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The Secret by Katerina Diamond

The Secret - Katerina Diamond

The Queen of Grip-lit is back…

‘A terrific story, originally told. All hail the new Queen of Crime!’ HEAT

‘A web of a plot that twists and turns and keeps the reader on the edge of their seat. This formidable debut is a page-turner, but don’t read it before bed if you’re easily spooked!’ SUN

EVERYTHING YOU THINK YOU KNOW IS A LIE…

Can you keep a secret? Your life depends on it…

Bridget Reid has a secret, one that could get her killed… If she can escape the man who is keeping her locked in a basement bedroom.

DS Imogen Grey is good at keeping secrets – truths she’d never reveal to her colleagues at Exeter Police. She worked hard to get where she is – she nearly died for it. Now her past is catching up with her…

As DS Grey and her partner DS Adrian Miles search for Bridget, they uncover a terrifying web of abuse, betrayal and murder. And they realise that some secrets are better left buried

 

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I haven't read The Teacher by Katerina Diamond (yet), but this book was so tempting that I just couldn't resist agreeing to do a blog tour for the book. And, the beginning of the book was really captivating, and it was frustrating having to work when I wanted to read. However, I started to have some problem with the story as it progressed. The dialog felt terse and a bit contrived now and then. And, it bothered me because I found the story to be interesting.

 

We have three storylines in the book; the present time, what happened two years prior and we also have a single individual's life story as he "tells" the reader things about his childhood. It was with this life retelling that I really started to feel that the dialog was not working for me. It was very terse and jagged to read, and lacking finesse.

 

However, I was curious to what was going on with DS Imogen Gray (however I did see her big secret a mile away) and what linked the past story with the present. Then, something happened that really made me extremely frustrated. This may be a bit of a spoiler, but I need to put it here to show why I just couldn't give the book a higher rating. The parents to a missing girl went to prison for her murder. And, it just stunned me because how on earth can anyone go to prison for murder when there isn't a body or no proof for it to be murder? Sure, one can be declared dead after a couple of years. But, as far as I know you can't send someone to prison just because "they seem guilty". This bothered me quite a lot, I spent the next day at work fretting about it. And, that together with the dialog issues made it hard for me to truly enjoy the book.

 

However, I will say this, I found the story most of the time to be engaging. It did feel a bit over the top sometimes. Nevertheless, it was not boring to read. Sure, Imogen's  problem with the men around her feel a bit like cheesy, like straight from a soap opera, but it was entertaining. And, if I hadn't been so annoyed with the whole prison thing (and some other things, but can't spoiler the book too much) and if the dialog had felt a bit more smooth, then I would have enjoyed the book a whole lot more. I do plan to read The Teacher and hopefully, it will work better for me.

 

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

The Greatcoat by Helen Dunmore

The Greatcoat - Helen Dunmore

A terrifyingly atmospheric ghost story by the Orange-prize-winning Helen Dunmore.

In the summer of 1954, newly wed Isabel Carey arrives in a Yorkshire town with her husband Philip. As a GP he spends much of his time working, while Isabel tries hard to adjust to the realities of married life. Life is not easy: she feels out-of-place and constantly judged by the people around her, so she spends much of her time alone.

One cold winter night, Isabel finds an old RAF greatcoat in the back of a cupboard that she uses to help keep warm. Once wrapped in the coat she is beset by dreams. And not long afterwards, while her husband is out, she is startled to hear a knock at her window, and to meet for the first time the intense gaze of a young Air Force pilot, handsome, blond and blue-eyed, staring in at her from outside.

His name is Alec, and his powerfully haunting presence both disturbs and excites Isabel. Her initial alarm soon fades, and they begin a delicious affair. But nothing could have prepared her for the truth about Alec's life, nor the impact it will have on her own marriage.

 
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To be honest, the cover probably is the thing that got me to buy the book. Sure, the blurb about a time slip, an RAF ghost, and a mystery did help, but I can't help it, I absolutely love that cover. So, it is with a bit of a heavy heart that I write this review. It's not like the book is bad, it's just not so fantastic that I hoped it to be.

I did like the story, I just did not love it. I found the premise of the story intriguing and it started off good. But, looking back to reading the book do I have to admit that I did not really fall for the story. I wonder if it had been better if it had been more to the story. It's not a thick book, it just takes a couple of hours to read the book. So, everything moved forward rather quickly, getting to know Isabel and the rest of the characters, meeting the ghost, learning the truth and then the end. And, sure, it's a tragic truth, but I never really got to know Alec, and I thought that was a miss. It would have been wonderful to have learned more about him through flashbacks. Rather than just the first chapter and then through ghostly recollections. I wanted to be moved by the book, but that never happened.

It's a so-so book. I liked it, but if feels like it had potential that never was achieved.

Property of a Lady by Sarah Rayne

Property of a Lady - Sarah Rayne

A house with a sinister past – and a grisly power - When Michael Flint is asked by American friends to look over an old Shropshire house they have unexpectedly inherited, he is reluctant to leave the quiet of his Oxford study. But when he sees Charect House, its uncanny echoes from the past fascinate him – even though it has such a sinister reputation that no one has lived there for almost a century. But it’s not until Michael meets the young widow, Nell West, that the menace within the house wakes....


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A reviewer on Goodreads wondered if there is a cozy horror genre because that's what he/she thought that this book was. And, the funny thing is that was my actual thought about it too before I saw the review. And, no I don't think there is a cozy horror genre, however, cozy paranormal feel more appropriate. This is not horror, if you are frighted about this book, then well, you should not read real horror books. It's an interesting paranormal book that turns into a romantic paranormal novel, which didn't surprise me a bit when that happened. Luckily, the main characters, Michael Flint and Nell West did not spend too much time lusting after each other, and their "courtship" was not annoying.

However, the story feels a bit lackluster. It's alright to read, but it never gets terribly exciting or engrossing. Part of me is sometimes amazed how "suddenly" diaries and secret papers just happen to be found by the right people so fast when no one else has discovered them. Yes, I'm a born cynical. Sometimes it's believable, and sometimes, not so. In Property of a Lady, well I can take it because the place has been uninhabited so long, and the clock, well it's been away from the house as well for a long time. So that at least did not annoy me. Thankfully. 
 
The story about the "ghost" is actually quite tragic, more tragical than horrifying. I was a bit surprised by the turn towards the end of the book, it was a nice twist. It's an OK book, not especially memorable, but if you like a cozy paranormal book is it not so bad. 

Would I read more books in the series? Yes I would, it was not a bad book, I was not bored. However, I hope the stories get better, and perhaps even a bit more horrifying?

Mannen som lekte med dockor (The Man Who Played with Dolls) by Magnus Jonsson (SWE/ENG)

SWEDISH REVIEW


Krypteringsexperten Linn Ståhl arbetar med sin doktorsavhandling på KTH när kriminalpolisen hör av sig till henne och ber om hjälp med en utredning av en serie brutala mord. Unga kvinnor har hittats mördade och omsorgsfullt förvandlade till dockor på Södermalm i Stockholm.

Linn har varit medlem i AFA, Antifascistisk aktion - en organisation som är svartlistad av Säpo - och är tidigare dömd för brott mot rikets säkerhet. Så det är under ömsesidig misstänksamhet hon börjar arbeta tillsammans med kriminalpoliserna Rickard Stenlander och Erik Svensson.

Samtidigt som kvinnomördaren skördar sina offer vinner högerextrema krafter ny terräng i Sverige.

Frågan är om Linn och polisen alls drivs av samma motiv...

MAGNUS JONSSON är uppvuxen på Södermalm i Stockholm, där han bor även i dag, med sambo och tre barn. Han arbetar som gymnasielärare och på fritiden åker han skateboard och snowboard. Han växte upp med punken och låter sig gärna inspireras av hip hop, punk och reggae. Mannen som lekte med dockor är Magnus Jonssons debut och den första boken i Hatet-trilogin

 
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Inledningen av Mannen som lekte med dockor var mycket spännande och lovande. Action direkt, precis den typen av start som jag gillar och man får genast en ledtråd till bokens titel. Något jag hade lite svårare för var bokens högerextrema fokusering. Jag kan tänka mig att om man har ett intresse av att läsa böcker som tar upp högerextremismen frammarsch som kommer denna bok att falla läsaren i smaken. Personligen, är den inte något som intresserar mig så mycket, vilken gjorde att mitt intresse då och då under läsandets gång falnade. Jag hade desto lättare att engagera mig i de brutala morden som sker och polisens försök att finna mördaren.
 
När det gäller karaktärerna så tog det ett tag för mig att fatta tycke för dem. Jag hade förövrigt svårt i början att separera Erik och Rickard från varandra. Det kan vara de vanliga svenska namnen som gjorde det svårt att då och då veta vem som var vem. Linn, krypteringsexperten, gjorde inte heller ett stort intryck på mig. Men framåt slutet så kände jag ändå att de hade blivit intressanta nog att följa att jag utan tvekan skulle läsa nästa boken i trilogin för att se vad som kommer hända härnäst. 
 
Något som Magnus Jonsson är riktigt bra på är dock miljöbeskrivningarna. de är så målade att det kändes som att man var i Stockholm en vacker vårdag. Han kan verkligen skriva!

Tack till Modernista och Louise Bäckelin Förlag för recensionsexemplaret!

 
ENGLISH REVIEW
 
Encryption expert Linn Stahl is working on her doctoral thesis at KTH when the police contact her for help with an investigation of a series of brutal murders. Young women are found murdered and carefully transformed into dolls in Stockholm.
 
Linn has been a member of AFA Antifascist Action - an organization that is blacklisted by the Security Service - and is already convicted of crimes against national security. So it is with mutual suspicion she starts working with detectives Rickard Stenlander and Erik Svensson.
 
While the women's killer pick new victims does the right-wing forces win new terrain in Sweden.
The question is whether Linn and police are all driven by the same motives...
 
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The beginning of The Man who Played with Dolls was very exciting and promising. Action directly, just the kind of start that I like and you immediately get a clue to the book's title. Something I had a bit more difficult for the books extreme right focus. I can imagine that if you have an interest in reading books that take up how right-wing extremism is gaining momentum will this book appeal to you. Personally, it's not something that interests me very much. And, that meant that I now and then during the book did I feel that my interest faded a bit. I had the easier to connect with the storyline that deals with the brutal killings that take place and the police attempt to find the killer.

As for the characters, it took a while for me to take a liking to them. I had some hard time at first to separate Erik and Richard from each other. It may be the common Swedish names that made it difficult to occasionally know who was who. Neither did Linn, the encryption expert, impress me that much. But, towards the end, did I feel that they become interesting enough to read about that I would undoubtedly read the next book in the trilogy to see what will happen next.
Something Magnus Jonsson's really good at, however, is environmental descriptions. They are so well described that it felt like you were in Stockholm, a beautiful spring day. He sure knows how to write!

Thanks to Modernista and Louise Bäckelin Förlag for the review copy!
 

Blakemort - A Psychic Surveys Christmas Novella by Shani Struthers

Blakemort - A Psychic Surveys Christmas Novella - Shani Struthers, Jeff Gardiner

“That house, that damned house. Will it ever stop haunting me?”

After her parents’ divorce, five-year old Corinna Greer moves into Blakemort with her mother and brother. Set on the edge of the village of Whitesmith, the only thing attractive about it is the rent. A ‘sensitive’, Corinna is aware from the start that something is wrong with the house. Very wrong.

Christmas is coming but at Blakemort that’s not something to get excited about. A house that sits and broods, that calculates and considers, it’s then that it lashes out – the attacks endured over five years becoming worse. There are also the spirits, some willing residents, others not. Amongst them a boy, a beautiful, spiteful boy…

Who are they? What do they want? And is Corinna right when she suspects it’s not just the dead the house traps but the living too?

 
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I can't tell you what a pleasure it was to finally read a real haunting haunted house story. I've found lately that either the story isn't creepy enough (seriously cozy horror is not a thing) or it's a romance masquerading as a horror. So, reading Blakemort was a real thrill.

I've never read anything by Shani Struthers before. However, I own the first book in this series (and I bought two books in the series after finishing this one hehe). I'm really thrilled to have discovered an author that can write a thrilling and creepy horror story. Right from the start is the story intriguing and I love how creepy the house is. You can really feel that something is badly wrong here. Poor little Corinna who knows that the house is wrong that it's evil, but neither her brother and mother listen to her and that makes this story so sad. She can see them, there are some rooms that are a bit more "safe", but most of the house is bad. Especially around Christmas.

I like how the story focuses on Christmas during the years they lived in the house. As Corinna state in the book, bad things happened all through the years. But, Christmas was especially bad, every year. I quite liked the mystery of the house, and how they in the last year in Blakemort finally discovered the truth.

Blakemort is a terrific novella. I found it engrossing and I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the books in the series!

 

I chose to read this ARC and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased!

The Blood Card by Elly Griffiths

The Blood Card: Stephens and Mephisto Mystery 3 (Stephens & Mephisto Mystery 3) by Elly Griffiths (2016-11-03) - Elly Griffiths

Elizabeth II's coronation is looming, but the murder of their wartime commander, Colonel Cartwright, spoils the happy mood for DI Edgar Stephens and magician Max Mephisto. A playbill featuring another deceased comrade is found in Colonel Cartwright's possession, and a playing card, the ace of hearts: the blood card. The wartime connection and the suggestion of magic are enough for him to put Stephens and Mephisto on the case.

Edgar's investigation into the death of Brighton fortune-teller Madame Zabini is put on hold. Max is busy rehearsing for a spectacular Coronation Day variety show - and his television debut - so it's Edgar who is sent to New York, a land of plenty worlds away from still-rationed England. He's on the trail of a small-town mesmerist who may provide the key, but someone else silences him first. It's Sergeant Emma Holmes who finds the clue, buried in the files of the Zabini case, that leads them to an anarchist group intent on providing an explosive finale to Coronation Day.

Now it's up to Edgar, Max, and Emma to foil the plot, and find out who it is who's been dealing the cards . . .

 
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I was quite thrilled to get the chance to read the latest DI Stephens & Max Mephisto book. I have become quite fond of this series and I love the combination of a DI and a magician "working" together.

In The Blood Card are Edgar and Max drew into the world of anarchists after they find out that their wartime commander, Colonel Cartwright has been murdered. It seems that there is a plot to blow something up on Coronation Day. But, and who could be behind it all? Could a clue be found in America?

Once again has Elly Griffiths written an interesting book, and beside the case is it always fun to follow Edgar and Max in their personal lives trials and tribulations. Edgar is still set to marry max daughter Ruby, but is she so sure about that? And, Sergeant Emma has her own problems with her deep feelings for Edgar that she is trying to hide. Max meanwhile has been talked into doing a magic show in TV on Coronation Day. Could his future be on TV?

I liked the book however, it lost some speed in the middle of the book. I just felt that the case just wasn't intriguing enough, and the investigation just felt like it was idling along. Until the explosive ending. That I loved. I just wish that book had been as interesting in the middle as it was in the beginning and the end would this. For me, what was keeping the story going was the everyday problems that the main characters faced. I like them all, and I like reading about what's happening in their lives. It's just in this book, the case of the anarchists was just not always that thrilling.

 
As for the Edgar, Ruby and Emma situation? I like both gals, and I like Edgar. But, will Ruby be happy married, that's the question? The addition in this book with the character Tol was interesting. He is charming, and Emma seems to be drawn to him. I look forward to reading the next book in the series to see what will happen next!

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

Cover Crush: The Jane Austen Project by Kathleen A. Flynn


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. 


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The cover for The Jane Austen Project  caught my eye yesteray, and I was facinated with it and the prospect of a time travel historical ficiton. Personally, this is a cover that I just love. I mean I probably would have wanted to read the book just because of the story, but the wonderful cover is an extra bonus. Now I just wait to be approved!


 Description:

What would you give up so that she could live?

Perfect for fans of Jane Austen, this engrossing debut novel offers an unusual twist on the legacy of one of the world’s most celebrated and beloved authors: two researchers from the future are sent back in time to meet Jane and recover a suspected unpublished novel

London, 1815: Two travelers—Rachel Katzman and Liam Finucane—arrive in a field in rural England, disheveled and weighed down with hidden money. Turned away at a nearby inn, they are forced to travel by coach all night to London. They are not what they seem, but rather colleagues who have come back in time from a technologically advanced future, posing as wealthy West Indies planters—a doctor and his spinster sister. While Rachel and Liam aren’t the first team from the future to “go back,” their mission is by far the most audacious: meet, befriend, and steal from Jane Austen herself.

Carefully selected and rigorously trained by The Royal Institute for Special Topics in Physics, disaster-relief doctor Rachel and actor-turned-scholar Liam have little in common besides the extraordinary circumstances they find themselves in. Circumstances that call for Rachel to stifle her independent nature and let Liam take the lead as they infiltrate Austen’s circle via her favorite brother, Henry.

But diagnosing Jane’s fatal illness and obtaining an unpublished novel hinted at in her letters pose enough of a challenge without the continuous convolutions of living a lie. While her friendship with Jane deepens and her relationship with Liam grows complicated, Rachel fights to reconcile the woman she is with the proper lady nineteenth-century society expects her to be. As their portal to the future prepares to close, Rachel and Liam struggle with their directive to leave history intact and exactly as they found it…however heartbreaking that may prove.
 
 
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Check out this week's cover crush over at 

Flashlight Commentary
2 Kids and Tired Books
Layered Pages 
The Maidens Court

Under A Pole Star by Stef Penney

Under A Pole Star - Stef Penney

Flora Mackie was twelve when she first crossed the Arctic Circle on her father's whaling ship. Now she is returning to the frozen seas as the head of her own exploration expedition. Jakob de Beyn was raised in Manhattan, but his yearning for new horizons leads him to the Arctic as part of a rival expedition. When he and Flora meet, all thoughts of science and exploration give way before a sudden, all-consuming love.

The affair survives the growing tensions between the two groups, but then, after one more glorious summer on the Greenland coast, Jakob joins his leader on an extended trip into the interior, with devastating results.

The stark beauty of the Arctic ocean, where pack ice can crush a ship like an eggshell, and the empty sweep of the tundra, alternately a snow-muffled wasteland and an unexpectedly gentle meadow, are vividly evoked. Against this backdrop Penney weaves an irresistible love story, a compelling look at the dark side of the golden age of exploration, and a mystery that Flora, returning one last time to the North Pole as an old woman, will finally lay to rest.

 
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I was instantly intrigued by the cover and the blurb of the book when I first saw it on NetGalley and I was thrilled to get a chance to read it. However, I had some serious problem with the story. 2 times during the book was a very tempted to give up the book. First, at around 30% and then around 60%. But, I felt that I had gotten so far that I wanted to finish the book and I wanted to know the ending. 
 
Now, the book isn't all bad. There were moments in the story I liked. But, after the intriguing intro, did the book lose some flow and for 30% it was just an introduction to the two main characters, Flora and Jacob. And, it's a thick book 608 page long and 30% of that felt a bit too much for just reading about people growing up. It got a bit better when the Flora and Jacob finally met during two separate expeditions. However, I could never really get into their great romance and the book felt way too long.
 
I did like reading about the expeditions, the will to find new land and the life of the Inuits. I think I would have preferred reading the book if it had focused more on the exploration of Arctic than Flora and Jacob life and tribulations. I did find Flora's life interesting to read as a woman in a man's world. It was just that sometimes it got a bit dull and I didn't find Jacob's life as interesting. Sometimes the story felt like it just went on and one. A bit too wordy for my taste.
 
I want to thank Quercus Books for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review! 

The Twenty-Three by Linwood Barclay

The Twenty-Three: A Promise Falls Novel (Promise Falls Trilogy) - Linwood Barclay

From New York Times and #1 international bestselling author Linwood Barclay comes the third jaw-dropping thriller set in Promise Falls. 

Everything has been leading to this.

It's the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend, May 23rd, and the small town of Promise Falls, New York, has found itself in the midst of a full-blown catastrophe. Hundreds of people are going to the hospital with similar flu-like symptoms—and dozens have died. Investigators quickly zero in on the water supply. But the question for many, including private investigator Cal Weaver, remains: Who would benefit from a mass poisoning of this town?

Meanwhile, Detective Barry Duckworth is faced with another problem. A college student has been murdered, and he's seen the killer's handiwork before—in the unsolved homicides of two other women in town. Suddenly, all the strange things that have happened in the last month start to add up…

Bloody mannequins found in car “23” of an abandoned Ferris wheel…a fiery, out-of-control bus with “23” on the back, that same number on the hoodie of a man accused of assault…

The motive for harming the people of Promise Falls points to the number 23—and working out why will bring Duckworth closer to death than he's ever been before…

 
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Finally! That's how I felt when I started to read this book. The last book had a terrible cliffhanger and I've been waiting months to get to continue with the story. So, did this book live up to my expectations? Yes, and no. Don't take me wrong, it's a fantastic book, a page-turner. I loved that everything was starting to come together. However, not everything felt completely resolved, and right now I checked to see so it really is a trilogy and that no more books are planned in the series because, if there were more books would the ending have felt more understandable. But, no, this is apparently the last one.

At least the identity of the serial killer is finally revealed and that was a bit of surprise. Also, the truth about the number 23 is revealed, a little less of a surprise there. A bit of surprise for me was the sympathy I felt for ex-mayor Randy Finley in this book. He has never really been a nice character, but behind all that sleaze, well he did have a soft spot.

The Twenty-Three was a good book, despite leaving some people's fate hanging in balance. I would love to know what happens next so I really hope that Linwood Barcley will write more about Promise Falls. Perhaps a new trilogy?

 

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

The Girls Next Door by Mel Sherratt

The Girls Next Door: A gripping, edge-of-your-seat crime thriller (Detective Eden Berrisford crime thriller series) (Volume 1) - Mel Sherratt

One warm spring evening, five teenagers meet in a local park. Only four will come out alive.

Six months after the stabbing of sixteen-year-old Deanna Barker, someone is coming after the teenagers of Stockleigh, as a spate of vicious assaults rocks this small community. Revenge for Deanna? Or something more?

Detective Eden Berrisford is locked into a race against time to catch the twisted individual behind the attacks – but when her own niece, Jess Mountford, goes missing, the case gets personal.

With the kidnapper threatening Jess’s life, can Eden bring back her niece to safety? Or will the people of Stockleigh be forced to mourn another daughter…?

 
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I thought I had the plot figured out while reading this book when everything suddenly takes a turn I did not expect and I was really taken by surprise about the change. That pretty much summons up my feeling about this book. That and that Mel Sherratt really knows how to write an intriguing story which pulls you in right from the start. This is, by the way, the first book I have read by Mel Sherratt and I'm quite looking forward to reading her other books.

The Girls Next Door is a book about women, that's how I feel, sure there are men in the book, both good and bad. But, I strongly felt that this story was about mothers, sisters, cousins, best friends. We have the mother who has lost a daughter, the other mother who is waiting to know the faith of her daughter. The sisters that are joined in heartache when one of their daughters is kidnapped. Cousins that were one's close, but then a secret tore them apart. And we have the two best friends that share secrets and now has to live with the consequences of their actions.

I found this book to be intriguing to read, and I like that not everything is how it seemed and I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series to find out more about the characters, and what the actions in this book will do to their lives.
 
I want to thank Bookouture for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review!

Cover Crush: The Good at Heart by Ursula Werner

 
 


 
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. 

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When I'm looking for a good cover for my weekly Cover Crush is my first priority that it need to catch me eyes while I'm browsing. This one absolutely did that. I love how the face in the background is not entirely showing and how the smoke from the train shows up on the white part in the middle of the cover. It's a cover that makes me curious.

 
Description:

Based on the author’s discoveries about her great-grandfather, this stunning debut novel takes place over three days when World War II comes to the doorstep of an ordinary German family living in an idyllic, rural village near the Swiss border.
When World War II breaks out, Edith and Oskar Eberhardt move their family—their daughter, Marina; son-in-law, Franz; and their granddaughters—out of Berlin and into a small house in the quiet town of Blumental, near Switzerland. A member of Hitler’s cabinet, Oskar is gone most of the time, and Franz begins fighting in the war, so the women of the house are left to their quiet lives in the picturesque village.

But life in Blumental isn’t as idyllic as it appears. An egotistical Nazi captain terrorizes the citizens he’s assigned to protect. Neighbors spy on each other. Some mysteriously disappear. Marina has a lover who also has close ties to her family and the government. Thinking none of them share her hatred of the Reich, she joins a Protestant priest smuggling Jewish refugees over the nearby Swiss border. The latest “package” is two Polish girls who’ve lost the rest of their family, and against her better judgement, Marina finds she must hide them in the Eberhardt’s cellar. Everything is set to go smoothly until Oskar comes home with the news that the Führer will be visiting the area for a concert, and he will be making a house call on the Eberhardts.


Based on the author’s discoveries about her great-grandfather, this extraordinary debut, full of love, tragedy, and suspense, is a sensitive portrait of a family torn between doing their duty for their country and doing what’s right for their country, and especially for those they love.
 
 
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The Lafayette Sword by Eric Giacometti and Jacques Ravenne

The Lafayette Sword - Eric Giacometti, Jacques Ravenne, Anne Trager

I read the previous book, Shadow Ritual last year and I was thrilled to get the chance to read the sequel to it. If I understand the translation order is this book 4 and the previous book translated is book 2. But, it doesn't matter, this book was easy to get into and you don't have to have read Shadow Ritual before you read The Lafayette Sword.

 

So how was this book? I do admit that I was a bit less charmed by this book than the previous. It's still an interesting and fast-paced book and the mystery with the Lafayette sword was fascinating. And the historical angle with Nicolas Flamel's POV which gives the reader the clues to the present story was fascinating. However, I found that the story lacked the intensity from the previous book and I missed Jade that Antoine Marcas was teamed up with. I liked their chemistry and just having Marcas, well it felt like something important was missing. However, I did find the alchemy angle fascinating and Flamel POV really intrigued me.  

 

The Lafayette Sword may not have intrigued me as much as the Shadow Ritual did. However, I think that this series is definitely something you should read if you like adventurous treasure seeking books with a deranged killer.

 

I want to thank Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for providing me with a free copy for an honest review! 

Some new books that I've gotten lately!

Some bought and some for free! :)

 

Merry Christmas everyone!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas!

 

This year Booklikes have been, well, to be honest, a bit problematic and I have been pretty non-active here. Hopefully, next year the site will work better and I will be more active. :)

 

The Top 15 Books of 2016

 
My Top 10 books of 2016 quickly turned into top 15 instead of 10 when I started to go through the books I've read. It could just as easily have been top 20, but I had to draw a line somewhere. The books are in no particular order because that would just mean hours of agony and indecision. So, on to the books: 
 
 

From New York Times bestselling author and famed former Manhattan prosecutor Linda Fairstein comes a chilling new Alexandra Cooper novel, Entombed, in which Alex matches wits with the master of detective fiction himself-Edgar Allan Poe...

 
READ MY REVIEW OF THE BOOK HERE
 
 

Sometimes I wish that she’d just leave me in peace . . .

Psychologist Evi is worried about one of her patients – a woman who is convinced her little girl is still alive. Two years after the fire that burnt their house down.

Meanwhile, the new vicar in town is feeling strangely unwelcome. Disturbing events seem designed to scare him away.

And a young boy keeps seeing a strange, solitary girl playing in the churchyard. Who is she and what is she trying to tell him?

READ MY REVIEW OF THE BOOK HERE
 
 
Media calls him "The Birthday boy" because he kidnappers girls just before they turn thirteen and then he sends pictures of them home to their families showing how he slowly tortures them to death. Every year they get a new card. 5 years ago Detective Constable Ash Henderson's daughter Rebecca was kidnapped. One year later get a card, but he keeps that a secret for his colleagues and because if they would know would he not be able to stay on the investigation...
 
READ MY REVIEW OF THE BOOK HERE
 
 
From the bestselling author of Girl in Translation, a novel about a young woman torn between her family duties in Chinatown and her escape into the world of ballroom dancing...
 
READ MY REVIEW OF THE BOOK HERE
 



West Hall, Vermont, has always been a town of strange disappearances and old legends. The most mysterious is that of Sara Harrison Shea, who, in 1908, was found dead in the field behind her house just months after the tragic death of her daughter...

 
READ MY REVIEW OF THE BOOK HERE
 
 
Mary Russell is used to dark secrets—her own, and those of her famous partner and husband, Sherlock Holmes. Trust is a thing slowly given, but over the course of a decade together, the two have forged an indissoluble bond...
 
READ MY REVIEW OF THE BOOK HERE
 
 

Jerome Burnel was once a hero. He intervened to prevent multiple killings and in doing so damned himself. His life was torn apart. He was imprisoned, brutalized.

But in his final days, with the hunters circling, he tells his story to private detective Charlie Parker. He speaks of the girl who was marked for death but was saved, of the ones who tormented him, and an entity that hides in a ruined stockade...

 
READ MY REVIEW OF THE BOOK HERE
 
 
The world is on the brink of an apocalyptic disaster. An ancient species, long dormant, is now very much awake...
 
READ MY REVIEW OF THE BOOK HERE
 

Lorena "Hick" Hickok is assigned to cover Eleanor Roosevelt in the 1932 political campaign. This is the start of a love story that would last for years, despite long periods of separations and the fact that Eleanor Roosevelt was to become The First Lady of United States. But, this love story could not last. Madame, that Hick so lovingly called Eleanor could never become someone anonymous again, even after FDR death.
 
READ MY REVIEW OF THE BOOK HERE
 
 
In her storied career as a Texas Ranger, Caitlin has confronted all manner of villains, but nothing that’s prepared her for the terrorist group ISIS’s pursuit of a devastating weapon on Lone Star State soil. The land in question lies on an Indian reservation where a drilling operation steeped in mystery and controversy is about to commence under the auspices of shadowy billionaire Cray Rawls...
 
READ MY REVIEW OF THE BOOK HERE
 

Beautiful and brilliant, Kendra Donovan is a rising star at the FBI. Yet her path to professional success hits a speed bump during a disastrous raid where half her team is murdered, a mole in the FBI is uncovered and she herself is severely wounded. As soon as she recovers, she goes rogue and travels to England to assassinate the man responsible for the deaths of her teammates...
 
READ MY REVIEW OF THE BOOK HERE
 
 
Held captive for eight years, Lily has grown from a teenager to an adult in a small basement prison. Her daughter Sky has been a captive her whole life. But one day their captor leaves the deadbolt unlocked...

READ MY REVIEW OF THE BOOK HERE
 


Samantha Whipple is used to stirring up speculation wherever she goes. As the last remaining descendant of the Brontë family, she's rumored to have inherited a vital, mysterious portion of the Brontë's literary estate; diaries, paintings, letters, and early novel drafts; a hidden fortune that's never been shown outside of the family.,,

 
READ MY REVIEW OF THE BOOK HERE
 
 

The dead don’t tell secrets… unless you listen.

The girl’s smashed-in face stared unseeing up to the blue sky, soil spilling out of her mouth. A hundred flies hovered above the bloodied mess.

READ MY REVIEW OF THE BOOK HERE
 


A five-year-old boy from a remote farm on the plains of Skåne disappear late one summer evening in 1983. The only trail after him is a shoe in the tall corn fields. 

Although the whole neighborhood gets involved in the search do they not find him, and rumors and suspicions spread quickly. And, the clumsy criminal investigation is, in the end, closed down when they can't find the boy, and the grief and uncertainty get the boy's family to slowly fall apart.


READ MY REVIEW OF THE BOOK HERE
 
Thoughts and honorable mentions:
 


The hardest part was I found other really great books while making this list. But, I decided when I made this list that I would not change since it would only make everything messy. And, soon I would be up in Top 25 instead of top 15...;)

But, I would like to mention some really great books that I read during 2016 that I found to be brilliant: Dead Man Walking by Simon R. Green, Arrowood by Laura McHugh, Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire, Melody Bittersweet and The Girls' Ghostbusting Agency by Kitty French and Redemption Road by John Hart...Honestly I could go on and list all my 5-star books, but instead just check out my Goodreads page!

Night Watch by Iris Johansen

Born blind, Kendra Michaels spent the first twenty years of her life living in the darkness. Then, thanks to a revolutionary medical procedure developed by England’s Night Watch Project, she was given the gift of sight. Her highly-developed senses (honed during her years in the dark), combined with her new found vision, have made her a remarkable investigator, sought after by law-enforcement agencies all over the country. But her newest case finds her uncovering a deadly truth about the shadowy organization that has given her so much.

Kendra is surprised when she is visited by Dr. Charles Waldridge, the researcher who gave her sight. But all is not well with the brilliant surgeon; he’s troubled by something he can’t discuss with Kendra. When Waldridge disappears that very night, Kendra is on the case, recruiting government agent-for-hire Adam Lynch to join her on a trail that leads to the snow-packed California mountains. There they make a gruesome discovery: the corpse of one of Dr. Waldridge’s associates, brutally murdered in the freezing snow. But it’s only the first casualty in a white-knuckle confrontation with a deadly enemy who will push Kendra to the limits of her abilities. Soon she must fight for her very survival as she tries to stop the killing… and unearth the deadly secret of Night Watch.

 
**********
 
Night Watch is book four in the Kendra Michaels series, and this is the first book I have read from the series. However, I have read several other Iris Johansen books from her Eve Duncan series. So, I was looking forward to reading Night Watch to see of I would fancy the series as much as I love the Eve Duncan series.

Kendra Michaels is an interesting character, she was born blind, but got her sight back nine years prior to this book thanks to an operation. And, she's a bit like Sherlock Holmes when it comes to noticing things, thanks to her years of focusing on other senses than sight when she was blind and then when she got her sight back did she unlike the rest of us that's used to it, train herself to see "everything". So, she makes a hell of an investigator.    
 

The story in this book started off interesting with Kendra being visited by Charles Waldridge the doctor who gave her the sight back. However, she can feel that something is wrong that he's not telling her everything. And, when he goes missing is she determent to find him. She even calls in an old friend Adam Lynch to help her find him.

The book is interesting, I like Kendra, and I liked Jessie a private detective that she meets in the book and I really liked Waldridge and I was worried that he would end up dead. It's interesting how you can care for a character that hardly in the book. However, there was something that just didn't work for me or rather a person, and that was Lynch, he feels like a carbon copy of Quinn from the Eve Duncan series, and I'm not even always that fond of Quinn so having a Quinn copy in this book just felt, well not that interesting. I think the whole, "I'm a badass guy, and a walking one person army kind of dude" just doesn't always work for me. And, when they started to do the whole "will they, or won't they dance" in the book did I feel my interest in the story cooled down. Seriously, I was thinking through the book that there are several interesting guys in this book, and she goes for the typical one? It just ruined the book a little bit for me.

Now, I don't say that the book was totally bad, I liked the story, but I felt I lost focus whenever Lynch showed up. Kendra is a smart cookie, and I liked reading about her past with Waldridge and her Sherlock Holmes tendency amused me. So, the book was in a way good, and in a way...less good than I had hoped it would be. I think that fans of this series will like this book, especially if they are fond of the idea of Kendra and Lynch together. Also, it was an easy book to get into so any newbies would probably enjoy the book as well.

I want to thank the S:t Martins Press for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review!