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Dragon Springs Road by Janie Chang

Dragon Springs Road - C. Janie Chang

From the author of Three Souls comes a vividly imagined and haunting new novel set in early 20th century Shanghai—a story of friendship, heartbreak, and history that follows a young Eurasian orphan’s search for her long-lost mother.

That night I dreamed that I had wandered out to Dragon Springs Road all on my own, when a dreadful knowledge seized me that my mother had gone away never to return . . .

In 1908, Jialing is only seven years old when she is abandoned in the courtyard of a once-lavish estate outside Shanghai. Jialing is zazhong—Eurasian—and faces a lifetime of contempt from both Chinese and Europeans. Until now she’s led a secluded life behind courtyard walls, but without her mother’s protection, she can survive only if the estate’s new owners, the Yang family, agree to take her in.

Jialing finds allies in Anjuin, the eldest Yang daughter, and Fox, an animal spirit who has lived in the courtyard for centuries. But Jialing’s life as the Yangs’ bondservant changes unexpectedly when she befriends a young English girl who then mysteriously vanishes.

Murder, political intrigue, jealousy, forbidden love … Jialing confronts them all as she grows into womanhood during the tumultuous early years of the Chinese republic, always hopeful of finding her long-lost mother. Through every turn she is guided, both by Fox and by her own strength of spirit, away from the shadows of her past toward a very different fate, if she has the courage to accept it.

 
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Dragon Spring Road is a book that mixes two genres that I love; historical fiction and fantasy. I think adding the fantasy element of the Fox, an animal spirit to the story was a brilliant move. It gave the story something extra. Otherwise, we would have a traditional historical fiction tale, but now with the added mysticism, we get something a bit different.

The story of Jialing is a sad tale, she is left by her mother when she is a little girl and she is taking in by the family that moves in. However, she is not part of the family, she is a bondservant. But, she does grow up close to the daughter in the house. But, she also has a secret, Fox, an animal spirit that has lived in the courtyard is looking after her. And, she does need the extra help, it's not easy for a Eurasian child growing up in a world where everyone looks down at a mixed raced child.

Dragon Springs Road is a captivated story, I found Jialing story interesting, especially since it takes place in such a turbulent time in China. I did for a while think that the story spent a little too much time on Jialing as a child and the love story towards the end felt a bit rushed. Like the author realized that she had to add some happiness to Jialing by throwing in a man that she would love. I never felt that the romance part truly convinced me. However, it did find it made the ending sweet.

I think Dragon Springs Road is a good book. The story never dragged on, and I found myself taken with the ending when Jialing faced a hard decision. Her final thoughts at the end of the book are probably one of the reasons I ended giving the book 4-stars. It tipped the scale. That and that I love the fantasy elements of the story and reading about China is so fascinating.

 

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

You Are Dead by Peter James (SWE/ENG)

You Are Dead (Roy Grace) - Peter James

SWEDISH REVIEW

 

Logan Somerville kör in på parkeringen under sitt bostadshus i Brighton samtidigt som hon pratar med sin pojkvän i telefon. I nästa sekund skriker hon och samtalet bryts tvärt. Polisen dyker upp några minuter senare, men Logan är försvunnen. Kvar på platsen är hennes bil och hennes mobiltelefon.

I en park i en annan del av staden hittas kvarlevorna efter en kvinna i tjugoårsåldern, som visar sig ha varit död i trettio år.

Först ser inte kriminalintendent Roy Grace att det skulle finnas någon koppling mellan de två händelserna, men så försvinner ytterligare en ung kvinna. Och ännu ett lik från det förflutna uppdagas.
Samtidigt träffar en framstående psykolog en man som påstår att han vet vad som har hänt Logan. Roy Grace får känslan av att informationen kan utgöra nyckeln till morden.

 
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Den föregående boken var den första jag läst i Roy Grace serien och jag fann boken mycket bra. Så bra att jag blev riktigt glad över chansen att få läsa uppföljaren. Dödsmärkt börjar med att en kvinna försvinner spårlöst från parkeringen under bostadshuset där hon bor. I en annan del av staden hittas kvarlevor efter en kvinna i en park. Det visar sig att hon har varit begravd i trettio år. Inte kan dessa fall ha något gemensamt? Men så försvinner ännu en kvinna och Roy börjar inse att fallen har gemensamma nämnare. Kan kvinnan i parken vara det första offret?

Jag tycker att Roy Grace serien är behaglig att läsa, böckerna är lättlästa och intressanta. Vad som jag tycker fascinerande med denna serie är att Roy Grace första fru Sandy försvann för flera år sedan. Roy är nu omgift och har en liten son. Men han grubblar fortfarande över vad som hände med Sandy och i denna bok kan han kanske äntligen få svar på gåtan.

Fallet var intressant, speciellt när det visade sig Logan, den försvunna kvinnan kan ha hamnat i klorna på en seriemördare. Frågan är om Roy och hans kollegor kan finna henne i livet och det verkar som om kidnapparen/mördaren inte är nöjd med att bara föra bort en kvinna då snart en annan kvinna blir kidnappad. vem är mördaren och vad är hans motiv? Kanske måste de söka sig tillbaka i tiden för att finna svaren. Kan liket vara svaret på deras gåta?

Dödsmärkt är en spännande och intressant bok. Jag tycker om att läsa böcker som sträcker sig tillbaka i tiden och Roy privatliv är fängslande. Slutet på denna bok, tja allt jag kan säga är att det ska blir intressant att läsa nästa bok...

 

Tack till Massolit Förlag för recensionsexemplaret!

 
ENGLISH REVIEW
 

You are Dead is the eleventh thrilling crime novel in Peter James' Roy Grace series.

They were marked for death.

The last words Jamie Ball hears from his fiancée, Logan Somerville, are in a terrified mobile phone call. She has just driven into the underground car park beneath the block of flats where they live in Brighton. Then she screams and the phone goes dead. The police are on the scene within minutes, but Logan has vanished, leaving behind her neatly parked car and mobile phone.

That same afternoon, workmen digging up a park in another part of the city, unearth the remains of a woman in her early twenties, who has been dead for thirty years.

At first, to Roy Grace and his team, these two events seem totally unconnected. But then another young woman in Brighton goes missing - and yet another body from the past surfaces.

Meanwhile, an eminent London psychiatrist meets with a man who claims to know information about Logan. And Roy Grace has the chilling realization that this information holds the key to both the past and present crimes . . . Does Brighton have its first serial killer in over eighty years?

 
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The previous book was the first one I read in the Roy Grace series, and I found the book quite good. So good that I was really happy for the chance to read the sequel. You Are Dead begins with a woman who disappears without a trace from the car park below the apartment building where she lives. In another part of the town, the remains of a woman buried thirty years ago are discovered in a park. Nothing indicates that the cases have something in common. But, then another woman disappears and Roy starts to notice similarities between the victims, could the corpse have been the first victim of a serial killer?
 
I think the Roy Grace series is very enjoyable to read, the books are easy to read and interesting. What I find fascinating about this series is that Roy Grace's first wife Sandy disappeared several years ago. Roy is now remarried and has a young son. But he is still brooding over what happened with Sandy and in this book he might finally get the answer to the riddle.
 
The case was interesting, especially when it turned out that Logan, the missing woman may have fallen into the clutches of a serial killer. The question is whether Roy and his colleagues can find her before it's too late and it seems that the kidnapper/murderer is not content to just take away a woman as soon as another woman is kidnapped. Who is the killer and what are his motives? Maybe they need to look back in time to find the answers. Can the body be the answer to their mystery?
 
You Are Dead is an exciting and interesting book. I like to read books where cases go back in time and Roy private life is fascinating to read about. The end of this book, well all I can say is that it should be interesting to read the next book...
 
Thanks to Massolit Förlag for the review copy!

Djävulsdoften (The Devil Scent) by Mons Kallentoft (SWE/ENG)

SWEDISH REVIEW


Malin Fors fortsätter kampen mot ondskan - nu i Bangkok

Efter succén med årstids- och elementserierna, inleder Mons Kallentoft en ny svit inspirerad av de fem sinnena. I den första delen, Djävulsdoften, har kriminalinspektör Malin Fors lämnat Linköping för den myllrande miljonstaden Bangkok. En stad fylld av dofter, färger, ljud och smaker. Men också av korruption, våld och död.

Malin Fors befinner sig på flykt. Ett ouppklarat fall och en personlig kris har fått henne att falla dit igen. Hon har druckit sig genom kvällar och nätter, och allt snabbare närmat sig botten. Som en sista chans har hon fått tjänstledigt och erbjudits ett vikariat som sambandsofficer i Bangkok.

Att bryta med allt verkar vara det enda vettiga. Men ensamheten i den nya staden är svår att hantera och frestelserna finns överallt. Arbetet blir som vanligt Malins räddning, och hennes jaktinstinkter väcks när en svensk kvinna hittas mördad. Vem var kvinnan? Varför blev hon dödad på ett så brutalt sätt? Och hur kände hon den thailändske man som blir nästa offer?

Samtidigt som Malin kämpar mot sina demoner blir hon indragen i ett fall som förbryllar både den thailändska och den svenska polisen. Och hon måste gräva djupt i det förflutna för att finna svaren och den hänsynslösa mördare som är ute efter upprättelse och hämnd.

 
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Djävulsdoften är den första boken jag har läst utav Mons Kallentoft. Jag var nyfiken på hans serie om Malin Fors och tycke att denna bok verkade spännande. Det är alltid lite vanskligt att börja läsa en bok mitt i en serie, om man har tur så känns det som om man snabbt kommer in i handlingen ibland är det tuffare. När det gäller Djävulsdoften så kan jag säga att det både funkade och inte funkade att läsa denna som fristående bok.

Jag tyckte inte att det var så krångligt att sätta mig i Malins liv, jag förstod till stor del henne problem, både med det olösta fallet och hennes alkohol problem. Men jag fann även att jag inte direkt sympatiserade med henne, och jag tror att det är lättare att känna medlidande med henne om man har läst de tidigare böckerna genom att man då har lärt känna henne och på djupet innan allting gick åt skogen. Nu istället fick jag läsa om en människa som har nått botten och håller på att gå under totalt. Och det funkar inte i längden, oavsett hur intressant fallet var så kände jag att Malin's drickande och de problem det förde mig sig gjorde boken en björntjänst. Det kändes som i alkoholens dimma så fanns det en intressant handlingen, men jag tröttande snart på att läsa om Malin's försök att självförstöra. För att vara fullständigt ärlig, jag tröttnade på henne. Jag tycker om att läsa om trasiga karaktärer, men det finns en gräns även för mig.

På plus sidan så verkar det som om hon tog sig i kragen mot slutet och jag hoppas att nästa bok är bättre och att Malin kommer tillbringa mindre tid att supa.
 
Tack Bokförlaget Forum for recensionsexemplaret!
 
ENGLISH REVIEW

Malin Fors continues the fight against evil - now in Bangkok

Following the success of seasonal and elements series, is Mons Kallentoft back with a new suite inspired by the five senses. In the first part, The Devil Scent, has Inspector Malin Fors left Linkoping for the swarming megacity of Bangkok. A city full of scents, colors, sounds and tastes. But also of corruption, violence, and death.

Malin Fors is on the run. An unsolved case and a personal crisis have led her to fall there again. She has been drinking through the evenings and nights, and she is approaching the bottom fast. As a last chance, she got time off and offered a temporary position as a liaison officer in Bangkok.

Breaking with everything appears to be the only sensible. But the solitude of the new city is difficult to handle and the temptations are everywhere. The work will be as usual Malin's salvation, and her hunting instincts are awakened when a Swedish woman is found murdered. Who was the woman? Why was she killed in such a brutal way? And what's the connection with the Thai man who will be the next victim?

Malin becomes entangle in a case that baffles both the Thai and Swedish police while she is fighting her demons, and she had to dig deep into the past to find answers and a ruthless killer who is looking for vindication and revenge.
 
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Devil's scent is the first book I have read out Mons Kallentoft. I was curious about his series about Malin Fors and liking that this book seemed exciting. It is always a bit risky to start reading a book in the middle of a series if you're lucky, it feels as if it will quickly into the action sometimes it's tougher. As for the Devil scent, I can say that both worked and did not work to read this as a standalone book.
 
I did not think it was so difficult to get into the book and understand Malin. I realized that she did have some personal problem, both with the unsolved case from a previous book and her drinking problem. But I also found that I did not sympathize with her, and I think it is easier to feel compassion for her if you have read the previous books because by then you have come to know her before it all went wrong. Now, instead, I had read about a woman who has reached the bottom and is about to go under completely. And it does not work in the long run, no matter how interesting the case is. I felt that Malin's drinking and the problems it brought her did the book a disservice. It felt like outside the fog of alcohol, there was an interesting plot, but I soon got tired of reading about Malin's attempts to destroy herself. To be completely honest, I got tired of her. I like to read about broken characters, but there is a limit even to me.
 
On the plus side, it seems as if she got her drinking under control toward the end of the book and hope that the next book is better and that Malin will spend less time drinking.

Thanks Bokförlaget Forum for the review copy!

Lycke by Mikaela Bley

8-year-old Lycke disappears without a trace a Cold and rainy day in May from the from the Royal Tennis Hall in Stockholm.

On TV4, a stone's throw away, you want to be first with the news - if nothing else, create the news - and crime reporter Ellen Tamm is commissioned to follow the case.

Ellen becomes obsessed with the search for Lycke, But as time goes by the search is starting to feel increasingly hopeless. Frustrated by corrupt police, the divorced parents 'strange behavior and their colleagues' jibes, is she trying to control her emotions and handle the situation professionally. But the case reminds her too much of a similar event, an event that is much closer to her, and she pulled into a tangle full of family secrets, lies and deceit that forces her to confront her own past.

Lycke is the first book in the series about the stubborn journalist Ellen Tamm.

 
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Lycke is a Swedish crime novel and the first in the series about a journalist called Ellen Tamm. Ellen Tamm has some personal problem, the greatest one is that she is a bit obsessed with death. And, working as a crime reporter is probably not the best thing for her. She also lost someone close to her when she was young. In this book, does she get obsessed with a missing child case. And, throughout the book we learn that little Lycke is a child that was pretty much unloved by everyone., But why would anyone take her, and where is she?
 
Lycke is quite a tragic book, it highlights the fact that not everyone is suited to have children and that grown-ups just sometimes doesn't see what is going one. I was quite made about how Lycke's parents and step-mom just didn't seem to care about her, even when she went missing. Yes, they were worried, but still, it was like they hardly knew anything about her. Only her nanny seemed to care about her.
 
Lycke is an easy book to read, to especially thrilling, to be honest, but nevertheless, it's a page-turner. But, I have it down to the way it was written rather than the story and its characters. I have read better books about missing children. This book never really got under my skin. It was OK, but it never really surprised me.
 
There is a sequel to this book called Liv, and it will be interesting to read it and see if the storyline in that book is better!

The 7th Canon by Robert Dugoni

The 7th Canon - Robert Dugoni

A riveting new legal thriller from the bestselling author of My Sister’s Grave.

In San Francisco’s seamy Tenderloin district, a teenage street hustler has been murdered in a shelter for boys. And the dedicated priest who runs the struggling home stands accused. But despite damning evidence that he’s a killer—and worse—Father Thomas Martin stands by his innocence. And attorney Peter Donley stands with him.

For three years Donley has cut his legal teeth in his uncle’s tiny, no-frills firm, where people come before profits. Just as Donley is poised to move on to a lucrative dream job, the shocking case lands in his lap, and he must put his future on hold while putting his courtroom skills to the test. But a ruthless DA seeking headlines and a brutal homicide cop bent on vengeance have their own agendas. Now, as he unearths the dirty secrets surrounding the case, Donley must risk his neck to save his client’s life…and expose the face of true evil.

 
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I think that THE 7THE CANON is an excellent thriller. The story takes place in 1987 and I was thrilled to read a book that takes place in the 80s, before all modern inventions like cell phones, etc. It's not that far back in time, but I quite enjoy reading books from that time. Probably because I'm a child of the 80s. THE 7THE CANON is a story about injustice and corruption, always a fascinating subject. One can't help wonder through the book why some of the characters in the book seem so desperate to get Father Thomas Martin convicted. What are they hiding? Will Donley be able to free Father Thomas Martin, and is he really innocent?

 

READ THE REST OF THE REVIEW OVER AT FRESH FICTION!

The Man Who Fell from the Sky by Margaret Coel

The Man Who Fell from the Sky - Margaret Coel

New York Times bestselling author Margaret Coel returns to Wind River with Arapaho attorney Vicky Holden and Father John O’Malley investigating a lethal link between legendary outlaw Butch Cassidy and a present-day murder…

When Robert Walking Bear’s body is found in the Wind River mountains, his death appears to be accidental—except for the fact that he had been hunting for Butch Cassidy’s buried loot with a map he had gotten from his grandfather, a map believed to have been drawn by the leader of the Hole in the Wall gang himself.

It isn’t long before rumors circulate that Robert was murdered by his own cousins to get the map and find the treasure themselves. Despite there being no evidence of foul play, the gossip gains credibility when both Vicky and Father John are contacted by an anonymous Arapaho claiming to have witnessed Robert’s killing.

When one of Robert’s cousins falls prey to another deadly accident, Vicky and Father John are convinced the victim is the witness who confided in them, and the hunt for the killer is on in earnest—before more die in search of Cassidy’s cache.

 
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THE MAN WHO FELL FROM THE SKY is book 19 in the Wind River Reservation series and it's also the first book I have read in the series. And, as a newbie must I say that I had no problem whatsoever getting into the book. The only drawback is that there is a lot of history between Arapaho attorney Vicky Holden and Father John O'Malley. They have been through a lot of things since they met years ago. But, reading this book just made me interested in getting the previous books to get to know them better.

 
READ THE REST OF THE REVIEW OVER AT FRESH FICTION!

The Burning Page by Genevieve Cogman

The Burning Page - Genevieve Cogman

"The third title in Genevieve Cogman's clever and exciting The Invisible Library series, The Burning Page is an action-packed literary adventure!

Librarian spy Irene has professional standards to maintain. Standards that absolutely do not include making hasty, unplanned escapes through a burning besieged building. But when the gateway back to your headquarters dramatically malfunctions, one must improvise. And after fleeing a version of Revolutionary France astride a dragon (also known as her assistant, Kai), Irene soon discovers she's not the only one affected. Gates back to the Library are malfunctioning across a multitude of worlds, creating general havoc. She and Kai are tasked with a mission to St Petersburg's Winter Palace, to retrieve a book which will help restore order.

However, such plans rarely survive first contact with the enemy - particularly when the enemy is the traitor Alberich. A nightmare figure bent on the Library's destruction, Alberich gives Irene a tainted 'join me or die' job offer. Meanwhile, Irene's old friend Vale has been damaged by exposure to Chaotic forces and she has no idea how to save him. When another figure from her past appears, begging for help, Irene has to take a good hard look at her priorities. And of course try to save the Library from absolute annihilation. Saving herself would be a bonus.

Irene's adventures feature stolen books, secret agents and forbidden societies - think Doctor Who but with librarian spies!

 
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I would have preferred to read book two, The Masked City before I read this book. But, it just didn't turn out that way. Did the mentioning of the events from The Masked City make me want to read that book? Oh yes, so I will definitely try to get the book one day.
 
I found this book's story just as captivating as the first book in the series The Invisible Library. All my favorite characters are back in this book Irene (of course), Kai and Vale. Vale has been to a chaotic world in the previous books and it's affecting him badly and Irene ponders over how she could help him without damaging him in any way. I have a favorite scene in this book where they are discussing his condition and, well let's say the tension rises between them. It will be interesting to see what the future has in store for them.
 
The Burning Page is a wonderful mix of adventure and humor. I love the characters, and I love the idea of an invisible library that collects books from alternative worlds. In this book, the Library is in danger from an old foe and Irene, of course, happen to cross path with this old foe and perhaps she is the one that could save the library? There is never a dull moment, it's action from the beginning until the end. And, it was with a bit of bittersweet that I came to the last page. I want more!
 
Can you read this book as a stand-alone? Well, yes, but I think reading the first book will make it easier to come to grips with the story in this book.
 
This series is fantastic, it's thrilling, humorous and adventures and I just saw that book four is going to be released in December. Can't wait to read it!
 
I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review! 

I Am Providence by Nick Mamatas

I Am Providence - Nick Mamatas

For fans of legendary pulp author H. P. Lovecraft, there is nothing bigger than the annual Providence-based convention the Summer Tentacular. Horror writer Colleen Danzig doesn’t know what to expect when she arrives, but is unsettled to find that among the hob-knobbing between scholars and literary critics are a group of real freaks: book collectors looking for volumes bound in human skin, and true believers claiming the power to summon the Elder God Cthulhu, one of their idol’s most horrific fictional creations, before the weekend is out.

Colleen’s trip spirals into a nightmare when her roommate for the weekend, an obnoxious novelist known as Panossian, turns up dead, his face neatly removed. What’s more unsettling is that, in the aftermath of the murder, there is little concern among the convention goers. The Summer Tentacular continues uninterrupted, except by a few bumbling police.

Everyone at the convention is a possible suspect, but only Colleen seems to show any interest in solving the murder. So she delves deep into the darkness, where occult truths have been lurking since the beginning of time. A darkness where Panossian is waiting, spending a lot of time thinking about Colleen, narrating a new Lovecraftian tale that could very well spell her doom.

 
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I AM PROVIDENCE is a book that I feel would really appeal to Lovecraft fans. I can imagine that this book would be a bit confusing to people with not much knowledge about Lovecraft's books. You do get information about Lovecraft, the man, and his books in the story. Especially about the Elder God Cthulhu, who will bring the end to humanity when summoned. And, yes there are those in the book that wants that.

 
READ THE REST OF THE REVIEW OVER AT FRESH FICTION!

The Amulet Thief by Luanne Bennett

The Amulet Thief - Luanne Bennett

Fitheach blood doesn’t just run through the veins–it’s a binding contract that can never be broken.

Alex Kelley vanished twenty-one years ago–the night her mother was murdered. When she comes home to New York City, she wants just two things: a little peace, and answers about the unsolved murder and why she was abandoned in the middle of America at the age of eight.

Greer Sinclair, an enigmatic stranger who knows a little bit more than he should, just might give her both–and more if she’ll let him.

What is she?

What is he?

Who is this beguiling satyr who keeps coming between them?

She attracts the otherworldly like moths to a flame. And why does every stranger on the streets of Manhattan want a piece of her and that pendant hanging around her pretty little neck?

Maybe the answers are in a peculiar shop in the heart of Greenwich Village where ghosts, memories, and secrets are bursting from the walls and the books and the one person who knows her best.

The line between the mundane and supernatural worlds is starting to blur. Which side will she choose? Which would you?

 
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I found the description of the book intriguing. I find urban fantasy to be a very interesting genre, the mix of magic and modern world blended together. The book started good, with Alex Kelley arriving in New York, where years ago her mother was murdered and she abruptly together with her mother's best friend Ava left without telling anyone. What really happened all those years ago? Alex feel watching when she comes to the town, like everyone around her is watching her every move. Is she just being paranoid?
 
I think the first part of the book was the best when Alex was in the dark. Then, she meets Greer Sinclair and for me, the story just didn't work after that. Suddenly the story turned new adult, with Alex being attracted to Greer and jealous of other women. And, it didn't take a long time for them to sleep together. Now, for some readers is this fine, they want this and like reading stories with lots of passion and sex. I don't. I like when everything moves along at a slower pace between two characters. And, I just don't like the alpha male stereotype. Rich, sexy and rough. A man that sees a woman as a possession. Which of course happens when Constantine enters the story and suddenly there are two sexy men after Alex. Sorry, this is just not my thing. I wanted a mystery story with magic elements, but I just couldn't find my interest on the same level after around 31% of the book. 
 
The Amulet Thief is just not for me, I like urban fantasy, but the story just never turned out to be as interesting as I hoped it to be. I just couldn't muster much interest in Alex hunt for the amulet that her mother left for her that then went missing. And, frankly this "let's keep Alex in the dark about her past" was just annoying. Sometimes it's just better to sit down and have it all out. Not being all mysterious and cryptic. On the plus side, the book was easy to read. I just wish the story had been better, and the characters less stereotypical. 
 
I want to thank the TBConFB for providing me with a free copy for an honest review!

Abigale Hall by Lauren A. Forry

Abigale Hall: A Novel - Lauren A. Forry

Amid the terror of the Second World War, seventeen-year-old Eliza and her troubled little sister Rebecca have had their share of tragedy, having lost their mother to the Blitz and their father to suicide. Forced to leave London to work for the mysterious Mr. Brownwell at Abigale Hall, they soon learn that the worst is yet to come. The vicious housekeeper, Mrs. Pollard, seems hell-bent on keeping the ghostly secrets of the house away from the sisters and forbids them from entering the surrounding town—and from the rumors that circulate about Abigale Hall. When Eliza uncovers some blood-splattered books, ominous photographs, and portraits of a mysterious woman, she begins to unravel the mysteries of the house, but with Rebecca falling under Mrs. Pollard’s spell, she must act quickly to save her sister, and herself, from certain doom.

Perfect for readers who hunger for the strange, Abigale Hall is an atmospheric debut novel where the threat of death looms just beyond the edge of every page. Lauren A. Forry has created a historical ghost story where the setting is as alive as the characters who inhabit it and a resonant family drama of trust, loyalty, and salvation.

 
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Abigale Hall is a book that didn't sell itself to me directly, it took a while for me to get into the story. But, at the same time was I curious enough to know more, to find out answers. Why did the aunt send Eliza and Rebecca to that weird house, and what's going on there? What's wrong with the housekeeper Mrs. Pollard. Is the house haunted or is it just Eliza imagining that? And, to be frank, what is going on with Rebecca? Lots of questions, and as the story progressed the more hooked I become until I finally had to admit that I was quite taken with the book.

Now, I have to admit that haunted houses are "my thing". Just give me a tragic or horrifying backstory or both and some poor family moving into the house and I'm sold. Abigale Hall has an interesting backstory and I wanted to know, is there a ghost or not? But, I must say that the ending really surprised me and pushed the stable 3-star rating to a 4-star rating. It's a jaw-dropping kind of ending, in many ways.

Abigale Hall may have taken some time for me to really get into, but it turned out to be one of those books that I'm glad I kept on reading. The story turned out to be really interesting and I was intrigued by Abigale Hall and really wanted to know what was going on there. And, most of all, I like that the conclusion really surprised me several times. It's not a horror story per se, more a mystery story with a bit of an ominous feeling to it.

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

A Perilous Undertaking by Deanna Raybourn

A Perilous Undertaking - Deanna Raybourn

Veronica Speedwell returns in a brand new adventure from Deanna Raybourn, the New York Times bestselling author of the Lady Julia Grey mysteries...

London, 1887 . . Victorian adventuress and butterfly hunter Veronica Speedwell receives an invitation to visit the Curiosity Club, a ladies-only establishment for daring and intrepid women. There she meets the mysterious Lady Sundridge, who begs her to take on an impossible task saving society art patron Miles Ramsforth from execution. Accused of the brutal murder of his artist mistress Artemisia, Ramsforth will face the hangman's noose in a week s time if Veronica cannot find the real killer.

But Lady Sundridge is not all that she seems and unmasking her true identity is only the first of the many secrets Veronica must uncover. Together with her natural historian colleague Stoker, Veronica races against time to find the true murderer a ruthless villain who not only took Artemisia s life in cold blood but is happy to see Ramsforth hang for the crime.

From a Bohemian artists colony to a royal palace to a subterranean grotto with a decadent history, the investigation proves to be a very perilous undertaking indeed....

 
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A Perilous Undertaking is a sequel to A Curious Beginning, but this book can read as a stand-alone. Though I do think it could be practical to read the first book to really get to know the characters since Veronica Speedwell, well she has an interesting family situation.
 
In this book, we get a deeper insight into both Veronica and Stoker's families. And, we finally learn why Stoker doesn't want to have anything to do with his family. Veronica meets a relative. However, she knows that the one person she really wants to see can she never met. I do hope that one day they will be able to meet, to be honest.
 
The case was interesting, however, the conclusion felt a bit like a letdown. I guess I just wanted a more shocking conclusion to the case. This felt like a very "proper" case ending. If the ending had been a bit more intriguing and intense would I perhaps have enjoyed it better. However, I did enjoy the progress of the book, the investigation into who murdered Artemisia. Veronica and Stoker are a great team and it will be interesting to see how this "relationship" will progress.
 
There are so many funny scenes in this book that left me smiling. Veronica may now and then seem a bit too modern for the setting, but I can't help but to adore her. She is refreshingly frank. And of course, Stoker as well, especially when he gets embarrassed.
 
I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy for an honest review!

Crash and Burn (Sigma Force #11.5) by James Rollins

Crash and Burn: A Sigma Force Short Story (Sigma Force series) (SIGMA Force Novels (Audio)) - James Rollins

New York Times bestselling author James Rollins comes a shocking short story, where a chance mishap leads to the discovery of a weapon like no other in . . . Crash and Burn.

On a transatlantic flight, the two black sheep of Sigma Force--Seichan and Kowalski--must set aside their mutual dislike as a mysterious fiery force knocks their aircraft out of the sky. This unlikely duo must use every skill, weapon, and bit of ingenuity to survive a night on a remote volcanic island, where their only refuge is the haunted, bat-plagued grounds of a seemingly deserted resort. But something horrific awaits the two, something born of the latest science but rooted in our basest human instincts. To survive they will need to learn to work together--but even then, it may be too late.

 

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Right, I'm just going to do a short review of this novella since there is just not much to say about it. I thought I read it since I just got the latest James Rollins book (woohoo!) and I thought this story may be important to the book (or in some way connected). I do like that it featured two of my favorite characters, but to be honest it was way too short to be more than I appetizer. And, not even an intriguing appetizer. I felt that because the shortness of the story did nothing really happened, or rather everything had to happen in a matter of a few pages and then the end. I could see how this could be a prolog but as a short story? Nah, it didn't work for me.

Cover Crush: In Farleigh Field by Rhys Bowen

For new visitors do I want to explain that Cover Crush is something that my friend Erin over at Flashlight Commentary came up with and I adopted the idea together with some other friends. And, now we try to put up a Cover Crush every week. You can check below my pick of the week for their choices this week!

For me, a good cover is a cover that makes me pause while browsing through books. Something that catches my eye. Like this one: 
 
In Farleigh Field: A Novel of World War II
Rhys Bowen
Lake Union Publishing (Amazon Publishing)
On Sale Date: March 1, 2017
ISBN 9781477818299, 1477818294
Hardcover | 396 pages
Fiction / Contemporary Women

World War II comes to Farleigh Place, the ancestral home of Lord Westerham and his five daughters, when a soldier with a failed parachute falls to his death on the estate. After his uniform and possessions raise suspicions, MI5 operative and family friend Ben Cresswell is covertly tasked with determining if the man is a German spy. The assignment also offers Ben the chance to be near Lord Westerham’s middle daughter, Pamela, whom he furtively loves. But Pamela has her own secret: she has taken a job at Bletchley Park, the British code-breaking facility.

As Ben follows a trail of spies and traitors, which may include another member of Pamela’s family, he discovers that some within the realm have an appalling, history-altering agenda. Can he, with Pamela’s help, stop them before England falls?

Inspired by the events and people of World War II, writer Rhys Bowen crafts a sweeping and riveting saga of class, family, love, and betrayal.

 
Some thoughts about the cover: 
 

The cover for In Farleigh Field is quite striking with Farleigh Place dominating the cover. I quite like the simplicity of the cover and I love that the font isn't too flashy. The colors are dark and that suits the tone of the description of the book and over the mansion can you see airplane which also suits the era very well.

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

The Dead Seekers by Barb Hendee & J.C. Hendee

The Dead Seekers (A Dead Seekers Novel) - J.C. Hendee, Barb Hendee

In the New York Times bestselling Noble Dead saga, Barb and J.C. Hendee created an engrossing mix of intrigue, epic fantasy, and horror. Now, they present a bold new series set in the same world, where the destinies of two hunters shaped by the shadows of their pasts are about to collide... 


In the dark reaches of the eastern continent, Tris Vishal travels from village to village, using his power to put unsettled spirits to rest. He works alone, having learned that letting people close only leads to more death. Still, he finds himself accepting the help of the Mondyalitko woman who saves his life a woman whose gifts are as much a burden as his own. 


Mari Kaleja thirsted for vengeance since the night her family was taken from her. She has searched far and wide for the one she thinks responsible, known only as The Dead's Man. But before she can kill him, she has to be sure. Mari hopes traveling with Tris will confirm her suspicions. But as they embark on a hunt where the living are just as dangerous as the dead, she learns the risks of keeping your enemy close... 

Because it's no longer clear who is predator and who is prey."
 
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The Dead Seekers is the first book in a new series and that is something that I'm bloody happy about since I really loved this book! And, now I will try to write a review about a book I love which I hate to do since I just want to say read it, it's brilliant. But, I will try to be a bit versatile than that.
 
The book starts off with Tris Vishal being born. But, he never breaths and the midwife has to tell his poor parents that the baby is stillborn. Then, the midwife notices that he starts to breathe when she carries him away, but there is something strange about him that will mark him as different from others. He has the ability to send spirits back to where they come from. But, he also risks the lives of everyone who is close to him. Mari Kaleja learns this the hard way as a child when her whole family is slaughtered by spirits. Now she first for revenge, and it's The Dead Man she is after. But, when she finally finds Tris must she be certain that he is the right one. But, traveling with him may not be the best idea. She watches him, and he is not as she had expected. Could this really be the man she has been chasing all these years?
 
I found myself really enjoying this book, both the setting and the characters. Trish whose gifts are a burden for him and Mari who has spent years looking for revenge. I'm usually not much for romance in books, but one can't really say it's any romance in this book since it's more two lonely people getting to know each other (with a hint of romance). And, that's probably one of the reasons I love the book so much. There is no lusting or instalove. 
 
As for the story itself. I loved getting to know more about Tris power, and Mari's own secret is interesting and very handy. It was also great reading about how their relationship developed from an uneasy alliance to more of a worry about each other, although Mari still wanted to kill him. But, she is a bit conflicted. The last part of the story is the best when they have to figure out who is killing soldiers. Is it a spirit or a revengeful man/woman?
 
I loved the ending of the book. It's the kind that put a smile on my face and I'm really looking forward to reading the next book in the series.
 
I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review!

The Guests on South Battery by Karen White

The Guests on South Battery (Tradd Street) - Karen White

New York Times bestselling author Karen White invites you to explore the brick-walked streets of Charleston, where historic mansions house the memories of years gone by, and restless spirits refuse to fade away...

 

With her extended maternity leave at its end, Melanie Trenholm is less than thrilled to leave her new husband and beautiful twins to return to work, especially when she’s awoken by a phone call with no voice on the other end—and the uneasy feeling that the ghostly apparitions that have stayed silent for more than a year are about to invade her life once more.

But her return to the realty office goes better than she could have hoped, with a new client eager to sell the home she recently inherited on South Battery. Most would treasure living in one of the grandest old homes in the famous historic district of Charleston, but Jayne Smith would rather sell hers as soon as possible, guaranteeing Melanie a quick commission.

Despite her stroke of luck, Melanie can’t deny that spirits—both malevolent and benign—have started to show themselves to her again. One is shrouded from sight, but appears whenever Jayne is near. Another arrives when an old cistern is discovered in Melanie’s backyard on Tradd Street.

Melanie knows nothing good can come from unearthing the past. But some secrets refuse to stay buried....

 
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The Guests on South Battery is the first book I have read by Karen White. Since I love paranormal stories and the American South did this book seem very promising. I also was curious to read something by Karen White, to see if her books were my cup of tea. And, I can say after this book that it worked on some levels, but it also had for me some flaws that I had problems with.

Let's start with the good things about the book. I loved the setting and the idea of the story. Old houses, ghosts, a mystery ready to be solved and family rivalry. That was great. Many of the supporting characters were quite nice, I especially liked Sophie. I think that's because we share a love for old houses. And, Melanie's mother Ginny is pretty cool. And, at first, Melanie was not so bad herself. However, and here come some things that bothered me, and it all started with Melanie. I love quirky characters, but Melanie's OCD was more annoying than quirky. I have battled my own OCD (Still do in some way) and I feel that I perhaps should have some sympathies. But, it was, to be honest mostly annoying to read about her control issues. I think she has a lot of issues she should deal with to let go of her anxiety. As my fellow buddy reader wrote about her when she discussed the boo: "she's a bit uptight". Spot on that was my thought as well while reading the book.

However, I did in some way enjoy the book, but the plot was extremely predictable. Not surprised me since I had already predicted what would happen. Or perhaps I'm just psychic? I did like the cliffhanger ending, and I have the first book in the series so I will definitely read more by the author, despite my problems with the book. However, I do hope the next book I will read will be more to my liking.

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

The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story by Douglas Preston

The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story - Douglas Preston

A five-hundred-year-old legend. An ancient curse. A stunning medical mystery. And a pioneering journey into the unknown heart of the world's densest jungle.

Since the days of conquistador Hernán Cortés, rumors have circulated about a lost city of immense wealth hidden somewhere in the Honduran interior, called the White City or the Lost City of the Monkey God. Indigenous tribes speak of ancestors who fled there to escape the Spanish invaders, and they warn that anyone who enters this sacred city will fall ill and die. In 1940, swashbuckling journalist Theodore Morde returned from the rainforest with hundreds of artifacts and an electrifying story of having found the Lost City of the Monkey God-but then committed suicide without revealing its location.

Three quarters of a century later, bestselling author Doug Preston joined a team of scientists on a groundbreaking new quest. In 2012 he climbed aboard a rickety, single-engine plane carrying the machine that would change everything: lidar, a highly advanced, classified technology that could map the terrain under the densest rainforest canopy. In an unexplored valley ringed by steep mountains, that flight revealed the unmistakable image of a sprawling metropolis, tantalizing evidence of not just an undiscovered city but an enigmatic, lost civilization.

Venturing into this raw, treacherous, but breathtakingly beautiful wilderness to confirm the discovery, Preston and the team battled torrential rains, quickmud, disease-carrying insects, jaguars, and deadly snakes. But it wasn't until they returned that tragedy struck: Preston and others found they had contracted in the ruins a horrifying, sometimes lethal-and incurable-disease.

Suspenseful and shocking, filled with colorful history, hair-raising adventure, and dramatic twists of fortune, The Lost City of the Monkey God is the absolutely true, eyewitness account of one of the great discoveries of the twenty-first century.

 
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As a longtime fan of the Pendergast series that Douglas Preston writes together with Lincoln Child was I curious to read this non-fiction book about a lost city. Personally, I find mysteries likes this very intriguing. I mean a lost city that is mentioned in old documents, but no one has found? What's not to like? And, what makes this book so fantastic is that Douglas Preston himself was part of the expedition to what could be White City or the Lost City of the Monkey God. A place where no one has been for centuries, a place with a lot of deadly creatures like the deadly fer-de-lance, one of the most deadly snakes on the planet.
 
The Lost City of the Monkey God captivated me from the beginning, Preston has written a well-researched book, which gives the reader both the historical background as well as the impressions from the expedition. I always love books that are entertaining and learning as well, and Preston has managed that. The only thing I found a bit dreary was the technical descriptions of the equipment that they used to pinpoint the city, but I got the gist and that was enough for me. I'm just not that interested in technical things so stuff like that always makes me a bit bored. But, I fully understand the need for it to be included in the story. Especially since it pissed of archaeologists who thinks that it's cheating to use lidar to find lost cities. I loved that part of the story, how petty some archaeologists were. 
 
As much as I enjoyed reading the historical background must I admit that reading about the expedition, how they were the first ones there were very thrilling. I could easily picture the scenery and I found the discovery of the city and artifacts fascinating. Although I'm not sure I would want to travel there with all the bugs and deadly snakes.
 
The Lost City of the Monkey God was a truly great book. I loved learning more about the history of Honduras and it made me sad to think how the Europeans arrival pretty much killed off most of the natives all over America thanks to the sickness they brought with them.
 
I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy for an honest review!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

DOUGLAS PRESTON worked as a writer and editor for the American Museum of Natural History and taught writing at Princeton University. He has written for The New Yorker, Natural History, National Geographic, Harper's, Smithsonian, and The Atlantic. The author of several acclaimed nonfiction books--including the bestseller The Monster of Florence--Preston is also the co-author with Lincoln Child of the bestselling series of novels featuring FBI agent Pendergast.

WEBSITE: http://www.prestonchild.com

FACEBOOK: http://facebook.com/PrestonandChild
 

EARLY PRAISE

"A story that moves from thrilling to sobering, fascinating to downright scary-trademark Preston, in other words, and another winner.” —Kirkus, starred review

"Replete with informative archaeology lessons and colorful anecdotes about the challenges Elkins' crew faced during the expedition, including torrential rains and encounters with deadly snakes, Preston's uncommon travelogue is as captivating as any of his more fanciful fictional thrillers.” —Booklist

"For anyone who dreams of lost times and places--and who doesn't?--this is the book. Revelatory, chilling, creepy, and alive with deadly snakes and insects bearing incurable disease, it's high adventure at its best, and all true.” — Erik Larson, New York Times bestselling author of Dead Wake and The Devil in the White City

"What reader could resist a new book by Douglas Preston called THE LOST CITY OF THE MONKEY GOD? Not this reader. Preston's book offers rewards for both the mystery fan and the nonfiction aficionado. THE LOST CITY is addictive-fast-paced and riveting, but it's also important. We mustn't repeat the cataclysmic mistakes of the past. Ironically-as THE LOST CITY illustrates-that's exactly what our short-sighted civilization is doing right now.” —James Patterson

"If you're going to explore a lost city-in this case one that vultures, poisonous snakes, sand flies, and mudholes have protected for 500 years-you really only want to do it with Douglas Preston. A tale of bravado, chicanery, and impossible dreams, arresting at every turn, no less so in its unexpected, pulse-racing coda.” —David Grann, New York Times bestselling author of The Lost City of Z

"Douglas Preston is one of the most adventurous figures in American letters today. Inured to personal danger, braving venomous snakes and lethal pathogens, he somehow gets it all--the science, the history, the intrigues, the obsessive characters, the electric moment of discovery, and the haunted cries of a once-powerful civilization. Preston's marvelous story is made all the more potent by the astonishing fact that, from beginning to end, it happens to be true.” —Hampton Sides, New York Times bestselling author of In the Kingdom of Ice

"A great true adventure, filled with danger, close calls, better-than-Hollywood characters, and a lost world that reaches through time and into everyone's future. One of the best nonfiction books I've read.” — Robert Kurson, New York Timesbestselling author of Shadow Divers and Pirate Hunters

"The Lost City of the Monkey God is a throwback to the golden age of adventure archaeology, the thrilling true story of a group of explorers penetrating one of the toughest jungles on earth in search of a lost city...and finding it. Preston is a terrific writer of both non-fiction books and bestselling novels, and makes you feel the dark heart of this lost Honduran wilderness.” —John Sandford, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of the #1 New York Times bestselling Prey series of novels