Tag: #bookreview

“Too Close to Breathe” by Olivia Kiernan

“Too Close to Breathe” by Olivia Kiernan

Detective Chief Superintendent Frankie Sheehan has just returned to duty after nearly being killed in pursuit of a case. Assistant Commissioner Jack Clancy has assigned her team to investigate a presumed suicide. The coroner has an “uneasy feeling” about this case, hence it being assigned to Frankie’s team, but Clancy is still not sure that Frankie is ready to be back on the job. With Detective Baz Harwood as her partner they quickly determine that this is in fact a murder but that’s when the hard part starts. As they delve into the lives of the victim and her husband they quickly uncover multiple affairs, Dark Web activity, and the underbelly of Dublin. But the circumstances of this case are also triggering flashbacks for Frankie and the danger may be all too real.

So let’s start with the plot. These people’s lives are more twisty than a snake but it really makes for a great story. Just when you think you’ve got it figured out, you trip over another clue and end up going in a different direction. Characters: Frankie Sheehan is a great character. She’s tough and persistent, as you would expect a detective to be, but she’s much more than that. I think the author did an especially good job with the flashback scenes because they gave you a sense of Frankie as a vulnerable person. I really enjoyed Detective Harwood also. He knows how to push Frankie’s button but he also takes it very seriously when he says he’s got her back. This is the author’s first novel and I think it’s a great debut, definitely worth the read.

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

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Amazon CA   |   Author’s website

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“Everyday Kundalini” by Kathryn McCusker

“Everyday Kundalini” by Kathryn McCusker

Kundalini is a type of yoga. I have heard the name but didn’t really know anything about it and what makes it different from other types of yoga. This book is on the short side but I found it to be thoroughly informative. The author has been practicing Kundalini for many years and is a certified teacher. The book covers the history of the practice, explains the essential components of Kundalini, and provides the reader with the basics that you need to get started. There is a series of yoga poses that are used, which are fully described. The book ends with a selection of Kundalini meditations and explains exactly how to do them yourself. There appears to be a strong spiritual component to Kundalini and the book gives the reader an understanding of this aspect without becoming too woo-woo. I think this book makes a good starting point if you are interested in Kundalini.

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

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Amazon CA   |   Author Website

“The Iron Fin” by Anne Renwick

“The Iron Fin” by Anne Renwick

The Elemental Web Chronicles Book 3

When I was growing up my favorite fantasy world was the Land of Oz, which I loved for its complexity and the ingenious mechanics that would pop up periodically (a city that can raise and lower itself to the bottom of a lake?!). There was also something delightful to read about. Anne Renwick has created a steampunk world that is equally delightful. Even more so in this this installment because there is a whole crew of hunky naval guys as supporting characters.

In this installment of the Elemental Web Chronicles we meet Isa and Alec who are on a mission to save a castle and capture a megalodon. Isa is a young woman who has been a widow for a year. She has some medical training, though she is not a doctor, and she travels amongst the villages of the Finn people helping those in need of medical attention. She is half Scottish and half Finn and has some of the distinctive characteristics of the Finn. Her marriage was a disappointment and she is not interested in giving up her independence. Alec is a naval officer who leads a highly trained team that specializes in covert operations. He has never been interested in marriage because he doesn’t want to repeat the disastrous relationship of his parents. When Alec is injured while on an underwater mission he is sidelined from his team and instead asked to track down rumors of seamen being attacked by octopus in the North Sea. This is when he meets Isa, and to say that sparks fly would be a huge understatement. As they work together to uncover the secrets of the megalodon and the octopus both will put their lives on the line.

I think this is my favorite book so far in this series. I felt an instant connection to the main characters and I just love the way they play off of each other. There is no holding back with these two, no playing hard to get, they want to be together but they also want it on their own terms. The story also holds quite a lot of surprises and moves at an excellent pace. Once I picked it up, I was very reluctant to put it down. For me, this is another homerun from Anne Renwick.

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

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Amazon CA

“Childhood & Death in Victorian England” by Sarah Seaton – History Book Review

“Childhood & Death in Victorian England” by Sarah Seaton – History Book Review

When this book popped up on my TBR I couldn’t help but wonder what I was thinking when I picked out such a gory sounding book. But I read it anyway and it turns out to be a fascinating look at the potential pitfalls that children in Victorian England faced. The book is broken down into 5 chapters each covering a different “cause of death” including Industrial Mishaps, Accidents, Poverty and Health, Murder, and Infant Deaths. It was a bit surprising to me as read the different chapters that the only category that as a society we have really eliminated is Industrial Mishaps. We still see childhood deaths in the other 4 categories on a pretty regular basis, at least here in the U.S. I am constantly reminded, when reading history books, that the human struggles never really change, whether you’re talking about our vulnerability to disease or the presence of evil.

The author uses real stories to relate the conditions of the time and it was really interesting to see how far our culture has come in the last 200 years in some of the categories. Thank goodness we don’t have 8 year olds working in factories anymore. It’s also eye-opening to realize that the concept of a carefree childhood that we have today only existed for a very few in the Victorian period. The book is written in a way that is easily readable for anybody but I expect will be particularly interesting to those who enjoy social history or the Victorian period in particular.

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

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Amazon CA

“Lonelyheart 4122” by Colin Watson

“Lonelyheart 4122” by Colin Watson

The Flaxborough Mysteries series Book 4

Miss Teatime has arrived in Flaxborough and any eligible men of means had better be on guard. DI Purbright has the case of two missing middle-aged women on his hands and thinks that Miss Teatime may be the next victim. Sergeant Love is being walked off his feet tracking down clues. And who is breaking into the offices of the Handclasp House, a matrimonial agency? All this and more awaits the eager visitor to Flaxborough.

I just continue to be delighted with this series and with Detective Inspector Purbright, but I have to say that Miss Teatime really takes the show in this one. She appears to be just another tourist but the longer you know her the more complicated she becomes. Sergeant Love has a larger role in this book than in the previous ones which I really enjoyed. He and Purbright play off of each other perfectly. I also really enjoyed the story itself, it starts off seeming pretty straightforward but it’s definitely not. I was questioning motives and suspects right up until the end. Colin Watson really knows how to put together an engaging, make-you-think twice, kind of story.

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

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Amazon CA

“The Punishment She Deserves” by Elizabeth George

“The Punishment She Deserves” by Elizabeth George

The Inspector Lynley Series Book 20

Lynley and Havers are still on the job and the residents of Ludlow had better get their stories straight. A deacon of the local church, who is highly regarded for his work in the community, has been arrested and found dead while in local police custody. The death was ruled a suicide but the deacon’s father says that’s not possible and begins to make a stink and threaten lawsuits. Barbara Havers and Isabelle Ardery are initially sent out to Ludlow to make sure that the investigation into the death was according to procedure. But Isabelle’s demons have joined them on this trip and her dislike of Havers causes her to disregard her concerns about the investigation. When they get back to London, Ardery tells Havers to falsify the report and when Lynley finds out it all blows up. Lynley and Havers are sent back to Ludlow to get uncover the truth behind the unanswered questions. Not an easy task but these two don’t give up until they have all the answers.

It has been way too long since I read anything from this series and when I saw it come up on First to Read I knew I had to get a copy. Reading this book was like visiting with friends you haven’t seen for years. Lynley is still the charming British gentleman and Havers continues to be her frumpy self, only this time she’s added tap dancing to her repertoire of skills. As usual with Elizabeth George, this is a complicated story but told it way that allows the pieces to gradually be put in their proper places till the whole picture is revealed. I love the way the author tells a story. There is a lot of descriptive detail which just draws me in as a reader and adds depth to the story itself but in such a way that it doesn’t feel weighted down. All of the characters are individuals, some quirkier then others. There are a whole host of motives floating around, but which motives led to which crimes, that is the mystery. I can honestly say that I completely lost track of the world around me every time I picked up this book. Excellent read!

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

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Amazon CA

Blog Tour Book Review: “Pendle Fire” by Paul Southern

Blog Tour Book Review: “Pendle Fire” by Paul Southern

John Malkin is an overworked social worker. His girlfriend has just become pregnant with their first child but the job stress is starting to come between them. One of John’s cases is Nathan, a young man who just can’t seem to stay out of trouble. Just as Nathan has landed himself in jail, again, John is asked to investigate two girls who have just reported having been raped by a local police officer. Both Nathan and one of the girls warn him that he is in danger and that a prophecy has named him as the “chosen” one. John knows nothing about this prophecy but strange things are happening and he is determined to get to the bottom of it. Meanwhile, Shaf, a Pakistani police officer in the local force, has rescued the two girls after they were attacked by strange men, but the girls lied and blamed him. His boss has suspended him pending an investigation, but later asks him to conduct a secret investigation for him. There are rumors of local gangs “grooming” girls, and race riots are breaking out all over the region. The police force is stretched to the breaking point and DC Ali thinks someone in the force is involved. All roads seem to lead to the “Hobbledy Man”, but who is he and what does he want?

I couldn’t wait to read this book because I had so enjoyed the author’s first book. I was not disappointed. The story is very intense with a lot of different things happening that seemingly have no connection except for the legend of the “Hobbledy Man”. The narration goes back and forth between John, who’s trying to help the kids, and Shaf, who is trying to clear his name. I really liked both of these characters. John is so well-intentioned but as his paranoia grows his actions become more and more erratic. Shaf is trying to be the kind of person that his father was, but soon finds his principles being tested at every turn. The plot line is many-layered but it all works together really well. There are some very graphic scenes of sex and violence which some readers may not like but they do work within the story. This book has elements of the supernatural, the presence of a very active cult, violent gangs, and issues of race relations. Some of the content is disturbing but overall I found this to be another excellent story from Paul Southern.

Alinefromabook’s rating:   4 stars!!

Happy Reading!4-star-rating

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Amazon CA

Pendle Fire Blog Blitz

“Bad Girls from History: Wicked or Misunderstood?” by Dee Gordon

“Bad Girls from History: Wicked or Misunderstood?” by Dee Gordon

This book is another one of my forays into the quirky corners of history. Dee Gordon has compiled what seems to me to be a pretty comprehensive list of bad girls. The biographical sketches for each are short but very informative. The book is broken down into sections: Courtesans and Mistresses; Madams, Prostitutes and Adulterers; Serial Killers; “One-Off” Killers; Gangsters, Thieves and Con-Artists; The Rebel Collection. The author has collected stories of women going all the way back to biblical times and up to the 20th century. These bad girls come from all over the world, and all kinds of backgrounds. The author presents the historical facts of these women’s lives and then leaves it up to the reader to decide if they were truly wicked or just misunderstood. I found this book really enjoyable and easy to read.

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

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Amazon CA

“Hopjoy Was Here” by Colin Watson

“Hopjoy Was Here” by Colin Watson

The Flaxborough Mysteries – Book 3

All the neighbors are watching as the Flaxborough police remove a bathtub from a local home. The home is occupied by two bachelors, but neither has been seen for a few days. The police received an anonymous letter indicating that something may have happened in the bathroom. Inspector Purbright is on the case and his loyal sergeant, Sid Love, is right by his side. But just as they are getting started a couple of Secret Service guys show up claiming that one of the men, Hopjoy, is a spy working in the area. Periam, the second bachelor is the owner of the house and by all accounts the two men lived together harmoniously. But Purbright suspects that Hopjoy has not gone off on some mission but has in fact been murdered.

This is my favorite book in the series so far. This story takes us back to Flaxborough proper where Purbright is really in his element. I love how Colin Watson starts his books because he just drops you into the drama without preamble and the first mystery the reader has to solve is what the heck happened, in this case, to cause an entire tub to be removed as police evidence. In this story, I enjoyed Purbright even more; he seems to have a firmer personality this time around. There are also some great new characters. The two Secret Service guys were very intriguing, I found their way of working together to be a bit slapstick in nature but still enjoyable reading. The investigation goes back and forth between what Purbright and Love and learning and what the SS guys are learning. It all comes together in the end for a somewhat shocking conclusion.

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

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads

“The White Road” by John Connolly – Audiobook

“The White Road” by John Connolly – Audiobook

Narrated by Paul Birchard

Book 4 of the Charlie Parker series

Another installment in the Charlie Parker series and my love for these books just continues to grow. Charlie has been contacted by his old friend Elliot Norton and asked to come to South Carolina to help clear a young man of a murder charge. After he arrives, he helps to transport the young man to a safe house, but just as Charlie starts to investigate the young man is murdered. Parker knows there is more to this than meets the eye. His investigation will take him back into the past of two families, one black and one white and uncover a horrifying crime. Meanwhile, back in Maine, Rev. Faulkner is trying to orchestrate his release from prison but Lewis and Angel have other plans.

This is another hit for me and bonus points because there are no spiders. I continue to love the whole cast of characters and I like that the characters’ stories carry over from one book to the next. Angel is still struggling to overcome the trauma Rev. Faulkner inflicted on him. We get to learn a little more about Lewis’s history, and the relationship between Charlie and Rachel continues to develop. As usual, John Connolly delivers a story that is twisty, filled with action, and full of surprises. The narration was top-notch and one of the best I’ve heard. Paul Birchard did an excellent job of differentiating the characters with subtle changes of accent and delivery, and his narration style really heightened the drama. I highly recommend this audiobook for both the story and the expert narration.

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

Happy Reading!

Links:   Amazon US   |   Amazon UK   |   Goodreads   |   Barnes & Noble   |   Amazon CA