Saturday, 22 July 2017

#BookReview Freud's Mistress by Karen Mac

Freud's Mistress by Karen Mack
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Minna Bernays is an overeducated woman with limited options. Fired yet again for speaking her mind, she finds herself out on the street and out of options. In 1895 Vienna, even though the city is aswirl with avant-garde artists and writers and revolutionary are still very few options for women besides marriage. And settling is not something Minna has ever done.

Out of desperation, Minna turns to her older sister, Martha, for help. But Martha has her own problems — six young children, a host of physical ailments, a household run with military precision, and an absent, overworked, disinterested husband who happens to be Sigmund Freud. Freud is a struggling professor, all but shunned by his peers and under attack for his theories, most of which center around sexual impulses, urges, and perversions. While Martha is shocked and repulsed by her husband’s "pornographic" work, Minna is fascinated.

Minna is everything Martha is not—intellectually curious, an avid reader, stunning. But while she and Freud embark on what is at first simply an intellectual courtship, something deeper is brewing beneath the surface, something Minna cannot escape.


**********

I will start off this review by noting two things, first, it's pretty weird reading a historical (romance) with Freud as the man in the leading role and secondly, Freud is a bit of an ashole. Now, the picture I have in my head is of the older Freud, but he is quite young in this book, but I still had a hard time seeing The Father of Psychoanalysis seducing his sisters-in-law.

However, despite that was this book quite good. I liked getting a closer look into Freud's own marriage and his close relationship with Martha. It's not proven that they had an affair although there is some documented evidence of it. Still, it was fascinating to read this book, not just for the romance between Freud and Martha, but for the historical setting and how hard it is for Freud to win favor for his ideas.

It's also interesting to read how Freud seems to be obsessed with a person for a time and then move on. At one point is it Martha that captivated him, and in the next moment is there someone else and it's not always sexually, he just finds someone ideas utterly captivating. I do feel sorry for Martha, but then again, the woman that should have most sympathy is Minna. But, she seems to know her husband quite well by then and doesn't seem to care so much about his for the moment passion for Martha. As I wrote above, Freud is an ashole!

Anyway, I quite liked this book, and if you like historical fiction do I recommend this book warmly!

#BookReview Prayer for the Dead by James Oswald @crookedlanebks

Prayer for the Dead by James Oswald
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Detective Inspector Tony McLean is on the case when the search for a missing journalist uncovers the scene of a carefully staged murder. In a sealed chamber, deep in the heart of Gilmerton Cove, a mysterious network of caves and passages sprawling beneath Edinburgh, the body is discovered in a seemingly macabre ritual of purification. But McLean knew the dead man and can't shake off the suspicion that there is far more to this case than meets the eye.

For one thing, the baffling lack of forensics at the crime scene seems impossible. But that's just the first in a series of revelations about this case that seems beyond belief. Teamed with the most unlikely and unwelcome of allies, McLean must track down a killer--driven by the darkest compulsions and who will answer only to a higher power--until it's his own blood on the altar.

Shocking and suspenseful, Prayer for the Dead, the fifth installment in James Oswald's internationally bestselling series, plunges readers into the bone-chilling darkness of an underground world filled with ancient secrets.


**********

As much as I enjoyed listening to the fifth book in this series was I'm not really pleased with the narrator choice to whisper the killer's thoughts. It just sounded like he was mumbling and I was lucky if I could hear a word or two and understand what the heck the killer was doing.

Now, I like Tony McLean, and I like the paranormal angle to the books in this series. But, this was not the strongest book in the series. The best part was towards the end when the story finally started to make sense. But, for the most part, the book did feel a bit slow, more bodies are found and they are trying to figure out the link between the bodies and discover who the killer is. Personally, would I loved the book to be more thrilling to read. To be honest, the story just didn't feel very memorable. It's an OK book, but it felt like 2/3 of the book just plodded along in a slow pace and BAM then the ending happened (which I liked) and then the book was over. On a side now, I loved Madame Rose and her cats.

Despite my lackluster opinion of the book, I do look forward to reading the next book, and the one before that I've missed to read.

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

#BookReview Hide and Seek by M.J. Arlidge @MichaelJBooks

Hide and Seek by M.J. Arlidge
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Prison is no place for a detective
Helen Grace was one of the country's best police investigators.
Now she's behind bars with the killers she caught.

Framed for murder
She knows there is only way out:
stay alive until her trial and somehow prove her innocence.

Locked up with a killer
But when a mutilated body is found in the cell next door,
Helen fears her days are numbered.

A murderer is on the loose.
And she must find them.
Before she's next . . .

*********

I have spent this week listening to the last three books in this series and it was marvelous. I love these books, and it was quite nice to just pick the next book when one was done. The book before this one ended with a cliffhanger which made me quite happy that I could start listening to this one directly.

A Warning, don't read this review if you don't want to know the ending of the last book!

Helen Grace is in prison, framed for murders she didn't commit and now she has to find a way to prove that she is innocent. Thankfully outside if prison is her fellow colleague and friend Charlie on the hunt for the real killer. However, Grace has a bigger problem at the moment, there is a killer in prison. Well, it's a prison so there are probably quite a lot of killers. However, this one is killing fellow inmates...

This book, just like the previous books thrilling from the beginning until the end. I love the short chapters that make me just wanna listen to one more chapter and suddenly you're halfway through the book. I found both storylines intriguing. Charlie has to find the real killer and at the same time trying to convince her new boss Sanderson that Grace is innocent. And, Grace has to try to figure out who the killer is that is roaming the prison. Is it a fellow inmate or guard? 

Hide and Seek is a great book. I was surprised over the identity of the killer and it's nice to not see the ending coming now and then...

Thursday, 20 July 2017

#CoverCrush: Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire

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!



A stand-alone fantasy tale from Seanan McGuire's Alex award-winning Wayward Children series, which began in the Hugo and Nebula finalist Every Heart a Doorway

Beneath the Sugar Sky, the third book in McGuire's Wayward Children series, returns to Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children in a stand-alone contemporary fantasy for fans of all ages. At this magical boarding school, children who have experienced fantasy adventures are reintroduced to the "real" world.

Sumi died years before her prophesied daughter Rini could be born. Rini was born anyway, and now she’s trying to bring her mother back from a world without magic.



Some thoughts about the cover:

This series has some of the best covers I've ever seen and I simply adore this the third books cover. Isn't this cover simply gorgeous? The colors in the sky, the red ocean and of course the tantalizing open door...

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

Stephanie @ Layered Pages






indieBRAG

#BlogTour His Guilt by Shelley Shepard Gray (@ShelleySGray) @partnersincr1me

His Guilt by Shelley Shepard Gray

His Guilt

by Shelley Shepard Gray

on Tour July 10 - August 10, 2017


Synopsis:

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray delivers the next novel in her Amish of Hart County series—a suspenseful tale of an Amish man who will risk all to protect the woman he loves.

Mark Fisher has returned home to Hart County, determined to put the past behind him. Two years ago, after being wrongly accused of assault, he left the Amish community, though never forgot his home. When the one person who had helped him through his rough times asks for help, Mark returns. But it is pretty Waneta Cain who makes him want to stay…

Neeta is one of the few people in Hart County who doesn’t believe Mark is guilty of hurting anyone. However, his worldliness and tough exterior do make her uneasy. As she begins to see the real man behind all the gossip and prejudice, she wonders if he is the man for her.

Just when Mark starts to believe a new life is possible, a close friend of Neeta’s is attacked. Once again, everyone in the community seems to believe he is guilty. But what hurts most is Neeta’s sudden wariness around him. When another woman is hurt, a woman who is close to both Neeta and himself, Mark fears he knows the real culprit. And time is running out. Will Mark be able to find him before Neeta becomes his next victim?

Book Details:

Genre: Fiction, Amish Fiction
Published by: Avon Inspire/HarperCollins
Publication Date: July 4th 2017
Number of Pages: 304
ISBN: 0062469134 (ISBN13: 9780062469137)
Series: The Amish of Hart County #2 | It is a stand-alone novel

Read an excerpt:

Chapter 1
Horse Cove, Kentucky
August 4

He was watching her again.
As she handed her customer change across the counter of the Blooms and Berries nursery, Waneta Cain did her best to pretend that their newest employee was not inordinately interested in everything she did. He was simply observant.
Surely, it was just her imagination playing tricks on her anyway. Mark Fisher was probably trying to see how she handled the checkout counter. She used to watch Mr. Lehmann all the time when she’d first started at the nursery.
That had to be the reason.
“Thanks for your help, Neeta,” Mr. Killian said, interrupting her thoughts. “I’d be lost without you.”
“I’m simply glad I could help ya,” she told the Englisher with a bright smile as he lifted his box of seedlings from the wide well-worn countertop. “See ya soon.”
The man tipped his ball cap. “You sure will if I can’t get these to bear fruit. Wish me luck.”
“Good luck and good blessings, too.” After helping him with the door, she let it close behind her with a satisfying thunk.
She chuckled to herself. That Mr. Killian was a terrible gardener but a frequent customer. She sincerely hoped that one day he would develop that green thumb he wanted so badly.
“Do you always act that way?”
A shiver coursed through her as she turned.
Meeting Mark’s dark-brown eyes, which seemed to be studying her intently, she struggled to appear calm. “Like what?”
Mark stepped away from the row of metal shelves located in the back of the store. He’d been unpacking boxes and restocking shelves for the last hour. Methodically sorting and organizing merchandise while she helped customers. “Like they’re your friends,” he replied. “Like you’re so happy to see them.” Stepping closer, he lifted his shoulder. “Is that how you really are… or is that just an act?”
She didn’t care for the way he seemed to be insinuating that she wasn’t genuine. “It’s not an act. Mr. Killian is in her a lot. He’s nice. We are friends.”
“He’s English and must be fifty years old.”
“I don’t see how that matters. I can like people who are different than me.”
“Maybe you can. But you were sure smiling at him a lot. Or do you do that on purpose? To make sure that he will return?”
His question made her uncomfortable, but his sarcastic tone made her angry. “I don’t know why you are asking such things. I really don’t like what you are suggesting. I’m not doing anything out of the ordinary or smiling at customers in any special way. I’m just being my regular self.”
“Huh. So you treat everyone with smiles and kindness. You are friends with all sorts of people. Even people who are different from you. Except me.”
“I’ve been perfectly amiable to you,” she retorted. Except, of course, that was a lie.
“I don’t think so,” Mark murmured. “I’ve been her seven hours, four of them barely six feet away from you.”
She knew that. She’d known exactly where he was every moment they’d been together. “And?”
“And during all that time you’ve hardly said ten words to me. You sure aren’t smiling at me.”
She opened her mouth, closed it again. What could she say? He wasn’t wrong.
Mark stepped closer, invading her space. She could see the fine brown hairs on his forearms now. Noticed that he hadn’t shaved in a day or two.
“Is it because I was taken in for questioning?” he asked quietly, his dark-brown eyes watching her, as if he feared she would run. “Or, is it just me? Do you not want anything to do with me, Waneta?”
Her palms were sweating. She fisted both as she tried to come up with an answer. He was right on all accounts. She was uneasy around him.
Fact was, Mark Fisher was a large man. Tall and well-muscled. He had a rough way about him, too. It was disconcerting.
Of course, she’d always felt uneasy around him. He’d been an angry teenager, always glaring and short-tempered with most everyone. After he finished school, he’d worked for a few people around town. Rumor had it that his brother, Calvin, had taken off as soon as their mother did. Mark had even lived in Mr. Lehmann’s home for a time, until he was taken in for questioning about Bethany’s assault.
And after he was questioned, then let go for insufficient evidence, he disappeared for two years.
Now he was back.
Mr. Lehmann assured her that Mark hadn’t done anything wrong, but a lot of people in the community still believed that he was the masked man who’d beaten Bethany Williams. It wasn’t much of a stretch. Bethany had told lots of people that her assailant was over six feet tall and was very strong. But she also said she wasn’t able to identify the man.
Few other details had circulated after that. Then Bethany and her family moved up north, practically the moment she was released from the hospital.
Realizing Mark was still waiting, Waneta said, “I haven’t spoken to you much because we don’t’ know each other.”
His eyes narrowed. “But that’s not really true. We knew each other once. We did go to the same Amish school.”
“You were ahead of me in school. We hardly talked then.” He was only three years older than herself, but they were miles apart in terms of how they’d lived their lives. He’d also been the kind of boy she’d been a little scared of. He was rough and always seemed so angry.
For a second, he looked dumbfounded. “So, you do remember.”
“Of course I remember you and your brother, Calvin. Our school wasn’t that big, Mark.” Feeling pretty good about how self-assured she was sounding, Neeta folded her arms across her chest. “But that was a long time ago. Years have gone by.”
“Yeah. You’re right,” he said slowly. “Years have gone by. Practically a whole lifetime.”
He sounded so sad. She wondered what was going through his head. Did he regret hurting Bethany? And what had been doing for the two years since it all happened? Why had he even come back to Horse Cave? Surely, there were other, far better places to start over.
The door jangled as a couple came in. Like Mr. Killian, they were regular customers. James and Katie Eicher were Amish and lived on a large farm on the outskirts of town.
Glad for the reprieve, she smiled at them. “Hiya, Katie. James. How can I help you?”
Just as Katie was about to answer, her husband put a hand on her arm. “Go wait in the buggy, Kate.”
Katie looked at her husband in confusion, then blanched when she caught sight of Mark. Without a word, she turned and walked back out the door.
When it closed again, James glared at Mark. “What are you doing here?”
Mark lifted his chin. “I work here.”
“Is that true, Neeta?” James asked. “Did Henry actually hire him?”
“Jah. Today is Mark’s first day.” Unsure how to handle his anger, she cleared his throat. “Now, um, how may I help you?”
“Where is Henry?”
She looked around the room, which was a ridiculous exercise, seeing as it was perfectly obvious that Mr. Lehmann was not there.
“He’s out back,” Mark said, pointing to one of the four large greenhouses behind the retail store. “You want me to go get him for ya?”
“I don’t want you to do a thing for me,” James said. “I’ll go find him myself.”
Mark rocked back on his heels. “Suit yourself.”
Neeta winced at his flippant tone.
James, however, looked irate. Pointing a finger at him, James said, “I’m telling you now, Fisher. You stay far away from my wife. Don’t talk to her. Don’t even look at her.”
Instead of looking cowed, the corners of Mark’s lips lifted. “Or what?”
“Or I’ll do everything I can to ensure that you leave here for good.”
Mark narrowed his eyes. “Are you threatening me?”
Ignoring Mark again, James turned to her. “I can’t believe you are working in here with him. Do your parents even know?”
Before she could say that they did not, James strode out the door. It slammed in his wake.
For a good couple of seconds, Neeta stared at the door. She tried to calm herself, especially since she’d just realized that her hands were shaking.
Why was she so rattled? Was it because she was afraid of Mark Fisher?
Or because James’s anger had been so scorching?
“You never answered him,” Mark said from behind her, startling her out of her dark thoughts. “Do your parents know that you are working here with me?”
“Nee.”
“Why not?” he asked. “Is it because you’re afraid that they’ll want you to stay far, far away from the dangerous Mark Fisher, too?”
Before she could answer, the door opened again. This time it brought in Mr. Lehmann.
He looked from Mark to her and signed. “I came to check on how you two are doing after James Eicher’s visit. It doesn’t look like you’re doing too gut.”
“I’m fine, Mr. Lehmann,” she said. “But, um, well, it’s four o’clock.”
“Which means it’s time for you to get on him,” he said with a kind smile. “Grab your things and get on your way. We’ll see you tomorrow.”
She smiled weakly as she turned toward the back storage room, where her belongings were stowed. For the first time since she’s started working at the nursery, returning to work filled her with dread.
She didn’t trust Mark. Worse, she didn’t trust herself when she was around him.
Excerpt from His Guilt by Shelley Shepard Gray. Copyright © 2017 by Shelley Shepard Gray. Reproduced with permission from HarperCollins. All rights reserved.
  Shelley Shepard Gray

Author Bio:

Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike trail.

Catch Up With Ms. Gray On: Website , Goodreads , Twitter , & Facebook !


Tour Participants:


Don't Miss Your Chance to Win:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Shelley Shepard Gray and HarperCollins. There will be 4 US winners of one (1) print edition of His Guilt by Shelley Shepard Gray. The giveaway begins on July 10 and runs through August 10, 2017.
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Wednesday, 19 July 2017

#BookReview How We Found You by J.T. Lawrence (@pulpbooks)

How We Found You by J.T. Lawrence
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Would you sacrifice your son to save your daughter?

There’s something different about Kate’s four-year-old son. He wasn’t created the old fashioned way. Now a violent cult wants him dead and Kate will do anything to protect him – until they take her daughter.

In tomorrow’s world, Kate is haunted by a brutal past. Struggling to navigate a life that seems like an experiment in virtual reality, her paranoia threatens to consume her. But when someone tries to kidnap Mally, she realises she was absolutely right to be afraid.
With only hours to go before the cult's prophecy is to be fulfilled, Kate and Seth face more danger than they’ve ever imagined, desperate to keep him safe. However, the charismatic leader of the cult has other ideas, which puts Kate in an impossible position. Who will she choose to live, and who will she have to sacrifice?

Glimpse JT Lawrence’s chilling vision of the all-too-near future in this dark psychological thriller with a twist that will send you reeling. How We Found You is the second book in the riveting series When Tomorrow Calls.

Don’t blink, or you’ll miss it. Start reading How We Found You now.


**********

I've been putting off writing this review. For some reason are the 5-star reviews sometimes the hardest one to write. I mean how will I be able to express how much I enjoyed reading this book? Even now I'm a bit lost for words. But, I will give it a try.

How We Found You is the sequel to How We Found You. I've not read the first book, but I did not find it hard to get into this book, although I did several times during this book think that I really need to read How We Found You to get the backstory to the story in this book. Just to get the know the characters that I've come to care for, a bit better.

The setting for How We Found You is in the future, not that far for in the future, but it feels like another world. The futuristic technology is one aspect that made me love this book. To read about how everything has progressed fascinated me. But, there are those that are afraid how the progress that sees the birth of children not through the usual way as a sign of the end. For Kate does this mean that there are those that want to kill her son. And, they will try every means necessary to succeed.

First, I want to say that this book intrigued me from the beginning. I loved the setting of a futuristic South Africa, of a cult after children to stop a prophecy and of a mother who that will do everything to protect her children. The writing is fabulous, I was pulled into the story and the only thing I regretted was not reading the How We Found You first. Yes, you can read this as a stand-alone, but I personally would have started with book one. But, at least I have the first book to read now.

I will end this review by saying that this book is marvelous and I greatly enjoyed reading it!

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

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

#BookReview: Little Boy Blue by M.J. Arlidge (@mjarlidge) @MichaelJBooks

Little Boy Blue by M.J. Arlidge
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Detective Inspector Helen Grace is no stranger to tragedy. But when a body is found in a Southampton nightclub, the death cuts too close to the bone. Hiding her personal connection to the victim - and a double-life which must remain secret at all costs - Helen becomes a woman possessed, working her team around the clock to chase down every lead. As the killer strikes again, the investigation takes its toll not only on Helen but also her senior officers. Tempers flare, friendships fray and Helen faces an impossible choice. Confess her sins and lose control of the case? Or keep living a lie, protecting her darkest secrets, and risk getting trapped in this tangled web? But whatever she does, this killer will not stop until the truth is revealed: there are some fates worse than death . . .

**********

The Helen Grace series is a favorite of mine and last night did I decide to start listening to the book. A bad decision to start late at night btw since I had to force myself to stop listen quite early one since it was pretty late and I had to work today. Anyway, I'm really thankful that I have the next book as an audiobook was well since this one ended with a frustrating cliffhanger. I'm also glad I did not read the book and then had to wait until the next book was published!

In Little Boy Blue must Helene Grace tackle a very personal case. The murder victim is someone that she knew, but for reasons can't she tell her fellow colleagues that she knew the person in question. Now, she has to keep her emotions in check while trying to find the devious murderer. But, how long can she hide the truth?

As usual, has M.J. Arlidge written a thriller that from the start captivated me. I quite enjoy listening to this book. Elizabeth Bower is a great narrator, and her ability to change her voice for all the characters make it easy to know who is who. Also, the book is so thrilling that the hours just fly away when you're listening to the book.

I did suspect the identity of the killer, I'm not quite sure when it hit me who the person probably would be. However, it made the book more interesting to listen to. Was I right about my suspicious or not made the book more thrilling? Btw, yes I was right...

Little Boy Blue is just as the previous books brilliant. I do recommend reading this series from the beginning and not from book two as I did. This is a series that definitely is best suited to read in order.

#BookReview Blame by Jeff Abbott (@JeffAbbott) @GrandCentralPub #Giveaway

Blame by Jeff Abbott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sometimes the person you thought you knew best...Turns out to be someone you never really knew at all.

The crash that killed him

Two years ago, Jane Norton crashed her car on a lonely road, killing her friend David and leaving her with amnesia. At first, everyone was sympathetic. Then they found Jane's note: I wish we were dead together.

A girl to blame


From that day the town turned against her. But even now Jane is filled with questions: Why were they on that road? Why was she with David? Did she really want to die?

The secrets she should forget

Most of all, she must find out who has just written her an anonymous message: I know what really happened. I know what you don't remember...


**********

Oh, this book is good. Blame is the kind of book that I felt right from the start will turn out to be great. I've read a book by Jeff Abbott before (The First Order book 5 in the Sam Capra series) and I knew he can write, and I was eagerly awaiting the day I could start reading this book. I was however when I started to read the book a bit surprised about how young Jane was, only 17. I had after reading the blurb imagined her older.

Jane's memory loss is not just from the accident two years ago. She can't remember the last three years of her life, not her father's death neither the new friends she made in high school. So, all she can go after is what all the people, her mother and the friends she has left tell hers. Her life isn't easy, memory loss and almost everyone thinks she is responsible for the death of David in the car crash. That she meant to kill them both. But, was she really suicidal? It's time for Jane to find out what really happened two years ago, was it an accident, or was she trying to kill them both? Or was someone else involved in the crash?

I love the fact that pretty much everyone acted so mysterious and suspicious in this book. From Jane's mother to her friends. Jane can't be sure whom to trust and it doesn't help that so doesn't remember more than glimpses the last three years of her life. It's a thrilling book to read, fast-paced, and I had a hard time figuring out how it all would end. They all seemed to have secrets.

Blame is a great book. If you like psychological thrillers will you love this one!

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

Blame by Jeff Abbott