Thursday, September 29, 2016

"Little Boy Blue" by M. J. Arlidge

"This isn't about love," his captor whispered. "This is about hate." His eyes shot open, but it was too late. His captor was already winding the duct tape over his chin, his mouth... He tried to scream, but his tongue was forced back down by the sticky, bitter adhesive. Now the tape was covering his cheeks, flattening his nose. Moments later, the tape passed over his eyes and everything went black."......

We're back for the 5th book in the "Detective Helen Grace" thriller series. I've read several of them, and thoroughly enjoy this series. The stories take place in Southampton, England.

Detective Helen Grace has a secret life that is about to collide with her work life. When there is a murder of a man who also engages in this kind of behavior, Helen is on the case, and aware of the implications his death may cause her. Will Helen's secrets be exposed? Especially when the dead man is someone Helen knows intimately.

Tracking this killer wont be hard or will it? Is it the man who appears normal, with a wife and a job? His secret life is what makes him happy, and so far he's been quite good at it. Will Helen's determination catch him, or do they have the wrong person? There is more to the murderer than meets the eye and more bodies may follow.

Will Helen share her secrets with anyone? Will they suspect her private behavior? It's hard investigating the murder of someone she came to think of as a friend, yet not let on to her co-workers who he was to her. Someone knows her secret. Will they expose it? This story delves into the lives of people who spend time at S&M clubs, and privately with people they hire for this purpose. A nosy reporter, that Helen has tangled with before, would be more than happy to expose Helen's secrets. Will she? At any time some of the people that feel crossed by Helen may be her undoing.

As always, interesting story line, surprises, and some characters you'll love or hate. Helen is a rather complicated character, brought almost to life through the stories. Her boss though, I suspect Detective Superintendent, Jonathan Gardam, may play a bigger roll in her life in the future. Something creepy though in the way he watches her. Shocking ending! Great series! 

Buy "Little Boy Blue" on sale October 4th on Amazon: click here!

Thank you M.J. Arlidge, Netgalley, and Berkley Publishing

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Monday, September 26, 2016

"Faultlines" by Barbara Taylor Sissel

"I'm sorry." Jenna squeezed Sandy's hand, and she look over at her, seeing her through a prism of tears, the tine faultlines of their shared love and sorrow."

The one phone call every parent hopes they never get. It's 3am when the police notify Sandy and Emmet that their 20 year old son, Jordan, his cousin Travis, and his girlfriend, Michelle, have been in a horrible wreck.

Of course the questions begin. It's a small rural Texas town. Who is to blame and why? Alcohol, and or drugs? Will the three young people survive? It will divide the family since Travis is the son of Sandy's sister, Jenna. Emotions are running high, blame being placed.

As the truth is exposed it will either break them apart or bond them stronger. Sides will be chosen, lies exposed. Can any of this shattered family be saved? There are deep secrets within the family, as well as the mystery of what happened that fatal night. Jordan's mother, Sandy, was a strong character, in the sense she would do what most mothers would. Stand by her child, guilty or not.

This contemporary fiction shows us how a drunk driving accident affected so many people. Well thought out, and a steady pace made this a very enjoyable book.

Thank you Barbara Taylor Sissel, NetGalley, and Lake Union Publishing.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

"Dead Lemons" The Far South Series by Finn Bell

"I don't know what to say now, when she said it I knew, just knew that on some level I had been thinking this; she just put words around it. "See, that's a dead lemon. Someone who knows they are never going to work out but still hangs around causing nothing but pain for themselves and the world. What's the point?" Betty says, then looks me in the eye. "You a dead lemon, Finn?" she asks."......

Life in New Zealand for Finn, has become something of a problem. He's pretty much ruined it. The story starts with him about to die. Then we look back to see how he got himself into his current state. The story weaves back and forth between the present predicament, and the months earlier leading up to this point.

The story of a long ago,mysterious disappearance of a young girl, and later her father, from their cottage resurrects itself when Finn moves into that very place, hoping to rebuild his broken life.

The old tale intertwines with Finns new life as he searches for answers. He does so mostly out of curiosity, but for his own well being. Finn is trying to make some life changing decisions. People in town are friendly enough, but the neighbors kind of creeped me out from their first meeting with Finn. Finn does manage to make some new friends, that will play an important part of the new life he's learning to build for himself.

There is some genuinely graphic and creepy details in this story. It's like walking along on a sunny day, only to turn the corner and walk straight into a hurricane. Do the neighbors know more than they're saying about the long ago disappearances? Some gripping parts, a heart stopping thriller. Did I mention graphic and creepy?

I'd be doing you a disservice if I left out Finn's visit to a counselor. If you've ever been through anything hard in your life, those would be the passages to pay special attention to. There is much to be taken from this book.

This well written thriller will leave you wanting answers before you're done with the first chapter. It was so easy to fall into this book. Does he make it? Can he be saved? Should he give up? What exactly has Finn done, in his short life, that makes others want him dead? Is Finn a "Dead Lemon?" 

Friday, September 16, 2016

"The Army of Orphans" The Beginning by F.B. Veneziano

"Before the revolution, most orphanages and boarding schools were in the country, hidden away. Now there was a boarding school right on the outskirts of Pervaiske, where orphans from all over the territory went to live. It was rumored children there were abused by staff members, and even tied up and beaten by their peers for things like getting good grades because it put pressure on others to work harder. Sometimes orphans disappeared. It was also rumored there was never enough food. Irina knew the stories as well as I did. Anton asked once about something he had heard. What I did know was that I was the oldest boy. It was my job now to protect my sister and brother. The problem was, I was scared to death.".........

The year is now 2045. 30 years ago there was a revolution that parted Ekrunia from the Ukraine. The Krisko family once lived as a peaceful, happy family. The story is told by their son, Alex. He has an older sister, Irina, and a younger brother Anton. When their mother is killed in an accident, their father becomes an abusive drunk. 

Their circumstances change, but the sadness continues, as their father gives them away. While in the care of an orphanage, a revolution has broken out. The children, and other orphans, now must make decisions to save themselves, and protect themselves from the dangers that are before them. All the danger is not just outside the walls.

From the beginning the tale was engaging and heartbreaking. Told at a steady pace, I was drawn in by their story. Children having to grow up too soon, robbed of their childhood. Not protected or loved by the adults who should have cared, but did not. Taken from people who did care. You can't help but become attached to them as they take on an adult journey to survive and stay together. The kindness, shown by a few of the adults they come in contact with, was heart warming. It gave me hope that their future wouldn't be all bad. Can they survive the rebellion on their own? 

This is the first book of a trilogy. I look forward to the next one, and where the story will lead. The exciting ending has left the door open for so many possibilities! This is the kind of story that would make a wonderful movie. I really enjoyed this book by this new author. I see a wonderful future ahead.

Thank you F.B. Veneziano 

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

"Haematemesis" by Henry G. Sheppard


How one man overcame a fear of things medical and learned to navigate his way around hospital 


Noun: the vomiting of blood

To suddenly be thrust into the medical maze after a diagnosis that all of us would be terrified to get. The author handled his journey with grace and a sense of humor. 

His journey laid out before you. Grateful for the kindness he was shown during this time, along with universal common mistakes and missteps. It started in 2007 when he first became ill, then again in 2015 when it returned. Leukemia is a scary diagnosis for anyone. I guess you never know how you'll handle such a thing. 

An unusual book, with an unusual subject. I found it interesting and rather entertaining. I admit more than a few passages made me laugh out loud. The author has a comforting sense of humor. It takes a special person to journal what has to be one of, if not the worst, episode in ones life. 

There were passages though that were just painful to read. I'm sorry for anyone who has to go through this. I lost my 28 year old son in law to cancer in 2004. I'm glad to know that this author is still with us and doing something he's quite good at, writing. Even his initial email to me for this request, was so entertaining, I'm pretty sure I would have said yes to the review request, even if he'd written a book about floods and alligators. 

While you may question how a book about under going cancer treatment could be entertaining, I'd agree with you. However, it's all about attitude, and strong will to see yourself through set backs. That makes this book worth reading. 

Thank you Henry G. Sheppard. It was my pleasure to read for you. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

"Combustion" by Martin J. Smith

                         Buy "Combustion" on Amazon September 27th: click here!

"Starke had a flickering thought: TV news would be all over the story, and Paul Dwyer's family shouldn't find out that way. While he was no fan of Shelby Dwyer, the new widow deserved better. He took a long pull, certain the delay was spiking the blood pressure of a woman whose smile he had yet to see during her first few months as his boss. She was a puzzle."....

Los Colmas, CA has a murder in their midst. Cop Ron Starke, has his hands full with a list of suspects, and motives. The body of Paul Dwyer, a local real estate developer,has been found in the dried up pond of some developing property.

The widow, Shelby, has her own secrets. Paul wasn't what he appeared to be to everyone else. Not everyone thought Paul's developing the area was in the best interest of the town either. Was he killed by someone he angered with his work? Was it someone closer? 

Can Ron Starke appease his difficult boss and get the answers he is looking for? An out of control wildfire may burn the town to the ground, and there may not be anything left to investigate. Small towns and close relationships often help keep secrets. The closer Ron gets to the truth the harder his life is going to become. 

This mystery was well written, great characters and an intriguing read. I loved the relationship he has with his dad. Not a typical situation, but handled with such love. A few well placed surprises that will keep you fully engaged until the end. 

Thank you Martin J.Smith, Netgalley, and Diversion Books

Saturday, September 3, 2016

"The Diary of Harri Foxx" by Sue Lloyd

"The floor received my pounding from both fists. In my weakness, anger became my strength for a moment, and then I conceded. I lay in the fetal position, wishing to be anywhere else than this existence."....

Set in Manchester, England we open with a diary being written to us, the reader, by Harriet Foxx. She writes of her life, her love, and how she came to be agoraphobic. A person who never leaves her home.

She tells her story in memories of her past life, and her love, her late husband, Cyril. Stories of her good friend, Bobbie, and what life was like before she stopped leaving her home. Her neighbors provide company, entertainment, secrets, and stories for her diary. She is in the care of mental health, who visit her regularly. Just Harri and her cat, Sapphire, living inside the confines of her home.

This contemporary fiction book was interesting, heart breaking, and well written. I was patiently waiting to find out Harri's "unmentionable event," and what brought this women to this point in her life. Sad, as you realize what a depressed state she is in and why.

Emotionally disturbing at times. It will settle under your skin if you've ever suffered a traumatic event, and or depression. Haunting.

Thank you Sue Lloyd