Murder Without Pity is a slow-moving suspense, told in a way that makes you want to turn the pages and keep going. If I had the chance to read it in one night, then I probably would have. It wasn’t even the mystery portion of this novel that I enjoyed so much, although I enjoyed trying to solve the crime before reaching the ending. While I had a few suspects in mind, I feel that there could have been a little more foreshadowing or red herrings to help solve the mystery. As a mystery author myself, I certainly understand how hard it is to throw in red herrings without giving the plot away. There were, however, enough twists to keep me yearning for more.
This story was much more than just solving the strange murder of a man. The investigator, Stanislas Cassel, spends a good amount of his time interacting with the people of France, hoping they either won’t judge him or they just don’t know that he’s the grandson of a French propagandist for the Nazis during their WWII operation. This part of his family’s past mortifies him, so Cassel attempts to avoid anything political and hopes no one will recognize him. Of course, we all know that’s not always possible. And as Cassel continues his investigation, he finds himself in the midst of a larger wickedness beyond the small crimes he prefers to investigate.
This wasn’t a book where you can easily skim a few words here and there…let’s face it, we all tend to do that, whether we mean to do so or not. If you’re focusing on solving the mystery, then it’s possible something would be missing between the lines on the pages. Even reading carefully, I’m sure I missed a thing or two. And if you’re only along for the ride to enjoy the beautiful scenery that’s portrayed, then skipping around will force you to miss out. I’ve never been to France, and as someone who would like to one of these days, I felt I had a good idea of what Paris was like during the time this story takes place. The writing splayed across my mind as though I was watching a movie. It was so beautifully descriptive, whether it was about the thick fog smothering the city or Cassel’s thoughts.
I would most certainly enjoy reading more from this author.
Overall rating: 4 of 5 stars
A University of Texas graduate, Steve Haberman pursued legal studies at UCLA before embarking on a career as a legal assistant. Profitable stock market investments made travel abroad possible, and he has since visited Europe extensively and frequently, including London, Paris, Prague, Berlin, as well as Milan and Budapest. Many of these feature as settings in his two e-book novels. “Murder Without Pity,” a murder mystery with tragic echoes from the past, occurs in Paris. “The Killing Ploy” (with heavy overtones of “fake news” before that was topical) is set partially in several Continental capitals. His two works in progress, “Darkness and Blood,” the sequel to “The Killing Ploy,” and “Winston Churchill’s Renegade Spy” also use foreign locales. He is presently planning another three month trip abroad for research on a fifth thriller, this one set in the post World War II apocalyptic ruin of the German capital.
After his parents are murdered by the Ministry Breakers, Oren flees New Arcadia to the dangerous Miralaja desert, leaving behind his once comfortable life and his best friend, Clementine. With his mentor, Khalil, he begins to learn the truth of his path and unfolds the devious plans of the Ministry. Meanwhile, Clementine has to survive on her own by thievery. When she performs her latest job infiltrating the Ministry Defense building, she barely manages to escape. Soon, she catches up with Oren and Khalil and together, they embark on an epic journey of survival and unraveling ancient mysteries.
I enjoyed Recreance. For the most part, it was fast paced. The only time I felt it sluggish was when it would jump without warning to the past. Sometimes I had to reread it for me to say, “Oh, we’re not in the present anymore, I understand what’s happening now.” It was meant to bring more debt to the characters and their lives but I found myself skimming over some parts because I wanted more of the here and now.
The skipping between the past and the present was my main issue with the story. Other than that, I loved the plot line and the world building. The characters were easy to get to know, especially Khalil and Clementine. I loved Khalil so much. He had great humor and I felt he breathed life into the story. The chemistry between him and his apprentice, Oren, was great. Clementine was smart and very resilient. Again, she had amazing chemistry with Oren, which says a lot about his character. So, I guess in truth, there is no way to choose a favorite character.
Recreance is a great start to the series, a magnificent way to introducing the characters and the evil ways of the Ministry. It held my interest, especially as I neared the end of the novel because it was hard to put down. I wanted more and I wanted it right away. Very well done.
Overall Rate: 4 out of 5 stars
I was born in British Columbia, Canada, but spent most of my youth on the beaches of Maui. Throughout my life, I’ve been fortunate enough to explore my passions. I’ve had harrowing experiences as a helicopter pilot, drying cherries in the desert mountains of Washington state. I’ve toured with a band down the eastern seaboard in a $2,000 van, surviving on Arby’s fixins, and selling CDs for gas money. I’ve built websites and designed logos for businesses all over North America. Of everything I’ve tried, writing fantasy is by far the most exciting and fulfilling.
My whole life I have been fascinated by stories. Especially the kind of stories that transport you into incredible worlds where the impossible becomes real; where epic battles between good and evil rage across the centuries. This sense of escape and wonderment are what I hope to embody within my own work.
World of the Innocent is a sweet story of two young people, Jhoi and Marcas, as they explore themselves and romance. Jhoi (pronounced JOY) is a young, African-American woman who’s poetic and guarded. Marcas is admired by many but is viewed as strange.
Nadine Keels creatively weaves a genuine romantic tale of two people who falls in love before they realize what’s happening. The words across the pages are vivid enough that you get a feel for not only the scenery but for the characters’, particularly Jhoi and Marcas, sentiments as they explore their budding relationship and faith in God.
Time goes by quickly in this novella and at times took a few seconds for me to realize that it had been a few days or even a month from the last sentence. The ending came as a surprise to me (in a good way) but I wanted more of an elaboration because it had the opportunity to draw some tears.
Either way, this was a sweet YA novella that deserves a chance in the limelight.
Nadine. A French name, meaning, “hope.”
With her lifelong passion for life-enriching fiction, Nadine C. Keels enjoys reading and writing everything from short stories to novels. Her fiction works include Love Unfeigned and The Movement of Crowns Series, and select pieces of her lyrical poetry can be found on her spoken word album, Hope. Lyricized. As the founder of Prismatic Prospects, her communication company, Nadine has served as editor for a number of titles, and through her writing, from her books to her blog posts, she aims to help spark hope, inspiration, and genius in as many as she is privileged to reach.
“Sarabande” is a story of two people navigating through their lives, bound by their pasts which they must reconcile in order to have a chance at a future they want.
Colin Ashe is a man losing his identity. He suffers from epilepsy which is triggered by music. His anxiety surrounding the possibility of unexpected occurrences keeps him away from a job he loves, and costs him the respect of his wife and potentially the love of his son. Then Colin digs up a box buried in his backyard some twenty years ago by a then young girl.
Anna Brawne is now a renowned cellist, committed to music and Bach. She had buried the box with its secrets to maintain a connection to the one place she calls home.
This box forges a link between her and Colin, creating an intimacy which is the catalyst for the events to follow. With the death of her mother, Anna broke free from the bonds of expectation, only to encounter Colin’s desperate attempt to hold on to his.
Where does integrity lie, in the this age of online connection? Is emotional intimacy enough to sustain a life longing to be complete? Will love redefine the measures of a real life?
What fate awaits Colin and Anna?
Would I recommend it?
Yes, Sarabande is a beautiful love story of triumph and love. I could not put it down and I’d bet neither will you.
And I cannot resist – here is Yo-Yo Ma’s interpretation of JS Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1 (Sarabande).
Bully Boy Blue is a short psychological thriller by John Nicholl, author of White is the Coldest Colour and When Evil Calls Your Name. This novella takes only an hour, maybe an hour and a half to read for several reasons. One, it’s only 62 pages, and two, it’s extremely engaging. From the beginning, we get inside the head of the wife (Kathy), who is married to an abusive husband. Like many abusive husbands, only Kathy gets to see his dark side.
As usual, John Nicholl weaves the tale in a way that forces us to become a part of the story. There’s sympathy for Kathy, who has no one but her sister to turn to, there’s hatred for her husband with his hateful slurs and degrading abuse toward his wife, and there are people that surround them that you just want to slap for their ignorance.
I could tell how the story would end, but it pleased me just the same. With every piece of his writing (I’ve read and enjoyed them all), John Nicholl grows and digs deeper into your psyche. And the titles he comes up with is always pure genius. Well worth the read! My only complaint is I want more!
John Nicholl, an ex police officer, child protection social worker and lecturer, has written three dark psychological suspense thrillers, each of which have been Amazon international bestsellers, reaching # 1 in multiple categories in the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Australia, Canada and the USA. John is always happy to hear from readers, bloggers or the media, and can be contacted via his author website at: http://www.johnnicholl.com. Rights enquiries should be directed to Mr Toby Mundy – Literary agent at TMA.
Rebirth is the first of a three-part science fiction series entitled The Praegressus Project. Eighteen-year-old Chris and his mother were both taken in the dead-of-night. Soon, Chris awakens in a cell. Confused and frightened, he has no knowledge of where his mother is–only that she’s accused of treason and children must pay for their parents’ crimes. Chris must join forces with others just like him in the fight for survival against a group of doctors who are experimenting with science in order to enhance the human race.
The premise of the story kept my interest from start to finish. It held at a steady pace with a couple of action scenes here and there. Most of the setting takes place solely in the cells, so there wasn’t a lot of world building; however, that didn’t drag the plot. Unlike most science fiction stories, Rebirth wasn’t about building a world, but about character development. It’s hard not to like the characters, particularly Liz, the young woman Chris first meets after he awakens in his own cell. Chris, on the other hand, took awhile for me to like. But I believe out of the small group, Chris was the one who grew the most–and maybe that’s what author Aaron Hodges had in mind, although I can’t vouch for sure.
I believe Rebirth would fit just about any type of readers. There’s just about everything one could want: science, fantasy, friendship, love, power, and survival. It’s clean of bad language and no sex scenes. There is a bit of violence, though, but it’s not heavy, so no gore. It only shows how evil these experimenters are. They treat their captors as if they’re lab rats.
There were some errors here and there, but I’m quickly learning not to count against it…especially since the errors were few. After all, we are all human, and shouldn’t be expected to be perfect! Even the greatest has misprints at times. I don’t know if Aaron Hodges edited his own work or not, but as a professional editor myself, I’ve learned that it’s not easy editing one’s own work.
Rebirth was well-written, tight and a story I couldn’t wait to finish just to find out what happens. Aaron Hodges is definitely on the fast track to becoming an excellent science fiction novelist. I can’t wait to read more from him. Highly recommended.
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Aaron Hodges was born in 1989 in the small town of Whakatane, New Zealand. He studied for five years at the University of Auckland, completing a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology and Geography, and a Masters of Environmental Engineering. After working as an environmental consultant for two years, he grew tired of office work and decided to quit his job and see the world. Two years later, his travels have taken him through South East Asia, Canada, the USA, Mexico, Central America, and South America. Today, his adventures continue…
Although I’ve read novels based on aliens, and I wouldn’t turn down a chance to read books about aliens, it’s not technically my type of thing. I tend to be very picky with the alien genre. Spirit Raiders is about such: alien abductions, the threat to humanity, advanced technology, and first contact…pretty much everything a die-hard science fiction fan would enjoy.
The plot was complex, very slow moving, filled with a lot of technical things I had trouble grasping…mostly because I’m not very technical-inclined. While much of it was science fiction, the reality of some of the technological terms was very well-researched to make the fiction appear realistic. Sometimes, I had to re-read the information to grasp what it was saying…remember, I’m not much of a technical person, so at times, the information didn’t do enough explaining for me. Other times, however, I was overloaded with information and caught myself skimming a tad.
With a little bit more editing, the writing could have become tighter and stronger, earning a higher rating. I like to be shown what’s happening during the scenes, rather than being told. It helps me visualize better, even if I’m reading about things I just don’t understand.
If you’re one that loves aliens and you can understand a bunch of technical mumbo jumbo, then I recommend you taking the time to read this book. Don’t be put off by the slow-moving parts. It took me a few chapters to really get into the story. Once I did and continued reading, I was pleased to find that it ended with a well-built, action-packed climax
Savio is a resident of Mumbai, India, who grew up on everything sci-fi. Science Fiction has its own charm of unravelling mysteries, boldly going where no man has gone before [yeah I know it is from Star-trek :)] and to seek and find explanations for the unexplained. This is more or less what excites a true sci-fi enthusiast.
Savio is one of the enthusiasts too and he is presenting his own version here. Mystery surrounds us in many ways and it is mammoth in proportion to what we know. No one knows what lies beneath the ocean; no one knows what lies beyond our solar system; no one knows how vast the universe is; no one knows if any other extra-terrestrial form exists, but still the pursuit of knowing the unknown will continue unabated and will continue to excite us. This excitement is what Savio attempts to bring out in his books.
Savio is blessed with a supportive family and has a day job in India. Writing is his passion and he also writes for many blogging sites. When not writing and not working, which, of course, happens a lot of time, Savio likes to while-away and watch sci-fi movies.
“The Museum of Modern Love” by Heather Rose traces the soul of Arky Levin, a film composer. Arky is separated from his wife, Lydia. She has asked him to keep a promise. And he does. So why is he troubled? In his restlessness, he wanders into the MOMA and sees Marina Abramovic in The Artist Is Present.
The novel spans the 75 days in which Marina performed between the months of March and May of 2010. It goes through the seven phases of a project, as identified by Marina, being:
So it is that the lives (as projects) which intersect Arky and Marina’s eventual encounter are changed.
This is a story of love, and how we perform love every day.
Love accounted for so many things. A series of biological and chemical interactions, A bout of responsibility. An invisible wave of orality that had been romanticised and eternalised. A form of required connection to ensure procreation. A strategic response to prevent loneliness and maintain social structures.
When Lydia said, “[g]o and write. Make wonderful music. Know that I love you. Have no regrets” then shouldn’t Arky do what she has prescribed?
That is what Arky believes, until he is compelled to discover love’s true gift. And this compulsion is through the art of Marina, whose performance in the MOMA demonstrated the power of connection and the magic of “being seen” by another, beyond the material visibility that is reflected through the context of this novel – the New York rich and celebrities who came to sit with Marina.
This is a story of courage, Arky’s and the participants in “The Artist Is Present” with Marina; people at the crossroads, like Jane, who observes the performance then leaves wondering,
Had it been enough to sit on the sidelines? Had she somehow missed an opportunity for something life-changing, some act of courage?
The courage to not succumb to the should and ought of this world, to face the uncertainty of beginnings.
This is a story of connection – to our past, to each other in the present, and to the future. That we hold the history of us and humanity within us. How we are shaped by the convergence of our past, present and future.
Now, day after day, he looked into the human face, painted with curiosity, and he saw the abyss of history within a human heart. Everyone was its own beaten, salvaged, polished, engraved, carved luminous form.
A connection to our raison d’être – of being open and available to that which calls to us, soul-deep, and honouring it.
All that they are is stored up loud and insistent inside them. But what does it take to be an artist? They have to listen. But do they listen? Most people are filled up with a lifetime of noise and distraction that’s hard to get past.
If Arky’s life is a project, what is the gift? His to receive or to give?
Would I recommend it?
“The Museum of Modern Love” won the 2017 Stella Prize. A thought-provoking and enjoyable book definitely worth checking out!
It has been a while since I last brought you a new interview, but I’ve recently translated a book that I was sure you would be interested in. And its author was kind enough to answer a few questions too.
Here I introduce you to Antonio Flórez Lage.
When and how did you start writing?
I am a reader that every so often goes over to the Dark Side and writes. I have read a lot since I was a young child, but I started writing in an organised fashion a few years back. At first, I was writing articles for a magazine but little by little I became more confident; now I have accomplished my dream of publishing a book and on top of that I’ve won an international prize.
I am very happy.
Could you tell me something about your experience as an independent writer?
I am a vet and therefore I was not familiar with the publishing world, but I love to try different things. I’ve learned new skills and I have enjoyed the whole process. Now an important publishing company has made me an offer, but I haven’t accepted it yet. Perhaps I will, in the future, to have a different experience and be able to focus only on writing.
What is your fondest memory (so far) of your experience as a writer?
There are many, I could not pick only one. The joy of managing to make your stories reach other people, of touching your book hot off the press, of seeing it on a bookshop window side by side with the books by your most admired writers, of leaving a special memorial to those with whom you’ve shared some time in your life, of reading a positive review, of being surprised when a writer compliments your style, of seeing how your sales spiral out of control in Amazon, becoming emotional when somebody shares a quote from your book… Knowing that your words will break the space-time continuum to reach where you won’t be able to is something that makes one’s mind boggle.
What are your favourite genres (both as a reader and as a writer)?:
I read everything, I like to change and jump from one genre to another. As a writer, I’ve started by writing a story that includes mystery, action, and adventure (always with a touch of humour), but I’d like to try other genres too.
What made you decide to translate your book?
The story has been very successful in Spanish and has received very good reviews in Spain as well as in many Latin American countries. Once I managed to make the jump to other countries I share a language with, the next step, the next challenge I wanted to take on was to get it translated into English. I am very much looking forward to seeing how it does and to hearing the opinions of the people who read my novel in that language.
Can you tell us something about your book?
The best thing to do is to share the description:
In the outskirts of a tiny Galician fishing village, there is a huge rock that hides a mysterious submarine cave. What happens to those who dare to go diving there? Several events from their childhood drag the protagonist and his peculiar friend back to that eerie place.
They meet again, years later, and set off on a seedy trip around Mexico, full of action and dangers. The unexpected outcome of that journey changes the life of the protagonist forever.
This novel is one of a kind: it offers the readers a special something; a unique quality that means the story does not leave us when we close the book. Some readers are already applying its lessons to their own lives…
Do you have any advice for other writers (especially those at the beginning of their careers)?
I can offer you the same advice I give myself, although I don’t know if it will be useful to others.
Writing is very addictive because it offers very tempting rewards. Because of that, it is dangerous to let yourself get taken over by that Dark Side and give up reading to focus exclusively on writing. However, reading is what can help you the most to learn and to improve, to grow as a person and to find what a Jedi would call ‘the balance of the force’. That is why I have not looked for shortcuts and I carry on reading every time I get a chance, and I enjoy every page to the maximum.
I was curious about quite a few things about the story itself (where the author got the inspiration for his novel from, if the locations, especially the Rock of the title existed or no) but he likes to play his cards close to his chest and told me that he was happy to answer any specific questions readers had if they contacted him directly.
A BEST-SELLING NOVEL IN SPANISH. SPECIAL LAUNCHING OFFER.
RECEIVED WITH CRITICAL ACCLAIM. “Full of humour, sensitivity, action and mystery.” Discover a not-so-touristic Mexico and the bleakest Galicia.
THE REVIEWERS SAY “‘If I jump, I’ll kill myself; if I don’t jump, they’ll kill me.’ With these words, in an eerie landscape full of rocks and black waves that reminded me of Hitchcock, begins the novel The Rock of the Missing. This book keeps moving, from the initial Hitchcockian scene, later becoming a chilling road movie that takes us across a scorched Mexico, full of gunshots, drug dealers and dead bodies, and ending in a permanent return to Galicia, where the whole thing begins… I recommend you read this novel if you wish to enjoy the art Antonio Flórez uses to carve his sentences if you want to join in an adventure full of humour, sensitivity, action and mystery.”Lavadora de textos, Ramón Alemán.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Antonio Flórez Lage (A Coruña, 1977). A vet, passionate about the sea, travelling, and books, who writes about a world he knows very well.
10% of the profits obtained from the Kindle Book will be donated to ASOCEPA Coeliac Association.
Facebook page for the book “The Rock of the Missing”:
Get The Fourth Pularchek by best selling author Sam Marquis at Amazon by clicking here
The Fourth Pularchek is an action adventure novel set today with ties to the WWII. Nick Lassiter and his just married bride Natalie are about to head on their honeymoon when they witness an assassination. The assassination leads to a honeymoon in Poland and a race to find a Nazi horde of stolen art worth billions. Did I mention Lassiter discovers his real father is as Polish billionaire?
I like books with a link to the past. But a lot of them sort of tend to be the same old thing. Not that I’m complaining. They are still fun to read. But in The Fourth Pularchek, Marquis, takes a familiar prompt and adds a lot of twists and turns to it.
Marquis could have simply made this an action book with a lot of guns and chases but instead he throws in some head line events the real world is facing today. There are also so many subplots going on, that all tie into the main story, that you shouldn’t rest when you think something isn’t happening.
I recommend The Fourth Pularchek to those who like action and adventure or like a touch of history to their modern stories. I think when you’ve been compared to James Patterson you must be good.
The Symorians are an alien race whose home planet is inside the core of the sun. Four Symorians: Lenyx, Tryst, Kazi, and Milliken embark on a mission to save their people from extinction. It doesn’t take long before their vessel crash-lands on the planet Earth. Afterward, their troubles are just beginning. The Symorians get off on the wrong foot with the humans after accidentally killing one. Then they attempt to bridge an alliance between Symoria and Earth, but after another incident occurs, our alien friends have to fight for their survival.
I loved this story. It was the perfect blend of mystery, action, and sci-fi. The characters were believable, the plot line engrossing and every turn I took, there was a new twist, many of which put me on the edge of my seat. I couldn’t get enough and once I’ve finished reading, I wished I’d taken my time. People of the Sun would definitely be one of the few books I wouldn’t mind re-reading.
Let’s get off topic for one brief second. For Star Trek fans (like myself), you know how viewers say the undertone meanings of the episodes mirror real life? For example, in the episode, “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield,” there are two separate alien races, one has white on the left side and black on the right side, while the other race has the same colors vice versa. They’re killing each other even though they are exactly the same. They’re judgmental. Now, back to People of the Sun, Jason Parent does the same thing. He cleverly shines the light on mankind’s weaknesses. Humans tend to judge others by the color of their skins, by the mistakes we’ve made, by the class we were raised from, etc. Reading this story makes you think about what you do, what you say and how you react to certain circumstances.
People of the Sun isn’t just a science fiction novel. It’s not just a horror book. It’s also filled with plenty of action, adventure, and thought-provoking situations. It’s a very well-written novel, deserving of praise. In my opinion, I think just about anyone would enjoy this book. With the exception of Star Trek, I’m not a major fan of aliens. But I love the Symorians!
In his head, Jason Parent lives in many places, but in the real world, he calls New England his home. The region offers an abundance of settings for his writing and many wonderful places in which to write them. He currently resides in Southeastern Massachusetts with his cuddly corgi named Calypso.
In a prior life, Jason spent most of his time in front of a judge . . . as a civil litigator. When he finally tired of Latin phrases no one knew how to pronounce and explaining to people that real lawsuits are not started, tried and finalized within the 60-minute timeframe they see on TV (it’s harassing the witness; no one throws vicious woodland creatures at them), he traded in his cheap suits for flip flops and designer stubble. The flops got repossessed the next day, and he’s back in the legal field . . . sorta. But that’s another story.
When he’s not working, Jason likes to kayak, catch a movie, travel any place that will let him enter, and play just about any sport (except that ball tied to the pole thing where you basically just whack the ball until it twists in a knot or takes somebody’s head off – he misses the appeal). And read and write, of course. He does that too sometimes.
I read this memoir by David Jordan and I must admit I was appalled at the way Social Services had treated David’s family. The problems began following an innocent initial inquiry to Social Services by a relative, concerned that David’s partner Martha and their baby Sally were living in unsuitable housing next door to an aggressive mentally ill man. Instead of finding them a suitable flat, two social workers forcibly removed Sally from Martha as she was pushing her along the street in her pram and placed her with foster parents. After Sally was taken away, Martha then began to suffer with mental health problems.
This is David’s very detailed and documented account of what followed next, in his efforts to claim back Sally and have her removed from the ‘At Risk’ register. He was to discover that social workers fabricated and falsified evidence in order to prevent Sally returning home, and that they were in fact a law unto themselves (social workers cannot be sued due to a ruling by the House of Lords). They also tried to have David and Martha’s younger two children taken away and put into care.
David fought the system for many years, trying to glean new information from the police, from Sally’s teachers and foster parents, and from the corrupted ‘Mega Pig’ file (Social Services’ name for the Jordan family’s file) in order to get his eldest daughter returned home to the damaged family unit. I can only applaud his efforts.
This is a book that has been well edited and is easy to read. It is compelling and a definite page turner. I recommend it most highly.
Do contact me on email@example.com if you have a true story or a fictional family relationship drama that you would like me to read and review.
It’s very rare that I would be tempted to give any book more than a five-star rating. If I did do that, then Cory Barclay’s Devil in the Countryside would be one of the few. It’s 1588, and a killer is terrorizing the German countryside. It’s rumored to be the legendary Werewolf of Bedburg. Investigator Heinrich Franz is assigned to find the killer, seeking help wherever he can get it. A priest attempts to keep the peace amongst the townspeople, while he attempts to fight against the temptation of a young woman that could destroy his most basic beliefs. They find themselves wrapped in mysteries, steering through the political and religious landscape of the 16th century.
Devil in the Countryside was an extremely tightly written novel, keeping me on my toes the entire time I was reading. I did not want to put it down. The characters were three-dimensional and realistic…very memorable. In my minds-eye, the book played like a movie. I felt as though I was watching the scenes unfold so much, that at times, I had to remind myself that I was in the 21st century. I felt it was that good.
You’ll not only want to find out who—or what—is piling corpse after corpse, you’ll want to find out what secret these characters are withholding from everyone else. You’ll want to find out if they can force temptation out of their minds. You’ll want to find out everything you can about this book.
The story is action-packed from the second it begins until the ending, leaving the reader on the edge of their seat. There were times when the dialogue didn’t seem up to par with the time; however, that didn’t even matter. The scenes were painted beautifully. For readers that enjoy historical fiction, werewolf hunts, and murder, I recommend giving Devil in the Countryside a try. It’s a must-read!
As far back as he can remember, Cory Barclay has always loved the “big picture” questions. How much knowledge did humanity lose when the Library of Alexandria was burned down? Why has the concept of Heaven remained intact, in one form or another, throughout most of human history and how has it impacted life on Earth?
And even before that, when he first began writing stories in grade school, he’s been fascinated with histories and mysteries. Whether Norse mythology, the Dark Ages, or the conquests of great leaders, Cory’s been that kid who wants to know what’s shaped our world and write about it. Especially the great unsolved mysteries.
So Devil in the Countryside was a natural for him.
Born and raised in San Diego, he graduated from University of California, Santa Cruz, where he studied Creative Writing and Modern Literary Studies. He’s also a songwriter and guitarist, and – no surprise – many of his songs explore the same topics he writes about – the great mysteries of our crazy world.
Devil in the Countryside is his second novel and he’s hard at work on its sequel.
Hey, guys! I’m looking for some reviewers willing to add one or two of my books to their queue! The first novel, The Murder of Manny Grimes, needs five reviewers, while its sequel, Blood Runs Cold, needs ten. They are both standalone novels. They both have a slight Christian slant, as well as paranormal, but neither are heavy on those topics.
Blood Runs Cold is now available and it would be great if I could scrounge up some reviews on both Goodreads and Amazon, as well as your blog. So far, my early readers has said Blood Runs Cold is just as good, if not better, than its predecessor, which has had 14 awesome reviews.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in reading one or even both stories.
The Murder of Manny Grimes–5 reviewers
Blood Runs Cold–10 reviewers
The format, unfortunately, is PDF, as I do not have a mobi file. However, it can still be read on your e-readers just like the kindle/nook version.
I would greatly appreciate your help in this matter!
When three young boys stumble into Lieutenant Jim DeLong’s life one night during a winter storm, they claim they’ve seen a dead body by the swing sets of the Columbia County Elementary School. After he investigates, DeLong sees no evidence, not even a body. But were the boys telling the truth?
With the help of his oldest friend and mentor, former Naval investigator Russ Calhoun, DeLong sets out to find whether Manny Grimes is alive or dead. The further away he gets to the bottom of the mystery, the closer he comes to realize that his own life is falling apart.
Delving deeper into the murder of Manny Grimes, Lieutenant DeLong begins to unravel, losing his sense of control, falling into old temptations he spent years to overcome. Will he be able to move past his own demons and untangle the web of lies before it’s too late?
A young woman has been murdered at the Savannah Rapids
Pavilion and Lieutenant Jim DeLong realizes at first sight this
case will be the most difficult one of his career. DeLong is immediately swept into the memories of his childhood and dark
secrets he’s longed to forget. The victim is his sister-in-law, and old thoughts he’s fought to delete will be resurrected whether he likes it or not. With no clear motive, DeLong questions his ability on whether he’s able to remain objective.
Title: Practicing Normal Author: Cara Sue Achterberg ISBN13: 978-1611882445 ASIN: B06XH4SJW6 Published: 31st May 2017 Pages: 336 Genre: Women’s Fiction, Family Life Description:
The houses in Pine Estates are beautiful McMansions filled with high-achieving parents, children on the fast track to top colleges, all of the comforts of modern living, and the best security systems money can buy. Welcome to normal upper-middle-class suburbia.
The Turners know in their hearts that they’re anything but normal. Jenna is a high-schooler dressed in black who is fascinated with breaking into her neighbors’ homes, security systems be damned. Everett genuinely believes he loves his wife . . . he just loves having a continuing stream of mistresses more. JT is a genius kid with Asperger’s who moves from one obsession to the next. And Kate tries to manage her family, manage her mother (who lives down the street), and avoid wondering why her life is passing her by.
And now everything is changing for them. Jenna suddenly finds herself in a boy-next-door romance she never could have predicted. Everett’s secrets are beginning to unravel on him. JT is getting his first taste of success at navigating the world. And Kate is facing truths about her husband, her mother, and her father that she might have preferred not to face.
Life on Pine Road has never been more challenging for the Turners. That’s what happens when you’re practicing normal.
Combining her trademark combination of wit, insight, and tremendous empathy for her characters, Cara Sue Achterberg has written a novel that is at once familiar and startlingly fresh.
“Does facing the truth beat living a lie? In PRACTICING NORMAL, Cara Sue Achterberg has given us a smart story that is both a window and a mirror, about the extraordinary pain ― and the occasional gifts ― of an ordinary life.”
– Jacquelyn Mitchard, New York Times bestselling author of THE DEEP END OF THE OCEAN
“What does it really mean to have a normal life? Achterberg’s stunning new novel explores how a family can fracture just trying to survive, and how what makes us different is also what can make us most divine.”
– Caroline Leavitt, author of CRUEL BEAUTIFUL WORLD and the New York Times bestsellers PICTURES OF YOU and IS THIS TOMORROW
“PRACTICING NORMAL takes a deep dive into the dysfunctional dynamics of a ‘picture perfect family.’ A compelling story about the beautiful humanity in the most ordinary of lives: from first love to a marriage on the downward slide to an unexpected family tragedy. Achterberg handles each thread with tender care and we can’t help but root for every member of the Turner family.”
– Kate Moretti, New York Times bestselling author of THE VANISHING YEAR
Body of review:
I was given a copy of this book as a gift and I freely chose to review it.
Tolstoi’s probably best-known quote: All happy families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way fits perfectly this novel. As a psychiatrist, ‘normal’ is one of those terms that we always seem to come back to, even if it is impossible to define. It seems that normal is always what other people are, never us. Perhaps, as it is discussed in the novel in reference to Autism and Asperger’s, which are conditions that fall within a spectrum, the same is true for normality. It is not an on or off thing. Perhaps we all belong to some point within the spectrum, but we’d be hard pushed to find many people whom we’d all agree were ‘normal’, at least if we got to know them well.
The novel introduces us to the Turners, who live a reasonably comfortable life within a theoretically idyllic neighbourhood. Once we scratch a bit under the surface, we find: Jenna, the sixteen year old daughter, who is not a goth but likes to shave her hair, dye it in interesting colours, collects piercings and is an ace at breaking into neighbours’ houses (courtesy of her father’s job in a security company). Kate, her mother, is forever busy caring for everybody but herself. She has to look after her mother, Mildred, who might be dementing, or perhaps not, and who lives alone, never leaves the house and talks to her birds. She also has to look after JT, her son, with an Asperger’s diagnosis, who cycles through periods of obsession with different topics (ER Medicine, Fire-fighting…), has tantrums if his routine is disturbed, cannot read people’s expressions or understand their feelings, but is a genius at Maths and has an incredible memory. She also runs around the rest of the household and is always worried about her husband, Everett, who cheated on her once (that she knows of). The chapters alternate the first-person narrations of Jenna (who somehow becomes friendly with the rich, handsome and all-around nice neighbour, Wells, who isn’t, after all, the stereotypical jock), and Kate (whose sister, Evelyn, has made contact with their father, Frank, who left them when they were young children, and believes their mother has been lying to them) allowing the reader to better grasp, not only the secrets they all keep from each other, but also the different ways the same events can be interpreted and seen. Everett’s narration (also in the first person) joins later, giving us hints of more secrets to come, allowing us a more rounded picture and offering us a male perspective.
I found the first person narrations served well the topic, and the voices of the three narrators were very distinct and fitted in well with their characters. Although personally, I can’t say I liked Everett very much, no characters are despicable and all of them love their family and each other, even if they might go about it the wrong way. Jenna’s strong hostility towards her father is easy to understand, not only because he cheated on her mother (and is still doing it after promising not to) but because she had idealised him when she was a child and he’s shattered that illusion. She is clever, challenging and reckless but with a great heart (she doesn’t care for rules or conventions but has no bad intentions) and her romance will bring warm memories to all readers who are still young at heart. Kate is a woman who is always at the service of others and makes big efforts to ignore what she feels she can’t cope with, even if it means living a lie. But she learns that she is stronger than she thinks and grows during the novel. She also gets to understand that her dreams of romantic love are unrealistic, and we feel optimistic for her at the end. Everett is a man who lost his way (it seems) when he left his job as a policeman. Now, to feel better about himself he’ll do almost anything, not caring what the consequences for himself and others might be, and he always puts his needs before those of the rest of his family. He does not understand his children but he loves them and tries to do what he thinks is best, within limits. JT is a wonderful character, well-drawn and realistic in terms of the behaviours he exhibits and his relationship with Kate, Jenna and the rest of the family is heart-warming and has the ring of truth.
There are many secrets, some that come from a long time back and some much more recent, and the narrative is good at revealing them slowly, even if we might strongly suspect some of them, partly because we have access to the thoughts of several the characters (as they don’t communicate with each other that well). There are also many love stories and many different kinds of love that are explored. Ultimately, love must be about more than just saying the words and looking into each other’s eyes. It isn’t something we should feel automatically entitled to; it has to be proven and worked on, as Cassey, a friend of Jenna and later Kate, explains.
The secondary characters are also interesting, mostly sympathetic (with the exception of Wells’s family, and Evelyn, who comes across as self-centered and domineering) but not drawn in as much psychological detail as the members of the family, but they are far from unidimensional. I really liked Cassey, the hospice nurse who understands all the females of the family and helps them without asking anything in return, and Phil, a good man who, like Wells, disproves Mildred’s generalisations about men. Mildred, the grandmother, can be at once annoying and endearing, but eventually, we get to understand her a bit better, even if we might not necessarily agree with her actions. I also loved the animals, especially Marco.
This is a well-written book, where plot and characterisation go hand in hand, that offers good psychological insights into the nature of family relationships and the games members of a family play with each other. It also will make readers think about what love means and will remind them of the risks of keeping secrets, not only from others but also from ourselves. The narration flows well and once you get to know the characters it’s difficult to stop reading and you feel bereft when you come to the end as they’ve become part of the family. A great read.
I couldn’t leave you without sharing a few of the sentences I highlighted.
Never break more than one law at a time.
Kate talking about JT, her son, with Asperger’s: but I focus on what JT can do, not what he can’t.
Kate again, wondering about her son’s inability to read other people’s expressions and know what they’re feeling or thinking:
Maybe it would be easier to sail through life unaware of the emotions of the people around you.
And Jenna, on one of her typical (and oh, so accurate, sorry gentlemen) pearls of wisdom (although this one she keeps to herself):
If men didn’t have penises, they’d probably be a lot smarter.
Ratings: Realistic Characterization: 4.5/5 Made Me Think: 4.5/5 Overall enjoyment: 5/5 Readability: 5/5 Recommended: 5/5 Overall Rating: 5/5 Buy it at: Format & Pricing: Paperback: $ 10.75 Kindle: $ 8.95 Audiobook: $31.86
Thanks to all and remember to like, share, comment, click and to review all the books you read!
For me who’s struggling to see how five months of 2017 is nearly over, I took a mental break and reached for “The Scent of You”.
Title: The Scent of You Author: Maggie Alderson Publishers: Harper Collins Publication date: 1 April 2017 Format: Kindle, Paperback Website: maggiealderson.com Pages: 512 Genre: Fiction – Contemporary; ChickLit
What’s it about?
“The Scent of You” is Australian author Maggie Alderson’s 10th novel. It is a story of loyalty and of letting go, of following your heart or your head, and the conflicts within.
Hippolyta Masterton-Mackay, Polly to her friends, is a mother to Lucas and Clemmie, both of whom are away at university. She is also a successful blogger, an initial hobby which is now work, and a yoga teacher.
Polly is daughter to Daphne, a glamorous model at 85 years of age and living in a posh retirement home. Though she was quite emotionally absent from Polly in her younger days, Daphne now seems to have great insights into the dilemma her daughter is facing. The dilemma – Polly’s husband has vanished after declaring his need for space. What is Polly to do?
It is through her perfume blog in which she wrote of how scents evoked memories, and vice versa, which causes her to chance upon Guy, a gifted perfumer making a break in the world of scents. Guy quickly became one of her inner circle, but could there be more?
Around the same time, Polly reconnects with an old school friend, Edward, with whom she had shared an innocent kiss on the beach. Chum, a nickname for Edward, visits his stepfather at the same retirement home in which Daphne resides. And before long, Polly and Chum are taking long walks in the country, familiar and comfortable with each other’s company. Is familiarity a better choice than the excitement of Guy?
As Polly grapples with her bewildering situation of lost husband and emerging relationship, she is supported by her yoga students, Shirlee in particular.
What will Polly do? Will Polly take this opportunity to realise who she wants to be?
Would I recommend it?
“The Scent of You” is light and entertaining, a worthy beach holiday read. Or read anywhere really.
This book is filled with warm characters, lovable and flawed. Pick it up and enjoy!
Ratings: Realistic Characterization: 3/5 Made Me Think: 2/5 Overall enjoyment: 3.5/5 Readability: 3.5/5 Recommended: 3/5 Overall Rating:3/5
• Title: Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir • Author: Karen Ingalls • Print Length: 108 • Publisher: Beaver’s Pond Press • Publication Date: May 21, 2014 • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC • Language: English • Formats:Kindle, Paperback
• Goodreads • Genres: Memoir, Biography
I found this story incredibly informative and inspiring. There is little greater fear than hearing you have cancer—no matter whether you have a long family history of those that battled the disease or if it’s completely taking you by surprise. Most, if not all, of us, knows someone that has or had cancer. We usually watch from the outside looking in at how the person fighting for their life chooses to deal. Karen Ingalls gives us her firsthand, raw experience with one of the leading causes of death: ovarian cancer.
It’s a short book and I finished it in one sitting, finding myself wishing there was more. I couldn’t set it down and I’m amazed at how uplifting people can be when dealing with cancer. For me, this book isn’t just about fighting cancer or even teaching others about the seriousness of the issue. It’s about how she not only relied on her family and friends for comfort, but she relied on Jesus Christ’s unconditional love and grace. As I read through Karen’s story, I could see how her faith in the Holy Spirit grew stronger. Sure, she had her ups and downs, but she’s human. Still, she leaned on her faith, rather than crying out “Why me, Lord?”
At the end of the book, she listed signs to look for in ovarian cancer (formerly known as “the silent killer.”) and question suggestions for the patient and their families. I highly recommend reading Outlook: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir. It’s a quick, easy read, tightly and well written. Although I found myself fighting back tears, there were places where I giggled at the humor.
Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 stars
Karen Ingalls is the author of two novels and an award winning non-fiction book. She enjoys writing from her home office overlooking a lake in Florida.
Ms. Ingalls’s non-fiction book, Outshine: An Ovarian Cancer Memoir, won first place at the 2012 Indie Excellence Book Awards in the the category of women’s health. It was a top three finalist for the Independent Publisher Book Award of 2012 in the two categories of health and self-help.
The purpose of the book is to provide information about this too often deadly disease, and offer hope and inspiration to women and their families. All proceeds go to ovarian cancer research.Davida:Model & Mistress is about the love affair between her great-grandfather Augustus Saint-Gaudens and her great-grandmother Davida Johnson Clark. Very little is known about Davida except her role as a model for many of the sculptor’s famous works. Ms. Ingalls was able to use her imagination in creating the life of Davida. It won the Pinnacle Book Achievement Award for 2016.
Novy’s Son, The Selfish Genius, is about Murray Clark, who sought love and acceptance from his father, who had been raised as the bastard child of the famous sculptor, Augustus Saint-Gaudens. After reading Iron John by Robert Bly, Ms.Ingalls recognized what was missing in her father’s life.
She is a Californian by birth, a Minnesotan in her heart, and a contented Florida retiree. She loves gardening, golfing, and reading, but her real passion is writing.
One of the things I like about a Kelly Oliver story is that it makes sense. That may sound strange but I read a lot of books and real life situations happen and the reactions to them are borderline stupid and unrealistic.
Oliver has a real character in Jessica James. Jessica wakes up half naked behind a dumpster. What does she do? For one thing, she doesn’t go home and try to solve the mystery all by herself like some vigilante. I won’t tell you what she does do but all through the story realistic things happen but in great ways that make sense and add tension to the story.
In F.O.X. we have the return of Jessica’s best friends Lolita and Jack who both play big roles in the book, especially Jack. I like Jack here more than I did in WOLF, he’s a much more developed character. And who doesn’t love the badass Lolita? I mean she still has the attitude and swagger. Can you say women have swagger? I don’t really know. Hmmm.
All the characters are well developed and I see that with each book Oliver is really upping her game. She adds a little more layers each time with a couple of surprises thrown in. Taking on the IVF subject was a good topic to tackle and I think Oliver did it with sensitivity and respect of women involved. I can’t really go into much more detail without giving a lot away.
Originally I was going to give this a 4 out of 5 but as I started doing the review I realized how much I enjoyed it so I changed my mind. So a 5 it is.
The Buried Few is the debut novel by M.J. Lau, and I found it quite enjoyable. The pace was steady, storyline intriguing and the overall prose well-written. It’s set in a near-future society where the idea of privacy is extinct. Technology is now more advanced. The government knows where you are, what route you take to get home, and they oversee every child born for the rest of their lives. When Daniel Allingham finds a live baby buried, he takes the infant to the hospital (although it’s not a maternity hospital) with hopes of doing a good thing and washing his hands clean. Nonetheless, he soon finds himself struggling against the right thing and becoming entwined with a persistent government agent.
It took about three chapters for me to really get into the book. It starts off with the prologue some times in the distant past, then in chapter one, jumps to the present time. As we’re being introduced to the main characters, it hops from the present to the near past. The only way we know whether we’re in the present or the past is by the situation or the characters in the scenes. This made it a tad confusing to me; however, once I got a handle on the author’s writing style (and it didn’t take long at all), it was easy reading.
The only thing that would take me away from reading was the amount of adverbs in the story. There just seemed to be so many, it annoyed me. It doesn’t bother a lot of readers; however, it had become somewhat of a pet peeve of mine. About half of the adverbs in the prose could have been used in a way to show, rather than tell, all the more.
The characters were enjoyable and easy to love, particularly the main one, Daniel. I found that they all had “chemistry” through their interactions and dialogue. There were plenty going on to build up the drama and keep the story moving forward. I couldn’t wait to find out what would happen next. While The Buried Few is a standalone story, it’s left open for a sequel. I’ve seen reviews on Amazon mention they could see it made into a movie: I have to say, I agree. As a bonus, I have to add, I love the cover.
Overall Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
M. J. Lau is an English teacher by day, writer by night… or rather, a teacher day and night, and a writer any spare moment in between. He is the author of The Buried Few, a near-future fiction novel that is equally influenced by dystopian classics, fatherhood, and Wired Magazine.
He is currently working on a fantasy novel, tentatively anticipated to release in the spring of 2018.
A story with its beginnings pulled from the headlines of today and realistic events that could happen, The Red Line gives a scary look at a what if of the near future.
First of all, I liked the book overall. The pacing was good, and everything was well developed. However, for my own personal taste there was almost too much detail. I know the author intends to give a comprehensive covering of all the aspects of the what if scenario but I personally didn’t need to know the shot by shot coverage.
That being said, it was done well and you could feel the tension in each scene. There is definite realism in the story. I like that we don’t get all sunshine and roses throughout the book. We do get realities of war even when it hurts, and that hurt is to the plus of the author’s talent. You feel the losses that take place. I would recommend this book to anyone that really gets into war stories and likes to feel the action.
I recommend this book to anyone who really gets into a good war story with real events occurring.