Tag: #bookreview

“Music Macabre” by Sarah Rayne

“Music Macabre” by Sarah Rayne

Blurb:

Music researcher Phineas Fox has been enjoying his latest commission, gathering background material for a biography of Franz Liszt. But although he has – as anticipated – uncovered plenty of scandal in the 19th century composer’s past, matters take a decidedly unexpected turn when his investigations lead to Linklighters, a newly-opened Soho restaurant built on the site of an old Victorian music hall, and unearth evidence of a possible murder involving the notorious music hall performer known as Scaramel.

Just what was Liszt’s connection to Scaramel … and, through her, to the infamous Victorian serial killer Jack the Ripper? As he delves further, Phin’s enquiries uncover clues to a fascinating and extraordinary story – and plunge his own life into jeopardy.

My Thoughts:

This is the 4th book in this series, but the first one I have read. I found Phineas Fox to be a delightful character. The story here I thought was very unique, with 3 different story lines taking place but they all come together in the end. I’m not sure how much of the story is historically accurate but the historical parts felt real to me. There’s a supporting cast of great characters. The movement between the 3 stories keeps you engaged in trying to figure out the mystery. There are some thrills also to keep you on the edge of your seat and a good dose of London fog to give you that little chill down the spine. This was a great read and I hope to have a chance to read more from this series.

Alinefromabook’s rating:

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Find it on Amazon!

 

“Front Page Fatality” by LynDee Walker

“Front Page Fatality” by LynDee Walker

Narrated by Therese Plummer

Blurb:

When two rookie cops are killed in a fiery crash near Richmond, Virginia, crime reporter Nichelle Clarke is sent in to investigate.

But as Nichelle digs deeper into the case, she discovers this was no ordinary accident.

People and evidence soon begin to disappear. Someone is one step ahead of her. A master criminal with a deadly secret, covering their tracks with ruthless efficiency.

The killer will stop at nothing to keep the truth hidden. But as she draws closer to unraveling the mystery of two dead cops, Nichelle realizes that she’s become the next target.

My Thoughts:

This one had a little different feel for me because the main character is an investigative reporter, not a detective. That being said, I really liked Nichelle. She’s still figuring out her job to some extent, but she is eager and ready to learn. What she doesn’t know is what she’s getting herself into when there is an explosion and two cops are dead. As the case heats up, she begins to wonder who she can trust. I really enjoyed the pacing of the story and the secondary characters who added drama and interest. I think the plotline is well crafted and executed. Overall, I found the story to be engaging from beginning to end. The narration was excellent if you prefer audiobooks.

Alinefromabook’s rating: Glowing StarGlowing StarGlowing StarGlowing Star

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“Creating Hitler’s Germany” by Tim Heath

“Creating Hitler’s Germany” by Tim Heath

Blurb:

Germany’s defeat in the First World War and the Treaty of Versailles that followed were national disasters, with far-reaching consequences not just for the country but for the world itself.

Weaving the stories of three German families from the beginning of Germany’s territorial aspirations of the First World War to the shattered dream of a thousand-year Reich in the Second World War, Tim Heath’s rich narrative explores a multitude of rare and untapped resources to explore the darkest recesses of German social and military history.

Creating Hitler’s Germany presents a nation’s journey not only through everyday life and war, but through its own conscience, pain and inevitable search for some form of absolution from its past. It is real, painful and incredibly human – an essential history to further understand the mind-set of Germany during the most tumultuous years of the nation’s history.

My Thoughts:
Given the current political climate in many countries, I was very interested in reading this book. In the back of my mind I have always wondered how Germany got to the point of being Nazis. Maybe I’m too naive, but I can’t conceive of ever getting to the point in my head where I just hate a group of people so much I want to eradicate them completely. This book focuses less on Hitler himself and more on what was going on in the German society of the time. The book begins with the story of a young, newly-married couple just after World War I and traces their history through to the end of World War II, concluding with their son who was a staunch Nazi and alienated from his mother because of it. The author then intertwines with the historical facts excerpts from interviews and writings of German citizens of the time. Some of them were appalled by the actions of the Nazi regime, while others felt they were just carrying out their patriotic duty. The author also exposes how the political pressures from the “winners” of WWI affected the lives of everyday German citizens and how Hitler’s initial actions improved those lives, lulling them into believing that he was a good guy. It wasn’t until he had solidified his political power that his true colors begin to show. I take 2 things away from this book. First, a better understanding of how a government and it’s people can become corrupted. Second, a warning that as a citizen of a democratic country I need to be very careful when evaluating my leaders because it may not take much to tip the scales towards evil. Finally, I want to acknowledge the resilience and determination that Germany has demonstrated in turning around their country after WWII.
Alinefromabook’s rating:
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“The Long Call” by Ann Cleeves

“The Long Call” by Ann Cleeves

Blurb:

In North Devon, where two rivers converge and run into the sea, Detective Matthew Venn stands outside the church as his estranged father’s funeral takes place. On the day Matthew left the strict evangelical community he grew up in, he lost his family too.

Now, as he turns and walks away again, he receives a call from one of his team. A body has been found on the beach nearby: a man with a tattoo of an albatross on his neck, stabbed to death.

The case calls Matthew back to the people and places of his past, as deadly secrets hidden at their hearts are revealed, and his new life is forced into a collision course with the world he thought he’d left behind.

My Thoughts:

This is book 1 in the new Two River Series and I was so excited to receive and ARC from NetGalley for this one. I’m familiar with her stories from seeing the TV adaptations but this is my first time actually reading one of her books. This story more than lived up to the hype. The setting is North Devon, which I have never been to, but the author’s descriptions painted a wonderful picture of the place from the beaches to the little villages to the way the two rivers come together. Add to this the characters, a murder and two kidnappings and you have a great read. Matthew is not the typical police detective stereotype. He is full of insecurities and self-doubt, but his partners, both in life and in work, keep him pressing on. This story brings him into contact with family that he has not seen in years and re-opens some wounds he thought long healed. This story deals with issues of religion, homosexuality and disabilities, and does an excellent job of weaving them into the overall storyline. I found this book to be rich in detail, it moved at a good pace, it kept my attention and twisted my brain. I can’t wait for more in this series. This book release tomorrow, Sept. 3, in the U.S. so if your interested click the Amazon link below and pick up your copy.

Alinefromabook’s rating:

Glowing StarGlowing StarGlowing StarGlowing StarGlowing Star

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“Home for Erring and Outcast Girls” by Julie Kibler

“Home for Erring and Outcast Girls” by Julie Kibler

Blurb:

In turn-of-the-20th century Texas, the Berachah Home for the Redemption and Protection of Erring Girls is an unprecedented beacon of hope for young women consigned to the dangerous poverty of the streets by birth, circumstance, or personal tragedy. Built in 1903 on the dusty outskirts of Arlington, a remote dot between Dallas and Fort Worth’s red-light districts, the progressive home bucks public opinion by offering faith, training, and rehabilitation to prostitutes, addicts, unwed mothers, and “ruined” girls without forcibly separating mothers from children. When Lizzie Bates and Mattie McBride meet there—one sick and abused, but desperately clinging to her young daughter, the other jilted by the beau who fathered her ailing son—they form a friendship that will see them through unbearable loss, heartbreak, difficult choices, and ultimately, diverging paths.

A century later, Cate Sutton, a reclusive university librarian, uncovers the hidden histories of the two troubled women as she stumbles upon the cemetery on the home’s former grounds and begins to comb through its archives in her library. Pulled by an indescribable connection, what Cate discovers about their stories leads her to confront her own heartbreaking past, and to reclaim the life she thought she’d let go forever. With great pathos and powerful emotional resonance, Home for Erring and Outcast Girls explores the dark roads that lead us to ruin, and the paths we take to return to ourselves.

My Thoughts:

This is a very moving story and beautifully written. The narrative moves back and forth between Cate in the present, and Lizzie and Mattie in the early 1900’s. Mattie and Lizzie immediately appealed to me as characters. As the story opens, both are in desperate situations with no resources to draw on. Cate took me a little more time to warm up to because she has closed herself off from people so completely. In the end, I think I enjoyed her part of the story the most because of the depth of the transformation her research leads her to. Having lived a stone’s throw from Arlington, TX, where the Berachah home was located, I was very drawn to the historical aspect of the story. In the historical records there is mention of a Lizzie and a Mattie and the author has incorporated what is actually known about their lives into the this fictional account. I loved everything about this book, the setting, the characters, the historical setting and recommend it to anybody who wants a good story.

Alinefromabook’s rating: 

Glowing StarGlowing StarGlowing StarGlowing StarGlowing Star

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

“Liar in the Library” by Simon Brett

“Liar in the Library” by Simon Brett

Blurb:

Fethering has everything a sleepy coastal town should: snug English pubs, cosy cottages, a little local library – and the occasional murder . . .

Bestselling author Burton St Clair, complete with soaring ego and wandering hands, has come to town to give a talk. But after his corpse is found slumped in his car, he won’t be leaving. Jude is the prime suspect; she was, after all, the last person to see Burton St Clair alive. If she is to prove her innocence, she will have to dust off her detective skills and recruit her prim and proper neighbour (and partner-in-sleuthing) Carole to find the real culprit.

My Thoughts:

This is book 18 in the Fethering series but the first one from this author that I have read. I have listened to some of Simon Brett’s BBC radio productions in the past and enjoyed them so I thought I would give one of his books a try. I found this book to be a fun, cozy mystery. The characters are all very unique but some of them took me a little time to warm up to. I even liked the villain, but only until he was exposed for his crimes at the very end. Mr. Brett’s vivid characterizations is what I had enjoyed the most in the radio programs and the characters here are equally vivid. Jude and Carole rule the show of course, but they are so different. I was surprised by the number of avenues of investigation these two explored. Fethering turns out to be a quite charming village but it is not immune to the challenges of our times like drug addiction and a reduction in library funding. This was a fun little mystery and I was not disappointed.

Alinefromabook’s rating:

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Links:   Amazon   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

“Bad Axe County” by John Galligan

“Bad Axe County” by John Galligan

Blurb:

Fifteen years ago, Heidi White’s parents were shot to death on their Bad Axe County farm. The police declared it a murder-suicide and closed the case. But that night, Heidi found the one clue she knew could lead to the truth—if only the investigators would listen.

Now Heidi White is Heidi Kick, wife of local baseball legend Harley Kick and mother of three small children. She’s also the interim sheriff in Bad Axe. Half the county wants Heidi elected but the other half will do anything to keep her out of law enforcement. And as a deadly ice storm makes it way to Bad Axe, tensions rise and long-buried secrets climb to the surface.

As freezing rain washes out roads and rivers flood their banks, Heidi finds herself on the trail of a missing teenaged girl. Clues lead her down twisted paths to backwoods stag parties, derelict dairy farms, and the local salvage yard—where the body of a different teenage girl has been carefully hidden for a decade.

As the storm rages on, Heidi realizes that someone is planting clues for her to find, leading her to some unpleasant truths that point to the local baseball team and a legendary game her husband pitched years ago. With a murder to solve, a missing girl to save, and a monster to bring to justice, Heidi is on the cusp of shaking her community to its core—and finding out what really happened the night her parents died.

My Thoughts:

Bad Axe County has a bad-ass sheriff. Well, technically she’s the interim sheriff until the special election is held. But there is nothing interim about her drive to bring down the criminals of the county. Heidi Kick is a complicated character. Difficult enough to be a wife, mother and sheriff but Heidi is haunted by her past and when if begins to collide with her present she struggles to keep her objectivity. I would love to meet her in person. I was initially drawn to this story because it’s set in the Wisconsin Dells area, a place I have vacationed at several times. I was impressed by the way the author used the setting as a character in the story. The hills and valleys of the place, even the weather, play a huge part in the drama and thrills of the narrative. This drama also touches on the issues of sex trafficking, the drug trade, and illegal interstate commerce. Not to mention the complicated relationships between residents. This book kept me on the edge of my seat for the whole ride and kept me guessing till the end. Top-notch read!

Alinefromabook’s rating:

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This book releases on July 9, 2019. Pre-order yours today!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

 

“The Night Window” by Dean Koontz

“The Night Window” by Dean Koontz

Blurb: A visionary young filmmaker hunted for sport across a vast Colorado ranch by the celebrated billionaire at the heart of a monstrous cabal . . .

A brilliant computer hacker slipping through top-secret databases a whisper ahead of security trackers, gathering the facts to fight the all-powerful perpetrators of mass murder . . .

A pair of brutal operators, methodically shadowing their targets with every cutting-edge tool in the arsenal of today’s surveillance state . . .

A sequence of quiet heroes—everyday citizens—stepping up, stepping forward, intent on countering the advancing darkness . . .

A Vegas mob boss teamed with a homicidal sociopath, circling a beloved boy and his protectors, aiming to secure him as leverage against his fugitive mother . . .

And that fugitive mother herself, ex-agent Jane Hawk, closing in on the malevolent architects of ruin she has stalked as they stalk her, prepared to sacrifice herself to finally bring them down.

These are the people and circumstances of The Night Window, the thrilling new novel in Dean Koontz’s acclaimed Jane Hawk series. Replete—and then some—with the ingenious twists, the spellbinding action, the resonant themes, the sheer heart that have characterized Jane’s journey from the start, The Night Window follows its extraordinary heroine to her long-sought objective, in a stunning, unforgettable finale.

My Thoughts: This finale is definitely unforgettable, but will it be the end of Jane Hawk or the end of the Techno Arcadians? You’ll have to read to the last page to find out the answer. This story is so full of thrills and chills I had to take breaks to let my heart rate go back to normal. Jane is still on the hunt to bring down the Techno Arcadians but you can really tell in this book that the strain of the mission and the separation from her son are starting to get to her. She has a new partner in this installment as the computer whiz Ragnesh, formerly of the FBI, joins her for the final push. I’ve been surprised at how much I have enjoyed this series and my only disappointment is that this is the final installment. Dean Koontz’s imagination continues to surprise and thrill me and after reading this series I will definitely be picking up more of his books in the future. This book releases on May 14th so plan your book shopping accordingly.

Alinefromabook’s rating:

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Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

 

“The Lady of the Rivers” by Philippa Gregory

“The Lady of the Rivers” by Philippa Gregory

Narrated by Bianca Amato

Descended from Melusina, the river goddess, Jacquetta always has had the gift of second sight. As a child visiting her uncle, she met his prisoner, Joan of Arc, and saw her own power reflected in the young woman accused of witchcraft. They share the mystery of the tarot card of the wheel of fortune before Joan is taken to a horrific death at the hands of the English rulers of France. Jacquetta understands the danger for a woman who dares to dream.

Jacquetta is married to the Duke of Bedford, English regent of France, and he introduces her to a mysterious world of learning and alchemy. Her only friend in the great household is the duke’s squire, Richard Woodville, who is at her side when the duke’s death leaves her a wealthy young widow. The two become lovers and marry in secret, returning to England to serve at the court of the young King Henry VI, where Jacquetta becomes a close and loyal friend to his new queen.

The Woodvilles soon achieve a place at the very heart of the Lancaster court, though Jacquetta can sense the growing threat from the people of England and the danger of royal rivals. Not even their courage and loyalty can keep the House of Lancaster on the throne. Henry the king slides into a mysterious sleep; Margaret the queen turns to untrustworthy favorites for help; and Richard, Duke of York, threatens to overturn the whole kingdom for his rival dynasty.

Jacquetta fights for her king, her queen, and for her daughter, Elizabeth, for whom Jacquetta can sense an extraordinary and unexpected future: a change of fortune, the throne of England, and the white rose of York.

I have been wanting to read a Philippa Gregory for a long time because I’ve read so many good things about her books. So I couldn’t resist this audiobook when I saw it. At 19 hours it looked a bit daunting but once I started listening I was so captivated by the characters and the story that the time just flew by. This is a sweeping saga full of drama, intrigue and history. Now I understand all the high praise that Philippa Gregory receives and she deserves it. Bianca Amato did a fantastic job with the narration. There are a lot of male and female characters in this story and she was able to differentiate them all seemingly effortlessly. There is nothing I didn’t like about this book, except the bad guys, of course. I will die happy knowing that I’ve read at least one of Philippa Gregory’s books.

Alinefromabook’s rating: 5-star-rating  5 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon   |   Goodreads   |   Author’s website

“A History of Cadbury” by Diane Wordsworth

“A History of Cadbury” by Diane Wordsworth

Since February is the Valentine month, I thought a history of world famous chocolate maker Cadbury was appropriate. My first encounter with Cadbury was when the crème-filled eggs hit the U.S. market and I thought I had been transported to chocolate heaven. I had no idea the company had such a long history. Diane Wordsworth has written a very approachable narrative of the Cadbury family and the development of the company. I was very pleased to read about the employment reforms that the family introduced for their workers over the years. Cadbury’s, like many companies, faced setbacks during the World Wars and takeovers battles over the years but they continue to produce memorable chocolates. This is a great story and well-written.

Alinefromabook’s rating:  4-5-star-rating 4.5 stars!!

Happy Reading!

Links:  Amazon   |   Goodreads