Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Book review: Evil Games - Angela Marsons (D.I. Kim Stone #2)


The greater the Evil, the more deadly the game… 
When a rapist is found mutilated in a brutal attack, Detective Kim Stone and her team are called in to bring a swift resolution. But, as more vengeful killings come to light, it soon becomes clear that there is someone far more sinister at work. 

With the investigation quickly gathering momentum, Kim finds herself exposed to great danger and in the sights of a lethal individual undertaking their own twisted experiment. 

Up against a sociopath who seems to know her every weakness, for Detective Stone, each move she makes could be deadly. As the body count starts to mount, Kim will have to dig deeper than ever before to stop the killing. And this time - it’s personal.


My opinion.
In this second book following D.I. Kim Stone, Angela Marsons may have written her most evil character yet. Violence, psychological manipulation, abuse,... you name it, Evil Games and its sociopath villain have it all.  Shocking and malicious, the events and characters in this book are both repulsive and addictive. You simply can't stop reading. Especially when our wonderful heroine, Kim Stone, herself is threatened. 
When I read Lost Girls (Book #3) I said "All credit to Angela Marsons for making this an enjoyable read, despite the cruelty of the case." which is just as true for Evil Games. And just like in Silent Scream, every case detail and every character has different layers to them and Angela Marsons keeps you on your toes with unexpected twists and turns. The manipulative games gave me goosebumps in a story where everyone is a possible victim... and villain.
Brilliant read.


 



 




Read the other two novels following D.I. Kim Stone
published by Bookouture






Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Book review: Cold Fire - Dustin Stevens (Hawk Tate #1)


As a DEA agent, Jeremiah “Hawk” Tate was one of the best at taking down drug traffickers. Then the cartels struck back—and destroyed everything he held dear.

Five years later, Hawk has retreated from society and is living a quiet life as a Montana wilderness guide. He’s done with the DEA, done with the criminals, and done with the pain left over from his past. But his past isn’t done with him.

When a mysterious woman offers him an enormous amount of money to find her lost brother, Hawk knows he should walk away, but, with a flash of gunfire, he gets pulled back in. Surrounded by old enemies and allies, he must face off with a new player planning to flood the market with a lethal drug. This may be the chance for revenge Hawk never thought he’d get.
 


My opinion.
Dustin Stevens' name on the cover has become a guarantee for an amazing read. Cold Fire is no different. With Hawk Tate Dustin created another intriguing, complicated and fascinating main character who provokes you as a reader by repeatedly flirting with the line between good vs. evil. Cold Fire is an intricate and incredibly layered story. There are so many story lines, clues, secrets and hidden pasts, it's amazing how Dustin Stevens managed to fit all of them into this book in a way that is still understandable; and because you're not being given all the pieces of the puzzle right away - nor in a chronological order - you're being challenged to think along with the characters, trying to solve this complicated story.
Although a lot of Hawk's past and background story is revealed over the course of this novel, I do feel like there's so much we don't know about him yet. He's almost too cold and detached to be able to relate to him - which becomes apparent when he challenges that fine line between fighting "the bad guys" and becoming one of them. Which is why I'm really looking forward to reading the second book following Hawk Tate, Cover Fire. I'm excited to find out more about his character, and to see what else lays in store for him.
Cold Fire is a thrilling, thought-provoking, exciting read you won't be able to put down. Dustin Stevens has proved himself again and I'm yet again amazed by the amount of different, convincing types of characters and settings he can create, all of them in astonishing detail. 



 


Monday, 14 December 2015

Book review: Blood Rose Angel - Liza Perrat + GIVEAWAY


  

1348. A bone-sculpted angel and the woman who wears it––heretic, Devil’s servant, saint.
Midwife Héloïse has always known that her bastard status threatens her standing in the French village of Lucie-sur-Vionne. Yet her midwifery and healing skills have gained the people’s respect, and she has won the heart of the handsome Raoul Stonemason. The future looks hopeful. Until the Black Death sweeps into France.
Fearful that Héloïse will bring the pestilence into their cottage, Raoul forbids her to treat its victims. Amidst the grief and hysteria, the villagers searching for a scapegoat, Héloïse must choose: preserve her marriage, or honour the oath she swore on her dead mother’s soul? And even as she places her faith in the protective powers of her angel talisman, she must prove she’s no Devil’s servant, her talisman no evil charm.



My opinion.
Unfortunately there's no such thing as time travel. Lucky for us history lovers, we do have authors like Liza Perrat. 
Blood Rose Angel is the third installment in The Bone Angel series - however all three of them can be read as stand alone novels and/or in random order. As with all her novels, Liza really invests in getting her readers acquainted with the historical setting. She gives you an amazing insight in the day to day lives, worries and challenges of her characters and their surroundings, which makes for an incredibly detailed and in-depth backdrop for her main story.
Liza's storytelling and writing truly transports you, and time and time again she finds a way to write characters that are truly "historical". Everything about their character and their believes fit the era, so much so that they are at times difficult to relate to. Although the amount of superstition, prejudice and the role woman played are horribly frustrating, it's nothing less than wonderfully authentic.
Héloïse is a strong and inspiring main character; an amazing woman to guide you to a very dark chapter in history. She'll be tested in many ways and it's fascinating to see how she and the people around her deal with those challenges. I won't go into any specifics about what exactly those struggles are; you'll just have to read it yourself.
Blood Rose Angel should be on the shelf of every historical fiction lover. Highly recommended read.




  



About the author. Liza grew up in Wollongong, Australia, where she worked as a general nurse and midwife for fifteen years.When she met her French husband on a Bangkok bus, she moved to France, where she has been living with her husband and three children for twenty years. She works part-time as a French-English medical translator, and as a novelist.Since completing a creative writing course twelve years ago, several of her short stories have won awards, notably the Writers Bureau annual competition of 2004 and her stories have been published widely in anthologies and small press magazines. Her articles on French culture and tradition have been published in international magazines such as France Magazine, France Today and The Good Life France.
Spirit of Lost Angels is the first in her French historical trilogy, The Bone Angel Series. The second – Wolfsangel – was published in October, 2013, and the third, Blood Rose Angel, was published in November, 2015. [Click on the cover images above for review + links for the first two installments]
She is a founding member of the author collective, Triskele Books and reviews books for BookMuse.

GIVEAWAY

The wonderful Liza has generously offered 3 e-copies
of Blood Rose Angel for this giveaway; open INT.

Blood Rose Angel is the third installment in The Bone Angel series 
- however all three of them can be read as stand alone novels and/or in random order.




LINKS
Email Newsletter sign-up for FREE short story, Ill-fated Rose, that inspired The Bone Angel series: http://www.lizaperrat.moonfruit.com/sign-up
Website: www.lizaperrat.com
Blog: http://lizaperrat.blogspot.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Liza-Perrat-232382930192297/
Twitter: @LizaPerrat
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/triskelebooks/
Google +: https://plus.google.com/114732287937883580857/about

Triskele books: www.triskelebooks.co.uk


Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Book review: How To Stuff Up Christmas - Rosie Blake


'Tis the season to be jolly. Unless you've found an intimate picture of another woman on your fiance's phone... 

Eve is heartbroken after discovering her fiance is cheating on her. Being surrounded by the joys of Christmas is more than Eve can bear, so she chooses to avoid the festivities by spending Christmas alone on a houseboat in Pangbourne. Eve gets an unexpected seasonal surprise when handsome local vet Greg comes to her rescue one day, and continues to visit Eve's boat on a mission to transform her from Kitchen Disaster Zone to Culinary Queen. 

But where does Greg keep disappearing to? What does Eve's best friend Daisy know that she isn't telling? And why is there an angry goose stalking Eve's boat? 


My opinion.
One of the key ingredients to a successful chick-lit or woman's fiction story is an easy-to-relate-to main character, and it's a compliment (too?) easily given. Rosie Blake's heroine, however, was more than a familiar "best friend" sort of character. For some reason I just "clicked" with Eve. Maybe it's the way she decided to just up and leave for a little while. I loved how she made a brave decision like that. And starting up a completely new hobby, just because she can... Loved it! And it actually sounded really tempting - even the houseboat! Who would have thought...But it wasn't just Eve that felt so wonderfully familiar and "comfortable". Her relationship with Daisy, Greg or her sister felt just as easy and real. Rosie introduced some fun and interesting secondary characters. I'm not a fan of those characters taking away from the main story, but in this case I actually felt like they could have had a bit more of the limelight. (So maybe this book was a hundred pages too short for me, Rosie ;-) )
Even though this story is about a young woman recovering from a horrible break-up, Rosie managed to make this a fun, light and relaxing read. I laughed out loud quite a few times and finished the book with a smile on my face. Wonderful read - Christmastime or not.



 




Thursday, 26 November 2015

Book tour: Wish Upon A Christmas Cake - Darcie Boleyn



The most wonderful time of the year?

Katie Warham has just one wish this year…to have the best Christmas ever!

If only she could lock herself away in a cloud of flour and sugar at her cosy little tearoom, Crumbtious Cakes, instead of spending the festive season trapped with her judgemental mother, crazy Aunt Gina and loved-up celebrity brother Carl…

But Katie never expected her ex-boyfriend, widower Sam – and his two adorable children – to turn up on her doorstep. She didn’t think that any man could tempt her under the mistletoe this year, but Sam might just prove the exception! And as the snow begins to fall and Katie puts the final touches to her famous Christmas cake, she begins to wonder, could her Christmas wish actually come true?

This holiday season, snuggle up by a roaring fire with a mulled wine and enjoy Darcie Boleyn’s festive winter warmer!


My opinion.
This is hands down one of the most heartwarming Christmas stories I've read. Both cover and title are cute and have the promise of a fun, romantic winter read. After just a few chapters however, it was quite clear that Wish Upon a Christmas Cake would be much more than just 'cute and fun'. It really got to me. It's emotional and passionate, heartwarming and hopeful with a bit of humour.The issues Darcie's characters have to deal with are tough and complicated, but she really succeeded in dealing with them in a believable way. Some wine and good food and a bit of a romantic atmosphere didn't just lead to a "happily ever after". Her characters worked through ups and downs and it made me fall in love with them even more.
Wish Upon a Christmas Cake is a must-read this holiday season, and Darcie Boleyn an author to watch!


 


Darcie Boleyn has a huge heart and is a real softy. She never fails to cry at books and movies, whether the ending is happy or not. Darcie is in possession of an overactive imagination that often keeps her awake at night. Her childhood dream was to become a Jedi but she hasn’t yet found suitable transport to take her to a galaxy far, far away. She also has reservations about how she’d look in a gold bikini, as she rather enjoys red wine, cheese and loves anything with ginger or cherries in it – especially chocolate. Darcie fell in love in New York, got married in the snow, rescues uncoordinated greyhounds and can usually be found reading or typing away on her laptop. 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/darcieboleyn

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/public/Darcie-Boleyn

Blog: https://pinkinkladies.wordpress.com/darcie-boleyn/



Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Book review: Career of Evil - Robert Galbraith + GIVEAWAY

 

When a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott, she is horrified to discover that it contains a woman’s severed leg.

Her boss, private detective Cormoran Strike, is less surprised but no less alarmed. There are four people from his past who he thinks could be responsible – and Strike knows that any one of them is capable of sustained and unspeakable brutality.

With the police focusing on the one suspect Strike is increasingly sure is not the perpetrator, he and Robin take matters into their own hands, and delve into the dark and twisted worlds of the other three men. But as more horrendous acts occur, time is running out for the two of them…

Career of Evil is the third in the highly acclaimed series featuring private detective Cormoran Strike and his assistant Robin Ellacott. A fiendishly clever mystery with unexpected twists around every corner, it is also a gripping story of a man and a woman at a crossroads in their personal and professional lives. 


My opinion.
To say that I was looking forward to the release of this third installment in the Cormoran Strike series, would be a massive understatement. In my excitement to read Career of Evil, I actually pre-ordered it twice, only realizing my mistake when two gorgeous hardback copies arrived in the mail one day.
Once again 'Robert Galbraith' shows an amazing in-depth understanding and insight in the minds of his characters, who are as diverse and colourful as ever.
I love seeing the dynamics between Cormoran and Robin evolve over time. I'm still not sure what this 'chemistry' is that they have, but the fun thing is that they don't seem to know it either. They just click.
Career of Evil isn't 'flashy' or loud. There's not a gruesome murder or a shocking new development every five pages, but it's thrilling and exciting to read all the same. The numerous twists and turns and possible leads, the detailed thought processes of both the villains and the investigation and the in-depth background stories of all characters involved make this an incredible read. The story doesn't need to "shout". The genius writing and brilliant story-speak for themselves.
My only hope is that installment #4 is coming soon.