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Friday, September 21, 2018

Digital Recon by Chad Bishop /Travel Adventures for the Young at Heart!

It started out way beyond my comprehension! but I got there slowly and by the end of the story I understood I think the gist of the story and how hackers work and how its done!

I think that achieved a lot for a short story.


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

This was three books which I loved and which was just up my street. I loved the detailed outline of how each trip was planned and especially useful was the fact that it was catering to the above 60s. It took into account mobility issues, tiredness, energy being sapped by too much walking or talking all issues facing older people.

At the same time it did not detract from the very important facts of tours, cruises, travel in general. From Air bnb to hotels, to restaurants to streets and canals the book covered so much detail and in such a light hearted spirit I felt that I was on their adventure myself.

A delightful read sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of BooksGoSocial.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Feared by Lisa Scottoline

Feared (Rosato & DiNunzio, #6)

A reverse discrimination suit brought against the all female firm is a new one for the books and it is Mary's arch enemy Nick Machiavelli who is behind it all. Having a trusted associate turn against them was a hard one to accept, but when a day later John is found murdered the entire issue is thrown wide open with several suspects including his secret fiancee who happens to be a partner of the firm (who also kept quiet about the relationship until his murder).

Mary is seven months pregnant but she does know that Machiavelli is waging a personal vendetta on her and her firm. He is determined to get rid of them professionally but has left no traces to connect him with any of the suits brought against them. It is upto sheer hard detective skills that they are able to find traces of Nick's hand behind all the problems they face. Devious and like his name, Nick is brought down to earth with a thud (this sounded a bit unimaginable) by his mother to whom he cannot lie.

The Italian American community seems larger than life in Philadelphia and it is they who are in the forefront of Mary's endeavours to get to the bottom of their problems.  Held back by her pregnancy, she seeks help from any quarter to put an end to this battle which will see all her hopes and aspirations for her firm of lawyers dashed. This is where her arch enemy's mother came in!

I liked this bunch of feisty women who were not going to give in until justice was done. Despite skepticism from partners, withdrawal of cases from their clients, intimidation by the press they kept on.

Slightly different to Lisa Scottoline's other books, this was nevertheless a very good book.

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

Saturday, September 15, 2018

The Pupil by Dawn Godwin

Katherine Baxter is a mum of two small kids, a housewife and to all appearances just another mother trying to get through the routine, the boring, the mundane. Behind this facade is a girl who had dreams of writing, of becoming an author and getting published. She also has a past which wrecked the lives of four people, was followed by the paparazzi and though she came out of it alive, she was definitely not left unscathed. Upto date, under a doctor's care with anti depressants and a careful watch by her husband she manages her life.

Attending a workshop for aspiring authors renews Katherine's hopes that she can write and sets in motion a series of meetings with Sam Morton who undertakes to mentor her, and his wife Viola who throughout the story blows hot and cold. It is only much later that you understand Viola's hatred for Katherine - illogical though it is.

Throughout the novel, you did know that something was amiss and halfway through I realised it was connected to Katherine's past and inextricably linked to the Mortons. Sad but twisted in Viola's mind was revenge of the most basic kind.

A suspenseful mystery trying to unravel the workings of the mind (which I think can never be fully and rationally understood!!).

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

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The Last Hours by Heidi Ashworth

In 1348 when plague strikes England, it is a new disease and no one knows how it is spread. When one reads of the squalor and the lack of hygiene which was widespread it is miraculous that the country escaped the plague before this.

Attributed to God the plague is widespread and when it enters Dorsetshire, the Lady of the Manor decides on a drastic course of action which will save over two hundred souls who belong to the village. She brings them all into the castle, closes up the entrances and prevents anyone, including her husband who was a villain of the first order to enter the castle. Her husband brings with him back the plague and dies along with his soldiers save one.

The story of how Anne saves her household against all odds, against marauding fellow Lords who want to gain access to her house to plunder whatever gold she has, and above all a treacherous daughter who will not hold anything sacred to destroy her mother and all she stands for.

It was not an easy book to read because the raw emotion and animosity that the daughter had for her mother was unbelievable. It is quite clear at the end though but it did not make it any less easy to accept.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Mira Harlequin (US & Canada)

Sunday, September 9, 2018

The Trailing Spouse by Jo Furniss

The Trailing Spouse

Singapore can be a dream destination for many. For expatriate workers too, life can seem to be an endless round of relaxation and parties and the very good life.  For the blue collar workers it may not be so.

Wives who are not working in Singapore are there at the mercy of their husbands. If the husbands visa is revoked, they have thirty days grace to get out of Singapore. Amanda lives a luxurious life with her husband and their step daughter. It is not an ideal relationship but Amanda tries to make it work. Their maid is Filipina and very pleasant with no signs of any dissent. When an apparent suicide takes place and her husband's medication is found in the maid's room, Amanda is left questioning her husband's past and present.

We have Camille working for the British High Commission but whose sole purpose is to find out what happened to her parents when she was a child in Singapore. They disappeared and were never found. Camille is very sure they are alive. Somehow Edward Bonham Amanda's husband seems to be the link and little memories that were hidden now keep popping up.

How Edward's secrets of so long ago are going to be an unexploded bomb in both Camille and Amanda's lives and the secrets of the maid's life are all innocently explained away but far too late for all of them. 

The story unravels slowly and though you think it is a huge conspiracy there is a simple explanation for it all. Unfortunately too late for many of the people in the story.

Very well told and very descriptive of life in Singapore amongst the expat community.

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

Thursday, September 6, 2018

The Silver Ladies of London by Lesley Eames

The Silver Ladies of London

1920s London a time of great change. Four friends in rural England, all under immense pressure of their own. All seeking a way out of their present circumstances. It came in a very strange way.

Accused of a theft of a valuable necklace, dismissed without references which in a small town was a death knell for any hopes of finding employment, the four girls face a very bleak future. An unexpected inheritance for one of the girls who is determined that all four should benefit, they take themselves off to London with high hopes of doing something with their lives.

A silver Rolls Royce is at the heart of their enterprise and despite it being completely out of the ordinary, they offer their services as lady chauffeurs to anyone wanting their services. Faced with opposition from all sides, obstacles being constantly thrown in their way the girls find not just professional satisfaction from jobs well done but personal happiness as well.

Light hearted but at the same time very descriptive of the attitudes of people in England towards working, independent women was a nice feature. It was not an easy ride at all. How families themselves could be the oppressors - you did not need the outside world at all to be a stumbling block for any step forward was very apparent in many lives.

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

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

The Murder of My Aunt by Richard Hull

book cover of The Murder of My Aunt

Edward is effete, spoilt, rather stupid young man. He is totally dependent on his aunt who is the opposite of him. A strong, capable woman she sees through him totally, but a promise is a promise and one she intends to keep to her long dead sister to provide a home for her son.

That he intends to murder her by one means or another is the story and when one fails, he tries another. That he journals all these attempts shows his mental capabilities and the fact is that Aunt Mildred is aware of everyone of them and even of his plans before the execution of them.

A British Crime Classic with a superb ending. I found his antics rather annoying to read about but you did need to read the whole lot to get to the ending!

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

Monday, September 3, 2018

Be Still The Water by Karen Emilson

A family saga involving three generations, also a rare book about Icelandic immigrants to Canada at a time when immigration was not the hotly debated topic it is now.

Settling down into a fishing and farming life, these hardworking, industrious Icelanders knew their subject and were determined to make a fresh start and do it well. That they succeeded was due to their work ethic and very strong moral values along with strong family ties which never lessened even under immense strain.

Woven into the history of the period was also the story of youngsters who came to Canada as infants and who grew to adulthood and finally old age, making a great success of their lives both personally and professionally.

It was a quiet book if that is an adequate description. It was serene despite the bloodshed, despite the war intervening and despite intermittent loss of life. I enjoyed the characterization as well. Very descriptive of the bleak and icy conditions of where they settled, this shows an outsider of what life was like at the time in outer Canada.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Kobo Writing Life.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Snap by Belinda Bauer

A car breaks down on a lonely highway. The mother strictly instructs the children to stay put and then goes in search of help. She is also heavily pregnant. When time passes and she does not return they decide to go look for her.  You know this is not going to end well within the first few pages.

Jack is the oldest, He, despite the father being around has to take on the responsibilities of his two younger siblings. Merry is just a toddler, Joy a bit older, Jack is still a very young boy. When things become overwhelming the father disappears and it is upto Jack to make sure no one knows what is going on in the house because he does not want all of them to be taken into care.

Becoming a thief and a very clever one is ideal for Jack. He just wants to support his family and this he is able to do whilst at the same time putting some money by.  He is angry with the world that he has been abandoned by both his mother (which he realises is irrational) and by his father because his father was weak.

By the time Jack is fifteen he is firmly entrenched in robbing houses and has become a master at it. Now called Goldilocks by the local force for his habit of eating and drinking food in the houses he robs, having a bath and even taking a nap, the Police force under a new entrant from the city is determined to catch him.

At the same time a woman across town discovers things in her house, mysteriously things appear and disappear, windows open and close, lights come on and ovens are switched on. For various reasons of her own she does not tell anyone even her husband even when calls come in which are eerie to say the least.

The link in the two stories is a knife and Jack is of the opinion that it is same knife in Catherine's house which killed his mother. How the stories link, overlap and come together is told in this mystery thriller.

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

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

The Waiting Room by Emily Bleeker

The Waiting Room by [Bleeker, Emily]

Veronica has lost her husband and is trying to cope with a new born. Ever since her husband's death she cannot bear to even go into the baby's room and pick her crying infant. Her mother who has moved in with her has to attend to the child.

This is the opening to the story. The surprises await you at every turn of the page and nothing is as it seems. The character Veronica is complex and the problems are psychological and seem insurmountable. How does such a person fit into society, how does society adapt to such a person.  Are there many more Veronicas around that we are not even aware of?

The story was winding but not boring. You knew things were slightly off but the writer keeps you on edge till the very end with its denouement.

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

Monday, August 27, 2018

The Moscow Deception by Karen Robards

Bianca is very young, attractive and a thief. A very capable spy and master of the martial arts and how to handle weapons she is not an easy target but that is what she has become. The final nail in her coffin was when a murder alert was put out on her with a million dollar bounty. She knew it was only a matter of time before her luck ran out.

What Bianca had to do was find out what she could exchange in which was of value to her opposition. What they wanted seemed near impossible. The artifacts from a well guarded museum in Russia which Germany believed was rightfully theirs. How Bianca sets up on this subterfuge ringing in a band of gypsies well versed in the arts of being slightly off the grid is told in this complicated story.

Apart from the bare bones of the story we have Bianca's own history - her birth is from the fantasy genre and her father who is not her father is heart rendingly cold and indifferent to her well being. This was the only human element of the story. That Bianca felt his indifference, despite the training he gave her and then there was his final betrayal.

Very fast paced, interesting reading.

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

Friday, August 24, 2018

Murder in Keswick Sherlock Holmes by William Todd

A typical Watson and Holmes story, not very long succinctly told, very much to the point in terms of detective work and deduction.

Both Watson and Holmes have decided to go to Keswick for a long awaited holiday. Holmes has been reluctantly dragged there for the good of his health but Holmes is looking forward to invigorating walks, boating and reading. It was not meant to be!

On arrival at the station, the townsfolk are in uproar - a decapitated body of a well known local gentleman has been found. Both detectives go directly to the constabulary and from there the story commences.

The story keeps apace with suspects and plots and following up on leads. The end was definitely not one I had in mind neither were the villains! Just like the way a good detective murder mystery should be.

Old fashioned but very pleasant reading.

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

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Her Mother's Grave by Lisa Regan

Josie Quin is chief of police. She reached this position after a very long haul. She also had an unheard of horrible childhood. Her mother was physically and mentally abusive and even tried to sell her as a child into prostitution. She however would not give up on the child, even though there was a loving grandmother waiting to take over.

Josie is now coming to terms with her life as an adult. She has lost her husband but is on an even keel. Till everything bad starts happening to her at once. It happens to all those around her as well and it is all put down to a big drug deal she busted and put influential men behind bars. The troubles still continue. Is someone trying to control her life from within prison walls.

When unrelated events start happening, pieces begin to click that it is her mother buried in the past who has risen again to haunt her and relieve her of everything she holds close - from friends, family and very important to Josie her career. Using blackmail and coercion to an unbelievable degree she forces people around her to do exactly as she likes.

This was a psychological thriller par excellence. The steps and connections were too intricate to be followed and had to be handled step by step. It is all co related and all linked but it took a psycho to be able to give reasoning to the fear, unhappiness, misery and loathing that Belinda aka Barbara aka Lila did.

Solving crimes and putting Lila behind bars was not the story. The story lay in the mental games undertaken by the killer and how detectives have to painfully follow the clues in order to prevent more killings taking place.

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

Saturday, August 18, 2018

The Lost Love Letters of Henri Fournier by Rosalind Blackenbury

This was not just a very good novel. It had drama, romance, war, death and great joy and love as well. The elements were so well drawn into together and set in two different time frames that added to the drama of the telling of the story.

We have 1913 France - brilliant and carefree. At least these characters were. Claude and Pauline. Married tolerating each other. Each fully aware of the other's frailities. Then we have Henri young the Secretary to Claude whose attraction for Pauline grows by the day. Acknowledged by Pauline but not acted upon till halfway through the story. So we had a descriptive background of Paris and rural France as well. The lives of the well to do, the literate, the peasants. There was all.

Then the outbreak of war. Henri had to enlist and then so did Claude. Like all Frenchmen who were optimistic at the time - it was not meant to be. The war dragged on and womenfolk left behind had to fend for themselves. Pauline did not do too well. She was so frightened that this last chance of happiness was going to be snatched away from her. Henri himself a writer, had written a best seller and his future was very bright. Pauline felt that she was on the edge of a precipice and all that she had lived for was going. And it did. Henri lost his life very early on in the war. Pauline was rejected by Henri's family. She was just his mistress. The isolation of it almost killed her. She picked up the pieces slowly .

It is in the retelling of the bare bones of the story in 2013 that it comes alive. It is as if Henri and Pauline, and all the other characters are very much alive and present. It did not appear that Pauline was in her 90s, that practically everyone was dead and gone. The story is a common one for the era - so many wasted lives and futures but the author did a brilliant job of giving so much life to this very ordinary love story that lifted it from being just another love story.

Love, separation, death, isolation, loneliness all handled very well. Not soppy, not over emotional but very poignant.

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

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Everything We Give by Kerry Lonsdale

No 3 and the final book in this series. It was a miracle I managed to get them all.
Thanks to the publishers!

Ian and Aimee seem to have it all. A beautiful little girl, sufficient money to live well, a sound marriage and they are happy and content. But are they? Ian has demons in his background and he hasn't got rid of them yet. Not quite. Aimee at the same time has a lot of baggage and she is also uncertain of how to let it all go. Both of them have not quite come to terms with their past - and to let it all go they both know they have got to confront and meet the nemesis that caused them the greatest woe.

For Ian it was his mother - a woman with a split personality disorder and a father who seemed distant and disinterested. After years he seeks closure. For Aimee her past history with the Donato family is full of grave disquiet and she needs to sort out her life before going forward with her new one.

This story was complicated and twisted and for me for Ian heart wrenching what he underwent with his mother but you need to read the first two books to get a grip on this one.

I am just glad it all ended well as it was very convoluted and very dysfunctional at the start.

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

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Ten Days One Guernsey Summer by Tony Brassell

Ten Days One Guernsey Summer

Again a story set amidst the Great War and one in an idyllic setting. Actually all the stories I've read have been idyllic settings.

This one amongst the peaceful Guernsey group of islands. A family living a quiet life, most of the inhabitants never having left the islands and then we have forced evacuation. First their eldest girl taken from them along with many other school children and sent by ship to England. For the family and the child it was devastating. The child recovers swiftly as she is placed in an aristocratic home in Scotland with many comforts - a stark contrast to the simple life in the island. For her parents it was an uneasy time, subsequently having to take decisions to move out themselves when the islands became occupied.

It also descriptively and in detail sets out the life of a bomber on the other side. His daily forays, his ideas, his total commitment to the German cause and the orders he undertakes without question as to the damage and suffering he causes. His diaries reveal in great detail the life he undertook when he joined the German airforce.

This was a poignant, emotional read but not a soppy one. It was pragmatic and down to earth at the same time. Both sides knew that this had to be gone through - at whatever price.

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

Thursday, August 9, 2018

The Beekeeper's Promise by Fiona Valpy

I did not intend to read two books set during the same era of WW1 and II but it just happened like that. As I said before each story is so different and so unique, it shows another aspect to these wars so each story is fresh and you do not get bored at all.

Set in two separate time lines, the story of Abi is of the present times and then we go back in time to the period of Eliane Martin and her family in rural France. Abi is slowly recovering from a breakdown of a disastrous marriage. She has the mental and physical scars of the marriage and she is trying to gain control of her life after many years. An offer to work at the Chateau Bellevue is just what she needs and she throws herself wholeheartedly into this new venture. The story of the Martin family, the Resistance in France, the inevitable involvement of the whole family in myriad ways under the very eye of the Gestapo in occupied France is a marvel to read.

Fascinating was the daily domestic trivia of trying to survive, of finding food and being permanently hungry. Getting the better of the Germans who occupied their country, whilst at the same time being unable to rebel but having to bow down before them was hard but secretly each one did what they could to help out their fellow countrymen in this dire time.

The story of Eliane, her sister Mirielle, her parents and the life of the entire village as well as the Comte whose Chateau was occupied by the Germans and everyone of these people who had to work for and with Germans was galling. They did so, only with the idea of having access to some kind of information which would be of use to their fellow men.

The story of loyalty is tested over and over again. You never knew who was the traitor within your midst so it was better not to know too much. A story of love which was tested over time in this story and a family which stays united through thick and thin. Abi's  survival is also well portrayed in this book.

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

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

the Scandal in Honor by Heidi Ashworth A Lord Trevelin Mystery

The Scandal in Honor (Lord Trevelin Mystery #2)

Honor has been Lord Trevelin's downfall. His penchant for looking into murders, missing jewellery has not endeared him to his future father in law who refuses to settle a date for his nuptials. He is not very happy with his future son in law despite his daughter's entreaties to set a date.

Now our Lord is about to be drawn into another mystery - one which does not bode well for his relationship with his fiancee, because the main person in the mystery is a young, unencumbered lady whose antecedents are a bit vague and whose presence in society is also not very certain.

Two sudden deaths in one household are certainly suspicious and the suspects are many. Lord Trevelin is involved in the pursuit of justice and in the end it is to his detriment because he is forced to give up his love as well.

A Regency era mystery which did not end happily ever after sadly but was an entrancing tale nevertheless.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Dunhaven Place Publishing. 

Monday, August 6, 2018

The Foyles Bookshop Girls by Elaine Roberts

1914 London was a period of great change. For women particularly. Life was never ever going to be the same again.

Three young girls, good friends for a very long time worked at a bookshop. For one of them it was a necessity for the other two it was a means of securing a certain degree of independence in families where being independent was frowned upon. The men of the time, were finding it very hard to drag themselves out of a patrician outlook and in Alice's case particularly it was a very diplomatic road she had to trod to keep on the good side of her father.

Declaration of war with Germany changed life for everyone.  Everyone had a loved one enlist, it soon became compulsory and the hope that the war would end "by Christmas" sounded very hollow once the days went by.

Trying to keep your spirits up in the face of no news for months on end, the never ending of wounded young men returning from the front, in Alice's case having a baby whilst her husband was at the Front and facing the callous attitude of her father towards his sons put a strain on everyone's spirits.

The descriptiveness of life of Londoners in the face of bombing, privation, the rationing that seemed endless are all beautifully encapsulated in this story. It is a coming of age story in this case as well where these three young girls developed into mature young women seamlessly, despite the mental agonies each one underwent.

I am fascinated at how many stories are told about the Wars and each story is unique and so very interesting. Each one different in how it affected them and each one telling a different tale.

Sent to me by Netgalley

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Death of a Sacristan by Paul Barra

Death of a Sacristan by [Barra, Paul A.]

This was not a run of the mill mystery murder. We had plenty of history thrown in and not all of it of the palatable kind.

Bishop Lynch, Catholic and in the deep South of America owned eighty slaves. He was able to quote bible verse at every turn to uphold his belief that owning of slaves was right and just and quite equitable. They were not equal, they had to be directed and owned - they could not think for themselves (and at the time they were quite defenceless and quite without direction anyway) but it was a horrible way to behave. It was at odds with what his parish priests believed anyway. Into this atmosphere, a sacristan a pillar of the church was found murdered in the church itself.

Our junior priest has been formerly a police officer in New York and he uses his skills in trying to find who was responsible for this murder. It does not go down well with the local police chief who is very anti Catholic but who has many omissions on his side to hide as well.  The murder literally uncovered a can of worms ranging from the local police force being involved in every wrong doing possible from trading with the North (treasonable offense) to lynching of a Negro to intimidation of witnesses and to even attempted murder of anyone trying to uncover who was responsible.

The culprit was of course completely different and this was the lovely part of this mystery!

As I said the murder mystery part was just a small part of the book. History played a great and very interesting role.

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

Friday, August 3, 2018

The Taste of Air by Gail Cleare

The Taste of Air

A lady in assisted living leading a quiet retired life. Two daughters who love their mother but who lead busy lives themselves. When a call comes from a hospital with the news that their mother was admitted with acute pneumonia, both girls are extremely perplexed. Vermont is several hours away from where their mother lived. How did she get there? Was she involved in an accident?

Nell goes hoping to find answers. What she uncovers is a life led by her mother going back decades. A life unknown to their father, unknown to them. Their mother had friends, a community of people who loved and supported her throughout this period and how she was able to keep this a secret is something they couldnt figure out.

The premise of the story was an interesting one. I expected there to be much more of interest in Mary's secret life. It was more mundane than that. Having being a carer for a husband with Alzheimer's this was a bolt hole for Mary but it started long before that. For Mary it started when her marriage went through a dull and bad patch and she needed a place of her own. She obviously never wanted to be a burden to her children and this was the way she sought to keep her life on an even keel.

I went into the double life expecting much more drama than there was! Nell and Bridget were two girls who accepted with equanimity the life of their mother, and understood why she did it the way she did.

Interesting story.

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

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Weekend at Thrackley by Alan Melville

Compared to a modern mystery thriller murder book, the Classics are a bit tame. The language, the imagery is slower and the characters are more sedate. The murder however remains the same. Invariably vicious, well planned meticulously so in most cases and very similar to modern murder stories.

This one set in a country style house - the imagery is one of resplendent splendour but at the same time a shadow seemed to hover over it all. A very mixed bunch of invitees - invited to the home of the eccentric owner who is well known the world over for his fabulous collection of jewels. There is a shadow of doubt about the genuineness of his collection but there has been no proof at all of theft. All those invited have one item of fabulous jewellery with them except for Jim, who is impoverished, after the war at a loose end, no job and has no clue as to why he was invited for the weekend.

The story unravels slowly but you do know that it is connected with gems and robbery well planned. Jim was the surprise element. A touch of romance. All ends well.

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

Sunday, July 29, 2018

The Hot Year by Anne Piper

The Hot Year

The story moves between light hearted London despite it being war years, to Delhi and then to Rangoon.

Lucy wants change and she signs up for it.  However this story which could have been a good account of Lucy's life turns out to be rather lack lustre. A girl of this time moving from London to Delhi should have been more full of color and boldness than what it was. I could not find the reason for her love story either. Both Miles who eventually became her husband and then there was her cousin Steve. 

Lucy is a free courageous spirit but the story did not do her justice. She lived and worked with a group of girls who could have and may have contributed more to the war effort but it was not described well in this book.

I expected more descriptions of the work that Lucy would have done in Delhi and Rangoon and in this I was disappointed.

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

Friday, July 27, 2018

When Paris Sizzled by Mary McAuliffe

When Paris Sizzled: The 1920s Paris of Hemingway, Chanel, Cocteau, Cole Porter, Josephine Baker, and Their Friends

The story of Paris and its inhabitants both local and foreign emerging from the horrors of the World War and almost desperately trying to take back the lost years by engaging on a spell of unhindered abandon of pleasure and throwing back all inhibitions and standards of years past.;

The 1920s of Paris with its history of rich and well known names from Hemingway, Jo Barker, Joyce, Cocteau make up for a heady background of how the rich, the not so rich and the poor fared in this city. Change in every sphere not just entertainment, but art, architecture, and then something unexpected the change in moral behaviour!

There did not seem to be any holds barred and life for those living in Paris knew no boundaries. Fascinating account of how life was lived and loved and how tradition was overthrown for living life to the fullest. It also depicts the rise of an undercurrent of unrest which will have unhappy consequences in the not so distant future.

For people with a penchant for history, also for those with a liking for Paris and for what the city has always been - just different.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of publishers Rowman & Littlefield.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Girls Night Out by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke

This was a cliff hanger from the word go. There was a lot of tension between the three friends and despite the friendship, it sounded forced as if there were underlying issues.

Three friends decide to go on a girls trip to Tullum, Mexico. Each one of them had an agenda of their own and each hoped to come back with their friendship mended to what it was before. What was that about never being able to go back.

The story starts out tamely enough. A nice enough resort. Three ladies with money to spend. Plenty to eat and drink. Supposed to be a holiday. The cracks widened quickly enough and festered into open hostility. When one of them disappears with a man, some action has to be taken and when the police and husbands are summoned the story becomes much more black, more threatening and much closer to home.

Amongst the three there is always one odd man out and secrets have to be told if we are to find out what has happened to the missing girl. The troubles are of their own making and they now have to sort themselves out in the best way they can.

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

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Saving Vengeance by Lt. Col John Witzel

Saving Vengeance

Rob has a hard road ahead of him . He has to live with the knowledge that it was his job which cost him the life of his wife and two daughters. Not an easy cross to bear and one that he is barely able to acknowledge. His survival depends on vengeance on those who planned and executed the attack and after a couple of years it is in his sights.

Rob has kept a low profile though observed throughout by interested parties on either side of the fence. Now with his recent covert operations, he is back in the limelight and there are parties on the other side who are also seeking revenge for loss of their own.

With the help of Special Operations and a supporting cast, Rob goes back into Yemen into an area of almost impossible terrain on his biggest operation yet.

Apart from the thread of revenge, this story is a polished account of how I presume a special operation would work giving in detail the procedure and manner in which such a dangerous journey is accomplished.

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

Thursday, July 19, 2018

The Secrets we Keep by Mia Hayes

Jason and Elizabeth have escaped the great city life for suburbia. On the surface it seems it is for a quieter pace of life, or maybe to give their sons a home town feel absent in big cities. Both of them are harbouring secrets though - if it gets out it could put paid to their idyllic lifestyle which they seem to have.

Seem to have is the operative word because this is keeping up with the Joneses big time. Elizabeth wants or rather needs to be in the big league of this small town. Being a Periphery Girl is not enough. She has to be in the thick of things. Having a bi polar disorder and trying to balance being the king pin is not easy and it is beginning to take its toll. The partying, the constant drinking does not seem to help either. Jason starts out as being a supportive husband. He was the initial cause for Elizabeth's collapse, but halfway through you begin to question his actions. I even began to question Elizabeth's therapist, whether she and Jason were in cahoots!

An anonymous blog dislodges an avalanche of secret information - from affairs both past and present, financial situations and family secrets. Who is this blogger and each post brings about more and more disasters in the lives of Waterford residents. Life in the suburbs and being in your thirties is not easy anymore. Its very uncomfortable and even reading about it, put me on edge.

Small town petty jealousies were here amplified to the point that it seemed as if people needed to be vicious and destructive and to see people brought down.

For me personally it all sounded far fetched but then I come from an Asian setting where all this sounds like Dynasty amplified but then the story sounds like this is quite normal for rich families in America! 

Very entertaining reading and a good read (though I do have my reservations on the characters!!!)

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

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The Lost Children by Theresa Talbot

The first in a series involving journalist Oonagh O'Neil and detective Davies this was a very emotional read. I had read about the Magdalene homes and laundries and thought this was a horrific way for the Church to behave. There are no excuses when it is said it was symptomatic of their times. Compassion or sympathy as a human being was never part of these places and this story revolves around the children who were born, forcibly adopted and lost forever.

Oonagh knows that something is not quite right when Father Watson collapses on the altar of his church. A cranky priest with whom she has had run ins before, Oonagh is perturbed because she was to have an interview with him on the day he died and she just has an instinct that he was about to go out on a big reveal. Was his death a cover up. When attacks escalate and Oonagh herself is a victim narrowly escaping death the Inspector does know that things are not what they seem. Having to tackle an influential church is a daunting task and one that could get him buried as well.

The story tracks girls in general and one in particular - and the ramifications and trauma to the mind decades later. Unraveling it so that justice of some kind could be obtained for even one woman and some peace of mind is Oonagh's own aim. When her own convoluted love life gets in the way, it adds to the emotional roller coaster she is on.

Brilliant novel.

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

Saturday, July 14, 2018

The Hatmaker's Secret by Jill Treseder

This family story started with just the present generations around. Grandparents, parents, the grown up children and their toddlers. It ended up going back several generations across countries and oceans to solve a puzzle which seemed insurmountable.

Kate and David are expecting their second child. The marriage is already tenuous and Kate hopes that with the birth of this baby things will settle down and they can make a go of their marriage. She did not account for her daughter Flora being born biracial to parents who were white. Davids skepticism as to Flora's origins and the general questions being asked around did not help either. It also did not help when Kate appealed to her mother Vanessa for help, her mother more or less ignored her cry for help in any way. Vanessa was nervous around her mother Thea, now in a stage of dementia and did not want to rock the boat in anyway. That she preferred to be deaf and dumb and not be supportive of Kate was a terrible flaw in her personality.

Thea's past was a secret. Kate knew that Thea was the key to unlocking Flora's antecedents. When Thea met her great grand daughter for the first time she threw the baby away almost causing a major accident. She turned vituperative and vicious but still Vanessa and Ted (Thea's husband) were not willing to find out anything further. It is with Thea's death that Kate persuades Vanessa whilst clearing the debris of Thea's house to seek clues as to what actually was their family history.

The story mainly of Thea's past, difficult and complicated and her present life far removed from what it was unravels the difficulties of being different in a country only used to one kind of people. Not that things have changed very much even today where racism thrives in every country in one form or another.

This was an intriguing story, with especially good characterization of women in very difficult situations in life.

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

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Manton Rempville Murders by Julian Worker

A 700 year old monastery. a couple of snooty aristocrats, a whole bunch of hangers on, shady characters galore, and we have Bingo our retriever whose job it is to find dead bodies. We have a detective as well. Seems a plodder but that is just a facade.

A lot of false clues and a lot of trivia seem to mask the murder. To get to the basics Knowles has to dig deep. Nothing is as it seems (as is very usual for mystery murders) but we get there eventually very nicely.

A simply mystery murder/s solved very well and descriptively told.

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

Monday, July 9, 2018

Becoming the Talbot Sisters by Rachel Linden

Charlie and Waverley are twin sisters who have grown apart. Orphaned at a young age and brought up by a loving Aunt they have drifted but come together for the funeral of their beloved Aunt.

Waverley seems to have it all. A cooking show almost at the top of her game, a loving husband, a very comfortable home. Charlie works for a NGO amongst women in Eastern Europe. She was swindled of her inheritance by a co-worker, she has been raped but all this trauma is hidden.
When she makes an offer of being a surrogate for Waverley who has suffered six miscarriages and is longing for a child of her own they both are shocked - Charlie who was never maternal wonders what made her offer and Waverley is of course over the moon.

Complications set in when Charlie gets back to her routine job and Waverley continues with her life at home. Charlie's inadvertent involvement in a human smuggling ring puts Charlie in danger and when Waverley unexpectedly pays a visit they are both kidnapped but it seems that it is not Charlie who is the target. The kidnappers want Waverley with her TV connections to highlight Albania and the plight of Albanians.

Taking twists and turns (some a bit improbable) the story moves to Charlie having a baby and Waverley facing a predicament of having two children now to choose when an unexpected bonus in the form of a four year old lands at her feet!

The children bring the two sisters close to each other in a way nothing ever can. The story of family set in two locations is descriptive and interesting. The contrast in the two characters was also nicely fitted into the story.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Thomas Nelson Fiction.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Pretty Little Things by T.M.E. Walsh

DCI Claire is not going to have it easy with this one. Six teenage girls are missing. The bodies are not found and when four are found in one area next to each other, it seems the killer is almost egging them on to try to find him. Other than the fact that they are local girls, there seems to be no common link. Typical teenagers confronting authority both society and at home a couple of them had threatened to run away and had done so previously. What had made them accept a lift on a lonely road after explicit instructions had been given not to hitch hike. Did they know their kidnapper and murderer.

Charlotte has just this one child. She is determined to keep Elle safe. Elle is not happy with the situation at all and when her birthday party is cancelled after the four bodies are found she is furious. The story upto this point was the usual thriller/mystery/murder sequel. Detectives trying to piece together fragmented stories, no CCTV footage so the killer seemed to be aware of them, no finger prints, and a community tense and in turmoil.

Midway suspects emerge. As a reader you go through the whole gamut of obvious people around - John who is just separated from his wife, making a play for Charlotte, then there is Iain in whose garage a toolbox is discovered with keepsakes from each girl who was murdered. At this point it looked very bleak for Iain but the end is not in sight for the detectives who are fearful when another woman this time goes missing. A woman who has harassed Charlotte over and over again even in public. The fact that it is a older person kidnapped makes detectives fear that the killer is now spiralling out of control.

The end is twisted, unexpected and I guess no single reader has guessed it until now! I doubt any reader will.

An absolute page turner.

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

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

All That's Left Of Me by Janis Thomas

This was very twisty! there is no way I can describe the way the book went. You had to be very clever to pull this off and Janis Thomas does it very well. I wouldn't want to read many books like this as it does havoc with your mind!

Emma Davis is dissatisfied. With her marriage, with her job and generally with everything. She also does not know and hasn't the courage to start anew with a new job or even to admonish Colin her husband who seems so laid back that anyone would give him a kick in the pants.

Into this scenario we have Emma wishing the way we all do. That something could happen differently, or that a person could change, or just disappear and one by one these things happen. Emma has a son with severe cerebral palsy and I did wonder very early in the book why wouldnt she wish for her son to be well rather than just wishing this one away, or that situation to go away. Once granted it cannot be undone and this becomes Emma's downward spiral once she wishes her son whole and healthy again.

The entire book tests your powers of credibility. Time travel was one genre which took some getting used to, this is entirely different. It is like a separate parallel universe running in different mode, so what happens to the mode that existed before. Just not the individual but everyone in that universe changes to fit the new scenario. It was difficult to digest, but very easy for me to read.

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

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Two crime books. Absolute contrasts to each other!

The discovery of a young woman's body is startling. For her teacher Beatrice to find it whilst out on a ramble with her dog was earth shattering. Amber was her star performer in a drama laid out in school and why would anyone want to murder her was beyond understanding.

Beatrice's daughter Jes is the lead detective on the case and facing demons of her own. Told in several narrations, the story is complex with several strands which have to be unified if we can get to the bottom of this mystery.

The characterization was intense so much so, that I was suspicious of them all and disliked practically all of them!

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

A selection of stories, all with a railway background all set in a particular time and setting very reminiscent of Briish colonial times!

It was nostalgic to read this collection of stories. All mysteries, some murders some could be solved very easily, some inexplicable, and some were sheer genius in the solving.

A book ideal not just for readers of crime, but also for those who love the railways!

Very well put together, extremely entertaining.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review courtesy of Poisoned Pen Press.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

The Mistress of Pennington by Rachel Trimble

Set in 1910 with the suffragette movement getting into full sway, women in general seemed to have had a tough time with men during this period. It seemed to be even more rigid than ever before and someone like Elizabeth the only child and heir to the Pennington empire was no match for her father and other males of the time.

Elizabeth was hard working, passionate about her job at Pennington's the finest department store in Bath and was determined to take the store forward but was being held back at every turn by her father who felt that marriage and a family was the best thing for her. Trying to break this was going to be a herculean task and Elizabeth sole aim was for her to let her father see what she was capable of. That she had made a success of the Ladies Department entrusted to her did not seem to count with him. She had to make him see her for what she could do.

Joseph Carter was a small time businessman - making gloves and hats. He knew the day of the small shop keeper was doomed and despite his father not being happy he felt that aligning himself to a big store was the way to survive.

Joseph and Elizabeth were kindred spirits. Both suffered in their personal lives but together they knew there was a way forward.

This story alongside a romance, brought out the fact that hard work and determination pays and that you can succeed despite the odds. Descriptively told it also brings to light the attitudes and what life was like in the early 20th century.

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

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Every Single Secret by Emily Carpenter

Daphne and Heath were soul mates. At least Daphne thought so and she really, really believed that Heath was of like mind. So why did he want to take a week off to go to an obscure, remote part of the country to see a psychotherapist - one whose work though not questionable was a bit suspicious. Why did Heath have these terrible nightmares which made him so different to the person whom he was normally.

This is a book which keeps you on edge. You are taken along to this remote mansion, three couples only in residence all seeking therapy. No communication is supposed to take place, no cell phones, no ipads. You need to focus on your therapy or so it seems. Daphne is not someone who is going to take these orders lying down. For starters she has refused the therapy involved in couples therapy so its Heath going it alone. For a second, she is suspicious throughout of the Doctor involved and despite his very pleasant attitude and conversation with her she is on guard.

Of course the end is completely unexpected - I did not expect it to turn out quite like it did and it just proves that one really does not know a person very well despite having a relationship and thinking that you do understand everything there is to know about someone.

This was a creepy psychological thriller - but it did keep one going where you just had to know what was going to happen to Daphne and Heath and then the good Doctor!

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

Monday, June 25, 2018

Sins of the Father by Stephen Weeks (A Countess of Prague Mystery)

Dealing with a Countess (in Prague) brought to mind the Lady Julia Grey series. Somewhat similar we have our Countess definitely different to ladies of her time - courageous, bold, not bothered about opinions of others very much but still knowing that nothing will be achieved by being too bold.

Having successfully solved a crime in 1904 involving royalty, she has now been brought to the attention of the Emperor of Hapsburg who has sought her assistance in solving a mystery. One which is so delicate, that it cannot even be discussed with all and sundry. How does one go about even trying to solve a case without exploring avenues and talking to people.

Set over several countries and very descriptive with both her unflappable butler Muller and maid Sabine who are her stalwarts the Countess begins on an adventure which she fears she may not succeed at.

Very witty, humourous and holding your interest throughout this was a good mystery read. Of a slightly old fashioned kind.

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

Friday, June 22, 2018

The Undiscovered Country by Mike Nemeth

Dysfunctional does not cover this family. The Marks family is and they are all pulling in different directions all with different motives when it comes to their mother who is now ill, needs permanent care.

The power of money and greed seem to overcome all human emotions and feelings and we have three children in a squabble over their mother's assets even before she is gone. She just wants to go peacefully but she also knows that she has left behind secrets and a can of worms that is just going to erupt. She is not at peace.

Randle the eldest just out of prison finds the path to handling his mother's illness fraught with obstacles. Billy his brother just wants it over and done with. No hospice, no aftercare just done and dusted. Katy his sister is strangely absent, later discovered with a drug addict which has led to her and his brother in law robbing everything they could lay their hands on just to feed her drug habit. How does he fresh out of prison walk a tightrope between them and his fiancee who wants him to return home in time for a wedding in a weeks time!

Family ties, family secrets and family enmities erupt in this book. Very well written. Holds your interest throughout.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Morgan James Publishing.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The Mum Who'd Had Enough by Fiona Gibson

This is a fun read, light hearted in parts but it is also a very serious subject handled very nicely.
It is also very realistic, brings home a lot of truths which many of us may not want to face.

People get married, they have a family. Seemingly settled, each in their own career whether home making or high powered both men and women as this is a modern book but after sometime does a shade of complacency creep in? It may in some people be shrugged off as part of life but in Sinead's case it was not so and one day over a simply innocuous act of her husband Nate not putting out the mouse traps despite repeated reminders, it all boils over. Everyone has had that catalyst!

Nate is confounded by the fact that Sinead has walked out. She has also left him a hand written list of shortcomings on his part (sadly no good points) and he genuinely does not know what to make of it. He is very much in love with his wife and just does not get it, till friends and companions gently point out to him that this could be a wake up call, to mend his ways to get his wife back.

Venturing out into fields unknown Nate genuinely tries and a reconciliation seems on the cards. Sadly it does not go to plan but this book was very good both in its plot and characterization and you certainly did not feel left out or down.

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

Saturday, June 16, 2018

The Widow's Watcher by Eliza Maxwell

Jenna stumbles upon Lars unintentionally but it seems like fate. Both have suffered unimaginable loss of family in very hard circumstances. Lars however lives in uncertainty  whereas Jenna has given up all hope. Jenna is suicidal and just wants to end it all. Lars is living on borrowed time. His heart will give up any day soon.

How Lars rescues Jenna from a watery death and how Jenna repays the favor by digging into his past uncovering the sad story of his wife and two children and tries to look at it with a fresh eye investigating what has been painstakingly gone over - over and over again by not just Lars but by private investigators as well. What she uncovers gives a glimmer of hope to Lars, so that he can get some kind of closure and understanding over a three decade misery.

That Jenna herself will benefit from Lars mission was not apparent at first but helping out someone else did work miracles for Jenna herself. That she is able to live for herself is what Jenna gets from the entire experience.

This was a particularly sad story, but very well written. Characterization was spot on and the plot was good.

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

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

A murder on Wall Street by Owen Parr

Two more unlikely private investigators - siblings or rather half brothers - one a retired detective who was pushed out of the force for political reasons despite an excellent track record and the other a Catholic priest.

Part of a series but the first book I've read it held my interest throughout with its mix of detective work, tongue in cheek humour, a very nice Irish bar as a setting and incompetent police detectives also in play.

A suicide  who happened to drink the previous night at the bar and who was in high spirits convinces Father Dom that there is more than meets the eye in this case. Why is everyone trying to hurry the case through. Ruled a suicide and cremated a day later are all clues gone? Not quite so fast because inquiries reveal a real can of worms. From money laundering to drug deals, from scams of every kind and then murder and attempted murder to cover up the traces our two uncovers a long list of culprits being brought to book.

Very nicely told, very light and very plausible.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review.

Monday, June 11, 2018

White Houses by Amy Bloom

White Houses

Two more unlikely lovers are found in this book. We have the first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, aloof, patrician and rich. A lady born with a silver spoon in her mouth. Nurtured and admired by her husband (notoriously unfaithful though!) and then we have Lorena Hickok born on the wrong side of the tracks, disliked Eleanor at first sight and rough diamond if ever there was one.

A forbidden love affair, the friend in the White House which everyone knew but was never discussed. A subject matter which was anyway never up for discussion. A love affair which matured which had its fair share of adulterous relationships on the way, its ups and downs and the tragedy for Lorena that it was never acknowledged openly, that she was always relegated to the background. Photographs with her in it were cropped and the media was restrained (unlike now).

This piece of history is never spoken of but it existed alright. Told very evocatively, very emotional, at the same time pragmatic within the guidelines of its times, the author told this story very well.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Random House Publishing.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Fire in the Thatch by E C R Lorac

This classic mystery murder is slightly different to the other books found in the series. The murder was more complicated than most and what seemed like an accident was then deemed to be not. To find a motive and to unravel the mystery took some doing and it was this that set this story apart.

Set in beautiful countryside, very descriptive and sounding very "English" this story epitomizes country living - especially farm living. It also depicts the insular ways of established country folk who really do not like weekenders and town folk aping them in anyway! The murder apart the story of the farmers and the community who made up this little part of Devon.

When the cottage goes up in flames killing the occupant in the process it affects many people especially since Nicholas despite not being from Devon, was much admired  in the manner he worked and his sincerity to make a success of the farm he leased. Inspector Macdonald has a very convoluted mystery murder to solve. He has an instinct as to the underlying reason why Nicholas was killed but to connect the dots takes a lot of dogged police procedure (which was very well done).

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

Friday, June 8, 2018

The Good Liar by Catherine McKenzie

The Good Liar

A complicated story, told in several narratives all beginning with an explosion in a building in Chicago which claimed over 500 lives.

What happens when something like this occurs is immense. The immediate tragedy is evident. The loss, the grief. Then comes the practicalities of life which involve those left behind. How do wives cope with untold secrets, of untold financial burdens, of marital secrets slowly unraveling.

The stories of the women left behind by this Chicago tragedy are complicated. They are also linked in unimaginable ways. Whilst slowly unraveling you do know where this is going, but the end is totally, absolutely unexpected.

Done with flair, handling emotions so very well this author is brilliant.

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

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Before and Again by Barbara Delinsky

Mackenzie Cooper is now Maggie Reid. She has tried and been very successful in remaking her life after a disastrous accident took away the life of her child whilst she was driving. The grief following this accident destroyed her marriage and she and Edward are now divorced. Maggie lives a very structured life, alone but settled well into this small community where she is liked with a few friends who have no inkling of her previous life.

Edward buying a Inn and moving into this small town will definitely upset Maggie. On top of it all, she feels her brother has turned traitor when she discovers he is the new chef at the Inn joining her ex husband in this new endeavour. However what really turns Maggie's world upside down is when her colleague's son Chris just fifteen years old is caught hacking into the computers of not just the Inn but of customers of the Inn and now faces federal prison. The ensuing publicity, media frenzy that descends on this town fills Maggie with foreboding as she knows it is only a matter of time when people start connecting the dots and discovering who she is. Someone with a past and a record.

The story though it is about Maggie and Edward mainly also chronicles the life of Grace and Chris - the boy at the middle of the hacking saga, with a lot of secrets that Grace wants kept hidden. How the two stories interact though totally disconnected from each other and how it evolves is very well done.

Friendship, small town support (and gossip) all keep the story going and the love story binding Maggie and Edward is a plus.

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

Saturday, June 2, 2018

The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda

The Perfect Stranger

It seems perfectly plausible that a person can reinvent themselves (only in America!). In my country they would have sussed out from where you came, who your parents were, what did your brother do and even find out what school you went to very early. I doubt you'd get away with this here.

The story fascinated me. Leah has ended a troubled relationship. She has been friends with Emmy over a very long time. Emmy invites her to rural Pennsylvania and for Leah this is ideal. She can make a new start and hopefully the past will remain in the past. Her teaching position in the local school is without any problems and Leah hopes that she can fast track her career in this way baby steps at a time.

When Emmy disappears and Leah is forced to inform the local police about her friends absence things turn tricky for Leah. For one, there is no one who can corroborate Emmy's presence. There is no paper trail, no identity, no bills and when Emmy's boyfriend turns up murdered the police turn skeptical as to whether someone like Emmy actually existed and whether  it is a figment of Leah's imagination. Leah's history does not help either.

It is left to Leah herself to try to find out what happened to her friend and what she discovers is a body blow as it is obvious that Emmy pursued her purely to steal her identity to make a new life for herself. How she did it was ingenious, convoluted and mind boggling.

Apart from the main characters of Leah and Emmy, everyone in this story has something to hide and in a small town, this is not easy. Unraveling the murders, solving them and finding Emmy was more than enough for this story.

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

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Paris Ever After by K S R Burns

Amy goes to Paris, leaving a husband behind without saying a word. The ability and ease with which she did this took my breath away. Can one just walk away from a husband, home, job, and just jet off to Paris to "find oneself".

Anyway Amy does just that. She lands on her feet, finds a beautiful woman who takes her into her home and heart, links up with her friends and has now made a life for herself. She also did not realize when she left Will her husband that she was pregnant. Now she is well advanced in her pregnancy, still not sure what she is going to do, ambivalent about her feelings towards Will and Manu (whom she found in Paris!) protective of her unborn child and basically not sure of anything.

Fast forward and she discovers Will has come to Paris looking for her. At the same time she is thrown out of her home in Paris with the return of a long lost daughter who does not want her anywhere around her mother. Will seems strangely reluctant to have any conversations with her, keeps putting it off even meeting her and though she thought he was back to ask her to return (on bended knee) it does not seem to be quite so straightforward.

I found all the characters very charming in very different ways. I found Amy to be the least charming of the lot. She sounds like a spoilt brat who expected things to fall into place, the way she wanted it to. I however loved the descriptiveness of the entire story, the Paris setting, the lives and details of the few Parisiens who dotted this novel.

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

Saturday, May 26, 2018

The Girl with no Name by Lisa Regan

The Girl With No Name: Absolutely gripping mystery and suspense (Detective Josie Quinn Book 2) by [Regan, Lisa]

This is the second book in the series of Josie Quinn Police Chief of this small town and maybe I should have read the first one, though after a couple of chapters it did not detract from this story.

Josie has faced problems in the past. Her husband, now dead. Now Josie is confronted with a missing fiancee (who has been over the last few weeks been totally distracted), a missing baby, a dancer at a strip club badly beaten with connections to Josie's fiancee and a girl wearing her fiancee's clothes caught fleeing a scene of a crime with total memory class, pretend or otherwise.

Every link or lead does not necessarily lead to the next lead and with pressure to solve the crimes, especially when the bodies start piling up and with the Mayor's husband being an active suspect, Josie is also in danger of losing her job even before she solves the case, finds her missing fiancee Luke and sort out her own personal problems.

Very slick, quick paced, and descriptive this had all the key elements for a good mystery murder.

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