#NetGalley #BookReview ~ After All I’ve Done by Mina Hardy #Mystery

Review

After All I’ve Done

by Mina Hardy

Release date: November  10th, 2020

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of After All I’ve Done by Mina Hardy from NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books in order to read and give an honest review.

...Mina Hardy has crafted a clever psychological tale that is intriguing and unexpected…

While driving to the hospital for a severe gallbladder attack, Diana is involved in a major car accident that changes her life.

Although she survives it is not without complications that leave her debilitated. Broken bones, intense pain and absolutely no memory of what has happened in the time leading up to the accident her life has turned upside down. Living with her Husband and a devoted mother-in-law determined to care for her until she gets back on her feet it seems like an uphill battle. Plagued by pain, amnesia, blackouts, and bad recurring dreams Diana attempts to piece together her memories and figure out why her life-long best friend/soul sister Valerie will not talk to her and why she is filled with a sense of dread about what has happened. 

Knowing that she does not love her husband and finding out he is having an affair; she is feeling alone and helpless yet knows something horrible has led them to this point. When in her dreams she is burying something underneath a tree she wonders what she has done and why she cannot remember but knows unlocking the memories will open the door to her healing.  
 
Mina Hardy has crafted a clever psychological tale that intriguing and unexpected. The plot was so intricate and in one word…twisted. I found I just could not put it down and that it kept me reading into the wee hours of the morning. A must read for those who enjoy psychological mysteries. I loved it and would highly recommend it.

#NetGalley #BookReview of The Once and Future Witches Alix E. Harrow #Fantasy #Witches

Review

The Once and Future Witches

by Alix E. Harrow

Release date: October 13th, 2020

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Once and Future Witches
by Alix E. Harrow from NetGalley and Redhook Books in order to read and give an honest review.

…a well-written, character driven story that is brilliant…

Set in New Salem in 1893, The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow follows the journey of the three Eastwood sisters: Beatrice Belladonna, Agnes Amaranth, and James Juniper. Years after their mother dies due to complications after childbirth, the sisters are separated by their monster of a Father but not before their relationship with each other had been damaged.  The sisters before being separated grew up hearing fairytales and stories of magic and witches from their grandmother Mags. After Mags dies an invisible force draws the three sisters together. An angry, bold and bitter Juniper is drawn to New Salem where the eldest sister Beatrice Belladonna, timid librarian and the unwed, strong and pregnant middle sister Agnes Amaranth are pulled to the middle of town where the three end up in the middle of a Suffragette protest. When a magical storm hits, a dark tower briefly appears, the three sisters realize that Mags’s fairytales and stories about witches might have had some truth to them, a truth which becomes their mission in life.  The sisters realize that they are not alone on their mission, uncovering powerful enemies, reforging bonds, and embracing a way of life long forgotten. 
 
I really enjoyed the novel, but it felt quite different from Ms. Harrow’s previous novel The Ten Thousand Doors of January. Although a well-written, character driven story that is brilliant in its way of tackling subject matter such as abuse, sexuality, racism, misogyny etc. with captivating, emotional, and heartbreaking moments (keeps tissues handy) I found some of it was hard to get through, some sections long-winded and cliché although the book still held my interest. An interesting read for those who love character driven, witchy stories with a powerful sense of sisterhood. 

#NetGalley #BookReview Deception by Gaslight by Kate Belli (A Gilded Gotham Mystery) #Historical #Mystery

Review

Deception by Gaslight

(A Gilded Gotham Mystery)

by 

Kate Belli

Release date: October 6th, 2020

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Deception by Gaslight (A Gilded Gotham Mystery) by Kate Belli from NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books in order to read and give an honest review.

…the mystery plot itself although slow to build, definitely does not disappoint…

Set in New York in 1888, journalist Genevieve Stewart is desperately looking to make a name for herself at her current paper the Globe. Genevieve relegated to writing about Baby Shows and the minor events of high society, she just can’t seem to get taken seriously as a journalist when an elusive jewel thief dubbed “Robin Hood” starts making an appearance, robbing from the ‘Astor 400’, the cream of the crop of New York society seems to be just the story she has been looking for. 

Although herself on the outskirts of the Astor 400 after her activist Mother creates a stir and a planned marriage to another member ends, she has found herself often ignored and pitied among high society.  Trying to make a name for herself she begins to use her connections to try and get the ‘Robin Hood’ story, the scoop of the century.  While in a seedy area of the city pursuing a lead, she is accosted by ruffians and rescued begrudgingly by a handsome stranger, Danny, only to learn Daniel McCaffrey is part of the Astor 400. Convinced that Daniel is in fact Robin Hood she sets her sites to get to the truth, but instead gets herself in the middle of murder, mayhem, and corruption at the highest levels.

Clever, complex, and very well-written, this book keeps the reader turning the pages. The author creates interesting, dynamic, and real characters who although flawed, are likeable and well developed.  I loved Genevieve’s strong and intelligent personality, as well as the clever banter that occurs between her and Daniel. The mystery plot itself although slow to build, definitely does not disappoint.  With twists and turns, this book keeps you guessing to the very satisfying end although it does leave a cliffhanger in the epilogue. I’m now a fan of Kate Belli and certainly looking forward to reading future books in this series!

#NetGalley #Book Review of Piranesi by Susanna Clarke #Fantasy #MagicRealism

 

Piranesi

by Susanna Clarke

Release date: September 15th, 2020

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Piranesi by Susanna Clarke from NetGalley and Bloomsbury Publishing in order to read and give an honest review.
…so exquisitely unique and brilliant that it takes on a life of its own…
Every once in a while, a book comes along that is so exquisitely unique and brilliant that it takes on a life of its own, and for me Piranesi is just such a book. I loved Susanna Clarke’s last book “Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell” and was thrilled to see Piranesi listed on NetGalley.  I love everything about Piranesi it is so vastly different and beautifully written I could not put it down. From beginning to end the book is so quirky and complex it is almost impossible to summarize in a way that doesn’t ruin the unfolding story for the reader. Our narrator, Piranesi lives in the halls of a massive labyrinth, he does not remember anything other than living in the Labyrinth and his only human company is “The Other,” whom he meets with regularly but does not know which part of the Labyrinth he comes from only that he is a scientist of sorts and he asks Piranesi collects data about the Labyrinth for him. Other than his research, Piranesi lives a simple life, he roams the statue lined corridors fishing and scavenging from the flooded levels of the labyrinth during high tide. He communes with the sea birds and cares for the skeletons that reside in the alcoves.  He eagerly listens to the messages the labyrinth sends him looking for wisdom of who he is while flashes from a life lost long ago make him question his reality.   Such a complex novel with a brilliant unfolding story filled with intrigue, ancient magic, victories and tragedies. I highly recommend.

#Netgalley #BookReview ~ 27 Essential Principles of Story by Daniel Joshua Rubin #Writing #Plot #Characters #Non-Fiction

Review

27 Essential Principles of Story

Master the Secrets of Great Storytelling, from Shakespeare to South Park

by Daniel Joshua Rubin

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of “27 Essential Principles of Story Master the Secrets of Great Storytelling, from Shakespeare to South Park” by Daniel Joshua Rubin from Netgalley and Workman Publishing, in order to read and give an honest review.

… Well-written, informative and down to earth, Mr. Rubin gives us wonderful tools to help writers fully develop and expand their storytelling…

Multi-Media Writer, Playwright and Yale graduate, Daniel Joshua Rubin, gives us a masterclass in his book 27 Essential Principles of Story. Reading this I knew that it would be one of those books I would constantly refer to time and again. Well-written, informative and down to earth, Mr. Rubin gives us wonderful tools to help writers fully develop and expand their storytelling.

The book is divided into three sections Plot, Characterization and Setting, Dialogue, Theme.  The author teaches us 27 valuable tools by dissecting scenes that reference many popular books, comic books, tv series and movies everything from Shakespeare and Finding Nemo, to Breaking Bad and Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies. Mr. Rubin illustrates each principle and follows up with exercises as well as mini quizzes to help writers master each example and really understand the core of each principle.

As I mentioned previously this is a book, I will be referring to time and again. Recently challenged with a character in a current work in progress, I particularly loved and needed his principle “Peel the onion” about approaching creating characters in a more holistic manner and it has really helped. I can’t say enough about this book and would highly recommend this to anyone who wants to learn the nitty gritty of successful storytelling.

#BookReview of The Bone Hunger (Benjamin Oris #2) by Carrie Rubin #Thriller #Medical # Psychological #NetGalley

 

Review

The Bone Hunger

(Benjamin Oris #2)

by Carrie Rubin

Release date: August 11th, 2020

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Bone Hunger (Benjamin Oris, Book 2) by Carrie Rubin from NetGalley and Indigo Dot Press in order to read and give an honest review.

…in this brilliantly executed, clever, page turning psychological medical thriller…

Having read and reviewed the Author’s first book Bone Curse I was thrilled to get to read and review her second entry in the Dr. Benjamin Oris seriesI am pleased to say Bone Hunger definitely did not disappoint. This is an excellent follow up but is also a perfect stand alone. 

The Bone Hunger takes place three years after the horrifying events which occurred in the Bone Curse. Ben Otis has worked hard to get his professional life back on track. Working as a second year orthopedic surgical resident who is brought in to be part of a tightly knit surgical team run by the prestigious Dr. Lock. The team endured a horrific trauma and although the odd man out Ben is earning the respect of Dr. Lock and his colleagues. When a patient dies post op Ben is upset, but events take a gruesome turn. While out jogging with his family they find a severed leg with the implant Ben himself put in which Ben recognizes as his deceased patient’s lying in the morgue. When another patient goes missing and their amputated limb is found this time harvested from a once living patient Ben’s past reputation puts him on the detective’s radar. Without giving away too much this book takes surprising twists and turns when the body count goes upWhen an old friend, Laurette, introduces Ben to a well-respected forensic psychologist the race is on to catch the killer, clear Ben’s name and save his loved ones. 

Being a physician, author Carrie Rubin gives you the goods in this brilliantly executed, clever, page turning psychological medical thrillerCannot wait to read the next in the series. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would highly recommend! 

 

 

 

#NetGalley #Review of The Insider by Craig Schaefer (@craig_schaefer) #Thriller #Mystery

Review

The Insider Cover

The Insider

by Craig Schaefer

Release Date: July 7th, 2020

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Insider by Craig Schaefer from NetGalley and Thomas & Mercer in order to read and give an honest review.

I’m a recent fan of Craig Schaefer having been introduced through his book, Ghosts of Gotham, which I reviewed here. Although I haven’t read The Loot the first book in the series, I found this perfect as a stand-alone.

In book two, Charlie McCabe is working with Dom and Beckett as part of the Boston Asset Protection Agency as a bodyguard hired on two separate cases. The first case revolves around protecting an author and all-around narcissistic jerk, Lincoln Gable, who is on a promotion tour for his controversial book. The second case is a bit more complex involving keeping alive the prime witness, Hayden Cobb, a witness to a murder case involving three dirty cops known as the East Boston Three. While under Boston Asset’s protection in a secret location an attempt is made on his life. To Charlie and crew it appears there is a leak somewhere in the DA’s office and rumours of a fourth dirty cop who could be the one trying to silence Cobb forever. When a member of mob boss’s Jimmy Lassiter’s crew is falsely imprisoned as the hit man, he blackmails Charlie to exonerate him,putting one of her loved ones in danger. Running out of time Charlie is almost pushed too far. Along the way there are so many intriguing and interesting players that show up at the race this book is definitely one wild ride.

I absolutely loved everything about this book, the strong, intelligent, resilient yet flawed female characters, the pacing, his twisty plot turns that draw you in and keep you voraciously reading until the end. Filled with murder, mayhem and amazing plot twists which will throw you for a loop this is a fantastic book which I highly recommend!

#Book #Review of A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians A Novel by H. G. Parry via #NetGalley #Fantasy #Historical

A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians

A Novel

by H. G. Parry

A Declaration of Rights for Magicians

Release date: June 23rd, 2020

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians
A Novel by H. G. Parry from NetGalley and Redhook Books in order to read and give an honest review.

Clever plot lines, interesting characters, well written and researched,I loved everything about this book.

This book is unlike anything else I have read, this dark epic historical fantasy was complex and took a while to get into but was definitely worth it.   

Set in the 18th century, A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians is an alternate history of the times including the infamous French Revolution. The story features three interconnecting plot lines set in the Caribbean, Paris and London. There are multiple political events driven by a dark powerful entity whose endgame is shocking.  It’s thought provoking in so many ways as the characters are challenged with moral dilemmas surrounding issues such as slavery, classism, to what end are they willing to go to succeed and at what cost. 

To get to the basics of the story, we are witness to the alternate version of history where magic is strictly regulated. Commoners are forbidden to use it and are given magic dampening bracelets that burn if their powers are used and face imprisonment or execution for breaking the law.  Even to save a life, magic is forbidden to commoners, only aristocrats and nobility are allowed to wield their power without consequence.  The three plot lines were equally compelling reminding me of a game of chess with the characters being pieces moved along the board with a singular purpose invisible to the reader until the end.  

H.G. Parry introduces us to Fina a slave working on a sugar plantation under British rule in Jamaica. The slaves are mistreated, their powers bound by a potion so that they are under the plantation managers  complete control. In a brief period when her magic seeps through Fina hears a voice telling her to flee Jamaica in order to save her fellow slaves and join a slave rebellion on Santa Domingo.  Meanwhile in France, Robespierre is fighting for the rights of the commoners and their ability to use magic for the betterment of their lives and in London, a trio of politicians are working for the abolition of slavery despite it being heavily debated. Each character is well developed and deals with unique obstacles and the consequences of their actions.  There is so much going on in this book it’s difficult to capture it all in this review without spoilers. Bottom line I loved the book although, ending on a cliffhanger of sorts was surprising and I certainly hope we get a second in the series from H.G. Parry. 

Clever plot lines, interesting characters, well written and researched, I loved everything about this book. This book is for you if you enjoy compelling, thought provoking historical fantasy with a twist!

#Book #Review of The Indigo Ghosts by Alys Clare via #NetGalley #HistoricalFiction #Mystery

 

The Indigo Ghosts

by Alys Clare

Indigo Ghosts Cover

Release date: June 2nd, 2020

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Indigo Ghosts by Alys Clare from NetGalley and Severn House Publishers in order to read and give an honest review.

intricately woven and well written plot contains twists and turns with intriguing historical details and authentic, multifaceted characters which make this a thoroughly enjoyable read

This is my first time reading Alys Clare’s work and I have to say I loved it! The Indigo Ghosts is different as it mixes mystery and history with a touch of the supernatural and teeters on the edge of being in the vein of Gothic literature. Although the third book in the series, having not read the first two I found nothing lacking in it as a stand-alone and found it quite enjoyable. 

Set in Plymouth in the 1600’s When his former Captain, Captain Colt calls Dr. Gabriel Taverner in to investigate strange occurrences aboard the ship he used to serve on. Sailors have been experiencing strange things such as blue ghosts and whispers from a malicious spirit. The crew are terrified when it appears stowaways had once resided in a small hold on the ship and left something behind, and as Taverner and Captain Colt explore the holds they find a small hiding space in which a small desiccated adult body is found nailed through the chest to the ship’s ribs.  When another body is found hidden in a waste barrel on the ship with his hands died blue the mystery takes off. There are intelligent arguments for and against the paranormal events melding science and mysticism and we go on a twisting journey with touches on vodou, trade routes, slavery and the Caribbean. 

The intricately woven and well written plot contains twists and turns with intriguing historical details and authentic, multifaceted characters which make this a thoroughly enjoyable read.  I will definitely be reading more of Alys Clare’s work! Entertaining read that I would highly recommend. 

#NetGalley #Book #Review Sea Change by Nancy Kress #ScienceFiction #Ecology #GMO

 

Sea Change

by Nancy Kress

Release date: May 22nd, 2020

Sea Change Cover

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(3.5) Rounded Up


I received a complimentary ARC copy Sea Change by Nancy Kress from NetGalleyTachyon Publications in order to read and give an honest review.

To give her credit, the book is well-written, clever and the author does write realistic, multifaceted and mature characters …

This was the first work of fiction I have read from Nancy Kress. In the past I had read her non-fiction books on writing as part of a workshop I had taken and really enjoyed them.  I was really looking forward to reading this novella and although well-written in many ways, it just wasn’t what I expected.

Coined a bio-thriller, although interesting wasn’t as dynamic or “thrilling” as advertised.  The author bases an espionage story around the benefits of GMO’s over traditional agriculture but much of it felt like a huge info dump interspersed with an interesting mystery and very character driven story.  To give her credit, the book is well-written, clever and the author does write realistic, multifaceted and mature characters.

The Protagonist, Renata Black is driven by her beliefs, all her life she has been championing for good, always looking for a cause even to the point of ruining her marriage to her Hollywood bound husband.   When her son dies because of a water issue attributed to agricultural run-off she makes promoting GMO’s her new mission.

Set in the future, an incident ten years prior involving an bio-pharmaceutical incident resulting the deaths of children causes major GMO companies to disappear and agriculture with pesticides and fertilizers to become the norm.  Looking for a cause to help her deal with her grief  of losing her son she joins “The Org” as operative Caroline Denton. The Org, a pro-GMO, ultra-secretive , underground organization is working to bring back GMO’s to reduce starvation and ecological disasters around the world. When not working as an operative as Renata she works as a paralegal for a lawyer prosecuting rape cases for the Quinault reservation, where her son passed away.

The story opens with Caroline getting to investigate a runaway  self-driving house blocking traffic and its operator/owner believed to be an Org operative is missing, and it appears to be the result of a mole in “The Org”. When a splinter cell gets raided and her name becomes known, Caroline/Renata is hunted by the government and labelled a terrorist.

The hunt for the missing operator, a case involving the rape of a Quinault teenager and her grief over losing her son are the plot-lines running through this novella, but they all felt overshadowed by too many info dumps revolving around GMO’s which in my opinion took away from the story of this short novella.  Reading is subjective and although I found Sea Change hard to immerse myself in, doesn’t mean it won’t be appreciated by someone else.