Book Review: From Legend (The Reeve #1) by Ian Lewis

Author: Ian Lewis
Release Date: 8th April 2019
Genre: Alternate history fiction, Fantasy, Suspense, Mystery
Series: The Reeve (Book #1)
Format: E-book 
Pages: 252 pages
Publisher: 
Blurb:
Sober, serious, and driven, Logan Hale is the highest peace officer in Beldenridge, and he knows his city better than anyone: the labyrinthine streets, the vaulted architecture, and all the dark corners where tales of mutations and a vicious enemy still linger like hushed secrets. Logan is quick to dismiss these accounts as part of a storied past with which he’d rather not contend, but when a suicide investigation leads him to believe there’s something more sinister at hand, he questions whether that near-forgotten lore isn’t the stuff of legend after all. 

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

From Legend by Ian Lewis is the first book in the alternate historical series The Reeve.

The first thing I loved about this book is the cover art! I absolutely loved it and once done with the book I was really happy (and grateful) that the high expectations set by the cover were fully delivered by the author in this book. I enjoyed this book tremendously and the many elements it had to offer to a speculative fiction lover like myself. I loved the writing, the world-building, the characterisation as well as the fast pacing and high tension throughout the story.

I liked how the author interweaved the alternate historical settings with fantastical elements and used old lores, legends and fables to build intrigue as well as the perfect atmosphere for keeping the reader on edge. I would highly recommend this book to all readers who like reading speculative fiction, fantasy as well as alternate history and also to those who are looking to explore a new author or a new series. This book would be a really good pick for most readers.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Author Interview: Con Chapman

Welcome to TRB Lounge!

Today, we are featuring Con Chapman, author of Kimiko Chou, Girl Samurai, for our Author Interview feature.

About The Author

Con Chapman

Con Chapman is the author most recently of Rabbit’s Blues: The Life and Music of Johnny Hodges (Oxford University Press), winner of the 2019 Book of the Year Award from Hot Club de France. His work has appeared in The AtlanticThe Christian Science MonitorThe Boston Globe, and a number of literary magazines. His young adult short story, “The Vanishing Twin,” appeared in the March/April 2015 issue of Cicada

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR:

Twitter



The Interview

Welcome to TRB! Please give our readers a brief introduction about yourself before we begin.

I’m a writer on the side—it’s not my day job.  I’ve written young adult fiction before (“The Vanishing Twin,” Cicada Magazine, March/April, 2015) but this is my first YA novel.  My most recent book was about Johnny Hodges, Duke Ellington’s long-time alto sax player: Rabbit’s Blues: The Life and Music of Johnny Hodges (Oxford University Press).  Kimiko Chou has a samurai theme because I’m interested in that now-abolished caste whose members were, at the same time, warriors and artistic; they were highly literate and wrote poetry; their motto was “The pen and the sword in accord.”  

Please tell us something about your book other than what we have read in the blurb?

It has a “meta” aspect to it, in that it is introduced by a character—Etaoin Shrdlu—who says that he translated the work.  He is as fictional as Kimiko Chou, though.  This technique—sometimes referred to as a “framing device”—explains how it is that the reader is holding in his or her hands a first-person account from the 14th century.  It is used in the novel by Thomas Berger, Little Big Man, one of my favorite works (and one that I think is underrated).

What is that one message that you’re trying to get across to the readers in this book?

Not sure there’s a particular message I want readers to take away from the book, but characters reveal themselves to you as you create them—Pygmalion style.  Chou is hardened by the tragedy at the beginning of the book, but doesn’t miss a beat and embarks on a new life.  Along the way, she finds that her first impressions about people don’t always turn out to be correct, but even those who she grows close to—such as the boy page, Moto Mori, who is her companion on the journey—have their flaws that are in need of mid-course corrections.

Who is your favourite character in this book and why? 

The ronin, or fallen samurai, Hyōgo Narutomi, who leads the two children on their expedition.  He is a failure who refuses to acknowledge that fact, and carries on despite having no real hope of ever realizing his ambition; to become a samurai again, after having been dismissed by seven masters.

What inspired you to write this book? An idea, some anecdote, a dream or something else?

I had a lot of time on my hands waiting for a publisher to get back to me on a proposal—over a year.  At some point I threw up my hands and decided to start on another project.  I’ve written two novels before, one of which (CannaCorn) is a baseball novel with a character who thinks of himself as a latter-day samurai in his role as a relief pitcher.  I read a YA novel about a boy samurai, and Women Warriors: An Unexpected History by Pamela Toler, which includes stories of female samurai.  I did a little research and didn’t find any YA novels about girl samurai, and decided to write one.

How long did it take you to write this particular book?

Once I got going, not that long, maybe a year.  I had to do some research on Japanese history during the period when the samurai first came to prominence, the 12th to the 14th centuries, and also on Japanese geography, to get the details of a Japanese invasion of Korea down.

What are your writing ambitions? Where do you see yourself 5 years from today?

I’d like to be able to write full-time, but I’ve got a long ways to go.  I’d like to write a sequel to Kimiko Chou if there’s a demand for it.

Are you working on any other stories presently?

I am currently writing a history of Kansas City jazz for Equinox Publishing, a British publisher.

Why have you chosen this genre? Or do you write in multiple genres?

The novel (or novella, it’s not that long) seemed right for this story.  I also write plays, histories, poetry, humor, and short-form journalism.

When did you decide to become a writer? Was it easy for you to follow your passion or did you have to make some sacrifices along the way?

?  It’s something I’ve wanted to do since I was  in high school.  I became a sports reporter for my small-town newspaper when I was a junior in high school, after I hurt myself and couldn’t play football anymore.  I got a newspaper reporting job right out of college, but found I wasn’t very good at going up to strangers and asking them embarrassing questions, which is essential to the job.  So I had to find some other path, which took a while.  I wrote an article on jazz for a Boston-area “underground” paper, but didn’t have much success pitching freelance articles.  I decided I needed to get a book written, and chose the 1978 pennant race between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees, which no one had written about.  Red Sox fans didn’t want to be reminded about it, since they blew a big lead and didn’t make it to the World Series, and Yankee fans weren’t interested since it wasn’t a big deal to them—they went on to win the World Series, so the win over the Red Sox was insignificant by comparison.

I self-published the book, The Year of the Gerbil (the word “gerbil” refers to a scornful nickname the Red Sox hung on their manager that season).  This was back in the bad old days when self-publishing was expensive.  I took money out of my savings to finance it, and had to do all the marketing myself.  I wrote a lot of letters to bookstores, made personal trips to ask bookstores to stock it—very naïve.  I’d send copies to various newspapers and magazines, got maybe two reviews.  Then I sent a copy to the Business Editor of The Boston Globe because he had mentioned how Boston and New York had similar rivalries in business and sports; the Yankees back in the day were perennial winners, the Red Sox went 86 years without winning the World Series, and New York is a much bigger business market than Boston.  To my surprise, he wrote a glowing review of the book in the Business Section of the paper, the book got named to a list of 50 essential books about the Red Sox, and while I never made back my initial monetary investment, I had a start on a reputation in that I could name a book I’d written and people might actually want to read it.

What is your writing ritual? How do you do it?

.  I have to write at the beginning and end of the day since I have a day job.  If I wake up early I’ll try to produce a paragraph or two before going off to work, and at night if I’m not too tired I’ll try to do it again.

How do you prefer to write – computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

?  I write on a computer, as it’s much faster, even for drafts.  The one exception is playwriting; I’ve had twelve plays published, and because you’re just writing dialogue, not exposition (other than stage directions), it’s easy to get a lot down with just a pen and a pad of paper.

What are your 5 favourite books?

The books I’ve read the most, multiple times, are:

  1. The Moviegoer, Walker Percy (novel)
  2. The Sweet Science, A.J. Liebling (non-fiction, boxing)
  3. True Tales from the Annals of Crime and Rascality, St. Clair McKelway (non-fiction,         crime)
  4. George Ade and Ring Lardner, Midwestern humorists
  5. And the Holy Trinity of Southern female writers: Flannery O’Connor, Eudora Welty, and   Carson McCullers

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

I had writer’s block when I got out of college, wanted to be a writer, and couldn’t get anything written.  You only have writer’s block if you want to write and can’t, so I can’t say I had writer’s block when I more or less gave up on writing for a while.

It’s sad but true, as far as I’m concerned and one of my friends who had writer’s block and couldn’t finish his Ph.D. dissertation, that getting thrown into a job where you have to write, or going back to school and being under pressure to produce on a daily basis will cure you of writer’s block.  The problem then is—you have no time to write because you’re busy.

For the most part that’s the situation I’m in today; I have to find time to write around my work, which forces me to become more efficient and not have a beer and stare off into space and think about the Great American Novel I’ve got in me down deep inside.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Well, you’ve got to look the part on paper.  I bought a book on manuscript preparation and writing book proposals (the Writer’s Market book, “Formatting and Submitting Your Manuscript”), which gave me some guidance on presenting yourself as a writer.  Where before I’d do things wrong (like sending in a non-fiction article without querying first), I at least had a sense of what an editor or publisher who might actually buy something from you expected it to look like when it came in over the transom.

Thank you, Con, for your insightful answers!


About The Book

Kimiko Chou, Girl Samurai

KIMIKO CHOU is a girl on a mission. Her mother and brother have been killed by robbers in 14th century Japan while her father, a samurai warrior, is off on an invasion of Korea.
Chou (“butterfly” in Japanese) narrowly escapes death by hiding while the robbers ransack her home, then—dressed as a boy in her brother’s clothes—she goes in quest of her father. Alone on the road, she takes up with Hyōgo Narutomi, a former samurai who has been dismissed by seven previous masters, and Moto Mori, his page.
The three of them—man, boy, and girl—make their way across Japan along with Piebald, an old horse with a curious spot on his coat that resembles a Fenghuang, the mythical bird that rules over all others in Asian mythology. Together this unlikely trio experience a series of adventures and narrow escapes until Chou and Mori—but not Narutomi—land in Korea. There, as a spy for the Koreans, Chou searches for her father-across enemy lines!

You can find Kimiko Chou, Girl Samurai here:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound


To read more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Author Interview: Daniel Hagedorn

Welcome to TRB Lounge!

Today, we are featuring Daniel Hagedorn, author of The Lodestar, for our Author Interview feature.

About The Author

Daniel Hagedorn

Daniel Hagedorn lives in Seattle, Washington, where he was born and raised, with his wife and elderly dog. An alum of Pacific Lutheran University with a couple of humanities degrees, he now splits his time between writing and helping various businesses and entities do what they do. He has written a number of novels, poems, and countless other musings. The Lodestar is his first published novel.

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR:

Author’s Website | Facebook



The Interview

Welcome to TRB! Please give our readers a brief introduction about yourself before we begin.

I work in finance. That might surprise some people as if they are incompatible forms that couldn’t co-exist. To me though, words and numbers have more affinity than it seems. Patterns. I see patterns in numbers just as I do in words. When I am not writing, I am often looking at spreadsheets. I started college as a math major. I finished as an English & Philosophy Major with an emphasis in creative writing and a minor in classics. But I still love numbers. Numbers and words are my life.

Please tell us something about your book other than what we have read in the blurb?

The Lodestar can be looked at as an examination of the modern world, not just in terms of this futuristic place, but where we live now, of wanting to escape out of the curated world, whether it be social media or your custom news feed, into something of your own making. Where I live in Seattle, they knock down an old house and put in its place this box that looks exactly like a thousand other boxes in the city as if there is some master design guiding everything towards homogeneity. It’s not just a book about what is real, what is reality, but also being a human, being creative and interesting and unique, about finding a place in the world, an identity amidst the flood of images that dominate our existence.

What is that one message that you’re trying to get across to the readers in this book?

If there is a message in The Lodestar, it would be how we are complicit in handing over our lives to technology because we think it is making our lives better somehow when it may not be. It is not that technology is good or bad, per se, but how we use it or let it use us. I fear the transition to this visual society, where it no longer matters the power of our imagination because we’ve let the world be imagined for us. Why are books better than movies? Well, because in a book I can imagine the world the author has created, wherein a movie, it’s told for me. I almost always feel like I can imagine something more, something better than what’s being presented to me. And the world of video games is another interesting phenomena, this whole interactive experience that rewires our brains. How will this all change us? How will it make the move towards virtual worlds more seamless? 

Who is your favourite character in this book and why? 

The main character in The Lodestar is David, but my favorite character is in fact Marta. She’s mysterious. She knew before David that she didn’t want to be part of the network world. David is under this illusion that he created this so-called out that dispelled him from the network. He’ll learn later, not in this book, how that’s not true. And Marta is the key. He couldn’t have made it very far without Marta. And of course, David loves Marta, and love is the mystery of all mysteries, something not even the network could understand, so it did away with the concept.

What inspired you to write this book? An idea, some anecdote, a dream or something else?

The Lodestar has been in my mind for about a decade and a half. I never thought I could do justice to the idea, so I resisted the notion to write. Sometimes things are more powerful in the mind, that to commit to paper, to lose that illusion of what it could be, was something I couldn’t give up. A few things, though, struck me. For one, the idea that machines did not become more like humans, but humans became more like machines. Instead of being unique, it seemed to me there was a sameness in things, in people, in the particular look of what makes someone attractive. I was reading a lot of dystopian fiction at the time too. It just seemed more efficient for some grand network controlling everyone as opposed to feeling down and taking a pill. As humans, we do not always know what we want or need, but a network, a system that was unbiased and really knew us, it would know. Of course, I am being sarcastic to a degree. There is a bias in everything.  

How long did it take you to write this particular book?

I spent about a year writing The Lodestar. Even then, when I had finished what I thought was my final draft, I wasn’t sure. I let it sit for about 6 months before I went back to the book, this time, with the help of an editor. During that cooling off period, I was still constantly thinking about the book and where it was going because I didn’t like the initial ending, although I thought the book itself was better than it was. In my head, I had created something amazing. However, when I went back and did the proper edit with an editor, that was an eye-opening experience, how incomplete sections were. In the end, The Lodestar took two years, but I am pretty sure I’ll think about the characters and the story for the rest of my life. 

What are your writing ambitions? Where do you see yourself 5 years from today?

I have long felt that writing was a kind of breathing, and as long as I breathe, I hope. Whether or not I am successful as a writer does not matter that much. It’s just something I do, something I’ve always done. Obviously, I would love to make a living as a writer. In my mind, I am more successful than I am. That’s always been the thing. I would love to walk around, think about stuff, write, cut vegetables up at dinner time while listening to music and just allow myself to create. I kind of do that anyway, pretending so to speak, so I suppose it would be pretty cool if it was less dream than reality and I had more time to actually write.

Are you working on any other stories presently?

I am always working on something. Just as I might be reading a couple of different books at once, I am writing several different things too. In a normal day, I might compose a poem, write a song or add some part to another novel, one not connected to The Lodestar trilogy. I have written a bunch of novels, close to a dozen probably, some in better states of completion than others. 

Why have you chosen this genre? Or do you write in multiple genres?

I am not sure what genre The Lodestar is. Sci fi, I guess. There’s a lot of philosophy mixed in too. Maybe it could be considered speculative fiction, but some of my other stuff seems more speculative, though in a different way. In my mind, I always have this idea of the so-called great American novel. I know that is an overused term, but it has meaning to me. In my twenties, that was a driving force. Now, I am not sure. 

When did you decide to become a writer? Was it easy for you to follow your passion or did you have to make some sacrifices along the way?

I’ve long thought of myself as a writer. In some ways, it is necessary to exist under that illusion, that I am writer because that allows me to write. If I didn’t think of myself as a writer, then it might not matter what I do, what I write. But by thinking of myself as a writer I have a sense of purpose, that I am capturing something essential. I’ve used that breathing metaphor. Writing is a kind of music too, that I hear. It’s in my mind. I am the kind of person that has an active imagination. In my early twenties, I worked in a bookstore. I loved being around books. I wrote a lot of stuff back then but felt undermined by my lack of success. That was hard. A writer friend of mine at the time told me it was all about perseverance, that as long as you kept writing, you would be successful. At some point, I kind of changed the equation and thought about success not in the publishing sense, but in terms of creating a body of work representative of the way I think and feel about the world. And when I write, that’s the song I am trying to replicate.

What is your writing ritual? How do you do it?

I prefer to write in the morning. I wake up early. Sometimes I think I write in my sleep because I wake up with solutions to things in my writing. Coffee and a walk help drive my thoughts, get them flowing. I don’t always have the time or opportunity in the morning, but I try to make time during the day to write something, anything. Sometimes, I can’t write what I want to write, but I can always make my daily emails more interesting or even a report I am preparing a better read. The fact is, we are always writing, even if it might something mundane. I’ll use any opportunity I can to try to be creative. 

How do you prefer to write – computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

When I was young, I wrote everything out with a blue pen in a small notebook. The second draft would be transferring the notebook to computer. I actually wrote a lot of The Lodestar out by hand as I was in the backseat of a car along the coast of Italy, Slovenia and Croatia because I didn’t bring my laptop along for the trip. Today, while I prefer my laptop, I accumulate scraps of paper, pages in notebooks, little tidbits here and there, depending when an idea comes to me. I love and hate it, when I am walking by the Canal, and something so good comes to me that I have to stop and write it down. Once I start writing something down on a walk, I’ve broken the cycle, so that whole walk will keep getting interrupted. 

What are your 5 favourite books?

Top 5 books. That’s a tough one. I go through phases and so I probably will discount some of my early favorites. I’ll always have Great Gatsby on my list. I love the opening and the close. Probably A Moveable Feast because I love the idea of being an ex-pat in Paris, hanging out in cafés, bars, surrounded by artists. Kerouac was a big inspiration on me, the feeling in his writing and though I was struck by a number of his works, I’ll probably go with The Subterraneans because of one line in that book that seemed so profound to me, about a light always on that one day won’t be on. Brave New World and We. Philip K Dick is one of my favorite authors, so I have to pick something by him. Ubik. I am not going to go with one of his more well-known pieces. And lastly, Play It As It Lays by Joan Didion. I love the voice in that piece, though I am not as fond as some of her other work. I read a lot of foreign authors. I particularly like Murakami and Roberto Bolano. Lately I’ve been reading a lot of Patrick Modiano too.

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

I don’t want to say I don’t get writer’s block. Maybe that would curse me. I tend to not have much trouble writing, though. It’s just what I do, akin to breathing. I can sit down at any time and write something, a few lines, just something. I don’t worry whether it’s good or bad. I just write. I’ve always thought, write a page or so a day, then after six months you practically have a novel. And I have kind of done that my whole writing life, three decades so to speak. And that has been amazing. Because I don’t remember half of the stuff I have written. 

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

If you want to be a writer, then write. There’s no special advice other than that. Read and write. I am constantly reading, and not just fiction, but philosophy, poetry, economics, science, whatever. I keep a notebook where I accumulate ideas, where I write little imaginary scenes based on some interesting thing I might have read. There’s no special club. If you want to be a writer, then you must write. You mustn’t get swayed by the daunting task it really is. 

Thank you, Daniel, for your frank and insightful answers!


About The Book

The Lodestar

How do humans survive after a massive pandemic that has devastated the population? Rather than living amid continued chaos and panic, the surviving population enjoys a thriving life thanks to the assistance of the network, a vast system that connects everything and everyone. The network protects from the virus while allowing everyone to lead their best life. Every dream and desire can easily be attained.

14 years into this networked world, David, one of the creators, wakes up to find that he is no longer connected. Is he the only one? And why, for what purpose? David feels almost like waking from a dream only to discover a technologically advanced world, full of beautiful and spectacular things, but all may not be what it seems. What is the difference between a dream and reality? What is the nature of experience?

Follow David as he wanders through a vast maze, uncovering layer upon layer in his search for truth. Recalling his former life, he must choose between what he feels, his natural compulsion to question everything, and what is good for humanity. The Lodestar takes you on a deep look into philosophical questions surrounding technology and its role in humanity.

You can find The Lodestar here:

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Indiebound


To read more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Audiobook Review: The Mystery Of Martha by Eliza Harrison

Author: Eliza Harrison
Narrated by: Eliza Harrison
Release Date: 2nd October 2020
Genre: Mystery, Historical Fiction
Series:
Format: Audiobook
Pages: 9 hours 13 minutes
Publisher: 
Blurb:
Two women, two millennia apart, with seemingly unconnected lives – one from the English Lake District and the other from Bethany in Palestine. Neither is sure of their role or purpose, which leaves in them feelings of emptiness and uncertainty. 

Martha of Bethany has Yeshua as friend and guide. From a place of tenderness and intimacy, she witnesses the last three years of his life and sees him embody the mystery and power of love. This leads her on a journey to the Sacred Isles where she finds her own pathway to awakening. 

Martha from Borrowdale’s story begins in 2000 AD as she faces challenges that expose her deepest fears and insecurities. With her partner Ben, she discovers the mystical Aramaic teachings of Yeshua that offer her a pathway to Self-realisation and freedom. 

These two redemptive stories weave alongside each other until finally they converge. It is a tale of revelation and mystery that uplifts and transforms.

Review

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Mystery Of Martha by Eliza Harrison is a unique kind of mystery novel that is set against the historical backdrop and inlaced with spiritualism that takes the reader on a surreal journey.

I was intrigued about this book from he start because spiritualism is a little hard to blend into a historical mystery and so I was curious to see how the plot unravelled. It was good for the most part and the writing was good. The narration wasn’t the best but it made for easy listening and I appreciated it a lot. The overall concept was a little out of my personal comfort zone, but it still made for a good and engaging read.

I think that if you are into spirituality and like reading experimental literature revolving around it then you’d appreciate this book a lot more than me and it would make for a really good read.

You can also read this review on:

Goodreads & Amazon

Audiobook Narrator Interview: Eliza Harrison

Welcome to TRB Lounge!

Today, we are featuring Eliza Harrison, author as well as narrator of The Mystery Of Martha, for our Narrator Interview feature.

About The Narrator

Eliza Harrison

Eliza has had a lifelong passion for exploring different spiritual pathways in the East and the West and has been a teacher of meditation all her adult life. Alongside her work as a spiritual mentor and guide, she is a photographer and author and has produced several books on the life and landscape of Northern England, including The Light Within – A Celebration of the Spiritual Path, and the story of her own: In Search of Freedom – One Woman’s Journey. Now, with her husband David, she runs Sacred Meditation from their home in Cumbria. 

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR:

Author Website | Facebook | Instagram



The Interview

Welcome to TRB! We are really excited to have you over. Please give our readers a brief introduction about yourself before we begin. Please feel free to share about your professional background. 

I have taught meditation all my adult life, so use my voice to take people in and out of meditation and explain how the practice works. When teaching it’s important to speak with clarity and calmness, but with gentleness too. Over the years I have been told that my voice is soothing and relaxing, so a friend suggested I make The Mystery of Martha into an Audiobook and narrate it myself. I was daunted by the idea at first, but then rose to the challenge and enjoyed it!

Do you do other voice over work as well?

I make meditation videos so use my voice to guide people through the teaching process. I also do voiceovers for short films I make for Sacred Meditation.

How was your experience recording this audiobook?

Powerful and moving, but I think this was owing to the subject matter as each character goes through intense emotional experiences. Each chapter has a drama of its own and I found it easy to identify with each character. So while narrating, their stories resonated and affected me deeply.

Who is your favourite character in this audiobook and why?

My answer in the author’s interview was that my favourite character was Martha of Bethania. But when narrating it, this became Yeshua. Every time I read a scene when he appeared, especially if it included Aramaic, it seemed as though that he was present in the room. And occasionally at the end of a chapter, my breath was held and I seemed to have shifted into an expanded state of consciousness. This is why I felt narrating the novel a huge privilege and I shall always be grateful for this opportunity.

How long did it take you to record this particular audiobook?

I recorded it during the lockdown in 2019 in my meditation room at home. It took about 3 months including the edits and re-records. I live in a remote place in the countryside so all was quiet, except for the occasional tractor or sheep passing by.

What vocal techniques did you have to develop and hone while narrating this audiobook?

I went to drama school in my late teens where I received voice training and learned a range of exercises. This experience has always remained with me and I made use of doing some warm-up exercises before recording.

What is the one thing you love most about being an audiobook narrator? 

I enjoyed feeling that I was reaching out to people all over the world through my voice, which felt intimate and profound. 

Are you working on any other audiobooks presently?

Not at the moment, but I am using my voice to make videos and I will definitely create an audio from any new novel or writing I do in the future.

As an audiobook narrator what are the techniques you use or practice to care for your voice and condition it?

My meditation practice keeps me healthy, fit and well. I never get colds, flu or suffer from sore throats, so this is definitely the practice I would recommend to others. It also enables me to remain calm and collected while narrating.

Who is your favourite audiobook narrator and why?

I’m fortunate to know Anton Lesser, a British actor who is widely known for his audiobook recordings. He was my inspiration and gave me some invaluable tips, which you can see in my response to the question below. 

What advice would you like to give to anyone who wants to become an audiobook narrator?

Anton told me it was important not to put too much expression or emotion into the reading, as this can colour the listeners’ experience and prevent them from engaging with their personal feelings and responses. So while I was reading, I tried not to act out the different parts, but read from my heart with calmness and clarity.

Thank you, Eliza, for your insightful answers!


About The Book

The Mystery Of Martha

Two timelines, one truth . . . 

Two women, two millennia apart with seemingly unconnected lives – one from the Lake District in England and the other from Bethany in Palestine. Both experience loss and betrayal, which engender feelings of fear and uncertainty about what their future holds.  

Martha from the Lake District faces challenge and change in 2000 AD as her deepest insecurities are exposed. But supported by her partner Ben, she discovers the mystical Aramaic teachings of Yeshua that offer her a pathway to Self-realisation and freedom.

In Brattleboro, Vermont, a long-forgotten doorway opens, to a land beyond living memory, where two lifelong enemies must journey as allies, to save two worlds, or destroy them.

In 30 AD Martha of Bethany has Yeshua as a friend and guide. From a place of tenderness and vulnerability, she witnesses the last three years of his life as he embodies the ultimate mystery and power of love, which inspires her own journey to awakening. 

These two stories weave together seamlessly until finally they converge in a hauntingly beautiful tale of revelation and redemption.

You can find The Mystery Of Martha here:

Website | Audible | Goodreads


To read more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Book Review: Mainely Fear (A Goff Langdon Mainely Mystery #2) by Matt Cost

Author: Matt Cost
Release Date: 4th December 2020
Genre: Cosy Mystery
Series: Goff Langdon Mainely Mystery: Book #2
Format: E-book 
Pages: 302 pages
Publisher: Encircle Publications
Blurb:
“I want you to find out who is responsible for ruining his life and I want them to pay for it.”
This is the desire of Latricia Jones as she hires Goff Langdon to investigate her son’s arrest for burglary, vandalism, and possibly hate crimes.
Langdon is a laid back, slacker detective, happy with his work, friends, and way of life in the town of Brunswick, Maine. To complement his income in Brunswick’s scarce private detective market, Langdon also owns and operates a mystery bookstore named after his trusted companion, Coffee Dog.

He was on the fast track to success. And then something happened.
Jamal Jones is an eighteen-year-old rising star attending a post-grad prep school in central Maine to bring his grades up so he can play college basketball at the D1 level. Then he is arrested for crimes that his mother knows he committed, but not why. She’s sure someone has put him up to it, the behavior so unlike him as to be unthinkable, especially since Jamal was on the verge of beginning a better life. Latricia wants Langdon to track down those responsible for her son’s sudden turn from grace, and she wants them to pay.

Book Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Mainly Fear by Matt Cost is the second instalment in the Goff Langdon Mainely Mystery series and the sequel to Mainely Power. Just like the first book, I really enjoyed reading this book too, maybe a tab more, if I am being completely honest. Mostly because of how the character of the protagonist, Langdon, is explored further and with care in this entertaining sequel.

The story was good, the mystery was brilliant and the writing was great complimenting the story beautifully. It was a very smooth and thus, fast read and I enjoyed every bit of it. It has been a while since I enjoyed a detective mystery series this much and I am looking forward to reading more by author Matt Cost in this series.

I’d highly recommend this book to all mystery lovers. Go ahead, if you’re looking for a new mystery author to explore, then this book series would be a great fit for you!

You can also read this review on 

Guest Post: An appreciation of The Mystery of Martha by Eduardo Fernandez Lalanne

Welcome to TRB Lounge!

Today, we are featuring Eliza Harrison, author of The Mystery Of Martha to share a guest post.

About The Author

Eliza Harrison

Eliza has had a lifelong passion for exploring different spiritual pathways in the East and the West and has been a teacher of meditation all her adult life. Alongside her work as a spiritual mentor and guide, she is a photographer and author and has produced several books on the life and landscape of Northern England, including The Light Within – A Celebration of the Spiritual Path, and the story of her own: In Search of Freedom – One Woman’s Journey. Now, with her husband David, she runs Sacred Meditation from their home in Cumbria. 

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR:

Author Website | Facebook | Instagram



An appreciation of The Mystery of Martha by Eduardo Fernandez Lalanne

For me this novel has been a guide and inspiration during intense and challenging personal times, offering profound insights into the meaning of love, truth and life. The stories take place in the Holy Land and the British Isles, two places that have a turbulent history but also a profound spiritual heritage.

The book is written in an exquisite way, in almost Biblical style, full of poetic touches, with compelling stories and profound teachings. While reading, one can travel through time, walk the different paths of each character, and be transported back 2000 years through evocative tastes, smells and visual images. Effortlessly one is able to engage with the trials and tribulations of the different characters, but also be inspired by their personal insights and realisations. It is a courageous move to bring a seemingly unimportant character of the Bible to the fore, but she becomes an inspiration for all those who feel marginalised today. And ultimately both Marthas find the truth of themselves by opening to the experience of compassion and unconditional love. 

The novel enabled me to feel close to Biblical characters for the first time, to sense the depth and truth of each personality: Yeshua, L´azar, Magdala, Maryam, Yehudah and of course Martha of Bethania herself. Despite my Catholic education, I’ve always found it difficult to understand the relevance of many of the Christian stories, but this novel offers a much deeper insight into their meaning. I now realise that the essence of Christian mysticism is rooted in unconditional love.

The stories of the two Marthas are reflections of the path we all walk in order to realise the unity of life – whether experienced within a family context, service to others, intimate relationship or direct spiritual experience. So I shall always be grateful for the precious gift of The Mystery of Martha.


About The Book

The Mystery Of Martha

Two timelines, one truth . . . 

Two women, two millennia apart with seemingly unconnected lives – one from the Lake District in England and the other from Bethany in Palestine. Both experience loss and betrayal, which engender feelings of fear and uncertainty about what their future holds.  

Martha from the Lake District faces challenge and change in 2000 AD as her deepest insecurities are exposed. But supported by her partner Ben, she discovers the mystical Aramaic teachings of Yeshua that offer her a pathway to Self-realisation and freedom.

In Brattleboro, Vermont, a long-forgotten doorway opens, to a land beyond living memory, where two lifelong enemies must journey as allies, to save two worlds, or destroy them.

In 30 AD Martha of Bethany has Yeshua as a friend and guide. From a place of tenderness and vulnerability, she witnesses the last three years of his life as he embodies the ultimate mystery and power of love, which inspires her own journey to awakening. 

These two stories weave together seamlessly until finally they converge in a hauntingly beautiful tale of revelation and redemption.

You can find The Mystery Of Martha here:

Website | Audible | Goodreads


To read more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Author Interview: Eliza Harrison

Welcome to TRB Lounge!

Today, we are featuring Eliza Harrison, author of The Mystery Of Martha, for our Author Interview feature.

About The Author

Eliza Harrison

Eliza has had a lifelong passion for exploring different spiritual pathways in the East and the West and has been a teacher of meditation all her adult life. Alongside her work as a spiritual mentor and guide, she is a photographer and author and has produced several books on the life and landscape of Northern England, including The Light Within – A Celebration of the Spiritual Path, and the story of her own: In Search of Freedom – One Woman’s Journey. Now, with her husband David, she runs Sacred Meditation from their home in Cumbria. 

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR:

Author Website | Facebook | Instagram



The Interview

Welcome to TRB! Please tell us something about your book other than what we have read in the blurb?

The portrayal of the present-day Martha is partly autobiographical, the story of my own search for truth and love. My spiritual journey entailed me spending time with different teachers, which gave me the idea of portraying what it might have been like being around Yeshua. From one moment to the next, none of his close followers would have known what experiences he would take them through, teachings he would impart, nor the challenges they would have to face. I also wanted to bring to life people in the Bible, who now seem remote and stereotyped. Owing to the discovery of the Nag Hammadi texts and other recent research, I was able to tell some of the well known Biblical stories from a new perspective, which makes them more relevant to us today. 

What is that one message that you’re trying to get across to the readers in this book?

That everyone has within them the capability of moving beyond their fears and insecurities and finding the truth of themselves and the truth of love.

Who is your favourite character in this book and why? 

Martha of Bethania as I identify with her most closely. She feels inadequate and lacking, but has the courage to face her fears and determines to move beyond them. In this respect, she serves as inspiration for us all today. I also loved immersing myself in the imagery of Palestine 2000 years ago and painting a picture of Martha’s way of life as it would have been.  

What inspired you to write this book?

I first read about Martha of Bethany in a book called The Christ Blueprint, which spoke of two sides to her character – the shadow side, which described how she felt undeserving of love and so felt she had to earn it, and the higher aspect of herself as embodied by Kuan Yin, the Goddess of Compassion and Mercy, who gives selflessly without needing anything in return. 


How long did it take you to write this particular book?

Three to four years, with a lot of re-writing and interludes when I researched and travelled to places where the two Marthas lived and spent their time. 

What are your writing ambitions? Where do you see yourself 5 years from today?

Writing helps me find myself but before writing another novel, I shall wait until a new idea presents itself or I go through an experience that I want to relate.

Are you working on any other stories presently?

At the moment I am writing scripts for videos that we are making for Sacred Meditation to help people move beyond feelings of fear, which is so important in these challenging times.

Why have you chosen this genre? Or do you write in multiple genres?

This is my first novel, but I imagine that it would be within the genre of inspirational/spiritual fiction that I am drawn to write again.

When did you decide to become a writer? Was it easy for you to follow your passion or did you have to make some sacrifices along the way? (feel free to give us your story, we love hearing to author stories!)

I have written since my early twenties – poetry, a novel that I scrapped, an autobiography that was published: In Search of Freedom – One Woman’s Journey, and a series of published photographic essays for which I also wrote the text. I was blessed with having income from meditation teaching while I wrote, so I just needed to commit to the project, but that can be a challenge in itself. 

What is your writing ritual? How do you do it?

I went through a period of getting up at 5am and writing for 3 hours before breakfast, as well as during the day. It was quiet, beautiful and peaceful in the early morning, but I realised I needed my sleep more, so changed to writing in the morning and afternoon instead.

How do you prefer to write – computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

I write on my laptop.

What are your 5 favourite books? (You can share 5 favourite authors too.)

The two novels that most inspired me to write The Mystery of Martha were Siddhartha by Herman Hesse and The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak. However, my book entailed quite a bit of research and one of the most illuminating books was Jesus – The Explosive Story of the 30 Lost Years by Tricia McCannon

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

I never push myself if an idea or words are not flowing. I just walk away from my laptop and take a break. That could be for an hour, a day or even a month or more. I feel the creative process needs gestation time and it’s important not to push oneself when encountering a block.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Begin and never lose heart. It doesn’t matter if it is just a page or two, or if it’s thrown away a day later. It’s my experience that through writing we unleash our creative energy and subsequently find ourselves, which is one of the greatest gifts we ever could have.

Thank you, Eliza, for your enlightening and honest answers!


About The Book

The Mystery Of Martha

Two timelines, one truth . . . 

Two women, two millennia apart with seemingly unconnected lives – one from the Lake District in England and the other from Bethany in Palestine. Both experience loss and betrayal, which engender feelings of fear and uncertainty about what their future holds.  

Martha from the Lake District faces challenge and change in 2000 AD as her deepest insecurities are exposed. But supported by her partner Ben, she discovers the mystical Aramaic teachings of Yeshua that offer her a pathway to Self-realisation and freedom.

In Brattleboro, Vermont, a long-forgotten doorway opens, to a land beyond living memory, where two lifelong enemies must journey as allies, to save two worlds, or destroy them.

In 30 AD Martha of Bethany has Yeshua as a friend and guide. From a place of tenderness and vulnerability, she witnesses the last three years of his life as he embodies the ultimate mystery and power of love, which inspires her own journey to awakening. 

These two stories weave together seamlessly until finally they converge in a hauntingly beautiful tale of revelation and redemption.

You can find The Mystery Of Martha here:

Website | Audible | Goodreads


To read more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Author Interview: Eliza Harrison

Welcome to TRB Lounge!

Today, we are featuring Eliza Harrison, author of The Mystery Of Martha, for our Author Interview feature.

About The Author

Eliza Harrison

Eliza has had a lifelong passion for exploring different spiritual pathways in the East and the West and has been a teacher of meditation all her adult life. Alongside her work as a spiritual mentor and guide, she is a photographer and author and has produced several books on the life and landscape of Northern England, including The Light Within – A Celebration of the Spiritual Path, and the story of her own: In Search of Freedom – One Woman’s Journey. Now, with her husband David, she runs Sacred Meditation from their home in Cumbria. 

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR:

Author Website | Facebook | Instagram



The Interview

Welcome to TRB! Please tell us something about your book other than what we have read in the blurb?

The portrayal of the present-day Martha is partly autobiographical, the story of my own search for truth and love. My spiritual journey entailed me spending time with different teachers, which gave me the idea of portraying what it might have been like being around Yeshua. From one moment to the next, none of his close followers would have known what experiences he would take them through, teachings he would impart, nor the challenges they would have to face. I also wanted to bring to life people in the Bible, who now seem remote and stereotyped. Owing to the discovery of the Nag Hammadi texts and other recent research, I was able to tell some of the well known Biblical stories from a new perspective, which makes them more relevant to us today. 

What is that one message that you’re trying to get across to the readers in this book?

That everyone has within them the capability of moving beyond their fears and insecurities and finding the truth of themselves and the truth of love.

Who is your favourite character in this book and why? 

Martha of Bethania as I identify with her most closely. She feels inadequate and lacking, but has the courage to face her fears and determines to move beyond them. In this respect, she serves as inspiration for us all today. I also loved immersing myself in the imagery of Palestine 2000 years ago and painting a picture of Martha’s way of life as it would have been.  

What inspired you to write this book?

I first read about Martha of Bethany in a book called The Christ Blueprint, which spoke of two sides to her character – the shadow side, which described how she felt undeserving of love and so felt she had to earn it, and the higher aspect of herself as embodied by Kuan Yin, the Goddess of Compassion and Mercy, who gives selflessly without needing anything in return. 


How long did it take you to write this particular book?

Three to four years, with a lot of re-writing and interludes when I researched and travelled to places where the two Marthas lived and spent their time. 

What are your writing ambitions? Where do you see yourself 5 years from today?

Writing helps me find myself but before writing another novel, I shall wait until a new idea presents itself or I go through an experience that I want to relate.

Are you working on any other stories presently?

At the moment I am writing scripts for videos that we are making for Sacred Meditation to help people move beyond feelings of fear, which is so important in these challenging times.

Why have you chosen this genre? Or do you write in multiple genres?

This is my first novel, but I imagine that it would be within the genre of inspirational/spiritual fiction that I am drawn to write again.

When did you decide to become a writer? Was it easy for you to follow your passion or did you have to make some sacrifices along the way? (feel free to give us your story, we love hearing to author stories!)

I have written since my early twenties – poetry, a novel that I scrapped, an autobiography that was published: In Search of Freedom – One Woman’s Journey, and a series of published photographic essays for which I also wrote the text. I was blessed with having income from meditation teaching while I wrote, so I just needed to commit to the project, but that can be a challenge in itself. 

What is your writing ritual? How do you do it?

I went through a period of getting up at 5am and writing for 3 hours before breakfast, as well as during the day. It was quiet, beautiful and peaceful in the early morning, but I realised I needed my sleep more, so changed to writing in the morning and afternoon instead.

How do you prefer to write – computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?

I write on my laptop.

What are your 5 favourite books? (You can share 5 favourite authors too.)

The two novels that most inspired me to write The Mystery of Martha were Siddhartha by Herman Hesse and The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak. However, my book entailed quite a bit of research and one of the most illuminating books was Jesus – The Explosive Story of the 30 Lost Years by Tricia McCannon

How do you deal with Writer’s Block?

I never push myself if an idea or words are not flowing. I just walk away from my laptop and take a break. That could be for an hour, a day or even a month or more. I feel the creative process needs gestation time and it’s important not to push oneself when encountering a block.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Begin and never lose heart. It doesn’t matter if it is just a page or two, or if it’s thrown away a day later. It’s my experience that through writing we unleash our creative energy and subsequently find ourselves, which is one of the greatest gifts we ever could have.

Thank you, Eliza, for your enlightening and honest answers!


About The Book

The Mystery Of Martha

Two timelines, one truth . . . 

Two women, two millennia apart with seemingly unconnected lives – one from the Lake District in England and the other from Bethany in Palestine. Both experience loss and betrayal, which engender feelings of fear and uncertainty about what their future holds.  

Martha from the Lake District faces challenge and change in 2000 AD as her deepest insecurities are exposed. But supported by her partner Ben, she discovers the mystical Aramaic teachings of Yeshua that offer her a pathway to Self-realisation and freedom.

In Brattleboro, Vermont, a long-forgotten doorway opens, to a land beyond living memory, where two lifelong enemies must journey as allies, to save two worlds, or destroy them.

In 30 AD Martha of Bethany has Yeshua as a friend and guide. From a place of tenderness and vulnerability, she witnesses the last three years of his life as he embodies the ultimate mystery and power of love, which inspires her own journey to awakening. 

These two stories weave together seamlessly until finally they converge in a hauntingly beautiful tale of revelation and redemption.

You can find The Mystery Of Martha here:

Website | Audible | Goodreads


To read more author interviews, click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed or if you are a publicist and want to get your author interviewed on TRB, then please get in touch through direct e-mail: thereadingbud@gmail.com

Book Review: The Seventh Cup by Nitesh Kumar Jain

Author: Nitesh Kumar Jain
Release Date: 9th September 2020
Genre:  Mystery
Series
Format: E-book 
Pages: 311 pages
Publisher: Cyberwit.net
Blurb:
A student of history in Switzerland goes missing; a man drinks exactly seven cups of coffee everyday in the same restaurant and believes in Mind Transportation. Two newly married Swiss detective agents arrive and begin a shocking tale of love, friendship, betrayal and death. From the colorful coasts of Goa, India to the enchanting backdrop of Zurich, Switzerland, the mystery of Verona Schmidt baffles everyone. With shocking twits and turns in every chapter, The Seventh Cup might just have the addictive flavor to stir the readers mind…may be forever !!!

Review

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Seventh Cup by Nitesh Jain is a very unique mystery read that was fun and entertaining to read. I liked this book because the author has weaved a complex mystery tale layered with good characterisation and has taken it all to the next level by making use of the concept of the law of attraction which gave this book a very refreshing feel.

I did had some issues with the dialogues but compared to how much I loved the story, the settings and the writing (other than the dialogues) it was nothing. Also, the overall execution of the plot was very good and therefore I would definitely recommend this book to everyone who likes reading mystery books.

You can also read this review on

Book Review: Mainely Power (A Goff Langdon Mainely Mystery #1) by Matt Cost

Author: Matt Cost
Release Date: 18 September 2020
Genre: Cosy Mystery
Series: Goff Langdon Mainely Mystery: Book #1
Format: E-book 
Pages: 304 pages
Publisher: Encircle Publications
Blurb:
Was Harold Dumphy killed to cover up something at the nuclear power plant he was the head of security at?

This is what the widow asks Goff Langdon, private detective, to find out.

Langdon is a laid back, slacker detective, happy with his work, friends, and way of life in the town of Brunswick, Maine. To compliment his income in small town Maine’s scarce private detective market, Langdon also owns and operates a mystery bookstore named after his trusted companion, Coffee Dog.

Does Langdon stand a chance against corrupt cops, crooked politicians, greedy millionaires, radical environmentalists, and a deadly assassin named Shakespeare?

With the help of Bart, the bear of a cop, Jimmy 4 by Four the hippie lawyer, the immigrants Jewell and Richam, and his desire and employee, Chabal—he sets out to do just that. And then he is framed for not one, but two murders, and events become very complicated.

Follow Langdon and his band of friends as they attempt to untangle the web of intrigue and return Brunswick to ‘the way life should be.’

Book Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Mainely Power by Matt Cost is a very laid-back personal investigator mystery that takes the readers on a ride that starts slow but build up as it progresses.

I love reading cosy mysteries because they are a lot better than hard-boiled detective series in a way that they have everything a mystery buff looked for in a book without the unnecessary and many times indulgent (only for the author) details. And this book proved me right yet again! Cosies are far better and also, PIs are much more interesting to read about than a DI.

Anyway, my thought on the matter aside, this book proved to be one hell of a ride! It started slowly introducing the laid-back main character who is a PI but also has a mystery bookstore. And then he gets tangled in a case that sets him, his dear friends and the readers along with them on a very slippery course. What follows is an array of twists and turns that turns the life of Goff, the main character, upside down.

The book gets interesting by the page and really picks up the pace after the halfway point (in the middle of the 2nd act) until the end, gradually getting faster and faster with each and every chapter which translated into the story turning into an un-put-down-able read. The characterization was brilliant and I loved not only the main character but also the secondary characters. The writing was good and the narration had a very nice flow.

Overall I really enjoyed the book, especially considering the fact that this one is my first book by the author, and I would definitely recommend it to all mystery buffs, especially who love reading cosy mysteries.

You can also read this review on 

Book Review: The Conviction: Enacting Vigilante Justice by John Mathews

Author: John Mathews
Release Date: 25th January 2015
Genre: Mystery, Thriller
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 72 pages
Publisher: DSP Publications
Blurb:
Two criminals are responsible for an innocent man getting sentenced to life for murder. An inept defense attorney and a crooked prosecutor are the other players in this case of egregious American corruption. 
The four of them have been lured into a trap in an abandoned warehouse. Someone wants vengeance. This is a story of vigilante justice for the wrongfully convicted. Marked doors lead to four locked rooms, one where each of them will have to pay a price for what they have done. What will they be required to do in order to survive? 
This riveting crime thriller puts the American justice system in public view and will keep you guessing until the very last scene. A dark masked figure watches…waits…and wants revenge.

Book Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Conviction: Enacting Vigilante Justice by John Mathews is a surprisingly amazing read! I usually don’t expect much from a novella unless of course it is written by authors like Stephen King, but this book turned out to be an absolute delight.

This novella is jam-packed with high tension scenes, mind-boggling manipulative games, fast-paced action and clever twists and turns – all this in just 72 pages! And for me that itself was the best part. This book was an intense yet quick read and kept me on the edge the entire time.

This book was able to accomplish what a lot of lengthy mystery and thriller novels fail to achieve and so I would definitely recommend this book to all thriller lovers.

You can also read this review on Goodreads & Amazon

Book Review: First Gear (Sadie Hawkins Mystery #1) by Patricia C. Lee

Author: Patricia C. Lee 
Release Date: 4th August 2020
Genre: Thriller, Suspense, Mystery, Detective Fiction
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 374 pages
Publisher: 
Blurb:
Recently divorced, petite and feisty Texan, Sadie Hawkins, struggles to get her newly established logistics business off the ground. When the opportunity to haul antiquities, including a mummy, drops into her lap, she jumps at the chance, despite the tight timeline. But when her cargo gets stolen and a fresh corpse mysteriously replaces the mummy, Sadie is arrested for theft and suspicion of murder.

Out on recognizance thanks to her lawyer ex-husband, and not willing to watch her business sink farther in debt while the police search for clues, Sadie yanks up her Dan Post boots and does some investigative work on her own. Stymied by her lack of success, she reluctantly enlists a few members with specific skills from Streetsmart, an organization made up of rehabilitated young adult offenders and managed by her best friend Tanya.

While trying to maintain her business from going under and making sure Tanya never learns of her collaboration with Streetsmart, Sadie endeavors to uncover the truth, the whole time wondering if this crime is some form of retribution to an event in her past. However, when she is framed for the real thief’s murder, it appears not even her accomplices in Streetsmart will be able to save her now.

Book Review

Rating: 3 out of 5.

First Gear by Patricia C. Lee is a start to a new detective fiction series that revolves around the female protagonist, Sadie Hawkins.

I’m generally not a huge fan of detective fiction genre, but I like a good detective mystery and given that this was the first book in the series, I had no inhibitions to dive right in. The story was good, the characterisation was okay – the characters were likeable, though not overly relatable, the narration was decent and the ending was good.

The best thing about this book was that it was a surprisingly quick read, which says a lot about the writing style of the author.

Knowing that first book in any series is generally meant to set things up for the next books, I’m willing to cut this one some slack and recommend it to mystery lovers, especially those who like reading detective fiction.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Audiobook Review: Those People by Louise Candlish

Author: by Louise Candlish
NarratorKatharine McEwanJonathan CowleyJayne EntwistleAndrew FallaisePaul FoxBillie JD PorterMoira Quirk
Release Date: 11th June 2019
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense
Series:
Format: Audiobook
Length: 24 hrs and 32 minutes
Publisher: Penguine Audio 
Blurb:
From the internationally bestselling author of Our House, a new addictive novel of domestic suspense that dives into the world of suburban neighborhood drama and asks, “Could your neighbor make you angry enough to kill?”

Lowland Way is the epitome of the suburban dream. Every house and yard is carefully maintained for maximum curb appeal, and everyone knows one another and gets along. One homeowner, Sissy Watkins, runs a successful B and B from her house. Two brothers and their families live next door to each other. It’s the picture-perfect neighborhood.
When Darren Booth and his girlfriend, Jodie, move in across from Sissy, it doesn’t take long for them to begin making trouble. They’re loud, rude, messy, and don’t play by the community rules. They blast music at all hours and have started an unsightly renovation on their house. Before long, guests don’t want to stay at Sissy’s B and B, and everyone is fed up with the new neighbors.
An all-out war is brewing on Lowland Way. When a person is killed, accusations start flying. Someone is dead, and everyone has something to hide….

Book Review

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This book was a legit BOMB
that…
is…
until…
the…. 
………. END!

I mean WTF happened there???

I had to read the last 3-4 chapters THRICE to be sure that I listened to it correctly and didn’t actually miss out a chapter or two!!!

The book just ended abruptly! The saddest part is that is was such a delicious and sensational story right until the last third of the book and then god knows what happened!

I am so effing disappointed!! 😦

You can also read this review on Goodreads

Book Review: The Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

Author: Riley Sager 
Release Date: 3rd July 2018
Genre: Dark Fiction, Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Mystery
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 384
Publisher: Dutton Books 
Blurb:
Two Truths and a Lie. The girls played it all the time in their tiny cabin at Camp Nightingale. Vivian, Natalie, Allison, and first-time camper Emma Davis, the youngest of the group. The games ended when Emma sleepily watched the others sneak out of the cabin in the dead of night. The last she—or anyone—saw of them was Vivian closing the cabin door behind her, hushing Emma with a finger pressed to her lips.

Now a rising star in the New York art scene, Emma turns her past into paintings—massive canvases filled with dark leaves and gnarled branches that cover ghostly shapes in white dresses. The paintings catch the attention of Francesca Harris-White, the socialite and wealthy owner of Camp Nightingale. When Francesca implores her to return to the newly reopened camp as a painting instructor, Emma sees an opportunity to try to find out what really happened to her friends.

Yet it’s immediately clear that all is not right at Camp Nightingale. Already haunted by memories from fifteen years ago, Emma discovers a security camera pointed directly at her cabin, mounting mistrust from Francesca and, most disturbing of all, cryptic clues Vivian left behind about the camp’s twisted origins. As she digs deeper, Emma finds herself sorting through lies from the past while facing threats from both man and nature in the present.

And the closer she gets to the truth about Camp Nightingale, the more she realizes it may come at a deadly price. 

Book Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This is my 2nd book by Riley Sager. I can imagine why my big expectations weren’t met by this book – because I read the 3rd book by him before this one and now reading a previous work feels like reading a weaker book so I only ended up liking this book. It was a great read though, entertaining for sure and fast-paced. I enjoyed the entire bit about camping as I’ve never been to a camp so it was a welcome side-plot.

I think I am only disappointed with the ending – I was hoping for a scandalous reveal or bomb-shell climax (which I was blind-sided by in Lock Every Door.) That was what was missing in this book. The entire thing about the asylum was really, really good and by that point, I was sure that the author is going to pull out something big in the end, but sadly it was an okay-ish ending. I’m sure a lot of people will love the ending as it was good from a thriller book’s perspective, but I guess in my case the author penned the 3rd book so well the 2nd one seems a bit bland in front of it. So I am not sure now if I should read Final Girls, their first book. Though I am sure as hell going to be reading the next one by Sager as I’m sure it is going to be good!

If you haven’t read anything by Riley Sager yet, then follow the chronological order of the books. That way you can enjoy the building momentum in each book and will be blown away by their awesomeness individually rather than comparing their best work to the previous ones.

You can also read this review on Goodreads

Book Review: Earth Angel: : Hell Hath No Fury When an Angel Gets Mad By Chris H. Stevenson

Author: Chris H. Stevenson 
Release Date: 23rd April 2020
Genre: Suspense, Thriller, Mystery, Supernatural
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 229
Publisher: Aisling Books 
Blurb:
Angels…
Death Stalkers…
Real or imagined…
Twenty-one-year-old Daryl Victoria and her fiancé, Dean Fowler, a rookie detective who has been working on a serial killer case that involves the murder of five high school girls, are parked in their car for some frolicking when a carjacking goes wrong. Both are gunned down.

Daryl takes a bullet in the face, and as a result of the damage, needs a corneal transplant. Dean has been shot through the lungs. They’ve been ordered to quit work, heal, and recoup. Dean suffers a nervous breakdown as the murders increase and he is powerless to help, coupled with his guilt of having placed his bride-to-be, Daryl, in harm’s way in a seedy little lovers’ lane.
Daryl finds out that her transplanted eye is causing what she thinks are hallucinations. She begins to see what she believes are glowing angelic escorts and rancid death stalkers who are following persons of the general populace. When these supernatural beings get too close, the person they’re following dies within a short period of time. She discovers there’s a mysterious formula to the manner and timing of the deaths. 
Daryl discovers that the donor for her new cornea was a 14-year-old gifted medium with some heavy duty clairvoyant powers. Only sparse information can be gleaned from the young girl’s mother since the daughter has died in her own mysterious way.Daryl’s good eye sees the normal world. The donor eye sees a totally different realm with its own rules. With the help of Daryl’s best friend, Abbey, they embark on a mission to use the gift and try and save lives. But Daryl has a better plan—she can stop the serial killer by using her, gift, brains and looks. All it will take is an ingenious trap. First, she has to find out how the killer is gaining access into the homes. Then she has to use herself as bait and stop this madman at any cost. WARNING: Contains cussing and adult situations

Book Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Earth Angel by Chris H. Stevenson is an engaging supernatural mystery novel complete with an interesting concept and a well-written plot.

I liked reading this book more than I was expecting as I am not a huge fan of angels trope used in thriller stories, but this book was done well. The characters were good, though a couple of times I did think I wasn’t too invested in them, though in the end, I liked them just enough to see the book through. What appealed most to me was the concept itself and, thankfully, the book ended on a good note.

There are a couple of twists and turns sprinkled throughout he story and an emotional angle too that septs things exciting so over all it was a decent read.

I’d recommend it to all the mystery lovers who don’t mind the presence of supernatural element.

You can also read this review on Amazon

Book Review: Transference by B.T. Keaton

Author: B.T. Keaton
Release Date: 13th January 2020
Genre: New Adult Fiction
Series: 
Format: E-book
Pages: 394
Publisher: Ingleside Avenue Press
Blurb:
When everything you believe about civilization is a lie, the ultimate power is truth.
Eighty years from now mankind has discovered the secret of eternal life. Human souls can be moved from one body to another through the process known as transference. Control of this new technology has fallen under the dominion of Jovian, a powerful prophet and head of the Church which governs every aspect of existence.
Banished to a mining colony on a distant planet for lawlessness is Barrabas Madzimure, the king of thieves. Only when Barrabas faces execution does he claim that another man committed his infamous crimes decades earlier. The authorities are suspicious. Is he the Madzimure of legend and a potential threat to Jovian’s new world order, or just another victim of transference?
The story of a grim personal mission, Transference takes the reader on a heart-racing journey through rebellion, revenge, self-sacrifice, and the soul’s search for identity.

REVIEW

★★★★

Transference by B.T. Keaton made for a very thrilling story, with an unpredictable protagonist with a complex personality, coupled with a fast-paced plot-line made for a really compelling read. I was looking forward to reading this book right since the time I had a look at its blurb and to my great relief, the book was every bit as good as I had expected it to be.

The writing was really good and this book a very smooth and quick read. After reading this thrilling sci-fi, I am looking forward to reading more book by the author, hopefully soon!

If you like suspenseful and fast-paced sci-fi adventure stories then this book is definitely for you! It is totally worth it so do give it a read.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: The Fog Ladies by Susan McCormick

Author: Susan McCormick
Release Date: 9th June 2019
Genre: Cosy Mystery
SeriesA San Francisco Cozy Murder Mystery (Book #1)
Edition: E-bok
Pages: 332
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Blurb:
Young, overworked, overtired, overstressed medical intern Sarah James has no time for sleuthing. Her elderly neighbors, the spunky Fog Ladies, have nothing but time. When, one by one, old ladies die in their elegant apartment building in San Francisco, Sarah assumes it is the natural consequence of growing old. The Fog Ladies assume murder.

Mrs. Bridge falls off a stool cleaning bugs out of her kitchen light. Mrs. Talwin hits her head in the bathtub and drowns. Suddenly, the Pacific Heights building is turning over tenants faster than the fog rolls in on a cool San Francisco evening.

Sarah resists the Fog Ladies’ perseverations. But when one of them falls down the stairs and tells Sarah she was pushed, even Sarah believes evil lurks in their building. Can they find the killer before they fall victim themselves?

REVIEW

★★★★

The Fog Ladies by Susan McCormick is a delightful cosy mystery that turned out to be a really pleasant read. This is my first book by the author, so obviously I had no idea what to expect from the book, though the blurb totally compelled me to pick this one up. So I dove in this book unknowing and, to be honest, it felt good for a change. Thankfully, the story turned out to be an absolute delight and I enjoyed it every bit.

The delightful bickering of the old ladies, the delicious references to some favourite foods and an unsuspecting and likeable protagonist made for a really enjoyable read. The plot was engaging and managed to hook me from the beginning till the end. And the end, well, it was perfect in its own right, albeit a bit predictable.

Overall I joyed this book more than I was expecting and would highly recommend it to cosy mystery readers.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: The First Mistake by Sandie Jones

Author: Sandie Jones
Release Date: 
11th June 2019
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Series:
Edition: E-book
Pages: 304
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Blurb:

THE WIFE: For Alice, life has never been better. With her second husband, she has a successful business, two children, and a beautiful house.

HER HUSBAND: Alice knows that life could have been different if her first husband had lived, but Nathan’s arrival into her life gave her back the happiness she craved.

HER BEST FRIEND: When Alice met Beth, her best friend, it was the icing on the cake. A friend without judgement, to celebrate with, commiserate with, Beth is the most trustworthy and loyal person that Alice knows. So when Nathan starts disappearing for stretches of time, Alice turns to Beth. But soon, she begins to wonder whether her trust has been misplaced…

REVIEW

★★

I have absolutely no idea what the hype about this book phenomenal is all about! Because of the rave reviews, I was expecting a spectacular thriller when I decided to read this book but when I started reading it, I kind of started to get the feel of an okay-ish book right from the beginning. But I continued on because in one of the many praising reviews I read that the book’s 2nd part is better than the 1st and that in the 3rd part everything comes together, so I ploughed on despite not liking the main character one A very predictable read. The writing was okay but the characterization was poorly done.

Though one thing I can say for sure is that the 2nd part of this book was way, way, way better than the 1st part which is a shame because the 2nd part is all about the secondary character, who BTW, came across more real than everyone else in the book. So the characterization was poor so was the originality. Even though I enjoyed one of the twists, the overall story was still below average.

The writing seemed immature and felt like it was someone’s debut novel rather than having been written by a bestselling and well-established author. Most of the scenes were either too cheesy or outright cringe-worthy. And there was no sense of structure to the plot.

Now, you might find this book an absolute hit if you read thrillers rarely, but if you’ve been an ardent thriller lover, you’d know the book for what it really is in the first couple of pages.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Netgalley

Book Review: Perfect Child by Lucinda Berry

Author: Lucinda Berry
Release Date: 1st March 2019
Genre: Mystery, Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Dark Fiction
Series:
Edition: E-book
Pages: 364
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Blurb:
A page-turning debut of suspense about a young couple desperate to have a child of their own—and the unsettling consequences of getting what they always wanted.

Christopher and Hannah are a happily married surgeon and nurse with picture-perfect lives. All that’s missing is a child. When Janie, an abandoned six-year-old, turns up at their hospital, Christopher forms an instant connection with her, and he convinces Hannah they should take her home as their own.

But Janie is no ordinary child, and her damaged psyche proves to be more than her new parents were expecting. Janie is fiercely devoted to Christopher, but she acts out in increasingly disturbing ways, directing all her rage at Hannah. Unable to bond with Janie, Hannah is drowning under the pressure, and Christopher refuses to see Janie’s true nature.

Hannah knows that Janie is manipulating Christopher and isolating him from her, despite Hannah’s attempts to bring them all together. But as Janie’s behavior threatens to tear Christopher and Hannah apart, the truth behind Janie’s past may be enough to push them all over the edge.

REVIEW

★★★★★

HOLY–F**k!!! THIS BOOK IS ABSOLUTELY INSANE

When I started reading this book it gave me an intense “Orphan” (movie) vibe, but then the plot started to change its track and I was like, “Okay… well, this is different, but nothing new.” But then somewhere around the last third of the book, I was completely and irrevocably mind-blown!

This book is AMAZING!!!

And the reality of how the author played with the reader’s mind using seemingly-normal characters and a seemingly-normal plot still continues to mesmerize me…

And I did NOT see that coming!!!

And that one line in the last pages of the book (where a man’s voice is mentioned) is still driving me insane! Was there really someone? Was it a supernatural presence? Was it just the broken psyche of the child? Or was it something else entirely?

OMG, I guess I have fallen in love with Dr Lucinda Berry’s intelligence and cannot stop thinking about how brilliant she is! For once, someone has dared to write about how complicated human psyche is and that some people are damaged forever and that there is absolutely nothing that can be done.

This book is full of triggers and can be dangerous if you are sensitive towards more than half of the things that is wrong with this world. But if you want to read a truly chilling work, then go for it.

Prose-wise, the author had completely re-defined the meaning of unreliable narrator for me. And it has completely changed my perspective on the subject.

This book is a gem for anyone who loves reading about sociopaths, people with psychosis and other troubled souls. This book is intense, dark and unforgivingly chilling. I loved every bit of it!

You can also read my review on Goodreads

Book Review: Why She Lied by Julie Coons

Author: Julie Coons
Release Date: 3rd March 2019
Genre: Psychological thriller, Dark Fiction, Crime, Adult, Suspense, Mystery
Series: 
Edition: E-book
Pages: 183
Publisher: Self-Published
Blurb:
Will she have to lose her child to save her child?
The day she tells her boyfriend she’s pregnant, is the same day he tells her he’s been accused of molestation. His trial is set to begin the following day.
She needs answers…
To get them, she tricks her boyfriend into signing a release form, giving her full access to all of his legal documents. She uncovers the truth, he’s guilty.
To save her unborn child from this monster, she gets an abortion.
FIVE YEARS LATER and still rebuilding her life, Julie finds out her ex-boyfriend has just become the most wanted man in America, involved in human trafficking. When detectives ask for her help locating him, she gets drawn into a baffling mystery. What began as a seemingly simple search soon turns into a much darker reality.
Someone from her past is watching…
Bit by bit, the tapestry of her own secret childhood begins to unravel. What she learns about her past will haunt her forever: family isn’t always what it seems.
Can she help bring this predator to justice, or will she die trying?

WHY SHE LIED is a gripping psychological thriller full of mystery, intrigue, and buried secrets.

REVIEW

★★★★

Why She Lied by Julie Coons is a refreshing new dark psychological thriller with a great concept, a nicely executed plot and decent characterization. This book had just the right amount of complexity to make it an engaging read without being too overly complex.

Overall, this book was a gripping thriller. The characterization wasn’t exactly spot on, but I cared for the main character, Julie, enough to read through the entire book with interest. The layers of background made her a likeable lead and, although the flashbacks and some character traits felt redundant, I felt she was a decent protagonist. Though, again, I wasn’t able to connect or relate to her entirely for some reason.

The writing was good for most parts, though at times the narration felt redundant and there was more of ‘telling’ rather than ‘showing.’ As it was on the simpler side, the reading was easy and the book, because of the tight pacing, turned out to be a surprisingly quick read even for a less-than-200-pages-book.

I liked this book and would recommend to all thriller lovers, especially the ones who love reading dark thrillers with layered and complex characters.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: In The Shadow Of The Kingmakers by Vahid Imani

Author: Vahid Imani
Release Date: 9th February 2019
Genre: Historical Fiction, Thriller, Suspense, Mystery
Series:
Edition: E-book
Pages: 300
Publisher: Stormtop Publishing
Blurb:
The shadows were closer than he thought …
Tehran in 1924 is the stage for a daring international showdown over the control of Persian oil fields. James Malcolm, a British operative stationed in Tehran weaves an intricate plot in hopes of installing a new loyal Persian king. A teenage boy’s accidental involvement becomes a distraction. When his plot is sabotaged, the fragile peace in Persia is threatened along with the boy’s life. Malcolm’s clandestine investigation entangles him with unwitting American diplomats, treacherous double agents, and murderous Soviet spies, all seeking to foil the oil grab of the British.

REVIEW

★★★★

In The Shadow Of The Kingmakers by Vahid Imani is an immersive historical suspense thriller that pulled me in right from the start to the very end. I really liked it because of the complexity of the plot and the ease with which it was laid by the author for the reader to read.

The writing is really good and the book is easy to follow, making it a relatively quick read. The characterization was also good and I was able to feel a connection to the protagonist, James, and was rooting for him throughout the book. The plot was the hero for me and the story felt very well fleshed out, especially the cultural details and the rich exposition.

The ending was apt and it made a lot of sense. I enjoyed this book through and through and would recommend it to all historical fiction fans and readers of mystery and thriller genre.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: The Sicilian Woman’s Daughter by Linda Lo Scuro

Author: Linda Lo Scuro
Release Date: 22nd October 2018
Genre: Crime, Mystery, Suspense
Series: 
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 296
Publisher: Sparkling Books
Blurb:
Most victims of the mafia are the Sicilians themselves. The role of women both as perpetrators and victims has been grossly overlooked. Until now.

As the daughter of Sicilian immigrants, in her teens Maria turns her back on her origins and fully embraces the English way of life. Notwithstanding her troubled and humble childhood in London, and backed up by her intelligence, beauty and sheer determination, she triumphantly works her way up to join the upper middle-class of British society.

Maria delves deeper into her mother’s family history and a murky past unravels, drawing her more and more into a mire of vendetta.

REVIEW

★★★★

The Sicilian Woman’s Daughter by Linda Lo Scuro is a very gripping book with a well-written plot and a beautiful cast of strong characters. This book was a very quick read and had a lot more to offer to its reader that one can imagine. This book is very culturally rich and it was great to get a detailed glimpse into the family of mobs and also witnessing the repercussions of belonging to such a family.

I enjoyed reading this book from start to end, mainly because the writing was good and had a very easy flow to it. The plot-progression was good and so was the pacing and tension and they all complimented and went along the story very well.

I’d recommend this book to all crime and suspense readers who enjoy reading culturally rich books.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Perax Frontier by Alistair Potter

Author: Alistair Potter
Release Date: 27th April 2017
Genre: Science-Fiction, Action, Mystery
Series:
Edition: E-book
Pages: 214
Publisher: 
Blurb:
Perax Frontier, a place like no other! Bathed in the constant glow of the Interface connecting two Universes, the frontier townships of Praxton, and Millaki on the Atlathian side, function without any electrically based technologies. Set against this unusual background, and fighting the hierarchal restrictions of Imperial society, Sheriff Artur Perax investigates the murder of Imperial Ambassador, Madam Lintsa Kroft. And all the time still keeping order among the visitors, frustrated scientists, religious fanatics, misfits, reformed felons and plain good folks who keep the flow of trade goods moving across the Interface.

Book Review

★★★★+1/2

A well-written hardcore sci-fi mystery which will keep you engaged from the start right till the very last page. An intricately woven mystery, expertly punctuated with intense action scenes, underlined with enough drama to make you want to keep reading further, highlighted by believable characters – this book was a complete rollercoaster ride!

The ending was good and very fitting. The pacing was really good and the tension was at an all-time high. The prose was tight and easy to read and overall it was a complete package. I enjoyed it thoroughly and would recommend it to all hardcore sci-fi lovers.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and Amazon

ARC Review: Stillwater Girls by Minka Kent

Author: Minka Kent
Release Date: 9th April 2019
Genre: Thriller, Mystery
Series:
Edition: E-book
Pages: 256
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Blurb:
Two sisters raised in fear are about to find out why in a chilling novel of psychological suspense from the author of The Thinnest Air.
Ignorant of civilization and cautioned against its evils, nineteen-year-old Wren and her two sisters, Sage and Evie, were raised in off-the-grid isolation in a primitive cabin in upstate New York. When the youngest grows gravely ill, their mother leaves with the child to get help from a nearby town. And they never return.
As months pass, hope vanishes. Supplies are low. Livestock are dying. A brutal winter is bearing down. Then comes the stranger. He claims to be looking for the girls’ mother, and he’s not leaving without them.
To escape, Wren and her sister must break the rule they’ve grown up with: never go beyond the forest.
Past the thicket of dread, they come upon a house on the other side of the pines. This is where Wren and Sage must confront something more chilling than the unknowable. They’ll discover what’s been hidden from them, what they’re running from, and the secrets that have left them in the dark their entire lives.

REVIEW

★★★★

The Stillwater Girlsby Minka Kent is one of those few books that managed to grab my attention on NetGalley with a beautiful blurb and cover image when I was trying hard not to request any new titles at all. I was very excited to read this book and finally when I dove in expecting a mind-blowing thriller, I ended up marking it as another disappointing DNF read.

For some reason, I was not able to get past the first 8% of the book. Even though I really wanted to read this book, a couple of intolerable things led me to abandon this book even though when I almost made up my mind to simply skim over the pages in order to at least find out the mystery:

  1. Chapters full of fragmented sentences for exposition which led to overtreatment of a technique I otherwise love and use in my own works.
  2. Excessive foreshadowing. Foreshadowing is good, necessary even in thrillers for building suspense, but here it was too much.
  3. I felt forced by the author to feel sympathetic to the girls living alone. It felt like the girls themselves (or at least the POV one) were screaming at the readers to feel sorry for them and their conditions. As a result, I simply felt irritation and nothing more.
  4. focus on the unnecessary details and overall, the writing felt immature; it felt like the author wanted to go for Gillian Flynn’s writing style but ended up totally botching it up.

All in all, I think this book has a lot of potential in terms of the plot, or so the blurb has led me to believe but failed miserably.

You can also read this review on Goodreads and NetGalley

ARC Review: Little Darlings by Melanie Golding

Author: Melanie Golding
Release Date: 30th April 2019
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Adult Fiction, Horro, Supernatural, Suspense
Series: 
Edition: Ebook
Pages: 304
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Blurb:
“Mother knows best” takes on a sinister new meaning in this unsettling thriller perfect for fans of Neil Gaiman, Grimms’ Fairy Tales, and Aimee Molloy’s The Perfect Mother.
Everyone says Lauren Tranter is exhausted, that she needs rest. And they’re right; with newborn twins, Morgan and Riley, she’s never been more tired in her life. But she knows what she saw: that night, in her hospital room, a woman tried to take her babies and replace them with her own…creatures. Yet when the police arrived, they saw no one. Everyone, from her doctor to her husband, thinks she’s imagining things.
A month passes. And one bright summer morning, the babies disappear from Lauren’s side in a park. But when they’re found, something is different about them. The infants look like Morgan and Riley—to everyone else. But to Lauren, something is off. As everyone around her celebrates their return, Lauren begins to scream, These are not my babies.
Determined to bring her true infant sons home, Lauren will risk the unthinkable. But if she’s wrong about what she saw…she’ll be making the biggest mistake of her life.
Compulsive, creepy, and inspired by some our darkest fairy tales, Little Darlings will have you checking—and rechecking—your own little ones. Just to be sure. Just to be safe.

REVIEW

Let me begin by saying that when I first saw this book’s listing on NetGalley, I was totally in awe! It had the most amazing cover, an incredible blurb and (upon further research) some really good reviews in the book’s favour. So basically it had it all and I was positive that this will be one heck of a read.
To be honest, I couldn’t start reading this book fast enough and I felt like this right till the moment I started reading this book:

description

But when I started reading this book, say about 20-25 pages in, I was really not sure if I was reading the right book because the writing felt very forceful and unnecessarily dramatic. For one, the author kept going on and on about how the main character (don’t even remember the name) did not feel “the rush of love” for her newborn twins. I am all for complex and grey characters, but after a while, it did start to feel like the author was unnecessarily pressing the point on the readers in order to make them hate the MC (or maybe they just wanted to make the readers feel that the character was very complex) either way, it felt too forced and outright fake. Still, I kept on reading in the hopes that maybe once this part gets over the good part would begin.

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Then came the part where the MC was being checked by the doctor in order to see if her womb (?) was okay (not even sure if I even understood that part) and then everything went to hell because the descriptions got so crazily gross that it’s going to take me a long time to get over it. I mean, if you haven’t been pregnant ever, then I recommend not to read this part as it sure as hell scared the shit out of me!!

description

AND THAT WAS IT FOR ME!
I COULDN’T TAKE IT ANYMORE!!

If you’ve read this book and liked it, then hats off to you! But you haven’t yet read this book and are planning to read it, then I’d suggest to check out some other book on twins and/or pregnant-female-horror fiction like Cleaving Souls by Chauncey Rogers or stick to the plain ol’ decent thrillers like Sister Sister by Sue Fortin or The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena.

You can also read this review on Goodreads

Audiobook Review: Origin by Dan Brown

Author: Dan Brown
Narrator: Paul Michael
Release Date: 3rd October 2017
Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense
Series: Robert Langdon Book #5
Edition: Audiobook
Length: 19 hours
Publisher: Random House Audio
Blurb:
Robert Langdon, Harvard professor of symbology and religious iconology, arrives at the ultramodern Guggenheim Museum Bilbao to attend a major announcement—the unveiling of a discovery that “will change the face of science forever.” The evening’s host is Edmond Kirsch, a forty-year-old billionaire and futurist whose dazzling high-tech inventions and audacious predictions have made him a renowned global figure. Kirsch, who was one of Langdon’s first students at Harvard two decades earlier, is about to reveal an astonishing breakthrough . . . one that will answer two of the fundamental questions of human existence.As the event begins, Langdon and several hundred guests find themselves captivated by an utterly original presentation, which Langdon realizes will be far more controversial than he ever imagined. But the meticulously orchestrated evening suddenly erupts into chaos, and Kirsch’s precious discovery teeters on the brink of being lost forever. Reeling and facing an imminent threat, Langdon is forced into a desperate bid to escape Bilbao. With him is Ambra Vidal, the elegant museum director who worked with Kirsch to stage the provocative event. Together they flee to Barcelona on a perilous quest to locate a cryptic password that will unlock Kirsch’s secret.Navigating the dark corridors of hidden history and extreme religion, Langdon and Vidal must evade a tormented enemy whose all-knowing power seems to emanate from Spain’s Royal Palace itself . . . and who will stop at nothing to silence Edmond Kirsch. On a trail marked by modern art and enigmatic symbols, Langdon and Vidal uncover clues that ultimately bring them face-to-face with Kirsch’s shocking discovery . . . and the breathtaking truth that has long eluded us.

Review

★★★★

Origin by none other than Dan Brown is a gripping thriller which was both enjoyable and gripping. This book is the 5t instalment in the Robert Langdon series and, unlike lost key, was more in sync with the author’s impeccable sense of modern-day controversies. I enjoyed it a lot and was happy to note that this book differed from the last one (which is one of my favourites in this series, Inferno) greatly.

The characterisation was spot on, the twists and turns were really good and made the mystery more interesting (though it was a bit predictable, maybe that was because of the fact that by the 5th book you generally know what the author is capable of doing) and the plot-line was excellent. The only complain I had from this book is that it had hours of exhaustive descriptions and backstories and crazily lengthy dramatics. This has been my problem since the first book, Angels & Demons, but this book took it all to another level entirely. Now it might be because this is the only book I have read (listened to) as an audiobook, but the descriptions felt too long even for Dan Brown’s standards – out of 19 hours more than 9 might have been the descriptions, so that is a LOT! Because of that, I zoned out a lot while listening to it and even fell asleep.

Still, overall it is worth a read if for nothing else than for the story itself and I’d recommend it to all Dan Brown readers and to those who are interested in conspiracy theories and such.

Read this book for RMFAO

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Burning Ridge by Margaret Mizushima

Author: Margaret Mizushima
Release Date: 11th September 2018
Genre: Suspence, Mystery, Thriller
Series: Timber Creek K-9 Mystery #4
Edition: e-book
Pages: 280
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Blurb:
Featuring Mattie Cobb and her K-9 partner Robo, Burning Ridge by critically acclaimed author Margaret Mizushima is just the treat for fans of Alex Kava.On a rugged Colorado mountain ridge, Mattie Cobb and her police dog partner Robo make a grisly discovery—and become the targets of a ruthless killer.

Colorado’s Redstone Ridge is a place of extraordinary beauty, but this rugged mountain wilderness harbors a horrifying secret. When a charred body is discovered in a shallow grave on the ridge, officer Mattie Cobb and her K-9 partner Robo are called in to spearhead the investigation. But this is no ordinary crime—and it soon becomes clear that Mattie has a close personal connection to the dead man.

Joined by local veterinarian Cole Walker, the pair scours the mountaintop for evidence and makes another gruesome discovery: the skeletonized remains of two adults and a child. And then, the unthinkable happens. Could Mattie become the next victim in the murderer’s deadly game?

A deranged killer torments Mattie with a litany of dark secrets that call into question her very identity. As a towering blaze races across the ridge, Cole and Robo search desperately for her—but time is running out in Margaret Mizushima’s fourth spine-tingling Timber Creek K-9 mystery, Burning Ridge.

Review

★★★★

Burning Ridge by Margaret Mizushima is the 4th instalment in the Timber Creek K-9 Mystery but can be totally read as a standalone. I’m glad that I got the opportunity to read this book as it was a really good read with a nice plotline and honest characterization. I enjoyed the story on the whole and didn’t feel like I was missing out on anything significantly even though I’m new to this series, and now I’m looking forward to exploring the prequels and the sequels to this part.

The two things that I liked best in this book were the plot and the characterization – the plot was intense, yet not over-the-top complex and the characterization was simply but realistic and I was able to feel a connection to both the story as well as all the main characters, especially the leading lady Mattie and her GSD, Robo.

The writing was simple and clean and the book had a moderate pacing which complimented the story well. The tension was also moderate, though it spiked up enough wherever needed to make it a very engaging read. Overall, I felt that this book is a complete package and I think that based on this book I can already see this series becoming a nice thirst quencher for mystery-ravenous readers.

I’d recommend this book to all the readers of mystery, suspense and light thriller genres, especially those who are looking for a new detective series to explore.

this review is also posted on goodreads and amazon

Book Review: On The Devil’s Side Of Heaven by Roger Peppercorn

Author: Roger Peppercorn
Release Date: 9th January 2018
Genre: Mystery, Crime, Thriller, Suspense
Series:
Edition: E-Book
Pages: 583
Publisher: Wallace Publishing
Blurb:
With the drop of a judge’s gavel, Walt Walker has finally lost everything. The badge and gun he used to carry and the moral certainty of right and wrong, good and evil that used to keep him grounded. Now Walt, sans gun, gets his badges from an Army Navy store. He spends his days in South Florida, working for a boutique insurance firm as their investigator. He spends his nights in dive bars, trying to forget the mess he has made of his life.
Ronald Jacobs always preferred the title Human Resource Manger to Hitman. But now that he’s retired, he can concentrate on living in the shadows as a respectable gentlemen farmer. Far from the reach and pull of his past life.
Their transgressions are behind them but a chance encounter and a failed assassination attempt sets the two of them on a collision course of violence and retribution. Hunted by contract killers, the law, and corporate bag men, they are pursued across the unforgiving adobes and the sweeping vistas of the Mesa Valley in Western Colorado.
Survival means putting their past in front of them and their differences aside, because in this world the only thing that matters is to cast not others on the devil’s side of heaven, lest you be cast in with them.

Review

★★★+1/2

On The Devil’s Side Of Heaven by Roger Peppercorn is a hard-boiled crime thriller packed with lots of action and suspense.

This book proved to be a decent crime thriller and delivered what it promised – lots of suspense and thriller laced with tons of action and drama. The mystery was good, the characterization decent (though not overly powerful) and the pacing good. The writing was good and consisted of various POVs which turned out to be very interesting and engaging. There were several excellent twists and turns that kept me hooked to the book and the ending paid off well.

The only complain I have about the book is that it was too long. Maybe if some of the cliched scenes weren’t there then it might not feel a bit of a drag at some places, but otherwise, it was a good book. I’d recommend it to all crime, mystery and thriller readers.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon

Book Review: Purgatorium by J.H. Carnathan

Author: J.H. Carnathan
Release Date: 27th May 2016
Genre: Dark Mystery, Thriller
Series:  
Edition: E-book
Pages: 430
Publisher: J.H. Carnathan
Blurb:
When his watch resets to zero, his morning starts again. Everyday his time always ends right at 60 Minutes, giving him only 5 minutes to stay at one particular place in his normal routine. The empty streets and familiar places are strange facsimiles of his previous life. He keeps reliving these same events over and over, barely able to remember anything and unable to maintain mental order as he stumbles through a strange existence. He soon learns that his physical body is in a coma and his consciousness is currently in a purgatory-like realm. As his body lies in a coma, his mind has been living a lavish lifestyle at a price: his sinful memories and his autonomy. After finding out his life support is coming to an end he must now run the last race for his life to decide if he is a “soul survivor” ready for a second chance at life or a lost soul willing to give it all up. He needs to outrun reapers, outthink the clock, and chase down his inner demons if he is ever going to get free. The race is on, and if he is going to survive, he’ll have to confront the world he’s always been so desperate to escape from.

Review

★★★+1/2

Purgatorium by J.H. Carnathan is a unique book with a story so intricate you wouldn’t mind being lost in it for hours.

When I first read the summary of the book, I was very intrigued and that was the main reason I picked it to read. Initially, it took me some time to get a hold of the theme of the story (obviously I knew it, but it took some getting used to) and once I got into the rhythm of the story flow, it only got more and more interesting.

Without giving away much, I’d just say that this book is more like a puzzle than a story; it has lots of clues and red-herrings and takes you on a mind-bending journey only to leave you baffled at the end. This is the first book of this kind that I’ve read and I did enjoy it. Though, my only problem was that I wasn’t able to feel a connection with the main character. I do get the abstractness of his identity, still, I wasn’t able to root for him to find himself amidst all the chaos.

I’d recommend this book to dark fiction lovers and to anyone who loves solving peculiar puzzles.

this review is also posted on Goodreads and Amazon