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.

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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!

#BookReview Selfies (The Scarred Woman) by Jussi Adler-Olsen (SWE/ENG) @albertbonniers

Selfies by Jussi Adler-Olsen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

SWEDISH REVIEW

Avdelning Q håller som vanligt till i Köpenhamnspolisens källarrum, men står nu inför stora utmaningar. Dels vad gäller arbetet, men också på det personliga planet. Gruppens sammanhållande länk Rose har nämligen sjunkit ner i en psykos vars trådar leder långt tillbaka in ett mörkt förflutet. Ett förflutet där ett grymt brott kan ha begåtts.

Det har kommit ledningen till känna att uppklarningsstatistiken för Avdelning Q ligger långt under det förväntade. Utan Roses hjälp måste de tre återstående medlemmarna – den karismatiske ledaren Carl Mørck, mystiske Assad och det senaste tillskottet Gordon – kämpa för att övertyga dem om att de ska få fortsätta sitt arbete. Samtidigt hittas en äldre kvinna mördad i Kongens Have och en galen bilist har inlett en dödlig jakt på unga kvinnor, medan nya brott planeras på en helt annan plats. Har händelserna ingenting med varandra att göra, eller finns ett samband begravt någonstans?


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Selfies är bok 7 i Avdelning Q och är den första boken jag läser i serien. Nu är det så att jag länge velat läsa serien, då böckerna verkar väldigt bra, men jag har inte hunnit med dem (Så många böcker, så lite tid). Men då jag fick hem denna bok för att läsa och recencera tyckte jag att det var ett utmärkt tillfälle att se om denna serie var för mig. Jag har sett varje film som gjorts av böckerna och tack vare det så kände jag att jag var bekant med både Carl Mørck och Assad.

Handlingen var lätt att komma in i, det är flertal sidospår varav flera av dem har länkar till varandra, vilket visar sig längre fram i boken. Detta är en av de sällsynta fall där jag faktiskt känner sympati för mördaren i boken (den galna bilisten som verkar vara ute efter en viss typ av offer), inte för att jag tycker att mord är acceptablet, utan för att personen i fråga har verkligen drivits till bristningsgränsen samt att offfren är inte direkt några personer man känner sympati för. Tre utav tjejerna som blir måltavlor får vi följa i ett sidospår och det är skrämmnade att läsa hur de snyltar på samället.

Men utav allting som pågår i boken är det ändå Rose som jag känner mest för, den del av boken som är mest intressant och mest tragiskt. Hennes levandsberättelse är verkligen hemsk och jag hoppades verkligen genom bokens gång att allting skulle gå vägen för henne.

Selfies är en mycket bra bok och jag ser fram emot att läsa de sex tidiagre böckerna i serien!

Tack till Albert Bonniers Förlag för recensionsexemplaret!


ENGLISH REVIEW

Detective Carl Mørck of Department Q, Copenhagen's cold cases division, meets his toughest challenge yet when the dark, troubled past of one of his own team members collides with a sinister unsolved murder.

In a Copenhagen park the body of an elderly woman is discovered. The case bears a striking resemblance to another unsolved homicide investigation from over a decade ago, but the connection between the two victims confounds the police. Across town a group of young women are being hunted. The attacks seem random, but could these brutal acts of violence be related? Detective Carl Mørck of Department Q is charged with solving the mystery.

Back at headquarters, Carl and his team are under pressure to deliver results: failure to meet his superiors’ expectations will mean the end of Department Q. Solving the case, however, is not their only concern. After an earlier breakdown, their colleague Rose is still struggling to deal with the reemergence of her past—a past in which a terrible crime may have been committed. It is up to Carl, Assad, and Gordon to uncover the dark and violent truth at the heart of Rose’s childhood before it is too late.



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The Scarred Woman is book seven in the Department Q series and is the first book I read in the series. I have for a long time wanted to read the series because the books seem very good, but I haven't had time (so many books so little time) to read them until I got this home to read and review. I was very happy to get the chance to read this book to see if this series would be something for me. I have seen every movie made by the books and thanks to that do I feel that I'm familiar with both Carl Mørck and Assad.

The story was easy to get into, there are several side stories, many of them have links to each other, which will be clearer later on in the book. This is one of the rare cases where I actually feel sympathy for the killer in the book (the crazy motorist who seems to be looking for a certain type of victim), not because I think murder is acceptable, but because the person in question really has been pushed to the limits and that the victims are not directly any people you feel sympathetic to. Three of the girls who become targets do we get to follow in one of the side stories and they are the kind of freeloader that don't want to work, and just get money from the state to spend on themselves.

However, of all the things that are going on in the book, is it Rose that I feel most for. Her part of the book is the most interesting and most tragic. Her life story is really terrible and I really hoped through the book that everything would work out for her.

In the end, I just want to say that The Scarred Woman is a very good book and I look forward to reading the six past books in the series!

Thanks to Albert Bonniers Förlag for the review copy!

Saturday, 17 June 2017

#BookReview The Girl Who Knew Too Much by Amanda Quick @FreshFiction

The Girl Who Knew Too Much by Amanda Quick
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Amanda Quick, the bestselling author of ’Til Death Do Us Part, transports readers to 1930s California, where glamour and seduction spawn a multitude of sins…

When Hollywood moguls and stars want privacy, they head to an idyllic small town on the coast, where the exclusive Burning Cove Hotel caters to their every need. It’s where reporter Irene Glasson finds herself staring down at a beautiful actress at the bottom of a pool.

Seeking the truth, Irene finds herself drawn to a master of deception. Oliver Ward was once a world-famous magician—until he was mysteriously injured during his last performance. Now the owner of the Burning Cove Hotel, he can’t let scandal threaten his livelihood, even if it means trusting Irene, a woman who seems to have appeared in Los Angeles out of nowhere four months ago.

With Oliver’s help, Irene soon learns that the glamorous paradise of Burning Cove hides dark and dangerous secrets. And that the past—always just out of sight—could drag them both under…

*********

I have to admit that I'm quite besotted with this cover. I like how different it is, the crisscrossing of colorful squares over the image of the girl and I love the combination of the colors. Now, you should not choose a book just because of the cover, but I'm the first one to raise my hand to admit that I do it over and over again. But, I'm a bit cautious when it comes to historical romance because it's just not often my type of book. However, I discovered Amanda Quick years ago and she is one of few authors that I have come to like when it comes to historical romance. And, that's because her books have an element of suspects to them. And nothing spices a romance as a crime.

READ THE REST OF THE REVIEW OVER AT FRESH FICTION!

Thursday, 15 June 2017

#CoverCrush: How Sweet the Sound Amy K. Sorrells

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!


Readers of women's fiction. Amy writes stories that offer hope to hurting people. For fans of Lisa Wingate and Gina Holmes.

A Southern Novel of Second Chances
From a distance, the Harlans appear to be the perfect Southern family. Wealth and local fame mask the drama and dysfunction swirling through their family line. But as the summer heats up, a flood tide of long-hidden secrets surfaces.

Devastation from a rape followed by the murders of two family members brings three generations of the Harlans together on their pecan plantation in Bay Spring, Alabama. Chief among them is Anniston, who by the time she turned thirteen thought she’d seen it all. But as her heart awakens to the possibility of love, she begins to deal with her own loneliness and grief.

This tender coming-of-age tale, inspired by the story of Tamar in 2 Samuel 13, shows how true healing and hope comes only from God. Though our earthly family can wound and disappoint, our heavenly Father brings freedom, through his mercy and grace, to those long held captive.


Some thoughts about the cover:

I think it's the fireflies that really makes this cover so beautiful. They brighten up an otherwise dark cover.

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

Stephanie @ Layered Pages





Wednesday, 14 June 2017

#BlogTour Deadmen Walking by Sherrilyn Kenyon #Spotlight @kenyonsherrilyn @PiatkusBooks @ClaraHDiaz


Hell hath no fury as a demon caged . . .

Centuries ago, a bitter war for humanity was fought and lucky for us, the Sons of Darkness were put down. Yet nothing lasts forever. When one of their most capable generals is unknowingly released from her infernal prison, Vine sets out to free her brethren and retake what was once theirs. 

But things have changed, and now an old dalliance is her sworn enemy. Devyl Bane hasn’t forgotten the betrayal that damned his soul, nor is he willing to forgo his one chance at redemption. With a new crew of Deadmen at his command, he is the last hope humanity has to close the cracked Carian Gate and ensure once and for all that the Cimmerian forces never again see the light of day. And nothing will stand in his way . . . this time. Join Captain Bane and his crew . . . 


Published 9th May 2017 Hardback | £18.99



About the author:

Writing as Sherrilyn Kenyon and Kinley MacGregor, she is the New York Times bestselling  and awardwinning author of several series: the Dark-Hunters; the Lords of Avalon; and the League. She lives with her husband and three sons in Nashville, Tennessee.

www.sherrilynkenyon.com www.twitter.com/kenyonsherrilyn www.facebook.com/AuthorSherrilynKenyon





Tuesday, 13 June 2017

#BookReview Just Add Water by Hunter Shea @KensingtonBooks #BookBloggers

Just Add Water by Hunter Shea
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

GROW AMAZING LIVE SEA SERPENTS!


It’s fun! It’s easy! They only cost a measly dollar. Just clip out the ad in your comic book. Then ask Mom to mail it in. A few weeks later, receive a packet of instant Sea Serpent dust. Then:

Just add water . . . and watch them grow!

WHAT COULD GO WRONG?

Just ask David and Patrick. Their “instant pets” are instant duds. They don’t hatch, they don’t grow, they don’t do anything. So they dump them into the sewer where Dad pours toxic chemicals . . .

WAIT UNTIL FEEDING TIME.


It’s been years since David and Patrick thought about those Sea Serpents. But now, small animals are disappearing in the neighborhood. Strange slimy creatures are rising from the sewers. And once the screaming starts, David and Patrick realize that their childhood pets really did come to life. With a vengeance. They’re enormous . . . and have a ravenous hunger for human flesh . . .


***********

At first was I surprised how short this story is. I had expected a book and got a novella. And, that's perfectly alright because the story is fast, furious and brutal. If you have a problem with pets and kids getting brutally attacked and eaten is this not a book for you. But, if you are a horror fan with a penchant for gruesome deaths, then you're in for a treat.

One thing I thought of while reading this book was when the "sea serpents" had grown and started to hunt people did David and Patrick find someone that could tell them how to stop them. Have you seen the movie Evolution from 2001 with David Duchovny? The way they stopped the alien organism? The solution in this novella made me think of that. LOL

Just Add Water is just the gruesome kind of story that I've come to expect from Hunter Shea. The reason it doesn't get the 4-star rating is that it's not really as entertaining and gruesome as The Jersey Devil, my so far favorite book by Shea. But, it's still an awesome novella.

Now I can't wait to read the sequel: Optical Delusion: OPEN YOUR EYES WITH “X-RAY” VISION!

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

#BookReview Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire @torbooks

Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Twin sisters Jack and Jill were seventeen when they found their way home and were packed off to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.

This is the story of what happened first…

Jacqueline was her mother’s perfect daughter—polite and quiet, always dressed as a princess. If her mother was sometimes a little strict, it’s because crafting the perfect daughter takes discipline.

Jillian was her father’s perfect daughter—adventurous, thrill-seeking, and a bit of a tom-boy. He really would have preferred a son, but you work with what you've got.

They were five when they learned that grown-ups can’t be trusted.

They were twelve when they walked down the impossible staircase and discovered that the pretense of love can never be enough to prepare you a life filled with magic in a land filled with mad scientists and death and choices.

**********

In Every Heart a Doorway we get to meet two sisters called Jack and Jill. In this, the sequel to that book does we get the whole background to their story. But, you don't have to have read Every Heart a Doorway to enjoy this book. It can definitely be read as a stand-alone. However, Every Heart a Doorway is an amazing book and I recommend warmly either reading it before this one or after.

So, Down Among the Sticks and Bones tells the tale of how Jill and Jack traveled through a chest to another world. Like the wardrobe in Narnia, however, the land they got to is not like Narnia, there is no lion waiting for them in this land. Only darkness and different paths for them ...even though they are sisters are they quite different...

I liked this story, I did not love it the way I loved In Every Heart a Doorway, but I enjoyed reading the book. It's always interesting to read a fleshed out story of something you learn in another book, to get the full story. Now, I can't wait to read the next stand-alone story; Beneath the Sugar Sky! That comes in January 2018 ... sigh

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

Monday, 12 June 2017

I morgon kommer jag att sakna dig (Tomorrow, I will miss you) by Heine Bakkeid SWE/ENG

I morgon kommer jag att sakna dig by Heine T. Bakkeid
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

SWEDISH REVIEW

Norsk suggestiv thriller med mytiska dimensioner.

Vintern närmar sig när den tidigare förhörsledaren Thorkild Aske släpps ut från fängelset. Tre år tidigare körde han drogpåverkad ihjäl en kvinna och nu är han en paria bland sina kollegor, en misslyckad polis som inte är bättre än dem han själv brukade förhöra.

Aske lider både av skuldkänslor och av skadorna han ådrog sig i bilolyckan. Ändå låter han sig övertalas att bosätta sig på en fyrholm långt upp i norr för att hjälpa till i sökandet efter en ung man. Den lokala polisen har avskrivit försvinnandet som en drunkningsolycka, men modern kan inte komma till ro innan de har hittat kroppen. Det blir Askes uppgift att hitta hennes son, att hämta tillbaka honom från havets vågor.

Samtidigt som han brottas med den motvilliga lokalpolisen börjar Aske inse att det är något som inte stämmer. Den vindpinade ön med dess övergivna fyr visar sig gömma fler än en hemlighet. När stormen kommer och frenetiskt piskar upp havet är det inte kvarlevorna av den unge mannen som vågorna för med sig, utan kroppen av en kvinna utan ansikte.

Heine Bakkeid har skrivit en suggestiv thriller som smygande kryper in under läsarens skinn. I morgon kommer jag att sakna dig skildrar skickligt såväl farorna i havets djup som farorna som finns i djupet av det mänskliga psyket.


**********

I morgon kommer jag att sakna dig är Heine Bakkeids första kriminalroman, men jag spår honom en ljus framtid. I morgon kommer jag att sakna dig är en fängslande thriller som påminner mig om böcker skrivna Johan Theorin och S.K. Tremayne i och med att handlingen i denna bok ibland känns som om den glider in i det övernaturliga. Den där känslan av att det pågår något mer än ett vanligt kriminalfall som ska lösas.

Tvetydigheten, atmosfären och karga miljöer gör denna bok till en lysande roman. Att sedan Thorkild Aske är en jagad man, ärrad av det förflutna och hemsökt av vad han gjort, ja det gör boken ännu mer spännande att läsa då man då och då får tillbakablickar till vad händelserna innan olyckan samt själva olyckan.

I morgon kommer jag att sakna dig är definitivt en läsvärd bok. När man väl börjar läsa boken är det svårt att sluta att lägga ifrån sig den. När slutet kom så var jag både nöjd och lite ledsen att behöva stänga boken. Slutet var spännande och när jag insåg hur allting låg till så kändes allting så uppenbart så här i efterhand. I bakhuvudet började jag pussla samman allting framåt slutet (började äntligen se ett tydligt mönster) men det var först när sanningen uppdagades som jag verkligen insåg vidden av det hela.

Nu vill jag bara ha en uppföljare!

Tack till Massolit Förlag för recensionsexemplaret!

ENGLISH REVIEW

A Norwegian suggestive thriller with mythical dimensions.

The winter is approaching when former interrogator Thorkild Aske is released from prison. Three years earlier, he drove and killed a woman and now he is a pariah among his colleagues, a failed police who is not better than those he used to question.

Aske suffers both from guilt and from the damage he got from the car crash. Nevertheless, he is persuaded to travel to a lighthouse up in the north to look for a young man that has gone missing. The local police have written off the case as a drowning, but the mother cannot move one before the body is found. It becomes Askes's task to find her son, to get him back from the waves of the sea.

Aske begins to realize that there is something that does not match as he struggles with the reluctant local police. The windy island with its deserted lighthouse turns out to hide more than one secret. When the storm comes and frenetically whips up the sea, it's not the remains of the young man that the waves bring in, instead it's the body of a woman without a face.

Heine Bakkeid has written a suggestive thriller that sneakily creeps under the reader's skin. Tomorrow, I will miss you, skillfully depicts the dangers of the depths of the sea as well as the dangers found in the depths of the human psyche.


**********

Tomorrow I will miss you is Heine Bakkeid's first crime novel, but I'm imagining him a bright future as a crime author. Tomorrow I will miss you is a captivating thriller reminiscent of books written by Johan Theorin and S.K. Tremayne because the plot in this book sometimes feels as if it passes into the supernatural? The feeling you get that there could be more going on than just an ordinary crime case.

The ambiguity, the ambiance, and the rugged environments make this book a brilliant novel. Thorkild Aske is a hunted man, wounded by the past and haunted by what he did. The book gets even more interesting to read when the story occasionally gets back in time to the events before the accident and the accident itself.

Tomorrow I will miss you is definitely a fascinating book. Once you start reading the book is it hard to stop. I was both pleased and a little sad to close the book when the end came. The end was thrilling and also so obvious when I think about it, although it was not obvious before it all was revealed. But, I do feel that back in my mind did I start to suspect how everything was connected before it was revealed.

Now, I just want a sequel!

Thanks to Massolit Förlag for the review copy!

Saturday, 10 June 2017

#BookReview Secrets of Nanreath Hall (Dimmornas hus) by Alix Rickloff (SWE/ENG) #BookBloggers

Secrets of Nanreath Hall by Alix Rickloff
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

SWEDISH REVIEW

En mor och en dotter har skiljts åt. På Nanreath Hall flätas deras öden samman.

Sjuksköterskan Anna Trenowyth var bara sex år när hennes biologiska mor gick bort, och minnena av lady Katherine Trenowyth har bleknat. När hon mitt under andra världskriget blir stationerad på militärsjukhuset på Nanreath Hall, det gods där hennes mamma växte upp, ser hon sin chans att komma närmare den familj hon aldrig haft någon relation till.

Snart finner hon sig indragen i släkten Trenowyths snåriga lojaliteter, hemligheter och tragedier. När svaren hon sökt efter så länge äntligen kommer i ljuset är de långt mer omskakande än hon kunnat föreställa sig. En historia om kärlek, svek och familjehemligheter mitt under brinnande världskrig.


**********

Man ska inte välja en bok pga av dess omslag, men vad kan jag säga; Dimmornas hus omslag tillsammans med dess fängslande handlingsbeskrivning fick mig på fall!

Jag tror inte att jag någonsin kommer att tröttna på att läsa böcker med två tidsperioder. Det är ett koncept som jag verkligen, verkligen älskar att läsa. I Dimmornas hus får vi följa den unga Anna Trenowyth som för första gången besöker Nanreath hall där hennes mor Lady Katherine växte upp. Anna har bara ett vagt minne av sin mor då hon dog när Anna var sex år gammal. Nu får hon chansen att lära känna sin släkt och få reda på vem hennes pappa var.

Parallellt med Annas handling får vi också följa Katherine som under 1910-talet drömmer om att bli konstnär och förlorar sitt hjärta till en ung konstnärsassistent. Katherine kommer att få betala ett dyrt pris för sin starka vilja att vara självständig.

Dimmornas hur är en intressant bok, jag fann dock att Annas berättelse fängslande mig mer än Katherines gjorde. Men så var Annas sökande efter svar och hennes egna erfarenheter av andra världskriget så mycket mer intressant än att följa Katherine som naivt inte såg sanningen förrän det var för sent. Boken är bra, och om man gillar att läsa historiska mysterie böcker i stil med Kate Morton så passar denna alldeles utmärkt.

Tack HarperCollins Nordic för recensionsexemplaret!

ENGLISH REVIEW

Cornwall, 1940. Back in England after the harrowing evacuation at Dunkirk, WWII Red Cross nurse Anna Trenowyth is shocked to learn her adoptive parents Graham and Prue Handley have been killed in an air raid. She desperately needs their advice as she’s been assigned to the military hospital that has set up camp inside her biological mother’s childhood home—Nanreath Hall. Anna was just six years old when her mother, Lady Katherine Trenowyth, died. All she has left are vague memories that tease her with clues she can’t unravel. Anna’s assignment to Nanreath Hall could be the chance for her to finally become acquainted with the family she’s never known—and to unbury the truth and secrets surrounding her past.

Cornwall, 1913. In the luxury of pre-WWI England, Lady Katherine Trenowyth is expected to do nothing more than make a smart marriage and have a respectable life. When Simon Halliday, a bohemian painter, enters her world, Katherine begins to question the future that was so carefully laid out for her. Her choices begin to lead her away from the stability of her home and family toward a wild existence of life, art, and love. But as everything begins to fall apart, Katherine finds herself destitute and alone.

As Anna is drawn into her newfound family’s lives and their tangled loyalties, she discovers herself at the center of old heartbreaks and unbearable tragedies, leaving her to decide if the secrets of the past are too dangerous to unearth…and if the family she’s discovered is one she can keep.

**********

One should not choose a book because of its cover, but what can I say; The cover for Secrets of Nanreath Hall together with its captivating description made me quite eager to read this book!

I do not think I'll ever be tired of reading books with dual storylines. It's a concept that I really, really love to read. In Secrets of Nanreath Hall do we get to follow young Anna Trenowyth who for the first time visits Nanreath Hall where her mother, Lady Katherine, grew up. Anna only has a vague memory of her mother because Katherine died when Anna was six years old. Now she gets the chance to get to know her family and find out the identity of her dad.

Parallel with Anna's story do we also follow Katherine who in the 1910s dreams of becoming an artist and who lost her heart to a young artist assistant. Katherine will have to pay a high price for her will to be independent.

Secrets of Nanreath Hall is an interesting book, but I found Anna's story intrigued me more than Katherine's did. Anna's search for answers and her own experience of World War II was so much more interesting than reading about Katherine who naively did not see the truth until it was too late. The book is good, and if you like to read historical mystery books in the style of Kate Morton is this one for you!

Thanks HarperCollins Nordic for the review copy!

Thursday, 8 June 2017

#CoverCrush: The Bookshop at Water's End Patti Callahan Henry

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 powerful new novel by the New York Times bestselling author of such acclaimed Southern women’s fiction as The Idea of Love, Driftwood Summer, and The Art of Keeping Secrets.

Bonny Blankenship’s most treasured memories are of idyllic summers spent in Watersend, South Carolina, with her best friend Lainey McKay. Amid the sand dunes and oak trees draped with Spanish moss, they swam and wished for happy-ever-afters, then escaped to the local bookshop to read and whisper in the glorious cool silence. Until the night that changed everything, the night that Lainey’s mother disappeared.

Now, in her early fifties, Bonny is desperate to clear her head after a tragic mistake threatens her career as an emergency room doctor, and her marriage crumbles around her. With her troubled teenage daughter, Piper, in tow, she goes back to the beloved river house, where she is soon joined by Lainey and her two young children. During lazy summer days and magical nights, they reunite with bookshop owner Mimi, who is tangled with the past and its mysteries. As the three women cling to a fragile peace, buried secrets and long ago loves return like the tide.


Some thoughts about the cover:

I have to admit that the title is part of the reason for my love of this cover. But, I also love the feeling of summer that I get of the woman walking on the logs in the water.

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

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

#BookReview The Strawberry Girl (Målarens musa) by Lisa Stromme (SWE/ENG) #BookBloggers

The Strawberry Girl by Lisa Stromme
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

SWEDISH REVIEW

Sommaren 1893. Den norska fiskebyn Åsgårdstrand förbereder sig för turisternas ankomst, för de välbärgade familjerna och bohemiska konstnärerna.

Johanne Lien tar anställning som husa hos den förmögna familjen Ihlen och blir snart den några år äldre dottern Tulliks förtrogna. Ingen i familjen vet om att Tullik har ett kärleksförhållande med konstnären Edvard Munch, och Johanne finner sig snart indragen i hemlighetsmakeriet. Men hur mycket är Johanne villig att riskera för att bevara deras hemlighet?

I Målarens musa skapar Lisa Strømme sin egen version av historien bakom Skriet, en av Munchs mest kända målningar.


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Jag läste klart Målarens Musa sent igår kväll, det var inte min plan, men jag kunde helt enkelt inte sluta läsa boken. Den glödande kärlekshistorian mellan Tullik och Edvard Munch kom att bli så intensiv och så fylld av galenskap att jag inte kunde sluta läsa boken. Som om jag hade smittats av den besatthet som rådde i boken.

Handlingen börja med att Johanne tar anställning hemma hos familjen Ihlen och möter Tullik. Tullikdras till den bohemiska konstnären Edvard Munch, en man vars tavlor är så syndiga att Johanne råds av sin mor att aldrig titta på den. Men Johanne som drömmer om att måla, kan inte låta bli att fängslas av Munch och hans tavlor och utan hennes mors vetskap så låter Munch Johanne måla hemma hos honom.

Men det är Tulliks och Edvards kärlekshistoria som ställer allting på spel för Johanne. Hur långa ska hon kunna skydda sin vän? Och hur kommer allting att sluta. För den djärva Tullik vill ha Edvard till varje pris, men Edvard, ja han må vara fängslad av Tullik, men målandet kommer alltid att vara hans första älskarinna.

Målarens musa är en fängslade bok som börjar förrädiskt lågmält men i och med den förbjuda romansen mellan Tullik och Edvard mer och mer blir besatt blir också handlingen mer och mer intensiv och till slut måste det blir ett utlopp. Frågan är hur kommer allting att sluta?

Boken är oerhört bra skriven. Jag kunde verkligen se tavlorna och miljöerna framöver mig och detta är utan tvekan en bok om man både är intresserad av att lära sig mer om Munch, men även om man älskar att läsa en historiska romaner som griper tag i en. Eller både och!

Tack HarperCollins Nordic för recensionsexemplaret!

ENGLISH REVIEW

Summer 1893, and the Norwegian fishing village of Åsgårdstrand is preparing for the arrival of well-to-do guests and bohemian artists from the city. Local girl Johanne Lien dutifully gathers berries for tourists and poses barefoot for painters as ‘The Strawberry Girl’.

Johanne becomes a maid for the wealthy Ihlen family, whose wayward daughter Tullik recruits her as a go-between in her pursuit of the controversial painter Edvard Munch. Before long, Johanne is drawn into the raw emotion of Munch’s art and his secret liaison with Tullik. But when she is asked to hide more than just secrets, Johanne must decide whether to take the risk…

Lisa Stromme brings alive the tumultuous love affair that inspired one of the most famous paintings of all time, in a vivid and bewitching story of innocence, creativity and desire.

**********

I finished The Strawberry Girl late last night. That it was not my plan, but I simply could not stop reading the book. The passionate love story between Tullik and Edvard Munch was getting so intense and so filled with madness that I could not stop reading the book. As if I had been infected with the obsession that existed in the book.

The story begins with Johanne taking a job at the family Ihlen and meets Tullik. Tullik is attracted to the bohemian artist Edvard Munch, a man whose paintings are so sinful that Johanne is advised by his mother never to look at it. But, Johanne, who dreams of being a painter herself, is intrigued by Munch and his paintings, and without her mother's knowledge, is Munch letting Johanne paint at his home.

However, it is Tulliks and Edvard's love story that puts everything at risk for Johanne. How long will she be able to protect her friend? And how is everything going to end? For the bold Tullik wants Edvard at all costs, but for Edvard, despite being enthralled by Tullik, will painting always be his first love.

The Strawberry Girl is a captivating book that begins deceptively slow, but as the forbidden romance between Tullik and Edvard gets more and more obsessive and wild does the story become more and more intense and eventually, there must be an outlet in some way. The question is how is everything going to end?

The book is extremely well written. I could see the paintings and the environments before my eyes as I was reading the book and this is undoubtedly a book for you if you are interested in learning more about Munch, or if you love to read a historical novel that will grip you. Or both!

Thanks HarperCollins Nordic for the review copy!

#BlogTour Practicing Normal by Cara Sue Achterberg (@CaraAchterberg) @ProvidenceBks

Practicing NormalPracticing Normal by Cara Sue Achterberg on Tour June 1 - July 31, 2017


Book Details
Genre: Women's Fiction
Published by: The Story Plant
Publication Date: June 6th 2017
Number of Pages: 336
ISBN: 1611882443 (ISBN13: 9781611882445)

Synopsis:

The houses in Pine Estates are beautiful McMansions filled with high-achieving parents, children on the fast track to top colleges, all of the comforts of modern living, and the best security systems money can buy. Welcome to normal upper-middle-class suburbia.

The Turners know in their hearts that they're anything but normal. Jenna is a high-schooler dressed in black who is fascinated with breaking into her neighbors' homes, security systems be damned. Everett genuinely believes he loves his wife . . . he just loves having a continuing stream of mistresses more. JT is a genius kid with Asperger's who moves from one obsession to the next. And Kate tries to manage her family, manage her mother (who lives down the street), and avoid wondering why her life is passing her by.

And now everything is changing for them. Jenna suddenly finds herself in a boy-next-door romance she never could have predicted. Everett's secrets are beginning to unravel on him. JT is getting his first taste of success at navigating the world. And Kate is facing truths about her husband, her mother, and her father that she might have preferred not to face.

Life on Pine Road has never been more challenging for the Turners. That's what happens when you're practicing normal.

Combining her trademark combination of wit, insight, and tremendous empathy for her characters, Cara Sue Achterberg has written a novel that is at once familiar and startlingly fresh.

Guest post

What inspired you to write the book?

I live on a rural street. My neighbors are measured by miles, not feet. We have plenty of ‘head cases’ (my husband’s term) out here. Paranoia, gun ownership, and chicken-keeping run high.

There have been lots of times when my children have said, “I wish we lived in a real neighborhood,” especially when they can find no one to play with beyond their siblings on a snow day. When they lament the lack of neighbors, I try to assure them they aren’t missing anything. And we have woods and streams and horses and fresh tomatoes! Despite all those benefits, I have wondered how our lives would be different if we lived in a traditional neighborhood; I’ve indulged plenty of ‘what-if’ scenarios about life with matching vinyl siding, impromptu cookouts, and built-in community that comes from sharing lawns and bus stops.

Practicing Normal grew out of those what-ifs and the certainty that no matter who our neighbors are or what kind of houses are on our street, we can never know what is happening behind closed doors. Even when the doors cost a lot of money and carry prestige. My original plan for the novel was to explore a group of four or five families, but as I got to know the Turners, I couldn’t look away. Jenna gives us peeks into some of the neighbor’s homes and hearts, but the real question becomes do we know what is happening in our own home, our own hearts?

When I was a kid, living in a suburban neighborhood, I spent my evenings playing Kick-the-Can and Hide-and-Seek with the other neighbor kids. By the time I was a teen, I knew everyone on my street. I knew whose moms had cupboards full of cheese curls, whose dads would yell at us if we walked across their lawns, and whose dogs might bite me. And yet, when I talk to friends who live in traditional neighborhoods these days, they rarely know their neighbors. Unless they serve on the homeowners association, they may never meet most of them. That’s the world of Pinewood Estates that I imagined.

Like the families who live on Pine Road, we assume many things about our neighbors, having never even set foot in their homes. I have a pretty loose writing style—I meet a few characters, toss in a dilemma and set a story in motion. I’ve heard it said, “No surprise for the writer, no surprise for the reader.” Until writing this book I didn’t really appreciate that phrase. As Practicing Normal unfolded, I was surprised again and again.

I truly enjoyed following along with Jenna as she began to implode the Turner’s carefully protected world through her uncanny ability to break into her neighbor’s homes. I was charmed by Jenna’s brother JT, who has Asperger’s Syndrome and fascinated by her neighbor Cassie, a hospice nurse with seven cats. Her mother’s load was sometimes hard for me to bear—her selfless devotion to her own mother, a son she loves fiercely, and the dream of a happy family—all felt at times familiar and foreign. And as angry as I might have been with Everett, the philandering father, I still found some good in him.

And that’s the undercurrent of the entire novel—no person is entirely good or entirely bad. There is something redeeming in everyone, despite appearances. Families, neighborhoods, people, are rarely what they appear to be. Maybe that’s because none of us have it all figured out. Perhaps we are all just practicing normal.

Kudos:

"Does facing the truth beat living a lie? In PRACTICING NORMAL, Cara Sue Achterberg has given us a smart story that is both a window and a mirror, about the extraordinary pain ― and the occasional gifts ― of an ordinary life."

– Jacquelyn Mitchard, New York Times bestselling author of THE DEEP END OF THE OCEAN
"What does it really mean to have a normal life? Achterberg's stunning new novel explores how a family can fracture just trying to survive, and how what makes us different is also what can make us most divine." – Caroline Leavitt, author of CRUEL BEAUTIFUL WORLD and the New York Times bestsellers PICTURES OF YOU and IS THIS TOMORROW

"PRACTICING NORMAL takes a deep dive into the dysfunctional dynamics of a 'picture perfect family.' A compelling story about the beautiful humanity in the most ordinary of lives: from first love to a marriage on the downward slide to an unexpected family tragedy. Achterberg handles each thread with tender care and we can't help but root for every member of the Turner family."
– Kate Moretti, New York Times bestselling author of THE VANISHING YEAR

Get Your Copy of Practicing Normal by Cara Sue Achterberg on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads!

Read an excerpt:

Waving to Jenna as she waits at the bus stop, all I can think is, Please let her go to school today and stay in school all day. Jenna is such a smart girl; I don’t understand why she doesn’t apply herself to her studies. She could be anything. A doctor, even. I was a nurse, but Jenna is smarter than me. Of course, that was twenty years ago. Before I married Everett. Before Jenna and JT were born. Before we ever lived in Pine Estates.
I was the one who chose the house. Everett thought it was pretentious, and it was. All the houses on our end of Pine Road were pretentious. But it was the nineties. Everyone was building McMansions and taking out ridiculous loans to pay for them. Everett had just left his job as a police officer for the job at FABSO (Family and Business Security Options).
We needed to start a new life. We celebrated the new job and didn’t talk about the fact that things could have turned out very differently if his captain had chosen to bring charges against him. Instead, he recommended Everett for the job at FABSO and made it clear Everett would be wise to take it.
I remember lying in bed holding Everett the day he turned in his gun and his badge. He was devastated. Being a cop had been Everett’s dream since childhood. “All I’ve ever wanted to be is a cop. If I can’t be a cop, who am I?”
“You’re a father and a husband. That’s so much more,” I told him. He didn’t say anything about it again. He got to work. He made something of FABSO. And he’s tried so hard to be a good dad.
I don’t remember much about my own dad, and whenever I asked my mother she would say, “There’s nothing to remember about that louse except that he was a louse.” When I pressed her later, after I’d grown up, she’d said, “It doesn’t matter now. He didn’t want to be with us enough to stay.”
All that bitterness can’t hide the fact that when my father left, he apparently took my mother’s heart. She’s spent the rest of her life alone. Except for me. And Evelyn. Although, once Evelyn left home, she didn’t come around much. These days she visits Mama on Saturdays, unless she has something more pressing to do, which is most weeks. Mama annoys her. I suppose I do too. We don’t fit into Evelyn’s shiny, perfect life.
When I first met Everett and told Mama about him, she was skeptical. “A cop?”
I told her how he’d wanted to be a cop since he was a little boy, the same way I always wanted to be a nurse. I gushed about how he told me I was beautiful and how he said he’d been certain about us the first time he saw me. Mama said, “Men will say whatever it takes, Kate. When will you realize that?” But I knew she was wrong about Everett.
I met Everett in the ER. I was treating a patient who was high on coke or meth or God knows what. He was lean and riddled with track marks, his strength coming from whatever drug was flooding his body. I didn’t recognize him as one of our regulars—the ones who showed up like clockwork in search of pain meds. This guy was out of his mind and covered in his own blood from where he’d scratched his thin skin. Another nurse helped me attempt to strap him to the gurney with the Velcro holds, but he was out of his mind and reached for the needle I was about to use to sedate him. Everett was nearby at the desk filling out forms and heard me yell. In just moments, he wrestled the junkie to the ground and held him still as I plunged the needle in. When the man finally collapsed, Everett lifted him back onto the gurney and secured him.
When he turned and looked at me with his green eyes, the same eyes Jenna has, I knew I would marry him. I told him that on our second date. He laughed. I’ve always loved his laugh.
When Everett started at FABSO, he made nearly twice the salary he’d made as a cop. I didn’t need to work any longer. It was our chance. I would stay home and take care of our happy family in our beautiful house in Pine Estates. It was our new start. I thought we belonged there.
When I open the door to Mama’s house, she’s already calling for me. She may be losing her mind, but her hearing hasn’t deteriorated one bit.
“You’re late!” she scolds.
“Sorry, JT had a hard time picking out a shirt to wear today.”
“He’s not a baby! I don’t know why you put up with it.”
I smile at her. No sense taking the bait. “You’re right, Mama.”
“You’ve always been so indecisive. I swear if I didn’t tell you what to do next, you’d stand there like a statue.”
“Good thing you’re so good at telling me what to do,” I mutter as I go to prepare her tea.
Mama wasn’t always like this. When Evelyn and I were little, she was our whole world. She baked homemade cakes for our birthdays, and elaborately decorated them with whatever we were currently obsessing over—Tinker Bell, Barbies, guitars, or, for Evelyn, a computer one year, and the scales of justice the year she announced she was going to be a judge when she grew up.
Mama read to us every night. I remember snuggling into the crook of her arm, even when I was too old to be doing it. Evelyn would be on her other side and our hands would meet on Mama’s flat tummy. I loved the stories with a happy ending, but Evelyn demanded that she read “real books.” She wanted mysteries and thrillers instead of the children’s books Mama picked out at the library. So Mama began to read Nancy Drew, but Evelyn went to the adult aisle and picked out John Grisham, Tom Clancy, and Stephen King. Mama tried to read them to us. She’d come to a part that she felt was too racy for us and she’d hum while she skimmed ahead til she found a more appropriate section before beginning to read again. This drove Evelyn nuts. She’d pout and complain, eventually stomping off. Mama would return the books to the library unread, but it wasn’t long before Evelyn was old enough to have her own library card and checked them out for herself.
In the mornings, Mama would braid our hair, pack our lunches with tiny handwritten notes, and walk us to the bus stop for more years than was appropriate. When Evelyn reached high school, she demanded that Mama stop, but she still followed us with her car and waited to be certain we got on the bus safely.
Now that I’m a mom, I know it couldn’t have been easy raising us alone. As she’s gotten older, she’s gotten difficult. But I put up with her increasing number of quirks because I feel I owe her. Evelyn doesn’t see it that way, but then again Evelyn doesn’t feel she owes anybody anything.
“Here you go.” I hand Mama the bitter Earl Grey tea she likes over-steeped with no sweetener.
“I’ve already missed Phillip,” she says as I help her out the door to the back porch. She spends most mornings there, talking to the birds that frequent her multiple bird feeders.
“Who’s Phillip?” I ask, mostly to make conversation. She loves to talk about the birds.
The look she gives me is just like the one JT gives me when my random “Wow” comes at the wrong time in one of his lengthy soliloquies on his current obsession. “Phillip is the male cardinal who has begun stopping by each morning. He comes over the fence from the southeast. He’s usually here before the chickadees move in and take over the birdbath.”
I look at the crowd of birds fighting over the seed at the feeder. They all look the same to me. “I’ve got to take care of a few things at home after I run JT to school; I’ll be back at lunchtime.”
“Always leaving me!” she complains. “You can’t even spend five minutes with your mother.”
I’d protest, but there’s no point. She sees things the way she needs to see them. Rewriting history is one of her specialties. I’ve been listening to her do it all my life. When Everett and I took the kids to the beach last summer, she said, “Must be nice! I’ve never had a vacation.” Yet, I remember several summers when Mama took Evelyn and me to the same beach we were headed to. Or when I graduated from nursing school, Mama said, “I’ve always said you’d make a fine nurse,” when, in reality, she’d been telling me for years that I could never be a nurse because I was so weak at chemistry. She thought I should have considered something in business—like being a secretary. She’s been spinning her stories of Evelyn’s escapades, my mistakes, and my father’s general louse-likeness for so long, she probably believes them as gospel truth. They are, I suppose, at least to her mind.
I hurry home, hoping JT has finally decided on a shirt for school. We’re going to be late if we have to argue about it.
Excerpt from Practicing Normal by Cara Sue Achterberg. Copyright © 2017 by Cara Sue Achterberg. Reproduced with permission from The Story Plant. All rights reserved.


Author Bio:

Cara Sue AchterbergCara Sue Achterberg is a writer and blogger who lives in New Freedom, PA with her family and an embarrassing number of animals. Her first novel, I’m Not Her, was a national bestseller, as was her second, Girls’ Weekend. Cara’s nonfiction book, Live Intentionally, is a guide to the organic life filled with ideas, recipes, and inspiration for liv- ing a more intentional life. Cara is a prolific blogger, occasional cowgirl, and busy mom whose essays and articles have been published in numerous anthologies, magazines, and websites. Links to her blogs, news about upcoming publications, and pictures of her foster dogs can be found at CaraWrites.com.


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