Tag Archives: book review

The Collector – A DampPebbles Blog Tour

The Collector by John Maher

Wednesday 1st July to Tuesday 7th July 2020

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I just read a fantastic book courtesy of DampPebbles Blog tours, and I can’t wait to tell you about it!

The Collector John Maher

 

Book Blurb:

They say human life is the most precious thing. The Collector doesn’t agree.

When world renowned archaeologist Philip Carlton suddenly and unexpectedly commits suicide, the police are called to investigate. Heading up the investigation is Detective Lucy O’Hara, a Forensic Linguist – and she immediately sees something is wrong with the suicide note. In her gut, she knows this was cold-blooded murder.

Battling skeptical superiors and the Irish establishment, Lucy digs for the truth and begins to uncover a shadowy trade in ancient artifacts led by a mysterious figure known only as ‘The Collector’.

As Lucy works to uncover his identity, she soon realizes she is up against a ruthless mastermind who is systematically eliminating anyone who might lead her to him. But Lucy won’t give up and soon The Collector turns his attention to her…

The Collector is a great read! The first of a new series starring Detective Lucy O’Hara, a smart, sassy, no BS doctor of Forensic Linguistics who is haunted by both the death of her father during her childhood and the Bateman case where she had to shoot a suspect to save a child.  She’s both daughter and mother, balancing home-life and an job that can be both dangerous and time-consuming.

This is less like reading a mystery novel(although it is), and more like watching an incredibly intricate game of chess played by a clever newcomer and a shadowy grand-master. Lucy is the knight, zigzagging her way to the heart of who The Collector is; while her mysterious opponent is ordering the deaths of all those who stand in his way, Lucy included! There are twists and turns, and the author doesn’t stint on showing the secondary effects of loss and the keeping of secrets. You are kept on your toes right up to the very end, and I for one, was very surprised with the reveal!

Rating: 4/5

  • Title: The Collector
  • Author: John Maher
  • Publisher: Inkubator Books
  • Released: July 5th, 2020
  • Language: English
  • Format: Ebook
  • Pages: 2358 pages

About the Author:

John Maher

John Maher has published five novels and a collection of short stories. He has won national awards for radio play and short story with RTE in Ireland. His novel, The Luck Penny, was shortlisted for debut novel on BBC Radio 5.

A former teacher and lecturer, he holds a Phd from the School of Oriental and African Studies (London).

He lives in a small Irish village, between the Atlantic and the Irish Sea, from which he steals away, from time to time, to visit the world outside the island.

THE COLLECTOR will be his first novel published with Inkubator Books.

Social Media:

Website: http://johnmaherwriter.com/

Where to buy: The Collector will be available in both the UK and the USA via Amazon on July 5th. Preorders are available. Currently, here in the US, it is $0.99 USD for the ebook, and the paperback price is $11.99 USD. 
Amazon UK:Here 
Amazon US: Here

Much thanks to Damppebbles Blog Tours, Inkubator Books and John Maher for this opportunity.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary ebook from the publisher in exchange for review. The opinions are my own. All links are direct, I do not make money from them.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

 

The Running Lie (Max Falkland #2) – A DampPebbles Blog Tour

The Running Lie by Jennifer Young

Wednesday 6th to Tuesday 12th May

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I’m lucky to be participating in two Damppebbles Blog Tours this week!

The Running Lie is the second of the Max Falkland trilogy by Jennifer Young. This is slightly new era for my historical thriller reading, but as I’d only gotten into 1950’s vintage pinup culture last year, I was eager to read it.

running lie cover

Book Blurb:

In Cold Crash, when Archaeologist Max Falkland, the Anglo-American daughter of a British peer, meets American John Knox in London in April 1952, her already troubled life takes on mystery. As the Cold War thriller progresses, Max finds herself in increasing danger, but three weeks after the events of Cold Crash, the point at which The Running Lie begins, Max has found an archaeological dig in London and John Knox has entered her life. But even now, can he be trusted? Max encounters both skulls and sexism on the dig site at the bombed out shell of St. Bride’s Church in London. A family request sends her to the Berlin International Film Festival, away from the dig and her growing relationship with John Knox. But after she sees John in Berlin with another woman, Max forces him to confess he is an American spy. When his current case collides with her family life, Max has to find a way to navigate layers of lies. As fireworks explode for the Fourth of July party, Max must make a dangerous choice if she wants to save both John and her family. The Running Lie is a page-turning Cold War spy thriller that reboots old school cloak and dagger Max Falkland is the James Bond of the 21st Century.

I truly loved this book, and cannot wait for the finale to be published in 2022. The Running Lie had all the things I like in a good thriller, likeable and hateable characters, twists and turns of plot, action that made my heart race,  and an ending that left me aching for more.

This is an interesting book. Unlike most historical thrillers, you experience the story from Max’s point of view; that of an educated and sophisticated woman who has to battle the patriarchy both in her field and at home. Max has a PHD in Archeology, which in 1952 is still overwhelmingly male, and as an heiress, she has the pressure to marry. She is smart, tenacious and tough, but Max is also very much a woman of her times and struggles to find her place.

Max’s relationship with John Knox is one of the most realistic I’ve seen in fiction. It’s confusing, in that Max is confused. There is romance, but it’s complicated in very real messy ways. She loves John, but can she marry a man whose life is full of lies and danger? How can they find common ground when their backgrounds are so disparate? Can she trust John when the nature of his work means he may have to leave for unknown periods of time or have relations with other women? When danger threatens her family, will their relationship survive the storm?

The author, Jennifer Young will be holding an online launch party at 6pm on 13th of May on Zoom. Here’s the link: The Running Lie Zoom Launch

Rating: 4/5

  • Title: The Running Lie (Max Falkland #2)
  • Author: Jennifer Young
  • Publisher: Cinnamon Press
  • Released: April 22, 2020
  • Language: English
  • Format: Ebook
  • Pages: 319 pages
About the Author:
Jennifer Young

Jennifer Young was born in a small textile town in North Carolina, USA, and moved to the UK in 2001. She has since completed a PhD, become the daughter-in-law of a Catholic priest, and gained British citizenship. Her degrees are from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Cardiff University and the University of Southampton. She is the Head of Writing and Journalism at the University of Falmouth. Jennifer lives in Cornwall with her daughter.

Her novel Cold Crash won the Cinnamon Press Debut Novel Prize.
Follow Jennifer at http://www.maxfalkland.com or on Twitter @maxfalkland.

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/maxfalkland

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ArchaeologyandEspionage/

Website: https://www.maxfalkland.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/maxfalkland/

Where to buy: The Running Lie is available in both the UK and the USA via Amazon. Currently, here in the US, it is $6.17 USD for the ebook, and the paperback price is $14.00 USD. 
Amazon UK:Here  or Amazon US: Here

Much thanks to Damppebbles Blog Tours, Jennifer Young and Cinnamon Press for this opportunity.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary ebook from the publisher in exchange for review. The opinions are my own. All links are direct, I do not make money from them.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Silenced For Good Blog Tour

Silenced For Good by Alex Coombs

Blog Tour  14th – 20th April 2020

 

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Book Blurb:

Detective Hanlon is addicted to violence. She likes the rush, the danger, the losing control…

When Hanlon is suspended from the force for assaulting a suspect, she escapes to the remote Scottish island of Jura, home to the mysterious Corryvreckan whirlpool.

But wherever Hanlon goes, violence is sure to follow.

As soon as she checks into The Mackinnon Arms, Hanlon senses something isn’t quite right about the staff at her home for the week. 

Sure enough, within days of arriving, the body of a member of staff is found floating in the sea. While police believe she was claimed by the local whirlpool, Hanlon isn’t so sure. 

As she pieces together the evidence, dark secrets begin to unravel. Can Hanlon work out what is going on before another floating body is found…?

This is one heck of a twisty ride, guys! We follow DCI Hanlon as she takes a much needed break from London and the accusations of police brutality. She travels to the remote island of Jura off the Scottish coast to focus on an upcoming Ironman Triathlon only to find that violence is everywhere, even in the middle of nowhere.

There is no real reason for DCI Hanlon to doubt the official ruling of accidental death in the hotel staffer’s death, but she does. And because of this, she uncovers a Gordian knot sex, drugs, betrayal and deceit. There are twists, turns, and dead ends in this investigation , as well as a red herring that is nearly Hanlon’s undoing! I never suspected the true villain, and was kept on my toes to the very end!

Hanlon is a beautifully complex character, both horribly flawed and incredibly strong. She knows her own mind, and can acknowledge when that leads her to make poor decisions (usually internally voiced by her therapist); I honestly cannot wait to see what new adventures await her!

Rating: 4/5

  • Title: Silenced For Good
  • Author: Alex Coombs
  • Publisher: Boldwood Books
  • Released: April 14th 2020
  • Language: English
  • Format: Ebook
  • Pages: 286 pages
About the Author:
Alex Coombs Photo
Alex Coombs studied Arabic at Oxford and Edinburgh Universities and went on to work in adult education and then retrained to be a chef. He has written four well reviewed crime novels as Alex Howard.
Where to buy: Silenced For Good is available in both the UK and the USA via Amazon. Currently, here in the US, it is $2.99 USD for the ebook, and the paperback price is $16.99 USD. 
Amazon UK:Here 
Amazon US: Here

Much thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources, Alex Coombs and Boldwood Books for this opportunity.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary ebook from the publisher in exchange for review. The opinions are my own. All links are direct, I do not make money from them.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

 

East Side Hustler (Alex Cohen #2) – A DampPebbles Blog Tour

East Side Hustler (Alex Cohen #2) by Leopold Borstinski

Monday 23rd to Sunday 5th April

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I was lucky to be selected to participate in a Damppebbles Blog Tour this week.

I’d not been feeling well, and this was the perfect book to help me ignore the current state of the world while I rested in bed.

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Book Blurb:

Alex lived through the war, but will he survive the peace?

Jewish gang member, Alex comes back from the Great War almost destroyed by the horrors he has seen. When he is plucked from certain death by an old friend, he commits to making so much money he’ll never know that agony again.

But the route to the top is fraught with danger and every time he helps one of his powerful friends like Al Capone, he acquires more enemies who want to see him dead. When organised crime financier, Arnold Rothstein dies, the turmoil caused by his loss sets in train a chain of events which means Alex must once more fight for his life. How far would you go to attain your American dream?

The second book in the Alex Cohen series is a violent historical novel, which tears through the Prohibition years of the Jewish New York mob. Leopold Borstinski’s gripping crime noir pierces the heart of every reader like a bullet from Alex’s sniper rifle.

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So, this is the second book in the Alex Cohen Series, and while you don’t absolutely need to read The Bowery Slugger, it really does help. East Side Hustler picks up with Alex having returned to NYC from the horrors of WW1 trench warfare. I have to give Mr. Borstinski credit, his portrayal of Alex’s PTSD is amazing.

Like Bowery Slugger, East Side Hustler follows Alex through a decade of his life on the streets as a member of the Jewish-American Organized Crime Syndicate. Alex has to rebuild his relationships with his family, his lover, and his gang associates to become a success.

East Side Hustler is very much a different style of book from my usual crime fiction, while the author refers to is as Noir, I find it to be more Narrative Historical Fiction with a criminal background. Alex Cohen is NOT a good person, and only rarely a nice one. But as you read through his struggles and triumphs in the seedy underbelly of Prohibition Era New York, I can’t help but empathize. Alex is a gangster when we were only just defining what made one a gangster and his decisions and motives are defined within that context.

I think my favorite part of reading this series is spotting the real life historical figures. Most people wouldn’t get the references until they smack you upside the head, but because I’m a history nerd with a love of true crime; I actually know who these mooks were! To paraphrase, “So Benny Seigel wants me to go to the Windy City to meet Alfonse.” I had to explain to my spouse why this made me shout. “Bugsy Seigel wants me to meet Al Capone!” While Alex Cohen isn’t an actual person, that I could discover, there are a few people who he seems to be based off of and if my theory is correct, I can’t wait to read the next book!

Rating: 4/5

  • Title: East Side Hustler (Alex Cohen #2)
  • Author: Leopold Borstinski
  • Publisher: Sobriety Press
  • Released: March 21, 2020
  • Language: English
  • Format: Ebook
  • Pages: 238 pages
About the Author:
Borstinski

Leopold Borstinski is an independent author whose past careers have included financial journalism, business management of financial software companies, consulting and product sales and marketing, as well as teaching.

There is nothing he likes better so he does as much nothing as he possibly can. He has travelled extensively in Europe and the US and has visited Asia on several occasions. Leopold holds a Philosophy degree and tries not to drop it too often.

He lives near London and is married with one wife, one child and no pets.

 

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/borstinski @borstinski

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LeoBorstinski/

Website: https://www.leopoldborstinski.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/borstinski/

 

Where to buy: East Side Hustler is available in both the UK and the USA via Amazon. Currently, here in the US, it is $4.99 USD for the ebook, and the paperback price is $14.99 USD. 
Amazon UK:Here  or Amazon US: Here

Much thanks to Damppebbles Blog Tours, Leopold Borstinski and Sobriety Press for this opportunity.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary ebook from the publisher in exchange for review. The opinions are my own. All links are direct, I do not make money from them.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

Blog Tour: Deadly Waters by OMJ Ryan

Deadly Waters (DCI Jane Phillips #2) by OMJ Ryan

Thursday 12th to Wednesday 18th March 2020

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I was lucky to be selected to participate in a Damppebbles Blog Tour this week. I adore crime novels, and British police procedurals are a guilty pleasure! When Emma of Damppebbles told me about Deadly Waters, I was all in!

 

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Book Blurb:

Several young women have recently drowned in Manchester’s vast network of canals. A coincidence? Or something more sinister?

When star detective DCI Jane Phillips begins to investigate, her finely tuned instinct tells her these are no accidents. And when she discovers that each of the drowned women has a mysterious circular bruise on the back of her neck, Phillips is sure of it — she’s up against a very clever serial killer.

But how are the victims being chosen? And who will be next?

With the body count rising, Phillips and her team find themselves in a fight to the death with a shadowy figure who always seems to be one step ahead.

Can Phillips stop the killer before the next victim dies? Or will she herself become an offering to Manchester’s deadly waters?

This is the second Detective Jane Philips book by Ryan,  and having not read the first novel, I was hesitant to dive headfirst (pun absolutely intended). Ryan does a wonderful job of filling in the necessary backstory of DCI Philips and her core team at the Major Crimes Unit.  Philips has a full caseload and her supervisor breathing down her neck, but her gut says that these weren’t cut-and-dried drownings. She has to use all her contacts and her wits to get to the bottom of a set of killings by a murderer with a rather convoluted reasoning.

A bit of a CW, if you will. This book involves a murderer who preys upon women in the sex trade and are also drug users/addicts. There are both unpleasant scenarios dealing with the realities of those who do sex work, and those who deal with addiction. I found that Ryan wrote these scenes believably; so that the reader feels both compassion and empathy.

This book is a roller-coaster! There are a few jarring chapters in the beginning that give shape to the events that molded the mindset of our killer. DCI Philips’ history in the police force as well as her relationships within her team are understandable and each character is written as to give the reader a sense of familiarity.  I feel that Deadly Waters was amazingly well written; there are no easy answers. and the first suspect (or second one!) may not be the actual culprit. And when all is said and done, the end of the case may not be a happy ending, but it is an ending.

Rating: 5/5

  • Title: Deadly Waters
  • Author: OMJ Ryan
  • Publisher: Inkubator Books
  • Released: March 15th, 2020
  • Language: English
  • Format: Ebook
  • Pages: 281 pages
About the Author:
OMJ Ryan

Hailing from Yorkshire, OMJ Ryan worked in radio and entertainment for over twenty years, collaborating with household names and accumulating a host of international writing and radio awards.

In 2018 he followed his passion to become a full-time novelist, writing stories for people who devour exciting, fast-paced thrillers by the pool, on their commute – or those rare moments of downtime before bed. Owen’s mission is to entertain from the first page to the last. DEADLY WATERS will be his third novel published with Inkubator Books.

Where to buy: Deadly Waters is available in both the UK and the USA via Amazon. Currently, here in the US, it is free to free to read with Kindle Unlimited, or if you don’t have KU, $.99USD for the ebook, and the paperback price is $10.99 USD. 
Amazon UK: Here  or Amazon US: Here

 

Much thanks to Damppebbles Blog Tours, OMJ Ryan and Inkubator Books for this opportunity.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary ebook from the publisher in exchange for review. The opinions are my own. All links are direct, I do not make money from them.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

High Heels & Beetle Crushers – Review and Giveaway Blog Blitz!

I love nonfiction and history, so I jumped at the chance to review this upcoming memoir.

High Heels Cover

The Blurb:

A compelling memoir of post-war Britain. Jackie Skingley grew up with limited career choices but joining the Women’s Royal Army Corps offered her a different life, living and working in a military world, against the backdrop of the Cold War. Packed full of stories reflecting the changing sexual attitudes prior to the arrival of the pill and the sexual revolution of the mid 60s, Skingley’s memoir denotes a shift in the political and social fabric of the era. Follow her relationships with the men in her life from finding her first true love, which through a cruel act of fate was denied her, to embarking on a path of recovery.

While the title is a little odd, it refers to the footwear of her young adult life; high heels when a civilian or on leave and “beetle crushers” black heavy shoes when on duty. Jackie’s memoir takes us from her earliest memory through her service with the Women’s Royal Army Corps.

Her writing style is relaxed and easygoing, I honestly felt as if Jackie were in the same room, telling me stories from her Army days. The depth of emotion when discussing her relationships with her family and beaus is wide-ranging. There is Jackie’s struggles against the expected roles of women in her time and the trials of finding love. Her fears and losses are heartrending and all too human, as is the slow recovery from grief.

She is frank when talking about sexual harassment and the attitudes of the 1950s-60s about affairs, premarital sex, and homosexuality. There are small asides in many of the chapters relating historical anecdotes or mentioning at what time in the future things changed.

Overall, I loved this book. My only real complaint is that the book ends with her military service in 1963. Write more of your following adventures, Jackie!

Rating: 5/5

  • Title: High Heels & Beetle Crushers: The Life, Losses and Loves of an Officer and Lady
  • Author: Jackie Skingley
  • Publisher: Chronos Books
  • Released: January 1st, 2020
  • Language: English
  • Format: Ebook
  • Pages: 328 pages
About the Author:
High Heels Jackie web2 png 14.04.2019
For Jackie Skingley, adventure has been her quest since childhood. Life with the British army allowed Jackie to live all over the world and gain huge appreciation for different cultures and customs. Since 1999, Jackie and her husband have lived in the Charente region of South West France where Reiki, jewellery making, painting and mosaics, as well as writing keep her fully occupied. Member of the Charente Creative Writing Group, mother and grandmother
Jackie Skingley: Twitter / Facebook
Where to buy:

High Heels & Beetle Crushers: The Life, Losses and Loves of an Officer and Lady will be available on Amazon and bookstores on January 1st, 2020. If you click the above link, you can preorder the book for either Kindle ($10.69 USD) or Hardcover ($29.95 USD).

 

Giveaway to Win 2 x Paperback copies of High Heels & Beetle Crushers (Open UK / US Only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK & USA entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for dispatch or delivery of the prize.

Giveaway Link: RaffleCopter

Disclosure: I received a complimentary ebook from the publisher in exchange for review. The opinions are my own. All links are direct, I do not make money from them.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

Shave the Princess?? Acceptance and Self-Discovery on the High Seas.

The Princess Beard is the third in the Tales of Pell series, and while I’ve listened to the previous two books on audiobook, this was the first time actually reading one. There is a definite difference between listening to someone else interpret puns and wordplay, and reading and discovering that wordplay yourself.  Either way, this book is a delight!

The Princess Beard

The Blurb:

Shave the princess? Inconceivable! The hilarious bestselling authors of Kill the Farm Boy and No Country for Old Gnomes are back with a new adventure in the irreverent world of Pell.

Once upon a time, a princess slept in a magical tower cloaked in thorns and roses. 

When she woke, she found no Prince Charming, only a surfeit of hair and grotesquely long fingernails—which was, honestly, better than some creep who acted without consent. She cut off her long braids and used them to escape. But she kept the beard because it made a great disguise.

This is not a story about finding true love’s kiss—it’s a story about finding yourself. On a pirate ship. Where you belong.

But these are no ordinary pirates aboard The Puffy Peach, serving under Filthy Lucre, the one-eyed parrot pirate captain. First there’s Vic, a swole and misogynistic centaur on a mission to expunge himself of the magic that causes him to conjure tea and dainty cupcakes in response to stress. Then there’s Tempest, who’s determined to become the first dryad lawyer—preferably before she takes her ultimate form as a man-eating tree. They’re joined by Alobartalus, an awkward and unelfly elf who longs to meet his hero, the Sn’archivist who is said to take dictation directly from the gods of Pell. Throw in some mystery meat and a dastardly capitalist plot, and you’ve got one Pell of an adventure on the high seas!

In this new escapade set in the magical land of Pell, Delilah S. Dawson and Kevin Hearne lovingly skewer the tropes of fairy tales and create a new kind of fantasy: generous, gently humorous, and inclusive. There might also be otters.  

The Princess Beard is a book that makes you think, even as you laugh until you cry. Much like the movie that the title references, this story is beautifully complex and multilayered. I have read it twice over, and know that there is still much left to uncover the next time I pick it up.

Honestly, it’s hard to decide where to start gushing. I adore fairy tales and their retellings. The premise of the princess rescuing herself and becoming a pirate is only the start of the story. At its heart, it is about facing your personal demons, and embracing them to find your true self. The fact that this is accomplished by challenging traditional gender roles or stereotypes (Vic and Morgan), or by having to face both the disapproval of family and an inevitable fate (Tempest), or by forging an entirely new path (Alobartalus); it is done with both grace and humor.

I adore excellent wordplay. I grew up reading both Xanth and the Callahan series. Puns fly frequently between SC and I. Kevin and Delilah have made a world replete with clever words and multiple meanings. There are macguffins, and anagrams. There is edge-of-your-seat action sandwiched between genuine feelings and laugh-out-loud hilarity. And at the very end, there is the warm fuzzy of finally coming home.

Rating: 5/5

  • Title: The Princess Beard
  • Series: Tales of Pell, Book 3
  • Authors: Kevin Hearne & Delilah S. Dawson
  • Publisher: Del Rey
  • Released: October 8th, 2019
  • Language: English
  • Format: Ebook
  • Pages: 384 pages
About the Authors:
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Kevin Hearne is the NYT bestselling author of the Iron Druid Chronicles, as well as The Seven Kennings, an epic fantasy trilogy, and the Tales of Pell, a humorous fantasy series co-authored with Delilah S. Dawson. INK & SIGIL, a new urban fantasy series set in the Iron Druid universe, will be out in 2020.

 

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Delilah S. Dawson writes whimsical and dark Fantasy for adults and teens. Her Blud series for Pocket includes Wicked as They Come, Wicked After Midnight, and Wicked as She Wants, winner of the RT Book Reviews Steampunk Book of the Year and May Seal of Excellence for 2013. Her YA debut, Servants of the Storm, is a Southern Gothic Horror set in Savannah, GA, and HIT is about teen assassins in a bank-owned America. Her Geekrotica series under pseudonym Ava Lovelace includes The Lumberfox and The Superfox with The Dapperfox on the way. Delilah teaches writing classes at LitReactor and wrote the Island of Mesmer world for Storium.

Delilah lives with her husband, two small children, a horse, a dog, and two cats in Atlanta. Find out more at www.whimsydark.com.

Where to buy:
The Princess Beard is available on Amazon in Hardcover, Kindle and Audiobook. The hardcover retails for $27 USD, but is currently on sale for $19.80 USD. The Princess Beard is in bookstores right now!
Disclosure: I received a complimentary ebook from the publisher in exchange for review. The opinions are my own. All links are direct, I do not make money from them.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

Fathers, Sons, Murder, and Mystery

The Whisper Man by Alex North was previously released in the UK and will be hitting US bookshelves next week. I’ve been sitting on this book review for a while.  If you follow my Instagram or Twitter, you know that I tend to announce when I get an ARC that catches my attention.IMG_5987My video of opening this card.

I’ve been spending most of this week on the couch or bed due to powerful rainstorms that are a summer staple in the South. It’s not surprising I’m curled up with the cats to read this!

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Zane is my main book-buddy. He loves to curl up with me.

Here is the blurb from the back of the book:

After the sudden death of his wife, Tom Kennedy believes a fresh start will help him and his young son Jake heal. A new beginning, a new house, a new town. Featherbank.

But the town has a dark past. Twenty years ago, a serial killer abducted and murdered five residents. Until Frank Carter was finally caught, he was nicknamed “The Whisper Man,” for he would lure his victims out by whispering at their windows at night.

Just as Tom and Jake settle into their new home, a young boy vanishes. His disappearance bears an unnerving resemblance to Frank Carter’s crimes, reigniting old rumors that he preyed with an accomplice. Now, detectives Amanda Beck and Pete Willis must find the boy before it is too late, even if that means Pete has to revisit his great foe in prison: The Whisper Man.

And then Jake begins acting strangely. He hears a whispering at his window…

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Hurricane Enlil as a bookrest.

Okay, mild spoiler, I am female. The Whisper Man has a central spiraling theme of fathers and their sons, but honestly; it can easily be morphed to fathers and their children.  How are we shaped by the men who raise us? What happens when sons who had horrible fathers become fathers themselves? What unintentional lessons do we learn?

The mystery itself, of the disappearances of young boys and their deaths resuming after 20 years is intriguing; especially with the killer still in jail. We follow DI (Detective Inspector) Pete Willis, a recovering alcoholic who is still haunted by the Whisper Man case and the fact another boy has gone missing. We also follow Tom and Jake Kennedy, a father/son duo whose recent loss of Rebecca, Jake’s mother has both of them floundering. Tom had a father that filled him with doubt as to his worth as a human being, and he struggles every day to to relate to Jake, a sensitive, imaginative child. Jake is full of art and stories, and his imaginary friends worry his father. The problem is, Tom is seeing proof that at least one of those imaginary friends isn’t and that Jake is in danger.

While the twists and turns of this story are compelling, and I was thoroughly invested in discovering the identity of the Whisper Man; the most frightening aspect of the book for me was the whispers. Not the whispers of the Whisper Man; but the insidious inner thoughts of Pete as he battles to not drink, the whispers that echo in Tom’s mind that he is worthless and failing Jake, the whispers that any person who fights depression or childhood trauma hears. I have a chronic disease, I hear my own set of whispers often. I found Alex North’s realism in portraying them chilling.

  • Title: The Whisper Man
  • Author: Alex North
  • Publisher: Celadon Books
  • Released: August 20th, 2019
  • Language: English
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Pages: 368 pages
About the Author:

Alex North was born in Leeds, England, where he now lives with his wife and son. The Whisper Man was inspired by North’s own little boy, who mentioned one day that he was playing with “the boy in the floor.” Alex North is a British crime writer who has previously published under another name.

About the Publisher:

Founded by publishing industry veterans Jamie Raab and Deb Futter, Celadon Books, a division of Macmillan Publishing, selects each title with thoughtful consideration in an effort to create a list that is at once classic, uncommon, and fosters discoverability of new voices.

Our list includes a wide-ranging selection of fiction and non-fiction, from page-turning thrillers and literary novels to memoirs, works of history and psychology, narrative nonfiction and memoirs. The common denominator is that we aim to publish books of quality with commercial appeal.

Celadon Books : Website / FaceBook

Where to buy:
The Whisper Man is available for preorder on Amazon in Hardcover, Kindle and Audiobook. The hardcover will retail for $26.99 USD, but is currently on sale for $13.99 USD. The Whisper Man will be in bookstores on August 20th, 2019.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary book from the publisher in exchange for review. The opinions are my own. All links are direct, I do not make money from them.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

Tiny But Mighty – and Hurricane Enlil

Almost 2 years ago in late September, I got a call from one of my Besties. “My husband found some abandoned kittens, I’m working two jobs, and can you foster this set? ”

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2 Small, scared, over-heated kittens

I’m the one in my friend-group that is the go-to cat person. I’d never fostered kittens quite this young before, but I figured I knew enough of the basics to manage.  Warmth, food, and patience, lots of it.

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Kittens hiding in my hair.

I named the black & white girl Morrigan and the orange male Enlil. I relied heavily on the Kitten Lady’s website to age my kittens(3 weeks), to properly feed them with a syringe, and to properly socialize them with my other cats.

Back then, I would have killed to have today’s book.

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Tiny But Mighty: Kitten Lady’s Guide to Saving the Most Vulnerable Felines

Here is the blurb from the back of the book:

From Kitten Lady, the professional kitten rescuer, humane educator, animal advocate, and owner of the popular Instagram @kittenxlady comes the definitive book on saving the most vulnerable—and adorable—feline population: newborn kittens.

Hannah Shaw, better known as Kitten Lady, has dedicated her life to saving the tiniest felines, but one doesn’t have to be a professional kitten rescuer to change—and save—lives. In Tiny but Mighty, Hannah not only outlines the dangers newborn kittens face and how she combats them, but how you can help every step of the way, from fighting feline overpopulation on the streets to fostering unweaned kittens, from combating illness to combating compassion fatigue, from finding a vet to finding the purrfect forever home. Filled with information on animal welfare, instructional guides, and personal rescue stories of kittens like Chloe, Tidbit, Hank, and Badger—not to mention hundreds of adorable kitten photos—Tiny but Mighty is the must-have kitten book for cat lovers, current-and-future rescuers, foster parents, activists, and advocates.

I managed to raise Morrigan and Enlil to adoption age, and adopted out Morrigan to an excellent home. I ended up adopting Enlil after she (stealthy girl) bonded to my ancient therapy cat, Pandemonium.

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Tiny But Mighty is the closest thing to a textbook for anyone involved in Kitten Rescue. Hannah Shaw uses her years of experience and hard-won knowledge to lay out a comprehensive how-to guide.

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This book covers literally everything. There are chapters explaining the correlation between Colony cats(AKA feral cats) and the high kitten shelter mortality rate, on what it takes to foster(surprisingly little!), on sicknesses and what to do, and how those who take on the monumental task of fostering should make a point to care for themselves. This is a definite must-read for anyone involved with cat care, especially kitten care.

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I found Tiny But Mighty to be laid out in a similar format to a user-friendly textbook, filled with charts, graphs, pictures and punctuated with stories from Hannah’s own experiences in the field. Not all stories are happy, but all serve a purpose, illustrating the points in that particular chapter. The amazing pictures that fill the book do the same, uplifting and educating.

Looking back, I can see where I made some mistakes in my fostering. But, some things can only be learned through experience or education. I’m incredibly grateful to Hannah for sharing this incredible resource to the cat community.

That being said, Hannah’s work as the Kitten Lady has saved hundreds of lives, both directly and peripherally. If not for her website and YouTube channel, I would not have my delightful therapy-cat-in-training, Hurricane Enlil! IMG_6248

  • Title: Tiny But Mighty: Kitten Lady’s Guide to Saving the Most Vulnerable Felines
  • Author: Hannah Shaw
  • Publisher: Plume/ Penguin Random House
  • Released: August 6th, 2019
  • Language: English
  • Format: Trade Hardcover
  • Pages: 336 pages
About the Author:
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Hannah Shaw is a kitten rescuer, humane educator, author, and unwavering animal advocate who has dedicated her life to finding innovative ways to protect animals. Her project, Kitten Lady, strives to create global change in the way we perceive and treat the tiniest and most vulnerable felines: orphan kittens.

Kitten Lady provides educational media, training resources, and instructional workshops and consulting services that help individuals and animal shelters learn how to save the lives of kittens–in a fun and engaging format.

Shaw, along with her partner Andrew Marttila, also operate Orphan Kitten Club, a 501(c)3 charitable organization which provides rescue and adoption services to orphaned kittens in the San Diego area.
For more information on Hannah and her adventures with kittens, visit her website or follow her on Youtube, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Where to buy:
Tiny But Mighty is available on Amazon in Hardcover, Kindle and Audiobook. The hardcover will retail for $25.00 USD, but is currently on sale for $13.24 USD.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary book from the publisher in exchange for review. The opinions are my own. All links are direct, I do not make money from them.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!

Crown of Shards 2: Protect the Prince

It’s always good to read an excellent book, but if you are like me, you both anticipate and dread the sequel.  Protect the Prince is the second book in the Crown of Shards series by Jennifer Estep. No spoilers, but I can promise that the sequel is just as good as the original! Protect the Prince is an amazing rollercoaster of adventure and intrique!

The book drops on July 2nd, and I cannot be more excited to see other people’s reactions. Here is the blurb from the back of the book:

Magic, murder, adventure, and romance combine in this second novel in the exciting Crown of Shards saga from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Estep.

Everleigh Blair might be the new gladiator queen of Bellona, but her problems are far from over.

First, Evie has to deal with a court full of arrogant, demanding nobles, all of whom want to get their greedy hands on her crown. As if that wasn’t bad enough, an assassin tries to kill Evie in her own throne room.

Despite the dangers, Evie goes ahead with a scheduled trip to the neighboring kingdom of Andvari in order to secure a desperately needed alliance. But complicating matters is the stubborn Andvarian king, who wants to punish Evie for the deaths of his countrymen during the Seven Spire massacre.

But dark forces are at work inside the Andvarian palace, and Evie soon realizes that no one is safe. Worse, Evie’s immunity to magic starts acting in strange, unexpected ways, which makes her wonder whether she is truly strong enough to be a Winter Queen.

But Evie’s magic, life, and crown aren’t the only things in danger—so is her heart, thanks to Lucas Sullivan, the Andvarian king’s bastard son and Evie’s . . . well, Evie isn’t quite sure what Sullivan is to her.

Only one thing is certain—protecting a prince might be even harder than killing a queen…

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There is so much to cover here; assassins from Morta (a rival country) led by the deadly Maeven, the two Andvari princes – Lucas the illegitimate versus Dominic the legitimate, plots and courtly intrigue.

Throughout the book, you see slices of Evie’s old life as the Mutt-magicked royal stand in inform her new life. From Evie’s love of good food, her reliance on her enhanced sense of smell, and to her remembrances of both slights and kindnesses, we see her grow. There are new characters and old ones; each with their own rich backstories begging for books of their own.

The most moving theme in my mind is Evie’s near constant struggle with Imposter Syndrome. She is the Queen, but she was never raised to it and while she wants what is best for her country and people, she struggles with how to make it happen.  What does it mean to be a Winter Queen? And  what does she need to sacrifice to stay alive?

  • Title: Protect the Prince
  • Author: Jennifer Estep
  • Series: Crown of Shards #2
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager
  • Released: July 2, 2019
  • Language: English
  • Format: eArc
  • Pages: 448

 

About the Author:
jennifer-estepJennifer Estep is a New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author who prowls the streets of her imagination in search of her next fantasy idea. In addition to Kill the Queen, Jennifer is also the author of the Elemental Assassin, Mythos Academy, Black Blade, and Bigtime series.
For more information on Jennifer and her books, visit www.jenniferestep.com or follow Jennifer on Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter. You can also sign up for her newsletter.
Where to buy: Protect the Prince   will be available tomorrow on Amazon in Kindle,  and  paperback. There is also an audiobook available on Audible.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary book from the publisher in exchange for review. The opinions are my own. All links are direct, I do not make money from them.

Thanks for reading, and please click the Follow Button under my profile on the right side of the page. To support posts like this in the future, consider joining my Patreon!