Friday, 15 February 2019

#BookReview The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff @parkrowbooks @FreshFiction

The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

From the author of the runaway bestseller The Orphan’s Tale comes a remarkable story of friendship and courage centered around three women and a ring of female spies during World War II.

1946, Manhattan

Grace Healey is rebuilding her life after losing her husband during the war. One morning while passing through Grand Central Terminal on her way to work, she finds an abandoned suitcase tucked beneath a bench. Unable to resist her own curiosity, Grace opens the suitcase, where she discovers a dozen photographs—each of a different woman. In a moment of impulse, Grace takes the photographs and quickly leaves the station.

Grace soon learns that the suitcase belonged to a woman named Eleanor Trigg, leader of a ring of female secret agents who were deployed out of London during the war. Twelve of these women were sent to Occupied Europe as couriers and radio operators to aid the resistance, but they never returned home, their fates a mystery. Setting out to learn the truth behind the women in the photographs, Grace finds herself drawn to a young mother turned agent named Marie, whose daring mission overseas reveals a remarkable story of friendship, valor and betrayal.

Vividly rendered and inspired by true events, New York Times bestselling author Pam Jenoff shines a light on the incredible heroics of the brave women of the war, and weaves a mesmerizing tale of courage, sisterhood and the great strength of women to survive in the hardest of circumstances


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THE LOST GIRLS OF PARIS is a book about sacrifices, courage, friendship, and about moving on.

1946 - Grace Healey is living in Manhattan and is trying to live a life without her husband who died during the war. While passing through Grand Central Terminal one morning, she finds a suitcase with some photographs that she in a moment of impulse snatches. Later on, she learns that the suitcase belongs to Eleanor Trigg, who was the leader of a ring of female secret agents during the war. Among the spies was there a young mother, Marie, who was sent to France to help the resistance.

READ THE REST OF THE REVIEW OVER AT FRESH FICTION!

Thursday, 14 February 2019

#BookReview Dear George, Dear Mary by Mary Calvi @StMartinsPress @FreshFiction

Dear George, Dear Mary: A Novel of George Washington's First Love by Mary Calvi
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

A novel about heiress Mary Philipse's relationship with George Washington, based on historical accounts, letters, and personal journals by nine-time New York Emmy award-winning journalist Mary Calvi.

"Love is said to be an involuntary passion, and it is, therefore, contended that it cannot be resisted." --George Washington

Did unrequited love help spark a flame that ignited a cause that became the American Revolution? Never before has this story about George Washington been told. Crafted from hundreds of letters, witness accounts, and journal entries, Dear George, Dear Mary explores George's relationship with his first love, New York heiress Mary Philipse, the richest belle in Colonial America.

From elegant eighteenth-century society to bloody battlefields, the novel creates breathtaking scenes and riveting characters. Dramatic portraits of the two main characters unveil a Washington on the precipice of greatness, using the very words he spoke and wrote, and his ravishing love, whose outward beauty and refinement disguise a complex inner struggle.

Dear George, Dear Mary reveals why George Washington had such bitter resentment toward the Brits, established nearly two decades before the American Revolution, and it unveils details of a deception long hidden from the world that led Mary Philipse to be named a traitor, condemned to death and left with nothing. While that may sound like the end, ultimately both Mary and George achieve what they always wanted.


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DEAR GEORGE, DEAR MARY is the story about George Washington's relationship with Mary Philipse. Mary Calvi has written a story based on hundreds of letters, witness accounts, and journal entries, reconstructing George Washington courting of New York heiress Mary Philipse.

READ THE REST OF THE REVIEW OVER AT FRESH FICTION!

#BookReview Watcher in the Woods by Kelley Armstrong @KelleyArmstrong @StMartinsPress @MinotaurBooks @FreshFiction

Watcher in the Woods by Kelley Armstrong
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In #1 New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong's latest thriller, the town of Rockton—and her fans—are in for another hair-raising adventure.

The secret town of Rockton has seen some rocky times lately; understandable considering its mix of criminals and victims fleeing society for refuge within its Yukon borders. Casey Duncan, the town's only detective on a police force of three, has already faced murder, arson and falling in love in less than the year that she's lived there. Yet even she didn't think it would be possible for an outsider to find and cause trouble in the town she's come to call home.

When a US Marshal shows up in town demanding the release of one of the residents, Casey and her boyfriend, Sheriff Dalton, are skeptical. And yet only hours later, the marshal is shot dead and the only visible suspects are the townspeople and her estranged sister, in town for just the weekend. It's up to Casey to figure out who murdered the marshal, and why they would kill to keep him quiet.


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WATCHER IN THE WOODS is book four in Kelly Armstrong's Rockton series. I've read all the books and this is a series that I love and I hope that Armstrong will keep on writing several more books.

READ THE REST OF THE REVIEW OVER AT FRESH FICTION!

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

#BlogTour The Lost Man by Jane Harper @janeharperautho @caolinndouglas @GraceEVincent @LittleBrownUK

The Lost Man by Jane Harper
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

He had started to remove his clothes as logic had deserted him and his skin was cracked. Whatever had been going through Cameron's mind when he was alive, he didn't look peaceful in death.

Two brothers meet at the remote fence line separating their cattle farms under the relenting sun of the remote outback. In an isolated part of Western Australia, they are each other's nearest neighbour, their homes three hours' drive apart.

They are at the stockman's grave, a landmark so old that no one can remember who is buried there. But today, the scant shadow it casts was the last hope for their middle brother, Cameron, who lies dead at their feet.

Something had been on Cam's mind. Did he choose to walk to his death? Because if he didn't, the isolation of the outback leaves few suspects...

The Lost Man is the highly anticipated new book from the bestselling and award-winning Jane Harper, author of The Dryand Force of Nature.


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The Lost Man is so far my favorite book by Jane Harper. It was interesting to read a stand-alone book and not a new book in the Aaron Falk series. However, right from the very start when Cameron is found by his brothers Nathan and Bub did I feel that this book will be good.

The wonderful setting, one could really feel the Australian heat while reading the book. Not to mention the vastness everything takes hours to reach. Then, then there is the death of Cameron. Was it really a suicide? Has the legend of the Stockman's something to do with the death? The more one reads the more one realize that not everything is as it seems. There are secrets, deep dark secrets...

I will end this review now. This will be a short review since I think that this book should be experienced and I don't want to reveal too much of what is going on. I will just say this, it's beautifully written and I would love to see this book made into a movie or miniseries!

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

Monday, 11 February 2019

#BookReview The Age of Light by Whitney Scharer @wscharer @panmacmillan

The Age of Light by Whitney Scharer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

'I’d rather take a photograph than be one,' says Lee Miller, shortly after she arrives in Paris in 1929. Gorgeous and talented, Lee has left behind a successful modeling career at Vogue to pursue her dream of being an artist. There she catches the eye of the famous Surrealist artist Man Ray. An egotistical, charismatic force, Lee is drawn to him immediately. Though he initially wants to use her as a model, Lee is determined to become Man’s photography assistant instead.

As their personal and professional lives become further entwined, Lee is consumed by two desires: to become a famous photographer and to have a healthy and loving relationship. But as Lee asserts herself and moves from being a muse to an artist, Man’s jealousy spirals out of control, and their mutual betrayals threaten to destroy them both.

Richly detailed and filled with a cast of famous characters, The Age of Light is a captivating historical novel about ambition, love, and the personal price of making art. In exploring Lee’s complicated and fascinating history, Whitney Scharer has brought a brilliant and pioneering artist out of the shadow of a man’s story and into the light.


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I knew nothing about either Lee Miller or Man Ray before I read this book. However, I was absolutely fascinated by this story. Several times during the time I listened to the audio version of the book did I have to take a break to google both Lee Miller Man Ray for their art.

Now, I had an ecopy of this book, but I decided to listen to the audio version during work. However, I couldn't stop listening and start reading when I got home. The narrator, Therese Plummer did such an excellent work that I just couldn't stop listening to her telling the story about Lee and Man. I have a favorite scene from the narrator, and it's when Lee and Man are in the darkroom for the first time and you can really feel the tension between them. Listening to the scene (and other intense scenes) is just, in my opinion, even better than reading them when the narrator does such a good job as with this book.

It's so easy to forget that this is just fiction (based on facts) when you read this book. The characters come to life in a way that makes you think that this is all true. Like there was a stenographer there all the time writing down everything that happened and was said. That's how I felt listening to the book. Like I was a fly on the way witness all that happened.

In the end, I just want to say that this is an absolutely fantastic book! And I recommend it warmly. Read it, listen to it. Do what feels best for you! 

Sunday, 10 February 2019

#BookReview Eleventh Hour by M.J. Trow @severnhouse

Eleventh Hour by M.J. Trow
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Christopher Marlowe must discover who murdered the queen's spymaster in this absorbing historical mystery. 

April, 1590. The queen's spymaster, Sir Francis Walsingham, is dead, leaving a dangerous power vacuum. His former right hand man, Nicholas Faunt, believes he was poisoned and has ordered Kit Marlowe to discover who killed him.

To find the answers, Marlowe must consult the leading scientists and thinkers in the country. But as he questions the members of the so-called School of Night, the playwright-turned-spy becomes convinced that at least one of them is hiding a deadly secret. If he is to outwit the most inquiring minds in Europe and unmask the killer within, Marlowe must devise an impossibly ingenious plan.

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I had two disadvantages when I read this book, first that it's the eight book in the series about Kit Marlowe and I have not read any previous book. And the second, this is an era that just doesn't really my thing. However, I went through a period when EVERYTHING looked interesting on NetGalley. That means I have a lot of books to go through that I, in hindsight perhaps should have passed over. This one is one of them.

Anyhow, this is a story about a murder, and it's the Queen's spymaster Sir Francis Walsingham that has been poisoned. Walsingham former righthand man orders Kit Marlowe to find out who killed Walsingham. So, Kit is off consulting scientists and thinkers of the School of Night to find out what poison it was and who murdered the spymaster.

I found myself not really taken with the story, actually now and then I felt a bit lost even. Like some thought processes from Kit's side took place outside the story in the book. It could just be me of course, not really finding neither the plot nor the characters especially interesting. On the plus side, Shakespeare shows up now and then in the story, not a terribly good playwriter apparently...

Eleventh Hour is probably a great book for fans of the era and those that love this series. I, however, will not bother with more books in this series.

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

Saturday, 9 February 2019

#BookReview Black Feathers: Dark Avian Tales: An Anthology by Ellen Datlow @wwnorton @Pegasus_Books

Black Feathers: Dark Avian Tales: An Anthology by Ellen Datlow
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Birds are usually loved for their beauty and their song. They symbolize freedom, eternal life, the soul.

There’s definitely a dark side to the avian. Birds of prey sometimes kill other birds (the shrike), destroy other birds’ eggs (blue jays), and even have been known to kill small animals (the kea sometimes eats live lambs). And who isn’t disgusted by birds that eat the dead—vultures awaiting their next meal as the life blood flows from the dying. One of our greatest fears is of being eaten by vultures before we’re quite dead.

Is it any wonder that with so many interpretations of the avian, that the contributors herein are eager to be transformed or influenced by them? Included in Black Feathers are those obsessed by birds of one type or another. Do they want to become birds or just take on some of the “power” of birds? The presence or absence of birds portends the future. A grieving widow takes comfort in her majestic winged neighbors, who enable her to cope with a predatory relative. An isolated society of women relies on a bird to tell their fortunes. A silent young girl and her pet bird might be the only hope a detective has of tracking down a serial killer in a tourist town. A chatty parrot makes illegal deals with the dying. A troubled man lives in isolation with only one friend for company—a jackdaw.

In each of these fictions, you will encounter the dark resonance between the human and avian. You see in yourself the savagery of a predator, the shrewd stalking of a hunter, and you are lured by birds that speak human language, that make beautiful music, that cypher numbers, and seem to have a moral center. You wade into this feathered nightmare, and brave the horror of death, trading your safety and sanity for that which we all seek—the promise of flight

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16 bird stories and I'm actually thinking this was a really good anthology collection with only a couple of duds... I started to read this book a previous time, but changed to another book, and another book, etc. So, the first three stories. Well, poem and two stories did I reread.

First, we have O Terrible Bird by SANDRA KASTURI. A poem. I'm not a big fan of poems. So 2-stars because it's not badly written just not my cup of coffee.

Next story is The Obscure Bird by NICHOLAS ROYLE. Really creepy, just as creepy as the first time I read it. 4-stars

The last story I reread is The Mathematical Inevitability of Corvids by SEANAN MCGUIRE and I've forgotten how sad and brutal it was. 4-stars

Something About Birds by PAUL TREMBLAY. This story was pretty odd and I just felt that compared to the other stories I've read so far was it weaker. 3-stars

Great Blue Heron by JOYCE CAROL OATES. This story felt like an odd duck among the other stories. Good but I didn't see how it would fit in with the other stories. Until the end...wow 4-stars

The Season of the Raptors by RICHARD BOWES felt a bit rambling. Not bad, not among the best so far. Still interesting to read 3-stars

The Orphan Bird by ALISON LITTLEWOOD! I loved the twist in this story when you realize why this story belongs in this book... 4-stars

The Murmurations of Vienna Von Drome by JEFFREY FORD is not bad, I just think it lacks any good twists and has no wow factor. However, it's an interesting story and I can see it fleshed out into a movie or novel. 3-stars

Blyth's Secret by MIKE O’DRISCOLL. The first story that didn't capture my interest. When it's a horror anthology is it, of course, unavoidable that there is a lot of weirdos. However, I felt that the main character in this story just didn't work for me. Especially since a lot of people in this anthology are weird. Then, I want them to be at least memorable. 2-stars

The Fortune of Sparrows by USMAN T. MALIK. Frankly, this story didn't make much sense...or it was me that just didn't enjoy it so much. 2-stars

Pigeon from Hell by STEPHEN GRAHAM JONES, for some reason the ending made me think of Pet Sematary... Because sometimes dead is better... 3-stars

Secret of Flight by A.C. WISE...great to finally have a good story after some not as good ones...4-stars

Isobel Avens Returns to Stepney in the Spring by M. JOHN HARRISON. Sigh, and ladies and gentlemen, the first 1-star story. This story was flat out boring as hell.

A Little Bird Told Me by PAT CADIGAN. Meh. It feels like the best stories were at the beginning of the book. Or it's me that has started to get tired of bird stories

The Acid Test by LIVIA LLEWELLYN. Acid trip. 1-star

AND THE FINAL STORY IS: The Crow Palace by PRIYA SHARMA the very last story and the very best. Creepy and engrossing. LOVED IT. 5-stars

So, that's it. Not a bad collection and there are some authors here I'm going to check up what they have written. 

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

Thursday, 7 February 2019

#BookReview In the Night Wood by Dale Bailey @HarperCollinsUK @HarperFiction

In the Night Wood by Dale Bailey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Charles Hayden has been fascinated by a strange Victorian fairy tale, In the Night Wood, since he was a child. When his wife, Erin – a descendant of the author – inherits her ancestor’s house, the couple decide to make it their home. Still mourning the recent death of their daughter, they leave America behind, seeking a new beginning in the English countryside.

But Hollow House, filled with secrets and surrounded by an ancient oak forest, is a place where the past seems very much alive. Isolated among the trees, Charles and Erin begin to feel themselves haunted – by echoes of the stories in the house’s library, by sightings of their daughter, and by something else, as old and dark as the forest around them.

A compelling and atmospheric gothic thriller, In the Night Woodreveals the chilling power of myth and memory.

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In the Night Wood is just the kind of book I like to read. A story about a married couple who move to a new house. A house that the wife has inherited. A house with secrets and surrounded by an ancient oak forest. A forest that is so deep that you can get lost in it...

Now I had the pleasure of both listen to the audio version and reading the book. I think I preferred listening to the book which could be because John Banks did such an excellent job. As for the story itself. It's perfectly OK. However, I found myself wanting to like the story more than I did. Books like this one are actually the ones I find the hardest to review because there is nothing wrong with them more than I just can't seem to love the story. I wasn't annoyed with the characters, the death of their daughter is tragic and I felt for both Charles and Erin. I actually found the story within this story to be the most fascinating thing. A fairy tale with an unhappy ending.

One thing I want to say about the book is that it didn't bore me at least. It was a good book to listen to when I worked and that is a good sign. I kept on wanting to find out the truth about the forest. I would definitely recommend the book if you like modern gothic thrillers. I can see how the right reader will love this book. I just wish that the story had grabbed my attention more than it did.

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