It's a Mad Mad World

It's a Mad Mad World

- A blog which contains just about anything related to books - 

 

 

Review
4 Stars
The Jersey Devil by Hunter Shea
The Jersey Devil - Hunter Shea

THE LEGEND LIVES
Everyone knows the legend of the Jersey Devil. Some believe it is an abomination of nature, a hybrid winged beast from hell that stalks the Pine Barrens of southern New Jersey searching for prey. Others believe it is a hoax, a campfire story designed to scare children. But one man knows the truth . . .

THE DEVIL AWAKES
Sixty years ago, Boompa Willet came face to face with the Devil—and lived to tell the tale. Now, the creature’s stomping grounds are alive once again with strange sightings, disappearances, and worse. After all these years, Boompa must return to the Barrens, not to prove the legend is real but to wipe it off the face of the earth . . .

THE BEAST MUST DIE
It’ll take more than just courage to defeat the Devil. It will take four generations of the Willet clan, a lifetime of survivalist training, and all the firepower they can carry. But timing is critical. A summer music festival has attracted crowds of teenagers. The woods are filled with tender young prey. But this time, the Devil is not alone. The evil has grown into an unholy horde of mutant monstrosities. And hell has come home to New Jersey . . .

 
**********
 
Holy Shit, Batman, this is one hell of a gore feast! Which is of course, what I was after when I started to read the latest Hunter Shea book. But, even I think Shea overachieved himself this time. This book has some really pretty disturbing parts, from brutal death scenes to women almost being raped. I can face quite a lot, but even I found some parts hard to read. Shea doesn't shy away from brutal scenes that's for sure. 
 
However, besides that, the book also have an interesting story. The heart of the story is a family that has been waiting for the Jersey Devil to show up again. Why? They have some pretty personal reasons for wanting to go after the Jersey Devil. But, they soon find out that it's not that easy. It's not one Jersey Devil they have to face, it's a legion. And, soon everything just goes wrong and they have to fight for their lives against the monsters.  
 
This is a perfect book for people that likes monsters. People that are hard to scare or frankly just want a read an interesting story with some nasty and brutal parts. And, that's me. I have to admit that I enjoy reading books like this. I like finding books that make me uncomfortable. And, this one sure did that!
 

I want to thank Kensington Books for providing me with a free copy through NetGalleyf or an honest review!

Review
4 Stars
The Book of Beloved by Carolyn Haines
The Book of Beloved - Carolyn Haines

As a young woman widowed by World War I, Raissa James is no stranger to ghosts. But when an invitation arrives from Caoin House, her uncle’s estate in Mobile, Alabama, she’s finally ready to cast off the shadows of her past. And what better way to do so than with a grand party in her honor? An aspiring authoress, Raissa’s eager to soak up more of life—and immerse herself in the dark history that haunts the estate.

But the revelries come to an abrupt end when one of her uncle’s guests takes a deadly plunge. And when a ghost from the property’s past, a Confederate soldier, reveals himself to Raissa, she’s more determined than ever to get to the heart of the mysterious deaths that plague Caoin House. Enlisting the help of Reginald Proctor, a self-proclaimed medium, she holds a séance to shed light on old secrets. But she discovers that some secrets, even those long dead, still have a startling hold on the living…

 
**********
 

I was hooked from the first page. And, being an adventure reader did I start this book without reading the blurb before. Sure, I've read the blurb it before, but when I pick an Ebook to read do I not always read what the book is about to refreshing my memory. Much more fun that way, the less you know the better is what I feel when it comes to books.

The Book of Beloved turned out to be quite a nice book. This is the first book I have read by Carolyn Haines and I will definitely try to find more books by her to read. I have a great love for haunted houses, and that together with placing the setting in Mobile, Alabama just a couple of years after WW1 made me really enjoy the book. Haines really made the story come to life, it was like being transported back in time. A plus is that I really like Raissa James, she is such a wonderful character, well developed and interesting with a tragic past.

Storywise was the book good, I enjoyed the mystery of the house and how slowly the secrets of the house was revealed. I was surprised when the death occurred in the beginning of the book, especially since I thought the person in question was going to have a bigger part in the book. And, here with the death comes the one thing that bothered me throughout the book. The question was if the person had been pushed or not, and I had a feeling that it was not an accident and that the one characters I really liked were the one behind it all. And, I kept that feeling all through the book and it didn't help when my app did a weird thing and jumped ahead and almost revealed the ending. So, was I right? Well, perhaps I was, or perhaps I wasn't. You have to read the book to find out. All, I want to say is that I did not expect the part the Book of Beloved would play in in the story. I was really surprised about that twist to the story.

So, despite, some predictable events did I quite enjoy the book. And, it ended with a very tantalizing cliffhanger. Or rather, this story ended, but it's just the beginning for Raissa James adventures and I'm looking forward to reading the next book! 

 

I want to thank Thomas & Mercer for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review!

Review
4 Stars
Blog Tour: Days of Sun and Glory by Anna Belfrage

02_Days of Sun and Glory

Days of Sun and Glory (The King’s Greatest Enemy #2) by Anna Belfrage

 

Publication Date: July 4, 2016
Matador eBook & Paperback; 418 Pages
Series: The King's Greatest Enemy
Genre: Historical Fiction


Adam de Guirande has barely survived the aftermath of Roger Mortimer’s rebellion in 1321. When Mortimer manages to escape the Tower and flee to France, anyone who has ever served Mortimer becomes a potential traitor – at least in the eyes of King Edward II and his royal chancellor, Hugh Despenser. Adam must conduct a careful balancing act to keep himself and his family alive. 

 
Fortunately, he has two formidable allies: Queen Isabella and his wife, Kit. England late in 1323 is a place afflicted by fear. Now that the king’s greatest traitor, Roger Mortimer, has managed to evade royal justice, the king and his beloved Despenser see dissidents and rebels everywhere – among Mortimer’s former men, but also in the queen, Isabella of France. Their suspicions are not unfounded. Tired of being relegated to the background by the king’s grasping favourite, Isabella has decided it is time to act – to safeguard her own position, but also that of her son, Edward of Windsor. 
 
As Adam de Guirande has pledged himself to Prince Edward he is automatically drawn into the queen’s plans – whether he likes it or not. Yet again, Kit and Adam are forced to take part in a complicated game of intrigue and politics. Yet again, they risk their lives – and that of those they hold dear – as the king and Mortimer face off. Once again, England is plunged into war – and this time it will not end until either Despenser or Mortimer is dead. 
 
Days of Sun and Glory is the second in Anna Belfrage’s series, The King’s Greatest Enemy, the story of a man torn apart by his loyalties to his lord, his king, and his wife.
 

 

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound

Review

Managed to loose my review for this book when I did some changed to this post so this is a whole new review! *sigh*
 
I had limited knowledge of King Edward II, Queen Isabelle, and Mortimer before I started to read this book. And, haven't read the first book (yet), but I found myself quickly drawn into the story. I think Anna Belfrage has really captive a turbulent time when you could in a blink of an eye go from being high and powerful to out of favor and the justice could be both swift and deadly. Not even being king could guaranty your safety.

Adam de Guirande helped Mortimer escape in the previous book and now he is walking a thin line. If it was not for his fidelity to the young crown prince would he probably be dead by now.  Despenser is out for him and if he can't get to him directly will he try to hurt him by getting to Adam's wife Kit. It's a difficult time and they have to face-off quite a lot of problems in this book, some quite dangerous since Despenser and the King is suspicious of them. But, they also have to deal with personal problems like an old lover to Adam that shows up at the court. And, if Kit is jealous of Adam's devotion to the Queen is Cassandra's present not helping their relationship. To top it all they also have to face some personal losses.

I found this book to be both engrossing and fascinating to read. It also felt both well-researched the characters felt well-developed. I was especially impressed how genuine the characters felt that I could even find sympathy for the "bad ones". Not everything is black and white and King Edward II may not have been a great king, but his faith and love in Despenser blinded him and driving Isabella away and practically throwing her into the arms of Mortimer was not very wise. There is a moment towards the ending of the book when Mortimer has a conversation with his wife and it's heartbreaking to read her warning to him and his refusal to believe that anything could harm him since the Queen loves him.
 
I liked this book very much, and I'm looking forward to reading both the first book in this series and the one that comes after this one!   
 
About the Author

03_Annna_Belfrage 2015
Had Anna been allowed to choose, she’d have become a professional time-traveller. As such a profession does as yet not exists, she settled for second best and became a financial professional with two absorbing interests, namely history and writing. These days, Anna combines an exciting day-job with a large family and her writing endeavours.

When Anna fell in love with her future husband, she got Scotland as an extra, not because her husband is Scottish or has a predilection for kilts, but because his family fled Scotland due to religious persecution in the 17th century – and were related to the Stuarts. For a history buff like Anna, these little details made Future Husband all the more desirable, and sparked a permanent interest in the Scottish Covenanters, which is how Matthew Graham, protagonist of the acclaimed The Graham Saga, began to take shape.

Set in 17th century Scotland and Virginia/Maryland, the series tells the story of Matthew and Alex, two people who should never have met – not when she was born three hundred years after him. With this heady blend of romance, adventure, high drama and historical accuracy, Anna hopes to entertain and captivate, and is more than thrilled when readers tell her just how much they love her books and her characters.

Presently, Anna is hard at work with her next project, a series set in the 1320s featuring Adam de Guirande, his wife Kit, and their adventures and misfortunes in connection with Roger Mortimer’s rise to power. The King’s Greatest Enemy is a series where passion and drama play out against a complex political situation, where today’s traitor may be tomorrow’s hero, and the Wheel of Life never stops rolling.

The first installment in the Adam and Kit story, In the Shadow of the Storm, was published in 2015. The second book, Days of Sun and Glory, will be published in July 2016.

Other than on her website, www.annabelfrage.com, Anna can mostly be found on her blog, http://annabelfrage.wordpress.com – unless, of course, she is submerged in writing her next novel. You can also connect with Anna on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.
 
Blog Tour Schedule
 
Monday, August 29
 
 
 
Tuesday, August 30

 

 
 
Wednesday, August 31
 
 
 
Thursday, September 1
 
 
 
Friday, September 2
 
Review at Book Nerd
 
Monday, September 5
 
 
Tuesday, September 6
 
 
Wednesday, September 7
 
 
Guest Post at A Literary Vacation
 
Thursday, September 8
 
Interview at Books and Benches
 
Character Interview at Flashlight Commentary
 
Friday, September 9
 
Review at A Holland Reads
 
Monday, September 12
 
Review at Broken Teepee
 
Tuesday, September 13
 
 
 
Wednesday, September 14
 
 
Thursday, September 15
 
 
Monday, September 19
 
Review at A Book Drunkard
 
Tuesday, September 20
 
 
Wednesday, September 21
 
 
Friday, September 23
 
 
Spotlight at The Reading Queen
 
Monday, September 26
 
 
Tuesday, September 27
 
Guest Post at Passages to the Past
 
Thursday, September 29
 
Review at Bookramblings

To win a copy of Days of Sun & Glory by Anna Belfrage, please enter via the Gleam form below.


Rules
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on September 29th. 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.
  Days of Sun and Glory

04_Days of Sun and Glory_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL
Image
image
Review
3 Stars
Blog Tour: The House in Quill Court by Charlotte Betts
The House in Quill Court by Charlotte Betts (2016-01-07) - Charlotte Betts
From the multi-award-winning author of The Apothecary’s Daughter, The House in Quill Court is a gorgeously evocative Regency novel bursting with historical flavour and characters you won’t forget. If you love Philippa Gregory and Joanne Harris, you will adore Charlotte Betts. 

1813. Venetia Lovell lives by the sea in Kent with her pretty, frivolous mother and idle younger brother. Venetia’s father, Theo, is an interior decorator to the rich and frequently travels away from home, leaving his sensible and artistic daughter to look after the family. Venetia designs paper hangings and she and her father often daydream about having an imaginary shop where they would display the highest quality furniture, fabrics and art to his clients.

When a handsome but antagonistic stranger, Jack Chamberlaine, arrives at the Lovell’s cottage just before Christmas bringing terrible news, Venetia’s world is turned upside-down and the family have no option but to move to London, to the House in Quill Court and begin a new life. Here, Venetia’s courage and creativity are tested to breaking point, and she discovers a love far greater than she could have ever imagined . . .

**********

I read the wonderful The Chateau on the Lake by Charlotte Brett last year, so when I got the question if I wanted to participate in The House in Quill Court blog tour didn't I hesitate to say yes!

Venita Lovell has lived her whole life in Kent with her family. Her father is often away working in London. When tragedy strike the family and a dark secret is revealed must the whole family relocate to London. This new start is hard on them all, but also offer a new promising future. But, first, must the whole family unit against injustice...

I quite liked Venita, she is a strong character, with a great passion for art and she will not bow down before them that threatens the new life she is trying to rebuild in London with her family. We also have young Kitty, the maid, who traveled with them to London for a new life. Kitty doesn't want to end up like her mother with a lot of children and a hard life. She wants a better life. London may offer up a new chance for her, but it's also a city that can take away happiness in a heartbeat.

I like that we both get to follow Venita and Kitty as they settle in the new city. The difference in their positions is great, but both yearn for a good life. Kitty soon finds happiness when she falls in love and Venita together with her family decides to fulfill a longtime dream of starting up a shop where they can display furniture, art, and fabrics. However, soon dark clouds descend over both Kitty and Venita's life.

And, the darkness that Bett adds to the story is the thing that makes reading this book so excruciating. Bett doesn't shy away from that life is tough in the 1900-century. That especially women have a tough life. To be honest, I did not expect that Bett would turn the story so dark. Especially Kitty gets to face how hard life is for a woman with no prospects when life turns sour. 

Still, despite that the story is interesting is it also a bit predictable. Sure, not everything was predictable, I was surprised that Kitty's life seemed to turn out quite good (until of course, the harsh reality intervened). But, the big twist in the end did I see quite early on. And, despite, having a strong beginning and a good ending did I struggle now and then with the middle of the book and especially everything concerning Venita's brother Raffie who I felt needed to wise up and it was frustrating seeing how blind everyone was when it came to his actions.

Nevertheless, essentially did I like the book and I recommend it if you like historical fiction with a darker edge.
About the Author
 
Charlotte Betts began her working life as a fashion designer in London. A career followed in interior design, property management and lettings. Always a bookworm, Charlotte discovered her passion for writing after her three children and two step-children grew up.

Her debut novel, The Apothecary’s Daughter, won the YouWriteOn Book of the Year Award in 2010 and the Joan Hessayon Award for New Writers, was shortlisted for the Best Historical Read at the Festival of Romance in 2011 and won the coveted Romantic Novelists' Association's Historical Romantic Novel RoNA award in 2013. Her second novel, The Painter’s Apprentice was also shortlisted for the Best Historical Read at the Festival of Romance in 2012 and the RoNA award in 2014. The Spice Merchant’s Wife won the Festival of Romance's Best Historical Read award in 2013.

Charlotte lives with her husband in a cottage in the woods on the Hampshire/Berkshire border.

 
‘Romantic, engaging and hugely satisfying’ 
Katie Fiorde on The Apothecary's Daughter 
‘A highly-recommended novel of love, tragedy and the power of art’ 
Daily Mail on The Painter's Apprentice 
‘Full of passion and drama . . . I was captivated by this moving, heart-warming and beautifully woven story - gripping, atmospheric, eloquently told and full of rich detail’ 
Kate Furnivall on The Chateau on the Lake
 
 
Review
4 Stars
The Crossing by Michael Connelly (SWE/ENG)
The Crossing (Harry Bosch) - Michael Connelly

SWEDISH REVIEW

 

Harry Bosch har äntligen gått i pension efter alla år som polis i Los Angeles. Men hans halvbror, försvarsadvokat Mickey Haller, behöver hans hjälp. Han ska försvara en klient som är åtalad för ett mord. Ingenting tyder på att klienten är oskyldig, men Haller är övertygad om att han är det. I sitt sökande efter sanningen blir han själv en måltavla.


*********
 
Det är alltid intressant att läsa en den senaste boken i en serie, där man tidigare bara har läst en bok innan och i detta fall den allra första boken. Och, eftersom detta är bok 20 så har jag några böcker att ta igen. Dock, var det absolut inga problem att läsa denna bok, utan att ha läste de 18 böcker mellan första och denna. Tvärtom, var det synnerligen enkelt att fastna i handlingen och det tog med bara en dag att läsa klart den, både tack vare att den var lättläst (och inte så tjock) samt att berättelsen var intressant.

Harry har nu gått i pension, en något tvingad pension. Dock, så verkar det inte som han ska få tid över att meka med motorcykeln som har stått och väntat på honom i några årtionden. Hans halvbror behöver hjälp. En klient till honom är anklagad för mord och även om det bär Harry emot att hjälpa en försvarsadvokat så kan han inget annat än att börja underska fallet. Speciellt, då han upptäcker att något inte står rätt till. Men det finns de som inte alls är roade över att Harry lägger sig i fallet...

Jag tyckte mycket bra om boken, som jag nämnde innan var den väldigt lättläst, inte alltför komplicerad berättelse samt jag gillar Harry och Mickey skarpt. Jag har länge haft planer på att fortsätta läsa serien då jag fann första boken läsvärd, men jag har bara inte hunnit med det.

Det var kul att läsa denna bok, nu känns det som om jag borde ta och prioritera Connelly och kanske faktiskt ta mig tid och läsa de 18 böcker jag missat.
 
Tack till Norstedts för recensionexemplaret!

ENGLISH REVIEW


Harry Bosch teams up with Lincoln Lawyer Mickey Haller in the new thriller from #1 New York Times bestselling author Michael Connelly.

Detective Harry Bosch has retired from the LAPD, but his half-brother, defense attorney Mickey Haller, needs his help. The murder rap against his client seems ironclad, but Mickey is sure it's a setup. Though it goes against all his instincts, Bosch takes the case. With the secret help of his former LAPD partner Lucia Soto, he turns the investigation inside the police department. But as Bosch gets closer to discovering the truth, he makes himself a target.

 
**********

 

It is always interesting reading the latest book in a series when one has previously only read one book before and in this case the very first book. And, since this is book 20, have I only a few books to tackle. However, it was absolutely no problem to read this book without having read the 18 books between the first and this one. On the contrary, it was very easy to get hooked and it took just one day to finish reading it, both because the book was so easy to read (and not so thick), and that the story was interesting.
 
Harry has now retired, a somewhat forced retirement. However, it does not seem that he will find time to tinkering with the motorcycle that has been waiting for him for a few decades. His half-brother needs help. A client of his is accused of murder and although it at first troubles Harry to help a defense lawyer is he soon caught up in the case. Especially when he discovers that something is not right. But, there are those who are not at all amused that Harry has started to investigate the murder...
 
I really liked the book, as I mentioned before it was very easy to read, not an overly complicated story and I like Harry and Mickey very much. I have for a long time had plans to continue reading the series since I liked the first book enough to wanting to know more, but I just have not had time for it. It was fun to read this book, I feel like I should take and prioritize Connelly and perhaps actually take the time and read the 18 books I missed.

Thanks to Norstedts for the review copy!
Review
3 Stars
Flickorna på Englandsbåten (The Girls on The England Boat) by Lone Theils (SWE/ENG)

 

SWEDISH REVIEW
 

Två danska flickor försvann spårlöst på en färja till England 1985. Många år senare dyker ett foto av dem upp i en gammal resväska i en second hand-butik i den lilla engelska kuststaden Brine.

Journalisten Nora Sand som arbetar i London för den danska tidningen Globalt börjar nysta i historien. Hon beger sig till Danmark för att undersöka flickornas brokiga bakgrund på en ungdomsinstitution. Snart dras hon in i ett fall med en ohygglig seriemördare som avtjänar ett livstidsstraff på det beryktade fängelset Wolf Hall. Samtidigt som hennes ungdomskärlek dyker upp oväntat i London gräver Nora så djupt i det gamla fallet att hon till sist får anledning att frukta för sitt liv.

 
**********
 

Cold Cases är något jag alltid finner spännande att läsa och jag tyckte om idén om att en journalist som finner ett foto på två flickor som försvann på en färja till England 1985. Nora Sand börjar undersöka saken och det dröjer inte länge fören hon finner att spåren leder till en seriemördare som sitter inspärrad på Wolf Hall. Kan det vara så att han ligger bakom flickornas försvinnande?

Flickorna på Englandsbåten var en intressant deckare, jag kom att tycka om Nora Sands, en rutinerad journalist som av en händelse snubblar över ett foto som kommer att påverka hennes liv rejält. Jag har alltid gillar läsa böcker där en person börjar nysta i ett försvinnande flera år innan och denna bok var inget undantag. Dock så fann jag att även om boken var intressant att läsa så var det inte direkt spännande. Det kändes som om den saknade något för att verkligen fånga mitt intresse.

 
Och jag tror att en orsak till att jag hade lite svårt med boken var Noras "relationsproblem" med hennes ungdomsvän Andreas. Deras "dans" genom boken störde mig, och jag mentalt rullade ögonen varenda gång Nora trånande tänkte på Andreas, eller som när han råkade se henne komma hem med en killkompis som hade druckit lite för mycket och blev svartsjuk och gick. Scenen när de var tvungen att dela säng pga av att en katt fick kattungar i hennes säng blev nästan för mycket för mig. Jag har absolut inget emot lite romantik i deckare. Men just ner det gällde Andreas och Nora så funkade det inte alls för mig.
 
När det gäller fallet, så även om jag kanske inte föll totalt för boken så räknade jag inte ut slutet förrän Nora låg riktigt risigt till och själv började inse att något var fel med en viss person. Jag hade inte alls förväntat mig det slutet måste jag erkänna.

Jag tyckte om poliserna på Scotland Yard och jag hoppas att uppföljande böcker kommer inkludera Nora involvera med dem i fler fall!
 
Tack till Norstedts för recensionexemplaret!
 

ENGLISH REVIEW

 
Two Danish girls disappeared without a trace on a ferry to England in 1985. Then, many years later a photo of them is found in an old suitcase in a second-hand shop in the small English seaside town Brine.

Journalist Nora Sand working in London for the Danish newspaper Global begins to unravel the story. She travels to Denmark to examine the girls' variegated background on a juvenile institution. Soon she is drawn into a case with a gruesome serial killer who is serving a life sentence at the notorious prison, Wolf Hall. At the same time, her boyfriend from when she was young shows up unexpectedly in London as Nora delves so deeply into the old case that she will have reason to fear for his life.
 
**********

Cold Case's is something I always find interesting to read, and I liked the idea of a journalist finding a photo of two girls who disappeared on a ferry to England in 1985. Nora Sand begins to investigate the matter and it will not be long before she finds that the tracks lead to a serial killer who is incarcerated at Wolf Hall. Could it be that he is behind the disappearance of the two danish girls?
 
"The girls on the England" boat was an interesting detective story, I came to like Nora Sands, an experienced journalist who accidentally stumble across a photo that will affect her life considerably. I always like to read books in which a person begins to unravel the disappearance of several years before and this book was no exception. However, I found that although the book interesting was it not exactly exciting to read. I felt like it was missing something to really catch my interest. 
 
And I think one reason that I had a little difficulty with the book was Nora's "relationship" with her childhood friend Andreas. Their "dance" through the book bore me, and I mentally rolled my eyes every time Nora wistfully thought about Andreas, or when he happened to see her come home with a male friend who had drunk a little too much and became jealous and went away angry. The scene where they had to share a bed because a cat had given birth to kittens in her bed was almost too much for me. I have absolutely nothing against a little romance in the novel. But, Andreas and Nora just didn't work out for me.
 
About the case, although I may not have totally fallen for the book did I not realize how it all fitted together before Nora was really in trouble and she herself started to realize that something was wrong with a particular person. I was not expecting that kind of ending, I must admit.
 
I liked the police at Scotland Yard, and I hope that the follow-up books will include Nora involved with them in more cases!

Thanks to Norstedts for the review copy!
Blog Tour: Fire Brand by Diana Palmer (excerpt +Giveaway)

 

About Fire Brand
Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: HQN Books (August 30, 2016)

He’ll risk his whole heart to save her from the past

Gaby Cane was always a bit afraid of her attraction to Bowie McCayde. Even when she was fifteen and Bowie’s family took her in, she had sensed his simmering resentment. Now ten years later, she’s an aspiring journalist who can hold her own with any man professionally, the dark shadows of years gone by far behind her. Then Bowie strides back into her life—only this time, he needs her, and the pull of loyalty to his family is too strong to ignore.

When Bowie asked Gaby to help save his family’s Arizona ranch, he never expected the girl he once knew to return transformed into a stunning, successful woman. As they work together, Bowie is shocked to find that her innocence and beauty stir a hunger he can’t deny. But the rogue rancher can sense something holding her back, and he’s determined to uncover the terrible secret Gaby is fighting to keep hidden…


Purchase Links



Read an excerpt from Fire Brand:

“Do you want my mouth on yours, Gaby?” he asked huskily, and his head started to bend. His gaze fell to her parted lips. “Do you want to feel me kissing you?”

“Oh… God,” she groaned, her legs going weak as the passionate need snapped in her. “Bowie…!”

She was reaching up to him, shaking with anticipation. And that was when the voice, stark and bleak, shattered the fever that was building in the pool house.

“Sẽnor Bowie!”

Bowie’s hands contracted sharply on Gaby’s arms, almost bruising. His eyes met hers, black with frustration and shocked fury. Then she was free and he was striding out into the hall.

“What is it, Montoya?” he asked in a steely but perfectly normal tone.

“Lunch is served, sẽnor,” Montoya called, grinning at the end of the hall. “Is Gaby with you?”

“She’s around somewhere. I’ll go hunt her up.” He paused, waiting until Montoya disappeared back into the dining room before he turned and motioned to Gaby.

She walked out into the hall on shaky legs, avoiding his eyes. But he didn’t move and she cannoned into him.

“It’s only a reprieve,” he said quietly, holding her wide eyes. His face was hard and his expression dogged. “I’m going to have that kiss. I’m going to take the breath out of your body and the strength out of your arms, and you’re going to want me like hell. That’s a promise.”

He slid his hand into hers and pulled her along with him toward the dining room, his profile intimidating. His fingers contracted and he glanced down. “Don’t start looking for excuses, either,” he added. “You and I aren’t related in any way. We can hold hands, we can go on dates. We can even make love. There aren’t any barriers.”

Her breath felt shaky. “That’s what you think,” she said under her breath.

“I’ll get past those hangups, honey,” he mused. “I’m not a rounder by any stretch of the imagination, but I know very well what to do with a woman. I won’t hurt you—not ever.”

 

About Diana Palmer

The prolific author of more than one hundred books, Diana Palmer got her start as a newspaper reporter. A New York Times bestselling author and voted one of the top ten romance writers in America, she has a gift for telling the most sensual tales with charm and humor. Diana lives with her family in Cornelia, Georgia.

Connect with Diana
 
 
Diana Palmer’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
 
Monday, August 8th: From the TBR Pile – excerpt
 
Tuesday, August 9th: A Chick Who Reads
 
Thursday, August 11th: A Holland Reads – excerpt
 
Friday, August 12th: A Splendid Messy Life
 
Monday, August 15th: The Sassy Bookster – excerpt
 
Tuesday, August 16th: Reading Reality
 
Thursday, August 18th: Books a la Mode – excerpt
 
Friday, August 19th: A Bookaholic Swede – excerpt
 
Monday, August 22nd: Moonlight Rendezvous
 
Tuesday, August 23rd: Mignon Mykel Reviews
 
Wednesday, August 24th: Bewitched Bookworms
 
Thursday, August 25th: Dog-Eared Daydreams
 
 
Monday, August 29th: Worth Getting in Bed For
 
Tuesday, August 30th: Becky on Books
 
Wednesday, August 31st: Diary of a Stay at Home Mom
 
Thursday, September 1st: Buried Under Romance
 
 
Monday, September 5th: Stranded in Chaos
 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Review
4 Stars
The Curse of the Wendigo by Rick Yancey (SWE/ENG)
The Curse of the Wendigo (Monstrumologist) - Rick Yancey

SWEDISH REVIEW

 

Sent på kvällen dyker en kvinna upp hemma hos Monstrumologen. Hon bönar och ber doktorn om hjälp. Hennes make John Chanler är spårlöst försvunnen i den kanadensiska vildmarken, dit han begett sig på jakt efter en mytomspunnen, fruktad, livsfarlig varelse: Wendigon.

Doktor Warthrop anser att Wendigons förbannelse är ren vidskeplighet, men han och Will Henry beger sig ändå ut i marker- na för att leta efter doktorns försvunne vän.

Och även om de är så säkra på sin sak beträffande Wendigon-myten, ställs de snart inför frågan: Vad är det som härjar i dessa skogar? Och vad har John Chanler egentligen råkat ut för?

Wendigons förbannelse är den andra boken i den hylladeMonstrumologen-serien, som kombinerar H. P. Lovecrafts viktorianska skräckteman med Rick Riordans berättarförmåga

**********
 

Med står förtjusning gav jag mig i kast att läsa Wendigons förbannelse, uppföljaren till Monstrumologen som jag läste några månader sedan. Jag älskar att läsa gotisk skräck och denna serie har blivit en favorit för min del och jag var nyfiken på vad Doktor Warthrop och Will Henry skulle utsättas för denna gång?

I första boken fick vi lärt känna Doktor Warthrop och Will Henry, deras bakgrundshistoria, varför Will bor och arbetar för Doktor Warthrop. I Wendigons förbannels får vi reda mer om Doktor Warthrop förflutna och jag måste erkänna att jag var förbluffad hur tragiskt hans förflutna är. Just att man fick lära känna honom mer gjorde också at jag kände mer för honom och hans kamp i denna bok at rädda en gammal vän mer akut. Som vanligt lyckas Rick Yancey blanda in skräckelement på ett bra sätt i boken. Jag kände dock inte samma obehag som när jag läste första boken, dock så fanns det en och annan obehaglig scen.

Jag tycker att Wendigons förbannels är en fantastisk bok, så otroligt bra och vackert skriven. Yancey har en förmågan att skriva så att jag kan stanna upp mitt i berättelsen bara för att läsa om en vackert skriven mening. Yancey förmågan att skriva tillsammans med fantasin att komma på en sådan fantastisk historia gör boken så otroligt bra.

Nu vill jag bara säga en sak: Läs denna och den föregående boken. Du kommer inte ångra dig!


Tack till Modernista för recensionsexemplaret!



ENGLISH REVIEW


While attempting to disprove that Homo vampiris, the vampire, could exist, Dr. Warthrop is asked by his former fiancé to rescue her husband from the Wendigo, a creature that starves even as it gorges itself on human flesh, and which has snatched him in the Canadian wilderness. Although Warthrop also considers the Wendigo to be fictitious, he relents and rescues her husband from death and starvation, and then sees the man transform into a Wendigo.


Can the doctor and Will Henry hunt down the ultimate predator, who, like the legendary vampire, is neither living nor dead, whose hunger for human flesh is never satisfied?

This second book in The Monstrumologist series explores the line between myth and reality, love and hate, genius and madness.
 

**********

It was with great delight that I started to read The Curse of the Wendigo, the sequel to Monstrumologist that I read a few months ago. I love to read Gothic horror and this series has become a favorite for me and I was curious to find out what Dr. Warthrop and Will Henry would face this time?

The first book introduced to Dr. Warthrop and Will Henry and we got to learn the basic fact about them, their background history, why Will live and work for Doctor Warthrop. In The Curse of the Wendigo, we learn more about Dr. Warthrop's past and I have to admit I was taken aback by how tragic his past is. I found that getting to know him more also made at I felt more for him and his struggle in this book to save an old friend acuter. As usual, Rick Yancey's manage to add in horror elements in a good way in the book. However, I didn't feel the same discomfort as when I read the first book, but there was the occasional unpleasant scene.

I think The Curse of the Wendigo is an amazing book, so incredibly good and beautifully written. Yancey has an ability to write so that I suddenly have to take a pause up in the middle of the story just to re-read a beautifully written sentence. Yancey ability to write, together with imagination to come up with such a great story makes the book so incredibly good.

Now I just want to say one thing: Read this and the previous book. Yo
Review
4 Stars
Blog Tour: Saving Sophie by Sam Carrington
Saving Sophie: A gripping psychological thriller with a brilliant twist - Sam Carrington

A teenage girl is missing. Is your daughter involved, or is she next?

Your daughter is in danger. But can you trust her?

When Karen Finch’s seventeen-year-old daughter Sophie arrives home after a night out, drunk and accompanied by police officers, no one is smiling the morning after. But Sophie remembers nothing about how she got into such a state.

Twelve hours later, Sophie’s friend Amy has still not returned home. Then the body of a young woman is found.

Karen is sure that Sophie knows more than she is letting on. But Karen has her own demons to fight. She struggles to go beyond her own door without a panic attack.

As she becomes convinced that Sophie is not only involved but also in danger, Karen must confront her own anxieties to stop whoever killed one young girl moving on to another – Sophie.

A taut psychological thriller, perfect for fans of The Girl on the Train and I Let You Go.

**********
 
The description and the cover made me eager to participate in this blog tour. If it is one genre I love is a psychological thriller, especially one where everyone acts suspiciously. And, Saving Sophie definitely has many suspicious characters and a story that just keeps getting darker as the story progress. The Finch's family is still reeling from a traumatic event from two years prior which left Sophie's mother Karen unable to leave the house without having a panic attack. And, how can she help her daughter when she can't even leave the house? Sophie herself is trying to figure out what really happened the night she can't remember, could it be that she is in danger or is she in any way involved with the death of another young girl? 
 
I love books with short intensive chapters that make you just read one more chapter, and then one more and suddenly you have finished half the book. Saving Sophie is a very good, engrossing thriller and I love the feeling of not knowing what's going on and I did suspect pretty much everyone in this book, well except Karen, despite the feeling that she may have some secrets herself. 
 
I liked the different POV throughout the book. For instance, besides Karen and Sophie, we also got to follow the cops that are working on the dead girl's case. They do, however, not have a very central role in this book. It's really Karen and Sophie's story. I felt some frustration with Sophie, that she kept so much to herself. But, she is just seventeen so keeping things from her parents are not really that surprising. And, I got a feeling that they have a problem communicating with each other in the Finch family. 
 
The ending surprised me, it was way darker than I was expecting. It's perhaps bad to like depressing and dark endings, but I like books that dare to take a step of the road and show that not everything will end well.

Read an excerpt from the book
 
CHAPTER ONE
 
Karen

The dog’s barking alerted her to the late-night visitors before the doorbell sounded.

Muffled voices drifted in as Mike opened the front door. Then another voice boomed out. Karen jumped up from the sofa, grabbed the dog and ran out into the hallway. She wasn’t expecting the sight that greeted her.

Wedged between two police officers was a bedraggled mess of a girl.

Sophie.

‘What’s happened?’ She rushed forward, dropping Bailey to the floor. The barking turned to growling; she ignored it, her attention fully on her daughter. Tears had left tracks down her over-made-up face, her lipstick had bled and feathered, spreading red beyond her mouth.

‘She’s not in any trouble, we had a duty of care to bring her home.’ Talking continued, but now in full panic mode, Karen switched off. What on earth has happened to her?

Sophie suddenly looked younger than her seventeen years; her little girl, barely able to stand, leaning against the porch wall as she attempted to move her mouth and produce coherent words. She failed.

Karen heard snippets of what the officers were saying as she fussed over Sophie – ‘. . . found wandering on her own along the main road in town . . .’ She dabbed at Sophie’s damp face with the cuff of her sleeve, ‘. . . all dressed in black . . . not safe . . .’ She took Sophie by the arms and looked into her black, wide-pupilled eyes. How much has she drunk?

The three of them remained standing in the porch, the door flung open – the police officers, tall, official, on the threshold. The neighbours’ curtains twitched. With shaking hands, Karen attempted to steady Sophie, whose black patent high heels slipped on the tiled floor. She didn’t look at Mike, only vaguely aware of him thanking the officers.

‘Why were you on your own?’ Karen shouted. ‘Have they left you again?’ She didn’t care about the police officers, the neigh­bours, or Mike’s warning words coming at her from her left; they were a blur.

Sophie stared blankly ahead, her eyes unfamiliar. The bright blue, lively eyes Karen knew so well were dark; void of emotion. Empty of anything. But a mother could see the scared young girl behind them.

This wasn’t the fall out of too much alcohol.

With the police officers gone, shocked voices erupted in the privacy of the living room.

‘What do you think you were doing, Sophie?’ Mike shouted, inches from her pale face. ‘You stink of alcohol.’ He recoiled.

‘I don’t know what she was doing . . .’ Sophie looked up, her eyes fighting to focus.

‘What who was doing, love?’ Karen crouched beside Sophie, her words calmer now, softer than those spewing from Mike’s mouth.

‘I don’t know who she is.’ Her speech clumsy; the syllables trip­ping from her lips didn’t appear to be linked with the form her mouth was taking. ‘How do I know why Amy wanted to be Amy?’

‘Have you taken something, Sophie?’ Mike moved forwards again, grabbing her by the arm, forcing her into a sitting position on the sagging, cream sofa.

‘No. No . . .’

‘Mike! She’s too drunk to know what you’re even saying.’ Karen searched his face for that hint of a memory, knowing they had both, in their time, been in a similar state. All teenagers got drunk, didn’t they?

‘So that makes it all right, does it? Karen – look at her. It’s ten thirty, she’s only been out of the house since six.’ He stood and paced the room. Then he slumped on the two-seater sofa opposite, rubbing at his face, running both hands roughly through his greying hair. ‘Anything could’ve happened to you, anything. Do you understand, Sophie?’ His words spat out, his face contorted – an ugly expression, one Karen had observed before.

The laughter came out in short bursts. Unnatural. Not Sophie’s light, contagious laugh: this one sinister, unnerving.

‘You think this is funny?’ Mike got to his feet, launching towards Sophie – half sitting, half hunching, her head lolled, practically on her chest, as if it were too heavy to keep upright. Perched on the edge of the sofa, it would only take one more forward motion and she’d be on the floor.

‘Please.’ Karen thrust the palm of her hand towards him. With her eyes narrowed, she willed him to leave the room; she wanted to deal with this in the way she thought best and his anger was a hindrance. She dragged her gaze from his. ‘Sophie, love, were you with Amy?’

‘What does it matter she wanted to be Amy?’ More of the same spilled from her. It was pointless; getting any sense from her seemed unlikely.

Karen took deep breaths to try to control the anger germinating deep in her gut. Sophie’s friends had clearly left her. It wasn’t the first time either – only three months ago Mike had been dragged out of bed to pick Sophie up at midnight because she’d been stranded in Torquay with no money when her so-called friends had gone off. The usual ‘it’s just teenagers these days’ didn’t wash, it was plain selfish – left it wide open for things like this to happen.

‘I need the loo.’ Sophie propelled herself forwards. ‘I need a wee,’ she drawled.

‘I’ll take you.’ Karen supported her, one arm around her waist, the other outstretched to aid her own balance as they made their way towards the downstairs cloakroom. They looked like a pair of children tied together, about to take part in the three-legged race. Mike, red-faced, strode the length of the lounge and back.

Karen waited outside the door with her head leant against it. This was going to be a long night. She heard the flush, then a clatter inside.

‘You all right, Sophie?’

More giggling, then Sophie emerged, half sliding, half falling through the door. Together they made their way back to the lounge. Back to Mike, still pacing big angry strides.

‘I need to get her to bed.’

‘You don’t say.’ He averted his eyes from them.

Karen manoeuvred Sophie to face the stairs.

‘Can you get her a glass of water, please?’

Mike huffed, before disappearing into the kitchen. Karen took Sophie up the stairs, struggling to keep control of the rubbery body; the laughing-one-minute, crying-the-next girl who, only a few hours ago, had left the house looking smart and beautiful in her new black dress. Karen scrunched up her eyes. She couldn’t cry now. Not yet. This wasn’t her Sophie. Not the Sophie who looked after her friends: picked them up when they fell, let them cry on her shoulder, took them home if they were drunk.

Why had they left her in this state? Or had Sophie left them? And she’d been rattling on about Amy; she’d seemed distressed about her. Karen’s chest tightened.

Where was Amy?
 
 
Interview with B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree Mary Flinn

I’d like to welcome B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree Mary Flinn to A Bookaholic Swede to talk with me about her story, A Girl Like That

A native of North Carolina, award-winning author Mary Flinn long ago fell in love with her state’s mountains and its coast, creating the backdrops for her series of novels, The One, Second Time’s a Charm, Three Gifts, and A Forever Man. With degrees from both the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and East Carolina University, Flinn retired in 2013 from her first career as a speech pathologist in the N.C. public schools. Writing novels was always a dream for Flinn, who began crafting the pages of The One when her younger daughter left for college at Appalachian State University in 2009. The characters in this book have continued to call to her, wanting more of their stories told, which bred the next three books in the series. A follow-up story to one of the series’ characters everyone loves to hate, was released in May, 2015 and is titleInterview with B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree Mary Flinnd, A Girl Like That.

 

Flinn is the recipient of the Reader Views Literary Awards 2012 Reviewers’ Choice honorable mention in the romance category for A Forever Man. The First Place Award for Romance Novel in the Reader Views 2011 contest went to Three Gifts, which also won the Pacific Book Review Best Romance Novel. Second Time’s a Charm, also released in 2011, won an Honorable Mention in the Reader Views Reviewers’ Choice Awards. In addition to romance, Flinn writes contemporary women’s fiction, including B.R.A.G. Medallion winner The Nest, and Breaking Out, which is set in a fictional town in South Carolina. Her 2015 release, A Girl Like That has won an honorable mention in the 2015-16 Reader Views Literary Book Award contest in the general fiction category, as well as a B.R.A.G. Medallion honor. Mary Flinn lives in Summerfield, North Carolina with her husband. They have two adult daughters. For more information, please visit www.TheOneNovel.com.

How did you discover indieBRAG?



I have won another B.R.A.G. Medallion for my 2013 release,The Nest. I heard about indieBRAG from a fellow author, Laura Wharton, who is also a multiple BRAG honoree.
 
Would you please tell me about your book A Girl Like That, what's it about?

Elle McLarin was a character who made her dirty debut in my first novel, The One, but it doesn’t matter; her story is so different that A Girl Like That is a stand-alone. Elle committed a crime in high school—slipping hunk Kyle Davis a roofie at a party with the intent of getting lucky— and spent a year in the NC Women’s prison for it when all her high school acquaintances were off to their freshman years in college. Nineteen years later, she’s starting over, moving to coastal Wilmington where she opens a bakery called Bake My Day, and telling her side of the story. The whole story is driven by her comical inner dialogue between Good Elle and Bad Elle. She finally starts to do what Good Elle should do and magic things begin to happen—until someone discovers who she is….

I think Elle McLarin sounds like a fabulous character. Can you tell me more her?

Elle was the mean girl in high school, known as Badass Barbie to her detractors. She did awful things like stalking football hunk Kyle on Facebook and bullying his girlfriend Chelsea, while mesmerizing all the boys with her wiles and ways. She snaked a boy, Aiden, away from one of her best friends and got pregnant with his baby.

It must have been tough for her growing up, her mother leaving her with her grandparents. What about her father?

Elle’s mother was a teenager herself, and named her daughter after the fashion magazine called Elle. Elle never knew her father; he died in a methamphetamine lab explosion before or around the time she was born. She was never quite sure. Her grandparents took her in when Elle was five, when she lived in a trailer park, while being abandoned when her mother went on a shopping trip and never came back.

If I understand it correctly did she raise her son alone? What happened with his father?

Joey was born when Elle was in prison. Aiden, Joey’s father, along with her grandmother, convinced Elle to keep the baby and they raised Joey between all of them. Elle and Aide never married or lived together; it was mostly Elle and her grandparents who cared for Joey, but Aiden was always in the picture, especially when Joey became an angry teenager and had little patience for Elle and her string of male “friends."

I just love reading books with stories set in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Is there a reason you picked Wilmington and Valle Cruices for the setting for of the book? 

Valle Crucis, where Elle was raised, is one of my favorite places in the world. She had to leave the mountains where no one liked her anyway, and Marcus, a friend of hers readers meet in A Forever Man, is able to connect her with a situation in which she can start over fresh, with a friend of his in Wilmington. Elle has never been anywhere outside of her community so leaving the only home she knows to start over is a real stretch for her, but she feels she has to make a break for her freedom. I love Wilmington too, and it seemed to be the right place for Elle to start over. I would go there too, if I needed a new start.

This is a stand-alone book and Elle McLarin has made appearances in your first novel The One and the next two books in the series. Did you always plan to write about Elle McLarin or did it just happen?

My editor, Tyler Tichelaar, loved Elle’s character from the other books. She plays an important role in The One, and makes surprise villainous cameo appearances in Three Gifts and A Forever Man. My editor was always so thrilled whenever she reappeared, that he encouraged me to write her story—in the first person. So I did. Writing in the first person point of view gives such immediacy of thought to a character and reveals so much of his/her personality—as he or she feels like revealing at the time, and in Elle’s case, the inner dialogue idea worked its magic throughout the story. She hates the color orange, which reminds her of her prison jumpsuit, and it seems to permeate every aspect of her life as she moves through the story. I was reluctant to try writing Elle’s character, because I thought I wasn’t a mean girl like Elle, but I discovered my mean side, too. I just choose to tamp it down—successfully for the most part—so it was easy and a whole lot of fun to let it rip with Elle. Her character has a lot of depth and it was challenging to dig deep to get at what drove her and to find a way for her to claw her way out of her past.

Will there be more books about Elle McLarin, or is this the only book you're going to write about her?

Maybe. That’s all I can say for now. Another book set in Wilmington may be on the horizon.

Did it take a long time for you to write the book?

After the research began, it took about a year to complete the project, but I’d been planning it in my head for much longer than that.

How did you come up with the title for your book? 

Elle was just one of those mean girls we all know, just a girl like that. It came about naturally in the dialogue in the book. I went through about 25 titles before I stumbled onto it in the course of writing her story.
 

Who designed your book cover?

 
I dreamed up the idea of the photo and took it of my daughter at Wrightsville Beach, NC, just outside of Wilmington. My graphic designer, Shiloh Schroeder, of Fusion Creative Works, did her magic with the cover.
 
We are delighted that Magdalena has chosen to interview Mary Flinn who is the author of, A Girl Like That, our medallion honoree at indieBRAG. To be awarded a B.R.A.G. Medallion ®, a book must receive unanimous approval by a group of our readers. It is a daunting hurdle and it serves to reaffirm that a book such as, A Girl Like That, merits the investment of a reader’s time and money.
Cover Crush: The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence: A Story of Botticelli by Alyssa Palombo
 


 
Erin over at Flashlight Commentary is the one that came up with the cover crush idea and I loved it so much that I decided that every Thursday would I post a cover that I really love. 

***********

I didn't know what to pick this week, so I decided to browse Edelweiss for a beautiful cover and my eyes caught this cover. Personally, I love it when two images manage to blend in a beautiful way that makes it look like a work of art. And, The Most Beautiful Woman in Florence, with Simonetta Cattaneo and the city of Florence manage that perfectly! 
 

A compelling historical novel of artist Sandro Botticelli and Simonetta Vespucci, his beautiful but married muse for “The Birth of Venus.”

A girl as beautiful as Simonetta Cattaneo never wants for marriage proposals in 15th Century Italy, but she jumps at the chance to marry Marco Vespucci. Marco is young, handsome and well-educated. Not to mention he is one of the powerful Medici family’s favored circle.

Even before her marriage with Marco is set, Simonetta is swept up into Lorenzo and Giuliano de’ Medici’s glittering circle of politicians, poets, artists, and philosophers. The men of Florence—most notably the rakish Giuliano de’ Medici—become enthralled with her beauty. That she is educated and an ardent reader of poetry makes her more desirable and fashionable still. But it is her acquaintance with a young painter, Sandro Botticelli, which strikes her heart most. Botticelli immediately invites Simonetta, newly proclaimed the most beautiful woman in Florence, to pose for him. As Simonetta learns to navigate her marriage, her place in Florentine society, and the politics of beauty and desire, she and Botticelli develop a passionate intimacy, one that leads to her immortalization in his masterpiece, The Birth of Venus.

 
 
 
***********
Check out this week's cover crush over at 
Flashlight Commentary
2 Kids and Tired Books
Layered Pages 
The Maidens Court
Review
2 Stars
Sting by Sandra Brown
Sting - Sandra Brown

When Jordie Bennet and Shaw Kinnard lock eyes across a disreputable backwater bar, something definitely sparks. Shaw gives off a dangerous vibe that makes men wary and inspires women to sit up and take notice. None feel that undercurrent more strongly than savvy businesswoman Jordie, who doesn't belong in a seedy dive on the banks of a bayou. But here she is . . . and Shaw Kinnard is here to kill her.

 
**********

This is a book that I needed to take a couple of days to ponder about before I wrote the review so that I could clarify why it just didn't work for me. Sting is the second Sandra Brown book I have read in my life, actually this is the first book I managed to finish. I read one last year, or tried, but I could not finish it. And, that's because the plot was so infuriating and I just couldn't stand the characters. This book was better, marginally. Well, I did manage to finish it at least and it seemed promising in the beginning and it was not bad during the first 100 pages or so when the reader was left in the dark about much of what was going on.
 
Then everything just went south. I had a feeling that this book would turn out to be a Stockholm syndrome kind of book, but I felt that Sandra Brown took the easy way, instead of making the story dark and twisted. It's hard to write about this the books (first) real BIG twist without revealing too much. Just let me say that Brown took the easy road and made everything less complicated and suddenly what was promising turns out to be a story perfect for a Hallmark movie instead!
 
And, after that, I had a pretty hard time enjoying the book. I felt like I was reading a Nora Roberts book and if you know me, then you know what's not a good comparison. Like with Roberts book's, this one started off good then suddenly the suspense turns into romance, and the plot goes on and one again until the HEA ending. Of course, at the ending Sandra Brown throws in another twist, but by then nothing really could save the book for me. Especially since I have already gotten sick and tired of the main characters that were very flat.       
 
So, if the plot had stayed on track, and turned dark and twisted and if the characters had not turned out to be uninteresting and flat, then I might have enjoyed the book.

I want to thank Grand Central Publishing for providing me with a free copy for an honest review!
Sting by Sandra Brown (US/Canada)
Review
4.5 Stars
Ghostly Echoes by William Ritter
Ghostly Echoes: A Jackaby Novel - William Ritter

Jenny Cavanaugh, the ghostly lady of 926 Augur Lane, has enlisted the investigative services of her fellow residents to solve a decade-old murder—her own. Abigail Rook and her eccentric employer, Detective R. F. Jackaby, dive into the cold case, starting with a search for Jenny’s fiancé, who went missing the night she died. But when a new, gruesome murder closely mirrors the events of ten years prior, Abigail and Jackaby realize that Jenny’s case isn’t so cold after all, and her killer may be far more dangerous than they suspected.

Fantasy and folklore mix with mad science as Abigail’s race to unravel the mystery leads her across the cold cobblestones of nineteenth-century New England, down to the mythical underworld, and deep into her colleagues’ grim histories to battle the most deadly foe she has ever faced

**********
 
I think that the Jackaby series is one of the best YA series ever! And, I'm not a big fan of YA. It's just not a genre I read much from. But Jackaby is a brilliant series and the latest book, Ghostly Echoes is just like the previous two books absolutely great. I like that this book finally deals with the Jenny Cavanaugh mystery, something I have been waiting for since the first book. I like how in each book you learn more about the characters and the strange creatures in it that most people don't know about. Unlike Jackaby that has the ability to see them, and here we finally get an explanation for it. How his "gift" came to be. 
 
I loved reading this book. I find the characters are beautifully written with depth and the story is imaginative. And, I also love how funny and thrilling it is to read. If I had to recommend one YA series to someone that wanted something adventures and funny would I chose this one. It's a great book and I can't wait to see what the future have in store for jackable, Abigail, and Jenny.
 
I want to thank Algonquin for providing me with a free copy for an honest review!
Review
3 Stars
Stallo by Stefan Spjut
Stallo - Stefan Spjut

1978. A young boy disappears without trace from a cabin in the woods. His mother claims that he was abducted by a giant. The boy is never found. The previous year, over in a Swedish National Park, a wildlife photographer takes a strange picture from his small airplane, of a bear running over the marshes. On its back sits a creature, which the photographer claims is something extraordinary.

25 years later, and back in Laponia, Susso runs a much-maligned web page, one dedicated to searching for creatures whose existence have not yet been proven: the Yeti, the Loch Ness Monster, Big Foot. But Susso has her own obsession, one inherited from her grandfather, the well-known wildlife photographer. When an old woman claims that a small creature has been standing outside her house, observing her and her five year old grandson for hours, Susso picks up her camera and leaves for what will become a terrifying adventure.

 
**********


Stallo is a large human-like creature in the Sami folklore and since the book is about giants that kidnap children is the title quite logical. I listen to this book while working and since it's 600 page long was the book around 25 hours long to listen to. However, by accelerating the speed to max did I manage to finish it a bit faster. And, I had a pretty good reason to wanting to speed up the story. I have never before had the speed to max before, but it was the only way for me to finish the book. Not that it was bad. The story in itself was good. However, it could have easily been cut down around 200-300 page by just taking away all the tedious uninteresting stuff that had no bearing on the story. I mean as much as I like board games am I not that interested in listening to how some of the characters playing one on Christmas day. Or, when Susso at work etc. If I had read the book would I have skimmed a lot, unfortunately, I had to listen to most of it. It was just the last 100 pages or so that I read and that I was thankful for since I could finish the book quite fast.


As for the story, I found it intriguing, and I liked how the author manages to connect the story to John Bauer and Sven Jerring. And, the whole Stallo thing with the kidnapping of children reminded me of the  tv-series Jordskott and it was one of the reasons why I wanted to read this book. I liked this book, I just didn't love this book and that's because the story would have needed to trim down a bit and making it more flowing. And, it's too bad since I liked finding a Swedish paranormal book about giants.
 
So, all and all, not a perfect book, but still interesting to read. I do recommend reading it, and not listening to it since you can skim the less interesting parts. 
Review
4 Stars
A Rip in the Veil by Anna Belfrage
A Rip in the Veil (Graham Saga) - Anna Belfrage

A Rip in the Veil is the first book in The Graham Saga, Anna Belfrage's time slip series featuring time traveller Alexandra Lind and her seventeenth century husband, Matthew Graham.

On a muggy August day in 2002 Alexandra Lind is inexplicably thrown several centuries backwards in time to 1658. Life will never be the same for Alex. Alex lands at the feet of Matthew Graham - an escaped convict making his way home to Scotland. She gawks at this tall gaunt man with hazel eyes, dressed in what looks like rags. At first she thinks he might be some sort of hermit, an oddball, but she quickly realises that she is the odd one out, not him. Catapulted from a life of modern comfort, Alex grapples with her frightening new existence. Potential compensation for this brutal shift in fate comes in the shape of Matthew - a man she should never have met, not when she was born three centuries after him. But Matthew comes with baggage of his own, and at times it seems his past will see them killed. How will she ever get back? And more importantly, does she want to?

 
*********
 
I think that the idea of time travel is one of the most interesting ideas when it comes to books. I mean going back in time and having to experience a time you only have read about in history books are tantalizing. And, Anna Belfrage has with A Rip in the Veil portrait it very well. So well that I'm not sure I would like to travel back in time, even if that means meeting a hot Scotsman. It's a very rough time and let's face it, women in the seventeenth century are nothing more than a property of either their father or their husband. Alex Lind was lucky meeting Matthew Graham since he isn't that bad, but still, he is a seventeenth-century man with the opinions from that time. And Alex, well she isn't really used to the life at that time. So, there are some clashes between them.

What really fascinated me with this book was actually Alex mother Mercedes and her story. I was curious to how she came to disappear some years before Alex herself disappeared and then I learned the truth about how and why and I was engrossed. I'm of the opinion that the less you know about a story the better so I will just leave it there. I just want to say that the twist to the story, the revelation about Mercedes, well I loved that.

The whole time travel thing, how Alex could travel back in time is connected to Mercedes so I can't say too much about that either. However, I liked how it was done, it was a great way of explaining how someone could travel back in time.

As I wrote before this book got me thinking that travel back in time is perhaps not the best idea. Not even meeting a Scotsman that looks like David Tennant or Douglas Henshall. Alex may find herself drawn to Matthew, but the loss of her "future" family is hard on her and having to adjust to her new life is not easy. Personally, the thing that made me shiver with horror was the fact how few books you could read if you even could read.

A Rip in the Veil is the first in The Graham Saga and I quite enjoyed reading the book. I especially liked that Belfrage didn't try to glamorize the past. Matthew and Alex had to tackle some serious problem and life was not always that great...
Follow Free counters!
France Book Tours
 photo badge_proreader.png  photo badge_top_reviewer.png Challenge Participant 80%