Thursday, 22 June 2017

#BookReview A Death by Any Other Name by Tessa Arlen @FreshFiction

A Death by Any Other Name by Tessa Arlen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Building on the success of her last two mysteries in the same series, Tessa Arlen returns us to the same universe full of secrets, intrigue, and, this time, roses in 'A Death By Any Other Name'.

The elegant Lady Montfort and her redoubtable housekeeper, Mrs. Jackson, investigate a murder among a group of amateur rose-breeders while the idyllic English summer days count down to the start of the First World War.

When Mrs. Jackson receives a visit from a cook who believes she was an indirect witness to murder from a poisoned dish of breakfast kedgeree Lady Montfort promises to do what she can to clear the cook’s name, and contrives an invitation to Hyde Castle, the home of a self-made millionaire, to investigate a murder of concealed passions and secret desires.

With the help of the invaluable Jackson Lady Montfort sets about solving the puzzle surrounding the death of the rose society’s most popular member and discovers a villain of audacious cunning among a group of mild-mannered, amateur rose-breeders.

While they investigate, the headlines bring news of the growing crisis in the Balkans following the assassination of.the heir to the Austro-Hungarian empire. As each day brings more threatening news and the very real fear that Britain will be drawn into war, Lady Montfort and Mrs. Jackson must race against the clock to solve the mystery before Britain declares on Germany.

Brimming with intrigue, Tessa Arlen's latest does not disappoint.


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As a big fan of historical mystery books have I been curious about the Lady Montfort Mystery series. So, when I got the chance to read the third book in the series, A DEATH BY ANY OTHER NAME, was I thrilled to finally see if this series would appeal to me. What intrigued me about this book was the idea of a lady and a housekeeper investigating murders. In the beginning of the 20th-century is the idea of two so different women working together in that way remarkable since they come from different social classes. But, it works very well I think, mostly because Lady Montfort feels like a well- grounded person and not a snob.

READ THE REST OF THE REVIEW OVER AT FRESH FICTION!

#BookReview Sawbones by Melissa Lenhardt (@MelLenhardt) @FreshFiction

Sawbones by Melissa Lenhardt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Outlander meets post-Civil War unrest in this fast-paced historical debut.
When Dr. Catherine Bennett is wrongfully accused of murder, she knows her fate likely lies with a noose unless she can disappear. Fleeing with a bounty on her head, she escapes with her maid to the uncharted territories of Colorado to build a new life with a new name. Although the story of the murderess in New York is common gossip, Catherine's false identity serves her well as she fills in as a temporary army doctor. But in a land unknown, so large and yet so small, a female doctor can only hide for so long.


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The story starts off with Dr. Catherine Bennett having to flee New York after being falsely accused of murdering a doctor. It's the wife of the doctor that is accusing her and Catherine hasn't a clue to why she would do something like that. And, what's worse is that Catherine does not have a good alibi. Catherine and her maid Maureen quickly leaves the town, and she changes her name to Laura Elliston, but it doesn't take long for someone to recognize her so she abandons her plans for California and set her sight on Colorado instead. However, this may not be the best idea since the uncharted territories of Colorado can be quite dangerous.

READ THE REST OF THE REVIEW OVER AT FRESH FICTION!

#CoverCrush: The Paris Secret by Karen Swan

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


In this glittering tale of forgotten treasures and long-held secrets, international bestseller Karen Swan explores one woman’s journey to discovering the truth behind an abandoned apartment and a family whose mysteries may be better left undiscovered

“The Paris Secret had me from the moment I started reading. Filled with a smart and sympathetic protagonist, a touch of romance, a smidgen of history, plenty of intrigue and suspense galore.” —Diane Chamberlain, internationally bestselling author of The Midwife’s Confession

When high-powered fine art agent Flora Sykes is called in to assess objets d’art in a Paris apartment that has been abandoned since WWII, she is skeptical at first—until she discovers that under decades of dust the treasure trove of paintings is myriad…and priceless. The powerful Vermeil family to whom they belong is eager to learn more and asks Flora to trace the history of each and every painting.

Despite a shocking announcement that has left her own family reeling, Flora finds herself thrown into the rarified and glamorous world of the Vermeils. But she soon realizes that there is more to this project than first appears and as she researches the provenance of their prize Renoir, she uncovers a scandal surrounding not only the painting, but a secret that goes to the very heart of the family itself. The fallout will place Flora in the eye of a storm that carries her from London to Vienna to the glittering coast of Provence.

Xavier Vermeil, the brusque scion of the family, is determined to separate Flora from his family’s affairs in spite of the powerful attraction that propels them to one another. Just what are the secrets he is desperately trying to hide? And what price is Flora willing to pay to uncover the devastating truth…?


Some thoughts about the cover:
Honestly, I think Paris is probably one of those cities that just are perfect for a book covers. I usually love them all! LOL! The cover is no exception, love the bright cover of this one with the Eiffel tower in the background! 

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


Stephanie @ Layered Pages




Meghan @ Of Quills & Vellum

Erin @ Flashlight Commentary

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

#BookReview Behandlingen (The Treatment) by Mo Hayder (SWE/ENG) @ModernistaRed

The Treatment by Mo Hayder
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

SWEDISH REVIEW

En man och hans hustru hittas inspärrade i sitt eget hem på en stillsam bostadsgata i södra London. De är gravt uttorkade, och de har blivit fastbundna och brutalt misshandlade. Mannen är nära döden.

Men det ska bli ännu värre: Deras åttaårige son saknas. När kriminalinspektör Jack Caffery kallas in för att utreda visar det sig vara omöjligt för honom att förhålla sig kyligt och objektivt till brottet; likheterna med händelser ur hans eget förflutna är alltför stora. Och när han gräver djupare i fallet samtidigt som han försöker hålla ihop sin tillvaro trots de alltmer omskakande avslöjandena om hans eget liv så börjar den verkliga mardrömmen…


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Behandlingen är bok två i Jack Caffery serien, men kan läsas fristående.

Vad kan jag annat än säga än att när man inte tror att det kan bli värre så blir det så i boken. Behandlingen är i mångt och mycket en mycket obehaglig bok. Det finns nog inget värre ämne att läsa om än pedofiler och i denna bok får man sannerligen en mörk inblick i en värld man helst skulle önska inte fanns.

Mo Hayder är en lysande författare, varje bok jag har läst av henne har varit fantastiskt, denna är inget undantag. Dock är denna bok den värsta jag läst av henne. Behandlingen är kanske inte den mest skrämmande jag bok jag någonsin har läst, men definitivt en av mest obehagliga och jag önskar det var stycken jag kunde få glömma bort för gott.

Boken är också djupt tragiskt, på så många sätt, från Jack Caffery egna trauma från barndomen med en bror som försvann och aldrig hittades till de stackars utsatta barnen. Jag ville ett flertal gånger under boken gång bara skrika åt poliserna att hitta mördaren innan det var för sent för nästa familj. För som sagt, detta är en mardröm som inte slutar med försvinnandet av en pojke...

Mycket bra bok, dock mycket obehaglig och jag rekommenderar den bara till läsare som klarar sådana här mörka teman.


Tack till Modernista för recensionsexemplaret!


ENGLISH REVIEW

Midsummer, and in an unassuming house on a quiet residential street on the edge of Brockwell Park in south London, a husband and wife are discovered. Badly dehydrated, they've been bound and beaten, the husband is close to death. But worse is to come: their young son is missing.

When DI Jack Caffery of the Met's AMIT squad is called in to investigate, the similarities to events in his own past make it impossible for him to view this new crime with the necessary detachment. And as Jack digs deeper, as he attempts to hold his own life together in the face of ever more disturbing revelations about both the past and the present, the real nightmare begins.

**********

The Treatment is book two in the Jack Caffery series but it can be read as a stand alone.

What else can I say than that, when you do not think it could get worse, it does the book. The Treatment is in many ways a very unpleasant book. I think there is nothing worse to read about than pedophiles, and in this book, you certainly get a dark insight into a world one would have hoped didn't exist.

Mo Hayder is a brilliant author, every book I have read by her has been amazing, this is no exception. However, this book is by far the worst I read by her. The Treatment may not be the scariest book I've ever read, but definitely, one of the most unpleasant and I wish I could forget some of the passages from the book for good.

The book is also deeply tragic, in so many ways, from Jack Caffery's own childhood trauma with a brother who disappeared and was never found to the poor jeopardized children. I wanted to scream at the police several times during the book to just find the murderer before it was too late for the next family. This is a nightmare that does not end with the disappearance of one boy ...

The Treatment is a very good book, but also very unpleasant and I only recommend it to readers who can handle such dark themes.

Thanks to Modernista for the review copy!

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

#BookReview Girl Last Seen by Nina Laurin (@girlinthetitle) @GrandCentralPub #Giveaway

Girl Last Seen by Nina Laurin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Two missing girls. Thirteen years apart.

Olivia Shaw has been missing since last Tuesday. She was last seen outside the entrance of her elementary school in Hunts Point wearing a white spring jacket, blue jeans, and pink boots.

I force myself to look at the face in the photo, into her slightly smudged features, and I can't bring myself to move. Olivia Shaw could be my mirror image, rewound to thirteen years ago.

If you have any knowledge of Olivia Shaw's whereabouts or any relevant information, please contact...

I've spent a long time peering into the faces of girls on missing posters, wondering which one replaced me in that basement. But they were never quite the right age, the right look, the right circumstances. Until Olivia Shaw, missing for one week tomorrow.

Whoever stole me was never found. But since I was taken, there hasn't been another girl.

And now there is.


**********

Girl Last Seen is the debut book by Nina Laurin and it's an exciting thriller that engrossed me from the moment I started to read the book. One of the reasons for the book to be so darn good is that Laine, the first girl that was taken was so well written that one could really feel her torment through the pages. She may have escaped her tormentor, but she is still not free. And, now another girl, Olivia has gone missing and the girl looks just like her. Is it a coincidence or has the man that took taken Olivia as well?

Now, there were things I saw coming that didn't surprise me, as things happen that made me perceive how it probably would go. Not that the book was without surprises. The last part of the book was definitely not lacking surprises. It's a book that pulls you in as you follow Laine being pulled into the investigation and even being suspected of being involved in Olivia's disappearance.

There were just one thing that bothered me in the book, but it's a spoiler thing so I can't really discuss it so much, but it's something that happens when the police officer in charge is at Olivia's school with Laine. They learn something there about Olivia that the school shouldn't know as far as I know when it comes to the law and I found that really puzzling. And, that's all I'm going to say about that! Other than that was the book really good!

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


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nina Laurin is a bilingual (English/French) author of suspenseful stories for both adults and young adults. She got her BA in Creative Writing at Concordia University, in her hometown of Montreal, Canada.

WEBSITE - https://thrillerina.wordpress.com

TWITTER - @girlinthetitle

FACEBOOK - @GirlInTheTitle

Girl Last Seen by Nina Laurin

#BookBlast Iced by Avery Daniels (@My_AveryDaniels) @partnersincr1me #Giveaway

ICED: A Resort to Murder Mystery

Avery Daniels

June 20, 2017 Book Blast

Synopsis:

Iced by Avery Daniels
Julienne has her ideal job as an event planner at a prestigious resort. During a luncheon event she coordinated, a renowned celebrity pastor is killed next to the buffet. All eyes turn to her as the suspect. If she wants to stay out of jail or even keep her job, Julienne needs all the help she can get to solve the crime.

She has her work cut out for her with a vengeful high school rival now reporter, the public demanding she be fired, plus family who know what's best for her, and a boyfriend who doesn't understand her. She turns to friends and a new ally to uncover who wanted to put the pastor on ice.

Julienne goes undercover and investigates a local swingers group as she follows the trail of clues before they go cold. Can she gather enough suspects and motives to convince the police to her widen their investigation? Can she do it before the killer sets his murderous sights on her? Will her personal life ever be as simple as unveiling a murderer?

Book Details:

Genre: Amateur Sleuth
Published by: Blazing Sword Publishing, Ltd
Publication Date: May 31st 2017
Number of Pages: 296
ASIN: B071LFD6JV
Series: A Resort to Murder Mystery, 1
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Kindle Unlimited  | Goodreads 

Read an excerpt:

Today everything in my life changed.
I’m the events coordinator and membership manager, in training that is, at a five star resort in Colorado. Some days, like today, it feels like I was sacrificed to some sadistic little idol somewhere. Coordination of conferences and meetings of all sizes in the resort’s convention center facility was part of my training. But this particular event, a Leadership Luncheon that brought together the town’s community leaders to network, was a challenge from the first minutes this morning.
"Julienne, this event must be executed with precision and perfection." Those are the favorite words of my boss, Chad. This particular event is a daylong exercise in patience.
Every job has its great parts and it’s not so great. Today encompassed one of the more unpleasant aspects of my job. Occasionally, okay usually, the hardest part of my job is the customer relations and today was particularly difficult. Some customers just can’t be satisfied and some events are riddled with issues.
We were only serving a modest seventy-five attendees, but I had already been assailed with special requests and numerous complaints. Picky doesn’t begin to cover it.
“How hard would it be to setup for a video presentation with a large screen and surround sound?”
“There are windows. It’s too distracting, people will be watching the hotel guests walking around.”
“Can we change the setup of room C from an L configuration to a U shape? But only for that one session, then move it back.”
“Can we get the Lobster for the buffet flown in that morning? Scallops are out….Can we have the scallops after all?”
“Music piped in during the breaks?”
“No music piped in at all.”
“Red tablecloths with white napkins.”
“Royal blue tablecloths with white napkins.”
“White tablecloths with yellow napkins.”
“Candles on mirrors for lunch centerpieces.”
“Fresh flowers for centerpieces.”
The changes continued even after the event started.
The Convention Center, with its classic European décor had a small lobby area with a few potted trees and plants on column stands. The rest extended down a hallway with two large areas on each side that could be divided into smaller rooms via partitions that extend from the walls as needed. The space could be up to eight small rooms, four on each side, or any combination from one to four rooms per side of the hallway.
The hallway was wide with several half-circle console tables including marble tops holding large dried floral arrangements and a few elegant chairs. The walls displayed large paintings of the Italian countryside and vineyards with carved gold gilt frames.
I was in a partitioned room overseeing the set up of the lunch buffet. The Italian Renaissance architecture was accentuated with interior details and décor that created a European elegance, all lit with the warm glow of a massive amber glass chandelier.
The room was a rectangle with the entrance from the hallway to one end and the door to the catering staging area at the opposite end. The buffet table was along the wall next to the staging door so wait staff could easy restock food items. The six-person round tables covered in rich golden linens were scattered strategically throughout the room to allow easy traffic flow. The thick carpet felt plush and cloud-like under foot.
I was surveying the buffet table with a critical eye. The five foot long ice sculpture of a swordfish occupied the center of the table and looked as though it was caught in mid leap, frolicking in a wave and ready to dive back into an unseen ocean. My stomach growled as the succulent smells of seafood teased my nose. The attendees would be returning to this room for their lunch and keynote speaker shortly.
"Brad, where are the crab leg metal crackers and little forks? Can you grab a few dozen and bring them right away?" Brad, slim and serious, had joined the team only two months ago and was picking up extra hours at every opportunity. He had asked to work this event as soon as I blocked out the time on the schedule. This would give him a good paycheck. He was lanky and took off with an easy loping stride to the staging area through the back door.
The door to the staging area had barely closed when I felt a hand grab hold of my derriere with an iron hard grip.
"This is more like it honey. I haven't had any fun today."
I whirled around and stumbled back. "Don’t touch the staff. That includes me Pastor Tom." I practically shouted. Pastor Tom Drake was well known around town, and getting national attention lately with his mega church. He was included in the luncheon due to his influence, but he was just Pastor Tom since he was a local guy who started his church and radio ministry from his garage.
I had contended with bad behavior before, but never this grabby. I think I was going to have a bruise left from his vicious hand.
"You’re not being very fri…friendly." I noticed his eyes were droopy and then I caught a whiff of the scotch he must have gotten at the Gilded Hornet pub next to the convention center building.
I decided to alert security we needed a person to monitor the rest of the event and turned to go. His iron hand grabbed hold of my arm and yanked me to him. Without a thought I took my knee to his groin and enjoyed watching his mouth form an "O" as his breath whooshed out. I broke free and backed away. I wasn’t turning my back on him again.
"I will see you fired for that you bitch." He whispered with a jagged voice.
He couldn’t do that, at least I was pretty sure he couldn’t. I guess I’d find out. I rubbed my still smarting arm where he grabbed it. Brad would be back or the event participants would start to wander in so he couldn’t do much more, but I didn’t want to stay and find out. I backed out the door to the hallway toward the lobby and took my cell phone from my pants pocket.
"Hey Ron, we have a person under the influence at the luncheon in Convention Center. Can you spare someone for the afternoon?"
"I’ll make sure somebody’s there immediately Julienne. How bad is this guy?"
"Well, I’ll probably have a black-and-blue handprint on my arm and …my backside." I took a deep breath.
"Son of a … I’ll be right there. You stay away from him." Like I would go near that Neanderthal again, pastor or not.
The other participants were starting to exit the smaller break out session rooms and meander to the banquet room and bathrooms. The noise level began to creep upward from multiple conversations competing to be heard.
There was a loud crash of metal from the banquet room and a participant jerked open the door and froze in place. "Oh sh…" The participant’s mouth gaped and his eyes were large circles.
I ran over to the open door and saw Pastor Tom impaled through the chest with the sharp end of the Swordfish ice sculpture, from his back right through to the front. His head was forward against his chest. Blood, running down the swordfish tip that jutted from his chest, dripping to the carpet. Drip, drip, drip in a macabre but surreal scene.
***
Excerpt from Iced by Avery Daniels. Copyright © 2017 by Avery Daniels. Reproduced with permission from Avery Daniels. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

Avery Daniels Avery Daniels was born and raised in Colorado, graduated from college with a degree in business administration and has worked in fortune 500 companies and Department of Defense her entire life. Her most eventful job was apartment management for 352 units. She still resides in Colorado with two brother black cats as her spirited companions. She volunteers for a cat shelter, enjoys scrapbooking and card making, photography, and painting in watercolor and acrylic. She inherited a love for reading from her mother and grandmother and grew up talking about books at the dinner table.

Catch Up With Our Author On: Website , Goodreads , Twitter , & Facebook !


Tour Participants:


Catch This Awesome Giveaway!

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Avery Daniels. There will be 1 winner of a $15 Amazon.com GiftCard and 5 winners of one (1) eBook copy of Iced by Avery Daniels. The giveaway begins on June 18 and runs through June 26, 2017.
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#BlogTour Beyond Evidence by Emma Clapperton (@EmmaClapperton) @Bloodhoundbook

In an alley way of the back streets of Glasgow there lies a decomposing corpse of a slain female baking in the midday heat. No one has found her yet, but medium Patrick McLaughlin knows she is there. It is not the first time he has dreamt of death... and he soon finds out that it is not to be the last. Meanwhile, the local police start to request DNA samples from twenty something men in the bustling city of Glasgow where several bizarre murders have taken place. Through a hunch and in the belief that the terrifying dreams hold the key to the identity of the murderer, Patrick works alongside the police to track down the predator before they can strike again. The nightmares do not ease up and begin to tear at Patrick’s sanity and in the midst of the investigation, at what cost would Patrick have to pay to stop the killer striking again? His friends? His family? His life?

Guest Post:

The idea behind Beyond Evidence and how I developed Patrick McLaughlin’s character.

I have been writing since 2010 and my idea of Beyond Evidence started off with a simple DNA test. I love the psychic world and the afterlife and the idea that our souls do not die with us, that some of us stay behind to carry on with something we haven’t yet finished. And this is how I came up with the idea behind Beyond Evidence.

Patrick McLaughlin is the main character in the book. He is a psychic medium who runs the west end spiritualist church in Glasgow, where he conducts demonstrations of his ability to contact the dead in front of an eager audience.

I based Patrick’s ability on a woman whom I visited a number of times in my local town hall when I began writing the book. Her name is Anne and she is a medium and my word, was she accurate. Of course, not everyone believes in what she does. But that’s the beauty of it, it means we can have interesting discussions regarding science or a higher order.

I was part of an audience who went to see her one evening and she told an interesting story about when she was a child, playing in the back garden at her house. I remember she said that she was having a discussion with someone, as she did most days. But her parent told her there was no one there. Up until that point, Anne believed everyone could do what she did, that everyone was just like her.

Anne’s demonstrations fascinated me, she would talk about her spirit guide standing by her, helping her with contact. She would mention miniscule details when giving a reading and I could never work out how she would know these things. I know there will be sceptic out there who will have an explanation for these things but it doesn’t make me believe any less.

Patrick’s characteristics as a medium are based around this lady, who really helped me in writing spiritual contact scenes without even realising it.

Patrick’s mannerisms, in a way, are a little like my own. He is calm at the most important of times but he lets things get on top of him before he’s realised it. Patrick is big on loyalty and this is apparent with the way he is towards his fiancée, Jodie. I did not base him on myself, but there are little traits of me in him.

I did not plan Patrick’s character in terms of noting down his appearance and characteristics. I really did just sit down, open up a word document and start writing. I don’t have much of a plan when it comes to plotting and planning. I love the freedom of a blank page. Going over plots is for the editing process.

I am currently writing more for the Patrick McLaughlin series.

Author Bio:

Emma Clapperton, born December 1985, has always had a passion for reading and writing. She particularly enjoys reading supernatural or horror books.

Emma studied childcare and gained qualifications to work with the early years in 2002, later going on to work in the Montessori sector of early years. In 2017 she gained a qualification to work as a Forest School early years leader and can often be found teaching three and four year olds how to cook on an open fire.

She is the writer of a supernatural crime series based in Glasgow, which she writes under the pen name of Emma L Clapperton.

She currently resides in a little town outside of the city of Glasgow with her husband and ginger cat and is working on future projects.
You can contact Emma via:


Monday, 19 June 2017

#BookReview Random Acts: Prequel to the Lightkeepers Series by Erica Spindler

Random Acts: Prequel to the Lightkeepers Series by Erica Spindler
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Before the Countdown Began....

One dead queen.
Three bizarre acts of violence.
No visible connection between the crimes.


Michaela Dee Dare, newly minted detective for the New Orleans PD, is called to a Garden District mansion--someone's decided to bludgeon a former Queen of Carnival to death with her own scepter.

Even as the investigative pieces begin to fall into place and they close in on a perpetrator, something's not adding up for Micki. It's too easy, the crime too random. But what's a rookie detective to do when her seasoned partner doesn't agree with her?

Betting on her instinct and gambling with her future in the NOPD, Micki strikes out on her own, pulling at strings that reveal an evil that chills her to her core--and may cost her everything she holds dear.

Set in New Orleans' most iconic neighborhoods, this exciting prequel to The Lightkeepers --a series lauded as 'enthralling' and 'not to be missed'--introduces tough, likable heroine Micki 'Mad Dog' Dare, and foreshadows the thrill-packed journey to come.


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To be honest, if I hadn't read an Erica Spindler book a while ago and loved it wouldn't I have looked twice at this book. I mean the cover isn't that appealing and if you aren't a fan of Spindler or this series can't I see how this cover would catch your interest.

I have not read any books in the Lightkeepers Series, so the characters are totally new to me and it's a novella so it's not a particularly complicated story. It was easy to see where it would lead and it never surprised me. However, it was for the moment an enjoyable book and I bet that fans of the series will love this novella. Personally, it didn't do much for me, but I wouldn't mind trying out the first book in the series to see how it is.

Random Acts felt like a novella for fans of this series, new readers perhaps should go for the first book instead since the novella doesn't really do more than introducing Micki. I would have loved to know more about her, it felt more like one was given an appetizer, but I wanted the full course.

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