Friday, August 26, 2016

Review: Blue Moon by Wendy Corsi Staub

Blue Moon (Mundy's Landing, Book #2)
by Wendy Corsi Staub
Release Date: July 26th 2016
2016 William Morrow
Kindle Edition; 448 Pages
ISBN: 978-0062349750
Genre: Fiction / Murder
Source: Review copy from publisher

4 / 5 Stars

A century ago, the Sleeping Beauty Murders terrified picturesque Mundy’s Landing. The victims, like the killer, were never identified. Now, on the hundredth anniversary, the Historical Society’s annual “Mundypalooza” offers a hefty reward for solving the notorious case.

Annabelle Bingham, living in one of the three Murder Houses, can’t escape the feeling that her family is being watched—and not just by news crews and amateur sleuths. She’s right. Having unearthed the startling truth behind the horrific crimes, a copycat killer is about to reenact them—beneath the mansard roof of Annabelle’s dream home . . .

My Thoughts
Blue Moon is the second book in the Mundy's Landing trilogy and I quite liked this one far more than the first book, Blood Red.  I also took a liking to the villains, the killer and the somewhat shady historical keeper, as they were far more interesting than Annabelle and Trib who I just wanted to throttle half of the time.  And I rather liked how the author built up to the crime, leaving the reader wondering if anything was going to happen or not, which was suspenseful on its own.

From the beginning, although the author set up the chapters the exact same way as the first novel, with excerpts pulled from an old diary as well as thoughts from the killer, the whole atmosphere seemed a bit different.  There was this layer of suspense over everything that wasn't there before which I rather liked, and to be honest, I really didn't figure out who the killer was until the very end.  The person did come up on my radar once, but I dismissed it as not possible because it would have been too obvious so I turned my attention to other possibilities. I don't think I would have made a good detective.  So I was a bit surprised when I discovered who it was and full of praise for the author as it's not often that I can't figure out who the person is - I am always a fan of an author who can pull a surprise like this.  

I really enjoyed trying to figure out the Sleeping Beauty Murders as a lot more information was revealed in this installment; I liked the historical information on the previous owners of Annabelle's house, trying to figure out what happened there along with her, and although I thought I had it figured out, it was a bit worse than I originally thought.  I definitely liked how the clues were laid out and given to the reader; it is a suspense novel after all, and not a historical one so they should be given out that way. I am not always a fan of reading a killer's POV, but this was rather interesting and well done.  I was glad to see the brutality was also kept to a minimum as that is one of the reasons I am not crazy about following the killer's POV - it can sometimes be rather brutal.  I also enjoyed Ora in this one especially as she could be somewhat deceptive in her dealings with documentation regarding the original murders; I found her to be quite interesting and always wondered what she would do next to protect information and material regarding the murders.  A sneaky old lady, to be sure.

I am still not sure why Sully and Barnes were in this one though.  They really had no purpose, and although I enjoyed their chapters, it did take away from the overall effect of the novel as they had no use here.  Although I suspect the author may be setting up for something in the last novel of this trilogy, I felt her efforts were wasted and these two characters kind of slowed down the overall effectiveness of the plot.  

I also have to mention that I was not a big fan of Annabelle, especially with regards to how she treated her son who suffers from GAD.  The author may have wanted to introduce readers to the anxiety disorder, but I really feel she didn't do justice to it in this novel.  She made Oliver seem like a lost little boy who was scared of everything, and his parents coddled him like a two year old.  Neither of Oliver's parents ever tried to talk him through situations or made him face his fears safely, rather they just avoided situations or treated him like a baby. Having personal experience with anxiety, it was a bit frustrating to read and I definitely think it could have been handled better.  And Kim? I don't even want to go there.

Blue Moon is a rather interesting story that kept me engrossed most of the time.  I enjoyed the diary entries by the original killer, the POV of the modern killer, and the search for answers by today's townspeople who are still wondering what happened 100 years ago.  I was not a big fan of the main character though, and I think it says a lot when I was looking forward to reading others' POV instead of Annabelle's as she was annoying.  I am a big fan of Ora's just because I find her so interesting and a bit devious, which I never suspected in the first novel, and I am now wondering what she will do in the next novel, Bone White.

Book Spotlight & Giveaway: Dragon Knight's Ring by Mary Morgan

Dragon Knight’s Ring
Order of the Dragon Knights
Book Five

Mary Morgan
Genre: Paranormal Time-travel Romance
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Date of Publication: August 12, 2016
ISBN: 978-1-5092-0983-5
Number of pages: 366
Word Count: 89,500
Cover Artist: Debbie Taylor

Book Description:
Death destroyed their love. Yet, can a trio of Fenian warriors roll back time to reunite two lost souls?

Crusader, Adam MacFhearguis is on one last quest to the standing stones in Scotland where he seeks to bury the past. However, a silent prayer sends him to an unknown future and to his beloved Meggie. When he uncovers a shocking revelation, Adam questions everything about the woman he thought he knew and loved. He may have traveled the veil of ages, but time is now his enemy.

Margaret MacKay lives a life in the future without the memories of her past—her death. When Adam arrives at her door confessing he knows her, she is confused and wary. With each passing day, she yearns to learn more from this stranger. Yet, when a truth is revealed, can she trust the man to unlock the chains from her mind and heart?

Will love free the bonds to unite the two lovers who were doomed centuries ago? Or will evil finally claim victory over the Dragon Knights?

Amazon       BN      Kobo     The Wild Rose Press     ARe

First Excerpt:
Meggie brushed her fingers over the leather pouch. “It feels empty.”

“Are you not tempted to take a wee look inside?”

She snatched her hand back. “I’m not peering inside the man’s belongings. As soon as he wakes, he and his horse can leave.” Giving the horse a firm pat, Meggie walked out of the stall and away from her smirking cousin—only to run smack into her other cousin, Lena.

“Blast,” snapped Meggie, grabbing her cousin by the arm to help steady them both. “Sorry, didn’t see ye,” Seeing the excitement in Lena’s eyes, she stepped back. “What?”

“I hear you have a Highlander in the guest room,” she replied, giving Meggie a wink. “Are you going to share?”

Meggie placed her hands on her hips. “He’s not my Highlander. Feel free to have him, though as soon as he wakes he’s gone from here.”

Lucas strode out of the stables, wiping his hand on a cloth. “I think I’ll go introduce myself, since I think this man bothers you. You keep stating he must leave as soon as he wakes.”

Monday, August 22, 2016

Review & Giveaway: Time and Regret by M.K. Tod

Time and Regret
by M.K. Tod
Release Date: August 16th 2016
2016 Lake Union Publishing
Ebook Edition; 353 Pages
ISBN: 978-1503938403
Genre: Fiction / Historical
Source: Review copy from HF Virtual Book Tours

4 / 5 Stars

When Grace Hansen finds a box belonging to her beloved grandfather, she has no idea it holds the key to his past—and to long-buried family secrets. In the box are his World War I diaries and a cryptic note addressed to her. Determined to solve her grandfather’s puzzle, Grace follows his diary entries across towns and battle sites in northern France, where she becomes increasingly drawn to a charming French man—and suddenly aware that someone is following her…

Through her grandfather’s vivid writing and Grace’s own travels, a picture emerges of a man very unlike the one who raised her: one who watched countless friends and loved ones die horrifically in battle; one who lived a life of regret. But her grandfather wasn’t the only one harboring secrets, and the more Grace learns about her family, the less she thinks she can trust them.

My Thoughts
Time and Regret is the author's third novel and it definitely doesn't disappoint.  A huge fan of Great War literature, I was pleasantly surprised by the Canadian content in this one and was thrilled by the Canadian focus given in the journals as the main character was from Toronto.  Although I enjoyed Grace's discovery of the diaries and her trip to France, it was definitely the journal pages and the subsequent trips back to the Great War through Martin's POV that was the highlight for me.

War diaries and journals are nothing new in the world of war literature, nor is a quest or search for something that grandpa may have kept hidden from the rest of his family; in fact, these types of stories are quite rich in literature.  Tracing Martin's life through his journals gave us a unique insight into his personality and allowed the author to make those POV changes without too much disruption to the story.  As a history teacher, especially one who teaches Canadian history and the two world wars, I couldn't wait to go back to Martin's story.  What I especially liked was the focus; it was on the human side of the war, the cost of life, and the effect it had on the men day in and day out as they continued to fight what they saw as a useless war.  There was a lot of anger towards the politicians and the higher-ups for their poor decisions and the resulting cost of life. And reading again the effect The Somme, Vimy Ridge, and Passchendaele had on these men is mind-blowing. No matter how many times I see the stats and read the different accounts, it will always blow me away.  The author's research was meticulous in this area, and I have to commend her for this.

I was also impressed by Grace.  Coming off a difficult divorce, she was quite insecure and unsure about herself and what she was going to do with her life.  I really loved this about her as it made her seem real and approachable; the author chose a main character to whom you could really relate, and understand her insecurities as it made you want to root for her to succeed.  Maybe because I have children close in age to Grace's, I could appreciate her life and the struggles she might be having. I was also jealous of her trip, having been to many of those places, wanting to be there again. I enjoyed the many descriptions of France and the different monuments as I could picture them in my head and see myself there.  

I did have a difficult time relating to Grace's grandmother, Cynthia, however.  I found her to be quite stubborn and manipulative and cold although I admired the way Grace treated her.  The Cynthia in the journals seemed to be a very different person, and I wondered what trials in life would have made a person this way.  I do wish we had learned more about her and her life as I'm sure it was quite interesting.

Time and Regret is a very satisfying novel.  Accompanied by short chapters, a sweet romance in the form of a sexy curator, a charming mystery, and diaries of the Great War, this novel is very rich in detail and quite interesting.  My only complaint would be about the ending as it felt rushed, allowing the emotional factor to drop quite a bit and it was the emotional factor that gave this novel its edge.  The mystery was quite easy to solve for those of you who are mystery readers, but that wasn't why I liked the novel; I liked the intensity of the emotions.  That being said, I really enjoyed this novel, including the ending, and would definitely recommend it to my fellow readers.  

Time and Regret Blog Tour
Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Giveaway: A Mighty Fortress by S.D. Thames

A Mighty Fortress

by S.D. Thames

August 2nd, 2016 BOOK BLAST


A Mighty Fortress by S.D. ThamesIn Tampa, the only thing more crooked than the mob is the police…
Milo Porter leads a happy life in Tampa, Florida. The Iraq war veteran runs routine private investigations by day and coaches powerlifting at night. When Chad Scalzo, the grandson of a rumored mob boss, goes missing, Milo takes the seemingly easy case. After Chad turns up dead, Milo goes from investigator to suspect.

As he seeks to clear his own name, Milo finds himself at the crossroads of two crooked investigations -- one by the mob and the other by the police. With the body count climbing, Milo discovers the key to the case in the last known person to see Chad alive.

But can Milo get to her before someone else does?

A Mighty Fortress is the first book in the Milo Porter mystery series, a set of gritty crime thrillers that will remind you of the characters from Robert B. Parker and Robert Crais. If you like gripping suspense, hardboiled crime-solvers, and heart-stopping action, then you’ll love the powerful series starter from S.D. Thames.

Buy A Mighty Fortress to get caught up in the mystery today!

Book Details:
Genre: Crime, Mystery, Thriller
Published by: Independent
Publication Date: July 2016
Number of Pages: 458
Series: Milo Porter Mystery Series, #1
 Purchase Links: Amazon Kindle Unlimited Goodreads

Author Bio:

S.D. ThamesS.D. Thames is the author of Foreclosure: A Novel, A Mighty Fortress, and other works of crime fiction exploring the dark side of the Sunshine State. Born in Dayton, Ohio while Jimmy Carter was president, S.D. grew up in the suburbs of Cincinnati (with intermittent stints in the bayous of Louisiana and on the riverbanks of Indiana). In 1992, his family relocated to Florida’s gulf coast, about an hour north of Tampa, where he blossomed as a rock guitarist and all around miscreant. While trudging his way through school, he held various odd jobs, including, in no particular order, working as a pizza cook and deliveryman (though never concurrently), dishwasher, newspaper salesman, custodian, carpenter, bookstore clerk, guitar instructor, and manual laborer.

After meeting the love of his life in 1995, he matured five years in one semester and eventually enrolled at the University of Florida, where he majored in English and studied about everything from Chaucer to the Twentieth-Century novel, along with a healthy dose of literary theory. After graduating, he spent a school year teaching German in high school. His life would forever change when he returned to the University of Florida to attend law school, the traditional fallback for despondent English majors. After completing his J.D., he went to work as a litigation associate at a Tampa law firm.

The ensuing seven years are a bit of a blur, but suffice it to say that, unlike the protagonist of Foreclosure, S.D. made partner the first year he was eligible, and did so without having to lie, cheat or otherwise bend the professional rules of conduct. Most days he enjoys the practice of law. He’s had the pleasure of working for a diverse array of clients, including Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies, small business owners, real estate developers, venture capitalists, non-profit organizations, parents in Central America seeking the return of their abducted children, and death-row inmates.

He still lives in Tampa, Florida, where he’s married to the love of his life (yes, the same one he met in 1995). They have one daughter, who is 8 years old and a more prolific writer than her dad.

Catch Up: author's website author's twitter author's facebook


Don't Miss Your Chance to Win!

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for S.D. Thames. There will be TWO (2) winners for this tour. Each winner will receive one $10 (US) Gift Card. The giveaway begins on August 1st and runs through August 5th, 2016.
a Rafflecopter giveaway