It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

The It’s Monday! What Are You Reading meme is hosted at Book Journey. In Sheila’s absence I’m linking this post via Twitter at #IMWAYR

Life…

Flu_Bug-900x900

*Sigh* … so best laid plans. I’m posting this late having been laid low by the flu for the better part of the past week thanks to my children sharing their germs. I got some reading done but I could barely focus most of the time, and by the time I was feeling more human I had other pressing things to attend to. I still am determined to get back on track, so lets try this again shall we?

What I Read Last Week

The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

The Hand That Feeds You by A J Rich

The Redeemers by Ace Atkins

New Posts

(click the titles to read my reviews)

Review: The Night Ferry by Michael Robotham ★★★1/2

Review: The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen ★★★

Review: The Hand That Feeds You by AJ Rich ★★★1/2

Review: The Redeemers by Ace Atkins ★★★★

Giveaway: Heart of the Country by Tricia Stringer

What I Am Reading Today

Darian Richards is an ex-cop, a good one. He did whatever it took to solve a crime and stop the bad guy. Whatever it took! But after sixteen years as the head of Victoria’s Homicide Squad, he’d had enough of promising victims’ families he’d find the answers they needed. He had to walk away to save his sanity.
Now Police Commissioner Copeland Walsh has tracked Darian down. He needs him to help clear an old case. The death of Isobel Vine. The coroner gave an open finding. An open finding that never cleared the cloud of doubt that hovered over four young cops who were present the night Isobel died.
Twenty-five years later, one of those young cops is next in line to become police commissioner, so Copeland Walsh needs the case closed once and for all. In his mind there is only one man for the job. One man who would be completely independent. One man who has never bowed to political or police pressure. One man who knows how to get the job done – Darian Richards.
Darian is going back to stir a hornet’s nest. But once Darian is on a case he won’t back off tracking down evil, no matter who he has to take down.

 What I Plan To Read This Week

(click the covers to view at Goodreads)

From bestselling authors Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus comes a timely novel about a forty-something wife and mother thrust back into the workforce, where she finds herself at the mercy of a boss half her age. Rory McGovern is entering the ostensible prime of her life when her husband, Blake, loses his dream job and announces he feels like “taking a break” from being a husband and father. Rory was already spread thin and now, without warning, she is single-parenting two kids, juggling their science projects, flu season, and pajama days, while coming to terms with her disintegrating marriage. And without Blake, her only hope is to accept a full-time position working for two full-time twenty-somethings. A day out of b-school, these girls think they know it all and have been given the millions from venture capitalists to back up their delusion—that the future of digital media is a high-end “lifestyle” site—for kids! (Not that anyone who works there has any, or knows the first thing about actual children.) Can Rory learn to decipher her bosses’ lingo, texts that read like license plates, and arbitrary mandates? And is there any hope of saving her marriage? With her family hanging by a thread, Rory must adapt to this hyper-digitized, over-glamorized, narcissistic world of millennials…whatever it takes.

From a childhood friendship sustained over years and distance, to a journey of discovery, Cathy Lamb’s poignant novel tells of two women whose paths converge with unforeseen results—and reveals the gift of connection, and the challenges that can change everything for the better…
Charlotte Mackintosh is an internationally known bestselling romance writer who has no romance, and remains a mystery to her fans. In fact, she has little in her life besides her work, her pampered cats, and her secluded home off the coast of Washington. And then there is her very best friend, Bridget, who lives in Scotland, where Charlotte lived until she was fifteen. Bridget, whom Charlotte hasn’t seen in twenty years, but continues to write to—though the replies have stopped. Hurt by the silence, an opportunity arises to find answers—and maybe much more.
Charlotte must finally return to Scotland to sell her late father’s cottage. It was his tragic death when Charlotte was fifteen that began her growing isolation, and the task is fraught with memories. But her plans are slowed when she’s confronted with the beautiful but neglected house, the irresistible garden—and Toran, Bridget’s brother. Capable and kind, Toran has the answers Charlotte seeks. And as she is drawn deeper into the community she thought she’d left behind, Charlotte learns not only more about her dear friend, but about herself—and discovers a new and unexpected path.

Long after the last drink is poured and the final gunshot fired, Cheryl Della Pietra’s novel inspired by her time as Hunter S. Thompson’s assistant will linger in your mind.  Alley Russo is a recent college grad desperately trying to make it in the grueling world of New York publishing, but like so many who have come before her, she has no connections and has settled for an unpaid magazine internship while slinging drinks on Bleecker Street just to make ends meet. That’s when she hears the infamous Walker Reade is looking for an assistant to replace the eight others who have recently quit. Hungry for a chance to get her manuscript onto the desk of an experienced editor, Alley jumps at the opportunity to help Reade finish his latest novel. After surviving an absurd three-day trial period involving a .44 magnum, purple-pyramid acid, violent verbal outbursts, brushes with fame and the law, a bevy of peacocks, and a whole lot of cocaine, Alley is invited to stay at the compound where Reade works. For months Alley attempts to coax the novel out of Walker page-by-page, all while battling his endless procrastination, vampiric schedule, Herculean substance abuse, mounting debt, and casual gunplay. But as the job begins to take a toll on her psyche, Alley realizes she’s alone in the Colorado Rockies at the mercy of a drug-addicted literary icon who may never produce another novel and her fate may already be sealed.

‘ Nobody in the world knows our secret… that I’ve ruined Bev’s life, and she’s ruined mine.’
Petra’s romantic life has always been a car-crash, and even in her sixties she’s still capable of getting it disastrously wrong. But then she falls in love with Jeremy, an old chum, visiting from abroad. The fatal catch? Jeremy is her best friend’s husband. But just as Petra is beginning to relax into her happy ever after, she finds herself catapulted to West Africa, and to Bev, her best friend who she’s been betraying so spectacularly. Meanwhile, on opposite sides of the world, two other women are also struggling with the weight of betrayal: Texan Lorrie is about embark on the biggest deception of her life, and in China Li-Jing is trying to understand exactly what it is her husband does on his West African business trips. . . It turns out that no matter where you are in the world, everyone has something to hide. Can Bev – can anyone – be trusted?

Seven years ago, the Veil that separates humanity from what lies beyond was torn apart, and New Orleans was engulfed in a supernatural war. Now, those with paranormal powers have been confined in a walled community that humans call the District. Those who live there call it Devil’s Isle. Claire Connolly is a good girl with a dangerous secret: she’s a Sensitive, a human endowed with magic that seeped through the Veil. Claire knows that revealing her skills would mean being confined to Devil’s Isle. Unfortunately, hiding her power has left her untrained and unfocused. Liam Quinn knows from experience that magic makes monsters of the weak, and he has no time for a Sensitive with no control of her own strength. But when he sees Claire using her powers to save a human under attack—in full view of the French Quarter—Liam decides to bring her to Devil’s Isle and the teacher she needs, even though getting her out of his way isn’t the same as keeping her out of his head. But when the Veil threatens to shatter completely, Claire and Liam must work together to stop it, or else New Orleans will burn…

  ***********


Thanks for stopping by!

Giveaway: Heart of the Country by Tricia Stringer

I’m delighted to have 2 copies of Tricia Stringer‘s latest novel, Heart of the Country, to giveaway today, courtesy of Harlequin Australia. I met Tricia last month when she visited my local library with the Australian Voices in Print Tour and spoke about Heart of the Country, the first novel in an epic historical saga of three Australian families.

Spanning several generations, this epic tells the story of the Baker, Smith and Wiltshire families forging their paths in a land both beautiful and unforgiving.
Lives are intertwined by love and community then ripped apart by hate and greed but remain always bound to the land they love…
1846. Newly arrived from England, Thomas Baker is young, penniless and alone. Eager to make his mark on this strange new place called South Australia, he accepts work as an overseer on a distant sheep property, believing this will be the opportunity he seeks. But when Thomas’s path crosses that of ex-convict, Septimus Wiltshire — a grasping con man hell bent on making a new life for himself and his family at any price — trouble is on the horizon.
But Thomas is made of stern stuff and his fortunes take a turn for the better when he meets spirited farmer’s daughter Lizzie Smith, and soon he envisages their future together.
But this land is like no other he has encountered: both harsh and lovely, it breaks all but the strongest. When his nemesis intervenes once more and drought comes, Thomas finds himself tested almost beyond endurance with the risk of losing everything he and Lizzie have worked for… even their lives.

Read an Extract

GIVEAWAY

Courtesy of Harlequin, I have

2 print editions of

 Heart of the Country by Tricia Stringer 

to giveaway to two lucky Australian residents.

Leave a comment on this post and then

CLICK HERE TO ENTER

Entries close August 9th

 

Review: The Redeemers by Ace Atkins

 

Title: The Redeemers {Quinn Colson #5}

Author: Ace Atkins

Published: GP Putnam July 2015

Status: Read from July 24th – 27th, 2015   – I own a copy {Courtesy the publisher/netgalley}

My Thoughts:

Review to come

He is only in his early thirties, but now Quinn Colson is jobless—voted out of office as sheriff of Tibbehah County, Mississippi, thanks to the machinations of county kingpin Johnny Stagg. He has offers, in bigger and better places, but before he goes, he’s got one more job to do—bring down Stagg’s criminal operations for good.
At least that’s the plan. But in the middle of the long, hot summer, a trio of criminals stage a bold, wall-smashing break-in at the home of a local lumber mill owner, making off with a million dollars in cash from his safe, which is curious, because the mill owner is wealthy—but not that wealthy. None of this has anything to do with Colson, but during the investigation, two men are killed, one of them the new sheriff. His friend, acting sheriff Lillie Virgil, and a dangerous former flame, Anna Lee Stevens, both ask him to step in, and reluctantly he does, only to discover that that safe contained more than just money—it held secrets.
Secrets that could either save Colson—or destroy him once and for all.”

Available to purchase from

Penguin I Amazon US I BookDepository I Indiebound

via Booko

Review: The Hand That Feeds You by AJ Rich

 

Title: The Hand That Feeds You

Author: AJ Rich

Published: Simon & Schuster July 2015

Status: Read from July 23rd-24th, 2015 – I own a copy {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:
The Hand That Feeds You by A.J. Rich {a pseudonym for the partnership of authors Amy Hempel and Jill Ciment) offers an interesting premise.

Psychology student Morgan Prager is devastated when she returns home one evening to find her fiance, Bennett, mauled to death by her beloved pets, a Great Pyrenees and two fostered pit bulls. But when attempts to notify Bennett’s family of his death reveal he was not the man she thought he was, for Morgan, a psychologist writing a thesis about victimology, the betrayal is stunning and she is determined to unravel the truth.

While I found The Hand That Feeds You to be a quick and largely enjoyable read, unfortunately I felt the execution didn’t quite work on a number of levels.

Morgan is an inconsistent character, whose potential is undeveloped. I really loved the idea of a psychologist studying victimology becoming a victim, but was disappointed that Morgan was revealed to lack even a modicum of self awareness, especially for a thirty year old woman with years of psychology study. While I could just about believe she could be romantically duped by Bennett, and her stubborn denial of some truths was frustrating.

I felt uneven pacing resulted in diluted tension, some plot elements were heavily foreshadowed while others seemingly came out of nowhere. There were some odd scenes that seemed out of place and the ending was ultimately anti-climatic.

The writing didn’t quite gel either, cold and occasionally awkward.

Overall I thought The Hand That Feeds You lacked the depth and subtlety that could have made this story a great psychological thriller.

 

Available to purchase from

Simon & Schuster Iboomerang-books_long I Booktopia I Amazon AUvia Booko

Amazon US

and all good bookstores.

Review: The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

Title: The Invasion of the Tearling {Queen of the Tearling #2}

Author: Erika Johansen

Published: Bantam Press July 2015

Status: Read from July 19th to 23rd, 2015 – I own a copy {Courtesy the Publisher/netgalley}

My Thoughts:

The Invasion of the Tearling is the sequel to Erika Johansen’s debut, The Queen of the Tearling.

Kelsea Glynn, now the reigning Queen of Tearling, is preparing for war with The Red Queen, having put a stop to the human tithing practiced by her country’s former rulers. As Mortmesme’s forces amass on the border, Kelsea struggles to determine a way for her vulnerable country to defend itself from the invasion while dealing with internal strife and the challenges of the kingdom.

‘Invasion’ also endeavours to explain the origins of the Tearling world, revealing the secrets of The Crossing, through crippling visions experienced by Kelsea. It’s quite an unusual story that reveals why Johansen’s world blends a feudal society and magic with reminders of modern life.

As a character, Kelsea undergoes some dramatic changes in this instalment, and not for the better. Haunted by the visions of Lily’s life, the visits of a mysterious dark spirit, and the seductive power of the emeralds, Kelsea becomes secretive and increasingly dark. I was disappointed by the inconsistencies and sometimes confused by her changing motivations.

I didn’t always find it easy to follow the narrative of The Invasion of the Tearling either. The shifts between Kelsea’s world and her visions of Lily’s were sometimes jarring, additionally there were a couple of minor story threads that seemed to dissolve into nothing, while others contributed little to the overall story. I’m also at a loss to understand Kelsea’s physical changes, which seem rather absurd.

The Invasion of the Tearling builds to a confrontation between Kelsea and The Red Queen but again ends with more questions than answers. I’m curious as to how Johansen will choose to end things in the final book of the trilogy, but I’m worried she will be unable to pull everything together in a satisfying manner.

Available to purchase from

Random House Iboomerang-books_long I Booktopia I Amazon AUvia Booko

Amazon US

and all good bookstores.

Review: The Night Ferry by Michael Robotham

Title: The Night Ferry

Author: Michael Robotham

Published: Mulholland Books July 2015

Status: Read from July 18-19 – I own a copy {Courtesy the publisher/Netgalley}

My Thoughts:

A stand alone thriller from master storyteller Michael Robotham, The Night Ferry was first released in 1997 but has been reprinted for American audiences.

The Night Ferry features Detective Alisha Barba who is drawn into the murky world of human trafficking when her estranged childhood best friend begs for her help, shortly before being killed in a hit and run.

The investigation leads Alisha from London to the heart of Amsterdam’s red light district. The plot is complex involving the enforced surrogacy of vulnerable refugees beholden to unscrupulous human traffickers, and while fairly predictable, the fast paced execution keeps the tension and interest high.

Alisha Barba appeared as a minor character is Robotham’s, Lost. She is an interesting protagonist, a Sikh, who is recovering from a horrific injury sustained in the line of duty. Her history with the murdered woman, Cate, is what drives her to investigate despite the lack of official sanction, calling on her on and off again boyfriend, fellow officer Dave King, and retired Detective Inspector Vincent Ruiz for help.

I was at times frustrated by some of the choices made by Alisha, which may have advanced the plot or provided action, but seemed inane given her intelligence and experience.

Overall however The Night Ferry is a gripping read with a strong and interesting narrative.

Available to purchase from

Mulholland Books I Amazon US I BookDepository

via booko

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

The It’s Monday! What Are You Reading meme is hosted at Book Journey. In Sheila’s absence I’m linking this post via Twitter at #IMWAYR

Life…

I’m still struggling to catch up after the chaos of June, hence a few place markers in this week’s review list but I am determined to get back on track.

The kids are back at school, my oldest is still in Europe. The World Gymnaestrada finished yesterday and by all accounts their team performances were well received with a standing ovation, now they have ten days in Denmark training and touring before they come home.

SNAG-0051

What I Read Last Week

The Perfect Son by Barbara Claypole White

Set in Stone by Ros Baxter

Little Black Lies by Sharon Bolton

The Trivia Man by Deborah O’Brien

Thursday’s Children by Nicci French

Friday On My Mind by Nicci French

Fast and Loose by Nicholas J Johnson

A Time to Run by JM Peace

Precocious by Joanna Barnard

Let Me Explain You by Annie Liontas

The Night Ferry by Michael Robotham

New Posts

(click the titles to read my reviews)

Review: The Perfect Son by Barbara Claypole White ★★★★1/2

Review: Set in Stone by Ros Baxter ★★★★

Review: Little Black Lies by Sharon Bolton ★★★★1/2

Review: The Trivia Man by Deborah O’Brien ★★★

Review: Thursday’s Children by Nicci French ★★★★1/2

Stuff on Sunday: I’m All About the Books

Review: Friday on My Mind by Nicci French ★★★★

Review: Fast and Loose by Nicholas J Johnson ★★★★

Blog Tour Feature: A Time To Run by J M Peace

Review: A Time To Run by J M Peace ★★★★

Review: Precocious by Joanna Barnard ★★★

Review: Let Me Explain You by Annie Liontas DNF

Stuff On Sundays: Bookshelf Bounty

What I Am Reading Today

With each passing day, Kelsea Glynn is growing into her new responsibilities as Queen of the Tearling. By stopping the shipments of slaves to the neighboring kingdom of Mortmesne, she crossed the Red Queen, a brutal ruler whose power derives from dark magic, who is sending her fearsome army into the Tearling to take what is hers. And nothing can stop the invasion. But as the Mort army draws ever closer, Kelsea develops a mysterious connection to a time before the Crossing, and she finds herself relying on a strange and possibly dangerous ally: a woman named Lily, fighting for her life in a world where being female can feel like a crime. The fate of the Tearling —and that of Kelsea’s own soul—may rest with Lily and her story, but Kelsea may not have enough time to find out.

 What I Plan To Read This Week

(click the covers to view at Goodreads)

Morgan’s life seems to be settled – she is completing her thesis on victim psychology and newly engaged to Bennett, a man more possessive than those she has dated in the past, but also more chivalrous and passionate. But she returns from class one day to find Bennett savagely killed, and her dogs – a Great Pyrenees, and two pit bulls she was fostering – circling the body, covered in blood. Everything she holds dear in life is taken away from her in an instant. Devastated and traumatised, Morgan tries to locate Bennett’s parents to tell them about their son’s death. Only then does she begin to discover layer after layer of deceit. Bennett is not the man she thought he was. And she is not the only woman now in immense danger …

He is only in his early thirties, but now Quinn Colson is jobless—voted out of office as sheriff of Tibbehah County, Mississippi, thanks to the machinations of county kingpin Johnny Stagg. He has offers, in bigger and better places, but before he goes, he’s got one more job to do—bring down Stagg’s criminal operations for good. At least that’s the plan. But in the middle of the long, hot summer, a trio of criminals stage a bold, wall-smashing break-in at the home of a local lumber mill owner, making off with a million dollars in cash from his safe, which is curious, because the mill owner is wealthy—but not that wealthy. None of this has anything to do with Colson, but during the investigation, two men are killed, one of them the new sheriff. His friend, acting sheriff Lillie Virgil, and a dangerous former flame, Anna Lee Stevens, both ask him to step in, and reluctantly he does, only to discover that that safe contained more than just money—it held secrets.
Secrets that could either save Colson—or destroy him once and for all.

From bestselling authors Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus comes a timely novel about a forty-something wife and mother thrust back into the workforce, where she finds herself at the mercy of a boss half her age. Rory McGovern is entering the ostensible prime of her life when her husband, Blake, loses his dream job and announces he feels like “taking a break” from being a husband and father. Rory was already spread thin and now, without warning, she is single-parenting two kids, juggling their science projects, flu season, and pajama days, while coming to terms with her disintegrating marriage. And without Blake, her only hope is to accept a full-time position working for two full-time twenty-somethings. A day out of b-school, these girls think they know it all and have been given the millions from venture capitalists to back up their delusion—that the future of digital media is a high-end “lifestyle” site—for kids! (Not that anyone who works there has any, or knows the first thing about actual children.) Can Rory learn to decipher her bosses’ lingo, texts that read like license plates, and arbitrary mandates? And is there any hope of saving her marriage? With her family hanging by a thread, Rory must adapt to this hyper-digitized, over-glamorized, narcissistic world of millennials…whatever it takes.

Long after the last drink is poured and the final gunshot fired, Cheryl Della Pietra’s novel inspired by her time as Hunter S. Thompson’s assistant will linger in your mind.  Alley Russo is a recent college grad desperately trying to make it in the grueling world of New York publishing, but like so many who have come before her, she has no connections and has settled for an unpaid magazine internship while slinging drinks on Bleecker Street just to make ends meet. That’s when she hears the infamous Walker Reade is looking for an assistant to replace the eight others who have recently quit. Hungry for a chance to get her manuscript onto the desk of an experienced editor, Alley jumps at the opportunity to help Reade finish his latest novel. After surviving an absurd three-day trial period involving a .44 magnum, purple-pyramid acid, violent verbal outbursts, brushes with fame and the law, a bevy of peacocks, and a whole lot of cocaine, Alley is invited to stay at the compound where Reade works. For months Alley attempts to coax the novel out of Walker page-by-page, all while battling his endless procrastination, vampiric schedule, Herculean substance abuse, mounting debt, and casual gunplay. But as the job begins to take a toll on her psyche, Alley realizes she’s alone in the Colorado Rockies at the mercy of a drug-addicted literary icon who may never produce another novel and her fate may already be sealed.

  ***********


Thanks for stopping by!

Stuff on Sundays: Bookshelf Bounty

It’s that time of the month or near enough,  so here is what I have added to my shelves recently.

Click on the cover images to view at Goodreads

For Review (print)

 

For review (electronic)

About: Let Me Explain You by Annie Liontas

Title: Let Me Explain You

Author: Annie Liontas

Published: Scribner July 2015

Browse Inside

LET ME EXPLAIN YOU begins with a letter: Stavros Stavros Mavrakis-Greek immigrant, proud owner of the Gala Diner, having had a premonition of death and believing he has just ten days left to live, sends an email to his estranged ex-wife and three grown daughters in which he lays out his last wishes for each of them. He then sets about preparing for his final hours. With varying degrees of laughter and scorn, his family and friends dismiss his behavior as nothing more than a plea for attention, a mid-life crisis of sorts, but when Stavros disappears without explanation, those closest to him-particularly his eldest daughters Stavroula and Litza are forced to confront the possibility of his death and the realities of their loss.

My Thoughts:

I’d read about a quarter of Let Me Explain You when I realised I’d lost interest, so I put it down and picked it up again the next day only to finally admit to myself almost halfway through that I didn’t care if I finished it or not.  Sometimes it just doesn’t work out and in this case I’m not sure why.

Let Me Explain You is available to purchase at:

Simon & Schuster USAmazon US I BookDepository I Indie Bound

Review: Precocious by Joanna Barnard

Title: Precocious

Author: Joanna Barnard

Published: Ebury Press July 2015

Status: Read from July 16 to 17, 2015  – I own a copy

My Thoughts:

In Precocious, Joanna Bernard’s protagonist, Fiona Palmer, has never forgotten her first love. She was just fourteen, a bright but lonely girl, when she developed a crush on her handsome and attentive English teacher, Henry Morgan, and the two plunged head long into an all consuming affair.
Fiona is now thirty and when a chance meeting with Henry highlights the mediocrity of her marriage and career, she abandons both to recapture the passion and excitement of their once illicit relationship.

Moving between the present and past, Barnard details the evolution of the relationship between Fiona and Henry. Fiona’s teenage diary entries and recollections reveal her vulnerability and angst, chronicling her schoolgirl crush, and her growing determination to seduce Mr Morgan.

“When I think about it, I have really sort of worked on him, and I feel like I’m getting somewhere. In the space of about a year, I’ve decided I would get close to him and I have…. I have got a tiny piece of HM – but it gives me hope. I will get all of him someday.”

Fiona’s second tense present voice details their reunion as adults, her obsessive desire to reignite their relationship and to finally become his legitimate lover, an equal partner.

“You are everywhere.
HM Your initials. I see them in car registrations and my heart skips a beat. I seek out the letters H and M in newspapers and draw them together with my eyes.
HM.
Him. Him, him, him. You, you, you. Parasite of my thoughts.”

But as the story progresses, Fiona’s fairytale notions are slowly stripped away. Morgan is revealed as a skilled manipulator, and the ways in which he nurtured and inflamed Fiona’s teenage devotion become clear. While Fiona has always been convinced she was the instigator of their relationship, learning that she was not the first, nor had been the last, in a long line of student conquests she is forced to reexamine their past, and present, relationship.

Barnard’s exploration of the relationship is thoughtful, avoiding sensationalism in favour of realism . The writing is skilled, with an immediate and intimate tone that draws the reader in.

Compelling and provocative, Precocious is a thought provoking story about an unsettling subject.

Available to purchase via

Ebury Press I Amazon UK I Amazon US I Amazon AU

via Booko

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