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Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Two mystery murders. Very different styles and settings.

Only to Sleep: A Philip Marlowe Novel

The story is a good one if not a story that has been heard before. A older, richer man dies unexpectedly by drowning off the seas in Mexico. He was a good swimmer, there were no sudden changes in the tides and his body was identified by his young widow and the remains cremated immediately. She also received a very big insurance payout.

Phillip Marlowe is a retired Investigator. He was the best in the business and when he was approached by the Insurance Agents to poke around this death, he feels that this will be his last chance of working and accepts the challenge.

The dynamics of the story take off from there and include pursuit of several clues over a wide area of Mexico, picking up pieces from here and there and forming a cohesive whole of what actually happened.

I found the pace rather slow mid way and it took me away from the story because by then you knew where it was going. I felt it would have been better to accelerate it at that point rather than be long drawn but I am not the author here!

The book was sent to me for an unbiased review from Netgalley, courtesy of Random House UK. Vintage Publishing.

Murder in the morning

This is one of those cozy mystery crime books, where you wish you could live in one of those villages where everyone knows everyone, sometimes not a good thing but mainly fine and all seems nice and bright.

Melissa is just settling into a new job when her colleague is found dead in her own home. Melissa goes digging as to how and why mainly because she has got romantically involved with the chief suspect.

The story flows easily, the characters are spot on if a little too sweet sometimes to be true but it is a cozy to the last.

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

Monday, October 29, 2018

A Long Goodbye by Anthony Le Moigan

The Swing of Things

Simon is extremely wealthy, a successful accountant and struck down with very early onset Alzheimers. Emma is married in a sort of a stuck in a groove marriage and is the manager of a Care institute. This is her life and she loves her work.

Simons admission to the Institute triggers off emotions that Emma thought were lost to her forever. The fact that despite his recurrent bouts of illness, that Simon reciprocated those feelings in full measure was a miracle for Emma.

The very quick progression of the disease, the brave face that Emma had to put on and go forward, their story was this story.

Emotional but not cloying, everything fell into place a little too neatly, but a very enjoyable read.

Sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review courtesy of Anthony Le Moignan.

Saturday, October 27, 2018

Katie Marsh The Rest of Me

Alex is a woman no one should ever aspire to. She wants to be the perfect wife, be the perfect mother and feels it bitterly if there are any shortcomings. Permanently playing catch up, with a demanding job, an ailing husband (whom she has just donated a kidney to) and not recovering well herself, she pushes herself more and more trying to keep up with the very growing list of chores and things to be done.

What Alex does not do is listen to her children, both young - one a precocious teenager and one a very young girl. Both desperate for a mother to just listen to them and give them the opening they need to confide in her. Subjects which they cannot bring up as it is not cool enough or they are not comfortable with. Sam on the other hand, the husband who is now well recovered after surgery is blithe, having left it to Alex's capable hands for the last two decades he is quite willing to continue in the same vein.

The fact that Izzy is being bullied mercilessly and does not know how to cope and that Jenna is trying to cope with her budding sexuality are the two topics that are so well handled that it should be compulsory reading for all mothers and fathers. Whilst their children try to cope as best as they could, Alex and Sam both involved and focussed on their careers as they feel that this is what they do best, damage their family so much that it is a wonder that they did not all disappear into a black hole.

Honest to goodness day to day life for a typical first world family very well depicted.

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

Thursday, October 25, 2018

The Swing of Things by Linda Keir

The Swing of Things

Even from the title I didn't know where this book was going and I hadn't read about it on the blogs, so it was a pleasant surprise.

Eric and Jayne married with a little girl. Jayne is the bread winner, hubby stay at home dad and a good home maker. The marriage is beginning to be in a bit of a rut and Jayne wants something to shake it up to get back to their earlier spark. Eric seems more set in his ways and happy with his very comfortable life.

When Theo and Mia invite them over for a small dinner party, Eric and Jayne are more than happy to go - to be in the inner circle as it were. When the party ends in skinny dipping and light hearted flirtations all around, both of them are aware that this is a taste of what is to follow. Jayne is more looking forward than Eric is but as a couple they agree to be part of a small group of swingers. Theo gives Jayne valuable advice on a major case she is presenting, which will give her fast track to partner status, and though both have reservations how much further this can go, both are now more than excited to participate.

As would be expected there is a fall from this elevated plateau, and the machinations which have gone on behind the scenes is a bad scenario. More will be spoilers.

Characterization, plot and descriptiveness was spot on. Sexual scenes not overly explicit but sufficiently so!!!!

I read this till three am so it was an interesting read !

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

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

We The Jury by Robert Rotstein

We, the Jury by Robert Rotstein

A not so straight forward killing - in this case the accused was a husband who axed his wife to death on the grounds that he was emotionally and physically abused, his children were abused by his wife and this was the result.

Told from the point of view of each juror and the Judge presiding, also from other court officials, each one gave a different scenario of the day to day happenings. Each one was different and quirky! even the Judge. It also showed how easy extraneous circumstances can affect us all and that no decision made by a jury is ever going to be based only the facts presented!

A very interesting piece of American justice system in play and one I enjoyed reading very much. Since all the jurors were naturally all very different individuals the story became more and more interesting as the trial unravel led.

Characterization and plot were spot on.

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

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Finding Family by Judith Keim

Finding Family (Salty Key Inn Series Book 4)

Sheena and her two sisters Darcy and Regan have got a wonderful legacy. The chance to upgrade and improve their uncle's hotel. He has left them the legacy with provisos. They have to satisfy the auditors within a limited time frame that they are capable, far thinking and above all not selfish to grab all the money for themselves.

Each one is also facing personal hurdles of different kinds and they all seem to be coming to a head at the same time. Balancing their personal goals and their professional goals is going to take all their skills. They have been handed over a gold mine and it is upto them to nurture and take care of it.

This story of three sisters coming together, working together with a common goal with the beautiful setting of Florida and the Salty Key Inn as the background was a very interesting summerish type of read. I used the word summerish descriptively as being a lighter read because I really have no idea of what summer is like. We are in perpetual summer over here!

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

Monday, October 22, 2018

Perfect Remains by Helen Field

This was a psychological murder thriller. I could add a few more to the descriptions and it alternately kept me on edge, full of revulsion, appalled at the sheer brutality of one man and amazed at the facade he maintained.

The story of unrequited not love, but esteem coupled with a yearning to be recognized and rebuffed by all, makes King a monster. Systematically choosing women by a method which was inhuman purely to gratify his own yearnings, he murdered two each providing DNA evidence that he doctored so that he could keep the women from whom he felt he should get recognition and respect.

The book was a tough one to read. I don't know whether it is a good thing that all I wanted to do was finish the book fast. It made me uncomfortable but I will not detract from the fact that it was meticulously plotted and planned. Still not a comfortable read.
 me on edge, full of revulsion, appalled at the sheer brutality of one man and amazed at the facade he maintained.

The story of unrequited not love, but esteem coupled with a yearning to be recognized and rebuffed by all, makes King a monster. Systematically choosing women by a method which was inhuman purely to gratify his own yearnings, he murdered two each providing DNA evidence that he doctored so that he could keep the women from whom he felt he should get recognition and respect.

The book was a tough one to read. I don't know whether it is a good thing that all I wanted to do was finish the book fast. It made me uncomfortable but I will not detract from the fact that it was meticulously plotted and planned. Still not a comfortable read.

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

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Who she is. By Diane Byington

This was an emotional, but good read. For most of the story I was fighting for Faye, hoping that she would get out of the relentless hold of her parents Sue and Bud but I also knew she was under sixteen, had led a very restricted lifestyle and to rebel and break away was going to be hard if not impossible.

Moving every few months, no roots, a father who seemed over powering and a mother who was a coward Faye never had it easy. Her passion for running should not have got such a lot of opposition from her parents. She did not ask for money for the sport, it had the support of the school, she was so good at it that she could possibly get into college so why were the parents so anti running. Was it just because they thought it was not their social level to go to college, or is it that they just wanted another wage earner in the family. Or was it something a bit more.

Unravelling the story was a good one. Only revealed half way through that things are not exactly as they seemed for this family it goes one step at a time with fortunately a happy ending for Faye.

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

Thursday, October 18, 2018

A Lover Too Many by Roy Lewis

A Lover Too Many (Inspector John Crow #1)

I am back to posting with a faulty pc so please excuse any obvious errors!

This was one of those slow paced crime classics. Not quite Agatha Christie and not quite English countryside this was set mainly in lawyers chambers and involved the partners in the office.

Inspector Crow (a most unfortunate name I thought) but quite suited to the part. Not very impressive in his physical appearance but very upto it otherwise, he is not happy with the verdict in a recent murder of the lady Jeannette, wife of one of the partners. The husband was exonerated completely but a whiff of scandal remains and he knows it is best if he resigns, moves away and starts a new life.
Before he does this however, another murder takes place and he is back squarely as a suspect.

It is now upto him and the Inspector to clear his name and this is going to be rather difficult to do. Peter's timings are just not right and it is only by a chance that he is able to finally set himself free and at the same time find out who actually murdered his wife.

This is a slow paced read so its not one of those high suspense, edge of the seat thrillers but it has its fair share of charm for some readers.

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

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

the secrets we keep by Kate Hewitt

Two mothers who would normally never meet socially become neighbours in the not so fashionable lake side resort to which they normally would not go. It is for the entire summer so they are thrown together as it were.

Rebecca is sent away by her husband as it were, for disgracing him by being drunk at a cocktail party. He feels her absence for three months would make people forget her behaviour. The three children are a mixed bunch with the youngest Zoe being uncannily sharp, rude and arrogant. Tessa on the other hand is also at a bad point in her life. She is running away from her life and hopes that this summer will also reconnect her to her two children. Katharine who is reserved and withdrawn and Max a child with bullying issues.

Both are lonely feel discarded by their husbands and have no feeling of self worth. Both of them are trying to hold it together for the sake of their family and both are failing. Both have deep seated issues of insecurity and and in Rebecca's case a fear and hurt arising from child abuse. All this combined makes for a volatile situation which both are trying to control.

The story of friendship and family and the need to protect those we love is paramount in this story.
It was a good read, albeit an emotional one.

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

Monday, October 15, 2018

Finding Lucy by Diana Finley

Allison and her mother lived a quiet life. Isolated, no friends, her mother did not encourage her with young modern people so when she lost her mother she was quite alone.

But Allison longs for a child and so carefully prepares a diabolic plan to snatch a child. She does this so successfully that people who do remember vaguely a woman with a child, describe the infant very specifically as a boy. Allison delves into history at the cemetery and finds a name of a child who has died fitting into the same age and sex category and Lucy Brown emerges.

Lucy's life is calm and quiet till one day during a playful hypnosis pieces of a puzzle begin to unravel. Allison explains it as being an adopted child, the same way she was. It does not ring true however and as Lucy grows up leaves for university, finds a partner and then has a child of her own, the entire process blows up in the most horrific way forcing Allison to confront her past.

This was a real insight into how far a person could go to take what one wants, without thinking of ethical or moral issues.

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

Friday, October 12, 2018

Kiss Her Goodbye by Susan Gee

This was another one of those twisty kind of books which go deep into the mysteries of the human mind, which we cannot fathom anyway!

Hayley Reynolds is a disturbed teenager but to the world she appears just slightly not right. Not a mass murderer or vicious in anyway, Hayley is not welcome amongst her peers and her mother is uncomfortable with her in her own home. You know right from the start that Hayley is cooking something serious, something morbid.

Kirsten Green is a friend of Hayley. Hayley considers her, her best friend. Then she goes missing.
Hayleys mother has found happiness with a new lover who seems kind and considerate to her. Hayley does not like this. Something has to be done. A second girl goes missing and the detectives feel that they are closing in on their suspect.

The two stories of the new man in her mother's life becomes entwined in the story of Hayley and how she maneuvers everyone, including the detectives on the case to believe a scenario which is manipulated and of her choosing and planning,  and so clever that no one including a jury has any hesitation in putting away an innocent man for life.

It blows Detective Samuels world (she is still recovering from a previous case wrongly handled) and I doubt she will ever believe in her skills ever again.

Very good edge of the seat writing.t

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

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The Wife's Secret by Kerry Wilkinson

Charley and Seth just got married. He was a vet, she was a shop albeit a small one owner. It looked like a normal wedding. The usual jokes, the usual friends who got a bit too drunk, and the couple seemed very normal.

It wasnt though. Charley was a Willis. A member of the infamous family whose members got murdered one at a time. It started with Charley's parents. Famous and murdered. Then Martha the elder girl who protected and looked after Charley. Burnt to death, suicide verdict. Charley and Martha's husband knew otherwise. And then. Charley disappears on the day of her wedding. She disappears in her wedding dress, nothing taken. Is it an abduction, is she dead.

When Charley turns up one week later in the house where she and Seth live with a blackened eye and a convoluted tale, Seth really does not know what to make of her story. The police are close lipped about it and the media are wild for stories.

What unravels is the usual myths of what lies within a family, the secrets that are hidden and lie festering within children and the explosion that will inevitably happen. The infamous line no one knows what really happens within a marriage, or a family other than those members couldn't be truer.

A very fascinating read, characterization spot on. Very well told.

I am catching up with all my reviews from Melbourne where I have time and the space to indulge in reading as much as I'd like. It is freezing though.

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

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Open Your Eyes by Paula Daly

Jane and Leon are married with two small children. He is a fairly successful author, she is an aspiring one. The marriage is happy, and other than for small ups and downs the average family.

When Leon is faced with a confrontation with his neighbour Lawrence and is subsequently found injured, and badly bleeding while Jane was inside the house fetching a beer the whole scenario changes. Leon was attacked with an implement which had only Jane and Leon's fingerprints on it the whole attitude of the police changes with Jane being a major suspect.

While Leon is seriously injured and his whole life has changed, Jane is faced with upheaval after upheaval. After having left all financial decisions and planning to her husband and taking a backseat where money is concerned, she now finds herself locked out of their accounts, no money in the bank, having to take decisions and charter a course for survival for not just her and her two children but also for Leon who is now like the third child in the marriage.

Leon's recovery is going to be slow but he is unlikely to become the man he was before. The Leon that Jane knew and loved is gone and she has to come to terms with this new man, whom she does not quite like or trust anymore.

A story of how fickle life can be, how it change in an instant, betrayal by friends and at the same time how many of us cannot live in isolation however independent we may be. Extended family and friends are needed in times of crisis.

A good story. Well told.

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

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Tear Me Apart by J T Ellison

Tear Me Apart

I do not know what the description of this book is but mystery psychological thriller really does not cover it all. There is so much in this book and though overwhelming at times, it does not detract from the main story at all. In a lot of stories when you get lots of elements, there does not seem to be a clear line to the story and we have bits and pieces, all interesting but never really getting to the point. This book does not do that.

Lauren and Jasper and Mindy have the ultimate beautiful life. Lauren a successful artist, Jasper a lawyer and Mindy an outstanding Olympic hopeful who is on top of it all a very nice teenager. Juliet who is Lauren's sister is on the sidelines to this family - herself a scientist of repute.

When Mindy meets with an accident on the slopes it seems her chances of getting into the US team are skewered but what is even more tragic is that blood tests taken during surgery show that she is suffering from a very fast developing leukemia of a virulent type.  Medical tests prove that neither parent or Juliet is a match even in a very small way and the whole case opens at that point.

Very descriptive of the medical procedures of DNA and genetic testing which was a fascinating facet of the story in itself, the macabre maneuverings of Lauren to protect Mindy at all costs takes us into the twists of the human mind here.

A must read for everyone. It is not necessary that you like psychological thrillers or mysteries. This is seriously good writing.

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

Friday, October 5, 2018

The Bronte Family by Karen Kenyon

The Bronte Family: Passionate Literary Geniuses

A detailed account of the lives of the entire Bronte family but dealing with Emily, Charlotte and Anne in greater detail, their life at the parsonage, their excursions into the wider world to both broaden their horizons as well as earn a living and how they all came back to the moors which they loved and the tragic end to their young lives.

Born at a time when women did not venture into the world of publishing however talented one coouls be they first published under male names and once established as "proper" authors ventured into this world with a great deal of success. With happiness denied in their personal lives, they lived a very self sacrificing life giving up on love and companionship for the parsonage and their (in my opinion) tyrant of a father.

This is a very short book but it encompasses all the details of the Bronte family very well.

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

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

The Cast by Amy Bluemenfeld

Twenty five years ago five friends were inseperable. They became more so when they bonded when one of their number got cancer. She survived the cancer but the effect of the hospitalisation, the treatment and the situation after remained with them forever.

Now all grown up, with families of their own, other than Seth the perennial bachelor they are getting together once more. More disparate than before, each have their own issues in their lives and once again Becca is facing a return of the cancer and this time it is creating a huge rift in her marriage as well.

The story goes back and forth between their school years and the present times and it threw up a scenario which was new to me. Becca is faced with a decision of a mastectomy, common enough today, but she is hesitating about reconstructive surgery. She is very keen with the idea of just having the mastectomy and stopping at that. Her husband Nolan is horrified. He cannot imagine his wife without breasts, as being "not normal" and not "womanly" being the butt end of jokes amongst his friends and his attitude has blown Becca's trust and love for him as this is a Nolan whom she cannot imagine.

The attitude of Nolan divides the friends as well who try to see the situation from his point of view as well but the camps are solely behind their friend. They supported her in the past and they will do so now.

Friendships, marriage, unexpected issues, deep attractions after decades all come up in this beautifully handled story.

The book was sent by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Get Red PR

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

This Little Piggy by M G Crisci

This book brought to life the very theory that money corrupts and that immense amount of monies definitely upsets the apple cart unless you know how to handle it.

The prospect of making money, lots of it draws Victor in. He has no knowledge about Wall Street, about the manoeuvring the discipline of making money. He not only dives in head first, he drags his wife in. Finding themselves bankrupt and desperate, he then thinks of suicide in a rather unusual manner to absolve himself of all his wrongdoings.

The storyline was good, the characters were very typical of what they were depicting but the story also moved around a bit too much.aa

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

Monday, October 1, 2018

In Your Hands by Ines Pedrosa

Set in Portugal across decades beginning in 1935 we have a marriage which is rather unusual - Jenny gets married to Antonio but there is always Pedro as the third wheel in the marriage. Holding political salons and entertainment Pedro is much more important to Antonio than Jenny will ever be, but for appearances sake the facade is maintained always.

Fast forward thirty years and we have Camila now a headstrong young woman who reminisces about a love in Mozambique and who also bequeathed to her a daughter Natalija.

Three women's stories told across the generations, each with plenty of secrets and convoluted as thy come each of the women's stories are unique to their time and age.

Interesting background setting of turbulent Portugal and three strong determined women trying to set their mark.

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

The Hour of Death by Jane Willan

Sister Agatha and Father Selwyn are not the everyday run of the mill clergy. Clearly independent thinking, very much part of the clergy and part of the tiny village in Wales Sister Agatha is permanently on the look out for murders and mysteries after she solved one murder very nicely. Sister is also writing a book and all murders are grist to her writing mill!  That her Superior understands this was also unusual because the usual brakes that would be put on an over imaginative mind were absent and Sister was allowed a fairly loose rein which I don't think applies in nunneries!

The President of the Village Art Society is found dead. Apparently a heart attack and most people including the Police accept that it is a natural cause for death. Not the Sister. Until the Police who ignore her throughout are made to see that there is more to the death than meets the eye Sister Agatha will not let it go. Unraveling the mystery piece by piece she puts together a story that seems improbable for this small village but which will eventually ring true.

A lot of suspects are involved and all of them must be cleared by Christmas if the pageants and the festival is to continue with its choir without any impediment. A mystery which was also very humourous and added to the lightness of the story.

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