Wednesday 31 December 2014

A Season of Fear by Brian Freeman

This is the second Cab Bolton thriller, the first is The Bone House. The assassination of a politician leaves a trail of unanswered questions ten years after the tragedy.

Now the tables are turned and his wife is in the midst of a political campaign. There are threats against her life and those threats result in the past being dug up again.

Who was the shooter? Was the wrong person blamed? It seems as if everyone is hiding some kind of secret. The real culprit is an unexpected surprise, but the viciousness that person shows is even more of a surprise.

The book can be read as a standalone, however the characters are solid enough to make the reader want to discover more in the series.

The whole Diane and Cab storyline seemed a wee bit forced and predictable. I am surprised his mother took it on board with such ease. The relationship between Cab and Tarla is a major focus of the story, which is pleasant but not overpowering. The mother with a large ego to go hand in hand with her fame and talent. Not an easy personality to deal with as a child or as an adult for that matter. Perhaps her flamboyant manner is why he turns to Diane in the first place.

Peach is one of the more colourful characters, and her storyline takes the reader straight towards the solution. At first her problems and involvement seem almost trivial to both Cab and the reader, however this changes quickly as the pace of the book picks up.

Freeman has managed to wrap a mystery within a crime and send the readers off in multiple wrong directions before bringing the story to a surprising conclusion.
I received a copy of this book courtesy of Edelweiss.

Saturday 27 December 2014

A Secret to Die For by Sierra Dean

The end of  Secret McQueen, as we know her, and I  for one am sorry to see her go. This Urban Fantasy series has to be one of the most underrated in the ocean of books. It deserves to be right up there with the big guns.

It was an unexpected ending. In a way  it was almost a let down. Not exactly the atypical Secret exit. It felt as if Secret was at ease because the end solution gives her perhaps what she wished for all along.

I find that odd and not exactly realistic when you take her friends, lovers and comrades in arms into consideration. How is she supposed to fit in and function or be respected by the supernatural after that?

Apparently Dean is planning a spin-off, so I am sure we will hear from Secret again if only in a side character capacity.

Everyone turns up for the last stand against evil. All the favourites characters and more are there to support Secret. Not everyone gets out of this spectacular meltdown alive. Dean actually swings the great author sword of the main character cull, so expect to be both surprised and perhaps even upset by the demise of one person in particular.

Unlike other reviewers I didn't feel this was a perfect ending to an admittedly very good series. I believe it was far too sugary sweet and goody two shoes to do Secret justice. However I also think Dean wrote it in a way that leaves a back-door for Secret to return. Why? Because of Aubrey and what he intends to and will do with his newly gained advantage.
I received a copy of this book via Netgalley.

Friday 26 December 2014

A Year After Henry by Cathie Pelletier

I think it is a home truth that we don't really know how much we and our lives are impacted by certain people in our lives until we have to do without them.

The death of Henry leaves ripples of waves in the lives of his family members, the local community, the people he connected with and the ones he kept hidden in the wings.

It is a year after his death and everyone is still trying to fill the gaps left by the sudden departure of Henry. His brother Larry is struggling to find his place after losing his wife and son after a nasty divorce. In his odd search for comfort he happens to find himself attracted to the one person, who has the ability to destroy what is left of his family.

Jeannie is obsessed with the secret life Henry had. She has this strange need to know why, and why that particular person. She spends her time placing the blame firmly on the living instead of on the dead.

Pelletier has also woven an important sub-plot into this story of loss, sorrow and guilt. The issue of domestic abuse and violent partners. The most important point the author makes is the way the abused is often treated like a liar, especially by other women when the abused is a woman. The abuser is more often than not a charming two-faced popular person, the type who doesn't fit the criteria of abuser in most people's heads.

Why is it so hard to believe someone in that kind of situation? Why does it have to happen again before someone steps in to help? What is it about abuse that make the abuser warrant more support and protection than the abused?
This is a tale of grief and how life goes on after the death of a loved one.
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.

Dead Man's Gift part 1 Yesterday by Simon Kernick

This is the first in a three-part thriller by Simon Kernick.

Tim Horton is faced with a complex and distressing situation.

His son has been kidnapped, the child's nanny is dead and the kidnappers are not interested in any kind of ransom.

Instead they only have one demand. They want Tim dead and they want him dead at a time and place of their choosing.

Although fairly short, it does give a good idea of the flavour, pace and story in store for the reader.
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.

Last Night and Today are the next parts in Kernick's Dead Man's Gift.

Thursday 18 December 2014

The Whispers by Lisa Unger

This is the first of three e-novellas by Unger.
Eloise and her family are struck by tragedy, which changes her life in a drastic way. The extremely distressing events change something in her or perhaps it is better to say they connect her to a completely new world.

Since the death of her loved ones Eloise has started getting visions of young girls in fatal situations. She becomes a possible saviour to those in need and those in their last moments of life.

It wasn't made clear how Eloise understands what is happening to her so quickly. How does she know to question the girl? Why is the first question 'Where are you?' and not 'Who are you?' and what the hell is going on?

It also bugged me that she decides to ignore the pleas for help by the second girl. That didn't make any sense to me. By that time Eloise knows she is being shown girls to help them in dire situations, so why would she turn away from any one of them?

Regardless of whether she is going through the stress of a trial. Weighing it up against each other; you either stop a potential killer from striking in your own backyard or you wallow in misery. Keeping in mind that she knows the threat is watching girls in her town.It not only makes no sense, it is also quite selfish.

I wasn't keen on the writing, but the plot is interesting enough to overlook that. I think if given more focus and depth it could become a good series.
I received a copy of this book courtesy of Netgalley.

Wednesday 17 December 2014

Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography

It is certainly an interesting way to write an autobiography. The reader gets to pick which direction they want the life of Neil Patrick Harris to go.

So, for instance you get to the end of a chapter get three choices and pick one. That in turn takes you to another chapter and three other choices.

No matter what you pick, when you start from the beginning again, you never get the same story twice. That in itself makes it an extraordinary read. In essence the read you experience depends completely on your own mood when you pick which direction you want to go in. The power to decide which way to go and what choices to make.

The concept works better digitally, obviously clicking a link is faster and more efficient than searching for specific pages in a hard-copy. I think that would be the only downside to the way it is constructed. Other than that it is quite entertaining.

I think one of my favourite chapters or should I say some of, are the ones about the children. The careful planning, the selection process and the hilarious POTUS  like security scheme when the babies are born.
What is absolutely clear to any reader is just how much Neil loves his husband David, and their children Harper and Gideon. He sounds content, as if all his boxes have been ticked and everything else is just a cherry on top of his very own ice-cream sundae.

My very own voyage with this book was taken at a time of stress and worry. I chose an amusing, happy and fulfilling read, which is exactly what I got. I finished it with a smile on my face and a chuckle on my lips.
I received a copy of this book courtesy of the publisher via Edelweiss.

Saturday 13 December 2014

Captured by Neil Cross

Knowing when you're going to die and how, it makes some people start to think really hard about what they want to fix before the big date.

Kenny decides he needs to right the wrongs of his past, to clean the slate and in a way wash his soul clean off any sin. Regardless of whether that sin is real or imagined.

He goes looking for the victim of an attempted abduction he was witness to many years ago. The guilt of not being able to help more and solve the case still weighs heavily on his conscience. Kenny also tries to square things with his ex.

His quest for his own personal Joan of Arc status also leads him all the way back his very first crush in primary school.That particular search is also the start of a series of spontaneous and dangerous decisions, which doesn't exactly end with the justice he seeks.

Caroline has been missing presumed dead or many years now and her husband Jonathan is the prime suspect. Kenny decides he owes it to his old friend Caroline to make her killer confess or to make him pay in some way. Keeping in mind that nobody is actually certain, whether or not Caroline is in fact dead. Kenny is certain, he knows deep in his heart that she is dead, and  he is willing to go to extreme lengths to prove it.

I think Kenny's obsession leads all the way back to the days when Caroline was the only one who showed him any kindness as a child. Now he feels as if he has to pay her back. He is willing to cross any boundary to do so, and gets other people hurt in the process.

Cross likes to mix the borders of good, bad, guilty and innocent. A good man can be guilty of bad things and a bad man can be perceived innocent of actual crimes. Sometimes justice is just a pretty word and not the reality of the situation.
I received a copy of this book courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley.

Friday 12 December 2014

Thy Father's Shadow by Robert J. Crane

This story takes place during the chapters 22-33 of The Defender Vol.1 of The Sanctuary Series, the Prologue and Epilogue take place during chapter 116 of Crusader Vol.4 of the Sanctuary Series.

I really enjoyed the one-on-one aspect of this book. It  is an in-depth walk into the past, present and future of Terian. That means readers who have been following the series already know what Terian does or doesn't do.

It gives us an extraordinary glimpse into his reasoning, his bizarre loyalty to his father and his internal battle that rages within him. The battle between what is morally right and what his birthright and people expect from him.

The book starts with Terian's exit from Sanctuary and his surprising re-entrance into his own society. A society with strict class structures and run by a dictator of darkness.

The richest battle for rank order, which is achieved by staying in favour with the Sovereign. If anyone disobeys, talks in a negative way about the regime or questions the laws, they can be automatically demoted. Sometimes it is just to a smaller house in a different street and sometimes it is a ticket straight to hell.

Now why would Terian want to forgo the freedom and almost democratic ruling of the Sanctuary for the strict dictatorship of his people? What could possibly make him change his mind about the tragedy that drove him away in the first place?

This is one of my favourites from the series so far. I enjoy it when Crane gives us an in-depth look into one of the characters. There is always so much baggage and background, which in turn helps to understand  the paths and motivations of the extremely complex characters he creates.
I received a copy of this book courtesy of the author.

Wednesday 3 December 2014

The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce

I think at the end I was holding my breath in an anticipation. Not for me, but for Queenie. I wanted her to be at peace, feel forgiven and be able to let go. At the same time I wanted her hopes and dreams to come true. For Henry to make one final gesture, which would be a signal or sign that he felt the same way. I didn't expect the reality to be so cruel and yet it was completely realistic.

Queenie's tale is one of death and one of a lonely life.

This is the unlikely and unexpected sequel to The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry. After the commercial success of Harold's story the odds were against the story of Queenie being just as successful, however that is exactly what happened.

Rachel Joyce has created  two sides of the same story without the content being repetitive or boring. Instead, this one brings the first full circle. Although I would have to point out that each story is subjective and reflects a single persons experience, as opposed to it just being one big happy story.

I think the most vivid element and image that stood out for me wasn't Queenie at all. It was the subtle message about forgetting the elderly, the sick and the terminally ill. How they become the rejects and the recluses of society in their last days, months and years. Hidden away in care homes or a hospice with only the carer or nursing staff to be with within their last hours.

The story is filled with a sense of guilt, sorrow, loneliness and longing. It is sad and yet at the same time a story filled with hope. The last wish of a dying woman, and whether or not it will be fulfilled.
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.