Monday 30 April 2018

#BlogTour Tapestry of War by Jane MacKenzie @JaneFMackenzie @allisonandbusby

Tapestry of War by Jane MacKenzie
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

From the deserts of North Africa, to the waters of Scotland, the Second World War touches the lives of two women from two very different worlds. In Alexandria, Fran finds her world turned upside down as Rommel's forces advance on the idyllic shores of Egypt. The life of luxury and stability that she is used to is taken away as she finds herself having to deal with loss, heartache and political uncertainty. 

Meanwhile, in the Firth of Clyde, Catriona struggles between her quiet rural life and her dreams of nursing injured servicemen on the front lines. As the war rages on, the two women's lives become intertwined - bringing love and friendship to both.


Tapestry of War takes place during WW2 and it's a dual storyline book, with one story set in Alexandra, Egypt and the other story set in Firth of Clyde, Scotland. These two worlds cannot be more different, but through the arrival of a soldier in Alexandria are these two places forever connected. In Alexandria is Fran leaving an idyllic life, however, the threat of war hangs like a cloud over the city as Rommel's forces are progressing towards the city. As a reporter is she writing about the war and is she constantly aware how precious life is, especially when someone close to her dies.

Meanwhile in Scotland is Catriona struggling between what she wants and the demands of her father. She's also missing her brother who is a soldier. Can Catriona in some way combine her dreams for the future, with the ones her father has for her?

Tapestry of war is a story about two women, both dealing with the reality of war and the worry about the future. It's a strong story about daring to follow once heart. At first, did I find the storyline about Fran much more interesting than the one about Catriona. It took some time for me to truly find the footing when it came to Catriona and her life, but there came a turn in her personal life that I hoped would happen and after that did I find her life so much more interesting. As for Fran, I found the setting of Alexandria a plus, the exotic location, with enemies close by and a budding romance with a soldier. All and all is this book truly enjoyable and I recommend historical fiction fans to read this book, especially if you like WW2 books.

Sunday 29 April 2018

#BookReview Name of the Devil by Andrew Mayne @AndrewMayne @harpercollins

Name of the Devil by Andrew Mayne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In this electrifying sequel to the crowd-pleasing thriller Angel Killer,magician-turned-FBI agent Jessica Blackwood must once again draw on her past to go up against a brutal murderer desperate for revenge at any price

After playing a pivotal role in the capture of the Warlock, a seemingly supernatural serial killer—and saving the FBI’s reputation in the process—agent Jessica Blackwood can no longer ignore the world she left behind. Formerly a prodigy in a family dynasty of illusionists, her talent and experience endow her with a unique understanding of the power and potential of deception, as well as a knack for knowing when things are not always as they appear to be.

When a church congregation vanishes under mysterious circumstances in rural Appalachia, the bizarre trail of carnage indicates the Devil’s hand at work. But Satan can’t be the suspect, so FBI consultant Dr. Ailes and Jessica’s boss on the Warlock case, Agent Knoll, turn to the ace up their sleeve: Jessica. She’s convinced that an old cassette tape holds the key to the mystery, and unraveling the recorded events reveals a troubling act with far-reaching implications. The evil at work is human, and Jessica must follow the trail from West Virginia to Mexico, Miami, and even the hallowed halls of the Vatican.

Can she stop a cold-blooded killer obsessed by a mortal sin—or will she become the next target in a twisted, diabolical game of hunter and prey…?


Name of the Devil is the sequel to Angel Killer (that I haven't read yet). Starting with book two is not the best perhaps, but I'm used to reading out of order and this one can easily be read without you having read the first book. Although if you are anything like me will you be dying to read the first book after you finished this book. I was, but I read book three instead, and now as I'm writing this review I'm reminded that I still have one book left to read woohoo!

I found Name of the Devil to be an engrossing story about some brutal murders that seem to be the devil's work, and then more people die in more mysterious ways. Thankfully FBI has agent Jessica Blackwood ex-magician to work the case and she is soon hot on the trail of the suspect. Which would go easier if her boss was more on her side and not working against her.

This book is great. I found the storyline to my liking and I adored Jessica Blackwood and I especially liked that she comes from a family of illusionists (with secrets) and that she has a "weird" relationship with a man wanted by the FBI. Just the extra ingredients in this story to make me even more intrigued.

#BookReview The Shimmering Road by Hester Young @PutnamBooks

The Shimmering Road by Hester Young
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When soon-to-be mother Charlotte "Charlie" Cates begins to have recurring dreams about harm coming to her unborn daughter, she knows these are not the nightmares of an anxious mom-to-be. They are the result of her mysterious gift. But before she can decipher what these dreams might mean, Charlie learns that the mother who abandoned her when she was a toddler is the victim of a double murder in Arizona. The other victim Jasmine, a half-sister Charlie never knew she had has left behind a child, a little girl who speaks to Charlie in her dreams and was present on the night of the murders. Convinced that she must help her orphaned niece, Charlie travels to Tucson, Arizona, where she must confront her painful ties to her mother and delve into her sister s shadowy past.

To untangle the web of secrets that will reveal the truth of her nightmares, Charlie can no longer avoid her family s checkered history. Who is in the racy photos that turned up in Jasmine s apartment? Where is her niece s father, whom Jasmine was rumored to have been seeing again on the sly? Was her mother s charity work in Mexico really as selfless as it seemed? And most important of all, what did her niece really witness on the night of the murders?

The search for answers leads Charlie across the Mexican border, from the resort town of Rocky Point to the border town of Nogales, and elucidates the meaning of her dreams in most unexpected ways. Ultimately, to protect her niece and her unborn child, Charlie must battle not just evil but the forces of nature, in one final terrifying encounter in the Tucson desert.

A thrilling mystery that combines literary suspense and romance with a mystical twist that is unputdownable. If you love Kate Atkinson and Alice Sebold, you should not miss Hester Young.


The Shimmering Road is the sequel to The Gates of Evangeline that I devoured not long ago. I was excited to once again step into Charlotte "Charlie" Cates world and to see what she would take on this time. The last book was really thrilling, so this book had much to live up to. And, yes I liked the book. However, it just couldn't beat The Gates of Evangeline story and atmospheric setting of Louisiana. Arizona and Mexico just don't rock my boat as much as a setting in Louisiana does.

Also, the story is pretty obvious (sure The Gates of Evangeline was predictable as well, but it had a glorious setting to add to the story) and often I just waited for the penny to drop for Charlie. However, I did enjoy the story enough to find myself wanting to know more. Why Charlie's mother and sister were murdered, what would happen to her niece, etc. Charlie's visions is an added bonus to the story. I simply adore books with psychics.

The Shimmering Road is a perfectly all right book. Not intensive enough to really make my heart racing, but still interesting enough to keep my attention. Also, I've come to really like Charlie and I'm looking forward to reading The Burning Island when it's released in 2019. 

#BookReview Anna-Lisas val (Anna-Lisa's Choice) by Eli Åhman Owetz (SWE/ENG) @Bokfabriken

Anna-Lisas val by Eli Åhman Owetz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Skulle du vara intresserad av att hoppa in som auktionsutropare?

Anna-Lisa blir ställd när hon får frågan. Skulle hon verkligen klara av det? Vännerna och Rutger stöttar henne: det är klart hon ska prova, det är ju bara en liten auktion.

Men när det väl är dags visar det sig vara en stor gårdsauktion med tusentals prylar. Trots nervositeten gör Anna-Lisa succé och erbjudanden börjar trilla in. Vill hon kanske ropa på en auktion på Åland också?

För en sekund tvekar hon. Men visst måste risken vara minimal att stöta på Ralf, raggaren som hon blev häftigt förälskad i sommaren då hon gick på luffen? Dessutom är Anna-Lisa nyförlovad med Rutger. Hon skulle aldrig falla för Ralf igen.

Anna-Lisas val är en fristående bok i serien om den unga antikhandlaren Anna-Lisa Johansson. En feelgood-roman om tvivel inför livets stora beslut, om kärlek, vänskap och uppbrott i förändringens tid.

Jag skulle ha recenserat den här boken för flera månader sedan, men andra böcker kom emellan och plötsligt insåg jag att denna bok hade hamnat långt ner i listan på böcker att recensera. Lyckligtvis är den här boken mycket minnesvärd och jag minns fortfarande historien riktigt bra.

Anna-Lisas val är bok fyra om den ung antikhandlaren Anna-Lisa och det här är den första bok jag har läst om henne. Jag har tidigare läst Hemma hos Bettan av Eli Åhman Owetz och jag älskade den och den här boken var lika charmig att läsa och mycket lätt att läsa även om man inte läst de tidigare böckerna. Det är inte en tjock bok så det gick undan att läsa den, men det är en bok man kommer ihåg. Jag tycker att berättelsen är charmig och det var kul att läsa om Anna-Lisa.

Hjärtefrågan i denna bok om Anna-Lisa är att hon måste välja mellan två framtider. En säker framtid med Rutger som hon älskar eller en osäker framtida med bohemen Ralf som hon fortfarande har känslor för. Det är en härlig avslutning på en serie och jag skulle gärna läsa böckerna från början.

Tack till Bokfabriken för recensionsexemplaret!


Would you be interested in jumping in as an auctioneer?

That's the question Anna-Lisa gets. Would she really do it? Her friends and boyfriend Rutger support her: they think that of course, she'll try, it's just a small auction.

However, when it's time for the auction does it turn out to be a big farm auction with thousands of gadgets. Anna-Lisa makes success, despite the nervousness and offers start to pour in. Would she like to try at an auction in Åland (an island between Sweden and Finland) too?

Anna-Lisa is hesitant, but sure the risk must be minimal to encounter Ralf, the man as she fell in love when she spent a summer hiking? Also, Anna-Lisa is newly engaged to Rutger. She would never fall for Ralf again.

Anna-Lisa's Choice is a stand-alone book in the series about the young antique dealer Anna-Lisa Johansson. An emotional novel about doubt, love, friendship, and breakups.


I should have reviewed this month's ago, but other books came between and suddenly did I realize that this one had gotten lost in my pile of books to review. Luckily, this book is very memorable and I still remember the story pretty well. 

Anna-Lisa's Choice is book four about young antique dealer Anna-Lisa and this is the first book I have read. I have previously read At home at Bettan's by Eli Åhman Owetz and I loved that one and this book was just as charming to read and very easy to get into. It's not a thick book so you just breeze through it, but it's a book you will remember. I found the story to be absolutely charming and I quite liked getting to know Anna-Lisa.

At heart is this book about Anna-Lisa making a choice between two futures. A safe future with Rutger who she loves or a more unsure future with bohemian Ralf who she still has some feelings for. It's a lovely ending to a series and I would very much read the books from the start. 

Thanks to Bokfabriken for the review copy!

#Wishlist April: Audiobooks

April's wishlist is all about audiobooks! I love listening to audiobooks, especially when I work and here are 5 audiobooks I'm looking forward to listening to! Thre is no really theme to the books other than that I want to listen to them...;)


Mary Rose by Geoffrey Girard, Henrietta Meire (Narrator)

Mary Rose Moreland and Simon Blake are the perfect couple: successful young professionals in Philadelphia, attractive, madly in love, and ready to start a life together. When they travel to England for Simon to ask her parents’ permission to marry Mary Rose, he learns an unsettling secret: Mary Rose disappeared when she was a little girl while the family was vacationing on a remote Scottish island. She reappeared mysteriously thirty-three days later in the exact same spot without a scratch on her and no memory of what had happened.

After Simon hears about this disturbing episode in Mary Rose’s childhood, he becomes obsessed with finding out what happened. He proceeds to launch his own investigation and arranges during their honeymoon for them to visit the island where she disappeared. But as Mary Rose’s behavior gets stranger after their engagement, the need for Simon to unlock the truth about her past grows even more urgent. What he uncovers is beyond his most terrifying fears.

Mary Rose is author Geoffrey Girard’s chilling and modern take on a classic ghost story originally written by J. M. Barrie. And for years, master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock attempted to adapt Mary Roseinto a film but was never successful. With this novel, Girard taps into the nightmarish fears that inspired both Barrie and Hitchcock, while also bringing the story to the present day with his own unique voice.

UNSUB by Meg Gardiner, Hillary Huber (Narrator)

A dark, riveting thriller inspired by the Zodiac Killer, about a young detective determined to aprehend the killer who nearly destroyed her family and terrorized an entire city twenty years ago.

Caitlin Hendrix has been a detective with the Narcotics Task Force for six months when the unsub—the unknown subject—at the heart of every nightmare she’s ever had reemerges: The Prophet. The killer who terrorized the Bay Area in the 1990s and nearly destroyed her father, the lead investigator of the case and the only person to actually catch a glimpse of the unsub before he disappeared. Twelve murders, all unsolved, his victims left with the ancient sign for Mercury etched into their tortured flesh.

Now twenty years later, two bodies are found matching the Prophet’s M.O. Detective Pete Hendrix has never recovered from his failure to catch the Prophet, and now it seems the Satanic killer has set his sights on his daughter.

Determined to decode his twisted messages and stop the carnage, Caitlin ignores her father’s warnings to stay away, drawing closer to the killer with each new gruesome murder. Is it a copycat or can this really be the same Prophet from her childhood? And will Caitlin redeem her father’s failure, or will she sacrifice everything and everyone she loves to catch the killer working his way deeper into the nine circles of Hell?

A Cry from the Dust by Carrie Stuart Parks, Teri Clark Linden (Narrator)

A secret from a grim page of American history threatens to destroy thousands of lives.

Gwen Marcey was tops in her forensic field. Then cancer struck, her husband left, and her teenage daughter engaged in active rebellion. Gwen's best chance to start a new life was a temporary job in Utah reconstructing faces from an 1857 massacre site.

The Mountain Meadows Interpretative Center asked Gwen to reconstruct the faces of three intact bodies that were discovered from the wagon train massacre of more than 120 people by Mormon fanatics calling themselves Avenging Angels. But just as she is nearing completion on her reconstructions, things around the center turn deadly.

Gwen discovers the ritualized murder of a young college student with a stolen identity and is called on by the local police to use her forensic art skills to aid the investigation. Soon she discovers an uncanny resemblance between one of her reconstructions and the death mask of Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormon church. And realizes that she's the next target of the recreated Avenging Angels who believe she has an icon from the grave.

Gwen must weave through a labyrinth of Mormon history, discovering secret societies and festering grudges in a race against time.

Will she be able to stop another massacre?

A Paris Apartment by Michelle Gable, Saskia Maarleveld (Narrator), Erin Moon (Narrator), 

Where Moulin Rouge meets The Paris Wife lies THE PARIS APARTMENT, a rich and colorful work by debut author Michelle Gable. 

When her boss tells her about the discoveries in a cramped, decrepit apartment in the ninth arrondissement, Sotheby' s continental furniture specialist April Vaught does not hear "dust" or "rats" or "shuttered for seventy years". She hears Paris. She hears escape. She cannot board the plane fast enough. When she arrives, April quickly learns the apartment is more than just some rich hoarder' s repository. Beneath the dust and cobwebs and stale perfumed air is a literal goldmine and not just in terms of actual dollars. First, there' s a portrait painted by one of the masters of the Belle Epoque. Then there are letters and diaries and a thousand indications the woman who lived there was more than a renowned courtesan with enviable dEcolletage. Suddenly it' s no longer about the bureau plats and Louis-style armchairs that will fetch millions at auction. It' s about a life. Two lives, actually. With the help of a salty Parisian solicitor and hundreds of private documents, April tries to uncover the secrets buried in the apartment. As she digs her fingers into one woman' s life, April can' t help but take a deeper look into her own. 

When two things she left bubbling back in the states begin to boil over, the problems she thought she had suddenly look quaint, more ancient than the shuttered flat. April starts to wonder if in this apartment, in this life, she' ll ever find what she' s looking for.

Between the Tides: by Patti Callahan Henry, Shannon McManus (Narrator)

Nine months after Catherine Leary’s father, a literature professor, passed away, she still has not fulfilled his final wish: that she scatter his ashes in the Seaboro River in South Carolina. The scene of a childhood tragedy that forced her family to move, Seaboro is the last place Catherine wants to see again. But on the evening of her thirtieth birthday, her father’s young colleague—whom she once dated—pays a visit.…

Forrest Anderson offers a challenge from Catherine’s father: three probing questions that he had planned to put inside a birthday letter to his daughter. But it’s the news that Forrest plans to memorialize her father in an article that includes the family’s time in Seaboro—and the surprising revelation that her father visited there in recent years—that sends Catherine reeling. Hoping to stop Forrest from exposing her family’s secrets, she agrees to accompany him to her once–beloved Lowcountry town—and embarks on a poignant trip into the past…a journey that might lead her into a new life of love, forgiveness, and self-discovery.…

Saturday 28 April 2018

#BookReview Shattered Mirror by Iris Johansen @StMartinsPress

Shattered Mirror by Iris Johansen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author comes a new explosive thriller featuring forensic sculptor Eve Duncan.

Iris Johansen returns with a thrilling novel of action and danger where fan favorite Eve Duncan is thrown once more into a deadly game of intrigue. It begins when Eve receives a package containing a skull—and instructions for Eve to do her work reconstructing it. When she does, a beautiful woman’s face emerges. But when Eve is introduced to the dead woman’s mirror image, a game is on where her twin’s life hangs in the balance.


First, I want to say that I had some trepidation about reading this book. I do find this series wonderful, but the last book just didn't do much for me. So, I really wanted to like this book, but I was worried that I would be disappointed again. Thankfully, this book worked better for, although it's still far away from the best ones I read in this series. At least Eve Duncan has a more prominent role to play in this book than in the last. I do like Jane Macguire, but I do prefer to have Eve as the main character rather than a secondary. Unfortunately, Eve had to share the limelight with Cara Delaney, who she saved a couple of years ago. This review contains spoiler about the previous book and I will also deal with things about what is going on in this book. So if you want a spoiler-free review, should you perhaps stop reading here.

Shattered Mirror takes place a couple of years later on than the previous book. Eve and Joe's son Michael is now six and Cara is eighteen. This felt like a big leap, but it was necessary for the story, or rather for Cara's story since the connection she has had with Jock since she was twelve hardly could evolve with her being underaged. Yeah, this part of the book was hardly surprising, Cara has grown up and she has always had a soft spot for Jock. This is probably a good thing since I have to admit that Cara's and Jock's "thing", felt borderline creepy when she was so young. Cara is now studying music and has a roommate Darcy, but after Cara is attacked by an unknown enemy do they both go home to Eve and Joe. Meanwhile, Eve has gotten her hands on a mystery skull. And, the unknown enemy out there seems to be having a torn on the side to both Eve, Cara and Cara's criminal grandfather.

I'm a bit on the fence when it comes to this book, on one side is it refreshing to be back to Eve trying to find out the identity of the woman whose skull she is working on. On the other hand, was I not so thrilled about Cara's story, nor Darcys. The whole Darcy is so beautiful she turns everyone's head around was boring from the first time I heard about her. She was a character that I felt never really got to me. And, Cara and Jock's "dance" through this book was also something that bothered me.

What worked for me was Eve, Joe and Michael. I like Michael, he's a special book and I've always liked Eve. The best part of the book was about them. Eve's worry now when Michael is the same age as Bonnie was when she lost her. And, as always do I enjoy her work with reconstructing skulls.

This book is OK. I was pleased that Eve took a more central role, but I would love to read a book without Cara in it, or with her in a smaller role. Right now I'm thinking of going back to the beginning of the series and pick up where I left off.

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

Friday 27 April 2018

#BookReview The Woman in the Photo by Mary Hogan @WmMorrowBooks

The Woman in the Photo by Mary Hogan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

1888: Elizabeth Haberlin, of the Pittsburgh Haberlins, spends every summer with her family on a beautiful lake in an exclusive club. Nestled in the Allegheny Mountains above the working class community of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, the private retreat is patronized by society’s elite. Elizabeth summers with Carnegies, Mellons, and Fricks, following the rigid etiquette of her class. But Elizabeth is blessed (cursed) with a mind of her own. Case in point: her friendship with Eugene Eggar, a Johnstown steel mill worker. And when Elizabeth discovers that the club’s poorly maintained dam is about to burst and send 20 million tons of water careening down the mountain, she risks all to warn Eugene and the townspeople in the lake’s deadly shadow.

Present day: On her 18th birthday, genetic information from Lee Parker’s closed adoption is unlocked. She also sees an old photograph of a genetic relative—a 19th century woman with hair and eyes likes hers—standing in a pile of rubble from an ecological disaster next to none other than Clara Barton, the founder of the American Red Cross. Determined to identify the woman in the photo and unearth the mystery of that captured moment, Lee digs into history. Her journey takes her from California to Johnstown, Pennsylvania, from her present financial woes to her past of privilege, from the daily grind to an epic disaster. Once Lee’s heroic DNA is revealed, will she decide to forge a new fate?


This is the first historical fiction I have read that deals with the flooding of Johnstown on May 31st, 1889. This is a very dramatic and tragic aspect of the book and one of the reasons I liked the book so much was just the fact that it really moved me.

But, I'm getting ahead in the story. We are first introduced to the characters in the dual stories, Elizabeth Haberlin a rich young woman who spends the summers by the beautiful lake above the town of Johnstown, Pennsylvania. She spends the summers rubbing shoulders with the Carnegies, Mellons, and Fricks and she seems at first to be just another rich spoiled girl. But, as the story progresses do we learn more and more about her she is actually a very bright, although sheltered girl. And, a disastrous event will change her whole life...

In the present story do we meet Lee Parker, who on her 18th birthday finally learns more about her real mother. She was adopted as a baby and she loves her adopted mother, but she has a need to find out more about where she came from. In her papers is there a photo of her mother, standing in a pile of rubble from a disaster, besides Clara Barton, the founder of the American Red Cross. She got curious and decides to find out more about this...

I really liked this book, the class differences that are a large part when it comes to both stories. At first, I found Elizabeth Haberlin a bit hard to connect to, but after a while did she start to grow on me and towards the end did I find myself really liking her. Contrary did I find Lee Parker to be right from the very start a fabulous character, easy to connect with. I also liked how the Jewish lifestyle was a big part of both stories. All and all is this a great book!

Thursday 26 April 2018

#BookReview Love and Ruin by Paula McLain @FreshFiction @randomhouse #FFreview

Love and Ruin by Paula McLain
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The bestselling author of The Paris Wife returns to the subject of Ernest Hemingway in a novel about his passionate, stormy marriage to Martha Gellhorn—a fiercely independent, ambitious young woman who would become one of the greatest war correspondents of the twentieth century

In 1937, twenty-eight-year-old Martha travels alone to Madrid to report on the atrocities of the Spanish Civil War and becomes drawn to the stories of ordinary people caught in devastating conflict. She also finds herself unexpectedly—and uncontrollably—falling in love with Hemingway, a man already on his way to becoming a legend. In the shadow of the impending Second World War, and set against the tumultuous backdrops of Madrid, Finland, China, Key West, and especially Cuba, where Martha and Ernest make their home, their relationship and professional careers ignite. But when Ernest publishes the biggest literary success of his career, For Whom the Bell Tolls, they are no longer equals, and Martha must make a choice: surrender to the confining demands of being a famous man's wife or risk losing Ernest by forging a path as her own woman and writer. It is a dilemma that will force her to break his heart, and her own.


I just want to say before I review LOVE AND RUIN by Paula McLain that I read CIRCLING THE SUN by the author a couple of years ago and it's one of those books that I fell in love with and I still remember how great the reading experience was. I have yet to read THE PARIS WIFE (it stands and looks accusingly at me on a shelf at home), but I hope to get to it one day.


#BlogTour Ghost by Helen Grant @Helengrantsays @FledglingPress

Langlands House is haunted, but not by the ghost you think.

Augusta McAndrew lives on a remote Scottish estate with her grandmother, Rose. For her own safety, she hides from outsiders, as she has done her entire life. Visitors are few and far between - everyone knows that Langlands House is haunted.

One day Rose goes out and never returns, leaving Augusta utterly alone. Then Tom McAllister arrives - good-looking and fascinating, but dangerous. What he has to tell her could tear her whole world apart.

As Tom and Augusta become ever closer, they must face the question: is love enough to overcome the ghosts of the past?

In the end, Langlands House and its inhabitants hold more secrets than they did in the beginning...


Can you tell me more about the book and its main characters?

The heroine of Ghost, Augusta McAndrew, is seventeen. She lives with her grandmother, Rose, who is in her eighties, at Langlands, a crumbling old house on a secluded Scottish estate. Augusta has never left the estate, so everything she knows about the outside world has come from Rose. One day Rose goes out to buy supplies and never returns. Augusta is utterly alone. Then Tom McAllister turns up at Langlands: young, handsome, and bearing dangerous information from the outside…

Ghost is very much a "haunted" book. As I write short ghost stories as well as novels, people often ask me whether I believe in ghosts myself. I usually reply that, like the great ghost story writer M.R.James, I am prepared to consider evidence! I certainly do believe that people can be "haunted" in the sense that the past is always with them, and I think this is really what is happening in Ghost. There is no escaping from past events.

What inspired you to write this book?

Before Ghost, I wrote a trilogy called Forbidden Spaces, which was about urbex (urban exploration) and I kind of got the bug for it! There's a peculiar fascination and thrill about exploring abandoned places. The trilogy is set in Flanders, where we were living when I began writing it. In 2011 we moved to Perthshire in Scotland, and I couldn't resist continuing with my exploring adventures. The kinds of abandoned buildings you find in a rural area are very different from the ones you would find in an urban setting. In Scotland I've visited ruined churches, the remains of abandoned villages, and derelict country houses. It was exploring ruined country houses that gave me the idea for Ghost.

Was it hard to write the book? Getting the plot together?

Yes – I'd say that Ghost was the hardest book to write out of all of my novels. It took me much longer than my earlier books, and after my first draft I pretty much went back to the beginning and rewrote it from scratch. It was a struggle. The book before that, Urban Legends, was great fun to write, because it was very straightforward: a serial killer with a grudge is after the heroine and her boyfriend. But with Ghost I wanted to write something more psychological – more about the dynamics between the characters and less about hand-to-hand combat with serial killers! And that was difficult to get right. I also wanted to push the boundaries a bit – in Urban Legends there was a particular scene where something really shocking seemingly happens to one of the main characters, and I was quite surprised to get a flood of messages from readers saying "I can't believe you did that!" I wanted to take that kind of moment and push it a bit further.

Have you always wanted to be an author?

Pretty much! I remember when I was in primary school – I was ten years old – and the class teacher asked us all what we wanted to do when we grew up. I said I wanted to be a writer. I said it with such determination that he said, "And you will!" But actually I didn't become a full time writer until much later. A lot of other things got in the way – university studies, an office job (it's hard to make writing pay…), and then kids. It was after both my children started at kindergarten that I began to write seriously. We were living in Germany at the time, and both kindergarten and primary school closed at lunchtime, so there was no question of going back into a full time office job. Instead, I wrote all morning and amused the kids all afternoon!

Any authors that have inspired you in your writings?

I don't try to emulate any particular writers, but the ghost stories of M.R.James have definitely inspired me. His tale The Treasure of Abbot Thomas, which is about a set of stained glass windows with a secret hidden in them, was part of the inspiration for my novel The Glass Demon.

I am also a great admirer of the Victorian writer Anthony Trollope. I certainly do not, and would not, try to write the same type of fiction he did, but I think his work ethic as a writer was truly inspirational. He used to get up very early every morning and write for an hour with his watch beside him, timing his word count. I think that discipline is a very underrated thing when it comes to writing. People think that it is all about "inspiration" but the truth is, however good an idea may be, it is nothing until you actually sit down and write it.

My new book Ghost is not inspired by any other authors' work but it is part of the Gothic tradition. I have always loved reading Gothic novels – as a teenager I devoured Dracula and Frankenstein! – and I think that love is reflected in Ghost, with its isolated heroine and dilapidated setting.

And finally, what are you reading now?

I've actually been re-reading a lot of old favourites recently: the ghost stories of M.R.James, Pump Six by Paulo Bacigalupi, and Old Peter's Russian Tales by Arthur Ransome, which is a children's book but so brilliant I love to read it anyway. But I want to read Dan Simmons' book The Terror as soon as I can lay hands on a copy. I loved the first episode of the TV adaptation and I'd like to read the book, preferably before watching the rest of the series. I love stories with an unusual and atmospheric setting; I loved Michelle Pavers' Dark Matter for the same reason.

About the author

Helen Grant writes thrillers with a Gothic flavour and ghost stories. Her first novel, The Vanishing of Katharina Linden, was shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal and won an ALA Alex Award in the US. Her other books include the exciting Forbidden Spaces trilogy.

Helen's latest novel Ghost (Fledgling Press 2018) is set in Perthshire, where she has lived since 2011. When she is not writing, Helen loves to research the lost country houses of Scotland and to visit the sites where possible. Her experiences of exploring these fascinating places inspired her to write Ghost.

#CoverCrush Malice by Keigo Higashino

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!

International bestseller and Edgar Award finalist Keigo Higashino, author of The Devotion of Suspect X, returns with one of his most challenging and dazzling mysteries ever.

Acclaimed bestselling novelist Kunihiko Hidaka is found brutally murdered in his home on the night before he's planning to leave Japan and relocate to Vancouver. His body is found in his office, a locked room, within his locked house, by his wife and his best friend, both of whom have rock solid alibis. Or so it seems. 

At the crime scene, Police Detective Kyochiro Kaga recognizes Hidaka's best friend, Osamu Nonoguchi. Years ago when they were both teachers, they were colleagues at the same public school. Kaga went on to join the police force while Nonoguchi eventually left to become a full-time writer, though with not nearly the success of his friend Hidaka. As Kaga investigates, he uncovers evidence that the two writers' had been anything but best friends. But the question before Kaga isn't necessarily who, or how, but why. In a brilliantly realized tale of cat and mouse, the detective and the killer battle over the truth of the past and how events that led to the murder really unfolded. And if Kaga isn't able to uncover and prove why the murder was committed, then the truth may never come out. 

Malice is one of the bestselling—the most acclaimed—novel in Keigo Higashino's series featuring police detective Kyochiro Kaga, one of the most popular creations of the bestselling novelist in Asia.


I love covers that at first look innocent, but when you look closer you discover that there is something wrong with the image. Like this cover with the twig that first looks like it has red flowers, then you see that it is blood drops...

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

Stephanie @ Layered Pages

Wednesday 25 April 2018

#BookReview Without Mercy by Jefferson Bass @Jefferson_Bass @WmMorrowBooks

Without Mercy by Jefferson Bass
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In the most suspenseful installment of the New York Timesnestselling Body Farm series to date, forensic anthropologist Dr. Bill Brockton investigates a bizarre murder—and confronts a deadly enemy he thought he’d put behind bars for good.

Forensic anthropologist Bill Brockton has spent twenty-five years solving brutal murders—but none so bizarre and merciless as his latest case: A ravaged set of skeletal remains is found chained to a tree on a remote mountainside. As Brockton and his assistant Miranda dig deeper, they uncover warning signs of a deadly eruption of hatred and violence.

But the shocking case is only the beginning of Brockton’s trials. Mid-case, the unthinkable happens: The deadliest criminal Brockton has ever foiled—the sadistic serial killer Nick Satterfield—escapes from prison, bent on vengeance.

But simply killing Brockton isn’t enough. Satterfield wants to make him suffer first, by destroying everything he holds dear: Brockton’s son, daughter-in-law, grandsons; even Miranda, his longtime graduate assistant, now on the verge of completing her Ph.D. and launching a forensic career of her own.

The dangers from all directions force Brockton to question two things on which he’s based his entire career—the justice system, and the quality of mercy—and to wonder: can the two co-exist?

If not, which will Brockton choose in his ultimate moment of truth?


I have wanted to try out a book in this series for a long time and was glad to finally take time to get the latest published book to see if the series is for me.

Without Mercy is the 10th book in the Body Farm series about forensic anthropologist Dr. Bill Brockton. Brockton must in this book deal with a brutal murder case, when skeletal remains are found on a remote mountainside. And, if that's not enough for him to deal with does he learn, while trying to discover more about the identity of the skeleton and who killed him that serial killer Nick Satterfield that he helped put away twenty years ago has escaped.

Since this is the first book I have read were the characters all new to me and I came to like them very much. Bill Brockton to his graduate assistant Miranda has an easy-going relationship (lots of funny moments as well as serious ones) and I felt after a while that I really wanted to read the previous books thanks both to them and to the fact that I enjoyed the slow progress of learning more about the skeletal remain. Adding a serial killer to the mix added some tension to the story and also tragic moments.

Without Mercy is a great book and I'm looking forward to reading more books in the series!

Tuesday 24 April 2018

#BookReview The Forgotten Ones by Steena Holmes @AmazonPub

The Forgotten Ones by Steena Holmes
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Elle is a survivor. She’s managed to piece together a solid life from a childhood of broken memories and fairy tales her mom told her to explain away bad dreams. But weekly visits to her mother still fill Elle with a paralyzing fear she can’t explain. It’s just another of so many unanswered questions she grew up with in a family estranged by silence and secrets.

Elle’s world turns upside down when she receives a deathbed request from her grandfather, a man she was told had died years ago. Racked by grief, regrets, and a haunted conscience, he has a tale of his own to tell Elle: about her mother, an imaginary friend, and two strangers who came to the house one night and never left.

As Elle’s past unfolds, so does the truth—if she can believe it. She must face the reasons for her inexplicable dread. As dark as they are, Elle must listen…before her grandfather’s death buries the family’s secrets forever.


The Forgotten Ones is the first book I have read by Steena Holmes and I can't say that this was an enjoyable experience.

It's a hard thing writing a review without spoiling the story, especially since the things that frustrated me the most are events that I can't write about. I will say this, I felt really, really sorry for Elle's mother. She's definitely the victim in this story and I was furious that her father didn't do more for her. Speaking of her father. David should be ashamed of what he did or rather did not do. His action or lack of action gave Marie scars for life.

I struggled with the story quite badly because like Elle did I get fed up with questions not being answered. I mean come one, I would have been furious if I had been Elle and found out that everyone has been lying around me. Also, the story is pretty predictable, right up until the end when the author did a u-turn and abruptly ended the book.

I listened to the audio version and that was a blessing because I'm not sure I would have finished the book if I had read it. But, I liked the narrators. I gave the book 2 stars at first, but the more I think about the story the more ludicrous it becomes. 

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

Monday 23 April 2018

#BookReview Kill the Angel by Sandrone Dazieri @sandronedazieri ‏@ScribnerBooks

Kill the Angel by Sandrone Dazieri
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

From the internationally bestselling author of Kill the Father — “a stunningly original page-turner that twists the concept of psychological thriller in a terrifying and wonderful way” (Jonathan Kellerman) — comes the second Caselli and Torre novel, a high-voltage ride into the bizarre as the detective duo tracks a lethal villain on a quest for revenge.

When a high-speed train from Milan draws into the station in Rome with a carriage full of dead bodies, Deputy Police Commissioner Colomba Caselli, a fierce detective still reeling from having survived a bloody catastrophe of her own, is called to lead the investigation. After receiving a message claiming responsibility for the killings and announcing more murders to come, officers turn their attention to a small group of Islamic extremists.

But Dante Torre believes authorities are being misdirected. For him the Islamic link is a smokescreen concealing the actions of a killer who has been committing murders all over the world for years: a woman who calls herself Gilitinè, after the mythological Lithuanian goddess of death. After further carnage, Gilitinè’s murderous plans escalate to macabre heights, and only Dante and Colomba can stop her.


I decided to read this book (or listen to the audio version), despite not having read the first book, Kill the Father. I felt that it worked out quite well, despite this being the second book since you get information about what happened in the first book while reading this book.

One thing that I really loved about this book was the setting of Italy. The crime books I usually read is often set in the US, UK or Scandinavia was it great to shift the focus to a different country. I also loved both main characters, the fierce Deputy Police Commissioner Colomba Caselli and Dante Torre (a fascinating man with many skills, but also with a very tragic background). I really need to read the first book to get to know how Dante and Colomba met, and learn more about the case they worked on.

The case is elusive, mysterious and fascinating. I love the twist and turns the story takes and I particularly liked that the book managed to surprise me several times. And the ending, damn it! I need the next book now! Short review I know, but I don't want to give away anything of the story. Read the book, it's great!

On a side note, as much as I enjoyed listening to the book was it a bit hard sometimes to remember who was who. It got better during the progress of the book, however reading the book might, in this case, be preferable, although the narrator was very good.

#BlogTour Ecstasy by Mary Sharratt @MarySharratt @HFVBT @HMHCo

Ecstasy by Mary Sharratt
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ecstasy by Mary Sharratt

Publication Date: April 10, 2018
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Hardcover & eBook; 400 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction/Literary

In the glittering hotbed of turn-of-the-twentieth century Vienna, one woman’s life would define and defy an era. 

Gustav Klimt gave Alma her first kiss. Gustav Mahler fell in love with her at first sight and proposed only a few weeks later. Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius abandoned all reason to pursue her. Poet and novelist Franz Werfel described her as “one of the very few magical women that exist.” But who was this woman who brought these most eminent of men to their knees? In Ecstasy, Mary Sharratt finally gives one of the most controversial and complex women of her time center stage. 

Coming of age in the midst of a creative and cultural whirlwind, young, beautiful Alma Schindler yearns to make her mark as a composer. A brand new era of possibility for women is dawning and she is determined to make the most of it. But Alma loses her heart to the great composer Gustav Mahler, nearly twenty years her senior. He demands that she give up her music as a condition for their marriage. Torn by her love and in awe of his genius, how will she remain true to herself and her artistic passion? 

Part cautionary tale, part triumph of the feminist spirit, Ecstasy reveals the true Alma Mahler: composer, daughter, sister, mother, wife, lover, and muse.


I saw the movie Mahler by Ken Russell a couple of years ago. Well, it's so many years ago that I don't really remember much about it. But, it was my first introduction to Gustav Mahler and his wife Alma. So, when I saw that there would be a book about Alma Mahler was I instantly interested. I was thrilled when I got a copy of this book to read.

Just think of what Alma Schindler could have achieved if she was born decades later when a woman could be much more than a wife and a mother. She dreamed of becoming a composer, but her mother and stepfather (mostly stepfather) didn't think higher education would be something for her since she was a woman and wasting money on an education for her was nothing he wanted since his opinion was that her role in life getting married and have children. Alma, however, wanted to compose, to be something. Then, Gustav Mahler enters her life, and she falls in love with him. However, he demands that she gives up her music to dedicate her life to their marriage and his needs. And, she does that. She suffocates the part of herself that loves music, but how can she be complete when part of her, the creative part of her has to be subdued? When her life is only to be a wife and mother? It doesn't, and it's just tragic that when they finally find themselves true to each other, Gustav and Alma is time running out for them...

This book would have been at least twice as thick (or more) if Mary Sharratt has written about Almas whole life, not just her marriage to Mahler. And, I would have read it. I loved the book from the very start. I loved getting to know Alma Mahler, this extraordinary woman that had such a fantastic life. I loved how Alma finally has come out of the shadows of the famous men she was married to. To show the world that she was a great composer as well.

Available in Hardcover & eBook: 

Also in AudioBook: 

Praise for Ecstasy

“In ECSTASY, Mary Sharratt plunges the reader into the tumultuous and glamorous fin de siècle era, bringing to life its brilliant and beguiling leading lady. Finally, Alma Mahler takes center stage, surging to life as so much more than simply the female companion to the brilliant and famous men who loved her. Sharratt’s portrait is poignant and nuanced, her novel brimming with rich historic detail and lush, evocative language.” – Allison Pataki, New York Times bestselling author of The Accidental Empress

“A tender, intimate exploration of a complicated woman, Mary Sharratt’s ECSTASY renders in exquisitely researched detail and fiercely imagined scenes the life of Alma Mahler — daughter, wife, mother, lover, and composer — and the early 20th Century Vienna and New York in which she came of age. I loved this inspiring story of an early feminist standing up for her art.” – Meg Waite Clayton, New York Times bestselling author of The Race for Paris

“Evocative and passionate, ECSTASY illuminates through its tempestuous and talented heroine a conundrum that resonates across the centuries: how a woman can fulfill her destiny by being both a lover and an artist.” – Jenna Blum, New York Times bestselling author of Those Who Save Us and The Stormchasers

“Mary Sharratt makes a triumphant return to the page with this masterful portrait of Alma Mahler, the wife of the famous composer Gustav Mahler. Set in a time and place when a woman could only hope to be the power behind the throne, Sharratt brings a meticulously researched and richly illuminated account of a young woman who was a brilliant composer in her own right. Alma may have had to suppress her own talents to support Mahler; however, ECSTASY reveals that she was a woman who “contained multitudes.” ECSTASY is an important work of historical fiction, as well as a timely and topical addition to the canon of knowledge that needs to better represent important women and their contributions.” – Pamela Klinger-Horn, Excelsior Bay Books

“Alma Mahler’s unexpected, often heartbreaking journey from muse to independence comes to vivid, dramatic life in Mary Sharratt’s ECSTASY. Sharratt skillfully evokes turn-of-the-century Vienna and the musical genius of the era, returning Alma to her rightful place in history as both the inspiration to the men in her life and a gifted artist in her own right.” – C.W. Gortner, bestselling author of Mademoiselle Chanel

“Mary Sharratt has more than done justice to one of the most interesting, shocking, and passionate women of the 20th century. Overflowing with life and lust, ECSTASY explores this flawed but fascinating woman who was not only muse but a genius in her own right.” – New York Times Bestseller, M.J. Rose

“A deeply affecting portrait of the woman rumored to be the most notorious femme fatale of turn-of-the-century Vienna. Mary Sharratt’s ECSTASY is as heartbreaking and seductive as Alma Mahler herself.” —Kris Waldherr, author of Doomed Queens and Bad Princess

About the Author

MARY SHARRATT is an American writer who has lived in the Pendle region of Lancashire, England, for the past seven years. The author of the critically acclaimed novels Summit Avenue, The Real Minerva, and The Vanishing Point, Sharratt is also the co-editor of the subversive fiction anthology Bitch Lit, a celebration of female antiheroes, strong women who break all the rules.

Her novels include Summit Avenue, The Real Minera, The Vanishing Point, The Daughters of Witching Hill, Illuminations, and The Dark Lady’s Mask.
For more information, please visit Mary Sharratt's website. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Blog Tour Schedule

Tuesday, April 10
Review at Broken Teepee

Wednesday, April 11

Thursday, April 12
Review at Bookfever
Review at Unabridged Chick

Friday, April 13
Interview at Unabridged Chick

Saturday, April 14

Monday, April 16
Review at Cup of Sensibility

Tuesday, April 17

Wednesday, April 18

Thursday, April 19

Friday, April 20

Sunday, April 22

Monday, April 23
Review at A Bookaholic Swede

Tuesday, April 24

Wednesday, April 25

Thursday, April 26
Guest Post at A Bookish Affair

Friday, April 27

Monday, April 30

Tuesday, May 1
Review at A Bookish Affair

Thursday, May 3
Interview at The Writing Desk

Monday, May 7

Wednesday, May 9

Thursday, May 10

Friday, May 11

Monday, May 14
Interview at Let Them Read Books

Wednesday, May 16

Thursday, May 17
Review at Nicole Evelina

Friday, May 18
Interview at Nicole Evelina


During the Blog Tour we will be giving away a paperback copy of Ecstasy! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on May 18th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents only.
– 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.