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#Book #Review The Wolf and the Watchman by Niklas Natt och Dag ‏ #NetGalley #HistoricalFiction #Mystery

Review

Wolf and the Watchman Cover

The Wolf and the Watchman

by Niklas Natt och Dag

Release date: March 5th, 2019

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Wolf and the Watchman
by Niklas Natt och Dag from NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada in order to read and give an honest review.

Niklas Natt och Dag doesn’t hold back. Dark, gritty and brutally honest, the author doesn’t hesitate to show the bleakness of the times, the poverty…. “

When I came across this book I was intrigued and it didn’t disappoint. Well-written, clever, intricately plotted with well rounded, characters it kept me immersed in the story…. however, I issue a word of caution to sensitive readers… this book is graphic 

For his debut novel, Niklas Natt och Dag doesn’t hold back. Dark, gritty and brutally honest, the author doesn’t hesitate to show the bleakness of the times, the poverty, the distention between the classes and the depravity of the seedy underbelly of a divided Stockholm in 1793. 

Mickel Cardell a watchman and ex-soldier, is haunted by his past and learning to deal with the loss of his arm. When Mickel is called upon to fish a body out of the water he is overwhelmed by what he finds. An unknown young male, missing all four limbs, his tongue and eyes appear to all removed surgically prior to his death. When Cecil Winge, an attorney and consultant for the Swedish Police asks for his assistance, being an amputee himself Cardell cannot help but feel a connection to this poor victim and agrees.   

Winge and Cardell are just two of the characters we meet along the way. There are two others, Kristofer Blix and Anna-Stina Knapp who we watch struggle and survive.  

Kristof, a teen and former medic’s assistant from the country heads to Stockholm with hopes of becoming an elite and attending medical schoolWhen he finds it’s a lot harder than he thought he makes errs in judgement and in desperation he gets caught up in something so depraved it will haunt him for the rest of his life. A fatherless teen Anna-Stina raise in poverty and forced to struggle most of her life, loses the one person who means the most to her and is abandoned to a corrupt system. When she is falsely convicted of a crime and thrown into prison her situation becomes more perilous.
 

As the story unfolds and we get to the bottom of this horrendous crime the lives of these four become intertwined and we follow along on their journeys. The author’s portrayals are unique and add such depth to the story as does his descriptions of Stockholm which is written so vividly it almost becomes a character in its own right.  

I have to say that this is perhaps the most difficult review I have had to write, I really feel the book was well-written and clever but it definitely had a darkness that at the end of it left you with a queasy feeling or as I call it the “Ich” factor. It kept me engrossed which in my mind is what reading is all about.  Not for the faint of heart but I recommend it! 

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#NetGalley #Review of The Sound of Suffering by Darin C. Brown #Sci Fi & #Fantasy #Teens #YA

Review

Sound of Suffering Cover

The Sound of Suffering

by Darin C. Brown

Release date: February 21st, 2019

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Sound of Suffering by Darin C. Brown from NetGalley and Doc Squared Publishing/Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), Members’ in order to read and give an honest review.

Hunter is on a quest to find out what the aura’s, scents and sounds he experiences around people mean.  This is the second book in the Masters of Perceptions series, the first I have not read but feel it didn’t hamper my ability to enjoy the story.  Young Hunter is autistic and suffers from overwhelming stimuli when he comes in contact with others. At this point, he is learning a little bit about himself and his abilities.  While excelling at school and working his way through earning his Karate belts he still struggles with learning how to handle his gift and how to interact with those around him.  He has people to help him though, a few friends, one of which has a dubious reputation, his desk mate and his Sensei all help him but he finds his biggest confidant to be his grandfather who lives across the country.  When he gets strange sensations indicating one of his teachers is in trouble he can’t ignore the feeling and becomes determined to help her.  His friends by his side he sets out on a dangerous adventure that is much bigger than just helping his teacher. I won’t give any more away the plot takes an interesting turn you need to read!

The characters are well-written and as mentioned the story takes an unexpected and interesting path. I would give this story 4.5 stars only because I found that some things seemed a bit unnecessary and they detracted from the story. Although I appreciate that the author is trying to teach the reader through the process of reading, sometimes the “info dumps” distracted me from the flow of the story, it felt hard to stay connected.  It’s really is an ingenious story with interesting characters but many of the lessons seem repetitive. All in all, though I think it’s worth reading and would definitely recommend it!

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#NetGalley #Review The Woman in the Lake by @NicolaCornick ‏#HistoricalFiction #Mystery #Magic

Review

The Woman in the Lake Cover

The Woman in the Lake
by Nicola Cornick

Release date: February 26th, 2019

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Woman in the Lake by Nicola Cornick from NetGalley and Graydon House Books (U.S. & Canada) in order to read and give an honest review.

“Murder, mayhem and mysticism all crafted into a spellbinding tale…. “

I have become a huge fan of Nicola Cornick‘s work in recent months. I love her style!  She has an incredible ability to immerse the reader into whatever historical period she is writing about. Cornick intricately weaves details within her stories so seamlessly that the reader is automatically transported without forcing the reader to endure the dreaded “info dump”. The Woman in the Lake is no different. 

Set in present-day Swindon the reader travels back and forth from 1765.  The story is told from three viewpoints.  In 1765 we hear from Lady Isabella Gerard and her personal maid Constance. Both women are very different from the other women of their time. Lady Isabella is stuck in an abusive marriage to a corrupt businessman and smuggler. Always living in extreme danger from her husband she finds solace in another man‘s arms.  Her husband gives her a gift of a beautiful but deadly silk golden gown, a gown which leaves devastation in its wake.  Constance learns the secret behind the gown and wants to expose it but what will it cost her?

We also meet college design teacher, vintage item dealer and reformed kleptomaniac, Fenella Brightwell. 

On a school trip as a teenagerFenella steals the golden gown from a small historical museum. Once in her possessionFenella‘s life spirals out of control.  Present day Fenella now an adult is struggling to start a new life after escaping from an abusive marriage, bad divorce and the death of her grandmother. Her sister sorting through their Grandmother’s home discovers the gown with cryptic handwritten notes from their grandmother with the word danger written on them. The gown then mysteriously finds its way back to Fenella. Once the gown is returned back to Fenella, her life begins to spiral out of control again and her past comes back to haunt her. 

 

Murder, mayhem and mysticism all crafted into a spellbinding tale sure to keep you engaged into the wee hours of the morning. I would highly recommend The Woman in the Lake. 

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Journaling and Young Adults

Writing Quote
©Belinda Witzenhausen

Journaling is becoming more mainstream and it’s not just reserved for keeping secrets under lock and key. Journaling is more of an art form and healing too. There are so many benefits of encouraging your young adult to journal…

  1. Helps your teen with writing skills.
  2. Encourages and fosters creativity.
  3. Gives them an outlet to express themselves.
  4. A tool for your young adult’s self-development and actualization.
  5. Can assist in making decisions by making pro and con arguments.
  6. Can create a time capsule that your young adult can keep into adulthood.
  7. For storytelling or writing prose. Give your young adult a place to record story ideas, poems, or lyrics.

“Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go”. ~ E. L. Doctorow

Four tips to setting up a journal practice for your young adult…

  1. Let your young adult choose a journal that expresses their personality. Choosing one in their favourite colour or with a design that is meaningful to them will go one step further in making it special for them.
  2. Help them to create a special ritual to make it time just for them, something that can be a lifelong habit.
  3. Allow them to do whatever they want using stickers, washi tapes, markers, stamps, ticket stubs, scraps and perhaps even a mini polaroid for them to attach pictures of special events.
  4. Respect their privacy. Allow your young adult to have a safe space to record their thoughts, feeling emotions fostering trust and respect

Writing Prompts

Writing prompts are a wonderful way to kick-start your young adult’s creativity and generate ideas. There isn’t a right or wrong way respond, just encourage them to be honest, creative and stretch their imagination!

Journal and pen

Writing Prompt…

“You can make anything by writing.”~C.S. Lewis ”

What would happen if you could write something into existence? Would you write about a new pair of kicks or would you choose something larger, perhaps world peace?

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#Book #Review The Homecoming by Andrew Pyper ( @andrewpyper ) #NetGalley #Mystery #Thriller #Psychological

Review

The Homecoming Cover

The Homecoming

by Andrew Pyper

Release date: February 26th, 2019

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Homecoming by Andrew Pyper via NetGalley and Simon & Schuster Canada in order to read and give an honest review.

… this book is clever, complex and thrilling…taking the reader on a rollercoaster ride fraught with psychological twists and turns…

Already a fan of Andrew Pyper’s work I was thrilled to be afforded the opportunity to read and review his latest book The Homecoming.  Like most of his novels, this book is clever, complex and thrilling…taking the reader on a rollercoaster ride fraught with psychological twists and turns.

When Ray Quinlan dies his family is summoned to the Pacific west coast to attend Belfountain, a secluded rainforest estate to discuss his last will and testament. Ray’s widow, son Aaron and two daughters, Franny and Bridge. Delivered by limos they are dropped off and forced to surrender their cellphones.  It is explained to them their eccentric father left them an extortionate sum of money, but there is a catch. They must spend thirty days at Belfountain without phones, television, the internet, food delivery drop off and absolutely no contact from the outside world.

As always, Pyper excels at crafting brilliant psychological and incredibly creative plotlines but also does an outstanding job creating unique and cleverly multifaceted characters. Each character is so well written he manages to create an incredibly realistic and dysfunctional Quinlan family, each battling their own demons and coping with painful, traumatic pasts.

When another set of limos deposits four more mysterious individuals Belfountain is thrown into chaos unleashing family secrets, challenging family loyalty and causing the estate to become deadly prison.

This book is so unique, unlike any other book I have read, which, being an avid reader is a rarity for me! Another great read from Andrew Pyper that definitely won’t disappoint!

 

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#NetGalley #BookReview The Psychology of Time Travel A Novel by Kate Mascarenhas #Mystery #TimeTravel #Fantasy

Review

Psychology of Time Travel Cover

The Psychology of Time Travel

by Kate Mascarenhas

Release date: February 12th, 2019

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of The Psychology of Time Travel
by Kate Mascarenhas NetGalley and Crooked Lane Books in order to read and give an honest review.

… A unique and interesting entry in the time travel genre. 

I have always been a huge fan of time travel stories. Kate Mascarenhas’s debut The Psychology of Time Travel focuses on what happens to people’s psyche when they travel back and forth in time. What would happen if you could go back in time whenever you wanted and spend a day with loved ones who have passed away? Would it change how you view death? Would you take life for granted? The Psychology Of Time Travel answers these questions.

When four women discover time travel in 1960’s they launch an empire for themselves called “The Conclave” When one of the pioneers, Barbara suffers from a very public psychotic episode she is removed from the team and ostracized. The beginning of the book lays the groundwork for each of their personal journeys and how they adjust to the ability to travel and to meet their future or “silver” selves. Some flourish, some flounder, except for Barbara who is not allowed back and not only loses her purpose but her friends too.

The book picks up in the modern day when Barbara receives a cryptic clue of a death notice about an elderly woman who is murdered in the future. Barbara and her psychologist granddaughter Ruby begin trying to unravel the pieces. There is also a suspicious and puzzling murder of a woman in a small museum which occurs in a locked room with no way in or out. The body is damaged beyond recognition, no one is certain who it is, why they were there or how it happened. When a young museum worker Odette finds the body, she is traumatized, ends up seeking counsel from Ruby and can’t rest until she finds out what happened. Odette follows her suspicions and even goes undercover at the Conclave to get to the bottom of it. How could she solve a murder where the murderer could slip in an out of time?

Told from various viewpoints and throughout various time periods, this book tracks multiple characters jumping back and forth in time, some even meeting their future selves in the same room. It takes a while to catch onto which “version” of the character is present.

A unique and interesting entry in the time travel genre. Mascarenhas has created a very character driven novel with multifaceted characters who you grow to care about.

Definitely, an emotional roller coaster filled with mystery and fantasy. I look forward to reading more from this author. Highly recommend!

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New Release Announcement for Animals, Acrobatics, Attitude, and Amore by @LynnHallbrooks #cozy #fantasy #shortstory # SCCA4


Have you ever wanted to know more when a short story ended? Sometimes a story is written to certain stipulations and when it’s finished it leaves more questions than answers. Lynn Hallbrooks has paired up some of her earlier short story works with companion pieces. She allowed her imagination to blend talented animals, mythical beings, and real-life happenings in a relative clean, cozy fantasy short story collection she named, Animals, Acrobatics, Attitude, and Amore. Come for the cat and stay for the attitude. There is something for everyone at all ages.
The publication date of February 11, 2019, allows readers time to enjoy it for Valentine’s Day (February 14th) or any other day they choose.
The eBook is available in various locations and these links should take you there.
Amazon US link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07N6C2FB3
Amazon global link: mybook.to/SCCA4
Multiple vendor link: https://books2read.com/SSCA4

Author biography:
Lynn Hallbrooks enjoyed writing poetry and short stories as a teenager. After high school, she served her country in the US Air Force. While there she learned a career that spanned 30 years. In 2010 she switched to the writing business where she has learned a lot while reading books by and working with fellow authors. More recently she started a website to provide resources for authors and readers known as Author Reader Cheerleader.

You are invited to visit either of her websites.
Books and Business: https://www.authorreadercheerleader.com/
Author and Readers: https://cswcllc.weebly.com/

You can follow her on Twitter:
ARCLynn: https://twitter.com/LHallbrooks
CSWCLynn: https://twitter.com/CSWCLynn
LynnHallbrooks: https://twitter.com/LynnHallbrooks

If you visit BookBub for book discounts and recommendations, you can follow her there: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/lynn-hallbrooks

Or if BookGorilla is your favorite book discounter then follow her here: https://www.bookgorilla.com/author/B0050ZOGAA/lynn-hallbrooks/kcc

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#BookReview of The Reckoning by Yrsa Sigurdardottir #Nordic Noir #TheReckoning #Mystery #Thrillers #NetGalley

The Reckoning

(Children’s House #2)

by Yrsa Sigurdardottir

Release date: February 12th, 2018

The Reckoning Cover

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I received a complimentary ARC copy The Reckoning (Children’s House #2)
by Yrsa Sigurdardottir from NetGalley & St. Martin’s Press/Minotaur Books in order to read and give an honest review.

Yrsa Sigurdardottir the Queen of Nordic noir does it again with the dark and intricately plotted follow up to the Legacy…

Yrsa Sigurdardottir has definitely earned the nickname “Queen of Nordic noir”. True to form, Yrsa has produced yet another dark, clever, incredibly gruesome and deliciously deceptive Nordic noir novel. The Reckoning is the second book in the Children’s House series. Although this book would work as a stand-alone reading the Legacy first just adds to the story.

When a local school opens a time capsule they discover a letter spewing anger, claiming revenge and containing a list composed of just initials of those who will meet their end in 2016.  When a gruesome discovery is made that appears to have a connection to the list an investigation is launched.  In this book we have disgraced detective Huldar biding his time hoping that the events that occurred in the previous installment will soon blow over. At the beginning of the book, he is at his all-time low and relegated to boring meaningless cases.  His former partner and shunned admirer Erla is now his boss which makes for definite tension and an interesting predicament. 

When the investigation heats up and the leads point to a past case involving a murdered child, Huldar turns Freyja at the Children’s House for help.  Once connections are made involving the release of a former pedophile and murderer there is a manhunt and a race to find and save the next on the list. 
The book builds at a breakneck speed culminating in a shocking but fantastic ending. This is not recommended for those with a squeamish stomach, there are parts that are incredibly gruesome, although not bad enough for me to put down the book. The only downside for me in this book was although there is character development,  I wish there was a little bit more, especially between Freyja and Huldar, the relationship storylines fell a little flat for me. 

All-in-all a fantastic book in a fantastic series! Yrsa Sigurdardottir “the Queen of Nordic noir” does it again with the dark and intricately plotted follow up to the Legacy. A definite must-read for fans of Nordic Noir

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#Review of The Hangman’s Secret (#Victorian Mystery No.3) by Laura Joh Rowland #Mystery #Books #NetGalley

 

The Hangman’s Secret

(#Victorian #Mystery No.3)

by Laura Joh Rowland

Release date: January 18th, 2018

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the hangmans secret cover


I received a complimentary ARC copy The Hangman’s Secret (#Victorian #Mystery No.3) by Laura Joh Rowland from NetGalley & Crooked Lane Books in order to read and give an honest review.

Another fantastic book in Laura Joh Rowland’s Victorian Mystery series featuring photographer and private detective Sarah Bain. Rowland, a master at writing fast-paced, suspenseful whodunits again keeps readers on the edge of their seat with this newest entry. I have been fortunate enough to read and review her first two books in the series, the first The Ripper’s Shadow and the second A Mortal Likeness, all three fantastic mysteries I would recommend.
This time around as the story opens we see Sarah Bain has landed on her feet from the previous book A Mortal Likeness. She is working as a photographer for Sir Gerald Mariner, photographing crime scenes for his London newspaper the Daily World. Sarah, Hugh, and Mick are living and working together, her relationship with Constable Barrett is going well, life seems perfect…until a call to photograph the corpse of the decapitated body of a well-known hangman, Harry Warbrick. After initially considered suicide when Sir Gerald gets wind that it was under suspicious terms, he decides to launch a contest, a race to see whether they can beat the police and solve the crime. The contest puts Sarah in a precarious position, she will have to hide what she finds from her police officer lover after they had just survived the events of the last book, “A Mortal Likeness”. Sarah is convinced that Warbrick’s murder is somehow a result of something that occurred at the execution of Amelia Carlisle, the “Baby-Butcher,” who’d killed hundreds of infants in her care. While investigating Sarah is plagued by political cover-ups, run-ins with dangerous people and an old animosity rears it’s ugly head when a former nemesis, Inspector Reid, is back and as threatening as ever.

The case tests Sarah like none other, her life, reputation, relationship, friendships, and job are all in jeopardy and my heart breaks for her throughout the book. Just when you think it can’t get any worse Rowland throws another twist that will keep you on an emotional roller-coaster. I won’t reveal anymore but if you are a fan of clever, fast-paced, mysteries this is definitely a must read.

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#NetGalley #Review of #LipstickVoodoo by @kristicharish #UrbanFantasy

 

Review

lipstick voodoo cover

Lipstick Voodoo

The Kincaid Strange Series, Book Two

by Kristi Charish

Release date: January 8th, 2019

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Lipstick Voodoo (The Kincaid Strange Series, Book Two) by Kristi Charish from NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada/Vintage Canada in order to read and give an honest review.

… fun fast-paced mysteries with an urban fantasy/paranormal twist and plenty of dark humour…

I am a huge fan of Kristi Charish so was thrilled to get to review the second in her Kincaid Strange Series. I really enjoy this series, it’s fun fast-paced mysteries with an urban fantasy/paranormal twist and plenty of dark humour.    

Paranormal practitioner, Kincaid Strange, is on the case again. Lipstick Voodoo picks up where The Voodoo Killings leaves off with Kincaid trying to deal with the aftermath. She is trying to help her roommate ex Grunge Rockstar Nathan Cade after his spirit was entrapped in another body which was meant for Gideon, a powerful sorcerer’s spirit. A furious Gideon blames Kincaid and forces her work for him as his apprentice until the debt is paid off. She is desperately trying to hide Nathan before Gideon finds out and god knows what, but it becomes increasingly difficult when the body begins falling apart.  Things get really “Strange” when Kincaid’s ex-lover and police detective, Aaron, asks for her help on a cold case investigation that links the murder of an old bandmate of Nate’s to a new murder of another bandmate who is found supernaturally frozen solid. Add into the mix a police chief intent on destroying Kincaid (and all paranormal practitioners and you’ve got a story that keeps you flipping the pages.
I enjoyed watching the character development throughout the book and the intricately detailed magic system Charish is so brilliant at creating. I also find I’m actually enjoying Gideon’s character and can’t wait to see what Charish has planned for him throughout the series.  

All in all a fabulous fun read I can’t wait until the next one comes out, I would definitely recommend!