#NetGalley #Book #Review of The Companion by Kim Taylor Blakemore #Historical #Suspense

 

Review

The Companion

A Novel

by Kim Taylor Blakemore

Release date: January 14th, 2020

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Companion, A Novel by Kim Taylor Blakemore from NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing in order to read and give an honest review.

an exquisitely written, atmospheric suspense that kept me engaged right to the last page...”

Author, Kim Taylor Blakemore gives us a beautifully written historical fiction novel brimming with slow-building suspense and atmosphere.  Set in 1855, New Hampshire, our narrator, Lucy Blunt is in her jail cell awaiting the hangman’s noose looking back at the events that led her to that moment.   

Lucy running away from her past shows up with falsified reference letters in hand at prominent mill owner Mr. Burton’s estate to get a position as a servant. Hired, Lucy settles in working in the kitchen, although the work is tiring and tedious but acts as a distraction from her past and the overwhelming grief that haunts her.  Her predecessor Mary is found dead and she is thrown in the middle of a grieving household. When Rebecca, the blind mistress, Eugenie Burton’s nasty companion, falls ill, Lucy ends up filling in. Unlike Rebecca, Lucy is respectful and kind towards Eugenie, earning her respect and affection.  Once jealousy rears its ugly head betrayal, threats and murder are not far behind.  

One of my favourite things about The Companion is the character development Each character felt well rounded, distinct and very real, each struggling with their lot in life. My only complaint, to be honest, I didn’t care for the open ending, in my opinion, it felt unfinished, I felt it deserved “more”. Although the ending wasn’t for me the story was an exquisitely written, atmospheric suspense that kept me engaged right to the last page. I would highly recommend.   

#NetGalley #Review of The Woman in the Veil (#Victorian Mystery No.4) by Laura Joh Rowland #Mystery

 

The Woman in the Veil

(#Victorian #Mystery No.4)

by Laura Joh Rowland

Release date: January 7th, 2020

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The Woman In The Veil


I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Woman in the Veil (#Victorian Mystery No.4) by Laura Joh Rowland from NetGalley & Crooked Lane Books in order to read and give an honest review.

The Woman In The Veil is a new entry in Laura Joh Rowland’s Victorian Mystery series featuring crime-scene photographer and reporter Sarah Bain. I consider Rowland to be a master at writing fast-paced, suspenseful whodunits that keep readers on the edge of their seats. I have been fortunate enough to read and review her first three books in the series, the first The Ripper’s Shadow, the second, A Mortal Likeness, the third  The Hangman’s Secret and her newest book, The Woman in the Veil, like her previous books, does not disappoint.

Set in 1890 London, the adventure begins when Sarah, Mick, and Lord Staunton are called to photograph a disfigured, naked female body that has washed up on the banks of the Thames. While the police prepare the crime scene, Sara notices not all is as it seems, something is not right about the victim….the poor thing is actually alive. When the unidentifiable victim is in the hospital in a coma, Sara feels responsible to help get to the bottom of this.  She convinces her boss, Sir Gerald Mariner, owner of the Daily World newspaper to allow her to stay on the story. Mariner gives the victim the name Sleeping Beauty until she is identified. Sarah, Hugh, Mick and along with Sarah’s fiance, Constable Barrett, are determined to get to the truth about who Sleeping Beauty really is and who tried to kill her. The investigation heats up when three different parties show up, all claiming that they are the loved ones of Sleeping Beauty. When sleeping beauty wakes up from her coma with amnesia, things become more desperate, they must get to the bottom of things before the killer decides to finish the job.  When one of the parties claiming to know her is murdered, Sarah becomes a suspect and Inspector Reid, is back, with his usual animosity and Sarah’s life and reputation are at stake. Sarah true to form puts her life and reputation in jeopardy to get to the bottom and save the woman she’s become incredibly fond of.

If you are looking for a clever, fast-paced, Victorian mystery this is definitely a must-read.

#NetGalley #Book #Review Music Macabre (Phineas Fox #4) by Sarah Rayne #Historical #Mystery

 

Review

Music Macabra Cover

Music Macabre

(Phineas Fox #4)

by 

Sarah Rayne

Release date: December 3rd, 2019

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Music Macabre(Phineas Fox #4)
by Sarah Rayne from NetGalley and Severn House Publishers in order to read and give an honest review.

” …clever, complex and incredibly well-written, this book keeps the reader enthralled…

This is the first novel I have read by Sarah Rayne and I know I will definitely be reading her others as well.  A modern-day mystery interspersed with a gothic victorian murder set in the late 1800s, the author manages to intertwine multiple plotlines wonderfully.

Music researcher, historian and author,  Phineas Fox is collecting research to write a biography about famous and flamboyant composer Franz Liszt. While researching he comes across Linklighters, a  recently opened restaurant that was once a well-known Victorian music hall.  Phineas meets it’s mysterious owner Loretta Farrant and uncovers old memorabilia that points to Liszt, Jack the Ripper and about the murder with the famous performer known as Scaramel at its centre. The story travels back in time to meet Scaramel, Daisy, Joe and hear about the gruesome murders that are occurring in the area. Present-day we follow Phineas as he uncovers research and we also learn about Loretta Farrant, her husband Roland as well as the mysterious death of Roland’s mother.

I actually really enjoyed this book but wished I would have seen more of Phineas.  This is the fourth book in a series and I regret not reading the previous three to get more of a glimpse into Phineas’s character but it was a fantastic read as a stand-alone.  Overall I found it clever, complex and incredibly well-written, this book keeps the reader enthralled until the last page and I would highly recommend it!

A Secret Revealed… #ShortStories #SCCA4 #AnimalsAcrobaticsAttitudeand Amore #AwardWinner #NewAppleLiteraryService

A Secret Revealed

New Apple Literary Services has been holding on to a secret for a few months. Why? Because they wanted to provide their viewers with all the information and the sparkles that are medallions on their website. Just like National Novel Writing Month #NaNoWriMo it’s been a work in progress.

Not sure what I’m saying?

New Apple Literary Services held a Summer eBook Awards competition earlier this year (2019). After the results were tallied, some categories had more than one book that met or exceeded their expectations. Since there is only one Solo Medalist per category, the judges must determine the best of those and then assign the others in the Official Selection category. November 10, 2019, they updated their website with the winners.

If you’d like to see who won what, you can visit: http://newappleliterary.com/2019ebookwinners.html

Why am I telling you this?

My friend and fellow author, Lynn Hallbrooks, participated in this competition. Her book, Animals, Acrobatics, Attitude, and Amore, won Official Selection in the Short Story Collection category. http://www.newappleliterary.com/2019ebook/2019ebookCat20.html

SSCA4 With Label - Big - High Resolution

What can you do?

You can help me applaud her efforts. That can take the form of sharing this blog post, purchasing her book (see links below), and/or simply saying congratulations to her here or on social media.

Bonus: The book is currently on sale for 99 cents (USD) and equivalent around the various global market places.

Of course, you aren’t limited to saying congratulations to Lynn, you can say it to all the winners of this competition. If you’re an author you could consider participating in future events: http://newappleliterary.com/awards.html

CONGRATULATIONS LYNN!

About Lynn

Lynn Hallbrooks posing

 

Lynn Hallbrooks is a USAF veteran who enjoys reading as much as she does writing. She even started a website to share the love of books with fellow authors and readers. https://author-reader-cheerleader.weebly.com/

Lynn runs her own business, Call Sign Wrecking Crew, LLC where she self-publishes books among other things. You can see the range of her books and connect with her social media platforms via her website: https://cswcllc.weebly.com/

You can find Animals, Acrobatics, Attitude, and Amore via multiple vendors. Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07N6C2FB3

Amazon global: mybook.to/SCCA4 Multiple vendors: https://books2read.com/SSCA4

 

#BookReview You Beneath Your Skin by Damyanti Biswas ( @damyantig ) Proceeds benefit @projectwhydelhi & @stopacidattacks #CrimeFiction #AcidAttacks

You Beneath Your Skin Cover

You Beneath Your Skin

by Damyanti Biswas

Release date: September 15th, 2019

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of You Beneath Your Skin
by Damyanti Biswas from the author and Simon & Schuster in order to read and give an honest review.

” …a flawlessly written, atmospheric, intriguing story with…”

In her debut novel, You Beneath Your Skin, Damyanti Biswas gives us a compelling psychological thriller which is not only a brilliant page-turner but shows us the truth about the misogyny and violence against women which sadly happens throughout the world.

The story opens when Anjali Morgan, a well-respected psychiatrist, is called to consult on a string of murders of young slum women, raped, murdered and disfigured with acid on the streets of New Delhi. Anjali already living a complicated life, being a single mother raising a special needs son named Nikhil, bearing the weight of a secretive past and working along-side her married boyfriend of ten years, Special Commissioner of Crime Jatin Bhatt is dragged into the center of a dark and dangerous case. Atmospheric and gritty we are witnesses to the investigation and the very real, very disturbing details of the crime. During the climax, Anjali finally begins to realize that she is on a path that may put herself and those she loves in grave jeopardy.

Personally, I loved everything about this book, I loved the detail brought to every scene, being immersed in the culture and most of all I love the way Anjali was written…her honesty, intelligence and insecurities all felt genuine making her very relatable.

To sum up, Ms Biswas gives us a flawlessly written, atmospheric, intriguing story with well developed, authentic, characters and an intricately plotted realistic crime story makes this such an incredibly entertaining and engrossing read that I would highly recommend!


D Biswas Bio Picture

About the Author 

Damyanti Biswas lives in Singapore, and works with Delhi’s underprivileged children as part of Project Why, a charity that promotes education and social enhancement in underprivileged communities. Her short stories have been published in magazines in the US, UK, and Asia, and she helps edit the Forge Literary Magazine. You can find her on her blog and twitter. All the author proceeds will go to Project WHY and StopAcid Attacks.

 

#Author #Interview with Damyanti Biswas ( @damyantig ) About Her Debut Novel #YouBeneathYourSkin proceeds to go to @projectwhydelhi & @stopacidattacks

You Beneath Your Skin Cover

Recently had the pleasure to interview author Damyanti Biswas about her debut novel “You Beneath Your Skin”. Welcome, Damyanti! Please tell us a bit about yourself and your debut novel, “You Beneath Your Skin”.

You beneath Your Skin” is my debut published by Simon And Schuster. It is a literary crime novel set in New Delhi, about a woman who suffers an acid attack, against the background of a crime spree. I’ve been writing short stories for more than a decade, and they’ve been published in a few venues, and for the last three years, I have been one of the editors of the Forge Literary Magazine.

Please share with us what was the inspiration behind your novel?

You Beneath Your Skin” was written over six years, so I don’t know if there was a firm inspiration. Anjali’s character came to me first, and I kept going back to her. Her son, her lover, her friend, her troubles. The rest of the novel came from there.

 You are a very prolific writer, how was working on this novel different from your previous work?

I’ve written “You Beneath Your Skin” over many drafts. 15 rewrites, 15 edits, and many rounds of copyedits. I draft my work several times of course, but this one took more patience and perseverance that anything I’ve ever done.

 As an author what does your average work/writing day look like? Do you have any writing quirks or rituals?

I do not have average days—my days are all different. Some days I write like a maniac for 14 hours, and others, I don’t write at all. Most days I try to get in a long walk, some exercise, a bit of gardening and cooking. I try to write either in complete silence at home and if the words don’t come, at a busy café with white noise earphones. Once in a while I would use a song when writing characters—I did that a fair bit for “You Beneath Your Skin.”

What are some of the biggest challenges you face as a writer and how do you overcome them?

The biggest challenge is within. Mostly, it is about writing without any expectations. To write a novel over months and years needs a lot of discipline and self-motivation, and to sustain this gets difficult on days when the words don’t pour out or the rejections trickle in. The writing life is a head game. To keep at it despite the obstacles can be a challenge sometimes, but I don’t know that I have any tips to overcome them. I cope with self-doubt and disappointment from rejections by writing for fun, for no reason at all. That always reminds me why I wanted to write in the first place, to create worlds, to go out of myself, and for a sense of immersion.

What advice would you give someone new to writing?

Writing is about writing. Not reading about writing. Not writing about writing. Writing is also about figuring out your own process, about listening to advice but taking only that which works for you. About true clichés like hard work and grit and not giving up. It is also about reading a lot, pretty regularly.

What message do you hope your readers take away with them after reading your book?

I don’t necessarily think You beneath Your Skin does or needs to, carry a message. When I began writing it, I had no message in mind. Now I feel it is about appearances and reality, and the ability to look beneath the surface. About women and their place in this world. I had set out to tell a good story, but I hope readers carry away an experience of what it is to be a person in New Delhi in contemporary India.

Can you tell us what is coming up for you and where can we find you online?

I’m on my website http://www.damyantiwrites.com, and that will connect you to my entire online presence. I’m continuing to write more crime novels and short stories, and am currently wrapping up travels in India about You Beneath Your Skin.

About You Beneath Your Skin

Review Blurbs

“You Beneath Your Skin” is a crime novel about the investigation of an acid attack on a woman from Delhi’s upper class, set against the backdrop of crimes against underprivileged women. They are assaulted, disfigured with acid, and murdered. While the framework is that of a thriller, the novel threads together different narrative strands. The author tackles various social issues: crimes against women and why they occur, the nexus between political corruption, police and big money; the abuse of the underprivileged, be it, adults or children. Of these, the issue of crimes against women is the strongest—why do men attack women? Why do they gang together? What happens when a woman tries to break the glass ceiling? Can toxic masculinity masquerade as benevolent patriarchy? Parents would also find this novel fascinating: how do you bring up a good human being in today’s troubled times? How much do you know about your teenager’s life? If you’re the parent of special needs child, what challenges do you face and what sort of support can you expect? It is a whodunnit, but also a whydunnit because violent crime unravels those affected: the people, the relationships, the very fabric of society, and we get a glimpse of what lies beneath. That’s why the title, You Beneath Your Skin. The narrative of the book was researched and shaped during the author’s work with ProjectWHY and some of the experiences generously shared by acid attack survivors from the non-profit Stop Acid Attacks. To return this debt of gratitude, all author proceeds from the book will go to these two non-profits.

D Biswas Bio PictureAbout the Author 

Damyanti Biswas lives in Singapore, and works with Delhi’s underprivileged children as part of Project Why, a charity that promotes education and social enhancement in underprivileged communities. Her short stories have been published in magazines in the US, UK, and Asia, and she helps edit the Forge Literary Magazine. You can find her on her blog and twitter. All the author proceeds will go to Project WHY and StopAcid Attacks.

I would like to thank Damyanti for taking the time to speak with us, please Check back next week to read my review of “You Beneath Your Skin“!