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Book reviews ... Author interviews ... and anything else I think might be of interest to writers and readers.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Proof Of Lies by Diana Rodriguez Wallach

Proof of Lies

A guest review from Lady Techie

Proof of Lies by Diana Rodriguez Wallach is a completely awesome, exciting book. I received a free copy from Entangled Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Proof of Lies fits right in with one of my favorite topics to read about, in fiction and non-fiction, espionage and spies! Anastasia and her sister Keira are both in a "funk" even years after losing their parents to a car crash. Move after move. They move to new locations all over the world following their parents' work as engineers at Dresden. It has taken its toll on Anastasia. Each time she's been told this was home for a while so she has made friends and become involved in activities at her school in Boston. Then suddenly they are gone. She is left with Keira, who is just the age of adulthood herself, to finish raising her.  Anastasia is trying to keep herself going and Keira appears to be going off the rails with partying, drinking and bad boyfriend after boyfriend.

Keira disappears and Anastasia is devastated by the way she disappeared and by yet another loss of a loved one. Their roommate Charlotte is there for Anastasia and she is doing what she can for Anastasia. But, things have changed. Anastasia is lost this time and Charlotte is doing what she can to help her find her way back even if it means to find out what really happened to Keira. Anastasia is convinced that Keira is not dead and is doing what she can to find her. Charlotte is a computer genius that is with her every step of the way and the search takes them across the world and they have no idea who they can trust because no one is who they seem, including Keira’s last boyfriend.

Proof of Lies is one of those books that resonates with the reader if they have a sibling, even if they are the older sibling who has been made responsible for a younger sibling even for five minutes. The resentment, arguing and sometimes ill-treatment of that sibling. Parents do not mean to have a hand in that relationship, but, sometimes they do because they cannot help but treat the children different. Maybe it is not because they like one better than the other, but, because the children are different with different needs and personalities. The parents also have personalities that just seem to mesh better with one child, not because they like the other one less, but, because they have things in common. Sometimes, just the age difference is enough for the siblings to not have as close of a relationship as they could.  Keira and Anastasia seem to have a pretty close relationship but that is put to the test with the loss of their parents. Keira’s disappearance makes Anastasia realize her part in how their relationship has turned. But, what is one of the best parts of this story is that Anastasia knows her limitations and despite all of them she uses the people and tools she must search for her sister. But, in the middle of understanding more about her relationship with Keira, she learns more about herself and her parents. Proof of Lies is the great start to an action-packed thriller with a great mystery and I look forward to the next book! 

This Review was originally posted at  LadyTechie’s Book Musings.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Will To Live by Rachel Amphlett

Will To Live

The Kay Hunter series from Rachel Amphlett is shaping up to be a very good one indeed. I really enjoyed the first offering, ‘Scared To Death’, which I reviewed here. And the follow up, ‘Will To Live’ is just as good.

This outing sees Kay Hunter investigating a series of deaths linked to the railways. At first they were thought to be suicides, until a dog walker chances to see one victim’s final moments. Could there be more to what is going on than meets the eye. Is the murderer actually using trains to kill people? Who would do that and why?

Kay and her team have to look for links between the victims, and as they do, an event from the past gives them the first glimpse of an insight into the killer’s motive.

This story is packed with action, intrigue and peril and, as with the previous one, is very well plotted.

One of the things I like about this series is that we have a satisfying character arc running through the books that is based on Kay’s ongoing personal and professional issues.

I love her husband, who is a vet with a tendency to bring his work home with him. Last time it was a snake, this time a pregnant Great Dane. Being familiar with her family situation also raises the stakes for the reader when Kay finds herself at the sharp end of some criminal activity which hits her way too close to home.

This book continues the thread started in the last one about Kay’s professional past and the issues she has had to deal with. There is no let up for her in this instalment and we are left wondering just who is trying to blacken her name and why.

All in all, a thoroughly compelling story and I look forward to reading more in the series.

Thanks very much to the author for a review copy of this book.

You can find out more here.

Friday, 17 March 2017

The Witchfinder’s Sister by Beth Underdown

The Witchfinder’s Sister

I was very intrigued to receive a review copy of this book, especially as the PR people had included a couple of little extras in the package – a chilling letter and a nosegay of dried flowers to help ward off evil. Happily, I was equally intrigued when I began to read it.

The Witchfinder’s Sister is based on the true story of Witchfinder General Matthew Hopkins, and told from the point of view of his half sister Alice. Alice travels back to her brother’s house in Manningtree following the death of her husband Joseph. But what she doesn’t know is that while she’s been away Matthew has been concerning himself with the tracking down and bringing to justice of supposed witches.

Having studied the witch trials as part of my degree many years ago, I found Beth Underdown’s telling of the story very authentic. Without letting the research hang heavily on the story, she has captured really vividly the way that witch crazes worked: the suspicion; the settling of old scores; the accusing of others to save yourself. This all rang very true.

The fictional Alice was an inspired choice as narrator of the story. Against her will she gets sucked in to Matthew’s activities and it is painful to read as she grapples with her conscience and innate desire to be good, whilst having no choice but to obey the brother whose protection she sought after becoming a widow.

Because the story is based on fact, some of the outcomes are already known, but the story is structured in such a way that it keeps the reader guessing. There are twists and turns in the journey towards Alice and Matthew’s final fates, and an unveiling of back story, that both keep the reader in suspense. There’s also a real heart stopper of a surprise moment at the end.

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the time, and in the unfolding of the witch hunts. It also has a lot of insights that apply to modern times. The notions of othering and blame, and picking on the vulnerable, are still present today and reading this book provides a chilling insight into where that can lead. Beyond all that, it’s also a cracking story.

Thanks very much to the publishers for a review copy of this book.

You can find out more here.

And you can find more stops on the blog tour here.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Guest Post From Mandy Brittany

 The Cold and Phototime by Mandy Brittany

Today, I have a very special guest on my blog. Mandy Brittany is here to tell us about how she is very generously blogging two novels in order to raise money for charity. Read on to find out how you can help ...

My novels, The Cold and Phototime are up and ready to read on my blogs, with the hope of raising money for Cancer Research.

The reason behind my madness, brainwave, loss of plot, brilliant idea...call it what you will...is my sister has been battling terminal cancer for three years, and I often feel at a loss. So I thought I would try to do something to raise funds for her and everyone else who has suffered or is suffering at the hands of the rotten disease that touches so many. 

You can read both novels for free, of course, but if you read and enjoy and would like to donate a small amount of £2 to my Just Giving page, that would be fantastic. Thank you. I’ve already raised £277, which is amazing.

The Cold is a twisty suspense novel:

Isla Johnson survived an attack by serial killer Carl Jeffery six years ago, which left her psychologically damaged at the time.

Now, after being happy with Jack for three years, things have taken a turn.  An odd university reunion arranged by her first boyfriend; sightings of someone dressed like Carl Jeffery; and who is the mysterious Andy?   Is Isla in danger, or is she losing her mind?

Phototime is a magical, comical journey into manhood:

At the age of 23, Isaac’s dad has died, his mum has disappeared in Australia and he's fallen in love.

He meets Cillian, a man in his fifties, who is on a quest of his own to find his long lost brother.

Cillian teaches Isaac about Phototime – a way of visiting the five minutes after a photograph was taken – and the unlikely pair set out on a comical, magical adventure that takes Isaac on a journey into manhood.


You can read The Cold here.

You can read Phototime here.

And you can donate to Mandy's Just Giving page here.

Please support Mandy and this great cause if you can. 

Friday, 3 February 2017

The Fifth Letter by Nicola Moriarty

The Fifth Letter

Four friends. Five Letters. One Secret.
A scandalous breakthrough novel from Nicola Moriarty that will leave you asking, how well do I really know my friends?

I requested a review copy of this book because I thought the premise sounded so interesting.

Joni, Trina, Deb and Eden have been friends since school, where Joni had decided they should all be friends because they shared surnames beginning with the same letter. Now they are adults and they all have very different lives, but Joni is desperate for them to stay friends so she organizes a holiday for them to reconnect.

Things start to get out of control when they all decide to write a letter in which they will reveal a secret. The letters will be anonymous so that no one will know who has written each one. But one of the friends writes a second letter – a letter revealing something even darker than the other four. The writer tries to destroy it, but Joni finds it and is left wondering which of her friends could be harbouring such a disturbing secret.

There is plenty of intrigue as the reader tries to guess who wrote each letter, and then who could possibly have written the fifth letter. I also liked that it showed the positive sides of female friendship but didn’t shy away from the negatives – the jealousy, the competitiveness, the resentment when it appears that life has treated some more kindly than others.

This is a well paced novel and although it skips about a bit, taking in different time periods and points of view it doesn’t leave the reader feeling confused or lost.

A recommended story of friendship, secrets and what can happen when relationships go really, really wrong.

I received a review copy of this book from the publishers via Netgalley.

You can find out more here.