes out roads and rivers flood their banks, Heidi finds herself on the trail of a missing teenaged girl. Clues lead her down twisted paths to backwoods stag parties, derelict dairy farms, and the local salvage yard—where the body of a different teenage girl has been carefully hidden for a decade.

As the storm rages on, Heidi realizes that someone is planting clues for her to find, leading her to some unpleasant truths that point to the local baseball team and a legendary game her husband pitched years ago. With a murder to solve, a missing girl to save, and a monster to bring to justice, Heidi is on the cusp of shaking her community to its core—and finding out what really happened the night her parents died.


Bad Axe Country is one of those books that I hoped would be really dark, thrilling and engrossing. In the end, it managed to be just another book about a woman with a dark and sad past that seeks the truth. And, frankly, I've read better ones. However, I did want to find out the truth about what happened to Heidi's parents and if she would save the young missing girl. Not to mention what happened all those years ago when another girl went missing. And, is Heidi's husband involved...?

I both read and listened to Bad Axe County and both ways worked fine. It's not one of the best books I've read, but it was good for the moment. I read a lot of thrillers so I might be a bit picky nowadays. Also, one of the reasons that I found myself not that engaged with the story was that Heidi just didn't rock my boat. I do love tough female sheriffs, but I never felt that I connected with her. So, would a read the follow-up book Dead Man Dancing? Yes, I would probably do so because the writing wasn't bad and the story did entertain me although my lack of connection to the Heidi and all the rest characters. And, I want to see if the next book would do the trick for me. 

Sunday 29 December 2019

#BookReview A Murderous Relation by Deanna Raybourn

A Murderous Relation by Deanna Raybourn
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I've struggled quite badly with a reading slump the last couple of months and there are a lot of books I've started to read and abandoned and plenty of times have I abandoned books half-way through (if I even get that far). So, I'm not always sure it's me or the book that's the problem. Although, I have read a couple of really good books during the autumn/winter...

Anyhow, this is a favorite series of mine, I was quite looking forward to reading it and I loved to once again step into Veronica and Stoker's lives. Especially the beginning of the book was hilarious, with the struggle of wanting to consummate their relationship and not being able to do so. However, I struggled with the case and reading about the pair working undercover at a brothel should be a lot of fun, but I felt my heart was not in it. And, yes Veronica meeting young Eddy was quite interesting. However, I never really took to him and his problem. Poor lamb, not that bright...

The best part of the book was Veronica's brief meeting in an alley with a chilling figure. That made me wish the book had been more about the terrible murders that occurred at the time rather than the silly Eddy problem at the brothel. But, this series is more humorous than serious so it's probably not the right kind of story for Veronica. And, hence this could the root of my problems reading the book. As much as I enjoy lighthearted historical mystery books do I prefer the darker ones...

Still, those that like this series and love reading historical mystery books will probably enjoy this book.

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

Saturday 28 September 2019

#BlogTour Lake Child by Isabel Ashdown @IsabelAshdown #LakeChild

Lake Child by Isabel Ashdown
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

You trust your family. They love you. Don't they?

When 17-year-old Eva Olsen awakes after a horrific accident that has left her bedbound, her parents are right by her side. Devoted, they watch over her night and day in the attic room of their family home in the forests of Norway.

But the accident has left Eva without her most recent memories, and not everything is as it seems. As secrets from the night of the accident begin to surface, Eva realises - she has to escape her parents' house and discover the truth. But what if someone doesn't want her to find it?


I just knew that I had to read this book after seeing the fabulous cover and reading the blurb. I love reading books set in Norway, especially thrillers and crime novels. So, it was an easy decision to participate in the blog tour for this book.

Lake Child is the story about a young girl that wakes up after suffering a horrific accident and that left her lying in a coma. Now she is home again, but not in her old familiar room, instead have her parents decided that she should be tucked away in the attic. Why? Eve can't help feeling that something is amiss and that her parents are hiding something, but what? And, to make matters worse, she can't the accident or anything leading up to it. And, all Eve wants is the truth...

I love reading books that are filled with twists and turns and secrets. And, Lake Child is definitely such a book. I was not always totally surprised by some turns, but I enjoyed reading the book. And I especially liked the second part of the story when it all started to make sense and you started to see a pattern. This is the first book I've read by Isabel Ashdon, but I do plan to read more of her books!

Friday 20 September 2019

#BlogTour The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In the early 1900s, a young woman embarks on a fantastical journey of self-discovery after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical debut.

In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.

Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.

Lush and richly imagined, a tale of impossible journeys, unforgettable love, and the enduring power of stories awaits in Alix E. Harrow’s spellbinding debut–step inside and discover its magic.


The Ten Thousand Doors is a book made for people that love books about traveling to other worlds, parallel worlds through magical doors. I grew up reading the books of Narnia so this book, about a girl that discovers a book that tells her a tale about different worlds, about love, and the more she read the more will she will learn about herself.

This is a book that will make you wish you can find a door to step through and discover a new world. I quite enjoyed reading about January and her life as a ward to Mr. Locke and her yearning for her father who is out in the world gathering treasures for Mr. Locke. And, I definitely liked the chapters that dealt with The Ten Thousand Doors, the book that January found. Through the book did both January and I as a reader discover more about the doors and also about the truth of what is going on in the world. Because there is a danger, something is luring. Someone out there doesn't like the doors...

The Ten Thousand Doors is a book for those that love to read about magic, about love and adventure. For those that are looking for a good time. I enjoyed reading this book and I can't wait to read more books by Alix E. Harrow.

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

Sunday 11 August 2019

#BookReview Meet Me in Monaco by Hazel Gaynor & Heather Webb @FreshFiction @WmMorrowBooks

Meet Me in Monaco by Hazel Gaynor
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Set in the 1950s against the backdrop of Grace Kelly’s whirlwind romance and glamourous wedding to Prince Rainier of Monaco, New York Times bestselling author Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb take the reader on an evocative sun-drenched journey along the Côte d’Azur in this page-turning novel of passion, fate, and second-chances.

Movie stars and paparazzi flock to Cannes for the glamorous film festival, but Grace Kelly, the biggest star of all, wants only to escape from the flash-bulbs. When struggling perfumer Sophie Duval shelters Miss Kelly in her boutique, fending off a persistent British press photographer, James Henderson, a bond is forged between the two women and sets in motion a chain of events that stretches across thirty years of friendship, love, and tragedy.

James Henderson cannot forget his brief encounter with Sophie Duval. Despite his guilt at being away from his daughter, he takes an assignment to cover the wedding of the century, sailing with Grace Kelly’s wedding party on the SS Constitution from New York. In Monaco, as wedding fever soars and passions and tempers escalate, James and Sophie—like Princess Grace—must ultimately decide what they are prepared to give up for love.


Each year, paparazzi and movie stars travel to Cannes in droves for the celebrated film festival. Among the movie stars is Grace Kelly, who will soon become the wife of Prince Rainer of Monaco. Grace Kelly, however, just wants to be left alone and it's when she's trying to get away from a photographer that she enters the store of perfumer Sophie Duval. This chance meeting between Miss Kelly and Sophie will forge a bond between them. But, Sophie will also forge another bond with the photographer trying to capture a photo of the future Princess Grace, James Henderson...


Tuesday 30 July 2019

#BookReview Smokescreen by Iris Johansen @GrandCentralPub

Smokescreen by Iris Johansen
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

In this pulse-pounding thriller from #1 New York Timesbestselling author Iris Johansen, forensic sculptor Eve Duncan journeys to Africa to help families torn apart by a violent attack deep in the jungle--but she may be putting herself in more danger than she knows.

A journalist shows up on Eve Duncan's doorstep with a plea for help. Jill Cassidy has just come from a small African village with a heart wrenching story: half the villagers--many of them children--have been killed in a horrific attack by guerilla soldiers, the bodies burned beyond recognition. Now, the families desperately need Eve's help to get closure and begin to heal.

But when Eve arrives in the remote jungle, she begins to suspect that Jill's plea may have been a cover story for a deeper, more sinister plot. Isolated and unsure who she can trust, Eve finds herself stranded in an unstable country where violence threatens to break out again at any moment and with only her own instincts to rely on if she hopes to get home to her family alive . . .

#1 New York Times bestselling author Iris Johansen is back with one of her most exhilarating and dangerous adventures yet in this "riveting" high-stakes thriller (Publishers Weekly).


Eve Duncan is pretty much bullied into taking on a new case when journalist Jill Cassidy implores her to come to Africa with her to help parents of children killed in a massacre. They need closure and Eve is just the right one to do so with her knowledge of forensic sculptor. But, Jill has another motive and soon Eve will find herself is quite a lot of danger...

Smokescreen is one of those books that I really wanted to like, but ultimately the story failed for me because of some factors that I will discuss later on in the review. But, first, let's start with what I found good and that is the story itself. The massacre of the children in a school and Eve's help to find closure for the parents together with the real reason for her being there. Because yes, Eve is lured there to help with another thing that they need her special knowledge to do. This is the part of the story that worked for me. That and the interesting "royal" history of the leader of the country that played a big role in the story. And, if Eve and Jill and been alone working on this with the help of Jill's friend Gideon had I most likely enjoyed the book more.

Unfortunately, I have two big problems with the book (and some of the other books I've read by Iris Johansen) and that the's the men. From Joe Quinn, Eve's husband to Jill FBI agent friend Novak. Sorry, but these macho men are boring me so much. I like Iris Johansen's books, but she has a tendency to use a special type of man in every book that feels like an overbearing macho man and I just get the feeling that she has found her niche when it comes to it and now everyone man is written the same way. Even when I read other series by Iris Johansen. And, of course, that brings me to the second problem. The romance part, because of course, Jill and Novak have a lot of sexual tension all through the book. Well, it's written that way, I was utterly bored by that. I was more interested in Jill's role as a journalist and her work to expose the truth about the massacre, etc.

Smokescreen ended up being a so-so book for me. Not among the best like the early ones I've read or like Shadow Play that introduced me to the author. And, that's just too bad because I like Eve Duncan, I just wish the story had focused more on exposing the truth and definitely less on the romance.

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

Smokescreen by Iris Johansen

Saturday 27 July 2019

#BookReview Bethlehem by Karen Kelly @FreshFiction @StMartinsPress

Bethlehem by Karen Kelly
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

With the atmospheric storytelling of Kate Morton and Lisa Wingate, Karen Kelly weaves a shattering debut about two intertwined families and the secrets that they buried during the gilded, glory days of Bethlehem, PA.

"A haunting debut.” —Georgia Hunter, New York Times bestselling author of We Were the Lucky Ones

"Karen Kelly is the real deal.” —Mark Sullivan, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Beneath a Scarlet Sky

A young woman arrives at the grand ancestral home of her husband’s family, hoping to fortify her cracking marriage. But what she finds is not what she expected: tragedy haunts the hallways, whispering of heartache and a past she never knew existed.

Inspired by the true titans of the steel-boom era, Bethlehem is a story of temptation and regret, a story of secrets and the cost of keeping them, a story of forgiveness. It is the story of two complex women—thrown together in the name of family—who, in coming to understand each other, come finally to understand themselves.


BETHLEHEM is the story of Joanna - a young woman that, together with her husband Frank and children, moves back in the ancestral home because it will be closer to Franks's work. Frank's father has just died, he's has taken on much more responsibility, and he's gone a lot. This bothers Joanna quite a lot. The situation is made worse since she is not only sharing the house with her mother-in-law, but also Frank's grandmother. Not that the women are horrible or wicked, but Joanna does feel like an outsider. One day, while walking outside with her children, Joanna wanders over to the cemetery and meets an old woman named Doe. Doe is taking care of the cemetery along with her husband. Joanna also meets Doe's grandson Daniel, a thoughtful young man that Joanna feels drawn to. In the cemetery there is a grave for a little baby, but Doe - who has been very talkative up until now - refuses to speak about it. What is it with the small grave?


Tuesday 23 July 2019

#BookReview The Shameless by Ace Atkins @FreshFiction @aceatkins @PutnamBooks

The Shameless by Ace Atkins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Buried secrets, dirty lies, and unbridled greed and ambition raise the stakes down South in the lauded crime series from New York Times bestselling author Ace Atkins.

Twenty years ago, Brandon Taylor was thought to be just another teen boy who ended his life too soon. That’s what almost everyone in Tibbehah County, Mississippi, said after his body and hunting rifle were found in the Big Woods. Now two New York-based reporters show up asking Sheriff Quinn Colson questions about the Taylor case. What happened to the evidence? Where are the missing files? Who really killed Brandon?

Quinn wants to help. After all, his wife Maggie was a close friend of Brandon Taylor. But Quinn was just a kid himself in 1997, and these days he’s got more on his plate than twenty-year-old suspicious death. He’s trying to shut down the criminal syndicate that’s had a stranglehold on Tibbehah for years, trafficking drugs, stolen goods, and young women through the MidSouth. Truck stop madam Fannie Hathcock runs most of that action, and has her eyes on taking over the whole show. And then there’s Senator Jimmy Vardaman, who’s cut out the old political establishment riding the Syndicate’s money and power—plus a hefty helping of racism and ignorance—straight to the governor’s office. If he manages to get elected, the Syndicate will be untouchable. Tibbehah will be lawless.

Quinn’s been fighting evil and corruption since he was a kid, at home or as a U.S. Army Ranger in Afghanistan and Iraq. This time, evil may win out.


Two New York reporters are in Tibbehah Country, Mississippi investigating a cold case. Twenty years ago a young man, Brandon Taylor, killed himself in the Big Woods. At least that is the official explanation. What really happened is hard to know, since there were no witnesses and all the official documents are missing. Now they are asking around, trying to find out the truth. Sheriff Quinn Colson is one that is asking questions, both because of his role as a sheriff and because of his connection to Brandon, or rather his wife. Maggie was friends with Brandon and even dated him. But the truth is hard to find out, especially if there are those that try to discredit Quinn by pointing a finger at him...