May 30, 2015

A Shameful Murder by Cora Harrison


T I T L E: A Shameful Murder
S E R I E S: A reverend Mother Mystery (Nº 1)
A U T H O R: Cora Harrison
P U B L I S H E R: Severn House Publishers
P U B L I S H--D A T E: September 1, 2015
I S B N: 9780727885111
Mystery
Cork, Ireland. 1923. When, one wet March morning, Reverend Mother Aquinas discovers a body at the gate of the convent chapel washed up after a flood ‘like a mermaid in gleaming silver satin’, she immediately sends for one of her former pupils, Police Sergeant Patrick Cashman, to investigate. Dead bodies are not unusual in the poverty-stricken slums of Cork city, but this one is dressed in evening finery; in her handbag is a dance programme for the exclusive Merchant’s Ball held the previous evening – and a midnight ticket for the Liverpool ferry.
Against the backdrop of a country in the midst of Ireland’s Civil War, the Reverend Mother, together with Sergeant Cashman and Dr Sher, an enlightened physician and friend, seek out the truth as to the identity of the victim – and her killer.



     Set in 1920's Ireland, this is an intriguing mystery. It had me hooked from the moment that the body of the young girl washed up on the convent grounds.
     The author paints a vivid picture of what it was like to live Ireland during that politically fragile and often dangerous time. You are drawn in and made to feel as if you are there walking through the flooded streets of Cork.
     The Reverend Mother is strong and intelligent. I was happy to see that her background was not one that was sheltered and gave her some sense of how life worked among the classes. It made her so much more believable. Mother Aquinas and Patrick along with Dr. Scher made a great crime solving team. As far as Eileen goes, I simply adored her and hope to see her again in future books.
     There were clues along the way, but nothing that gave away who the murderer was. It was quite unexpected and one of those wow moments. It was well executed and a great first book to what promises to be an excellent series. I am already looking forward to reading the next book and hopefully I won't have too long to wait.

4 STAR


A M A Z O N          B A R N E S & N O B L E          G O O D R E A D S


May 29, 2015

Dear Alysha - Nø. 2

   Hell, Alysha, I’m not sure what is worse - reading and not giving myself time to write, or writing and not giving myself time to read. AAH! What the[BEEP]is the answer? 
   When I’m reading, it’s like I can’t stop. I’ll move from one book to the next without a pause. I can only imagine that this is what a junkie feels like, because when I’m not able to read, I crave it. To the point that when I can’t find anything good to read (like the last [BEEP] week and a half), I get seriously moody. Yet, while I’m reading, I feel this angry [BEEP] money on my back screaming at me to put down the damn book and write. Write something. Write anything. But for the love of chocolate dipped pretzels, write. 
     Is there a solution? 
     Oh, and about that writing thing. . . As you know, I have finished my first draft of Boon. I have to tell you, it was not as satisfying as I imagined it would be. The writer inside me jumped for joy - hell I think there was a brief moment where I considered a cartwheel - but then that logical side of me stepped up and pissed all over my almost parade. I mean, how do you know when the story is done, Alysha? 
     The answer is yes for Boon, at least I feel that way. I know this because when I wrote the[BEEP] ending, those final words of “Finally, the fucking end,” it felt like the Milky Way lifted from my shoulders. It’s amazing how much a story can weigh on a writer. Sometimes, I feel like it is a sickness, not a creative process. 
     Oddly enough, now that I’ve reached this milestone with Boon, I’m bored. I mean, I’ve been researching some science for it, and that’s been fun. I also still make little notes here and there for me to think about and consider when I begin edits. To be honest, I still eat, sleep, and shit the story; now that the foundation (the first draft) is built, it’s different. Does that make sense? 
     Was that how it was for you? 
     Do you think that waiting until the beginning of the year to start the grueling process of editing is too long to wait? I have to be honest, even though I wrote it, and I still remember what I wrote, I’m terrified I’ll hate it. Has that happened to you? I’ve had that happen before. I wrote a story, let it sit, and when I pulled it out to read it, I hated it - so much so, I didn’t even want to edit it. I cringe when I think that could happen again. I read this author’s blog once (years ago, sorry I can’t get you a link) and I remember he said he wrote 3 stories before he actually started liking some of what he wrote. He didn’t publish until his fourth novel. Can you imagine? 
     Sadly, I can. 
     I’m in dire need of your wiseness, Alysha. And don’t you dare cop out and tell me “to suck it up” or some other overused “hard love” advice. 

   Forever your American fan, 
    Hope






A L Y S H A ' S   R E P L Y 
"That was quite a post you wrote. I too, often struggle with the balance of reading and writing. Sometimes I'll go a month without reading in favour of writing, then I'll focus on reading the next month. It ebbs and flows. I'm in this for the long haul, so I try not to stress about it. As long as you're reading and writing. . ."

May 28, 2015

Secret World by M.J. Trow


T I T L E: Secret World
S E R I E S: A Tudor Mystery featuring Christopher Marlowe
A U T H O R: M.J. Trow
P U B L I S H E R: Severn House/Creme de la Crime
P U B L I S H--D A T E: September 1, 2015
I S B N: 9781780290751
Mystery
Christopher Marlowe tackles his most baffling case yet.
June, 1589. Now a feted poet and playwright, Kit Marlowe is visiting his family in Canterbury. But it’s not the happy homecoming he had hoped for. A long-standing family friend has been found dead in her bed, killed by several blows to the head. Convinced that the wrong person has been found guilty of the crime, Marlowe determines to uncover the truth.
What did the dead woman mean when she spoke of ‘owning the whole world’? If Marlowe could discover what she had in her possession, he would be one step closer to catching her killer. And why is the Queen’s spymaster, Sir Francis Walsingham, taking such an interest in the investigation?



     Since Elizabethan era is one of my favorite historical periods, I couldn't pass this one up. I'm glad I didn't because I was not disappointed. It was a very enjoyable read. This book is the first that I have read in this series. I will be reading more.
     All of the politics and intrigue during that time has always fascinated me. Especially when it comes to Walsingham, the queen's spymaster. I like the fact that Marlowe is not just a playwright but an operative as well. I know in real life it has been suspected that Kit was working for Sir Francis. I think it's fantastic that M.J. Trow has created such a great series based on that speculation.
     Christopher Marlowe is very likable in this story. I enjoyed his interactions with his mother and sisters. I also enjoyed Walsingham's character along with Faunts. Well written with plenty of action including some interesting twists throughout. It held my attention from beginning to end.
     As I mentioned above, I will be reading more from this series. This book was only 18 chapters, but it was a great short read.


4 STAR


A M A Z O N          B A R N E S & N O B L E

May 26, 2015

Devil's Daughter by Hope Schenk-de Michele, Paul Marquez with Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff


T I T L E: Devil’s Daughter
S E R I E S: Lucinda’s Pawn Shop (Nº 1)
A U T H O R: Hope Schenk-de Michele, Paul Marquez with Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff
P U B L I S H E R: Bird Street Books
P U B L I S H--D A T E: July 14, 2015
I S B N: 9781939457363
Urban Fantasy
Lucinda is as old as humanity itself, yet perpetually young, beautiful, and endowed with supernatural powers. She lives a double life—human and immortal. Born out of a betrayal of trust between the first woman, Eve, and father, Lucifer, Lucinda has worked covertly and subtly for millennia to be true to her mother’s love by subverting her father’s schemes. In her human guise, she manages Lucinda’s Pawnshop & Antiquary, the doors of which can open to any street anywhere in the world at any time. Mortals who have arrived at a moral or spiritual crossroads are drawn into the mysterious shop. If they acquire one of its cursed artifacts, they may find themselves drafted into Lucifer’s service. And if the Devil's daughter will not love a man he can control, can Lucifer control the man she loves?


     An interesting concept and entertaining read. Although this book was written by three authors, the writing was seamless and flowed well. The characters were well developed.
     Lucinda was very clever in hiding the fact that she was really undermining her father's plans even though by all appearances she seemed to be aiding him in trying to bring humanity to ruins. As far as her relationship with Lucifer goes, you get the feeling that he does care for her at least somewhat, despite the fact that he is selfish and purely evil. I also really liked Nathaniel a lot though he was supposed to be one of the Devil's minions. I am interested to see what the future holds for the fallen angel because I get the feeling that below the surface there is more to him than we are seeing. That brings me to Nick, even though Lucinda loves him, I didn't. He's probably my least favorite character in the story right along with Rey. Although, Rey is obviously one of the bad guys and Nick is not. There was just something about Nick that didn't sit well with me.
     The plot, in general, was refreshing and a great take on the old good versus evil theme. There were a lot of grey areas just like there is in real life, which is always full of choices that have consequences affecting our future.
     All in all a really great read.

4 STAR


A M A Z O N          B A R N E S & N O B L E          G O O D R E A D S

May 20, 2015

Mindhealer by Lilith Saintcrow


T I T L E: Mindhealer
S E R I E S: Watcher Series(Nº 5)
A U T H O R: Lilith Saintcrow
P U B L I S H E R: BelleBooks/ImaJinn Books
P U B L I S H--D A T E: May 31, 2015
I S B N: 9781610260145
Paranormal Romance
The Witch:
The attacks are brutal, leaving the victims unconscious and broken. A powerful Mindhealer might be able to piece together what's happening to these crushed bodies and shattered minds, so Caroline Robbins is pulled away from her relatively quiet life. A Mindhealer is incredibly vulnerable to the Dark—and Caro refuses even the idea of having a Watcher. She won’t have another man die in front of her, and that’s that. Unfortunately, the Watcher she just ran into has other ideas...

The Watcher:
Caro, the witch Merrick rescues from the dogs of the Dark, is obnoxiously stubborn, infuriating, and seemingly determined to throw herself into every dangerous situation possible. It’s enough to drive a man insane, and definitely enough to make a Watcher frustrated. How is he supposed to protect her, especially when she insists she doesn't need a Watcher? But Caro is going to need all of Merrick’s skill and strength sooner than anyone guesses. The attacks haven’t stopped, and the closer Caro gets to solving the mystery, the more danger she’s in. Because she’s the next victim—unless Merrick can save her. And Merrick just might die in the line of fire if Caro can’t find a way to keep her Watcher safe.



     This is the fifth book in the Watcher Series. This story is told from the point of view of both the watcher and the witch.
     Merrick is by far my favorite character in this series. He has some depth and a complex background. However, I didn't really care for Caro. I prefer heroines that are tough and can stand on their own. She didn't come across that way to me. She was stubborn, sometimes stupidly so, which in turn almost gets her and Merrick both killed. Caroline seemed more of a spoiled child to me. Then there is the fact that she constantly stated that she didn't cry much and she didn't like it when she did, yet all the while she was continually doing just that. If she didn't get her way, she threw a tantrum. Those are not traits that I care for in a female lead. She annoyed me and almost ruined the story for me. That was somewhat disappointing.
     Fortunately, the world building that Saintcrow does is terrific. The plot is really good, with some suspenseful scenes and a little action thrown in. From a technical standpoint, the writing is well done as with all of Lilith Saintcrow's works.
      I was on the fence for awhile trying to decide on three or four stars because I found Caro so frustrating. But, I did like Merrick and the rest of the story, so I'm going with four stars.

4 STAR


A M A Z O N          B A R N E S & N O B L E          G O O D R E A D S


May 19, 2015

The Heiress of Linn Hagh by Karen Charlton


T I T L E: The Heiress of Linn Hagh
S E R I E S: Detective Lavender Mysteries (N°1)
A U T H O R: Karen Charlton
P U B L I S H E R: Amazon Publishing/Thomas & Mercer
P U B L I S H--D A T E: June 9, 2015
I S B N: 9781477830086
Mystery
Northumberland, 1809: A beautiful young heiress disappears from her locked bedchamber at Linn Hagh.
The local constables are baffled and the townsfolk cry ‘witchcraft’. The heiress’s uncle summons help from Detective Lavender and his assistant, Constable Woods, who face one of their most challenging cases: The servants and local gypsies aren’t talking; Helen’s siblings are uncooperative; and the sullen local farmers are about to take the law into their own hands.
Lavender and Woods find themselves trapped in the middle of a simmering feud as they uncover a world of family secrets, intrigue and deception in their search for the missing heiress.



     Set during the reign of King George III, this is a fascinating mystery. You can count on the unexpected with lots of twists and turns. There are lots of skeletons in the Carnaby family closet which made this story very intriguing.
     I had lots of ideas on how Helen simply vanished from her locked room, but I couldn't have been further from the truth. The method was clever and certainly something that I didn't even consider. Very creative. There were also a couple of surprises near the end that I didn't see coming.
     The execution and writing were well done. Lavender and Woods were well developed with likable personalities. I am looking forward to seeing how they develop even further in future books of this series.
     A very good first book to what promises to be a fantastic series. I will be waiting for the next book to see how Detective Lavender and Constable Woods solve their next case.
    Indisputably four stars.

4 STAR


A M A Z O N          B A R N E S & N O B L E          G O O D R E A D S

May 17, 2015

The Sand Prince by Kim Alexander

T I T L E: The Sand Prince
A U T H O R: Kim Alexander
P U B L I S H E R: Booktrope
P U B L I S H--D A T E: June 16,2015
I S B N: 9781618632135
Fantasy
The demon Prince of Eriis has turned out to be something of a disappointment. Rhuun is crap at magic. He can’t fly, can’t even shoot flames from his hands. His poor girlfriend has just about had it with him. It’s no wonder he drinks. All Rhuun really does is daydream about visiting the other world, the world without magic—the human world of Mistra. No one has been there for a generation, but Rhuun knows all about the humans. He’s got a book. It’s the only human book on Eriis, and he’s been studying it his whole life. The fact that his book is a bodice-ripping romance novel, well… it’ll make his adventures in the human world a little more complicated.
Tip #1 – Human women do not generally like to be called “wench.”
In Mistra, Lelet va’Everly could use a little magic herself. Parties and boys have lost their luster, and she’s desperate for an adventure. When a bizarre, exasperating, extremely good looking – and hot (literally) stranger shows up, he might be the person, and purpose that she had been waiting for. But why does he keep calling her a wench?



     The concept for this book had a lot of potential, unfortunately, it wasn't all that it could have been.That was a bit disappointing. I wish that it would have been executed a bit better and maybe it would have achieved so much more.
     It was slow to start and it was difficult to get through. I did persevere and managed to complete the book. When I receive a book to review I feel it's my responsibility to read the entire book, whether or not I like it. And I am glad that I finished it because the ending was much better than I anticipated when I began reading.
     I felt the characters were slightly underdeveloped. While the writing was not terrible, I do feel it seemed as though it were for a younger audience. I looked back through the description thinking perhaps it was a YA book. I didn't see that anywhere unless I overlooked it. In fact, I do think it would do well in the YA genre. And I will probably recommend it to those that like to read YA books and to those that are a bit younger in age. I myself do like to read YA from time to time, but only when I know it is for young adults and I am expecting just that, not when I am expecting to read a book written for adult readers.
     Even after saying those things above, I did like the book enough to give it three stars. As I mentioned earlier, I felt the concept had great potential. Perhaps in the next book, the characters and plot will have the chance to develop more. I am certainly interested to see if that happens and I hope that it does.

3 STAR


A M A Z O N          B A R N E S & N O B L E          G O O D R E A D S


May 15, 2015

Earthrise by M.C.A. Hogarth


T I T L E: Earthrise
S E R I E S: Her Instruments (N°1)
A U T H O R: M.C.A. Hogarth
P U B L I S H E R: Studio MCAH
P U B L I S H--D A T E: April 30, 2015
I S B N: 9781484996515
SciFi, Romance
Reese Eddings has enough to do just keeping her rattletrap merchant vessel, the TMS Earthrise, profitable enough to pay food for herself and her micro-crew. So when a mysterious benefactor from her past shows up demanding she rescue a man from slavers, her first reaction is to say “NO!” And then to remember that she sort of promised to repay the loan. But she doesn’t remember signing up to tangle with pirates and slavers over a space elf prince…
Book 1 of the Her Instruments trilogy is a rollicking adventure set in the Pelted Paradox universe, and kicks off an epic space opera series where the fate of worlds hangs in the balance. Fans who enjoyed Firefly or Andromeda will likely enjoy this series.



     I wavered on this book to be honest. While I like the basic concept and the different species found in the author’s universe, I wasn’t really sold completely on the elven like race of the Eldritch. Now, let me say here that I love elves. They are my favorite literary creatures, but I’m not sure they fit into outer space. At least not for me. That may make me seem close minded but truthfully, I’m not. It just didn’t flow completely for me.
     I didn’t completely connect with Reese for some reason. Not sure if it was her negativity, or what exactly. And though I loved the fact that her crew was diversified, I couldn’t completely connect with them either.
     Don’t get me wrong, I did like this book, a lot in fact. However, I didn’t love it. I just can’t seem to put my finger on it, but I couldn’t get into it totally. Having said that, I do think it was well written and I’d be interested to read other works from this author.
     Some of the things I did like? Battles fought in outer space, especially the battle at the end of the book. And space pirates. Space pirates are always a great in a story. The plot was also good.
     As I mentioned earlier, I wavered on this book. I was torn between three and four stars. Unfortunately, since I was unable to really get into the characters, I am going to have to go with three stars. I’d be interested to see how this series develops further.

3 STAR


A M A Z O N          B A R N E S & N O B L E          G O O D R E A D S

May 14, 2015

Barry vs. The Apocalypse by Ross Cavins


T I T L E: Barry vs. The Apocalypse
S E R I E S: Barry Glick Mystery Series (N°1)
A U T H O R: Ross Cavins
P U B L I S H E R: Ross Cavins
P U B L I S H--D A T E: April 15, 2015
I S B N: 9780982772058
Sci Fi, Fantasy, Mystery , Thrillers
Introducing Barry Glick, a middle-aged Superhero with Super-Speed, Super-Strength, and a mullet. He thought he'd retired twenty years ago ... Now in his mid-forties, after years of apathy, selfishness, and using his X-Ray-Vision on lottery scratch-offs, Barry Glick is once again goaded into action when a Homeland Security agent disappears. Barry is reluctant to relinquish his simple life of frozen pizza and fruity beers, but when his sidekick's redheaded sister is involved, he weakens as much as that other guy around Kryptonite. Barry stumbles into a situation much more dire than a simple kidnapping; he uncovers a massive conspiracy to collapse the world's financial system and bring about a modern day Apocalypse. And he's the only one who can stop it.



     Barry is not your run of the mill superhero and really breaks the mold. The fact that he has flaws just makes him all that much more likable and very relatable. For those of you out there that like your superheroes perfect and a little less human then this book is not for you. However, if you have a twisted sense of humor and like characters that are not the norm then I think you will really enjoy this book.
     It was funny and made me laugh out loud in some scenes. The banter between Barry and Gordon was fun to read.
     Clever and enjoyable. If you're in the mood for a short humorous read then be sure to pick up Barry vs The Apocalypse. I'm giving this one four stars.

4 STAR


A M A Z O N          B A R N E S & N O B L E          G O O D R E A D S

May 13, 2015

The Conquering Dark by Clay & Susan Griffith


T I T L E: The Conquering Dark
S E R I E S: Crown and Key (N°3)
P U B L I S H E R: Random House Publishing Group - Del Rey Spectra
P U B L I S H--D A T E: July 28, 2015
I S B N: 9780345540508
Urban Fantasy, Steampunk
The Crown and Key Society face their most terrifying villain yet: Gaios, a deranged demigod with the power to destroy Britain,
To avenge a centuries-old betrayal, Gaios is hell-bent on summoning the elemental forces of the earth to level London and bury Britain. The Crown and Key Society, a secret league consisting of a magician, an alchemist, and a monster-hunter, is the realm's only hope—and to stop Gaios, they must gather their full strength and come together as a team, or the world will fall apart.
But Simon Archer, the Crown and Key's leader and the last living magician-scribe, has lost his powers. As Gaios searches for the Stone of Scone, which will give him destructive dominion over the land, monster-hunter Malcolm MacFarlane, alchemist extraordinaire Kate Anstruther, gadget geek Penny Carter, and Charlotte the werewolf scramble to reconnect Simon to his magic before the world as they know it is left forever in ruins.



     Yet another fantastic addition to the amazing Crown and Key Series. This is the third book and it truly is just as awesome as the first two. I'm still loving every word of it.
Like the other two books, this one has everything and takes you on one hell of an adventure. It gives you hair-raising chases, nail biting fight scenes, heart-wrenching moments and even a few tender ones as well.
     What can I say, I simply loved this book as well as this series. Clay and Susan Griffith are amazing authors. Like all the rest of their books, this one is very well written. My only complaint is that I didn't want the book to end. I want more, and hopefully my wish will be fulfilled soon.
     I’m not quite ready to stop reading about Simon and Kate along with the rest of their little family. They have now become some of my favorite characters.
      I'm really not sure what else to say that I haven't already said before. Therefore, I have just two words. Five. Stars.

5 STAR


A M A Z O N          B A R N E S & N O B L E          G O O D R E A D S

May 12, 2015

The Undying Legion by Clay & Susan Griffith


T I T L E: The Undying Legion
S E R I E S: Crown and Key (N° 2)
P U B L I S H E R: Random House Publishing Group - Del Rey Spectra
P U B L I S H--D A T E: June 30, 2015
I S B N: 9780345540485
Urban Fantasy, Steampunk
With a flood of dark magic about to engulf Victorian London, can a handful of heroes vanquish a legion of the undead?
When monster-hunter Malcolm MacFarlane comes across the gruesome aftermath of a ritual murder in a London church, he enlists the help of magician-scribe Simon Archer and alchemist extraordinaire Kate Anstruther. Studying the macabre scene, they struggle to understand obscure clues in the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics carved into the victim's heart—as well as bizarre mystical allusions to the romantic poetry of William Blake. One thing is clear: Some very potent black magic is at work.
But this human sacrifice is only the first in a series of ritualized slayings. Desperate to save lives while there is still time, Simon, Kate, and Malcolm—along with gadget geek Penny Carter and Charlotte, an adolescent werewolf—track down a necromancer who is reanimating the deceased. As the team battles an unrelenting army of undead, a powerful Egyptian mummy, and monstrous serpentine demons, the necromancer proves an elusive quarry. And when the true purpose of the ritual is revealed, the gifted allies must confront a destructive force that is positively apocalyptic.




     I was so excited to be able to read this book and I was not disappointed. This book was fantastic as is this series so far. I absolutely love it. Unfortunately, quite often the second book in a series with such a great first book can be a letdown, but not so with this one. I'd have to say that this book is every bit as good if not a wee bit better than the first one.
     It starts out with thrilling action, sucks you in, then ending with nail biting action. The climatic action scene had me running through a gambit of emotions. It had me cheering, feeling relieved, feeling despair, biting my nails from the edge of my seat, shouting "No. No. NO! Not that!"
     Once I started reading, I couldn't put it down, literally. In fact, I stayed up well past my bedtime and finished this book in one sitting. I didn't even notice the time. It was just that great. So far this is one of the best Steampunk/Urban Fantasy series that I have read.
     All of the characters are very likable and have depth. I really love all of them. Admittedly, Malcolm frustrates me from time to time but with this book, it's evident that there is definitely more to him than meets the eye. Naturally, Simon and Kate are fantastic together and I adore them as main characters. They are perfectly suited as a couple. The only character that I don't really care that much for is Nick. That could change in the next book, but that remains to be seen as I still have that story to read. And I am really looking forward to that one.
     Even though this series is written by two authors, the writing is seamless and very well written. The Griffiths write wonderfully together and make a terrific duo.
     I could go on and on, but I think it's best that I stop here. This book definitely deserves a five-star rating. I can not wait to dive into the next book in this series.

5 STAR


A M A Z O N          B A R N E S & N O B L E          G O O D R E A D S

May 11, 2015

When The Heavens Fall by Marc Turner

__________B O O K__R E V I E W__________

★★★★★

   I first found this book on NetGalley, and read the excerpt. I fell in love with this story. It wasn’t nearly enough, and left me needing to know the full story. I was unholy excited when I was contacted to read the full ARC, and review it here on Word Gurgle.
     This story delivers a profound tale to its readers, with seriously complex characters, who set out on an arduous and difficult adventure. The entire, impeccably written, story happens in a wonderfully built world that drives the story. The detail is in all the right places, painting vivid settings, and personalities.
     And the battle scenes . . . fuck yeah! Magic (lots of it), and evil stuff, and intrigue, and death, and swords, and we’re off the see the wizard. Wait, fuck the wizard, off with his head.
     When Heavens Fall is a deep story, for serious readers. There is nothing light-hearted about the world or the many characters within it. I’m excited this is a series. I need these in hardcover on my shelf. I'm happy to give this novel five stars.


__________B O O K__D E T A I L S__________


T I T L E: When The Heavens Fall
S E R I E S: The Chronicles of the Exile (N°1)
A U T H O R: Marc Turner
P U B L I S H E R: Macmillan-Tor/Forge
P U B L I S H--D A T E: May 19, 2015
I S B N: 9780765337122
Fantasy, High Fantasy
If you pick a fight with Shroud, Lord of the Dead, you had better ensure your victory, else death will mark only the beginning of your suffering. A book giving its wielder power over the dead has been stolen from a fellowship of mages that has kept the powerful relic dormant for centuries. The thief, a crafty, power-hungry necromancer, intends to use the Book of Lost Souls to resurrect an ancient race and challenge Shroud for dominion of the underworld. Shroud counters by sending his most formidable servants to seize the artifact at all cost. However, the god is not the only one interested in the Book, and a host of other forces converge, drawn by the powerful magic that has been unleashed. Among them is a reluctant Guardian who is commissioned by the Emperor to find the stolen Book, a troubled prince who battles enemies both personal and political, and a young girl of great power, whose past uniquely prepares her for an encounter with Shroud. The greatest threat to each of their quests lies not in the horror of an undead army but in the risk of betrayal from those closest to them. Each of their decisions comes at a personal cost and will not only affect them, but also determine the fate of their entire empire. The first of an epic swords & sorcery fantasy series, Marc Turner's When the Heavens Fall features gritty characters, deadly magic, and meddlesome gods.


AMAZON * BARNES & NOBLE * GOODREADS * GOOGLE PLAY


*I received an advanced copy of this via NetGalley in exchange for a fair review*

*Note: I recommend reading Marc Turner’s short story There’s A Devil Watching. It gives great insight to the tone of When The Heavens Fall and a sample of his masterful writing. It's free, so you have zero excuse.

May 9, 2015

Two Bronze Pennies by Chris Nickson


T I T L E: Two Bronze Pennies
A U T H O R: Chris Nickson
P U B L I S H E R: Severn House Publishing
P U B L I S H--D A T E: August 1, 2015
I S B N: 9780727884916
Mystery, Thriller
Leeds, England, Christmas Eve, 1890. DI Tom Harper is looking forward to a well-earned rest. But it’s not to be. A young man has been found stabbed to death in the city’s poverty-stricken Jewish district, his body carefully arranged in the shape of a cross, two bronze pennies covering his eyes. Could someone be pursuing a personal vendetta against the Jews?
Harper’s investigations are hampered by the arrival of Capitaine Bertrand Muyrere of the French police, who has come to Leeds to look into the disappearance of the famous French inventor Louis Le Prince, vanished without trace after boarding a train to Paris.
With no one in the close-knit Jewish community talking to the police and with tensions rising, DI Harper realizes he’ll have to resort to more unorthodox methods in order to unmask the killer.



     Thoroughly enjoyable. This was a thrilling mystery set in Victorian England. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that there were also some historical events included in this story, which made it come to life even more.
     I have always been a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes and love reading Victorian Era mysteries. I was not disappointed in this story.
     Tom Harper and his wife Annabelle are both very likable characters. I found myself holding my breath for Billy Reed from the moment he took on his dangerous assignment and felt as though I was right by Tom's side as he worried for his friend's life. The scenes where he experiences intermittent deafness in one of his ears also had me biting my lip and wishing he could find a cure. Even now, I find myself hoping that in future novels something will transpire that helps him retain his hearing.
I was able to picture Victorian Leeds clearly as I read and it was as if I took a step back in time. Chris Nickson did a fantastic job with this story and I will be reading more of his books.
     An exciting read that has earned four stars from me.

4 STAR


A M A Z O N          B A R N E S & N O B L E          G O O D R E A D S

May 8, 2015

The Nowhere Emporium by Ross Mackenzie

__________B O O K__R E V I E W__________

★★★★

     This novel delivers so much to its readers, it’s a must read for both children and adults who appreciate stories of adventure and magic. At two chapters a night, Laila and I sat on her bed, whisked away by this alluring story. The Book of Wonders is marvelous, and the Emporium is fascinating. Daniel, Mr. Silver, and Ellie, they are all great characters that we both grew attached to, and supportive of. There are so many incredible elements to this story; it is hard not to adore it. To say we were sad to turn the last page is an understatement.
     This is recommended for ages 8-12, and that is totally spot on, but I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t enjoy it (possibly even more) than Laila did. I recommend this book for not only children, but for adults that can appreciate and enjoy the imaginative worlds of fantasy.
     Without any doubt, we both give this novel 4 stars. It’s totally on our "read again" list.


__________B O O K__D E T A I L S__________


T I T L E: The Nowhere Emporium
A U T H O R: Ross Mackenzie
P U B L I S H E R: Floris Books
P U B L I S H--D A T E: May 18, 2015
I S B N: 9781782501251
Children's Fiction
When the mysterious Nowhere Emporium arrives in Glasgow, orphan Daniel Holmes stumbles upon it quite by accident. Before long, the “shop from nowhere”—and its owner, Mr Silver—draw Daniel into a breathtaking world of magic and enchantment. Recruited as Mr. Silver's apprentice, Daniel learns the secrets of the Emporium's vast labyrinth of passageways and rooms—rooms that contain wonders beyond anything Daniel had ever imagined. However, when Mr Silver disappears, and a shadow from the past threatens everything, the Emporium and all its wonders begin to crumble. Can Daniel save his home, and his new friends, before the Nowhere Emporium is destroyed forever? Scottish Children's Book Award winner Ross MacKenzie unleashes a riot of imagination, color, and fantasy in this astonishing adventure, perfect for fans of Philip Pullman, Corneila Funke, and Neil Gaiman.

AMAZON * BARNES & NOBLE * GOODREADS * GOOGLE PLAY


*I received an advanced copy of this via NetGalley in exchange for a fair review*

May 7, 2015

Head or Hearts by Paul Johnston


T I T L E: Head or Hearts
S E R I E S: The New Quint Dalrymple Mystery
A U T H O R: Paul Johnston
P U B L I S H E R: Severn House Publishers
P U B L I S H--D A T E: August 1, 2015
I S B N: 9780727885036
Mystery, Thriller
Maverick ex-cop Quint Dalrymple returns to investigate a series of gruesome murders in a near-future independent Edinburgh.
Independent Edinburgh, 2033. The Council of City Guardians has been forced to relax its grip on citizens and the borders are no longer secure. Then a human heart is found on a football pitch. Maverick investigator Quint Dalrymple is called in - but before he makes much progress, a citizen’s headless body floats down a canal.
Quint uncovers a link to the planned referendum over Edinburgh joining a reconstituted Scotland. But who is behind the killings and mutilations? Are the city’s notorious gangs responsible, or does the solution lie with the rulers of Edinburgh and other former Scottish states? Quint must dig deep to save the Council from collapse, and to retain both his head and heart…


     This book was a great read. It was creative and well written. The fact that it takes place in the near future and is somewhat a dystopian society added to the story and made it that much more fun to read.
     Quint is very likable as is Davie. The banter between Quint and his elderly father is fun with just enough snark to make me chuckle. Edinburgh's government is very interesting. The story is imaginative and well written. And the ending was quite unexpected. I had no inkling whatsoever who was behind the killings. I truly did not see it coming and verbally shouted, "Oh my God, no way."       Then I smiled because I really love unexpected plot twists.
     I will definitely be reading more Quint Dalrymple Mysteries as well as more books by this author.
This was an all-around great book and I give it four stars.

4 STAR


A M A Z O N          B A R N E S & N O B L E          G O O D R E A D S

May 6, 2015

Foxglove by Mary Anne Kelly


T I T L E: Foxglove
A U T H O R: Mary Anne Kelly
P U B L I S H E R: Open Road Integrated Media
P U B L I S H--D A T E: April 14, 2015
I S B N: 9781453293744
Women’s Literature, Mystery, Thriller
When an old friend is murdered, Claire and her husband search for the killer Ever since she got married, Claire Breslinsky has dreamed of living in the tree-lined Queens neighborhood where she grew up. But her husband is a cop, and cops aren’t allowed to live in the precincts they police. When Johnny’s transfer request finally comes through, Claire sets her sights on a beautiful, shabby old Victorian mansion. She is about to tour the house when she hears a half-forgotten voice: that of her old friend Tree, who lives across the street from the one Claire wants to buy. They hug, exchange numbers, and promise to see each other more often. They won’t. Tree will be dead by morning. A talented photographer with a Buddhist sense of cosmic justice, Claire can’t help but suspect Tree’s oddly cheerful husband of doing her in. With Johnny’s help, she digs into the bizarre murder and finds that strange things have been happening lately on the shady side streets of Richmond Hill.


     I really had high hopes for this book, however, I was a bit disappointed. It was labeled as a mystery and the description stated that Claire (the main character) and her husband searched for the killer of an old friend. I didn't see any of that, truthfully and for me it was misleading.
     It was slow to start, in addition, there was not a lot mentioned about there being a suspicion of murder until late in the book. For all intents and purposes it seemed the victim had a stroke even though she was pretty young for such a thing to happen to her. While that is not unheard of, still I think the authorities would have done a post mortem to investigate the true cause of death. I also didn't see much help from Claire's husband and there was not really any investigation into her friend's death conducted by them. Although, Claire was highly suspicious of her friend's husband, who was, admittedly, pretty shady.
     Something else that confused me was the time period in which this story took place. Perhaps I overlooked that information somewhere. I did search for it but was unable to find it. It appeared to take place during the seventies, maybe, but I am not quite sure to be honest.
     Having said that, I did like the book. It just wasn't what I was expecting. Perhaps, if it had been labeled Women's Literature, I would have liked it much better and I wouldn't have been expecting a thrilling murder mystery. In my humble opinion, it would fit first and foremost into that genre much better. The murder was more of a subplot than the main plot.
     I do recommend this book for those that like to read Women's Literature. There was a lot going on and I did really like Claire. But, it may not be for those die hard murder mystery fans out there. So, for those reasons I am giving FOXGLOVE three stars.

3 STAR


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May 2, 2015

Physiognomy by Jeffery Ford

__________B O O K__R E V I E W__________

★★★

     I really wanted to love this book. I stopped reading for a day and then started over in attempts to love it, but sadly, I did not. Now, before I go any further, please know this book is a three star book, for me. It’s very well written, very well thought out and executed, as well as developed. It’s super imaginative and in some areas, will bewitch you. However, it lacks just a small something for me. I don’t even know what it lacks to be honest. For about a day, I paced around my garage trying to think this through because again, I wanted to love it. Then I realized that it just didn’t excite me. Nothing in the book made me feel any one way or another. It evoked much thought, but little feeling. So, it was just that one little scintilla of something that differed between a three star and four.
     Even so, I think readers are denying themselves a good (possibly great to many) read if they don’t give this novel a shot. While I may not have enjoyed this book the way that wanted, I fully intend to read a different story from Jeffrey Ford. He is just too great of a writer to ignore.


__________B O O K__D E T A I L S__________


T I T L E: Physiognomy
S E R I E S: The Well Built City Trilogy (N°1)
A U T H O R: Jeffery Ford
P U B L I S H E R: Open Road Integrated Media
P U B L I S H--D A T E: June 9, 2015
I S B N: 9781453293515
Fantasy, Mystery
In the Well-Built City, Master Drachton Below’s power is absolute, and he will not hesitate to use it. His primary method of control is through his physiognomists, who are trained to read a person’s face and body, perceiving that person’s past and secrets—and even events yet to come. These seers are the judges and jury. Now Drachton has found something that could extend his reign for eternity: a fruit that bestows immortality. To investigate its whereabouts, Below sends cold, collected physiognomist Cley to the remote mining town of Anamasobia. One at a time Cley interrogates the townspeople, performing his usual fact finding without issue. That is, until he meets the beautiful and bright Arla, who harbors a secret that could potentially turn Cley’s world upside down—and topple the Well-Built City itself.
A Kafkaesque journey into the unknown, The Physiognomy is an award-winning trip through a land where the line between reality and imagination is constantly blurred.

AMAZON * BARNES & NOBLE * GOODREADS * GOOGLE PLAY

*I received an advanced copy of this via NetGalley in exchange for a fair review*

May 1, 2015

Edge of Dreams by Diana Pharaoh Francis


T I T L E: Edge of Dreams
S E R I E S: The Diamond City Magic Novels (N°2)
A U T H O R: Diana Pharaoh Francis
P U B L I S H E R: Belle Books/Belle Ridge Books
P U B L I S H--D A T E: April 30, 2015
I S B N: 9781511945782
Urban Fantasy
The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
And a pound of flesh. Magical tracking expert Riley Hollis is on a mission to save five teenagers lost inside a mountain. But nothing is what it seems, and soon Riley finds herself bruised, bloodied, and embroiled in a battle to bring down a sadistic criminal dealing in human souls and the darkest of magics.
Her only hope may be to swallow her pride and ask for help from her not-quite-ex-boyfriend and his notorious brother—Tyet criminal boss, Gregg Touray. Even that may not be enough to protect her. Something has gone very wrong in the trace dimension and in Riley’s head.
If she doesn't figure out how to handle the past, the present, the trace, and the bad guys, the road to hell is going to look like a great alternative.


     What a great book. It was exciting to read. There was lots of thrilling action with multiple twists and turns with the right touch of romance plus it was well written.
     When the secret ingredient for Sparkle Dust was revealed I have to say that it was definitely not at all what I expected and very creative.
     Let’s talk about the characters. Riley is stubborn but very likeable as well as easy to connect with and cheer for. She is also not always predictable which adds to her personality and makes a great heroine. Price is equally likeable. You can’t help but cheer him on also. Heck, I’m even beginning to like his brother just a bit, even if though he is a crime boss.
     I got so involved in this book, that I couldn’t put it down. I had to keep reading just to see what was going to happen. In fact, I had to keep from skimming. Not because there were parts that were slow, there weren’t, but because they were intense enough, that I wanted to see what was going to happen. Of course, I didn’t skim because I also didn’t want to miss anything. The ending was a cliffhanger and had me gasping in surprise. I can’t wait to read the next book. I will just say one thing to the author; please hurry up with the next one. I will be keeping a close eye out for it. Just two words. Five Stars.

5 STAR


A M A Z O N          B A R N E S & N O B L E          G O O D R E A D S