Review of Wreck and Order by Hannah Tennant-Moore

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About Wreck and Order

Decisively aimless, self-destructive, and impulsively in and out of love, Elsie is a young woman who feels stuck. She has a tumultuous relationship with an abusive boyfriend, a dead-end job at a newspaper, and a sharp intelligence that’s constantly at odds with her many bad decisions. When her initial attempts to improve her life go awry, Elsie decides that a dramatic change is the only solution.

An auto-didact who prefers the education of travel to college, Elsie uses an inheritance to support her as she travels to Paris and Sri Lanka, hoping to accumulate experiences, create connections, and discover a new way to live. Along the way, she meets men and women who challenge and provoke her towards the change she genuinely hopes to find. But in the end, she must still come face-to-face with herself.

Whole-hearted, fiercely honest and inexorably human, Wreck and Order is a stirring debut that, in mirroring one young woman’s dizzying quest for answers, illuminates the important questions that drive us all.

My Review

Lovely writing, my only compliment to the book. Elsie was boring, lazy and stupid. I wouldn’t want to befriend her or be in close proximity, nothing about her is appealing. She claims to seek her life’s purpose while in reality it’s a poor excuse to allow her to shrug responsibility and aimlessly flounder. She proclaims she wants to change yet she keeps reverting to her pathetic ways, whining, swearing to try again and repeating the pattern again and again without realizing (well maybe a little) her choices/decisions are terrible. Any person allowing abuse to occur should question why, not Elsie, and yet we are given a quick gloss over as to the root of her tolerating objectification and physical/sexual abuse. Frustrating for the reader with any intelligence to journey with this train wreck of a young adult. Her preoccupation with sex is annoying. Searching for meaning and purpose….not in my opinion. Disappointing and monotonous best describes my excruciating reading experience.

About Hannah Tennant-Moore1450541957702

Hannah Tennant-Moore’s work has appeared in the New York Times, The New Republic, n+1, Tin House, Salon, Bookforum, Dissent, Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, The Los Angeles Review of Books, and has twice been included in Best Buddhist Writing. She lives in the Hudson Valley with her husband.

Published February 9th 2016 by Hogarth

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Review of Crazy Blood by T. Jefferson Parker

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About Crazy Blood

The Carson dynasty rules the ski resort town of Mammoth Lakes in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California. Founded by patriarch Adam, the town is the site of the Mammoth Cup ski race-a qualifier for the Olympics. But when Wylie Welborn, Adam’s illegitimate grandson, returns after a stint in Afghanistan, it reopens a dark moment in Carson family history: the murder of Wylie’s father by his jealous and very pregnant wife, Cynthia. Her son Sky, born while his mother was in prison, and Wylie are half-brothers. They inherit not only superb athletic skills but an enmity that threatens to play out in a lethal drama on one of the fastest and most perilous ski slopes in the world.

Three powerful and unusual women have central roles in this volatile family feud: Cynthia, bent on destroying Wylie; his mother Kathleen, determined to protect him; and April Holly, a beautiful celebrity snowboarder, on track to win Olympic Gold. But, as Wylie falls in love with April and they begin to imagine a life away from the violence that has shattered his family, history threatens to repeat itself and destroy them both.

Combining exquisite writing with breathtaking scenes of high stakes skiing, Crazy Blood is an unforgettable story of two brothers on a ruthless quest for supremacy.

My Review

Fabulous description of competitive skiing along with the emotional, physical and mental demands the sport requires. Your adrenaline hits an apex as you find yourself racing the course completely exhilarated attempting to shave off seconds from your time.

None of the characters left a mark, including Wylie, not much development more of a rough outline provided. Sky was theatrical and just plain weird along with Cynthia. Both characters and plot felt contrived, strong predictability factor. It’s safe to say the narrative was very dramatic, would make a great Lifetime movie. Hardly a psychological thriller, behavior of protagionists too off the wall and the reactions of others equally bizarre.

I would read more from Parker, solid writing, the book has a great framework in need of minor tightening and tweaking with stronger characterization and plot.

About T. Jefferson Parker55814

T. Jefferson Parker is the bestselling author of 20 crime novels, including Edgar Award-winners Silent Joe and California Girl. Parker’s next work is a literary novel, Full Measure, to be published in October. He lives with his family in Southern California.

Published March 8th 2016 by St. Martin’s Press

Review of The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North

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About The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August

No matter what he does or the decisions he makes, when death comes, Harry always returns to where he began, a child with all the knowledge of a life he has already lived a dozen times before. Nothing ever changes.

Until now.

As Harry nears the end of his eleventh life, a little girl appears at his bedside. ‘I nearly missed you, Doctor August,’ she says. ‘I need to send a message.’

This is the story of what Harry does next, and what he did before, and how he tries to save a past he cannot change and a future he cannot allow.

My Review

Love the creativeness of North. Unique paranormal aspect appearing quite plausible. Alternative history fans will enjoy the rules established in the plot. Immersed in Harry’s world and it is an unforgettable ride.

Lots of humor popping up when least expected. Harry August is a hoot, privy to his thoughts you’ll find yourself laughing at his internal banter. Observing the world through Harry’s eyes and experiences is both enlightening and fascinating, you sort of step back and reexamine and rethink what you normally ignored or never really considered. For the most part Harry is tame but boy his fifteen lives are something else.

The story moves slowly yet my interest never waned, through all the fun and humor a few moving moments make an appearance.

Fun read leaving you in a semi-existential state questioning much. Much more than a time travel experience, this book is a mind, body and soul absorbing trek. North is extremely clever and I look forward to reading more from this imaginative authoress.

About Claire North7210024

Claire North is actually Catherine Webb, a Carnegie Medal-nominated young-adult novel author whose first book, Mirror Dreams, was written when she was just 14 years old. She went on to write seven more successful YA novels.

Claire North is a pseudonym for adult fantasy books written by Catherine Webb, who also writes under the pseudonym Kate Griffin.

Published October 21st 2014 by Redhook

Review: Deadly Lullaby: A Thriller by Robert McClure

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About Deadly Lullaby

Fresh off a nine-year stint in San Quentin, career hitman Babe Crucci plans to finally go straight and enjoy all life has to offer—after he pulls one or two more jobs to shore up his retirement fund. More than anything, Babe is dead set on making up for lost time with his estranged son, Leo, who just so happens to be a rising star in the LAPD.

The road to reconciliation starts with tickets to a Dodgers game. But first, Leo needs a little help settling a beef over some gambling debts owed to a local mobster. This kind of thing is child’s play for Babe–until a sudden twist in the negotiations leads to a string of corpses and a titanic power shift in gangland politics. With the sins of his father piling up and dragging him down, Leo throws himself into the investigation of a young prostitute’s murder, a case that makes him some unlikely friends—and some brutally unpredictable enemies.

Caught up in a clash of crime lords, weaving past thugs with flamethrowers who expend lives like pocket change, Babe and Leo have one last chance to face the ghosts of their past—if they want to live long enough to see their future.

My Review

I liked the lukewarm turbulent relationship between Babe and Leo. These two are more alike than they realize despite the different paths chosen. Their troubled relationship feels realistic considering their family history of high dysfunctionality. A game of hide and seek basically describes their current interaction. Plenty of action, risk and suspense will keep you turning the pages. A few surprises kick the narrative into high gear, the colorful characters keep your attention as well. Smatterings of satire breaks up the roughness of both plot and players.

Wasn’t a fan of the racial slurs, uncomfortable.

Gritty glimpse into the underworld with a dysfuntional family as the focal point. Crime fans will definitely want to clear shelf space, McClure impresses, looking forward to much more from this rising talent.

About Robert McClure14106999

Robert McClure read pulp fiction as a kid when he should have been studying, but ultimately cracked down enough to obtain a bachelor’s in criminology from Murray State University and a law degree from the University of Louisville. He is now an attorney and crime fiction writer who lives and works in Louisville, Kentucky.

His story “My Son” appeared in The Best American Mystery Stories, and he has had other works published in MudRock: Stories & Tales, Hardboiled, Thug Lit, and Plots with Guns.

Published September 29th 2015 by Alibi

Review: We Shall Inherit the Wind (Varg Veum #1) by Gunnar Staalesen, Don Bartlett (Translator)

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About We Shall Inherit the Wind

1998. Varg Veum sits by the hospital bedside of his long-term girlfriend Karin, whose life-threatening injuries provide a deeply painful reminder of the mistakes he’s made. Investigating the seemingly innocent disappearance of a wind-farm inspector, Varg Veum is thrust into one of the most challenging cases of his career, riddled with conflicts, environmental terrorism, religious fanaticism, unsolved mysteries and dubious business ethics. Then, in one of the most heart-stopping scenes in crime fiction, the first body appears…

A chilling, timeless story of love, revenge and desire, We Shall Inherit the Wind deftly weaves contemporary issues with a stunning plot that will leave you gripped to the final page. This is Staalesen at his most thrilling, thought-provoking best.

My Review

The narrative is refreshing Eco-Warriors, wind turbine farms, religion, family tension, secrets, questionable business practices, disappearances and murder. The pace is incredibly quick and interesting making it difficult to put down.

The translation is excellent, wonderfully descriptive writing. Varg Veum is an enigma of sorts, the fact he’s mature was different within itself and a welcomed change. He possesses enough charisma fascinating the reader, professional with a strong sensitive side without being overly dramatized.

A slight edginess makes this a standout, between plot, characters and presentation more than satisfying read.

About Gunnar Staalesen18776

One of the fathers of Nordic Noir, Gunnar Staalesen was born in Bergen, Norway in 1947. He made his debut at the age of 22 with Seasons of Innocence and in 1977 he published the first book in the Varg Veum series. He is the author of over 20 titles, which have been published in 24 countries and sold over four million copies. Twelve film adaptations of his Varg Veum crime novels have appeared since 2007, starring the popular Norwegian actor Trond Epsen Seim. Staalesen, who has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of Honour), lives in Bergen with his wife. The next instalments in the Varg Veum series – Where Roses Never Die and No One Is So Safe in Danger – will be published by Orenda Books in 2016 and 2017.

Published May 8th 2015 by ORENDA BOOKS (first published May 1st 2015)

Review & Giveaway: Messandrierre (Jacques Forêt #1) by Angela Wren

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at Crooked Cat Publishing Ltd
119 pages
ISBN: 978-1910510759

Website | Goodreads

About Messandrierre

Sacrificing his job in investigation following an incident in Paris, Jacques Forêt has only a matter of weeks to solve a series of mysterious disappearances as a Gendarme in the rural French village of Messandrierre. But, as the number of missing persons rises, his difficult and hectoring boss puts obstacles in his way. Steely and determined, Jacques won’t give up and, when a new Investigating Magistrate is appointed, he becomes the go-to local policeman for all the work on the case. Will he find the perpetrators before his lover, Beth, becomes a victim? Messandrierre – the first in a new crime series featuring investigator, Jacques Forêt.

My Review

A wonderful preamble to a hearty series.

The plot moves at a rapid fire pace. I was surprised the culprits were revealed so early on yet it didn’t diminish the storyline at all. At first I thought the premature unveiling was a red herring, I quickly learned this was not the case. The story progresses subtely demonstrating the menacing intentions of predators. I also enjoyed the gentle romantic undertones between Jacques and Beth in combination with other plot threads, especially of Beth’s late husbands shenanigans and secrets.

Jacques is warm and charming, difficult not to find him appealing, enough mystique surrounds him spiking your curiosity. He loves his job although at a crossroads career wise. He appreciates the leisurely pace of village life but misses the intensity of policing a city such as Paris. He attempts to reignite the moody romantic flame with Beth since their interaction has tempered. Overall his essence is palpable. Beth isn’t as easy to like as Jacques. She’s tepid, self-absorbed, aloof. She seems hot and cold in both behavior and actions regarding Jacques. Tension is thick when Jacques questions Beth in the investigation. Enough is drawn between these two to pique my interest further, the future is up in the air in with this intriguing couple.

A hefty mystery, pleasant setting creating a quaint ambiance. Colorful characters with a mystery offering much more to come leaving the reader guessing at possibilities. Perfect ending causing great anticipation. Looking forward to the plethora of unanswered questions left lingering.

About Angela Wrenmessandrierre-angela-wren-1

Having followed a career in Project and Business Change Management, I now work as an Actor and Director at a local theatre. I’ve been writing, in a serious way, for about 5 years. My work in project management has always involved drafting, so writing, in its various forms, has been a significant feature throughout my adult life. I particularly enjoy the challenge of plotting and planning different genres of work. My short stories vary between contemporary romance, memoir, mystery and historical. I also write comic flash-fiction and have drafted two one-act plays that have been recorded for local radio. The majority of my stories are set in France where I like to spend as much time as possible each year.

Visit her website and her blog. Follow her on Facebook, Google +

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Buy the book on Amazon or on Smashwords

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Review: Snowblind by Ragnar Jónasson, Quentin Bates (Translator)

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About Snowblind

Siglufjörður: an idyllically quiet fishing village in Northern Iceland, where no one locks their doors – accessible only via a small mountain tunnel. Ari Thór Arason: a rookie policeman on his first posting, far from his girlfriend in Reykjavik – with a past that he’s unable to leave behind. When a young woman is found lying half-naked in the snow, bleeding and unconscious, and a highly esteemed, elderly writer falls to his death in the local theatre, Ari is dragged straight into the heart of a community where he can trust no one, and secrets and lies are a way of life. An avalanche and unremitting snowstorms close the mountain pass, and the 24-hour darkness threatens to push Ari over the edge, as curtains begin to twitch, and his investigation becomes increasingly complex, chilling and personal. Past plays tag with the present and the claustrophobic tension mounts, while Ari is thrust ever deeper into his own darkness – blinded by snow, and with a killer on the loose. Taut and terrifying,

My Review

Classic mystery feel with a solid narrative, remove the mystery, thriller, suspense elements and you have a plot still keeping your interest a must for this reader, when combined you have a fantastic union. Great characters, enough threads of backstory’s and subplots. Ari Thór Arason sparked my interest, lots to build upon his character, loads of potential, looking forward to seeing how his personal and professional life pans out. The small hamlet where nothing ever happens leads to tension and guessing when a crime hits, secrets unraveled, no one is immune to suspicion, marvelous depiction of everyone knows everyone along with their business mentality.  As the story’s layers are slowly peeled away clues fall together providing a satisfactory ending. I had no idea of the culprit until it became obvious with great calculated skill. Low on graphic gore which I prefer, heavy on mystery penned with a lovely contemporary literary feel. Excellent translation, Quentin Bates outdoes himself.

About Ragnar Jónasson32B9843or-300x200

Icelandic crime writer Ragnar Jónasson was born in Reykjavik in 1976, and currently works as a lawyer, while teaching copyright law at the Reykjavik University Law School. In the past, he’s worked in TV and radio, including as a news reporter for the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service. Before embarking on a writing career, Ragnar translated 14 Agatha Christie novels into Icelandic, and has had several short stories published in German, English and Icelandic literary magazines. Ragnar set up the first overseas chapter of the CWA (Crime Writers’ Association) in Reykjavik, and is co-founder of the international crime-writing festival Iceland Noir, selected by the Guardian as one of the ‘best crime-writing festivals around the world’. Ragnar Jónasson has written five novels in the Dark Iceland series, and he is currently working on his sixth. He lives in Reykjavik with his wife and two daughters. Nightblind will be published by Orenda Books in 2016.

Published April 20th 2015 by ORENDA BOOKS (first published 2010)