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Sunday, September 30, 2018

Fatal Charm by Blair McDowell

After a string of rather intense murders and psychological thrillers this was a good change!

Caitlin is a jeweller by profession and she is stunned by the death of her sort of boyfriend. Someone she was not committed to but whom she liked. She now finds herself at the receiving end of a lot of interest by very nefarious and hard core characters who are determined to find an amulet that her boy friend has hidden in her work chambers.

Once it is found and with the handsome history professor by her side, alongside her able assistant, Caitlin is determined to return it to the Louvre, its original owner. You would think that this would be an open shut case with them welcoming Caitlin with open arms but the story becomes twisted with attempted kidnappings, murder and international intrigue.

Covering London, Brittany and Paris this was a fun read for me and a very welcome one at that. Lots of history in a very captivating way along with more than a touch of romance.

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

Thursday, September 27, 2018

A Little Bird Told Me by Marianne Holmes

A Little Bird Told Me

The story was a very good one. A long time ago when she was a child bad things happened. The effect on her brother and herself was not a good one. It has effected her todate. Her brother has tried and is trying to move on, but it seems as if Robyn will not let go of the past until it has told her all its secrets.

From the beginning you realise that her sibling knew more than he let on. He was protecting his rather vulnerable sister, whether it was a good thing or not in hindsight maybe not but at the time he and his mother thought this was best.

The story was set in a small town where memories remained forever. Gosh it reminded me of villages in my country where what someone's grandmother did was spoken as if it happened yesterday.

Despite all this, the story did not come alive for me very much though it had such a lot of potential to be really good.  The main thing was that the story felt disjointed and did not flow very well.

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

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Least Wanted by Debbi Mack

A legal thriller this had a lot going on at the same time  Sam McRae is a small time lawyer but she gets into trouble big time. Defending one person who gave her a lot of sass, she never expected to get involved in a murder investigation, where the murders keep on coming.

Involving a lot of people, and those seemingly completely out of the blue the strands are very difficult to connect and draw together into an understandable whole. Covering gaming, teen porn, and the difficulties of teenage life in homes where there is no direction or protection was sad.

The part played by Tina the 13 year old was the saddest part of this story. Defenseless, unprotected by parents who should have done more her situation must be duplicated many many times and it must be to the despair of Social Service organisations in the country. So apart from the murder mystery thriller angle, this was the part that really tugged at my feelings whilst reading the book.

The title certainly does Tina justice though that was all she got.

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

Treacherous is the Night by Anna Lee Huber

I just finished a book set in 1905 and now this is 1919. Despite the horrendous war and the after effects of it, the position of women seemed roughly unchanged. They took up the challenge, took to every known occupation available, filled in the all the gaps admirably but when the war was over they were expected to go back to their routine lives of home and family.

To those like Verity who worked behind the scenes and without anyone's knowledge in extremely desperate circumstances all for the good of the country, this must have been a hard act to follow. In her husband however, she had a stalwart supporter. Right now however Verity is in a precarious position also with her husband. He was presumed dead for a long time, and his sudden resurrection was a planned one. Verity cannot forgive him easily for the heartbreak of fifteen months when she thought she was a widow.

Now her history has come back with a vengeance because there seems to be someone following up on a very clandestine operation that very few knew about. No one even knew the names of the operators and so when a spiritualist in London makes a few strange remarks to Verity, which she disbelieves immediately followed by the gruesome murder of the spiritualist Verity knows that she has to be careful and that she must try to reach out to Emilie her contact in Belgium in order to know that she is safe and well.

The journey to Brussels and trying to find Emilie is a hazardous one - but it also shows Verity and Sydney that someone is on their trail with intent to kill. But who and why is the problem and the story unravels slowly.

Despite the slow unraveling the story is far from boring. Romance, history, espionage and a lot of mystery entwine themselves in this very well presented book.

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

Monday, September 24, 2018

Keep Her Silent by Theresa Talbot

Chief Constable Threadgold wants to go out with distinction. Thirty years on the job, he reopens a cold case that sent shivers through the community. He wants it closed and he wants it closed with all ends neatly dovetailed and a murder suspect taken into custody with a lot of publicity.

Things never go according to plan. Oonagh O'Neil smells something very rotten with the case.  Three woman brutally murdered, the present suspect mentally disabled by her treatment both by omission and commission in the state sector, so many anomalies in the case, police procedure not followed, so much of missing evidence, a cold wall comes up whenever the case is mentioned amongst the force and now with pieces of the jigsaw puzzle appearing, piece by piece Oonagh is also confronted with her present witnesses being slowly eliminated.

She is however not one to give up and even though she knows she will be the next target she is determined to see that justice is done for the innocent young lives which were lost in this tragic story.

Bringing up very unsavoury facts in the health sector as well as in the medical laboratories of the time it is not a very pleasant unfolding of facts. The story holds you in its thrall because these things did happen, probably still happening and no one is the wiser.

A series of which I have only read one, I will be looking out for Oonagh O'Neil in the future.

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

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.