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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Murder Between The Lines by Radha Vatsal

Part of a series which I did not know about, this book was a good stand alone one which did not detract from its story or the series.

Set at the very end of 1915 and going into January of 1916 it depicts an era of change in America like it was all around the world especially for women. We have Kitty Weeks employed as a journalist, but in her father's eyes it is more or less a hobby. He wanted her to do this job without pay as she did not need the money at all and for Kitty it was more about asserting herself as an independent woman more than anything else. There was no vote for women as yet, the suffrage movement was just picking up and the position of women in public life was almost nil.

Kitty's assignment is Westfield Hall a prestigious school for girls, forward thinking for their times and supportive of girls higher education. A student found frozen to death supposedly whilst sleep walking makes an enquiry necessary but Kitty is not sure that all is what it seems. There seems to be a cover up from several people including most strangely the girl's parents themselves. That Elspeth was herself of a scientific bent of mind and was trying to disprove a theory re batteries involving the Navy Yard and the new ships being built were all pointers to Kitty that a conspiracy was afoot. Big names are involved with lucrative contracts involved and Kitty puts her investigative journalistic skills to play to uncover what actually happened. A second death under very mysterious circumstances adds to the intensity of the story.

Apart from the actual mystery, the story highlighted American politics in the White House of the time. President Wilson was in the White House and he did not seem progressive at all! there were strong women lobbying for women's rights but they would have a long way to go before they were successful. These stories added much interest to the book.

The book was sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Sourcebooks, Landmark.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Beneath a Burning Sky by Jenny Ashcroft

Olivia and Clara two sisters, separated at a very young age due to the death of their parents. One brought up by a grandmother determined to keep the two girls apart. It was a maneuvered coincidence that brought them together in colonial Egypt, both brought to this country of their birth by marriage. One marriage seemingly happy, the other brutal, painful and abusive of the most horrific.

The setting for the story was excellent. England again in colonizing mode trying to hold this disparate country together in the face of many odds. A hostile people who did not take easily to these foreign masters and people like Olivia's husband who were the lowest of the low, exploiting everyone and treating every person he met so badly that you wondered how he was not done away with before now.

The story reaches a climax with Clara's abduction and the entire facade of both sisters lives begins to slowly unravel as actions of their respective husbands play out on a new scenario which places both sisters in grave danger. The romantic element of Olivia finding love in her own house with a lodger brought by her own husband adds another element to this tense story.

The historical setting of the story added a lot to the story which was one of betrayal and love. Alexandria at the time was colorful enough but with villains, heroes and heroines also thrown into the mix, the story was intriguing.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an honest review, courtesy of Little Brown Book Group UK, the story revealed history from a very personal angle as well.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Exact Nature of our Wrongs by Janet Peery

A family story is never straight forward. This one has more than its fair share of difficult characters. From an AIDS affected younger son, to those who have been indicted for drunk driving, for siblings to whom popping drugs - of any kind is just a day to day "harmless" occupation, Hattie and Abel find themselves perplexed at what they have produced!

Hattie is a woman who is willing to believe the best in everyone and this particularly applies to her family. While everyone knows that Billy is robbing her blind, she pretends that this does not happen but that he is just taken advantage of by all and sundry (not the other way around). She tries to excuse shortfalls in all her children and blindly follows her husband's orders, despite hidden resentments surfacing on and off. These resentments at his high handedness are pushed deep within her mind and she conveniently forgets them until the next time.

Abel on the other hand is aging, with an onset of dementia (?) but is unwilling to accede to any what he sees as weakness on his part to give control of any part of his life to his family. He wants to be the autocrat till the end and greatly succeeds in doing this, despite resentment from all.

This is the background to the story and naturally its ups and downs makes for a good story. Children in their middle age squabbling is ugly, squabbling over stuff which they hope to inherit is even worse but these are facts of life - evident in life around us and this author has descriptively detailed everything out - the good, the bad and the ugly.

Very well told story sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of St. Martin's Press

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Mark of the King by Jocelyn Green

With migration so much in the news, this was a forced migration of sorts. Set in the 1720s it is factually correct. The story is a fascinating one. France wanted French citizens to occupy Louisiana state in America. They could not find willing participants to their scheme. So they offered it as a way out for people in prison who would have ended their days in the prison. Many would have taken it as a way out of a horrible life, but what made it inhuman was not just being sent to a place which they knew nothing about, but that as soon as they were taken out of prison they were forcibly married to men also released from prison whom they only saw for a few minutes before they were forced to wed.

With such inauspicious beginnings it is surprising that any of the immigrants survived, or that the marriages lasted. Some of them did. And some did not even last the journey to the other side of the Atlantic. Conditions on board ship were primitive and harsh and life in Louisiana was worse.

The story depicted is one of survival. Sheer grit, determination against all odds, and the odds were stacked up so heavily against her that Julianne survived not just the death of her husband, the stigma of being a midwife convicted for murder and her constant fight against men who sought her downfall.

The book was a fascinating glimpse into a part of both French and American history many may not be aware of. The act of colonizing nations has brought about so much of heartache to people, though to governments intent on annexing another country for wealth and fortune, these are not things even considered by them as important. The individual stories are all heartfelt stories of which even in this short period of four years, must be so many and each one different.

This very interesting read was sent to me by Netgalley courtesy of Bethany House Publishers.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Jack and Jill by James Patterson An Alex Cross Thriller

Alex Cross's third foray into crime is as good as it gets.

A controversial Senator found handcuffed to his bed and cold bloodedly executed at point blank range. On the other side of the same town a six year old girl brutally killed. The killings continue apace alternatively with each other. Are the two killing sprees linked in any way or are there two separate cold blooded killers stalking Washington DC. The one killer targets high upmarket stakes and the other is more low key. The attention to the two murders by the powers that be is also markedly different to the disgust of the detectives handling the cases.

The sign offs on the murders of the upmarket killings are Jack and Jill. Coincidentally and frighteningly they are also the code names for the President of the US and his wife. When the killings get more and more linked to the Presidency, it is a high alert for all the agencies across the board to protect their President. But for how long can the President be shielded from events, people and his position. Not for long and the President himself declares that life will go on as usual, come what may.

On the other part of town the killing of children also continues and the neighbourhoods are frightened that nothing seems to be done, despite all the detective work going on. Detective Alex Cross has taken it upon himself personally along with his team to follow up on all leads but they are becoming less and less certain of their suspects.

In both cases, initial suspects are not right so they have to dig deeper and deeper. No clues left around, no amount of profiling turns up suspects and Alex Cross has to find their suspects fast. They know that the killers are clever, very clever and it although late in the day it has to be solved at any cost.

Fast paced, beautiful detective work, painstakingly following up leads and deducing what will happen is always interesting to read about. Patterson does this job beautifully.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Random House UK, Cornerstone this was a book you had to read in one go. 

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Romilly by Cate Charleston


An Edwardian family/romance story but certainly with many twists to it that it could very well have been set in present times. The over riding sense of protocol and correctness was certainly there but not overwhelmingly so, and whether such a situation could survive in those times I really do not know but it made for a very interesting, fast paced read.

Romilly and her mother have lived a very quiet life. Being Methodist, 'chapel' rules their day to day lives and both of them seem very satisfied the way it has turned out to be. Romilly has never questioned why she is so sequestered from others, not encouraged to make friends even at the academy she went to and certainly not with members of the chapel. Her mother despite being an ardent supporter of chapel, maintains a reserve that is chilling.

With the death of her mother, Romilly's new life begins with startling revelations. It also brings her into contact with the very rich and very social world. A world totally alien to her and which she has been always told to hold aloof from. How she is going to reconcile her natural good sense with what she has been taught from the day she was born is tricky because many things go against the grain. Despite a very delicate air, Romilly survives and thrives meeting antagonism and social disapproval head on because she has the support of her new immediate family.

The romance was for me just by the way as the story of family and support, and women standing up for themselves was much more important. It was however a nice by product!

I loved this read very much which was a free download from Amazon. I only wish the other two books were also available!  

Saturday, July 15, 2017

The Legacy by Yrsa Sigurdardottir

The murderer here was calculating, clever and cold blooded. The methods used are unheard of, gruesome but they all mean something obviously. Trying to link the dots and trying to find a connection between the three is what the detectives have to find.

Facing a blank wall of seemingly endless clues with no connection and no idea of where to go next, a random arrest seems to make everyone happy. The fact that the so called murderer gets a stroke, is paralysed and unable to talk from that point on seemingly closes the case. It all seems very conveniently done and you still feel that somewhere down the line, the investigation has slipped.

Seemingly random, seemingly without motive the detectives move slowly but not forward. It is just by a simple deduction right at the end that it even gets closure and then it seems so simple.
Set in Iceland was interesting enough though it did not convey enough of the background. I would have liked to have seen and known more about the setting. I am glad that this author is getting known via translation as her books are certainly engrossing.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review courtesy of Hodder & Stoughton.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Murder is Suspected by Roderic Jeffries

A hit and run with a nondescript description of both vehicle and none whatever of the driver. The witnesses an elderly couple.

Seems matter of fact everyday happening but when pieces begin to unravel at headquarters and when you have an upright chief (very unreal these days) but nevertheless this is the point when things begin to make sense.

Fusili is put in charge of the investigation and when it points to the chief constable's son is ordered to stop. He now has to decide whether he is cutting his own neck by pursuing the investigation. How he is going to balance his moral code with his professional orders is the dilemma. The hit and run is the tip of an iceberg leading to bigger law breaking. The intricacies of police work, the slogging and routine work that goes into an investigation seems mind numbingly dull! but it works and break through s only happen through this method it seems.

Very enjoyable read if one likes police investigation reads!

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Endeavour Press.

Monday, July 10, 2017

This Was Not The Plan by Cristina Alger

Charlie's life is in a whirlwind. He has just lost his wife at thirty three in an accident which is tantamount to murder. His professional life has taken over his entire life. His five year old son Caleb is a stranger to him and his twin sister Zadie is trying so very hard to keep it all together for all of them.

As a lawyer working in a pressure cooker, trying to make partner after ten years of slogging, Charlie only knows about work and nothing else. His life is spent in his office and the whole thing bursts after a seventy five hour sprint in the office without a break which results in a huge settlement for his office and the end of the life which Charlie knows.

The back stabbing that goes on in the corporate world is highlighted in this book. Avarice and jockeying for position, power and money all follow this greed and this firm and its partners are not exempt. Charlie has given them the opening gambit they need and all are waiting to grab his place if he is fired. They want to use the vacuum created by his departure to their own best advantage.

Simultaneously Zadie has decided to get engaged and very quickly married putting Charlie on the spot as to what to do with his son Caleb and how he is going to work around the loss of Zadie. A reconciliation with their long lost father, unraveling of family secrets and trying to get to grips with unsavoury facts however hard it is to face.

The story of loss in its different forms - personal and professional, grief, loss of self esteem and the sheer loneliness of being all alone is handled well in this story. How we reconcile this loss and try to move on trying to hang on to our sanity and not give in to depression and the easy way out is also very delicately told.

The book was sent to me by Netgalley, courtesy of Touchstone Publishers for an unbiased review. 

Saturday, July 8, 2017

A Ring of Truth by Michelle Cox

This book was interesting in several ways. The poor girl marrying rich boy story is always very nice and when it all ends happily even better. In this case our rich man never said he was actually filthy rich and heir to an estate. He was just a chief detective and that is how our girl met him, whilst working on a case for him.  Henrietta realised that he was rich only when she visited his home and saw how difficult it would be for her to fit in. On top of that the other twist in the tale, was that Henrietta's mother herself had a colorful past, one she had successfully hidden from her eight children for all these years.  The fact that she was herself a rich heiress who disgraced her family by running away and then forsaking all attempts for reconciliation is now slowly coming to light.

In these circumstances, Henrietta visits the family home with the idea of getting used to their way of life and also to plan the much awaited engagement and wedding. To add another twist to the story a loss of a ring and the twist in the tale in its finding added another layer to this story.

Several different strands - a mystery, a follow up from a previous story plus a romance and a family saga. Very nicely combined.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of She Writes Press.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

One Perfect Lie by Lisa Scottoline

The story was full of suspense from the first page till the end. Right at the beginning I really thought that Chris was one of the "bad guys". The scheming, the lying, the deceitfulness had me thinking in just the opposite direction to which the story eventually went.

That is the cleverness of this author. She takes you in one direction and then jerks you back again in another. Very nicely done!!!

The story of espionage and eventually terrorism in a small town, which to all appearances is peaceful and very quiet is indicative of the times we live in and very much part of today's world.

An author whose books once you start you can't put down!

Sent to me by St. Martin's Press courtesy of Netgalley for an unbiased review.

Monday, July 3, 2017

The Halo Effect by Anne D. LeClaire

Will, Sophia and Lucy form an enviable family unit. Will is a renowned painter, Sophie is a choral master and Lucy is all what they want from a daughter. An ordinary evening, each one returning from chores and Lucy does not return from hockey practice. A few days later her bloodied body is found. Seven months down the line, her parents shattered, they await some findings about their daughters killer.

Will seeks revenge on his own. He looks into every face in his well loved neighbourhood and thinks that one of them could well be his daughters killer. It drives him and Sophie far apart. Sophie is a Catholic with very strong faith and Will is not a believer. Being approached by Father Gervase to undertake a painting of forty three saints for the new cathedral is ironic. Will finally accepts the challenge and this is the turning point in the story. He chooses for the models people from all walks of life from within the community following in the manner of famous artists of the past.

Will and Sophie have to make their peace as well. They are broken by the grief of their daughters death, but this has driven them apart not brought them together. Will the killer be found as it is now a very cold case. An odd finding of a token loved by Lucy months after her death in a chapel, opens the investigation in another way and this will finally lead to solving the case.

Poignant, very emotional, very sad but beautifully and delicately written, this was a very beautifully told story.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Lake Union Publishing.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Rebecca's Children by Kate Dunn

19th century Wales - not a country or period I was very familiar with and this story a mix of historical fiction along with a complex story of both love and betrayal was portrayed very well.

The setting was tough. A hard setting to have any degree of warmth or much happily ever after and the fact that it achieved a certain degree of it, bodes well for the author's story telling. The spirit of nationalism as well as social upheaval was beginning and  uprisings were becoming common. The ordinary man seemed to have had enough and fighting against tolls and taxes is the background for this story.

Our heroine Mary handles adversity stoically, from the suicide of her father to the injury caused to her brother, the loss of the farm held by her family for generations and the entire burden of the family falling on her shoulders. It was a hard story to follow because there seemed no let up at all for Mary and whatever happiness she had was fleeting and then taken away.
The story telling was very good and characters were spot on.

The book was sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review courtesy of Endeavour Press.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Proud Sinner by Priscilla Royal and The Book of Summer by Michelle Gable

A medieval mystery murder/s set in an abbey. The age old reason - the struggle for power and supremacy. Was there then, is still here now!
The setting was beautiful and descriptive. The workings of the abbey fascinated me and how women of the time tried to manage their lives in the restricted sphere they were allocated to. How men tried to control women, their possessions and their power for their own greed.
Very well told.
Sent to me by Poisoned Press courtesy of Netgalley for an unbiased review.

A story set in a beachside town. The air from the very beginning light hearted. This is a town where people come back for summer vacations and the actual inhabitants of the town are few and far between. Was very difficult to visualise for someone who comes from a crowded city where houses are never closed and always full of people!
The story of a family and their love for a house which they are going to eventually lose to the sea. Erosion has taken its toll on the coastline and their house is one of the victims. Twined into the loss of the house is the failure of a marriage, family relationships and a new love affair which is just beginning.
A light hearted read which was very enjoyable given the background setting.
Sent to me by St. Martin's Press courtesy of Netgalley for an unbiased review.

Monday, June 26, 2017

The Irish Tempest by Elizabeth J. Sparrow

My knowledge of Irish English relations was a bit hazy and this helped in a way to clear some of the misconceptions I had.

The year 1911 and there is a simmering discontent amongst all walks of Irishmen. Unlike most rebellions which are confined to the labour and lower working class, this transcends class barriers and upper class folk also want to throw off the yoke of English supremacy in their own country.

Thrown together by circumstance and geography Court and Lacey lives are interwoven from the time Lacy was an infant and Court a teenager. The relationship is a tender one from the very onset but circumstances of a mixed up reasoning drives Court to take a position in the English Army in India for three years. Lacey is heart broken but is also attracted by a scheming and charismatic horse trainer in her family's employ.

The Easter Uprising of 1916 is meshed into the story along with the fledgling romance of Lacey and Court, their marriage and their future.

This was a very fine debut novel and I am waiting for the sequel.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of 

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Secrets we Keep by Faith Hogan

Sometimes it is better to keep the past in the past. The old adage of digging up history and not finding it palatable is somewhat true. For Iris and Archie resurrecting the past, now that they are quite old is difficult and not easy, for their grand niece Kate it is a revelation of her own family history of which she has scant knowledge. Her return to Bath is a pilgrimage of sorts. She wants to lay to rest her own turbulent life - being a top class divorce lawyer has its minus points - and she wants to finally seek some peace from having had her heart broken.

Moving six hundred miles away to start a new life, Kate does not realise that on the other side is Todd her heart breaker who having suffered a heart attack is also seeking an alternative lifestyle. Coincidences are strange but having him turn up in Ballytokeep is one for the books. It disrupts Kate's peace of mind as well as the village who now have a celebrity in their midst in the form of a rock star albeit a bit aged in Todd.

The pitfalls of having secrets, the ties of family bonds are the basis of this story. Set in the past and present in two timelines which is always interesting, the story is also descriptive of this part of the English county.

The book was sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Aria Books.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

High as the Heavens by Kate Breslin

Another classic from a well loved era WWI.

Eve is just another widow in this horrible war. Living in Belgium working for the Red Cross in occupied Belgium, she works for the hated Germans but is living a double life. Her work in the Red Cross and her having won an Iron Cross for services to the Germans gives her access to information and people which are useful for the allies.  Underneath the facade she is heart broken with the loss of not just her husband but her sister and brother who would be eighteen and fourteen were they alive.
Taken on a train to the deadly camps, she has little hope for their survival.

Unexpectedly things change and the tension and progress of the story ramps up. Her husband is alive, parachuted into Belgium, injured but alive. No one knows his identity and it is upto her to prevent it getting known. She has also got to know that her siblings had jumped off the train and are alive in France. Getting them out is going to be formidable. Occupied France like Belgium has strict border controls.

The enterprise, strength of mind and courage of this woman is loosely based on a factual story and is just another angle from which we know about this war. The occupation of a country must be a horrible existence for the survivors and this is descriptively detailed in the story. I found it very difficult but at the same time engrossing what means people will find to somehow betray the occupiers of their land, sabotage them and generally be a pain in their side. The occupiers themselves have to feel that they are disliked, hated and just tolerated because there is no choice. It cannot be easy to live in those circumstances, always on guard because you do not know from where the next attack would come.

I was sent this book from Bethany House Publishers, courtesy Netgalley, for an unbiased review. 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Fire Child by S.K. Tremayne

Rachel and David both enter a marriage with deep, dark secrets. Each have their own agenda but one thing they do have in common. They want whats best for Jamie the little boy left bereft after his mother's tragic death. Carnhallow House where David takes Rachel to live is an added bonus. On the coast of Cornwall, it does have a tragic history with tin mining taking precedence but it has been the family home for David and his ancestors for generations. The fact that Rachel fell in love with the house as well was a real bonus.

Nothing however is what it seems and the onset of strange utterances from Jamie with disjointed unrelated stuff from David's ailing mother makes Rachel begin to think that Nicola's death was not the straight forward accident it seemed to be and Jamie seems to have some vision for the future which does not bode well for Rachel.

Taking twists and turns of the most unexpected, the depths to which someone would go to safeguard a "thing" in this case Carnhallow House over a relationship and an actual living being shows what attachment and in a sense greed could do to a human. Not being too attached to worldly stuff is something that Buddhism always speaks about and I guess this is a good thing.  David considered Rachel expendable in the greater scheme of his life when compared to his family home and this overall affected the entire story.

A mystery it was, but a psychological saga would be more descriptive of this very good book.

Sent to me by Grand Central Publishing for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Dark Lake by Sarah Bailey

Gemma has become lead investigator of the Homicide division in her small town of Smithson through sheer grit and hard work. Being a woman detective has never been easy and earning her stripes was hard. She is determined to do the best she is capable of and she is capable of doing much. Her boss knows and trusts her with this latest assignment.

A young teacher, much liked by students and peers is found murdered and her body floats on the nearby lake. Surrounded by red roses the find is a macabre one for this town where incidents of minor robberies or a domestic violence issue is the most that the cops have to face. Is it a random killing or something more. The whole town is on edge and the Chief wants it done and dusted asap.

Nothing is what it seems like and delving into the history of the girl's family unearths a complicated background which had been hidden until now. The teacher herself though popular, is someone whom no one actually knew very well and her personal history alone is skimpy with no apparent clues as to how she lived, who her friends were and what her future plans were.

Unraveling the mystery among Gemma's own personal turmoil of partner, son and lover all clashing in the midst of an investigation was going to be an upheaval of its own. Balancing the personal with her career Gemma has to come to a decision on her personal life as well.

The story with its surprising twists and turns was told in a time line day by day which heightened the tension of the story. One knew a climax of some sort was coming which added to the interest of the story.

The setting of a small town four hours away from the nearest big city of Sydney was also descriptive and I did like how the weather in this area affected the tone of the day to day happenings in the town. That was unusual in itself.

Sent to me by Grand Central Publishing for an unbiased review, via Netgalley, this was a very good book. 

Crown of Passion by Jocelyn Carew

When one becomes a ward of a unscrupulous king one is at the mercy of his wishes. William II was one such king and Gwyn realised very early on that she would need all her wits about her to survive. It did not help that her guardian in this case was disoriented and did not care about her welfare. Her only concern was to survive herself and somehow protect her young son.

The court was corrupt and the advisors to the King worse. Gwyn found out that love had no place in the court and those who professed it only meant to please themselves or further their own place in the court. It was a bitter pill to swallow. She loved unwisely and had to rein herself in and not risk her life. As it is she lost her entire dowry to the greedy king who actually wagers her to the highest bidder. Seeking escape, escape she does but then ends up with a man who is worse than all of them. Married to him and with no means of escape she thinks this is her fate but fate has a strange way of upsetting everyone's plans and it ends well.

Love triumphs, good over evil and it was a pleasant ending to an unpleasant tale of avarice, men's over riding power over women and at a time where women were merely chattels of either their fathers or their husbands.

Sent to me by Endeavour Press, for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

A Knightsbridge Scandal by Anita Davison

1903 is a good period. A period of great change particularly for women with the beginning of the suffragette movement though it still had a long way to go. Attitudes of men were also changing albeit slowly.

Flora our heroine has come to London seeking out her father whom she has never met nor been acknowledged by upto this time. All along she thought herself the daughter of the butler, a governess by profession and was looked at condescendingly by all including her mother in law. Her husband thank goodness is a perfectly decent man.

Flora is as her wont goes slap bang into a murder and a mystery which will take her to the very highest in the land. The ramifications of a murder which was thought first to be a robbery gone wrong, then linked to the victims connections to the suffragette movement move steadily upwards to a Serbian gang operating in London right under the eye of the very highest.

Very descriptive of not just the mystery and the murder it was, but also of the life and times of the period and London in particular, this was a very good piece of writing and one I enjoyed tremendously.

Many thanks to Netgalley for sending it to me, courtesy of Aria for an unbiased review.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

The Bones of Grace by Tahmima Anam

This was complicated in a good way. Eventually it made sense. Starting from the academia of Harvard we cross to Pakistan in search of an extinct whale who walked the earth, we then cross over to Bangladesh. Here we then come to the family saga story as well. Complicated again because the conflict of ideology between the old brigade and the young people, the identity crisis of who you actually are, trying to conform to traditional roles is rather difficult for Zubaida but she does try.

An archaelogical search to unearth something strange and unheard of entwined with a love story of Zubaida who is trying to balance the sudden appearance of love with the expected role which she has never said no to of being the bride of a family friend where they are just waiting for her return to announce an engagement. How does Zubaida reconcile the two? how does she think her role as wife in a traditional household will work with her career?

A conflict which is ever present for modern educated girls in Asia - where do you draw the line between personal desires and the desires of the family. Unlike in Western culture, in closed small communities in Asia it is the community that is important not the individual and how much is one willing to sacrifice for this. The story with the unusual theme of paleontologists, political upheaval, tribal warfare, love and family was beautifully told as it is always by this author.

Haunting and deeply emotional.

Sent to me by Netgalley courtesy of Canongate Books, for an unbiased review. 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Never Let You Go by Chevy Stevens

I was looking forward to this book for quite some time so when I got it I was quite excited.

Like all her stories, they are never the straight forward thriller mystery murders or psychological thrillers of other authors (though they are very good as well). Hers always has a twist in the tale but this time around this was a little tame in comparison to her previous stories.

Lindsey and Andrew start life as newly weds, madly in love and expecting life to be good. Fast forward and we discover Andrew is abusive Lindsey is dead scared, and though she knows she should get out of the marriage she does know that Andrew will pursue her and eventually kill her. A freak accident which puts Andrew in jail gives her the opening she needs and she flees the known into the unknown and makes a new life for herself.

With Andrew's release from prison her safe haven is gone and she knows its only a matter of time before Andrew finds her and shakes up the peaceful life and future she has planned for. What she did not account for was her teenage daughter Sophie to be having contacts with the father whom she has only faint remembrances of and who brings Andrew very much to the scene.

The ending is not the one we want, neither was it expected though there are hints that you have to look elsewhere for the "baddie",

Very well told keeping you on edge throughout.

Sent to me by Netgalley or an unbiased review courtesy of St Martin's Press.

Friday, June 2, 2017

The Girls by Helen Yglesias

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I liked the description of this book. So much written about young people, older people on the periphery only and these were very old! eighty and upwards four sisters five years gap between them and all very much aware of what is happening to them and the surroundings and their future, limited though it seemed.

Jenny has turned up being the youngest to help Flora, the flamboyant one assist in the moving of Eva and Naomi to an assisted living home. The eldest is 95 articulate and sensitive and each sister is quite articulate with Flora being the extrovert and outgoing still thinking she is attractive to the opposite sex and quite flirtatious!

Interesting read on four different characters of women, how aging affects each of us in different ways (I am sure most readers can identify with one of these women!) I was certainly able to. Very nice take on the aging process and what we should or shouldn't possibly do to avoid embarrassing our children!

Sent to me by Delphinium Books Open Road via Netgalley,  for an unbiased review.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Eleventh Grave in Moonlight by Darynda Jones

I went into this thinking it was a mystery/murder/thriller. It was all three but not quite what I expected. Not a genre I would pick either but I am glad I went into it blind. I enjoyed the book much to my surprise though!!!

A mix of unsavoury characters of missing husbands, abductors of children, murderers plus the odd demon, lots of dead people, angels on the wing not always lovely and peaceful some quite avengeful but the entire story kept its pace throughout and despite some torrid love scenes quite a fun read!
I don't know whether I'll go back to the series but this alone was a nice light read.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review courtesy of St. Martin's Press

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Death in the Castle by Pearl S Buck

I've always associated Pearl Buck with stories set in China so this was a nice turn up for the books.
An ancient castle, a very English old couple, a butler and jack of all trades and his daughter Kate loyal stalwarts and the brash American who wants to buy the castle and transfer it (naturally) to Connecticut! His reasoning is that there are more people there who will appreciate the paintings he intends to hang in the castle converted to a museum.

You knew you were going in blind in this one. Very early on there are lots of fantasies being played out, especially with the older couple who seem to live in years gone by in the actual times of Kings and the part that the family played in whatever role they did. The fact that they thought the sale was a straight forward one with the castle merely changing hands not changing places was an added twist to the story.

The novel was not a mystery thriller for me in the real sense but it did make for interesting historical fiction. The characters were a little too defined for me, with Kate the maid not acting or speaking like a maid at all. However the interest in the story was the castle, its history, its future and the bit of romance that was evolving as we went along.

Sent to me by Open Road Integrated Media through Netgalley, for an unbiased review.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Charlie's Wives by Simon Luckhurst

The year 1864 is turbulent in America. Charlie has returned seemingly unscathed but PTSD and depression are unknown at the time and on the surface he seems fine. He is psychologically scarred by the effects of war - the death and for him needless dying of thousands has hit him hard. Much harder than those of his fellow soldiers. To them he seems delicate, sensitive and these are qualities unknown to them.  This puts Charlie at a disadvantage.  They look at him with slight disdain and also suspicion.

Charlie is assigned a role to find African Americans to serve. To recruit them he is given an incentive payment but it is not enough and Charlie finds that talking to the African American women may be the key to getting the men to enlist. Whilst he is successful in doing this, it is misrepresented by his commanding officer who is a boor and a coward who tries to undermine Charlie's efforts at every turn.

Charlie helps the women by writing for them. Letters to their husbands giving details of their homes and children and their own feelings because he knows how much he longed for letters himself from his mother and sisters when he was on the battlefield. He also reads the letters that come back from the husbands and through this interchange, Charlie builds up relationships with the women who are quite distant from the other white men of the camp.

Charlie is an outstanding man of the times. Sensitive and compassionate and compared with the others of his camp he is such a good man. Not appreciated of course by his seniors or his peers who do not quite understand him.

Characterizations was spot on throughout the book and the story was a good one, highlighting a part of the war where African Americans were an integral part of the war to win liberty at a time when such liberty was at risk.

The book is also a story based on true events.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Wild Rose Press Inc.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Dear Amy by Helen Callaghan

Dear Amy

Margot Lewis is a columnist a sort of agony aunt for The Cambridge Examiner. She also teaches classics at a private school. Margot also has a chequered history which she has taken great pains to conceal as she knows if it gets out that is the end of her teaching career. Subject to mood swings and depression and bouts of lack of self confidence, I wondered how she was an agony aunt and teacher in the first place but as I said all this seemed well hidden at most times.

A girl from this school goes missing but there seems to be little hue and cry as it is assumed that she ran away from home - from a mother and a stepfather and all the implications from that sentence. Unfair but that was the way it went. Getting letters from a girl who went missing twenty years ago and who was presumed dead all these years opens up a new avenue for the police and the Missing Persons Unit. Building up a case from these letters and taking it a step at a time comes this strange thriller. Mystery, abduction of course and above all the twists and turns of the human mind.

The book was startling by the end, totally unexpected from my point of view and held me in thrall throughout.

Sent to me by Edelweiss for an unbiased review.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

all I ever wanted by Lucy Dillon

After a series of rather complicated mystery murders and thrillers, Lucy Dillon was a comfort read.

Two parallel stories for me- one a four year old Nancy exuberant, talkative full of life who one day becomes silent, so surreptitiously that her mother and father have to be told the facts by their elder son a little boy of nine. Patrick and Caitlin are so immersed in their divorce, their own lives and how they are going to live that they do not realise what is happening closer to home. Joel who was always attention seeking now becomes worse and Nancy goes deeper and deeper into her shell.

We then have Eva, Patrick's sister who is roped in as a chaperone and a place where both parents would be comfortable to leave their children. Eva is 45 has been married to a famous actor, recently widowed and childless. How she is going to cope with two children in an immaculate house is something Patrick selfishly does not even think about. Eva despite her doubts how she is going to cope, rallies beautifully. The children and Eva develop strong ties of warmth affection and family and this was wonderful to see.

The selfishness of both Caitlin and Patrick was also apparent and though the end of the story brought them to their senses it indicates how quickly even adults can forget about their responsibilities and duties.

An interesting story, with good characters and a nice setting.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Hodder & Stoughton.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

The Girl Before by J P Delaney

Told in two time frames Emma and Jane both get the opportunity to live in an architectural masterpiece. There are restrictions and regulations and limitations galore and the selection procedure is relentless and ruthless. Both women consider themselves privileged to get the opportunity to
live there.

The house is in itself rather strange, rather peculiar. Very modern in concept and design it is considered secure and unable to be broken into. Everything is digitally controlled and seems almost antiseptic in its design - not just structure but even furniture and fittings.

What follows when living in the house forms the crux of the story and what happens to Emma is both twisted and macabre not the least to do with her own personality and the relationship which developed between the architect and herself. The repetition of the story with Jane draws parallels and you begin to wonder whether history is going to repeat itself.

Alternating between the two women, very soon you realise that this is not going to end well and it is that, that keeps the reader on edge.

I received the book from Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Quercus Books.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

His Kidnapper's Shoes by Maggi James

Sad but not an uncommon tale. A baby kidnapped and brought up by a woman who conveniently forgets the kidnapping and in her mind he is her son.

In this case however there is unknown to the mother physical and sexual abuse by the stepfather and at the back of his mind Daniel knows that something is not quite right with his memories. He does not shrug it off like anyone else but he pursues it. memories of a young child of four and memories of two women totally unlike his mother. This is the beginning of the mystery he tries to unravel and unravel it does.

Having being forced to live a lie, Daniel now has to begin to process who he is, assimilate into a new family and by a strange coincidence lose the love of his life who just so happens to be a close relation. This was the only feature I found a bit too slick but the general book was an excellent read into the vagaries of human nature and what we would or won't do to satisfy simple human needs. Even to the detriment of everyone else, humans can be appallingly selfish.

The book was sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review courtesy of Lake Union Publishing.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel

Oh this was dark! very dark and it made you sit a bit on the edge of your seat throughout the read!

Very much in your face with the facts, nothing was quite hidden here despite the Southern charm.
Like all families, this one had its secret a very twisted one and one that had seeped through three generations of women. You didn't have to like this book you just had to know how it was going to end and the ending was a closure of sorts. I doubt you'd get closure with a subject like this but this is as far as it was going to go.

Very well told, strong characterization and plot this was a good book though the subject matter was distasteful. distressing even.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Hodder & Stoughton.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

the nearness of you by Amanda Eyre Ward

The story is complex. It deals with the delicate modern issue of surrogacy and the fact that it is definitely not for everyone (though most people go into it not taking emotional factors into consideration). The overwhelming need of wanting a child, someone with your genes takes over common sense and basic human fears and then the snowballing situation of which of course one does not have control over takes over several people's lives.

Our husband and wife duo are quite placid or rather the wife is over their lack of conceiving. Until it appears that Hyland has been considering options unknown to his wife. Finding a surrogate and going along with it blindly Suzette does not realize how much hope and faith her husband has in this succeeding.

Once chosen Hyland is so into the health and well being of the surrogate much more than Suzette who is a little distant and reserved but as the pregnancy progresses they are both totally agreed on the outcome. That the outcome is not exactly what all wish for is of course heart breaking and out of the blue. It also reiterates that all plans do not follow a scientific course of action and that action 3 will necessarily follow 1 and 2.

The book dealt with human emotions of every nature and handled them well. It was a roller coaster of a  story which kept me in its thrall till the end.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Ballantine Books.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Death at St. Vedast by Mary Lawrence

Sometime since I read something set in Medieval times so this was a good change for me.

Bianca is an unusual woman for her times. A herbalist a profession which can border on the dangerous depending on the mood of the people. She could be branded a witch for which the gallows is the option and so she must be careful of what she says and how she dispenses with her salves and potions. To the despair of her husband John she is also outspoken, easily draws the eye and attention of folk and this is dangerous for both of them.

In the midst of a series of unusual deaths, where the victim turns to being gibberish, to being almost epileptic in their symptoms with no previous disease the population wants an easy victim. From the husband of one, to the simple pastor of a parish who could not do enough to keep a person alive the victims are drawn from all sides - both the victims of the illness as well as those deemed to be guilty of being part of the illness.

Bianca realises earlier on that though isolated and the deaths are physically far apart from each other, the symptoms of death make her look for a common denominator in all. Through a series of deductions this she is able to do. The difficulty for her however is to be believed - a woman's powers of deduction and intelligence are very low rated amongst the chauvinist males of the times and getting her voice heard is going to be very tough.

The characterization of Biana and John was well balanced. One timid and one forthright, the others were typical of their times. Interesting plot as well.

Sent to me by Kensington Books courtesy of Netgalley for an unbiased review. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Good Time Coming by C S Harris

There were several bloggers who highly recommended this author but for other stories. This is the one I was able to get and it did not disappoint. My knowledge of the American Civil War is very scanty.  This story filled in the historical gaps very nicely set against abolition, slavery and the very unnecessary loss of lives which followed.

The story of Amrie who has only got memories of her father who enlisted when she was ten years old. Left in the care of a mother who was a very strong, and unusual woman of the times Amrie noted and came to her own conclusions on many happenings in her world, but she did keep them to herself. She grew up too soon and was a very mature fourteen year old who understood the vagaries of war, of men and hardship. She was a capable helpmeet to her mother and to those around her and she knew when to be discreet because indiscretion meant even a loss of lives. The story also highlights the unwritten heroes and in this case heroines of war of which little is known.

The prejudices towards African Americans was so stark, the sheer inability of white slave owners to even acknowledge them as people was very marked in the story. That even a pastor would condone slavery albeit actually encourage and endorse it, quoting from the Bible in support was incomprehensible.

Controversial, disturbing but it makes you think a lot on every distasteful subjects.

Sent to me by Severn House Publishers, courtesy of Netgalley for an unbiased review.

Friday, April 21, 2017

The Sound of Thunder by Taylor Caldwell

Edward was one of the children of an immigrant. Typical to his age, he just wanted to make a living for his children in the best way he could with the help of his wife and this they did in running a modest delicatessen. Heinrich was more than content if he could nurture his children's talents and they were an extremely talented family. However, the sacrifice had to be the eldest who had to work hard, never had a childhood because he became the support and mainstay of his family.

How a lifestyle and a way of thinking turned a boy into a hardened man, with tunnel vision which ultimately cost him the love and warmth of his siblings who drained him dry financially, but did not care a toss for him and his well being is this story. A family saga, fairly twisted by twin themes of greed and envy which ate into the psyches of some of the siblings and which led to simmering undercurrents throughout the story.

This was not a comfortable read. You felt for each of the characters - some very strong, most weak falling aside over the overpowering personality of Edward who was dominated and controlled by the vast financial empire he built. That Edward found love and understanding in his wife and children was the saving grace for Edward.

The story also highlights the rise of a middle class in America, moving from small time businessmen to powers that will be in the financial world.

Very interesting, powerful characterizations and a family rags to riches story very descriptively told.

Sent to me by Open Road Integrated Media courtesy of Netgalley for an unbiased review.  

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

A Private House by Anthony Hyde

Set in Cuba with very interesting characterization, it brought out the best and the worst of a failing economy where normal citizens are so deprived that they resort to every imaginable scam possible to find a buck. Alongside that is the story of a rather naive woman, trying to find the young lover of a friend of hers to give him a legacy that has been bequeathed to him.

It was a conflicting story and at times the numerous characters confused me as to what their role in the story was, and how it was going to end. Two women one is Lorraine seeking the elusive Amado and then there is Mathilde a journalist looking at the Cuban revolution through an exiled American, a former Black Panther.

Since my knowledge of the Cuban Revolution was scant, and even less knowledgeable about the role of America in the whole scenario, I found the historical snippets very good reading and enjoyed this. The complications brought about the sordidness of poverty and trying to rook everyone who came within their sphere, left me feeling a bit dismayed, but that is hard core facts which cannot be denied and cannot be sugar coated. When life gets tough, you've just got to survive and this is one way of doing so.

I was still left dissatisfied at the end of the story as its pretty open ended but I did read it right to the end!

Sent to me by Endeavour Press through Netgalley for an unbiased review.

Friday, April 14, 2017

The Melancholy Virgin by Annabel Laine

This was an interesting take on a Regency romance.A Lord Moriston, Bow Street runners and a murder of a young lady of easy virtue. All linked to the quiet, well behaved impeccable (upto now)Secretary of the said Lord.

Knowing that his Secretary cannot be in anyway involved with the murder, though he could be definitely involved with the young lady in question, Lord Moriston's quest is to very quietly without the risk of scandal sort the intrigue and find out who exactly murdered this lady.

That course of action puts the cat amongst the pigeons. There is a lady who is looking after the murdered woman's interests and she is determined to take Francis the Secretary down! on the other hand there are people who are very keen on making Francis the scapegoat for their actions and this makes for a very interesting murder mystery.

I liked the read very much. It pulled me out of my reading slump!

The book was sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Endeavour Press.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Another Day Gone by Eliza Graham

Set against two separate time frames and three different story tellers, this was a story of family secrets and the irreparable damage that can be done by keeping such secrets. Sara and Polly brought up by their grandfather and Bridie their nanny after the tragic death of their parents are very different as siblings. Though as children they cling together against all outsiders, this they feel as their duty after their parents death. It is a kind of loyalty but this begins to be tested the sooner they grow up.

Very early on in the story one realises that Polly has discovered something amongst her grandfather's papers but she is not letting on to Sara what she knows. It causes a slight shift in their feelings and Sara though she knows it does not know the reason for this. This is one part of the story. The life of the two sisters from the time of their childhood to young adulthood form one part of this book.

The other part is that of Bridie who has been the mainstay of the girls' lives.
She too is hiding many secrets and her secrets cover the earlier time frame but the effects are felt by all today as this is what has given her, her taciturn airs.

Bombings of the 2005 era in which Sara is effected as against the Coventry bombings of 1939 where Sara's grandfather was convicted are part of the many strands of this story.

It is a complicated read with no fairy tale ending. It is hard hitting and realistic and a book which keeps one's interest going till the very end.

My first read of this author. Will not be my last.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Lake Union Publishing.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

How Will I Know You? by Jessica Treadway

Joy was a model student and till very recently a model daughter. Discovering her body in a local pond and finding out that she was strangled was a shock to the entire community. Unraveling threads of her life over the last few months was surprising to all.

Told by four different people from four different perspectives, the stories are different and their views of the dead teenager vary. It shows how little we know those we live with and again reiterates how little we know our own children. How clever we are at subterfuge and how cleverly we can hide what we feel, what we do and what we are going to do.

The story was rather slow to unravel at the beginning but it picked up mid way and the actual discovering of the murderer was surprising (to me at least it was a surprise). The truth was a jolt for all.

The book was sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Grand Central Publishing.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Murder at Cleeve Abbey by Anita Davison

I did not get to the first in the series. This was the second book but it did not detract from
the story or my interest in the book.

Flora is now very happily married but has just received disturbing news of her father's death
in a riding accident. Going back to the house where she lived and worked as a governess, she finds the circumstances of her father's death strange, and even stranger that a lot of people want to pass
this off as a tragic accident when the signs for Flora are that it is anything but an accident. Getting
even her husband to accept her point of view takes some doing but gradually she unravels a plot
that proves her right.

Finding the culprit however is going to be a tougher struggle against many odds and when you begin to uncover family secrets you are also going to be very unpopular.

A very nice mystery murder cleverly untangled.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review courtesy of Aria.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Jewelled Path by Rosalind Laker

Irene has been born into a jeweller family but she gets scant encouragement from her hide bound father, despite being very talented and accepted into a training school against severe odds. Her support comes from her step mother who understands Irene's talent and the need to create.

The time is the 1890s and a time of great change for women particularly. Going into a trade would have been totally forbidden before but Irene is determined to make some kind of life for herself and this she does. It happens slowly but she evolves into a determined business woman having her own salon and taking over the mantle of her father on his demise.

Her love story was another aspect of the book and for me it was two separate stories though albeit linked because both men in her life were very closely linked to jewellery themselves.

I liked the description of the business, the story of the gemstones and the work involved in the days when jewellers actually travelled to their customers residences especially when it involved the work that the Lindsay family did. The detailed description of the work, and the workshops was not boring in the least and added much depth to the story.

A book sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Endeavour Press.

Monday, March 27, 2017

The Truthful Story by Helen Stine

Nannie's death affects many people. Her daughter who cannot express her grief openly, and particularly her grand daughter who needs her mother to be warmer and more expressive and finds the vacuum particularly hard. Genevieve shared an uncommon bond with her grandmother and this continues after her death. There is no one whom Genevieve can share this knowledge with. That she feels her grandmother's presence and even her voice speaking to her, guiding her in what she should or shouldn't do and being a very comforting shoulder to lean on.

Not wanting to be judged fanciful Genevieve keeps this to herself and her sorrow spirals as she feels so alone. Her grandmother's death was deemed an accident but there are signs that it is anything but. No one wants to delve deeper into issues which were contentious and most people seem to be happy to let things lie.

Combing Southern characteristics and the unusual almost magical touch that marked the relationship of Genevieve and her grandmother, this debut novel was certainly different. A family's very survival depends on unraveling this mystery and unravel it they certainly do.

The book was sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Cardinal Press.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

The Paris Effect by K.S.R. Burns

The trip to Paris had been in the planning for years. Kat and Amy had talked and planned to the last detail and Amy's marriage to William had slightly derailed the whole idea. Between them both they had thought of how they could keep William in the dark, skip off to Paris during one of his long business trips and return with no one being the wiser! Kat's death was a huge blow to Amy and one she just could not come to terms with. Going to Paris on her own seemed to be the only tribute Amy could pay to her friend, her former lover and her soul mate.

It seemed fanciful, out of reach but with the right planning it could of course be done. Needless to say we had nothing difficult like visas, finances to look at which took it out of the realm of ordinary and put it up there as something almost fairy tale like.

It was a good story though, at times fanciful because her befriending someone in Paris who took her under her wing, looked after her so well and helped her at every turn was something that seemed a touch unreal. It can happen of course and it did here.

In Paris Amy ran the gamut of being stalked, robbed, besieged by scams at every turn. The theme of food was paramount throughout and the descriptions were mouth watering.

The marriage was anyway teetering and this trip seemed to be the final nail in the coffin. How William handles his wife's disappearance is noteworthy too. Not one to get into a flap he systematically finds out what happened, where she is and appears in Paris too.

About life and love in general and Paris in great detail, this was one for the Francophiles.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review courtesy of Velvet Morning Press.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Murder Game by Julie Apple (Catherine Mackenzie)

I did not know Catherine Mackenzie was writing this book under this name and I am glad I did not!

I thought the story was innovative, interesting, detailed in its description and captured my interest from the first to the last.

I like legal thrillers very much so this book kept me enthralled. I also liked the setting of Montreal and the description of the suburbs as well as the city was completely new to me.

The book was sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Lawsome Books. 

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Sent to His Account by Ellis Dillon

Sent To His Account

First off I loved the cover.

Miles was going to have the fairy tale life. Having lived in genteel poverty, counting every cent before he spent it, an unexpected windfall gives him plenty. A beautiful home, agricultural property and a community that he falls in love with. He is also determined to do good by all, not just enjoy his new found wealth by himself.

The mystery thriller part starts with a dead body, unfortunately found in Miles's own sitting room. That the dead person was controversial, in a lot of trouble with a lot of people did not help the investigation at all. The village itself closed ranks against outside investigations and it was not going to be easy to crack this case. 

I enjoyed the village setting, especially the characters in the village. Shades of Agatha Christie here.

The book was sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review courtesy of Endeavour Press.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Walking the Lights by Deborah Andrews

Walking the Lights

Set in the 1990s in inner Glasgow I presumably think the less salubrious side, Maddie's life opens in this story on a rather squalid note. I had no hopes for either Maddie or the story and thought it was just another druggie story going from bad to worse and was rather sickened by the saga as it unfolded.

With no hope for betterment and no wanting it to be better Maddie and Mike live from moment to moment hoping to find money for their next fix, scrounging and borrowing what they could, where they could till Maddie gets an opportunity to work in the field she likes and despite all odds is able to make something of her life. Its a hard crawl out of the gutter but she does it.

For me it was reading something that belonged to an era and time I know nothing about so it was an eye opener but which I presume was true and representative of a time and people who lived the way they did!

Starting off with very negative feelings about the whole saga, my interest was piqued by the story as it progressed.

The book was sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Freight Books.  Many thanks.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Almost Missed You by Jessica Strawser

The question as to why a father would take his child away from his mother, suddenly, apparently without any provocation, on a perfect holiday left me puzzled. You did want to know why. No apparent friction, no cracks, no sudden argument. A marriage meant to be - where the couple met through a series of coincidences and were happy.

It adds weight to the old argument that no one actually knows what goes on in a marriage other than the two parties involved and in this case Violet was also one of those who did not know what was going on. This was not an extra marital affair but rather an affair of the heart and one which she could not compete with - a dead fiancee whom she had no inkling about and which brought down her a marriage like a deck of cards.

Secrets come with hidden agendas and Finn's was big time. The story unravels slowly and though you do know why and how the main incident happened, Violet's reaction and story come only almost at the very end.

Skillfully told, the story holds the reader's interest throughout.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of St. Martin's Press.

Monday, March 6, 2017

The Other Wives Club by Shari Low

Light hearted and a fun read. The setting was equally good. A cruise in the Meditarranean.

Only a man could presume that three wives - two ex, one current, with their respective partners and his children could make a go of a cruise offered by him to celebrate his fiftieth birthday. His present wife did not have the gumption to stand up to him and voice her opinion, the two ex wives came along for reasons of their own. Put them all together and you knew friction if not fireworks would result.

The resulting story had its highlights with one bitchy wife, one easy going wife and the present wife who did not know how to handle her much older husband. How it all pans out well for all three wives in three surprisingly different ways was very entertainingly told. A bit predictable but very easy reading as well.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Aria.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Sandlands by Rosy Thornton


The book was sent to me by the author herself and I am so grateful for receiving this.

The collection of short stories was  so descriptive (especially for a person from overseas) that it brought England very close to me. Not just the physical description of coastal England but also the culture and people and most importantly the flora and fauna of rural England.

The sixteen short stories are emotional. They are also concise. A very difficult balance to maintain and one that is so for all the stories.

There is quite a bit of folklore, there is excellent characterization and the whole collection is brought totally to life and one felt one was actually living in the Suffolk countryside.

I loved the collection.