Review: Strange Things Done by Elle Wild


As winter closes in and the roads snow over in Dawson City, Yukon, newly arrived journalist Jo Silver investigates the dubious suicide of a local politician and quickly discovers that not everything in the sleepy tourist town is what it seems. Before long, law enforcement begins treating the death as a possible murder and Jo is the prime suspect.

Review

Strange Things Done is Elle Wild’s debut album and what a great debut! The story starts in the in the small town of Dawson City, Yukon, Canada. I love the dark and tense atmosphere that builds up in her narrative. I liked the way Elle Wild developed her characters, but I have to admit that I never quite warmed up to Jo. The chilling small tall narrative reminded me a bit of some of Stephen King’s great classics such as Salem’s lot. For that same reason, at times the story was a little slow for my taste. Overall, I highly recommend this dark and chilly novel.

I would like to thank Dundurn and NetGalley for allowing me to read an early copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.


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Review: Those Summer Nights by Mandy Baggot

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Imogen Charlton is sorted. Dead-beat husband? History. Dream job? Application sent. But then her impulsive brother, Harry, spends every last penny on a Greek restaurant in Corfu, and is determined to run it himself. It’s up to Imogen to bring him to his senses. When sexy millionaire Panos Dimitriou offers to buy back his family taverna, Imogen wonders if all her prayers have been answered (and all her fantasies about to come true). But Harry won’t budge, and his enthusiasm is infectious. Bright pink bougainvillea tumbling over whitewashed walls, endless blue skies, the sparkling Mediterranean; it’s hard not to fall for Corfu. And that’s not all Imogen is falling for…As the sparks of passion fly between Imogen and Panos, is Imogen having second thoughts on selling the restaurant? Will she have to choose between love and a new dream?

Review

Last year I had the pleasure of reviewing Mandy Baggot’s Truly, Madly, Greekly . It was my first book by Baggot and I simply loved it. This time around she comes back with a new summer read, Those Summer Nights, and I jumped right in to request this ARC. One of the things that keep me bringing back to her books is Baggot’s ability to transport the reader to Greece with her detailed descriptions of Corfu and the delicious Greek food.  I love Greece, and I had the opportunity to go to Corfu many years ago. Unfortunately, Corfu is nowhere near my future travel plans so reading this book really made me go back to that place and experience a little bit of Greece one more time. I liked Imogen and Harry a lot. I had very mixed feelings about Panos at first, but I loved Imogen and Panos interaction as the book went on. This is another great summer read. It’s sexy, its exotic, and romantic. I definitely recommend it.

I would like to thank Bookouture and Netgalley for allowing me to read an early copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 

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Review: The Night Bell by Inger Ash Wolfe

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The new novel in this acclaimed series is brilliantly paced, addictively suspenseful—the author’s best yet. Hazel Micallef (played by Susan Sarandon in the recent film of the series’ debut, The Calling) has become one of crime writing’s most memorable detectives. The Night Bell moves between the past and the present in Port Dundas, Ontario, as two mysteries converge. A discovery of the bones of murdered children is made on land that was once a county foster home. Now it’s being developed as a brand new subdivision whose first residents are already railing against broken promises and corruption. But when three of these residents are murdered after the discovery of the children’s bones, frustration turns to terror.While trying to stem the panic and solve two crimes at once, Hazel Micallef finds her memory stirred back to the fall of 1959, when the disappearance of a girl from town was blamed on her adopted brother. Although he is long dead, she begins to see the present case as a chance to clear her brother’s name, something that drives Hazel beyond her own considerable limits and right into the sights of an angry killer.

It seems that lately I have been giving books in a series a try. I used to only read books in a series if they were the first book in the series or if I had read the previous books. Well, The Night Bell doesn’t fall in either one of my categories as it is book number four of the Hazel Micallef series, but I still gave it a try. This novel employs the narrative technique of past and present times. The book starts in 1957 when Hazel was a young girl and introduces the story of the unsolved crime of child, which Hazel’s brother may or not have been a part of. Wolfe does a good job at telling these two parts of the story, the past 50 years ago, and the present times in 2007 and skillfully merges these two parts of the story for the great finale. Overall, this is a great mystery book with wonderful twists and an intricate plot. Does it do a good job as a stand alone novel? I didn’t think so. By book 4 of a series, there were a lot of characters that jumped in the story and that I had no clue who they were. It would’ve worked better if the author had re-introduced some of the characters for the people (like me) unfamiliar with the previous books. My bet is if you read the other books in the series you are going to love this new installment.

I’d like to thank NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

3 star

Review: The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick

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Sixty-nine-year-old Arthur Pepper lives a simple life. He gets out of bed at precisely 7:30 a.m., just as he did when his wife, Miriam, was alive. He dresses in the same gray slacks and mustard sweater vest, waters his fern, Frederica, and heads out to his garden.

But on the one-year anniversary of Miriam’s death, something changes. Sorting through Miriam’s possessions, Arthur finds an exquisite gold charm bracelet he’s never seen before. What follows is a surprising and unforgettable odyssey that takes Arthur from London to Paris and as far as India in an epic quest to find out the truth about his wife’s secret life before they met–a journey that leads him to find hope, healing and self-discovery in the most unexpected places.

Featuring an unforgettable cast of characters with big hearts and irresistible flaws, The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper is a curiously charming debut and a joyous celebration of life’s infinite possibilities.

There were so many things I absolutely loved about this book. I want to start with the character of Arthur Pepper. What a wonderful man! Somehow he reminded me of my grandfather. Patrick’s writing is exquisite and she does a wonderful job at bringing those characters to life and making them as likable as they are. Arthur’s adventure becomes your adventure and it is so nice to experience with him all the changes he goes through during his journey. I don’t want to give too much away, but rest assured this is a delightful book that I think will stay in my heart for a while. I finished the book and I immediately missed it. That’s always a great sign of the power of a book. This is indeed a sentimental novel exploring the themes of death, grieving and moving on with life.

I’d like to thank NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

5 star

Review: The White Cottage Mystery by Margery Allingham

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Seven people might have murdered Eric Crowther, the mysterious recluse who lived in the gaunt house whose shadow fell across the White Cottage. Seven people had good cause. It was not lack of evidence that sent Detective Chief Inspector Challenor and his son Jerry half across Europe to unravel a chaos of clues. The White Cottage Mystery was Margery Allingham’s first detective story, published initially as a newspaper serial.

I love mystery novels and I absolutely adore Agatha Christie, so I couldn’t help but give Margery Allingham’s most acclaimed work The White Cottage Mystery a try. This book is a very fast, easy, and cozy mystery to read. I really enjoyed the plot and the twists. I have to admit that parts of this book reminded me of Agatha Christie’s The Murder of Roger Ackroyd and considering that The White Cottage Mystery was published in 1928 a couple of years after Agatha Christie’s novel, Allingham was probably influenced a bit by Christie’s work. In that respect, I can’t say that this book was very original.

Overall, there were some elements of nostalgia in regard to the language and manners that are outdated in this day and age. I liked it, though. I was really happy with the surprising twist at the end.  Great and quick summer read.

I’d like to thank NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

3 star

Review: Ink and Bone by Lisa Unger

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Twenty-year-old Finley Montgomery is rarely alone. Visited by people whom others can’t see and haunted by prophetic dreams, she has never been able to control or understand the things that happen to her. When Finley’s abilities start to become too strong for her to handle – and even the roar of her motorcycle or another dazzling tattoo can’t drown out the voices – she turns to the only person she knows who can help her: her grandmother Eloise Montgomery, a renowned psychic living in The Hollows, New York.

Merri Gleason is a woman at the end of her tether after a ten-month-long search for her missing daughter, Abbey. With almost every hope exhausted, she resorts to hiring Jones Cooper, a detective who sometimes works with psychic Eloise Montgomery. Merri’s not a believer, but she’s just desperate enough to go down that road, praying that she’s not too late. Time, she knows, is running out.

Wow! That’s the word that came out of my mouth after reading Ink and Bone by Lisa Unger. Lately, between grad school, two children, a dog, and a full-time job, long were the days I could finish books in one day, let alone in one sitting. When I picked up this book I had no idea how addicting, thrilling, and exciting this reading would be. I only have praise for Unger. From the very first pages, you are drawn into this intricate web that mixes psychological thriller, crime, and paranormal. I found this story to be very disturbing, but surprising. Every time I thought the story was going in one direction, bam! The author takes you on a completely different route.

Extremely refreshing, chilling, borderline horror (really!), page-turner, can’t-put-it-down sort of book. I highly recommend this book to fans of the genre.

I’d like to thank NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. This book is scheduled to be published June 7, 2016.

5 star

Review: The Loney by Andrew Michael Hurley

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When the remains of a young child are discovered during a winter storm on a stretch of the bleak Lancashire coastline known as the Loney, a man named Smith is forced to confront the terrifying and mysterious events that occurred forty years earlier when he visited the place as a boy. At that time, his devoutly Catholic mother was determined to find healing for Hanny, his disabled older brother. And so the family, along with members of their parish, embarked on an Easter pilgrimage to an ancient shrine.   But not all of the locals were pleased to see visitors in the area. And when the two brothers found their lives entangling with a glamorous couple staying at a nearby house, they became involved in more troubling rites. Smith feels he is the only one to know the truth, and he must bear the burden of his knowledge, no matter what the cost.

Ok, so this is a novel I admit I had huge expectations from. Not only because I had heard all the praises about it, but also because this book won the 2015 Costa First Novel Award, a popular literary prize in the UK.  I can’t see how this happened. Don’t get me wrong, the novel is very well written. I really enjoyed the character of the pious mother and the gothic, eerie, creepy suspense that the author brought to the pages. However, the reason I can’t rate this book more than 3-stars is for the simple fact that some parts were extremely slow and repetitive, the ending was disappointing, and it just didn’t live up to the suspenseful atmosphere of the beginning of the book.

I’d like to thank NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

3 star

Review: Five Roses by Alice Zorn

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Fara and her husband buy a house with a disturbing history that reawakens memories of her own family tragedy. Maddy still lives in the house, once a hippie commune, where her daughter was kidnapped twenty-seven years ago. Rose grew up isolated with her mother in the backwoods north of Montreal. Now in the city, she questions the silence and deception that shaped her upbringing.

Fara, Maddy, and Rose meet in Montreal’s historic Pointe St-Charles, a rundown neighborhood on the cusp of gentrification. Against a backdrop of abandonment, loss, and revitalization, the women must confront troubling secrets in order to rebuild their lives. Zorn deftly interweaves the rich yet fragile lives of three very different people into a story of strength and friendship.

Alice Zorn writes a beautiful story against the backdrop of rural Quebec. Montreal is certainly on my bucket list of places to check out and thanks to Zorn’s description of the rural outskirts of Montreal as well as the city, the reader gets a chance to be transported to this side of the world. I loved the way Zorn depicted each one of these characters allowing the reader to truly empathize with each one of them.

This novel has some sad parts, some slow parts, but for most of the book, you get a well-crafted story with believable and captivating characters.

I’d like to thank NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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Review: Love for Lydia by H.E. Bates

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Lydia – shy, sheltered, beautiful and just 19 – glides into Evensford one wintry day, stirring up feeling amongst the town’s young men. But it is the young Mr Richardson that she befriends. As winter turns to drowsy summer, his world becomes a wondrous place, full only of Lydia; but a change comes over the once retiring girl as she discovers the effect she has on other men. As his closest friends fall under her spell, the love Richardson feels for Lydia becomes tangled with jealousy and resentment, a rift that may never be repaired.

Love for Lydia was first published in 1952 and it is still an extremely poignant novel. This is by far one of the greatest love stories of the twentieth century. It is a beautifully written, classic love story. The prose is exquisite and the descriptions of the outdoors and countryside scenery are a delight. I’m very glad a gave this novel a chance. A timeless, steamy love story that I highly recommend.

I’d like to thank NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars

Review: Earthbound Bones: A psychic Seasons Novel by ReGina Welling

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After being tossed out of heaven, former guardian angel, Galmadriel isn’t like any other angel. Not quite human, yet not fully an angel, the best thing the PTBs can think to do with her is bounce her around so she can solve supernatural problems.

Ghosts that need to find their way home or that purposefully take the wrong path are her bread and butter. To add insult to injury, she is assigned a fledgling pair of guardian angels to train. Julius and Estelle are ready and willing to learn, but they also have a secondary agenda. One that Galmadriel is never supposed to find out about.

Helping the ghost of young Ben Allen find his way home reconnects Galmadriel with Kat, Amethyst, Gustavia, and Julie in the first of many adventures to come.

This is my first book by ReGina Welling and it is a spin-off of her other series. Although I didn’t read any of her previous books, this book sucked me right in. I loved the main character Galmadriel and I really enjoyed the fact that this book combined paranormal, romance, and cozy mystery. This is a fun and light read. A great start of a series. I’m looking forward to her next installments.

I’d like to thank NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.3 star