Thursday, July 20, 2017

Review: The Service of the Dead by Candace Robb

Expertly recreating the social and political upheavals of late medieval Europe, Candace Robb introduces a new series starring Kate Clifford, a woman forged on the warring northern marches of fourteenth century England. 

Political unrest permeates York at the cusp of the fifteenth century, as warring factions take sides on who should be the rightful king--Richard II or his estranged, powerful cousin in exile, Henry Bolingbroke. Independent minded twenty-year-old Kate Clifford is struggling to dig out from beneath the debt left by her late husband. Determined to find a way to be secure in her own wealth and establish her independence in a male dominated society, Kate turns one of her properties near the minster into a guest house and sets up a business. In a dance of power, she also quietly rents the discreet bedchambers to the wealthy, powerful merchants of York for nights with their mistresses.

But the brutal murder of a mysterious guest and the disappearance of his companion for the evening threatens all that Kate has built. Before others in town hear word of a looming scandal, she must call upon all of her hard-won survival skills to save herself from ruin.

Paperback Publication Date: May 9, 2017
Pegasus Books
Paperback; 256 Pages
Series: Kate Clifford Mysteries, Book One
Genre: Historical/Mystery/Thriller
***

As you can read from the synopsis 20-year-old Kate Clifford doesn't have an easy life, her late husband left her a mess and she is determined to make it on her own in a male-dominated society. What she doesn't expect is to find a dead body in her rooming house. There are more surprises for Kate in The service of the Dead as she tries to unravel who this person is and why he was killed.

Even though it took me a little bit to get invested in the story I found myself rooting for Kate and donning my inspector hat along with her. The year is 1399 and there is political tension throughout the realm of York. This isn't a long book, 236 pages, a nice cozy mystery perfect for the beach. I enjoyed reading this one, getting to know Kate and it wasn't hard to feel for her plight as it seems each direction she goes she gets slammed with a another challenge.

The Service of the Dead is the first book in the Kate Clifford Mystery Series. There is mystery here, action and a wide cast of characters with enough historical detail to get a great feel of the era. Though I found this book a little slow at times I enjoyed it and look forward to reading the next in the series called The Twisted Vengeance.

Thank you to Amy at HFVBT for the opportunity to be part of this tour.



Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound



Candace Robb did her graduate work in medieval literature and history, and has continued to study the period while working first as an editor of scientific publications and now for some years as a freelance writer.

Candace has published 13 crime novels set in 14th century England, Wales, and Scotland. The Owen Archer series is based in York and currently extends over 10 novels beginning with THE APOTHECARY ROSE; the most recent is A VIGIL OF SPIES. The Margaret Kerr trilogy explores the early days of Scotland’s struggle again England’s King Edward I, and includes A TRUST BETRAYED, THE FIRE IN THE FLINT, and A CRUEL COURTSHIP.

 Writing as Emma Campion, Candace has published historical novels about two fascinating women she encountered while researching the Owen Archer mysteries, Alice Perrers (THE KING’S MISTRESS) and Joan of Kent (A TRIPLE KNOT). 

Candace was born in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and has lived most of her adult life in Seattle, Washington, which she and her husband love for its combination of natural beauty and culture. Candace enjoys walking, hiking, and gardening, and practices yoga and vipassana meditation. She travels frequently to Great Britain.

For more information, please visit Candace Robb's website.

You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour we are giving away a copy of The Service of the Dead and A Twisted Vengeance to one lucky winner!

To enter please see the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on July 21st. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to residents in the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

  Kate Clifford Series Blog Tour

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Review: The Address by Fiona Davis

 Fiona Davis, author of The Dollhouse, returns with a compelling novel about the thin lines between love and loss, success and ruin, passion and madness, all hidden behind the walls of The Dakota, New York City's most famous residence.

After a failed apprenticeship, working her way up to head housekeeper of a posh London hotel is more than Sara Smythe ever thought she'd make of herself. But when a chance encounter with Theodore Camden, one of the architects of the grand New York apartment house The Dakota, leads to a job offer, her world is suddenly awash in possibility--no mean feat for a servant in 1884. The opportunity to move to America, where a person can rise above one's station. The opportunity to be the female manager of The Dakota, which promises to be the greatest apartment house in the world. And the opportunity to see more of Theo, who understands Sara like no one else . . . and is living in The Dakota with his wife and three young children.

In 1985, Bailey Camden is desperate for new opportunities. Fresh out of rehab, the former party girl and interior designer is homeless, jobless, and penniless. Two generations ago, Bailey's grandfather was the ward of famed architect Theodore Camden. But the absence of a genetic connection means Bailey won't see a dime of the Camden family's substantial estate. Instead, her -cousin- Melinda--Camden's biological great-granddaughter--will inherit almost everything. So when Melinda offers to let Bailey oversee the renovation of her lavish Dakota apartment, Bailey jumps at the chance, despite her dislike of Melinda's vision. The renovation will take away all the character and history of the apartment Theodore Camden himself lived in . . . and died in, after suffering multiple stab wounds by a madwoman named Sara Smythe, a former Dakota employee who had previously spent seven months in an insane asylum on Blackwell's Island.

One hundred years apart, Sara and Bailey are both tempted by and struggle against the golden excess of their respective ages--for Sara, the opulence of a world ruled by the Astors and Vanderbilts; for Bailey, the free-flowing drinks and cocaine in the nightclubs of New York City--and take refuge and solace in the Upper West Side's gilded fortress. But a building with a history as rich--and often tragic--as The Dakota's can't hold its secrets forever, and what Bailey discovers in its basement could turn everything she thought she knew about Theodore Camden--and the woman who killed him--on its head.

With rich historical detail, nuanced characters, and gorgeous prose, Fiona Davis once again delivers a compulsively readable novel that peels back the layers of not only a famed institution, but the lives --and lies--of the beating hearts within.

Hardcover, 368 pages 
Expected publication: August 1st 2017 
by Dutton Books
**** 1/2


It's not that often that I polish off a book in 24 hours but when I do, it's obviously a sign of how enticing it is. The synopsis gives a detailed portrait of what to expect here and it was my curiosity of how Sara could have killed this man who knew her so well. As the story evolved I kept looking for clues and wondering how and why this would take place.

Lately it seems with dual narrative books I find myself engrossed with both the past and present story lines, but with The Address I found myself drawn to the past more, I think I got to know the characters better and found the plot more intriguing, reading about the lifestyle and historical aspects of the time is something that interests me. The 1985 time was interesting enough, with Bailey and her cousin Melinda but the author spent more time on the past. I appreciated the timing of this part of the book with it's lack of electronic devices -no cell phones, no Internet, no computer jargon, that was a nice refreshing change.

The Address comes in at 368 pages, I thought the first two thirds were great, there was depth of character, the story line moved at the right pace and I had a hard time putting it down. However, the last third could have done with a few more pages, I felt the ending a bit rushed and there could have been more time spent drawing out the conclusion. Now don't get me wrong here I found the ending was fitting and it wasn't till close to the end where it actually dawned on me what might be taking place, so I commend the author for dropping clues that didn't always register with me.

The historical aspect always fascinates me, with the actual building and renovation of the Dakota, time spent in an insane asylum and the landscape of New York City in that era. The timing of some actual historical events were moved to fit the story and I am fine with that, if the author didn't mention that in the author's notes I wouldn't have known any different. But I appreciate the mention showing the author's respect for the history here.

Definitely a book and author I highly recommend.

Thanks to Penguin Group for an advanced copy of this little gem.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Spotlight: An Epiphany in Lilacs by Iris Dorbian

Publication Date: January 1, 2017
Mazo Publishers
eBook & Papberback; 180 Pages
Genre: Young Adult/Historical Fiction/World War II


An Epiphany In Lilacs is a young adult novel set in a DP camp outside Hamburg, Germany following the end of World War II.

The author, Iris Dorbian, captures in this story a unique glimpse into the period after the Holocaust when survivors had to deal with their new realities for living, based on her father's personal experience. After liberation in May 1945, Daniel, a 14-year-old Latvian Jew, is treated in a field hospital in the British zone of partitioned Germany. A survivor of various concentration camps, Daniel fights to recover from starvation and disease.

Racked by nightmares, a nearly nightly occurrence, Daniel finds sleep almost impossible. Through his love of nature, and pre-war memories, Daniel struggles to find comfort. He forms an intriguing bond with an older German gentile, another survivor. Later on, as he joins a theater troupe, Daniel tries to move on with his life, yet still searching for the whereabouts of his mother and two sisters. Poised on the cusp of a new life, young Daniel makes his way to the country that will become his new home.


"Rich with powerful and piercing historical references, An Epiphany in Lilacs: In the Aftermath of the Camps by Iris Dorbian captures thereality of Jews who survived the Holocaust, the inner scars and the struggles with uncertainty, incessant nightmares, and fitting into the day-to-day lifestyle of ordinary people. It is a heart-wrenching story,told in excellent prose and in the author's unique style. I have been a huge fan of Holocaust literature, starting with Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl, and have always felt appalled by man's cruelty to fellow man. In this new book, the author explores the terrible effects of a fragment of history on the life of a little boy. This is a story to read and share, a powerful story about freedom and the perils of war.Well-crafted with compelling characters and interesting themes." - Divine Zape for Readers' Favorite

"This was a lovely and inspiring read about survival after the war. The fact that this is based on the author's personal accounts made this absolutely mesmerizing. This was such a tragic and heartbreaking time in our history, so to be able to read a story like this was like none other. Iris really captures this time period quite well through her father. The connection Daniel finds with the older German (another survivor of the war) and his story about rebuilding his life in the country while searching for his family makes it impossible to put book down." -Rainy Day Reviews/Bookjunkie Mom Blog

Amazon (Kindle) | Amazon (Paperback) | Barnes & Noble (Paperback) | IndieBound (Paperback)


Iris Dorbian is a business and arts journalist whose articles have appeared in a wide number of outlets that include the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, Venture Capital Journal, Buyouts, Investopedia, DMNews, Jerusalem Report, the Forward, Playbill, Backstage, Theatermania, Live Design, Media Industry Newsletter and PR News.

From 1999 to 2007, Iris was the editor-in-chief of Stage Directions. She is the author of "Great Producers: Visionaries of the American Theater," which was published by Allworth Press in August 2008. Her personal essays have been published in Blue Lyra Review, B O D Y, Embodied Effigies, Jewish Literary Journal, Diverse Voices Quarterly, Adanna Literary Journal, ThisSpace.org, Skirt! and Gothesque Magazine. A New Jersey native, Iris has a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.

For more information, please visit Iris Dorbian's website.
You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.

Giveaway


During the Blog Tour we are giving away a signed copy of An Epiphany in Lilacs to one lucky winner! To enter please see the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on July 28th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

  An Epiphany in Lilacs

Friday, July 14, 2017

Review: Heartwood Hotel, Book 1 A True Home by Kallie George, Stephanie Graegin (Illustrations)

When Mona the Mouse stumbles across the wondrous world of the Heartwood Hotel in the middle of a storm, she desperately hopes they'll let her stay. As it turns out, Mona is precisely the maid they need at the grandest hotel in Fernwood Forest, where animals come from far and wide for safety, luxury, and comfort. But the Heartwood Hotel is not all acorn souffl and soft moss-lined beds. Danger lurks, and as it approaches, Mona finds that this hotel is more than a warm place to spend the night. It might also be a home.

This delightfully enticing start of a new chapter book series tells a tale of friendship, courage, and community, with exquisite black-and-white illustrations throughout.


Paperback, 176 pages 
Published July 3rd 2017 
by Disney-Hyperion
****

Heartwood Hotel, with the secret entrance hidden in a tree, a place of refuge for lost creatures of the wilderness, those that are easy prey for larger beasts of the woods. What an absolutely delightful little story, it reminded me of The Wind in the Willows and Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nim.

With the storm raging Mona accidentally stumbles upon this little place of refuge and gets more than she bargained. With a wonderful cast of characters from the animal kingdom this is a story of friendship, courage and compassion. There is danger and adventure here but toned down for the targeted age.

With lovely penciled drawings scattered throughout I suggest either a print copy or reading in a tablet (sorry but a kindle won't do it justice).

Thanks to Disney Book Group for an ARC


Praise for the Magical Animal Adoption Agency series

 "[This] gentle tale of magic and self-reliance will entertain confident new independent readers. Clover's sweet story is a good next step for lovers of the Magic Tree House." -Kirkus Reviews 

"Readers will be envious of the world of magic that Clover becomes ensconced in and eager to read future installments." -Publishers Weekly

 "[A] charming story, delicately written, with a winning heroine. . . [and] a conclusion that will satisfy young readers." -Booklist Online

 "Graduates of sparkly chapter-book series will be right at home and looking for the next installment posthaste." -Kirkus Reviews

 "[T]he gentle but intrepid Clover continues to charm." -Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (less)


Thursday, July 13, 2017

Review: Local Girl Missing by Claire Douglas

Someone knows where she is…

The old Victorian pier was a thing of beauty until it was allowed to decay. It was where the youth of Oldcliffe-on-Sea would go to hang out. It’s also where twenty-one-year-old Sophie Collier disappeared eighteen years ago.

Francesca Howe, known as Frankie, was Sophie’s best friend, and even now she is haunted by the mystery of what happened to her. When Frankie gets a call from Sophie’s brother, Daniel, informing her that human remains have been found washed up nearby, she immediately wonders if it could be Sophie, and returns to her old hometown to try and find closure. Now an editor at a local newspaper, Daniel believes that Sophie was terrified of someone and that her death was the result of foul play rather than “death by misadventure,” as the police claim.

Daniel arranges a holiday rental for Frankie that overlooks the pier where Sophie disappeared. In the middle of winter and out of season, Frankie feels isolated and unnerved, especially when she is out on the pier late one night and catches a glimpse of a woman who looks like Sophie. Is the pier really haunted, as they joked all those years ago? Could she really be seeing her friend’s ghost? And what actually happened to her best friend all those years ago?

Harrowing, electrifying, and thoroughly compelling, Local Girl Missing showcases once again bestselling author Claire Douglas’ extraordinary storytelling talent. 

Paperback, 352 pages 
Published July 4th 2017 
by Harper Paperbacks 
****

I love a good psychological thriller, one that has me deciphering clues, reading between the lines and where I have the inability to trust anybody.

It's been 18 years since Frankie has been back to her home town, the year her best friend disappeared. Now that it looks like she can finally have some sort of closure she returns when human remains are discovered.

  ...but since being back here I morphing into that girl again. I don't want to go back to being insecure Frankie. I'm Fran now, confident, assured, successful. A grown-up. This place isn't good for me. Too many memories, too many ghosts. 
There is a dual narrative here, one with Frankie talking to Sophie.  It's a unique narrative and one that made me get inside her head garnering that emotional connection, between going over old memories and feelings about being back in a place she left long ago.  The other narrative is Sophie telling her story and what leads up to her deadly fall off the pier.  Usually I enjoy one narrative over another in these types of books, but here I enjoyed each equally.

I was drawn into the story pretty well from the beginning.  There isn't just the mystery of the past but also things taking place to scare Frankie off, hence my distrust of many.  I read the last half in one sitting, there were things that I didn't see coming which I felt played out nicely. On one hand I really liked the ending, it fit the story nicely but a there were few little things I would have loved to have seen a different outcome, but not enough to really spoil the book for me.

All in all an entertaining book and an author I am glad to have discovered. Claire Douglas's debut was The Sisters (which has been added to my TBR pile)

 My sincere thanks to Harper Collins for a copy of this book in exchange for honest review.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Giveaway: The Babe Ruth Deception by David O. Stewart


Publication Date: June 27, 2017
Kensington Books
Hardcover & eBook; 304 Pages
Series: A Fraser and Cook Mystery (Book 3)
Genre: Fiction/Historical/Mysteries/Baseball

As the Roaring Twenties get under way, corruption seems everywhere–from the bootleggers flouting Prohibition to the cherished heroes of the American Pastime now tarnished by scandal. Swept up in the maelstrom are Dr. Jamie Fraser and Speed Cook…

Babe Ruth, the Sultan of Swat, is having a record-breaking season in his first year as a New York Yankee. In 1920, he will hit more home runs than any other team in the American League. Larger than life on the ball field and off, Ruth is about to discover what the Chicago White Sox players accused of throwing the 1919 World Series are learning–baseball heroes are not invulnerable to scandal. With suspicion in the air, Ruth’s 1918 World Series win for the Boston Red Sox is now being questioned. Under scrutiny by the new baseball commissioner and enmeshed with gambling kingpin Arnold Rothstein, Ruth turns for help to Speed Cook–a former professional ballplayer himself before the game was segregated and now a promoter of Negro baseball–who’s familiar with the dirty underside of the sport.

Cook in turn enlists the help of Dr. Jamie Fraser, whose wife Eliza is coproducing a silent film starring the Yankee outfielder. Restraint does not come easily to the reckless Ruth, but the Frasers try to keep him in line while Cook digs around.

As all this plays out, Cook’s son Joshua and Fraser’s daughter Violet are brought together by a shocking tragedy. But an interracial relationship in 1920 feels as dangerous as a public scandal–even more so because Joshua is heavily involved in bootlegging. Trying to protect Ruth and their own children, Fraser and Cook find themselves playing a dangerous game.

Once again masterfully blending fact and fiction, David O. Stewart delivers a nail-biting historical mystery that captures an era unlike any America has seen before or since in all its moral complexity and dizzying excitement.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | IndieBound


Praise for The Babe Ruth Deception

"Having mastered the craft of writing novels that feature Abraham Lincoln and Woodrow Wilson, David O. Stewart has now chosen someone who is perfect for the genre. Babe Ruth was as mythic as a person gets, and the author has surrounded The Babe with a Prohibition cast of bootleggers, gangsters and thugs, giving us a fine yarn that mixes and matches the grand glories of The National Pastime with the nefarious foibles of human nature." --Frank Deford, Sportswriter and Bestselling Novelist

 “This is so much more than a baseball book. There’s a lot of the Babe, but it’s a history book, a mystery book, a complex book that beautifully details an era in America. I loved it!” --Tim Kurkjian, ESPN Baseball Contributor and Author

 “[The Babe Ruth Deception] cleverly mixes real-life people and historical events. The problems of the unlikely sleuths will particularly appeal to baseball fans.” --Kirkus Reviews

 “A rollicking real-life figure leads to a rollicking fictional romp. The allure of the Babe may bring you into this book; David O. Stewart’s lively tale will keep you there.” --Kostya Kennedy

 “Well-written novels that blend fact and fiction always get my attention, and if it’s Babe Ruth and characters from his era, I’m in. David O. Stewart reminds us of why the ‘20s roared, and how much fun the Babe was. A delight!” --Marty Appel, author of Pinstripe Empire

“David O. Stewart, the master of fictional historic deceptions, has hit one out of the park with The Babe Ruth Deception. Not only is it most cleverly plotted but gives us a feel for the corrupt and colorful Era of Prohibition when Babe Ruth was at his most beloved despite – or because of – his off-the-field flaws and excesses.” --Paul Dickson author of Leo Durocher – Baseball’s Prodigal Son

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


David O. Stewart, formerly a lawyer, writes fiction and history. His first historical work told the story of the writing of the Constitution ("The Summer of 1787"). It was a Washington Post Bestseller and won the Washington Writing Prize for Best Book of 2007. His second book ("Impeached"), grew from a judicial impeachment trial he defended before the United States Senate in 1989. "American Emperor: Aaron Burr's Challenge to Jefferson's America" explored Burr's astounding Western expedition of 1805-07 and his treason trial before Chief Justice John Marshall. "Madison's Gift: Five Partnerships That Built America" debuted in February 2015. He has received the 2013 History Award of the Society of the Cincinnati and the 2016 William Prescott Award for History Writing from the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America.

Stewart's fiction career began with the release of "The Lincoln Deception," an historical novel exploring the John Wilkes Booth conspiracy. "The Wilson Deception," the sequel, is set at the Paris Peace Conference in 1919. "The Babe Ruth Deception" occurs during the Babe's first two years with the Yankees while he remade baseball and America began the modern era with Prohibition, bootlegging, and terrrorism. Stewart lives with his wife in Maryland.

Visit his website at www.davidostewart.com.

Giveaway

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away two paperback copies of The Babe Ruth Deception! To enter, please see the Gleam form below.

Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on July 27th.
-You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to residents in the US & Canada only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

  The Babe Ruth Deception


Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Audio Review: The Weight of Lies by Emily Carpenter

In this gripping, atmospheric family drama, a young woman investigates the forty­-year­-old murder that inspired her mother’s bestselling novel, and uncovers devastating truths—and dangerous lies.

Reformed party girl Meg Ashley leads a life of privilege, thanks to a bestselling horror novel her mother wrote decades ago. But Meg knows that the glow of their very public life hides a darker reality of lies, manipulation, and the heartbreak of her own solitary childhood. Desperate to break free of her mother, Meg accepts a proposal to write a scandalous, tell-all memoir.

Digging into the past—and her mother’s cult classic—draws Meg to Bonny Island, Georgia, and an unusual woman said to be the inspiration for the book. At first island life seems idyllic, but as Meg starts to ask tough questions, disturbing revelations come to light…including some about her mother.

Soon Meg’s search leads her to question the facts of a decades-old murder. She’s warned to leave it alone, but as the lies pile up, Meg knows she’s getting close to finding a murderer. When her own life is threatened, Meg realizes the darkness found in her mother’s book is nothing compared to the chilling truth that lurks off the page.

 Kindle Edition, 382 pages 
Published June 6th 2017 
by Lake Union Publishing
****
I was drawn to this book because of the intriguing cover and recommendation from other blogs that I follow (the Baking Bookworm to be exact). I opted for the audio version with my fingers crossed that this would be told in first person, thankfully it was (it's one of my favorite views in audio, I felt like Meg was telling me her story here).

The Weight of Lies is an intriguing story with Meg Ashley trying to break free of her mother's hold by writing a tell all story of her life with a famous author/mother. What really happened forty years ago that inspired her to write this best-selling book that is still just as popular today? As Meg digs deeper it doesn't take long for it to become apparent that someone would like to stop her. As I tried to unravel the mystery myself the author made it difficult with twist and turns as well as characters I wasn't confident which I could trust.

The chapters alternated between excerpts from Kitten (the famous novel) and the other from Meg's point of view. This was handled smoothly in the audio version with distinct chapter headings making it easier to follow the story.

The location was interesting here, Bonny Island, the reader is treated to nice visuals displaying not just its suspicious/creepy side but also it wasn't hard to visualize the beauty with beaches, wild horses and nature.

The author pulled me right in with this book filled with family secrets, murder and mayhem plus a touch of romance.  This is my first time reading anything by Emily Carpenter, definitely an author I will read more of.

This audio was from my personal library (via Audible) and comes in at 11 hours and 57 minutes, the reader is Kate Orsini - she did a great job reading this one.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Review: One For Sorrow: A Ghost Story by Mary Downing Hahn

Against the ominous backdrop of the influenza epidemic of 1918, Annie, a new girl at school, is claimed as best friend by Elsie, a classmate who is a tattletale, a liar, and a thief.

Soon Annie makes other friends and finds herself joining them in teasing and tormenting Elsie. Elsie dies from influenza, but then she returns to reclaim Annie's friendship and punish all the girls who bullied her.

Young readers who revel in spooky stories will relish this chilling tale of a girl haunted by a vengeful ghost.

Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Expected publication: July 18th 2017
 by Clarion Books
**



Who doesn't love a good ghost story! Though I have never read anything by this author I have read reviews with positive remarks about her previous works. For a middle grade audience I knew it couldn't be too too spooky but still enough to grab the attention of that age group.

I have to admit at the 30% mark I was ready to give up, to me this was just Mean Girls on steroids. I got the just of the picture the author was painting but it just seemed to go on and on. When we were first introduced to Annie she comes across as a sweet shy girl then she becomes so nasty, I get how that fit into the story but it felt to fast and uncharacteristic. I would have loved to known more about Elsie's home life and why she was a tattletale, liar and thief.

As for the ghosty scary spooky side of the story I didn't feel that at all and again there was a stretch in the middle/last third that was the same thing over and over again. There was no real surprise or suspense on who the ghost was, I only continued to read because I was curious about the ending.

It was a good ending and I loved how the author played on her mother's own history here. It's a time period lacking in MA HF and I commend the author for tackling it.

However I did find this book somewhat disturbing and not really one that I would recommend to my nine-year-old granddaughter.

Thanks to Netgalley for an ARC ebook copy.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Review: Taking My Life Back: My Story of Faith, Determination, and Surviving the Boston Marathon Bombing by Rebekah Gregory, Anthony Flacco

 On April 15, 2013, Rebekah Gregory and her five-year-old son waited at the finish line of the Boston Marathon to support a friend who was running. When the blasts of terrorists' homemade bombs packed with nails and screws went off three feet away, Rebekah's legs took the brunt of the blast, protecting her son from certain death. Eighteen surgeries and sixty-five procedures later, her left leg was amputated.

Despite the extraordinary trauma she underwent and the nightmares she continues to have, Rebekah sees it as just another part of her personal journey, a journey that has led her through abuse, mistakes, and pain and into the arms of Jesus. This stirring memoir tells the story of her recovery, including her triumphant return to Boston two years later to run part of the race, and explores the peace we experience when we learn to trust God with every part of our lives—the good, the bad, and even the terrifying.

Hardcover, 272 pages 
Published April 4th 2017 
by Fleming H. Revell Company
*** 1/2

Rebekah Gregory chose not to be a victim but a survivor. She shares her story of not just the Boston bombing but her growing up years and what shaped her to be the person she is today.

"...if you expect to read about a perfect Christian life with a pretty little bow on it, you have picked up the wrong memoir.  What you will read about it someone who tries to live the Christian life, who tries to walk with God, and who had not always succeeded in getting things right."

I found this book to be a quick read while still engaging and inspiring. Rebecca has gone through a lot in her life before the bombing and she is very candid with her struggles and errors in judgement. She doesn't sugar coat her story making it easy to relate to.

Her faith is central here and she let's the reader in on her thoughts and motivations. She is honest as she shares her emotional roller coaster ride recovery, and not just the physical aspect.

Taking My Life Back is an inspirational story. While there were times I found the book a little disjointed, with it bouncing around a number of times, it was a moving testimony and one that will stay with me.


"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc."

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Review: The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

In an enthralling new historical novel from national bestselling author Kate Quinn, two women—a female spy recruited to the real-life Alice Network in France during World War I and an unconventional American socialite searching for her cousin in 1947—are brought together in a mesmerizing story of courage and redemption.

1947. In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She's also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie's parents banish her to Europe to have her "little problem" taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister.

1915. A year into the Great War, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance when she's recruited to work as a spy. Sent into enemy-occupied France, she's trained by the mesmerizing Lili, the "Queen of Spies", who manages a vast network of secret agents right under the enemy's nose.

Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house. Until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn't heard in decades, and launches them both on a mission to find the truth...no matter where it leads.

  “Both funny and heartbreaking, this epic journey of two courageous women is an unforgettable tale of little-known wartime glory and sacrifice. Quinn knocks it out of the park with this spectacular book!”—Stephanie Dray, New York Times bestselling author of America's First Daughter


 Paperback: 528 pages 
 Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
 (June 6, 2017) 
*****

You know what I wanted to do when I finished this book? Turn back to page 1 and start all over again. Then I think I will grab her Rome series and reread those. There were so many things that I loved about this book and it comes with a major gosh alert, consider yourself warned.

If it was possible to give more than a five stars I definitely would, not only did it make my 'best of 2017' but make my list of all time favorites.

The Alice Network is a dual time period story, where one usually involves a current day thread and a past it was a nice change for the focus to be on the past, the two world wars. I have read everything Kate Quinn has written this is her first venture out of Rome and a totally different era. It takes a talented author who can make that jump and hit a grand slam. She has totally done that here. 

I loved the uniqueness of the subject matter, the little know parts of history brought to life in a realistic and believable matter, it had me chomping at the bit to google so much. I was good and waited till I finished not just the book but the author's notes as well. Anyone who knows me knows I love when a book finishes off with these, especially in a historical piece. It's where the author gets to talk about what's real, what's made up giving the reader an inside look at the motivation and what drew the author the write this book - loved it! 

The Alice Network was a compelling story with characters that were real, in a setting full of intrigue, suspense and heartbreak, witty at times to break the tension (as only Kate Quinn can do). Quinn's pose is flawless, she gives depth to her characters and setting making me feel like I am right there, I can feel the emotion pulse through this story giving credence to the author's ability to weave together a great story.

It is always a pleasure reading a Kate Quinn book, thank you to TLC Tours for the opportunity to be part of this tour. Be sure to check out the video below where some of us bloggers are given the opportunity to ask her questions.

 

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble



Kate Quinn is a native of Southern California. She attended Boston University, where she earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in classical voice.

A lifelong history buff, she has written four novels in the Empress of Rome Saga and two books set in the Italian Renaissance detailing the early years of the infamous Borgia clan. All have been translated into multiple languages.

She and her husband now live in Maryland with two black dogs named Caesar and Calpurnia.

 Find out more about Kate at her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.





Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Spotlight/Giveaway: Dancing in the Rain by Lucy Appadoo

Can she end the turmoil and escape the firmly built trap to find the freedom she craves?


Fifteen-year old Valeria Allegro works diligently on the family farm in Italy, where she is torn between her duty to her family and her desire to find freedom from her strict, domineering father. She finds solace in Dario, a young student who provides a blissful escape—until a neighbour’s son, Gregorio, decides he wants her for himself.

This raises an alarm for her father, which leads to family conflict and aggression. When Dario is threatened and her family is plagued by a series of suspicious accidents, Valeria is desperate to keep her loved ones safe. Can she end the turmoil and escape the firmly built trap to find the freedom she craves?

Book Title: Dancing in the Rain (The Italian Family Series)
Author: Lucy Appadoo
Category: Adult Fiction, 274 pages
Genre: Historical Coming of Age/Romance/Family Drama
Publisher: Lucy Appadoo
Release date: March 24, 2017
Tour dates: June 5 to 23, 2017
Content Rating: PG-13 + M (There is physical abuse and death involved.)



Buy the Book:

Lucy Appadoo is a registered counsellor and wellness coach with a part-time private practice. She also works as a rehabilitation counsellor for the Australian government. In her spare time, she self-publishes or writes nonfiction and fiction texts. She previously worked as a rehabilitation consultant, caseworker, English as a second language teacher, and proofreader.

Lucy has postgraduate diplomas in psychology, education, and English as a Second Language teaching, as well as specialised qualifications in grief counselling and hypnosis. She has also completed wellness coaching courses (levels 1-3) at Wellness Coaching Australia.

Lucy enjoys reading romantic suspense, romance, thrillers, crime novels, family/historical drama, and sagas. She writes in the genres of romantic suspense, historical fiction, and romance. She has enjoyed travelling to exotic places such as Madrid, Mauritius, and Italy, and draws on these experiences in her creative writing.

Lucy’s favourite authors include Kendra Elliot, Christiane Heggan, Theresa Ragan, Tara Moss, Nicholas Sparks, Adriana Trigiani, Erica Spindler, and James Patterson (to name a few).

Lucy’s interests include meditation, playing tennis, journal writing, reading fiction and nonfiction texts about writing, coaching, and counselling, ongoing professional development, spending time with her husband and two daughters, and socialising with friends and family.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

Enter the Giveaway!
Ends July 1

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Thursday, June 8, 2017

Review: The Irish Milliner by Cynthia G. Neale

It is New York City and the Civil War is brewing.

Norah McCabe, an Irish immigrant who escaped the Famine as a child, is now a young widow with a daughter. She is a milliner, struggling to survive in tumultuous times. 

Norah meets Abraham Lincoln, befriends the extraordinary African-American woman Elizabeth Jennings, and assists the Underground Railroad. She falls headlong in love with Edward M. Knox, son of the famous hat-maker Charles Knox, but he is lace curtain Irish and she is shanty Irish. Edward joins the 69th regiment and leaves for battle. 

Can their love endure through class differences and war? 

This is a story of survival, intrigue, romance, as well as, exploring the conflict of Irish immigrants thrust into a war that threatened to destroy a nation. It is about an Irish-American woman who could be any immigrant today, any woman today, seeking to create beauty and make sense of her life.

Suddenly the Civil War seems very relevant and Cynthia Neale does a great job of focusing on the role of the Irish in the conflict. And it's great fun to be in touch with her wonderful character, Norah McCabe, again!” ~Mary Pat Kelly, author of Galway Bay and Of Irish Blood

This timely novel spans centuries to bring to our attention to a topic as old as yesterday, as expedient as tomorrow?emigration. Neale's work, written with love and insight, reminds us that our neighbor is all mankind.” ~Tim Pat Coogan, Irish broadcaster, journalist, writer and author of 1916 The Easter Rising, Michael Collins and The Famine Plot


Publication Date: June 2, 2017
Fireship Press
eBook; 276 Pages
Genre: Fiction/Historical/Romance
*** 1/2

I don't recall reading a book about an Irish immigrant living in New York City during the Civil War era, which I think is one of the reason this book appealed to me and I jumped at the opportunity to be part of this blog tour. 

Norah is a young Irish American mother, widowed and residing in the Five-Points area of New York City. While it took me a little bit to get immersed in the story I found the view of New York City before the Civil War interesting and a true picture of what life was like back then.

I enjoyed Norah's character, she was determined, devoted and caring. She wasn't afraid to stand her ground and worked hard trying to expand her hat business. 

You have to wonder if it would be easier just to put your head down, devote yourself to your loved ones and try to survive the times. I love hearing about the Underground Railroad with it's secret messaging systems, I found the involvement of the hats fascinating and would have loved a little more detail into their role. 

All in all I enjoyed this one, it's always great reading about strong women who go against the grain of society, who want to make a difference and a better life not just for themselves but others as well.

The author's note always finish off a book nicely and I enjoyed learning that Elizabeth Jennings as well as Edward and Charles Knox were actual real historical figures. I could feel the author's passion for the Irish and it shows here with her knowledge of the times.

I received a copy of this ebook as part of the tour in exchange for an honest review.


Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes | Kobo



Cynthia G. Neale is a native of the Finger Lakes region of New York and now resides in New Hampshire. She has long possessed a deep interest in the tragedies and triumphs of the Irish during the Great Hunger. This is Ms. Neale’s fourth novel. She also writes plays, short stories, and essays, and holds a B.A. in Writing and Literature from Vermont College.

 For more information, please visit Cynthia G. Neale's website.

You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.


Giveaway

To win an eBook of The Irish Milliner by Cynthia G. Neale, please enter the Gleam form below.

Two eBooks are up for grabs! 

 – Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on June 9th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
 – Giveaway is open internationally.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
 – Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

  The Irish Milliner

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Book Blast and Giveaway: The Fortune Teller by Gwendolyn Womack

FROM THE AWARD-WINNING AUTHOR OF THE MEMORY PAINTER COMES A SWEEPING AND SUSPENSEFUL TALE OF ROMANCE, FATE, AND FORTUNE. 

Semele Cavnow appraises antiquities for an exclusive Manhattan auction house, deciphering ancient texts—and when she discovers a manuscript written in the time of Cleopatra, she knows it will be the find of her career. Its author tells the story of a priceless tarot deck, now lost to history, but as Semele delves further, she realizes the manuscript is more than it seems. Both a memoir and a prophecy, it appears to be the work of a powerful seer, describing devastating wars and natural disasters in detail thousands of years before they occurred. 

The more she reads, the more the manuscript begins to affect Semele’s life. But what happened to the tarot deck? As the mystery of her connection to its story deepens, Semele can’t shake the feeling that she’s being followed. Only one person can help her make sense of it all: her client, Theo Bossard. Yet Theo is arrogant and elusive, concealing secrets of his own, and there’s more to Semele’s desire to speak with him than she would like to admit. Can Semele even trust him? 

The auction date is swiftly approaching, and someone wants to interfere—someone who knows the cards exist, and that the Bossard manuscript is tied to her. Semele realizes it’s up to her to stop them: the manuscript holds the key to a two-thousand-year-old secret, a secret someone will do anything to possess.

Paperback Publication Date: June 6, 2017
Picador
Paperback; 368 Pages
ISBN: 9781250099778
Genre: Fiction/Historical/Mystery

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | IndieBound | Powell's

Praise for The Fortune Teller

"Beginning as a clever mystery based on an ancient manuscript and evolving into a family epic spanning centuries, an international thriller, and a destined romance, The Fortune Teller has something for everyone. Offer it to fans of A.S. Byatt's Possession and Lauren Willig's Pink Carnation series."―Booklist

 "Womack alternates back and forth between a whirlwind history that spans thousands of years and the suspense of Semele's search...Entertaining."—Kirkus Reviews

 "The Fortune Teller is a gripping, twisting tale that spans thousands of years, thousands of miles, and perhaps even crosses over to the 'other side.' A fascinating read that is that unlikely combination of unputdownable and thought-provoking."—B.A. Shapiro, bestselling author of The Art Forger and The Muralist

 "There aren't enough words to adequately describe how much I love The Fortune Teller. It is a gripping and masterfully woven combination of history, mystery, fate, adventure, and family ties: a true page-turner that enthralls from the first sentence with unique characters, fascinating settings, and intriguing artifacts. Womack brilliantly illuminates how there is more at play in the world than logic can explain."—Kelli Estes, USA Today bestselling author of The Girl Who Wrote in Silk

 "The Fortune Teller takes you on an international thrill ride across centuries—with fascinating research and memorable characters—proving once again that Gwendolyn Womack is a magician, keeping readers turning pages with wonder and awe."—M.J. Rose, New York Times bestselling author

 "What a mesmerizing journey. The suspense increases steadily throughout the novel, as Semele realizes her identity is caught up in the mysterious manuscript and that the truth of her own abilities is a secret people will kill for. Readers who enjoy the novels of Katherine Neville, Kate Mosse and Diana Gabaldon will savor this treat."—Nancy Bilyeau, author of The Crown

About the Author

Originally from Houston, Texas, Gwendolyn Womack studied theater at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. She holds an MFA in Directing Theatre, Video, and Cinema from California Institute of the Arts. Her first novel, The Memory Painter, was an RWA PRISM award winner in the Time Travel/Steampunk category and a finalist for Best First Novel. She now resides in Los Angeles with her husband and her son.

 For more information please visit Gwendolyn Womack's website.

You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Goodreads.


Giveaway

During the Book Blast we will be giving away a Tarot Deck & Book Set!

To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

 Description: This deck/book set provides everything you need to understand tarot. The full-size deck is a vibrantly recolored version of the classic Rider-Waite deck, updated with subtle shading that gives depth to the familiar tarot scenes. The 272-page, user-friendly handbook with full-color illustrations is perfect for beginners as well as experienced readers who want to refresh their tarot skills.

Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on June 30th.
You must be 18 or older to enter.
Giveaway is open to residents in the US only.
Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

  The Fortune Teller Book Blast


Friday, June 2, 2017

Audio Review: The Night the Lights Went Out by Karen White

 From the New York Times bestselling author of the Tradd Street series comes a stunning new novel about a young single mother who discovers that the nature of friendship is never what it seems....

Recently divorced, Merilee Talbot Dunlap moves with her two children to the Atlanta suburb of Sweet Apple, Georgia. It's not her first time starting over, but her efforts at a new beginning aren't helped by an anonymous local blog that dishes about the scandalous events that caused her marriage to fail.

Merilee finds some measure of peace in the cottage she is renting from town matriarch Sugar Prescott. Though stubborn and irascible, Sugar sees something of herself in Merilee--something that allows her to open up about her own colorful past.

Sugar's stories give Merilee a different perspective on the town and its wealthy school moms in their tennis whites and shiny SUVs, and even on her new friendship with Heather Blackford. Merilee is charmed by the glamorous young mother's seemingly perfect life and finds herself drawn into Heather's world.

In a town like Sweet Apple, where sins and secrets are as likely to be found behind the walls of gated mansions as in the dark woods surrounding Merilee's house, appearance is everything. But just how dangerous that deception can be will shock all three women....

 Published April 11th 2017 
by Berkley Books 
15 hrs and 18 mins via Audible
****
Karen White is a relatively new author for me. I have read The Forgotten Room which she pinned with two other authors but it was her book The Sound of Glass that really made me pay attention to her work. That book was an audio read for me and I absolutely loved it, so it only stands to reason that I jumped at the chance to listen to the audio book for the night the lights went out when it became available from Audible.

This would be a perfect beach book in my opinion. Coming in at just over 400 pages there is enough time for the reader to get to know the characters and for the plot to really develop. While I could see where the story line was going I was waiting for that big event, that turning point, for lack of a better word the inciting incident that I knew was going to pop up at any moment. When it did it was something I totally did not expect and was rather speechless while I listened. I love it when an author does that, throws a curve ball with something believable but totally unexpected.

The author brings the south to life with unique saying and customs, the added feature of the blog postings left me wondering who the writer could be, the motives and how that fit with the story. Again there were some aspects that were predictable but the smooth writing, intricate detail and satisfactory ending made this a very enjoyable book to listen to.

Karen White is an author that I definitely recommend both in print and audiobook format.

This audio book was obtained from Audible and part of my personal library. 

Click on the covers below which will take you to my reviews of  The Forgotten Room and The Sound of Glass.


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Review: The Wonder by Emma Donoghue



An eleven-year-old girl stops eating, but remains miraculously alive and well. A nurse, sent to investigate whether she is a fraud, meets a journalist hungry for a story.

Set in the Irish Midlands in the 1850s, The Wonder—inspired by numerous European and North American cases of “fasting girls” between the sixteenth century and the twentieth—is a psychological thriller about a child’s murder threatening to happen in slow motion before our eyes. Pitting all the seductions of fundamentalism against sense and love, it is a searing examination of what nourishes us, body and soul.




Hardcover, Canadian Edition, 291 pages 
Published September 20th 2016 
by HarperCollins Publishers
***

This is a book I have been wanting to read for a while, I have never read anything by Emma Donahue but I have heard many good things about her books.

The Wonder begins as nurse Lib makes her way to a small Irish Village, she is hired to watch over Anna, a young 11-year-old who has supposedly not eaten for four months and does not show signs of it, her task is to see if this is true or if someone is secretly feeding her.

The first part of the book was interesting enough as we meet the players and get a good sense of the landscape and the family members involved. But I really struggled with the next bit as I found it a bit dry and flat to the point where I was ready to give up. But I did something I very rarely do and that is look at other reviews before I finished it.  A number of them said the book picks up in the last third or so I persevered and got to that point, then I could not put the book down.

There is a lot of emotion in the story whether it be Nurse Lib, Anna's mother, the Sister or the reporter you can feel the tension in the air as they all have different reasons for wanting to be close to Anna. Superstition and religious convictions plays a big role here as does skepticism. Like I said it was the last part of the book that I found most interesting and the ending was satisfying even if somewhat improbable.

I will read more by this author, it wasn't hard to feel her dedication to this story and amount of research also.

This book was from my personal library and part of my 'reading off my TBR' challenge for 2017.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Review: Between Heaven and the Real World: My Story by Steven Curtis Chapman

For decades, Steven Curtis Chapman's music and message have brought hope and inspiration to millions around the world. Now, for the first time, Steven openly shares the experiences that have shaped him, his faith, and his music in a life that has included incredible highs and faith-shaking lows.

Readers will be captivated by this exclusive look into Steven's childhood and challenging family dynamic growing up, how that led to music and early days on the road, his wild ride to the top of the charts, his relationship with wife Mary Beth, and the growth of their family through births and adoptions. In addition to inside stories from his days of youth to his notable career, including the background to some of his best-loved songs, readers will walk with Steven down the devastating road of loss after the tragic death of five-year-old daughter Maria. And they'll experience his return to the stage after doubting he could ever sing again.

 Poignant, gut-wrenchingly honest, yet always hopeful, Steven offers no sugary solutions to life's toughest questions. Yet out of the brokenness, he continues to trust God to one day fix what is unfixable in this life. This backstage look at the down-to-earth superstar they've come to love will touch fans' lives and fill their hearts with hope. Includes black-and-white photos throughout.

 Hardcover, 448 pages
 Published March 7th 2017 
by Fleming H. Revell Company
*****

"We'll travel over mountains so high, we'll go through valleys so low.  Still through it all we'll find that this is the greatest journey the human heart will ever see.  The love of God will take us far beyond our wildest dreams."


Between Heaven & the Real World is an authentic, emotional story of the life of Christian musician Steven Curtis Chapman. It is hard for me to add much to this review that isn't covered in the synopsis above.  Gut-wrenchingly honest is the perfect phrase that comes to mind.

From Chapman's growing up years, his relationship to Mary Beth and the tragic death of their young daughter, he doesn't hold back. There is more about his career here as well, the songs he has written and there meaning, the early days of his musical career right up to the adoption of his 3 daughters from China.  A down to earth guy with the same struggles and challenges as everyone else, who is brutally honest and doesn't hold back when faced with a parents worst nightmare.

I don't read non fiction as often as I would like and reading this one proved that I need to venture in that direction more often.

 Book provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications Inc.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Review: Not a Sound by Heather Gudenkauf

A shocking discovery and chilling secrets converge in this latest novel from New York Times bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf.

 When a tragic accident leaves nurse Amelia Winn deaf, she spirals into a depression that ultimately causes her to lose everything that matters--her job, her husband, David, and her stepdaughter, Nora. Now, two years later and with the help of her hearing dog, Stitch, she is finally getting back on her feet. But when she discovers the body of a fellow nurse in the dense bush by the river, deep in the woods near her cabin, she is plunged into a disturbing mystery that could shatter the carefully reconstructed pieces of her life all over again.

As clues begin to surface, Amelia finds herself swept into an investigation that hits all too close to home. But how much is she willing to risk in order to uncover the truth and bring a killer to justice? 

New York Times bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf has been described as "masterful" and "intelligent" and compared to Lisa Scottoline and Jodi Picoult. Introducing her most compelling heroine yet, she delivers a taut and emotional thriller that proves she's at the top of her class.

 Paperback, 352 pages
 Expected publication: May 30th 2017 
by Park Row Books
****
Heather Gudenkauf is a favorite of mine I think I have read all of her books, but one. See end of post for list and review links.

One of the things I love about her books is that she has unique plots, settings and characters. Not a Sound starts with the bang and quickly drew me. Amelia is putting her life back together after a hit and run accident that claimed her hearing, this book is told from her point of view.

I found this to be a fast paced story and while I enjoyed the mystery part and how that was resolved I really enjoyed getting to know Amelia and seeing what life is like for her on a day to day basis. Not being born deaf but as a result of an accident, the author did a great job with her struggles and coming to terms with her new way of life. I don't think I've ever read a book featuring a deaf protagonist, and I was interested in how she had to modify her surroundings - special phones, service dog and learning to lip read (just to name a few). Stitch was great and added the extra spark to the story.

 Not a Sound is a suspenseful story with an interesting cast of characters in a unique setting. The ending wasn't what I expected, they were twists and turns along the way that have me guessing at the outcome. Definitely a book I highly recommend. 

Thanks to the publisher (via Netgalley) for an advanced e-book copy.