Book Review: Murder Under A Bridal Moon: A 1930s Mona Moon Mystery by Abigail Keam

Book Details:

Author: Abigail Keam
Release Date: 
27th May 2019
Series: A Mona Moon Mystery (book #10)
Genre: Historical Mystery
Format: E-book 
Pages: 268 pages
Publisher: Worker Bee Press 
Blurb:
Mona Moon is planning her wedding to Robert Farley, Duke of Brynelleth, when her preparations go haywire after one of her maids is found murdered. With just days before the blessed event, unwanted guests invade Moon Manor throwing a wrench into Mona’s plans and making it more difficult to seek the truth. Now Robert is a suspect in the maid’s murder. A missing gold brooch and twenty five-dollar bills are the only clues Mona has to find the murderer. She must clear Robert from suspicion or he will call off the wedding, saying he refuses to taint Mona’s good name. Can she discover the killer before the wedding, or will the murderer witness the breakup between Mona and Robert? Was that the intention all along? 

Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Murder Under A Bridal Moon: A 1930s Mona Moon Mystery by Abigail Keam is a cosy historical mystery that will take you on a fun rollercoaster of ups and downs of interesting twists and turns.

This book is a well-written mystery in an ongoing series but it can very well be read as a stand-alone novel. At least, that’s the impression that I got while reading it, since the characterisation was rich and well-developed, I didn’t think that I was missing out on anything.

The story begins with a murder and pulls the readers in from the beginning hooking them for good till the very end where the ending blows the mind just like any reader of mystery might expect, but what really makes this book an excellent and phenomenal read is the vivid descriptions, rich settings, fully-fleshed-out characters and a brilliantly executed plot that has been well-thought out and perfectly plotted. Being a long-time reader of the mystery genre, I could not find a single fault in the book’s carefully woven mystery.

I’d strongly recommend this book to all mystery readers especially those who like their mysteries set in cosy historical settings.


You can also read this review on:

Goodreads


Amazon


Guest Post: Making Magic Wasn’t Easy by Dr. Kathy Martone

Welcome to TRB Lounge!

Today, we are featuring Dr. Kathy Martone, author of Victorian Songlight: The Birthings Of Magic & Mystery to share a guest post.

About The Author

Kathy Martone

Dr. Kathy Martone is currently an author and artist living in a small Victorian town in the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas. Before retiring, and moving from Denver, CO to Eureka Springs, AR in 2015, she was a Jungian psychologist in private practice specializing in dream work, women’s spirituality and shamanic journeys. The magical world of dreams has fascinated and intrigued Kathy for as long as she can remember. Inspired by a dream in 2005, she began making velvet tapestries imprinted with the image of one of her own dream figures and embellished with ribbons, rhinestones, feathers, glass beads, Swarovski crystals, antique jewelry and semi-precious stones.  Dr. Martone’s work has been displayed in galleries in Denver, Colorado  as well as in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

In 2006 Dr. Martone self-published her first book titled, Sacred Wounds: A Love Story.  Essays and short stories written by Dr. Martone have been published in eMerge, an online magazine published by The Writer’s Colony at Dairy Hollow.  In addition, some of her writings have also appeared in two anthologies titled Dairy Hollow Echo and Not Dead Yet 2.

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR:
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Email 



Making Magic Wasn’t Easy

It was August 1991 and the hot Arkansas sun beat down on my bare arms.  The summer dress I wore hung loosely from my shoulders, allowing my wet skin to breathe in the intense heat.  I watched as rivulets of perspiration traced a path down my arms, weaving a pattern among my girlish freckles, remnants from a childhood I’d rather not remember.  Standing only yards away from the Little Rock train station, I heard the familiar sounds of rumbling wheels, banging boxcars, screeching brakes, and lonesome shrieking whistles.

I stood in front of the Victory House, about as far north on Victory Street as one could go before falling off into the tangled spaghetti tracks of the rail yard.  Although a block away, I could still smell the odors of diesel oil and creosote hanging in the stillness of the sweltering summer air.  Looking up the three flights of narrow cement steps, I took in the sight of my Victorian masterpiece, so aptly named.  I clutched the black iron railing in my right hand and paused just long enough to remember how proud I was to be the owner of this historic landmark.  Hundreds of people’s life stories had been told and retold inside those 90-year-old walls.  Countless paths of healing had been explored, some with great success, others not so fortunate.  But most people reported an exquisite sense of peace and well-being after spending time inside the hallowed walls of this Healing Center.  Because I was the owner and practicing psychologist, people usually credited me with astounding success.  But it wasn’t easy.

I had just returned from Dr. Glenn’s office and my Radix Bodywork session. As I dragged my feet up the red brick steps to Linda and Austen’s office in their suburban Conway home, I felt an overpowering sense of dread.  I stopped for a moment on the front porch to take a deep breath as I remembered how painful my last session had been.  Taking a long look at the cascading ivy that tumbled off the porch and covered most of the lawn, I could smell the delicious fragrance of the thick white Gardenia blossoms that dotted the bushes next to the porch like so many clusters of perfume-drenched clouds, drunk on their own elixir.  I opened the front door, hearing the familiar creak of the hinges as Linda met me with open arms and a warm, inviting embrace.

Lying on a green mat in the middle of the hardwood floor, I began stretching my body into yoga-like positions to loosen my muscles, then slowly merged into the breathing exercises designed to carry me into the deepest recesses of my mind.  Soon a series of cartoon-like figures materialized inside my head.  A tall, dark man appeared first, etched in red.  Initially, he seemed to carry a red cane.  I could scarcely breathe as I watched this walking stick turn into an erect penis, which he rubbed over the naked body of a little girl.  Then the image folded up like a paper fan, transformed into a vertical black line in my field of vision.  A little girl’s voice spoke out:  “Bad boy!  You were not supposed to come out.”  Next, the chubby fingers of a child’s right hand emerged, holding a key.  She reached over and locked the black line, as if it were a door.

Months later, the dreams began – strange images of a small hysterical child, hurling herself against the fiery red, burning walls of a pit, desperately wanting out.  “We have to know,” she said.  “We have to let the secret out in order for me to be freed.  Please, please help me!”  I had no idea that the life I had been living was about to crumble like so many pieces of stale bread.

In 1992, I began working with a new therapist who encouraged me to continue with my daily, hours-long meditations.  I continued to have really vivid dreams that pointed toward childhood sexual, physical, and emotional abuse.  Previously, I had had no memories of any sexual abuse and this new information drew me to my knees and set me on a path of considerable pain and suffering. 

Prior to this time, I knew little about shamanism but I was about to be educated when I picked up a book titled “Healing and Wholeness” by John Sanford.  In this text, Sanford discusses what is known as a spirit spouse.  “Quite often the shaman acquired a tutelary spirit, a particular spiritual being who became his instructor….In shamanesses, the tutelary spirit was always masculine, and was like her celestial husband.”

It was not long before I began doing shamanic journeys where I encountered a magnificent spirit or ghost whose name was Grandfather.  He stood about 10 feet tall and had massive golden eyes like ferris wheels right in the middle of his large white face.  He wore long ivory robes with golden threads and eventually he became my spirit spouse, the impact of which would change my life forever.  We spent long hours over many years engrossed in deep telepathic debates in which he drew forth many unknown truths about my own life and that of the cosmic universe surrounding us.  I recorded our many conversations in a journal and these records became the basis for my novel, Victorian Songlight.


About The Book

Victorian Songlight: The Birthings Of Magic & Mystery

The birth of a magical child at the time of the Devil Moon sets the stage for heartache and misery, magic and supernatural love. Beset by unrelenting obstacles and bestowed with remarkable psychic gifts, Kate is often accompanied by fantastical black ravens who carry her through time and space. A well known legend in the Ozark Mountain countryside where Kate lives, Grandfather is a ghost with large golden eyes who frequently rides on the back of Pegasus, another Ozarkian legend. Victorian Songlight is a tale of redemption and renewal, death and rebirth, triumph over darkness. But most importantly, it is a love story. Alone and utterly forsaken, adrift on treacherous waters, Kate meets Grandfather for the second time in her life and they become lovers fulfilling a prophecy at the moment of her birth.

You can find Victorian Songlight here:
Amazon | Goodreads | Barnes & Nobel

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

Guest Post: Cocktail Parties by Nick Gray

Welcome to TRB Lounge!

Today, we are featuring Nick Gray, author of The 2-Hour Cocktail Party to share a guest post.

About The Author

Nick Gray

Nick Gray is an entrepreneur and author living in Austin, Texas. He started and sold two successful companies: Flight Display Systems and Museum Hack. Nick is the author of The 2-Hour Cocktail Party, a step-by-step handbook that teaches you how to build big relationships by hosting small gatherings. Over 75,000 people have watched his TEDx talk about why he hates most museums. He’s been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and New York Magazine called him a host of “culturally significant parties.” 

CONNECT WITH THE AUTHOR:

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Tiktok



Cocktail Parties by Nick Gray

Most adults haven’t made a new friend in years. I moved to New York City and hardly knew anyone. But then I made new friends, and those friends helped me launch a multi-million dollar company.

How? And can anyone do this?

Instead of going to random bars or meet-ups to try to create new connections, I decided to go a different route. Instead of going to other peoples’ parties, I decided to bring the party to me.

What I discovered, through lots of trial and error, is that there’s a specific way to structure parties to make them easy and successful—a “formula,” if you will, that anyone can follow to make new friends.

Over the last ten years I’ve hosted hundreds of these small parties. Then I’ve spent the past few years writing this book and testing every single aspect of it with different people around the world to make sure it works.

My book The 2-Hour Cocktail Party is my formula to “hack” your social life by learning how to throw parties. I’ll show you how to easily host fun events in your own home.

Why parties?

Some people may think a party requires loud music, late nights, and tons of booze. But a party is simply where people get together and have a good time. There can be an explicit purpose such as playing board games, celebrating an event, or meeting new people. But the essence of a party is that you are there to enjoy yourself and to connect with others.

Combining partying and relationship-building may sound counterintuitive. But it works. I’ll show you how throwing small parties in a strategic way can be the easiest method to make new friends and even boost your career.

About the book The 2-Hour Cocktail Party

You know that well-connected friend who only exists in the movies? The one who throws the best parties and can set up any introduction you need?

Everyone wants to know someone magical like this who brings people together. The secret is: you can be that person. You should be that person. The 2-Hour Cocktail Party will show you how.

Discover a simple party-hosting formula with step-by-step instructions that help you meet new people, strengthen your existing relationships, and make you the person everyone wants to know.

You’ll learn which days are the best to throw events (probably not the ones you think!) and what to say to the first people who arrive. Learn how to ensure your invitations get responses and your guests show up excited to mingle. Plus, get helpful pre-party checklists and a breakdown of activities to encourage new connections.

With The 2-Hour Cocktail Party, you’ll make new friends, boost your career, and leave everyone asking. “When’s your next party?”


About The Book

About the book The 2-Hour Cocktail Party

You know that well-connected friend who only exists in the movies? The one who throws the best parties and can set up any introduction you need?

Everyone wants to know someone magical like this who brings people together. The secret is: you can be that person. You should be that person. The 2-Hour Cocktail Party will show you how.

Discover a simple formula with step-by-step instructions to host parties that help you meet new people, strengthen your existing relationships, and make you the person everyone wants to know.

You’ll learn which days are the best (probably not the ones you think!) and what to say to the first people who arrive. Read how to ensure your invitations get responses and your guests show up excited to mingle. Plus, get helpful pre-party checklists and a breakdown of activities to encourage new connections.With The 2-Hour Cocktail Party, you’ll make new friends, boost your career, and leave everyone asking, “When’s your next party?”

You can find The Mystery Of Martha here:

Book Website | Amazon | Read more


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: Neighborhood Watch by Kevin Patrick Kenealy

Book Details:

Author: Kevin Patrick Kenealy
Release Date: 
10th March 2022
Series:
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
Format: E-book 
Pages: 415 pages
Publisher:
Blurb:
When the Caseys move into affluent Ridgeport, Ill, searching for a better life for their newborn Scott, they are surprised to find a book entitled Ridgeport Welcomes You: Procedures and Guidelines for Happy Living. The book contains rules and ordinances that citizens must abide by to live in happy neighborhoods. Although mom Loretta Casey is hesitant to live by Ridgeport’s strict rules, all that changes when she meets her neighbor Sue Ellen Norris.
Sue Ellen serves on the Neighborhood Watch Committee, overseeing the town’s safety, and Loretta becomes engrossed in Sue Ellen’s addictive personality. But as Loretta’s son Scott and Sue Ellen’s son Matt grow, they discover that Ridgeport is not as perfect as their moms make it out to be. As Scott and Matt form their band of friends, their journeys into the neighborhood woods prove to be much more than just a place of refuge.

Kevin Patrick Kenealy is in his eighth year teaching AP Literature, English, and journalism high school students. Before that, he wrote for Chicagoland newspapers, where he had the privilege to interview several famous people, including Barack Obama, former Illinois governors Jim Edgar, Rod Blagojevich, and Pat Quinn. He has also published two poetry books, 20 Something and Faith Journey, and the horror novel Life and Death.

“Superb characters headline this chilling, slow-burn crime tale.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Thoroughly enjoyable with just the right amount of suspense.”
Readers Favorite

“This gripping story of a sinister small-town secret will keep you on the edge of your seat! It’s completely unforgettable.”
Reedsy

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Neighborhood Watch by Kevin Patrick Kenealy is a thoroughly entertaining and suspenseful new read that’ll keep you on the edge of your seat till the very last page!

I loved reading this book because it had so many dark and delicious twists and turns that it kept me guessing the entire time. the writing was good and flowed very smoothly throughout the book making it a surprisingly quick read (especially given the length of the novel.) The characterization was good too and very well developed and I was able to relate to almost all the characters, primary and secondary alike.

I’d strongly recommend this book to all suspense and thriller fiction fans as it has a lot to offer to its readers.


You can also read this review on:

Goodreads


Amazon


Book Review: A Head Full Of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay

Book Details:

Author: Paul Tremblay 
Release Date: 2nd June 2015
Genre: Horror, Psychological Mystery
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 309 pages
Publisher: William Morrow
Blurb:
The lives of the Barretts, a normal suburban New England family, are torn apart when fourteen-year-old Marjorie begins to display signs of acute schizophrenia.
To her parents’ despair, the doctors are unable to stop Marjorie’s descent into madness. As their stable home devolves into a house of horrors, they reluctantly turn to a local Catholic priest for help. Father Wanderly suggests an exorcism; he believes the vulnerable teenager is the victim of demonic possession. He also contacts a production company that is eager to document the Barretts’ plight. With John, Marjorie’s father, out of work for more than a year and the medical bills looming, the family agrees to be filmed, and soon find themselves the unwitting stars of The Possession, a hit reality television show. When events in the Barrett household explode in tragedy, the show and the shocking incidents it captures become the stuff of urban legend.
Fifteen years later, a bestselling writer interviews Marjorie’s younger sister, Merry. As she recalls those long ago events that took place when she was just eight years old, long-buried secrets and painful memories that clash with what was broadcast on television begin to surface—and a mind-bending tale of psychological horror is unleashed, raising vexing questions about memory and reality, science and religion, and the very nature of evil.

Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

In one sentence, this book is a heart-breaking read. One that I don’t think I will be able to get out of my head for a while.

This book is so well-written that at times I’d have to pause to fully appreciate the gravity of a simple sentence that the author adds in between a seemingly benign paragraph that leads to an unsettling realisation that the book is told from the perspective of a child who doesn’t fully understand the consequence of anyone’s (least of all their own) actions or decisions, whereas at the same time failing to understand the gravity of their predicament or the situation going on with others around them.

This book makes one confront the odd truth of life that memories are always polluted and diluted by one’s ever-changing perspective, other’s perception of their reality and truth and their own quest for filling up the ‘gaps’ – the blank spaces that the mind cannot recall or would not recall. It is a heavy read and cannot be read as a casual or a horror read because it covers so much ground that it will baffle, shock and stun you at times. 

The ending is obviously a very lucrative thing in this book. The author leaves it to the reader to make of it as they please and so it is a haunting end in its own right.

“To be honest, and all the external influences aside, there are some parts of this that I remember in great, terrible detail, so much so I fear getting lost in the labyrinth of memory. There are other parts of this that remain as unclear and unknowable as someone else’s mind, and I fear that in my head I’ve likely conflated and compressed timelines and events.” 


You can also read this review on:

Goodreads


Audiobook Review: Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty

Author: Liane Moriarty
Release Date: 14th September 2021
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Adult, Contemporary
Series: 
Format: Audiobook
Length: 18 hours
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Blurb:
The Delaney family love one another dearly―it’s just that sometimes they want to murder each other . . .
If your mother was missing, would you tell the police? Even if the most obvious suspect was your father?
This is the dilemma facing the four grown Delaney siblings.
The Delaney family is a communal foundation. Stan and Joy are the envy of all of their friends. They’re killer on the tennis court, and off it their chemistry is palpable. But after fifty years of marriage, they’ve finally sold their famed tennis academy and are ready to start what should be the golden years of their lives. So why are they so miserable?

The four Delaney children―Amy, Logan, Troy, and Brooke―were tennis stars in their own right, yet as their father will tell you, none of them had what it took to go all the way. But that’s okay, now that they’re all successful grown-ups. Well, that depends on how you define success. No one in the family can really tell you what Troy does, but based on his fancy car and expensive apartment, he seems to do it very well, even if he blew up his perfect marriage. Logan is happy with his routine as a community college professor, but his family finds it easier to communicate with his lovely girlfriend than him. Amy, the eldest, can’t seem to hold down a job or even a lease, but leave it to Brooke, the baby of the family, to be the rock-steady one who is married with a new solo physiotherapy practice . . . which will take off any day now.
One night a stranger named Savannah knocks on Stan and Joy’s door. She says she chose their house because it looked the friendliest. And since Savannah is bleeding after a fight with her boyfriend, the Delaneys are more than happy to give her the small kindness she sorely needs. If only that was all she wanted.
Later, everyone will wonder what exactly went on in that household after Savannah entered their lives that night. Because now Joy is missing, no one knows where Savannah is, and the Delaneys are reexamining their parents’ marriage and their shared family history with fresh, frightened eyes.

REVIEW

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This book was so perfect… till the last 4 hours ruined it entirely!

I love Liane Moriarty’s books because she is an excellent writer who can create genre-defying plots and build super amazing and realistic as hell characters. In fact, whenever I take a fiction writing class, I always ask my students to read any of her books to study her characteristics and notice the techniques she uses. And this book was no different, at least on the character front. 

The characters in this book are near perfect and they are what brings so much life into this (almost) amazing story. The only thing that totally ruined it was the ending… and the flimsy motivations… and the superficial stakes. 

Why, Liane? Why?

I feel so outrageously angry that the author botched up the ending for no more reason than a stupid girl’s hunger. I mean WTAF!! I get it she was being starved, but shouldn’t Savannah take revenge from her mother who starved her? Or her father who was partially responsible? Or her big-time brother who never took her seriously? 

Why the hell does a person take such a meticulously planned revenge on someone whom she visited only for a brief period in a day 20 years ago? I mean… seriously????

You can also read this review on Goodreads

Audiobook Review: The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks And Sarah Pekkanen

Author: Greer Hendricks  and Sarah Pekkanen
Release Date: 9th January 2018
Genre: Dark Fiction, Psychological Thriller, Suspense, Mystery
Series:
Format: Audiobook
Length: 12 hours
Publisher: Macmillan Audio 
Blurb:
When you listen to this audiobook, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are listening to a story about a jealous ex-wife.
You will assume she is obsessed with her replacement – a beautiful, younger woman who is about to marry the man they both love. 
You will assume you know the anatomy of this tangled love triangle.
Assume nothing. 
Twisted and deliciously chilling, The Wife Between Us exposes the secret complexities of an enviable marriage – and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love.
Listen for the truth between the lies.

Book Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Woah! You will not know what hit you in the face when the big reveal is unravelled!

The book begins with a run-of-the-mill plot where you assume that a good chunk of the book is going to be about stalking in a revenge drama, but then the author leaves and omits certain details that make you question whether that is the case or not because you cannot be certain!

And then, after many twists and turns you realise that you have been wrong, or more likely mislead, but who cares! Because by then you are so taken aback that the entire plot was a set-up – for the readers! I know I shouldn’t be liking it as much because it is borderline wrong to mislead readers to this extent, but what the hell, Riley Sager and Alex Michaelidis use it all the time – and not quite this effectively I must add. I applaud Hendricks for plotting such a clever book because this kind of thriller cannot be written, it can only be plotted and I respect the author for it!

I’d recommend this book to all thriller buffs!

You can also read this review on Goodreads

Book Review: Family Matters (The Island Expats #3) by Deb McEwan

Book Details:

Author: Deb McEwan
Release Date: 7th August 2021
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: The Island Expats (Book #3)
Format: E-book 
Pages: 112 pages
Publisher: –
Blurb:
A troubled daughter. A heinous crime. A vengeful woman.
When Matt’s daughter, Kayleigh takes a job in Souvia to escape her abusive ex, she’s horrified to be a victim of a malicious crime that goes disastrously wrong.
Matt has no idea why his daughter and her new boss have been targeted, but he’s determined to protect Kayleigh and to ensure her safety from those who want to harm her.
Elena and Kayleigh find themselves right in the firing line as the investigation progresses. Will they err on the side of caution, or will Kayleigh’s skills stop the criminals in their tracks?
Family Matters is the third novella in The Island Expat series. A two-hour crime fiction read with a touch of romance, set on the fictional Mediterranean island of Souvia. 

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Family Matters by Deb McEwan, the third book in The Island Expats series and the sequel to Bondu and Beyond.

This book was just as good as the first two books in this series and I am so glad I got to read them all. I liked this book because the writing was great, the plot and the concept were very refreshing and the characterisation was well done. So, all in all, this book had all the things that I had expected and then some. I’ve come to like the author’s narrative voice and it made reading this book very quick affair for me, not to mention, the well-executed pacing of the book helped in that too.

I’d definitely recommend this book and the series (so far at least) to all the readers of cosy mystery and mystery genre.


You can also read this review on:

Goodreads


Amazon


Book Review: The Tribunals by David Spivak

Book Details:

Author: David Spivak
Release Date: 28th April 2021
Genre: Post-Apocalyptic, Young Adult
Series:
Format: E-book 
Pages: 222 pages
Publisher: New Degree Press
Blurb:
“Justice is about all of us.”

New Boston was born out of a series of nuclear wars after the devastating results of climate change rendered the US eastern seaboard uninhabitable. The city kept peace through its self-governing tribunal system and was thriving. But what started off as an egalitarian society began to divide along economic lines. The rich moved into the upper levels of the city and the poor masses retreated below ground. Food became rationed and tensions erupted…
The Tribunals follows Jaym, a teenager bursting with youthful energy who grew up in the dark alleys of the Furrows. When a job takes him to the upper levels of the city, he soon faces the most powerful family in New Boston, the Chief Justice and his children, Piers and Gwen. Gwen is intrigued by this Furrows boy, Piers feels threatened by the intrusion.
As the city goes through political upheaval, Jaym finds himself fighting forces greater than himself to try and save his friends and, ultimately, the city from a corrupt system. Can New Boston be stopped from complete collapse?

Review

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Tribunals by David Spivak is a young-adult post-apocalyptic read packed with action and intrigue.

I liked the concept of the book, though not exactly unique, the world-building so-far moved the plot forward well. The characterisation was good, but I believe we’ll see more development and build-up of characterisation in the next instalments of this series. Still, for the first book in a series (hopefully it is a series) it is a decent enough book.

The story had many twists and some intriguing aspects that kept me turning the pages. I liked the ending and I am looking forward to reading more books by the author, preferably in this series.

I’d recommend this book to all YA and dystopian as well as post-apocalyptic readers.


You can also read this review on:

Goodreads


Amazon


Book Review: Bondu and Beyond (The Island Expats #2) by Deb McEwan

Book Details:

Author: Deb McEwan
Release Date: 28th May 2021
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: The Island Expats (Book #2)
Format: E-book 
Pages: 132 pages
Publisher: –
Blurb:
A new life. A shocking discovery. A missing woman.
When Jenny the rescue dog finds more than she bargained for in the Souvian countryside it triggers Matt’s illness, and the night horrors return. He knows the only way to deal with it is to tackle matters head-on and to seek justice for those involved.
Elena will do everything in her power to help the man she loves, even if it means putting herself and others at risk from men whose only motivation is money.
Matt and Elena are unaware of the depths to which the criminals will plummet to reach their goals; so are the unsuspecting victims.
Bondu and Beyond is the second novella in The Island Expat series. A two-hour crime fiction read with a touch of romance, set on the fictional Mediterranean island of Souvia.

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Bondu And Beyond by Deb McEwan, the second book in The Island Expats series and the sequel to New Beginnings, serves as a perfectly entertaining cosy mystery taking things ‘up’ a notch as compared to the first book in this series.

I loved reading this book as much as, in fact even more than, the first book in this series. The author’s writing style only made the book a faster read and complimented the well-crafted plot very well. The characters were well-developed and relatable and made the plot come alive with their unique flair.

I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series and would definitely recommend this one and the previous book in the series to all cosy mystery fans.


You can also read this review on:

Goodreads


Amazon


Book Review: New Beginnings (The Island Expats #1) by Deb McEwan

Book Details:

Author: Deb McEwan
Release Date: 29th May 2021
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Series: The Island Expats (Book #1)
Format: E-book 
Pages: 114 pages
Publisher: –
Blurb:
A chance meeting. A Mediterranean island. A dead body. 
When damaged ex-detective Matt Elliott stops to help a stranger in the drizzly English weather it’s the catalyst for changes in his life he could never have imagined.  
Elena Lacey accepts Matt’s help and her safe, predictable future is thrown upside down. Neither of them knows what new beginnings are signalled on the beautiful island of Souvia, especially their association with a crime borne out of passion, revenge, and jealousy.
New Beginnings is the first novella in The Island Expat series. A two-hour cozy mystery read with a touch of romance, set on the fictional Mediterranean island of Souvia.

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

New Beginnings by Deb McEwan, the first book in The Island Expats series, is a well-written and very entertaining cosy mystery.

I loved reading this book because it had a great plot, well-written story and nicely developed characterisation. This book had everything I expected when I started reading it and successfully delivered on the promise it made – a fun-filled Mediterranean Island cosy mystery.

I liked the characters and was able to connect to most of them, including the side characters. I would definitely recommend this book to all cosy mystery readers.


You can also read this review on:

Goodreads


Amazon


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