Month: July 2016

Book Review: “Ink and Bone” by Lisa Unger

Book Review: “Ink and Bone” by Lisa Unger

Goodreads blurb:
Twenty-year-old Finley Montgomery is rarely alone. Visited by people whom others can’t see and haunted by prophetic dreams, she has never been able to control or understand the things that happen to her. When Finley’s abilities start to become too strong for her to handle – and even the roar of her motorcycle or another dazzling tattoo can’t drown out the voices – she turns to the only person she knows who can help her: her grandmother Eloise Montgomery, a renowned psychic living in The Hollows, New York.

Merri Gleason is a woman at the end of her tether after a ten-month-long search for her missing daughter, Abbey. With almost every hope exhausted, she resorts to hiring Jones Cooper, a detective who sometimes works with psychic Eloise Montgomery. Merri’s not a believer, but she’s just desperate enough to go down that road, praying that she’s not too late. Time, she knows, is running out.

As a harsh white winter moves into The Hollows, Finley and Eloise are drawn into the investigation, which proves to have much more at stake than even the fate of a missing girl. As Finley digs deeper into the town and its endless layers, she is forced to examine the past, even as she tries to look into the future. Only one thing is clear: The Hollows gets what it wants, no matter what.

My thoughts:
Looking for a paranormal thriller? Then this book is for you. Lisa Unger has created a wonderful cast of characters her, both real and spirit. With lots of plot twists and surprises mixed in, this book just can’t be put down I liked how the story is told not just by Finley but by the parents of the missing girl. The narrative moves back and forth between the two, gradually bringing them together at the conclusion. Finley is a very complex character and the author reveals her to the reader over the course of the story as she works through her relationships and as she begins to understand how her gift works and how to control it. I also enjoyed how some of the spirits become actual characters in the story, not just apparitions or visions, but as real to Finley as the human characters she interacts with. I think this book would be enjoyable to paranormal readers but also to those who enjoy thrillers. There is something here for a broad range of readers.

Alinefromabook’s rating: THUMBS-UP!

Happy Reading!

Available on Amazon

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Book Review: “By Helen’s Hand” by Amalia Carosella

Book Review: “By Helen’s Hand” by Amalia Carosella

The Greek demigod Helen comes to life under the skillful craftsmanship of Amalia Carosella. This book is the second in the author’s series about Helen of Sparta. “By Helen’s Hand” picks up Helen’s story at the point where she has been rescued by her brothers from the city of Athens. While in Athens she had married Theseus and become queen of that city. Helen is still determined to choose her own fate instead of letting the gods dictate her destiny. She convinces her father to host a series of competitions for the men who wish to marry her. It is Helen’s hope that the winner will be anybody other than Menelaus, but the gods intervene again and she finds herself in a loveless marriage, desperately hoping that Theseus will return from Hades to rescue her. Will Helen be able to thwart the will of the gods, or will her nightmares, full of violence and destruction, come true?

I really enjoyed how the author brought the myth of Helen to life. She gave her a depth of character and conviction that the myths, in their brevity, can never convey. The story itself has lots of surprises and twists thrown in to keep the reader guessing, until the end, what the final outcome will be. This is the first book by this author that I have read but I will definitely be looking for more from her. This book is an obvious choice for lovers of Greek mythology but I think any reader who enjoys intrigue and drama in an historical setting will find lots to like in this book.

Alinefromabook’s rating: THUMBS-UP!

Happy Reading!

Available from Amazon

Review: “Victoria Crossing” by Michael Wallace

Review: “Victoria Crossing” by Michael Wallace

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Publication Date: May 17, 2016
Genre: Historical Fiction

“Victoria Crossing” is the story of Victoria MacPherson, a young Irishwoman who emigrates to the U.S. during the potato famine. After losing all of her family, she embarks solo on the arduous journey across the sea. On the way she meets Maeve, whose mother has died on the ship. Maeve is traveling on the hope that her brother will meet her in New York. When the promised brother is not there the girls are forced to make their own way in a city that is openly discriminatory against its Irish immigrants. But Victoria is driven to succeed in spite of all her setbacks. After being robbed of what little money she had on her arrival, the girls find themselves in a rat-infested tenement, but they quickly pick up sewing jobs and Victoria soon has dreams of owning her own shop. Along the way the make friends and enemies, who deliberately try to destroy them, and learn the ways of business. When Maeve’s brother finally appears the girls are encouraged, but tragedy soon strikes. Will this determined girl be able to start over and achieve her dream? Or, will the city beat her down?

I really enjoyed this story. I especially like the way the author was able to point up not only the difficulties and discrimination that the Irish faced when arriving in the U.S., but the conflict within the Irish community between the Catholics and the Protestants. Victoria and Maeve are very well developed as characters in the story. After reading the story I felt like I had a greater understanding of the impact of the famine and the political conflicts on the rank and file of the Irish citizenry. I also really enjoyed the author’s portrayal of the city of New York at the time. The rapid growth it was experiencing made for many opportunities for success but there was also treachery lurking not too far beneath the surface which made for very satisfying dramatic moments. Overall, this is a very enjoyable read especially for lovers of historical fiction.

Alinefromabook’s rating: THUMBS-UP!

Happy Reading!

Thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase on Amazon

Book Review: “Blood Defense” by Marcia Clark

Book Review: “Blood Defense” by Marcia Clark

Let me introduce you to Samantha Brinkman, the brightest new light in the legal thriller genre. “Blood Defense” is the first in a new series from famed prosecutor Marcia Clark.
Goodreads blurb: Samantha Brinkman, an ambitious, hard-charging Los Angeles criminal defense attorney, is struggling to make a name for herself and to drag her fledgling practice into the big leagues. Sam lands a high-profile double-murder case in which one of the victims is a beloved TV star—and the defendant is a decorated veteran LAPD detective. It promises to be exactly the kind of media sensation that would establish her as a heavy hitter in the world of criminal law.
Though Sam has doubts about his innocence, she and her two associates (her closest childhood friend and a brilliant ex-con) take the case. Notorious for living by her own rules—and fearlessly breaking everyone else’s—Samantha pulls out all the stops in her quest to uncover evidence that will clear the detective. But when a shocking secret at the core of the case shatters her personal world, Sam realizes that not only has her client been playing her, he might be one of the most dangerous sociopaths she’s ever encountered.
I really liked Samantha and her gang from the very beginning. They are tough, go-getters but they are also able to be vulnerable to each other. I particularly liked how Samantha was able to manipulate the press to give her the spin she wanted for her case. I found the plotline to be very engaging with plenty of surprising twists. Samantha’s personal story is seamlessly woven into the larger drama and helps to draw the reader in and bring the characters to life. I think any reader who enjoys legal drama or mysteries will find a lot to like in this book.
Alinefromabook’s rating: THUMBS-UP!
Happy Reading!
Find “Blood Defense” on Amazon

Book Review: “Let There Be Linda” by Rich Leder

Book Review: “Let There Be Linda” by Rich Leder

Fasten your seat belts readers, this is going to be a bumpy ride! This book is funny, complicated, full of twists and surprises, with a bit of grisly violence and vulgarity to round it all out. Rich Leder has created one the strangest cast of characters I’ve ever seen in one book. My personal favorite was Mike Miller whose life starts spinning out of control through no fault of his own. Harvey, the dwarf loan-shark, is a great villain especially when paired with Omar the giant. The Zombie real-estate developer and Paul the Pervert Clown were just so disgusting but the story would be lost without them. The glue that holds it all together though is Chachi, that adorable white poodle, whose bad day sets it all in motion. If you are looking for a change of pace, something quirky and fun, then this is a great choice. This is the first Rich Leder book I’ve read but I’m pretty sure it won’t be the last.
Alinefromabook’s rating: THUMBS-UP!
Happy Reading!
Get your copy today on Amazon!

Book Review: “The Disappearance of Maria Glenn” by Naomi Clifford

Book Review: “The Disappearance of Maria Glenn” by Naomi Clifford

This is a biographical account of what happened to Maria Glenn in the early 1800’s. It is the story of her abduction and the lawsuits that resulted from it. It is a story of greed and the lengths people will go to in the pursuit of money.

Maria Glenn is a teenager, in the care of her aunt and uncle, in Taunton. She is very reserved, dresses modestly and is rarely out on her own. She is loved and nurtured by the Tucketts and her cousins. Shortly before her 16th birthday, Maria and her cousins are stricken with a potentially deadly virus and sent to a farm outside the city of Taunton to recuperate. The owners of the farm have a good reputation in the community and have taken in other children previously for this purpose. Mr. Tuckett is a lawyer and has investigated them thoroughly before leaving his children in their care. What Mrs. Bowditch fails to tell him is that one of her sons, James, also lives in the house. The Bowditches upon learning that Maria is expected to inherit a fortune upon the death of her mother and that she will soon be 16, concoct a plan to abduct Maria, after her birthday, and force her to marry James. They use threats to “convince” Maria to go along “willingly”. Maria is rescued before the ceremony can take place and her uncle decides to bring criminal charges against the Bowditches. What appears to be a straightforward crime turns into a legal battle that lasts for years and forces Maria to live in exile for almost 30 years.

I was quite frankly astonished by this story and the way that Maria was tormented throughout, not only by her abductors but afterward by the citizens of Taunton. Naomi Clifford has done a masterful job of researching the case and relating the shifting tides of the legal battle and public opinion. Even more surprising is the way in which Maria is able to bear up in the face of horrible false accusations. This is a great book for anyone interested in legal history or women’s history in England. Included in the book is the complete transcript of Maria’s statement of her abduction and the events leading up to it.

Alinefromabook’s rating: THUMBS-UP!

Happy Reading!

On Amazon US

On Amazon UK

Book Review: “Visions of Zarua” by Suzanne Rogerson

Visions of Zarua Book Cover

Every fantasy lover should be reading this book! Paddren, Varnia, and Leyoch have been friends since childhood. Paddren has been training to be a wizard under the tutelage of Kalesh. Varnia is the huntmistress for Baron Harkai, having been trained by Reaun, who took her in after her parents’ death. Leyoch is an assistant to Paddren and Kalesh, and madly in love with Varnia. But the day the Nagra appears will change everything….

Suddenly Kalesh is dead and Paddren is appointed to replace him as the Baron’s wizard. Reaun loses an arm in the battle with the Nagra and Varnia must take over all his duties. And Leyoch embarks on the secret mission that Kalesh had been preparing him for. After Leyoch successfully uncovers a secret organization of evil wizards, all 3 find themselves running for their lives while using all their skills to take down the organization and destroy Fetter Cairn, the mastermind behind it all.

There are so many things to love about this story. First, the characters: I found each of them to be beautifully crafted. The reader gets to know them gradually as the story moves with grace from one to another. Second, the relationships: Here too, the author has been expert at portraying not only the affection between them but the intensity that bonds them together even when they feel they have been betrayed by each other. Each one seems to sense that their destiny is tied to the others and to overcoming the evil threatening to destroy their world. Third, the setting: the world is which the story takes place is brilliantly described even as the action moves from one location to another. When I was reading I felt like this author’s imagination knew no limits, whether she was describing the real world or the spirit world, it was easy to feel like I was there watching it all unfold. Fourth, the villain: Fetter Cairn is as evil as wizards can be and the author makes no effort to whitewash his character. This guy puts Satan to shame in my opinion, but I loved the contrast between him and our trio, who are not painted as a bunch of goody-two-shoes types but as individuals trying to bring good to the world while at the same time working to overcome their own flaws.

Overall, I found this story to be crafted to perfection. This may very well be the best fantasy genre book I have ever read. A brilliant debut novel!

Alinefromabook’s rating: TWO THUMBS-UP!!

Happy Reading!

2015 author photo 2015

Suzanne Rogerson
Author Profile

Suzanne lives in Middlesex, England with her hugely encouraging husband and two children.

She wrote her first novel at the age of twelve. She discovered the fantasy genre in her late teens and has never looked back. Giving up work to raise a family gave her the impetus to take her attempts at novel writing beyond the first draft, and she is lucky enough to have a husband who supports her dream – even if he does occasionally hint that she might think about getting a proper job one day.

Suzanne loves gardening and has a Hebe (shrub) fetish. She enjoys cooking with ingredients from the garden, and regularly feeds unsuspecting guests vegetable-based cakes.

She collects books, loves going for walks and picnics with the children and sharing with them her love of nature and photography.

Suzanne is interested in history and enjoys wandering around castles. But most of she likes to escape with a great film, or soak in a hot bubble bath with an ice cream and a book.

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Visions of Zarua 2016 Blog Tour Schedule