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#Review of Motherland (Captain Natalya Ivanova #1) by G. D. Abson (@garry_abson) via #NetGalley #Thriller

Review

Motherland GDAbson Cover

Motherland

(Captain Natalya Ivanova #1)

by G. D. Abson

Release date: April 26th, 2018

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Motherland (Captain Natalya Ivanova #1) by G. D. Abson from NetGalley and Mirror Books in order to read and give an honest review.

“Incredible characters, intriguing plot and oh, so clever…”

First in a new series by author G.D. Abson, this thriller is the start of something very promising. Fast-paced and gritty, Motherland hooks the reader early on forcing them to hold on for dear life through the twists and turns of this brilliant story.  

Set in modern-day St. Petersburg, Captain Natalya Ivanova of the Criminal Investigations Directorate investigates the disappearance of Zena Dahl, the adopted daughter of Swedish billionaire Thorsen Dahl. As lead investigator Natalya faces one obstacle after another trying to find Zena before it’s too late. When a body is found the kidnapping turns into a homicide investigation and someone wielding a great deal of power will do anything to keep her from finding the truth.  Natalya has to fight it all: political intrigue, corruption, misogyny, marital issues, threats to her family, false accusations, betrayal from those she trusts, mobsters and threats from the FSB (formerly KGB) all to piece together what happened to Zena.  

Abson’s ability to create very real multifaceted characters is brilliant. Natalya, the protagonist, in my opinion, is well written, she is portrayed as down to earth, intelligent, strong, honest, yet flawed and comes across as very real. Married to her co-worker Mikhail, they live a believable family life with her step-son Anton. Through marital strife and threats to her family, she handles it with courage, conviction and a touch of humor. For me, almost every character comes to life on the page, the good, the bad and the well…disgusting.  

Incredible characters, intriguing plot, and a twist at the end that was truly unexpected. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to future books in the Captain Natalya Ivanova series.  If you are looking for a clever fast-paced thriller, I would highly recommend reading Motherland.  

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#Book Review of The Berkeley Bowl Cookbook by Laura McLively via #Vegetarian #NetGalley

Review

Berkeley Bowl Cover

The Berkeley Bowl Cookbook

Recipes Inspired by the Extraordinary Produce of California’s Most Iconic Market

by Laura McLively

Release date: April 17th, 2018

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Berkeley Bowl Cookbook
Recipes Inspired by the Extraordinary Produce of California’s Most Iconic Market
by Laura McLively from NetGalley and Parallax Press in order to read and give an honest review.

Loved this cookbook! It’s nice to bring Californian cuisine to Toronto Canada.  This book was full of amazing vegetarian recipes with unique ingredients, easy to follow instructions, beautiful coloured photographs, and creative seasonal menus.

Although some of the ingredients aren’t found in your average grocery store I was able to find them at a local Asian grocery store. Even if you can’t obtain the ingredients easily, one of the things that impressed me about this book was the fact it gave you a few suitable and easily available substitutions. I was also fond of the fact it categorized the recipes by the type of vegetable you’re using I.e. Leaves; Flower, Seeds and Pods; Spores and Succulents; Stems; Roots and Tubers; and Sweet and Savory Fruit instead of the appetizers, entrees etc.

I recommend this to anyone looking for a culinary adventure! It has something to suit every vegetarians’ taste. With dishes such as Sweet & Sour Tofu with Gooseberries, Indian Stuffed Eggplant and my new favorite dessert, Lemongrass Coconut Ice Cream you can’t go wrong! 

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Book #Review of The Wolf (Under the Northern Sky #1) by Leo Carew (@leocarew1) (#NetGalley)

Review

The Wolf Cover

The Wolf

(Under the Northern Sky #1)

by Leo Carew

Release date: April 1st, 2018

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Wolf (Under the Northern Sky #1) by Leo Carew from NetGalley and Orbit/Hatchette Book Group in order to read and give an honest review.

Intense, gripping and an adventure not to be missed.  

When young Roper, son of the Anakim’s Black Lord watches his father slaughtered in battle, he is thrust into the role of leader of the Black Kingdom’s Army and new Black Lord of the Kingdom. When forced to retreat or lose thousands of soldiers he becomes a disappointment and is mocked by everyone in the kingdom.  Their opponents, the Sutherners, after the death of their commander, are left in the hands of Bellamus, referred to by the kingdom as an “upstart” or “nobody”. Both sides fates being left to men who are sorely underestimated and who must prove their worth’s to their kingdoms.

Roper faces opposition at every turn by the Black Kingdom’s fiercest and most decorated soldier,  Uvoren.  Uvoren, feels the kingdoms should be rightfully his and will go to any length to obtain it.  After basic posturing, humiliation and a smear campaign by Uvoren, Roper must find a way to become a hero to his people and gain confidence in himself.  He does everything in his power to not only become a great warrior but to become a great and fair leader to his people.

In his debut novel, Carew does an impeccable job of creating a foreboding frozen northern landscape along with masterfully depicting the lifestyle and culture of the Anakim people who live there. His characters feel genuine, flawed and incredibly believable. Fraught with intriguing political twists and battle scenes that are as vivid as they are powerful this book will keep you engaged in Carew’s world right to the end. The end leaves not on a cliffhanger but open to the next instalment which I for one will be eagerly waiting for.

Although I read urban fantasy and am not a regular reader of Epic Fantasy I loved The Wolf, I found it intense and captivating.  If you enjoy epic fantasy such as George RR Martin’s Game of Thrones this series might appeal to you.

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Book #Review of Everyday Gratitude: Inspiration for Living Life by A Network for Grateful Living, David Steindl-Rast (Foreword), Kristi Nelson (Introduction) (#NetGalley)

 

REVIEW

Everyday Gratitude

Everyday Gratitude: Inspiration for Living Life

by A Network for Grateful Living, David Steindl-Rast (Foreword), Kristi Nelson (Introduction)

Release date: April 3rd, 2018

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Everyday Gratitude: Inspiration for Living Life by A Network for Grateful Living, David Steindl-Rast (Foreword), Kristi Nelson (Introduction) from NetGalley and Storey Publishing in order to read and give an honest review.

~A great reminder when things become overwhelming, Everyday Gratitude guides us to find the small treasures of positivity in our everyday lives.~

Everyday Gratitude: Inspiration for Living Life as a Gift is not a how-to book per se but a great reminder when feeling overwhelmed to find something to be grateful for each and every day. Each page has a colourful image, an inspiring quote from everyone from Helen Keller to Dalai Lama, as well as a question which prompts you to think about how that quote can be applied to your life.  If you journal these would make excellent journal prompts to help you find the positives in your lives

All in all, not an in-depth heavy read but a nice reminder to help gain clarity and perspective when things might not necessarily be going well for you. I personally found it to be the little boost to get my focus going in the right direction, especially on the trying days.

I really enjoyed this book which I know will become one that I will refer to time and again.

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Book #Review of A Glimmer of Hope (The Avalon Chronicles #1) by Steve McHugh (@StevejMchugh) (#NetGalley)

Review

Glimmer of Hope Cover

A Glimmer of Hope

(The Avalon Chronicles #1)

by Steve McHugh

Release date: April 1st, 2018

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of A Glimmer of Hope (The Avalon Chronicles #1) by Steve McHugh from NetGalley and 47North in order to read and give an honest review.

…a well written, unique and fast-paced #urbanfantasy novel!

 Layla Cassidy, daughter of an infamous serial killer, spent her life running away from her old life and the possibility of turning into her father.  She changes her name, hides her past and settles into a routine of night clerk at a train depot and student of metallurgy during the day. One night while at work she is kidnapped and her friends slaughtered in an attempt to gain information on her father’s secret prison. She is kidnapped and held captive in a secret compound underground guarded by vile supernatural creatures. She manages to escape but not before activating secret scrolls which bind her with three spirits and a demon, all of which now residing in her head and giving her powers outside of her realm of understanding.
Now she must learn to cope with them all talking to her, control her new powers and tame the demon inside her head threatening to turn her into the murderer. After her escape, she learns she is not alone, there are others just like her who will help protect and guide her.

I enjoyed A Glimmer of hope, although slow to start it is well worth the wait. A caution to those squeamish about violence, there are some gory scenes but on the whole, the book has well-developed characters, a unique and interesting plot culminating in a heart-stopping conclusion.  If you want to a well written, unique and fast-paced #urbanfantasy novel, this is for you.

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Book #Review of The Bone Curse (Benjamin Oris #1) by Carrie Rubin (@carrie_rubin) (#NetGalley)

Review

Bone Curse Cover

The Bone Curse

(Benjamin Oris #1)

by Carrie Rubin

Release date: March 27th, 2018

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Bone Curse (Benjamin Oris #1) by Carrie Rubin from NetGalley and ScienceThrillers Media in order to read and give an honest review.

Part thriller, part paranormal mystery, this is a fast-paced, well-crafted and brilliantly original novel!

Pragmatic medical student, Ben Oris, is on vacation with his best friend Laurette, a Haitian medical student, when an injury occurs while visiting the Catacombs. Ben possessed by unseen forces accidentally cuts his hand on a centuries-old bone, a cut that puts Ben and all those he holds dear in a life and death battle with evil forces too irrational for his rational mind to believe. Laurette knows that something evil is following Ben but it challenges his logical, scientific mind putting their friendship and lives in peril.

The book weaves a tale through medical anomalies, Haitian Vodou and the bonds of family and friendship which culminates in a heart-stopping conclusion. The characters are interesting, quirky and believable which when combined with an intriguing plot will keep you turning the pages until the wee hours of the morning.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, I found this to be unique and captivating and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good thriller with an occult twist. I’m definitely looking forward to reading Carrie Rubin’s next Benjamin Oris book!

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Book #Review of #ShadowHunt (Disrupted Magic # 3) by Melissa F. Olson (#NetGalley)

Shadow Hunt (Disrupted Magic #3)

by Melissa F. Olson

Release date: February 13th, 2018

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Shadow Hunt Cover


I received a complimentary ARC copy of Shadow Hunt (Disrupted Magic #3) by Melissa F. Olson from NetGalley in order to read and give an honest review.

The last book of the Disrupted Trilogy and the end of Scarlett’s second series picks up immediately after the second book, Blood Gamble left off. Weeks after the events in Las Vegas and the death of Jamieson, another Null she finds out she is pregnant with his child. A rare occurrence, Scarlett is dealing with the aftermath of finding out that after years of believing it was impossible she is, in fact, going to have a baby, the baby of two very powerful Nulls.  Scarlett tries to keep the pregnancy under wraps until she learns more about her options and the consequences of having a null child.  Not knowing who to turn to she sneaks out of town to consult with Maven, an ancient Vampire she feels might be able to give her advice.  Leaving her bargest, Shadow, at home and in the care of Jesse she is on her way, not knowing the danger she is leaving them to face.  Jesse opens the door to an innocent looking visitor which launches an evil plot by Shadow’s former owners, the Luparii who come to retrieve what’s theirs and put their plan into motion. The Luparrii’s see Scarlett as a threat and will do everything in their power to see her destroyed. After her secret is outted, Scarlett teams up with werewolves, vamps, witches and humans to stand with against the magical Wild Hunt which that would ultimately end the world as they know it.

I really enjoyed Shadow Hunt. It gives us a character-driven, fast-paced and complex storyline that you’ll want to devour in one sitting.  I think this, in my opinion, was the best of the trilogy and even though it’s the end of this trilogy I hope we hear from Scarlet and Jesse in the future.

My book Review of Midnight Curse (Disrupted Magic #1) by Melissa F. Olson found here.

Posted in Books

#Review of A Mortal Likeness (#Victorian #Mystery No.2) by Laura Joh Rowland

 

A Mortal Likeness

(#Victorian #Mystery No.2)

by Laura Joh Rowland

Release date: January 9th, 2018

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A Mortal Likeness Cover


I received a complimentary ARC copy of A Mortal Likeness (#Victorian #Mystery No.2) by Laura Joh Rowland from NetGalley & Crooked Lane Books in order to read and give an honest review.

A fast-paced, suspenseful whodunit set in Victorian England, A Mortal Likeness, will keep you on the edge of your seat.  I read and reviewed book one, The Ripper’s Shadow last year and found this one to be just as enjoyable. 

In this story, we join photographer Sarah Bain and the disgraced Lord Hugh Staunton after the fallout of solving the Jack the Ripper case. Hugh, short on cash after being disowned by his wealthy family persuades Sarah to open a detective agency. With funds running low they are at the mercy of whichever cases fall in their lap.  While working on a case investigating a philandering husband, they are thrust into a high-profile case which although paying well will throw them into peril at every turn.    

The wealthy and influential Gerald Mariner frustrated with the lack of progress by the police in solving the kidnapping of his son Robin Mariner hires them to solve the crime. Broke and in need of cash they accept the case but Sir Mariner has one caveat, they are to tell no one they are working on the case. Although Hugh is nonplussed about it, Sarah is uncomfortable lying to her police constable lover who has been assigned to the case. There also may be connections to Sarah’s supposedly dead father whom she sees in the background of some surveillance photos she’s taken.  Sir Gerald, is convinced that the kidnapping is an inside job and invites them to stay on his estate to investigate. With emotions running high and a killer under the same roof, they are met with hostility and distrust. To make matters worse the other officer on the case had his career damaged on the Jack the Ripper case, partly thanks to Sarah and Hugh, has a vendetta against them and will not rest until he can pin the kidnapping on them.  

I thoroughly enjoyed the twists, turns which lead up to a surprising but very satisfying ending. I would wholeheartedly recommend this to anyone who loves a good mystery. 

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#Book #Review of The Curious Affair of the Witch at Wayside Cross (The Curious Affair Of #2) by Lisa Tuttle #Victorian #Mystery #Paranormal

Review

The Curious Affair of the Witch at Wayside Cross

(The Curious Affair Of #2) 

by Lisa Tuttle

Release date: November 28th, 2017

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Book Cover The Witch at Wayside Cross


I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Curious Affair of the Witch at Wayside Cross (The Curious Affair Of #2) by Lisa Tuttle from NetGalley & Random House Publishing Group – Hydra in order to read and give an honest review.

This is the second entry in the “Jesperson and Lane Casebook/Curious Affair of ” series by Lisa Tuttle. Although I haven’t read the first book, this book works well as a stand-alone and I have added the first, The Somnambulist and the Psychic Thief (The Curious Affair Of #1) to my TBR pile.  Personally, I  thoroughly enjoyed this book, it was a fast-paced, and fun Victorian mystery, reminiscent of Sherlock Holmes but with a touch of the paranormal.

The book opens with Charles Manning, a disciple of Felix Ott’s British School of Wisdom collapsing and dying in the London home of colleagues and private detectives, Jesperson and Lane.  Manning arrives at the house just after 1am in a state and before his death declared that he was being hunted by witches which with his last breath he accuses Miss Lane of being.  His death at first appears to be of natural causes but as with most good mysteries, that of course, is not the case.  Jesperson and Lane convince Mr. Manning’s brother that not all is as it seems, and they are hired to find out who or what truly killed his brother.  Manning’s research of the “Shriek pits, a phenomenon prevalent in folklore had him staying in Aylmerton, Norfolk. The Author Lisa Tuttle manages to create interesting well-developed characters who drive the plot forward and keep you entertained.  Following Manning’s timeline before his death, Jesperson and Lane travel to Norfolk to retrace his steps in the process meet some interesting characters, including the Ringer family and the infamous Buslstrode sisters at Wayside Cross.  The three unmarried sisters are wise-women or healers, but some are convinced they are witches. The story is full of twists and turns, from uncovering previous murders to a stolen baby and the curious disappearance of the distraught mother. There are clever red herrings and plotlines that whisper of magic, fairies, poison rings and an undecipherable grimoire all of which culminate in a fantastic twist at the end.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a well-written, cleverly crafted, quirky and fun mystery. If you enjoy Sir Conan Arthur Doyle or Agatha Christie I would recommend giving this a try.

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Honoring #Military #Veterans via @CSWCLynn

On 11 November 2017, there will be countries that will remember Veterans or their fallen soldiers. In the U.S., Veterans’ Day honors Veterans. In other countries it is called Remembrance Day or Armistice Day. If you wish to learn more about the history and reasons you can visit: http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/history-of-veterans-day

CSWCLLC logo by Grindhouse Media

The founding members of Call Sign Wrecking Crew, LLC have decided to reduce the price of their second novel, Call Sign: Wrecking Crew Wings of Eagles, in honor of U.S. Veterans’ Day. Some of the main characters are based on real people who were U.S. Military Veterans, such as themselves.

CSWCWOE via Amazon

In the series, the main characters are all former military whose careers led them into some form of Special Forces. They eventual formed a team of CIA special operators. By book two, Call Sign: Wrecking Crew Wings of Eagles, this team is no longer part of the CIA. They are part of a private company that does high-end security. One of their assignments was to shore up the security of their hometown. Events unfold, which were out of the team’s control, and sent their hometown on a collision course with Evil.

If your interest is piqued then why not check out the series:

https://www.amazon.com/David-McKoy/e/B0051LMR54/

If you are on a tight budget, the prices might be just what you are looking for. However, if you are looking for a paperback book for a loved one who served or for any other reason, each book has that option as well. If you look closely, you might be able to get an eBook and a print book.

If you are outside of the U.S. and prefer alternate options, then here are the links that should take you to the nearest Amazon Marketplace:

Call Sign: Wrecking Crew Storm Warning: myBook.to/CSWCSW

Call Sign: Wrecking Crew Wings of Eagles: myBook.to/CSWCWOE

Genesis: Call Sign: Wrecking Crew Slice of Life: myBook.to/GenesisCSWCSOL

Lynn Hallbrooks

David McKoy and Lynn Hallbrooks founded Call Sign Wrecking Crew, LLC in 2010. In January of 2011, the first book went live on Amazon. They hope that their books will both educate and entertain.

To learn more about them, you can visit their website: http://cswcllc.weebly.com/