Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield

Bellman & Black is a heart-thumpingly perfect ghost story, beautifully and irresistibly written, its ratcheting tension exquisitely calibrated line by line. Its hero is William Bellman, who, as a boy of 11, killed a shiny black rook with a catapult, and who grew up to be someone, his neighbours think, who "could go to the good or the bad." 

And indeed, although William Bellman's life at first seems blessed—he has a happy marriage to a beautiful woman, becomes father to a brood of bright, strong children, and thrives in business—one by one, people around him die. And at each funeral, he is startled to see a strange man in black, smiling at him. At first, the dead are distant relatives, but eventually his own children die, and then his wife, leaving behind only one child, his favourite, Dora. 

Unhinged by grief, William gets drunk and stumbles to his wife's fresh grave—and who should be there waiting, but the smiling stranger in black. The stranger has a proposition for William—a mysterious business called "Bellman & Black"

Hardcover, 328 pages
Published November 5th 2013 by Atria/Emily Bestler Books
ebook provided by publisher through netgalley for review

The only reason that I requested this book was because of all the rave reviews for The Thirteenth Tale (which I have yet to read) by the same author.  I began this book with no preconceived ideas about what it was about, other than the fact this was a 'heart-thumping ghost story'.  The writing style was wonderful, the words just flowed so smoothly and for a time I did get lost in the story.

I hope that there aren't going to be any or too many spoilers here, I apologize for that. It was just over half way through this book that I began to wonder where the ghost was, yea there is a guy in black, but it's a guy not a ghost.  Deciding to read the synopsis I discovered that it basically told the plot to about 60% of the way through this book. That's a pet peeve of mine, tell me a little about the book but not everything, leave somethings for the reader to discover for themselves, that's what makes reading enjoyable.

I finished the book waiting for the ghost to show up, for some twist, any kind of satisfing conculsion, but alas it didn't happen.  Disappointing because I really wanted to like this book.  Most likely I will keep The Thirteenth Tale in by TBR pile and give this author another chance.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Revenge & Retribution by Anna Belfrage

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event that is hosted by Jill  at Breaking the Spine and spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.   
   This week I am waiting for 
Book 6 in the Graham Saga - Revenge & Retribution by Anna Belfrage

(I started this series at book 3, you can read them as a stand alone.  But if you are like me and become attached to this family, well you'll just want to start from the beginning).

I think my mouth was left hanging open with that last little sentence of book 5 (Serpents in the Garden) and I did a 'high 5' to myself when I found out about this book.  Be sure to come back on Aug 15th when I review it.

Paperback, 390 pages

Published July 1st, 2014 by Silverwood Books

 'Revenge & Retribution' is the sixth book in Anna Belfrage's time slip series featuring time traveller Alexandra Lind and her seventeenth century husband, Matthew Graham. 

Life in the Colony of Maryland is no sinecure - as Alex and Matthew Graham well know. But nothing in their previous life has prepared them for the mayhem that is about to be unleashed upon them. 

Being labelled a witch is not a good thing in 1684, so it is no wonder Alex Graham is aghast at having such insinuations thrown at her. 

Even worse, it's Matthew's brother-in-law, Simon Melville, who points finger at her. Not that the ensuing hearing is her main concern, because nowadays Alex's entire life is tainted by the fear of what Philip Burley will do to them once he gets hold of them. 

On a sunny May afternoon, Philip finally achieves his aim and over the course of the coming days Alex sees her whole life unravelling, leaving her family permanently maimed. As if all this wasn't enough, Alex also has to cope with the loss of one of her sons.

 Forcibly adopted by the former Susquehannock, Samuel is dragged from Alex's arms to begin a new life in the wilderness. How is Alex to survive all this?

 And will she be able to put her damaged family back together?

What are you waiting for? 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Review: The Collector of Dying Breaths by M.J. Rose (Book Tour)

From one of America’s most imaginative storytellers comes a passionate tale of love and treachery, spanning the days of Catherine de Medici’s court to the twenty-first century and starring a woman drawn back, time and again, to the past.

In 1533, an Italian orphan with an uncanny knack for creating fragrance is plucked from poverty to become Catherine de Medici’s perfumer. To repay his debt, over the years RenĂ© le Florentine is occasionally called upon to put his vast knowledge to a darker purpose: the creation of deadly poisons used to dispatch the Queen’s rivals.
But it’s RenĂ©’s other passion—a desire to reanimate a human breath, to bring back the lives of the two people whose deaths have devastated him—that incites a dangerous treasure hunt five centuries later. That’s when Jac L’Etoile—suffering from a heartache of her own—becomes obsessed with the possibility of unlocking Rene’s secret to immortality.

Soon Jac’s search reconnects her with Griffin North, a man she’s loved her entire life. Together they confront an eccentric heiress whose art collection rivals many museums and who is determined to keep her treasures close at hand, not just in this life but in her next.
Set in the forest of Fontainebleau, crisscrossing the lines between the past and the present, M.J. Rose has written a mesmerizing tale of passion and obsession. This is a gothic tale perfect for fans of Anne Rice, Deborah Harkness, and Diana Galbadon.

Publication Date: April 8, 2014
Atria Books
Hardcover; 384p
ISBN-10: 1451621531

This is book 6 in the Reincarnationist series, I've only read #5 - Seduction and this one.  So no you don't have to read the whole series to enjoy this one.  I do have plans to go back and read this series right from the beginning.

MJ Rose has fast become one of my favorite authors. There are so many things that I love about her books

I love how she takes real historical figures and works them into her books.  This time around it was Catherine de Medici, what an interesting queen to read about.  There was enough historical fiction to satisfy my desire to learn while I read.

Reincarnation, now there is a subject that I love to read about.  Not really sure why, but I enjoy it and how the author ties the 1500's to present day is original and unique. Not being a big fan of fantasy the author wrote this in such a way that it was totally believable.

I also love a good multi genre book, one that doesn't overwhelm the senses.  There is so much going on with this book,  murder, mystery, suspense and yea some romance too.  Put them all together with a remarkable storyline and you get an unputdownable book that how me up into the wee houses of the night.

"It is with irony now, forty years later, to think that if I had not been called a murderer on the most frightening night of my life, there might not be any perfume in Paris today. And that scent—to which I gave my all and which gave me all the power and riches I could have hoped for—is at the heart of why now it is I who call myself a murderer."
From The Collector of Dying Breaths

"A perfume is an intimate object, it is the reflector of the heart." ―Emanuel Ungaro

Praise for The Collector of Dying Breaths

“History, mystery, ambition, lust, love, death and the timeless quest for immortality…a riveting tale of suspense.” – B.A.Shapiro, New York Times bestselling author of The Art Forger

“Mysterious, magical, and mythical…what a joy to read!” – Sara Gruen, New York Times bestselling author

Buy the Book

Amazon US Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble

M.J. Rose is the international best selling author of fourteen novels and two non-fiction books on marketing. Her fiction and non-fiction has appeared in many magazines and reviews including Oprah Magazine. She has been featured in the New York Times, Newsweek, Time, USA Today and on the Today Show, and NPR radio. Rose graduated from Syracuse University, spent the ’80s in advertising, has a commercial in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC and since 2005 has run the first marketing company for authors – The television series PAST LIFE, was based on Rose’s novels in the Renincarnationist series. She is one of the founding board members of International Thriller Writers and runs the blog- Buzz, Balls & Hype. She is also the co-founder of and

Rose lives in CT with her husband the musician and composer, Doug Scofield, and their very spoiled and often photographed dog, Winka.

For more information on M.J. Rose and her novels, please visit her website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter and Goodreads.

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