Friday, 19 January 2018

#BookReview The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn @WmMorrowBooks

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

What did she see?

It’s been ten long months since Anna Fox last left her home. Ten months during which she has haunted the rooms of her old New York house like a ghost, lost in her memories, too terrified to step outside.

Anna’s lifeline to the real world is her window, where she sits day after day, watching her neighbours. When the Russells move in, Anna is instantly drawn to them. A picture-perfect family of three, they are an echo of the life that was once hers.

But one evening, a frenzied scream rips across the silence, and Anna witnesses something no one was supposed to see. Now she must do everything she can to uncover the truth about what really happened. But even if she does, will anyone believe her? And can she even trust herself?


**********

The Woman in the Window is a book that I'm on the fence about. The writing is good, the storyline is, for the most part, both interesting and engaging. However, the book lacks surprises and suspense. And, the twists to the story is easy to foresee.

Yet, I found myself quite liking the book. It could be that the book reminded me of Rear Window with James Stewart, or the main characters love for old movies that charmed me since I adore old classic Hollywood movies. The biggest problem, however, is the use of a main character that is unstable, thanks to mental issues because of a past trauma (that was easy to figure out) and the combination of drugs and alcohol. I've come across too many unstable characters on books lately that I've started to avoid psychological thrillers with even the mentioning of characters with mental issues or in any.

The writing is good, the story, however, lacks the necessary twist to truly engage and the ending was too obvious. Although part of me enjoyed the last confrontation. I can actually see how this book would make a great movie. I just wish the story had been more surprising.

I want to thank William Morrow for providing me with a free copy for an honest review through Edelweiss!

#BookReview The Alice Network by Kate Quinn @KateQuinnAuthor @Morrow_PB ‏

The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In an enthralling new historical novel from national bestselling author Kate Quinn, two women—a female spy recruited to the real-life Alice Network in France during World War I and an unconventional American socialite searching for her cousin in 1947—are brought together in a mesmerizing story of courage and redemption.

1947. In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She's also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie's parents banish her to Europe to have her "little problem" taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister.

1915. A year into the Great War, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance when she's recruited to work as a spy. Sent into enemy-occupied France, she's trained by the mesmerizing Lili, the "Queen of Spies", who manages a vast network of secret agents right under the enemy's nose.

Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. Until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn't heard in decades, and launches them both on a mission to find the truth...no matter where it leads.

**********

The Alice Network is a book that many of my bookish friends have read and loved and yet it took ages for me to get to it. Perhaps it was just the right time for it when I finally got to it. Sitting here trying to write a review of the book feels a bit daunting, to be honest. The blurb explains the story quite excellently without giving away to much and I don't want to spoil the story a bit.

So, I will start off by praising the authors writing. This is the first Kate Quinn book I have read and I was impressed with the wonderful flow of the story, how the two storylines so effortlessly fitted together. There is always the risk of one storyline dominated the other, but in this case, I think both were equally good. The women that worked as spies in WW1 really amazed me, their bravery, despite the danger. And the risk they took. Truly amazing! Here I also must say that I just I love how Quinn blended true events with fiction. As always when it comes to author's notes was I fascinated to learn more about true events.

Likewise, was I taken with Charlie's haunt for her cousin in France after WW2. And the connection between the storylines, or rather the connected person; Eve Gardiner is such a wonderful character, from her youthful spies day to the older, quite bitter version.

The Alice Network is a fabulous book and I'm quite eager to read more from Kate Quinn. I recommend this book warmly!

I want to thank William Morrow for providing me with a free copy through Edelweiss for an honest review!

#BookReview The Redeemers by Ace Atkins @aceatkins ‏@PutnamBooks

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

The electrifying new novel in New York Times–bestselling author Ace Atkins’s acclaimed series about the real Deep South.

He is only in his early thirties, but now Quinn Colson is jobless—voted out of office as sheriff of Tibbehah County, Mississippi, thanks to the machinations of county kingpin Johnny Stagg. He has offers, in bigger and better places, but before he goes, he’s got one more job to do—bring down Stagg’s criminal operations for good.

At least that’s the plan. But in the middle of the long, hot summer, a trio of criminals stage a bold, wall-smashing break-in at the home of a local lumber mill owner, making off with a million dollars in cash from his safe, which is curious, because the mill owner is wealthy—but not that wealthy. None of this has anything to do with Colson, but during the investigation, two men are killed, one of them the new sheriff. His friend, acting sheriff Lillie Virgil, and a dangerous former flame, Anna Lee Stevens, both ask him to step in, and reluctantly he does, only to discover that that safe contained more than just money—it held secrets.


Secrets that could either save Colson—or destroy him once and for all.


**********

I've found a series to fill the void left after reading all Longmire books by Craig Johnson. Now, starting with book five in a series is perhaps not the smartest thing to do, but it's my thing and, despite some struggle, in the beginning, to get the hang on the characters is this a book that I felt was just right up my alley. From the fabulous team of ex-sheriff Quinn Colson and deputy sheriff Lillie Virgil to the hapless criminals that are hired by a disgruntled man to break into a safe. Its action, it's humor and it's definitely captivating to read, or in my case listen to since I partly read, but mostly listened to the audiobook. The story is fabulous, especially the break-in part. Man, this robbery plan is doomed from the start.

The Redeemers is a fabulous thriller. I had a blast reading/listening to this book. The storyline is both funny and thrilling and I instantly liked both Quinn and Lillie. This is the kind of book that works reading as a stand-alone after one has figured out who is who. However, I bet it's even better to read this series from the beginning. What I did after finishing this book was listening to book three and four that were available as audiobooks and when they were done did I order the two first books in the series. Yup, you can say that I was hooked! So, now I'm waiting for my books to arrive!

If you are a Longmire fan, then I definitely recommend this series to read.

I want to thank G.P. Putnam's Sons for providing me with a free copy through Edelweiss for an honest review!

#BlogTour An Argument of Blood by Matthew Willis & J.A. Ironside @hfvbt @airandseastories @DystopianIronside #bookbloggers #booklovers

An Argument of Blood by J.A. Ironside & Matthew Willis

Publication Date: June 19, 2017
Penmore Press
Paperback & eBook; 369 Pages

Series: Oath and Crown, Book 1
Genre: Fiction/Historical/War

 
William, the nineteen-year-old duke of Normandy, is enjoying the full fruits of his station. Life is a succession of hunts, feasts, and revels, with little attention paid to the welfare of his vassals. Tired of the young duke’s dissolute behaviour and ashamed of his illegitimate birth, a group of traitorous barons force their way into his castle. While William survives their assassination attempt, his days of leisure are over. He’ll need help from the king of France to secure his dukedom from the rebels.

On the other side of the English Channel lives ten-year-old Ælfgifa, the malformed and unwanted youngest sister to the Anglo-Saxon Jarl, Harold Godwinson. Ælfgifa discovers powerful rivalries in the heart of the state when her sister Ealdgyth is given in a political marriage to King Edward, and she finds herself caught up in intrigues and political manoeuvring as powerful men vie for influence. Her path will collide with William’s, and both must fight to shape the future.

An Argument of Blood is the first of two sweeping historical novels on the life and battles of William the Conqueror.

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes and Noble | Chapters


About the Authors


J.A. Ironside (Jules) grew up in rural Dorset, surrounded by books – which pretty much set he up for life as a complete bibliophile. She loves speculative fiction of all stripes, especially fantasy and science fiction, although when it comes to the written word, she’s not choosy and will read almost anything. Actually it would be fair to say she starts to go a bit peculiar if she doesn’t get through at least three books a week. She writes across various genres, both adult and YA fiction, and it’s a rare story if there isn’t a fantastical or speculative element in there somewhere.

Jules has had several short stories published in magazines and anthologies, as well as recorded for literature podcasts. Books 1 and 2 of her popular Unveiled series are currently available with the 3rd and 4th books due for release Autumn/ Winter 2017.

She also co-authored the sweeping epic historical Oath and Crown Duology with Matthew Willis, released June 2017 from Penmore Press.

Jules now lives on the edge of the Cotswold way with her boyfriend creature and a small black and white cat, both of whom share a god-complex.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Matthew Willis is an author of historical fiction, SF, fantasy and non-fiction. In June 2017 An Argument of Blood, the first of two historical novels about the Norman Conquest co-written with J.A. Ironside, was published. In 2015 his story Energy was shortlisted for the Bridport short story award.

Matthew studied Literature and History of Science at the University of Kent, where he wrote an MA thesis on Joseph Conrad and sailed for the University in national competitions. He subsequently worked as a journalist for Autosport and F1 Racing magazines, before switching to a career with the National Health Service.

His first non-fiction book, a history of the Blackburn Skua WW2 naval dive bomber, was published in 2007. He now has four non fiction books published with a fifth, a biography of test pilot Duncan Menzies, due later in 2017. He currently lives in Southampton and writes both fiction and non-fiction for a living.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads


Blog Tour Schedule


Monday, January 15
Review at Jaffa Reads Too

Tuesday, January 16
Feature at Passages to the Past

Wednesday, January 17
Review at Historical Fiction Reviews

Friday, January 19
Feature at A Bookaholic Swede

Monday, January 22
Review at Broken Teepee

Tuesday, January 23
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Friday, January 26
Feature at Let Them Read Books

Monday, January 29
Review at Locks, Hooks and Books

Tuesday, January 30
Feature at What Cathy Read Next

Wednesday, January 31
Feature at Just One More Chapter

Thursday, February 1
Feature at The Lit Bitch

Friday, February 2
Review at Bookramblings
Review at Impressions In Ink

Monday, February 5
Review at Back Porchervations

Tuesday, February 6
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views
Wednesday, February 7

Review at The Writing Desk
Review at Donna's Book Blog

Giveaway

During the Book Blast we will be giving away a signed copy of An Argument of Blood! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.
Giveaway Rules
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on February 7th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Argument of Blood

Direct Link: https://gleam.io/8Gt1d/argument-of-blood

Thursday, 18 January 2018

#CoverCrush Kill the Farm Boy by Kevin Hearne and Delilah S. Dawson

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!


The start of a magical, witty new series in the tradition of Terry Pratchett and The Princess Bride, from the New York Timesbestselling author of The Iron Druid Chronicles and the author of the New York Times bestseller Star Wars: Phasma.

Kevin Hearne has enchanted millions with the tales of two-thousand-year-old Irishman/Druid, Atticus O’Sullivan; Delilah S. Dawson is the up-and-coming talent behind the action-packed Star Wars novel Phasma. Together they have created The Tales of Pell, a new fantasy series as heartwarming as it is humorous. Gustave the Talking Goat, Fia the Unusually Tall, Argabella the Ensorcelled Bard, and Grinda the Sand Witch are on a mission to stop LØCHER, the chamberlain to King Benedick, and his lust for the throne. Along the way, they are joined by Toby the Hedge Wizard and Poltro the Clumsy Rogue, who have their own evil agendas, while all of them try to figure out the conundrum of The Chosen One. This magically unforgettable new world fractures all the tropes of the fairytale genre with a subversive sense of humor.

Thoughts:

I'm absolutely charmed by this cover. From the fabulous border, to the colorful motive. Isn't this a absolutely delightful fantasy book cover? 

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

Stephanie @ Layered Pages





#BlogTour The Swedish Girl by Alex Gray @Alexincrimeland @partnersincr1me @Marablaise

The Swedish Girl: A DCI Lorimer Novel by Alex Gray
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Swedish Girl

by Alex Gray

on Tour January 8 - February 12, 2018

Synopsis:

The Swedish Girl by Alex Gray

Another gripping Lorimer novel from Alex Gray, evoking Glasgow like no other writer can

When Kirsty Wilson lands a room in a luxury Glasgow flat owned by Swedish fellow student Eva Magnusson she can’t believe her luck. But Kirsty’s delight turns to terror when she finds the beautiful Swedish girl lying dead in their home and their male flatmate accused of her murder. Kirsty refuses to accept that he is guilty and, inspired by family friend Detective Superintendent Lorimer, sets out to clear his name.

Meanwhile, Lorimer calls on trusted psychologist Solly Brightman to help unravel the truth behind the enigmatic Eva’s life and death. But it is not long until another woman, bearing a marked resemblance to Eva, is brutally murdered. Horrified, Lorimer realises that Kirsty could be right. Is it possible that Glasgow’s finest detective has put the wrong man behind bars? And is there a cold-blooded killer out there orchestrating the death of the next innocent victim?

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: January 9th 2018
Number of Pages: 368
ISBN: 9780062659255
Series: A DCI Lorimer Novel, #10 (Stand Alone)

BOOK REVIEW

I couldn't pass up the chance to read this book with a title like this. I mean The Swedish Girl. It's like it's written just for me...

Anyway, I have read a couple of Lorimer books by now and this one is one of the best so far. I quite enjoyed the storyline with a young girl getting murdered it what seems like an open an shut case. But, is it really so. Jo Grant, the police in charge seem to think so. However, Kirsty, one of the roommate with Eve, the Swedish girl, doesn't believe that her fellow roommate and friend Colin is the one that killed Eva. And, with some help from DCI Lorimer is she going to prove that.

I found the story to be engaging from the very start. I liked the premise of the story, with five young students living together and later one is one found murdered. Who would kill a girl everyone liked and why? I also enjoyed the contrast between the police investigation that went straight for the one person that seemed most likely to have done it, vice versa to Kirsty who instead started to dig a bit deeper. And, it turned out that Eva had some skeletons in the closet.

I really like Kirsty, she's the daughter of a college to Lorimer, and she turned out to be a pretty fine amateur detective. In contrast, to Jo Grant, who seemed more eager to grab the very first suspect just to be able to close a case quickly. I have to be honest, Jo Grant is a pretty annoying character. Thankfully, Kirsty has Lorimer on her side.

On a side note, I love that the story takes place both in Glasgow and in Stockholm. The author did a fine job describing Stockholm. Reading it felt like was back there.

As for the ending, here I found the only real let down, don't take me wrong. It's a good ending. However, it was hardly surprising. I would have wanted a more shocking ending. And, ending I had not seen coming. But, all and all is this a great book!

Read an excerpt:

From Chapter 9
December
Kirsty turned the key in the door and closed it behind her with a sigh. The hall was in darkness and there was no sound coming from the living room. Her shoulders moved up and down in a shrug of resignation; she was alone in the flat again. Then she remembered. Wasn’t there some party that Eva had mentioned? They’d all be there, wouldn’t they? Pulling off her thin raincoat and hanging it on the old-fashioned wooden coat stand, Kirsty sauntered into the bedroom next to the front door, unbuttoning her jacket. It was fair handy having this big room to herself, especially when she was working late shift at the hotel. Nobody would be disturbed by her comings and goings. She took off her shoes and tossed her jacket, bag and mobile phone onto the bed. Oh, it was good to be home. A wee cup of hot chocolate and some of her own gingerbread would go down well, she thought, already imagining her teeth sinking into a thick slab of treacly cake.
She stopped for a moment, listening. There was a swish then a click as the front door opened and closed again. Then, nothing.
‘Colin? Is that you back already?’ Kirsty wandered out into the hall, her bare feet sinking into the pile of the hall carpet, still thick and soft despite all their winter boots tramping back and forth. Eva’s father had spared no expense in doing up this flat for his daughter and Kirsty Wilson was grateful for those small luxuries that were absent from most of her friends’ student flats.
Frowning slightly, Kirsty padded down the unlit corridor, one hand out ready to flick on the light switch as she reached the kitchen. But something made her turn left into the living room instead, just to see if anyone was at home after all.
At first she imagined the girl had fallen asleep, sprawled out in front of the television.
‘Eva?’
Kirsty moved forward and bent down, expecting the girl to sit up and yawn. One hand reached out to touch the back of her head but then she drew back as though guided by some inner instinct.
She stood up again and stepped around the recumbent figure, unaware that she was holding her breath.
Then, as Kirsty saw the expression in the dead girl’s eyes, the thin wail escaping from her open mouth turned into a scream of terror.
* * *
Detective Superintendent Lorimer crouched over the body, aware of the sounds of voices coming from the hall. The dead girl was lying on her back, one arm flung out, the fist curled tightly in the moment of death. Her head was bent to one side, blond hair partly obscuring her features, but Lorimer could see enough to make him wonder about the cause of death.
‘Manual strangulation?’ he asked, glancing up at the consultant pathologist who was kneeling on the other side of the girl’s body. The on-duty pathologist tonight was his friend, Dr Rosie Fergusson. He glanced at her with his usual admiration for her calm efficiency, knowing how different she could be at home as a doting mother and as the wife of Professor Brightman, an eminent psychologist and sometime criminal profiler who had worked with Lorimer in the past.
‘Looks like it,’ Rosie murmured, her gloved hands smoothing the hair from the victim’s face, letting Lorimer see for the first time what Kirsty Wilson had found earlier that night.
Eva Magnusson still had that ethereal quality in death that had captivated those who had gazed upon her: Lorimer saw the perfect oval face with flawless skin and bow-shaped lips that were slightly parted as though she had been taken by surprise. He watched as Rosie reached out to close the dead girl’s eyelids, seeing for the final time those pale blue Scandinavian eyes staring out at a world that had proved less than kind.
***
Excerpt from Swedish Girl by Alex Gray. Copyright © 2018 by Alex Gray. Reprinted by permission of Witness Impulse, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

Alex Gray
Alex Gray was born and educated in Glasgow. After studying English and Philosophy at the University of Strathclyde, she worked as a visiting officer for the Department of Health, a time she looks upon as postgraduate education since it proved a rich source of character studies. She then trained as a secondary school teacher of English. Alex began writing professionally in 1993 and had immediate success with short stories, articles, and commissions for BBC radio programs. She has been awarded the Scottish Association of Writers' Constable and Pitlochry trophies for her crime writing. A regular on the Scottish bestseller lists, she is the author of thirteen DCI Lorimer novels. She is the co-founder of the international Scottish crime writing festival, Bloody Scotland, which had its inaugural year in 2012.

Catch Up With Alex Gray On: Website , Goodreads , & Twitter !


Tour Participants:

Visit the other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Alex Gray and Witness Impulse. There will be 3 winner of one (1) eBook copy of Alex Gray’s A Pound of Flesh. The giveaway begins on January 8 and runs through February 14, 2018.
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Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

#BookReview City of Endless Night by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child @GrandCentralPub @Marablaise #Giveaway

City of Endless Night by Douglas Preston
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What begins as a manhunt for the missing daughter of a wealthy tech billionaire becomes something altogether different when the young woman's body is discovered in an abandoned warehouse in Kew Gardens, Queens, the head nowhere to be found. It appears there may be two killers on the loose--one responsible for the young woman's death, another responsible for the mutilation. A pair of such dastardly killers requires a team of equally talented investigators. Luckily, both Vincent D'Agosta and Special Agent Pendergast are back in town.

D'Agosta hopes that working a case back on his home turf for the first time in years will reinvigorate the FBI Special Agent and give him an opportunity to flex his investigative might. But neither is prepared to face a killer--or killers--as diabolical as this. It will take all of Pendergast and D'Agosta's intelligence and strength simply to match wits--let alone stay alive.

**********

City of Endless Night is the seventeen book in the Pendergast series, and I have read every single one of them. My personal favorite is the ones that have a slight supernatural element to the story like the first book Relic with the monster in the New York Museum of Natural History, which is why I felt a bit disappointed while reading this one. Don't take me wrong, it's a great thriller, and it's nice to have D'Agosta and Pendergast working together to catch a murderer.

However, it feels just like an ordinary thriller. Sure, the killings and beheadings is an interesting mystery especially since there seems to be no link to the people killed. I just wished that the book had been a bit more extraordinary. Instead, we get a straight-forward thriller, with not a very memorable killer. Well, besides the fact that this is one of the first times that Pendergast goes up against an enemy that seriously could outsmart him. The best part of the book is the end part when the killer and Pendergast face-off and Pendergast truly has to fight for his life against an enemy that is better than him. And, yes that is a very unusual scene since Pendergast is someone that often seems more than human.

City of Endless Night is a good thriller, as always is the writing great and, despite my reservations about the story, did I enjoy reading the book. It's only that I really enjoy when the stories take a more suspenseful feeling when Pendergast is up against something beastly and since the killer in this book is an ordinary killer (well he was psycho, but still very much human) did I get a bit disappointed.

Nevertheless, it's not a bad book, never boring and I enjoyed both the main story and the side stories. 

I want to thank Grand Central Publishing for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review!


City of Endless Night by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

#BookReview I Know My Name by C.J. Cooke @CJ_Cooke_Author @GrandCentralPub @Marablaise #Giveaway

I Know My Name by C.J. Cooke
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

…But what if that’s the only thing you can remember?

Komméno Island, Greece: I don't know where I am, who I am. Help me.

A woman is washed up on a remote Greek island with no recollection of who she is or how she got there.

Potter’s Lane, Twickenham, London: Eloïse Shelley is officially missing.

Lochlan’s wife has vanished into thin air, leaving their toddler and twelve-week-old baby alone. Her money, car and passport are all in the house, with no signs of foul play. Every clue the police turn up means someone has told a lie…

Does a husband ever truly know his wife? Or a wife know her husband? Why is Eloïse missing? Why did she forget?

The truth is found in these pages…


***********

I Know My Name by C.J. Cooke is one of those books that instantly, from the very first page makes me curious and engrossed. I'm really impressed with the fact that this is C.J. Cooke's first book. The writing pulls you in and to be honest, I had some serious problems with closing the book, despite the fact that I needed to get up early and the time just disappeared while I was reading the book.

The story shifts focus between Lochlan who discovers that his wife has gone missing without a trace, and a woman that is washed up on the shore of a remote Greek island with amnesia. This seems like a straightforward story, but is it really so? Without giving away too much, did I as the story progressed suspect how it would turn out, and yeah, I was on the right track. However, that only made the story more interesting to read, to see if I was right. I was also thrilled to read a book where the husband wasn't treated as a suspect from the very first minute. I could clearly picture how he would have to get on the run to find his wife to prove that he was innocent, but that never happened and that made me very glad.

I also found the ending to be very satisfying, and once again I face the trouble of trying to explain why without giving the story away. It's just that it could have ended more abrupt when Lochlan learns the truth, etc. However, the epilogue gives a more satisfying ending.

All and all is this a great book and I can't wait to read more books by C.J. Cooke.

I want to thank Grand Central Publishing for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review!

I Know My Name by C.J. Cooke

#BookReview A Treacherous Curse by Deanna Raybourn (@deannaraybourn) @BerkleyPub @Marablaise

A Treacherous Curse by Deanna Raybourn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Members of an Egyptian expedition fall victim to an ancient mummy's curse in a thrilling Veronica Speedwell novel from the New York Times bestselling author of the Lady Julia Grey mysteries.
London, 1888. As colorful and unfettered as the butterflies she collects, Victorian adventuress Veronica Speedwell can’t resist the allure of an exotic mystery—particularly one involving her enigmatic colleague, Stoker. His former expedition partner has vanished from an archaeological dig with a priceless diadem unearthed from the newly discovered tomb of an Egyptian princess. This disappearance is just the latest in a string of unfortunate events that have plagued the controversial expedition, and rumors abound that the curse of the vengeful princess has been unleashed as the shadowy figure of Anubis himself stalks the streets of London.

But the perils of an ancient curse are not the only challenges Veronica must face as sordid details and malevolent enemies emerge from Stoker’s past. Caught in a tangle of conspiracies and threats—and thrust into the public eye by an enterprising new foe—Veronica must separate facts from fantasy to unravel a web of duplicity that threatens to cost Stoker everything. . . .



**********

Storywise do I think this is the strongest and most interesting one so far in this series. Not that the previous two books have been bad, more that I found this book mystery to be much more fascinating to read about, with a less obvious ending than the previous book. This is not a series that you have to read in order to enjoy, but it's a marvelous series so reading in order may be more fun would I think.

Veronica Speedway is such a wonderful character, not always bound to the traditional female role of the time and a bit outspoken. She also has an interesting family situation, with a quite absent father. Stoker, as well, has a bit of a family problem, quite similar to Speedways, but Veronica lacks the ex-wife who makes her first introduction in this book. I quite enjoyed learning more about Stoker's past and what really happened in the Amazons.

But, it's the humor that really makes me love this book, the banter between Speedway and Stoker are always marvelous and makes me often smile while I read this book. This is the kind of book I pick when I want something easy-going, but not too light.

A Treacherous Curse is a delightful book, with lots of funny moments, an interesting plot and wonderful characters. It was with a bit of sadness that I read the last page, now I have to wait until next year for a new book ... at least I hope a new one will come out next year...

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

Monday, 15 January 2018

#BookReview Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate @LisaWingate @QuercusBooks @Marablaise

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Two families, generations apart, are forever changed by a heartbreaking injustice in this poignant novel, inspired by a true story, for readers of Orphan Train and The Nightingale.


Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family’s Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge—until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents—but they quickly realize that the truth is much darker. At the mercy of the facility’s cruel director, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together—in a world of danger and uncertainty.

Aiken, South Carolina, present day. Born into wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all: a successful career as a federal prosecutor, a handsome fiancé, and a lavish wedding on the horizon. But when Avery returns home to help her father weather a health crisis, a chance encounter leaves her with uncomfortable questions—and compels her to take a journey through her family's long-hidden history, on a path that will ultimately lead either to devastation or redemption.

Based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals—in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country—Wingate’s riveting, wrenching, and ultimately uplifting tale reminds us how, even though the paths we take can lead to many places, the heart never forgets where we belong.

***********

I Love the Carolina Heirlooms series by Lisa Wingate. So, when I saw this book did I just know that I had to read it. However, I waited a while to read it after getting it because I needed to be ready to tackle this book with such a serious subject.

Before We Were Yours is based on a real scandal. During the 30s and later were children kidnapped and sold to wealthy families all over the country. For their own good. However, it was a very lucrative enterprise. This book tells a story about a family of siblings that are taken to Tennessee Children's Home Society orphanage after their parents have left them on the riverboat they are living on. Their mother is having a baby and it's all going wrong so the hospital is the only solution. The whole family would never be together again. Years later will Avery Stafford through a chance encounter start to unravel the truth about her families history. And she learns that not everything is as it seems...

To say that this book is an emotional reading is an understatement. The worst part is that it's based on a true scandalous story. I knew since before that Lisa Wingate is a wonderful author and, as usual, is the writing on top. What really moved me in this book is actually the very end. Without giving away what happens will I just say that it's a wonderful although bittersweet ending. I will leave it at that and just say read the book!

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

#BookReview The Girls in the Picture by Melanie Benjamin @MelanieBen @randomhouse

The Girls in the Picture by Melanie Benjamin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An intimate portrait of the close friendship and powerful creative partnership between two of Hollywood’s earliest female superstars: Frances Marion and Mary Pickford. An enchanting new novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Swans of Fifth Avenue and The Aviator’s Wife.

Hollywood, 1914. Frances Marion, a young writer desperate for a break, meets “America’s Sweetheart,” Mary Pickford, already making a name for herself both on and off the screen with her golden curls and lively spirit. Together, these two women will take the movie business by storm.

Mary Pickford becomes known as the “Queen of the Movies”—the first actor to have her name on a movie marquee, and the first to become a truly international celebrity. Mary and her husband, Douglas Fairbanks, were America’s first Royal Couple, living in a home more famous that Buckingham Palace. Mary won the first Academy Award for Best Actress in a Talkie and was the first to put her hand and footprints in Grauman’s theater sidewalk. Her annual salary in 1919 was $625,000—at a time when women’s salaries peaked at $10 a week. Frances Marion is widely considered one of the most important female screenwriters of the 20th century, and was the first writer to win multiple Academy Awards. The close personal friendship between the two stars was closely linked to their professional collaboration and success.

This is a novel about power: the power of women during the exhilarating early years of Hollywood, and the power of forgiveness. It’s also about the imbalance of power, then and now, and the sacrifices and compromises women must make in order to succeed. And at its heart, it’s a novel about the power of female friendship.


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The Girls in the Picture is a book that I knew that I wanted to read as soon as I saw it. I love reading historical fiction about movie stars, or stories that in one way or another takes place in Hollywood. Especially around the Silent movie era and when the talkies came. I had only previously read Reckless Hearts: A Story of Slim Hawks and Ernest Hemingway by Melanie Benjamin, but she has written several books that I want to read.

What really struck me about this book was, despite, my deep love for silent movies, and old Hollywood classics is that Frances Marion was totally unknown to me. And she's behind several of my favorite movies, like A Scarlet Letter with Lars Hanson and Lillian Gish. Also, I had no idea that she was a close friend of Mary Pickford.

In this book, we get a fictional story about the friendship between Frances Marion and Mary Pickford. I enjoyed getting to know the women more and I especially enjoyed learning more about their lives. Both had great love stories, but neither had truly happy lives, despite, their success. Not all of their lives are written in this book, as Melanie Benjamin stated in her notes, just Mary Pickford relationship with her adopted children would fill a whole book. I personally had to take a break from the book several times to check up a name or a title, etc.

The Girls in the Picture is definitely a book to read if you, like me, love old Hollywood movies and are intrigued by the actors and actors from the golden era. I was charmed by the cameos, especially Charlie Chaplin's presence in the book. Made me eager to read a book about him or see his movies.

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

Saturday, 13 January 2018

#BookReview Racing the Devil by Charles Todd @Marablaise

Racing the Devil by Charles Todd
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Scotland Yard’s Ian Rutledge finds himself caught in a twisted web of vengeance, old grievances, and secrets that lead back to World War I in the nineteenth installment of the acclaimed bestselling series.

On the eve of the bloody Battle of the Somme, a group of English officers having a last drink before returning to the Front make a promise to each other: if they survive the battle ahead—and make it through the war—they will meet in Paris a year after the fighting ends. They will celebrate their good fortune by racing motorcars they beg, borrow, or own from Paris to Nice.

In November 1919, the officers all meet as planned, and though their motorcars are not designed for racing, they set out for Nice. But a serious mishap mars the reunion. In the mountains just north of their destination, two vehicles are nearly run off the road, and one man is badly injured. No one knows—or will admit to knowing—which driver was at the wheel of the rogue motorcar.

Back in England one year later, during a heavy rainstorm, a driver loses control on a twisting road and is killed in the crash. Was it an accident due to the hazardous conditions? Or premeditated murder? Is the crash connected in some way to the unfortunate events in the mountains above Nice the year before? The dead driver wasn’t in France—although the motorcar he drove was. If it was foul play, was it a case of mistaken identity? Or was the dead man the intended victim after all?

Investigating this perplexing case, Scotland Yard Inspector Ian Rutledge discovers that the truth is elusive—and that the villages on the South Downs, where the accident happened, are adept at keeping secrets, frustrating his search. Determined to remain in the shadows this faceless killer is willing to strike again to stop Rutledge from finding him. This time, the victim he chooses is a child, and it will take all of Rutledge’s skill to stop him before an innocent young life is sacrificed.

***********

This is, unfortunately, by far the weakest book in the Inspector Ian Rutledge series. I started off listening to the audiobook, but I was so bored by the start that I decided to pick something else to listen to after a couple of chapters. A couple of weeks later did I try it again and it felt like I managed to get through this by my love for Charles Todd's books and willpower.

I will keep this review short since I hardly can come up with anything good to write. I mean, it's always nice to once again read about Inspector Ian Rutledge and Hamish (his ghostly companion), but the story is pretty weak. I was not impressed with the start in France with the soldier's that promise each other that if they survive will they meet each other one year later and race motorcars from Paris to Nice. And, the almost crash that occurs didn't make my pulse race. Neither did the change of scenery when the story moved one year ahead with the death of a man in an accident that could be linked to the near death in France.

The whole investigation, with Rutledge chasing clues, is a bit dreary. The only bright spot is when Rutledge contacts Melinda Crawford to help him with the investigation. And she, in turn, contacts Bess Crawford (from Charles Todd's Bess Crawford series) to help out. If Bess has made a cameo in this book would I perhaps have liked the book better. The ending is not that surprising either. It truly felt like the most likely suspect did it all.

I hope next book is better!

Friday, 12 January 2018

#BookReview The Gates of Evangeline by Hester Young @HesterAuthor @penguinrandom @Marablaise

The Gates of Evangeline by Hester Young
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

From a unique new talent comes a fast-paced debut, introducing a heroine whose dark visions bring to light secrets that will heal or destroy those around her . . .

When New York journalist and recently bereaved mother Charlotte “Charlie” Cates begins to experience vivid dreams about children she’s sure that she’s lost her mind. Yet these are not the nightmares of a grieving parent, she soon realizes. They are messages and warnings that will help Charlie and the children she sees, if only she can make sense of them.

After a little boy in a boat appears in Charlie’s dreams asking for her help, Charlie finds herself entangled in a thirty-year-old missing-child case that has never ceased to haunt Louisiana’s prestigious Deveau family. Armed with an invitation to Evangeline, the family’s sprawling estate, Charlie heads south, where new friendships and an unlikely romance bring healing. But as she uncovers long-buried secrets of love, money, betrayal, and murder, the facts begin to implicate those she most wants to trust—and her visions reveal an evil closer than she could’ve imagined.A Southern Gothic mystery debut that combines literary suspense and romance with a mystical twist, The Gates of Evangeline is a story that readers of Gillian Flynn, Kate Atkinson, and Alice Sebold won't be able to put down.

**********

The Gates of Evangeline is an absolutely wonderful book. I love reading books with a setting in the American South, especially with a mystery in the heart of the story, like this one. Charlotte “Charlie” Cates has, after losing her son, started to have vivid dreams about children in danger. And, they seem to come true. So, when a little boy shows up in her dream begging for help as she at the same time is approached about writing a book about a little boy that disappeared around thirty years ago can't she help but feel that the dreams are connected with the mystery. But, when she arrives at the Evangeline estate is she faced with not only people that seem to have things to hide but also real danger...

The Gates of Evangeline is a book that was truly engaging and intriguing. I loved that the story of the book took place in Louisiana. It was one thing that really appealed to me since Southern Gotic stories are "my thing". I was intrigued right from the start, and I especially enjoyed the fact that Charlie has psychic visions. Southern Gotic + paranormal vibes. Yeah, I love this book. Unfortunately, there is just one problem with the story, it's a bit predictable. Sure, the ending is good, but the BIG mystery, about the missing boy. It was easy to figure that one out. And, that was a bummer. Otherwise, I quite liked the book. I mean even liked the romantic side story. Now I need to get my hands on the next book in this series.

#BookReview Sanningen (Fool Me Once) by Harlan Coben (SWE/ENG) @HarlanCoben ‏@Marablaise

Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

SWEDISH REVIEW

Thrillerns mästare Harlan Coben levererar ytterligare en spännings­roman som av många kritiker anses vara hans bästa hittills.

Du tror att du vet sanningen. Men sanningen är att du inte vet någonting.

Före detta stridspiloten Maya ser en otänkbar bild fångas av babykameran medan hon är på jobbet: hennes tvååriga dotter leker med Mayas man Joe, som blivit brutalt mördad två veckor tidigare. Kan du tro på allt du ser med egna ögon? För att hitta svaret måste Maya ta itu med djupa hemligheter från sitt eget förflutna innan hon kan möta den otroliga sanningen om sin man och sig själv.



**********

Harlan Coben är en författare som är fantastisk på att skriva en spännande thriller. Jag älskar särskilt hans Myron Bolitar-serie. I Sanningen har Coben återigen skrivit en intressant berättelse där ingenting är som det verkar. Jag gillade omedelbart Maya och det var intressant att läsa om hur hon försöker hantera situationen att vara en ensamstående mamma, ex-soldat och på det tillkommer ett mysterium, ett omöjligt mysterium då hon seer något som inte kan vara sant i babykameran. Hennes man dog eller gjorde han? Hon måste ta reda på sanningen och det betyder att konfrontera sitt eget förflutna; hennes uppsägning från armén, hennes systers mord som skedde inte så långt innan innan hennes man mördades och hennes mans brors död för några år sedan. Kan det vara så att de har kopplingar till varandra, eller är allt bara en slump? Och, vem kan hon lita på, det verkar som om många människor runt henne har hemligheter...

Jag kunde inte sluta läsa Sanningen när jag väl hade börjat . På kvällen var jag var fullt inställd på just ett kapitel till men istället läste jag klart den. Boken kanske inte hade lika många överraskningar som i några av Cobens tidigare böcker, men det är fortfarande en alldeles fantastisk bok. Något som Coben är bra på är att skapa huvudkaraktärer man bryr sig om och besynnerliga mysterier. Sanningen är en mycket bra bok, och jag älskade särskilt den sista delen av boken när man börjar inse sanningen. Jag misstänkte slutet men ändå kunde jag inte räknad ut allting som skulle ske.

Jag rekommenderar varmt Harlan Cobens böcker om du gillar bladvändande thrillers med flertalet överraskande vändningar i historien.

Tack till Bookmarks förlag för recensionsexemplaret!


ENGLISH REVIEW

In the course of eight consecutive #1 New York Times bestsellers, millions of readers have discovered Harlan Coben’s page-turning thrillers, filled with his trademark edge-of-your-seat suspense and gut-wrenching emotion. In Fool Me Once, Coben once again outdoes himself.

Former special ops pilot Maya, home from the war, sees an unthinkable image captured by her nanny cam while she is at work: her two-year-old daughter playing with Maya’s husband, Joe—who had been brutally murdered two weeks earlier. The provocative question at the heart of the mystery: Can you believe everything you see with your own eyes, even when you desperately want to? To find the answer, Maya must finally come to terms with deep secrets and deceit in her own past before she can face the unbelievable truth about her husband—and herself.


**********

Harlan Coben is an author that really is the king when it comes to writing a suspenseful thriller. I especially love his Myron Bolitar series. In Fool Me Once has Coben once again written an interesting story where nothing is at it seems. I instantly liked Maya and it was interesting to read about her trying to deal with being a single mother, an ex-soldier and to add to that a mystery, an impossible mystery. Her husband died, or did he? She must find out the truth and that means confronting her own past; her dismissal from the army, her sister's murder not long before her husband was murdered, and her husband's brothers death a couple of years ago. Could they be connected, or is everything just a coincidence? And, who can she trust, it seems that a lot of people around her have secrets...

I read the book in a day. I thought I would just read one more chapter and then go back to sleep, and I ended up finishing the book. The twists in this book were not that astonishing as they have been in some of Coben's previous books, but it's still a page-turner. What I like about Coben's books are that I always like the main character and the mysteries are always intriguing. Fool Me Once is a very good book, and I particularly loved the last part of the book when everything started to come together. True, I was not astonished, but I did find the twists in the book well-done and satisfying.

I recommend reading Harlan Coben's books if you like page-turning thrillers with lots of twist and turns.

Thanks to Bookmarks förlag for the review copy!

Thursday, 11 January 2018

#BookReview Valley of the Moon by Melanie Gideon @MelanieGideon ‏@HarperCollinsUK @Marablaise

Valley of the Moon by Melanie Gideon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An utterly original, thoughtful and deeply compelling novel for readers who loved The Time Traveler’s Wife.

In the heart of the Sonoma Valley, on the edge of a sun-drenched meadow, lies the idyllic community of Greengage – where the residents wear simple clothes, lead quiet lives and whose manners could almost seem to be of another time.

Into this world stumbles single mother Lux Lysander, trying to lose herself in the peaceful beauty of the Californian countryside while her young son visits his grandparents. It’s a world far away from the unpaid bills piling up and the overwhelming sense of struggle to make ends meet.

Soon, Lux finds herself drawn into the lives of the people of Greengage, discovering not only the secret at the heart of their community but also a sense of belonging she didn’t know she was looking for. Torn between this life and her own with her son back in San Francisco, can Lux turn her back on the only place that has ever truly felt like home?

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If there is one genre I love is it time travel, especially when it's well-done. Like this story. I just love how Lux stumbles into the past, to a little community stuck in time and, then as the years pass by she keeps going back. Only telling her best friend about it. Although the best friend isn't that sure that Lux is telling the truth. I keep wondering why she just didn't accompany Lux to the Valley of the Moon to find out the truth. I would it a heartbeat, I mean if your best friend tells you she has found a community stuck in time, wouldn't you try to find out if she is telling the truth or is barking mad? 

Lux is a fabulous character, a young single mother, estranged from her family. She finds herself truly enjoying the life in Greengage. And, her heart is torn between the peace there and her life in the 70s San Francisco.

Anyway, there is also a lot of heartache in the story, without giving away too much of the story is time moving differently in the hidden community contrary to present time and that will have some consequences. Then, there is the ending, such a bittersweet ending. It broke my heart.

Valley of the Moon is a fabulous time travel novel, with a mesmerizing, occasionally sad story, but there is also a sweet love story for those that enjoy it (even I did). I recommend it warmly!

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

#CoverCrush: Arabella The Traitor of Mars by David D. Levine

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!


The thrilling adventures of Arabella Ashby continue in the final book in Hugo-winning author David D. Levine's swashbuckling sci-fi, alt-history series!

Taking up almost immediately after the great Battle of Venus, Arabella has finally returned home to Mars to settle in to life with her husband, the mysterious Captain Singh. 

The Regent of the United Kingdom sets his eyes on solidifying his rule in the colonies and dispatches a fleet to better cement his control over Mars. Now Arabella and Singh must decide where their ultimate loyalties lie, with the Empire or with their home. 

Thoughts:

I have to admit that the title: Arabella The Traitor of Mars is part of the charm when it comes to this cover. This is definitely a splendid case of the right font on the right cover. Also the right kind of title. Since it's a "swashbuckling sci-fi, alt-history" kind of book does it need a quirky title and it definitely suits the flying ships on the cover.

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

Stephanie @ Layered Pages





Wednesday, 10 January 2018

#BookReview Kall kall jord (The Cold Cold Ground) by Adrian McKinty @ModernistaRed (SWE/ENG)

The Cold Cold Ground by Adrian McKinty
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

SWEDISH REVIEW

Två personer har hittats döda. Den ena har lämnats, mördad, i en bil vid vägkanten. Det var meningen att man skulle upptäcka honom snabbt. Mördaren vill sända ett budskap. Den andra personen är en ung kvinna som hittats hängd i ett träd långt inne i skogen. Utan tvivel ett självmord. Kvinnan hade alldeles nyligen fött barn, men det finns inga spår av barnet på platsen
.
På ytan tycks ingenting förena de två fallen. Men kriminalinspektör Sean Duffy vet att det finns kopplingar, och att de bara väntar på att tas fram i ljuset.


Sean har löst sex mord i sin karriär, men har hittills aldrig lyckats ställa någon av gärningsmännen inför rätta. Den här gången är han fast besluten om att någon ska få betala...

**********

Kall, kall jord tar oss tillbaka till 80-talets Nordirland. Ett land med stora religiösa motsättningar och där det just nu pågår en hungerstrejk i fängelset i Belfast, där fångarna kräver bättre villkor. Mitt i allt detta hittas en man mördad och det blir upp till kriminalinspektör Sean Duffy att försöka finna ut vem gärningsmannen är. När sedan en annan man hittas mördad med tydliga kopplingar till den första kroppen blir oron att man har en seriemördare att göra med.

Kall kall jord är en bra start på en ny serie. Jag tyckte det var mycket intressant att serien utspelas i Nordirland på 80-talet och att huvudkaraktären är en katolsk polis bland dominerade protestanter. I mångt och mycket var det just själva motsättningarna med katoliker och protestanter, samt den politiska situationen i landet som verkligen tilltalade mig. Det var uppfriskande att få läsa en kriminalare som utspelas på 80-talet Nordirland och Sean Duffy kamp både med motsättningarna mot honom själv samt kampen att lösa morden gjorde boken intressant att läsa. Men, jag måste erkänna att att jag fann själva utredningen av mordfallen inte alltid jättefascinerande att läsa om. Det var en hygglig bra bok helt enkelt. Ska bli intressant att läsa följande bok i serien och se vad Sean Duffy måste ta itu med härnäst.

Tack till Modernista för recensionsexemplaret!

ENGLISH REVIEW

The Cold Cold Ground is the start of a major new series from Adrian McKinty, author of the acclaimed Falling Glass, Fifty Grand and the DEAD trilogy.

Featuring Catholic cop Sean Duffy whose outsider status in the mostly Protestant RUC makes it as hard to do his job as the criminals he’s fighting, this is the start of a new series set in Troubles-era Belfast. A body is found in a burnt out car. Another is discovered hanging from a tree. Could this be Northern Ireland’s first serial killer, or another paramilitary feud?

**********

The Cold Cold Ground takes us back to the 80s Northern Ireland. A country with big religious conflict and where there is a hunger strike in the prison in Belfast. The prisoners demand better conditions. In the midst of all this, a man is murdered, and it is up to detective Sean Duffy to try to find out who the perpetrator is. The worry is big that it's a serial killer they have to deal with when another man is found murdered with clear links to the first dead body.

The Cold Cold Ground is a good start to a new series. I thought it was very interesting that the series is set in Northern Ireland in the 80s and that the main character is a Catholic police in a dominated Protestant force. To a large extent, it was the conflicts between Catholics and Protestants, as well as the political situation in the country that really appealed to me. It was refreshing to read a detective novel set in the 80s Northern Ireland and Sean Duffy's struggle both with resentment towards him and solving the case made the book quite interesting to read. However, I have to admit that I found the investigation of the murder case was not always extremely fascinating to read about, it was good, but not fabulously good. It will be interesting to read the following book in the series and see what Sean Duffy has to deal with next.

Thanks to Modernista for the review copy!

#BlogTour Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu @Marie_Lu @penguinrandom ‏

Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Before he was Batman, he was Bruce Wayne. A reckless boy willing to break the rules for a girl who may be his worst enemy.

The Nightwalkers are terrorizing Gotham City, and Bruce Wayne is next on their list.


One by one, the city's elites are being executed as their mansions' security systems turn against them, trapping them like prey. Meanwhile, Bruce is turning eighteen and about to inherit his family's fortune, not to mention the keys to Wayne Enterprises and all the tech gadgetry his heart could ever desire. But after a run-in with the police, he's forced to do community service at Arkham Asylum, the infamous prison that holds the city's most brutal criminals.

Madeleine Wallace is a brilliant killer . . . and Bruce's only hope.


In Arkham, Bruce meets Madeleine, a brilliant girl with ties to the Nightwalkers. What is she hiding? And why will she speak only to Bruce? Madeleine is the mystery Bruce must unravel. But is he getting her to divulge her secrets, or is he feeding her the information she needs to bring Gotham City to its knees? Bruce will walk the dark line between trust and betrayal as the Nightwalkers circle closer.

**********

I'm more a Harley Quinn fan than a Batman fan. That's not saying that I don't enjoy reading Batman graphic novels or seeing the movies. So, when I got the chance to read this book, was I intrigued. I had before this one never read a REAL book about Batman. Although to be fair it's about Bruce Wayne before he becomes Batman. So, this is the first REAL Bruce Wayne book I have ever read.

How was it? It was a blast! I have never read a book by Marie Lu before, but I was impressed with how wonderful it was to read a book about Bruce Wayne before he was Batman. And, making him do community service at Arkham Asylum (in the future will he be a lot better when it comes to encounters with the police while chasing bad guys) was a great storyline. Even before he has become Batman has he a sense of what is right, and he's not afraid to do step up and do everything he can to stop the Nightwalkers from killing more people. Although cozying up to Madeleine Wallace may not be a wise move...

Nightwalker is a book that really made eager to read more books about DC heroes (and bad guys/girls). I love reading graphic novels, but it was a pure joy getting the chance to read this book. And, the ending (with the introduction of a familiar face) made me hope that more books will come because I definitely want to read books about a young Bruce Wayne.

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

#BlogTour Seven Seconds by Lisa Compton @LisaCompton1210 @PerpetuityBooks ‏@Marablaise

Seven Seconds by Lisa Compton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Olivia Osborne, a forensic psychologist and former FBI agent, is blessed (or cursed, depending on who you ask) with unique gifts. Olivia is able to sense what others cannot--the spiritual presence of those who have "crossed over," as well as the living who are influenced, or some cases possessed, by evil. The passing of her beloved Gran was the catalyst Olivia needed to leave the FBI behind and return to her native San Antonio, Texas. But a familiar evil has followed on her heels.

When a series of brutal murders rock her city, Olivia is pulled into the investigation despite her plans to leave that part of her life behind. What if she isn’t supposed to run? What if she was always supposed to stand and fight?


**********

I love it when I find a great thriller with the addition of paranormal. And, that's what I found when I started to read Seven Seconds. Olivia Osborne has like the women in her family a gift, or gift is a strong word since sensing the spiritual presence of people that have crossed over as well as those that are possessed by evil is also a burden. Olivia has tried to move on from her work at the FBI, but when a serial killer is murdering women in her hometown is she contacted by an old friend and police to help out. The question is, will she be able to stop the killer?

Seven Seconds is one of those books that intrigued me from the start. I just love it when I read about a tough woman Olivia who also has a special gift. The hunt for the serial killer gets very personal and we learn more about her past. This is something I love, getting to know characters past history through flashbacks or reflections. It really gives more depth to the story and adds some spice to this already interesting story. And, I'm deeply pleased to know that this is the first book in a series because I really want to read more about Olivia. There is a bit of romantic triangle in this book, but personally, I found it only refreshing as it's written so well and adds more depth to the characters. It will be interesting to read book two and see how it all will be developed.

The ending is both satisfying and saddening. Can't give away anything, but I wished an event could have ended differently. It's a great book and if you like me like thrillers with a paranormal vibe, then go for this book!

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

#BookReview Now We Are Dead by Stuart MacBride @StuartMacBride @HarperCollins

Now We Are Dead by Stuart MacBride
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

From the No. 1 bestselling author of the Logan McRae series, comes a standalone spinoff featuring DS Roberta Steel
Sergeant Roberta Steel has recently been demoted after being caught fitting up a suspect. The trouble is, the man she got sent down has had his sentence quashed now he’s back on the streets. And women are being attacked again. But if DS Steel goes anywhere near him his lawyers will get her thrown off the force for good.

The Powers That Be won’t listen to her not after what happened last time. Besides, she’s got more than enough ongoing cases to keep her busy perhaps she should focus on solving them instead of harassing an innocent man?

But Steel knows he’s guilty and the longer he gets away with it, the more women will suffer. The question is: how much is she willing to sacrifice to stop him?


**********

A novel starring DS Roberta Steel? Can that really work? I mean I like her, she is a great character in the Logan McRae series. But, can she really front her own own book? Oh yes, she can!

If you have read any of Stuart MacBride's books, then you already know he's a terrific writer, a man that can write a crime book that feels like three books crammed into one (it works, don't know how, but it does) and mix action, humor and tragedy and hilarious banter (trust me, listening to any of the books he has written can be both entertaining and hard work keeping the smile from your face and scaring the people around you who don't understand why you are giggling).

Where was I? Oh, yes the book, man I can't express enough how wonderful this book is. Although I should perhaps have written down notes. Although it had probably not have helped that much trying to explain this book story without giving away the plot.

So, I will just say this, yes this book can be read as a stand-alone without having read ANY of Stuart MacBride books before (although it's a plus if you have done that, then you know more about her "relationship" with Logan). Also, this book is way thinner than the other books I have read, at least it felt like that, still the story is marvelous, the time just flies when I started to read this book so it could be that. And, finally I just want to say, I want more. Yes, I need more books starring Roberta Steel!

So, there you have it, a very messy review, but it just reflects my messy brain as I try to summarize my feelings towards this book...

I want to thank Harper Collins for providing me with a free copy through Edelweiss for an honest review!

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

#BookReview The Lost Plot by Genevieve Cogman @BerkleyPub @Marablaise

The Lost Plot by Genevieve Cogman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A covert mission
A royal demand
And a race against time


The fourth title in Genevieve Cogman's witty and wonderful The Invisible Library series, The Lost Plot is an action-packed literary adventure.

In a 1930s-esque Chicago, Prohibition is in force, fedoras, flapper dresses and tommy guns are in fashion, and intrigue is afoot. Intrepid Librarians Irene and Kai find themselves caught in the middle of a dragon vs dragon contest. It seems a young librarian has become tangled in this conflict, and if they can't extricate him there could be serious political repercussions for the mysterious Library. And, as the balance of power across mighty factions hangs in the balance, this could even trigger war.

Irene and Kai find themselves trapped in a race against time (and dragons) to procure a rare book. They'll face gangsters, blackmail and fiendish security systems. And if this doesn't end well, it could have dire consequences for Irene's job. And, incidentally, for her life . . .


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After the last books thrilling plot was I eagerly awaiting the next book in this series. The Lost Plot takes librarians Irene and Kai to an alternative world set in 1930s America with gangsters (and dragons). They have to save the life of a librarian who has been caught up in a fight between two dragons. And, Irene and Kai most try to fix this situation since librarians have to stay outside conflicts like this.

Now, this book was absolutely alright to read. I love Genevieve Cogman's writing style, the humor, and the action and of course the supercool Invisible Library. However, I just want to say that there were two things that just made this book a little less interesting to read and that was that my favorite character, besides Irene, was pretty much absent all through the book. Yes, Vale is not in this book much. Which is perhaps logical since Irene and Kai are in another alt. world than Vale's. However, that doesn't mean that I don't miss him and that I didn't spend the whole book waiting for him to show up. Also, the romantic turn in this book is one that I was not at all thrilled about. I'm not sure I will handle this pairing in the next book. It just feels, not interesting.

The plot, for the most part, was good with two dragons competing against each other. Nevertheless, There were moments when I felt that my interest would drop throughout the story. Irene's usually brightened the dull moments with some wisecrack comments or thoughts. However, I must admit that looking back do I realize that my heart was not really there. That the story just barely worked for me. It could be because of the big confrontation in the previous book and the fact that this dragon centralized storyline just didn't do the trick for me.

However, I will still read the next book in this series and I do hope to see more of Vane in it.

I want to thank Berkley Publishing Group for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review!