Thursday, September 8, 2016

Review - Silent Valley by Malla Nunn

Silent Valley Silent Valley by Malla Nunn
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
PaperbackAustralian Edition313 pages
Published May 1st 2012 by PanMacmillan Australia
Source: Publisher for Review

A remote town. A girl of rare and exquisite beauty. A murder that silences a whole community.

The body of a seventeen-year-old girl has been found covered in wildflowers on a hillside in the Drakensberg Mountains, near Durban. She is the daughter of a Zulu chief, destined to fetch a high bride price. Was Amahle as innocent as her family claims, or is her murder a sign that she lived a secret life?

Detective Sergeant Emmanuel Cooper is sent to investigate. He must enter the guarded worlds of a traditional Zulu clan and a white farming community to gather up the clues Amahle left behind and bring her murderer to justice. But the silence in the valley is deafening, and it seems that everyone – from the uncooperative local police officer, to the white farm boy who seems obsessed with the dead girl – has something to hide.

With no cause of death and no motive, Cooper's investigation is blocked at each turn. Can he tough it out, or will the small-town politics that stir up his feelings about the past be more than he can bear?

In this page-turning tale of murder and mystery, Nunn entangles us in a rich and complex web of witchcraft, tribalism, taboo relationships... and plain old-fashioned greed.

My Thoughts:
Silent Valley is a very intriguing novel and explores many different issues. I have to admit though that the underlying politics and uncooperative nature of most of the characters in this book became very frustrating to me. I honestly cannot fathom what it would have been like to live in a world like this one and the segregation issues and corrupt nature of almost everyone really did sadden me after a while.

The main character, Detective Sergeant Emmanuel Cooper is an interesting character and was new to me as I haven't read any of the previous novels that he stars in. I liked the way he is a fair man but also isn't afraid to go against the grain to find out the truth rather than be swayed by the same feelings as everyone else. The equal way he treats his side-kick, the native Constable Samuel Shabalala, was comforting and a good representation of the fact that not everyone is swayed by cultural differences and that a friendship can develop between anyone no matter what your background is.

I found the insights that were given into the native Zulu traditions as well as the eye-opening
Apartheid systems and beliefs was extremely interesting and also very confronting.

Unfortunately, I felt the ending was a bit predictable and not as climaxing as it could have been.

This was my first time reading a novel by Malla Nunn and I am definitely interested in checking out some of her other work in the future.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Book Blast - 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 ASIN: B01FMWET52 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


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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Review - The Spartan by Charles Purcell

The SpartanThe Spartan by Charles Purcell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
ebook448 pages
Published May 13th 2014 by Momentum Books
Source: Netgalley

'Chinese extremists want to destroy America and now they’ve got the means to do it.

When a rogue Chinese general threatens to unleash a biological Armageddon across the U.S., there’s only one man who can stop him: the Spartan. Tier One’s toughest soldier has just seven days to prevent China’s toughest special forces soldiers from detonating their plague canisters across the United States, poisoning millions and sending the world teetering towards war.

By the Spartan’s side is Teresa Vasquez a former Juarez policewoman whose family was murdered by the cartels. Vasquez is now the owner of the world’s first invisibility suit, after joining forces with the formidable Colonel Garin, Homeland Security’s top troubleshooter and the Spartan’s mentor.

Besides the terrorists, standing in the Spartan’s way is the mafia, the Mexican cartels, the triads, U.S. special forces and one vengeful U.S. General who never forgot the recruit who refused to salute his superior.

The race is on for the Spartan to stop the canister conspiracy and save the world before the bombs go off on the 4th of July or before his enemies can kill him.'

My Thoughts:
The Spartan was a great military action thriller that I thoroughly enjoyed reading. I found that it had a really intriguing plot, one that makes you stop and think as it could be possible for it to actually happen in today's world. When you do think about this then reading this book almost becomes kind of scary and it makes you hope that nothing like this does ever become a reality in the future.

The Spartan (the only name he goes back for the entire book) seems to be a very dry and bland character at the start but the further into the book you get, the more interesting and likable he starts to become as some of his walls start to come down and more of his past and personality come out.

The second main character, his side-kick Vasquez, was one tough female who I also really liked because she did show a vulnerable and human side as well which made her more believable.

This book was a really good, solid read and other than a few little errors which I am putting down to the fact that I had a Netgalley copy, I found it hard to really fault this book. Once I was past the halfway mark I definitely found it hard to put this book down.

I am hopeful that a sequel will be released with the same characters as it would be interesting to see them develop further. Even though it was full of 'military speak' I found it highly enjoyable and it makes me interested to read more from Charles Purcell in the future.

I definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good action thriller.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Review - Bellman & Black by Diane Setterfield

Bellman & BlackBellman & Black by Diane Setterfield
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
ebook, 328 pages
Published November 5th 2013 by Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Source: Netgalley

'Bellman & Black is a heart-thumpingly perfect ghost story, beautifully and irresistibly written, its ratcheting tension exquisitely calibrated line by line. Its hero is William Bellman, who, as a boy of 10, killed a shiny black rook with a catapult, and who grew up to be someone, his neighbours think, who "could go to the good or the bad." And indeed, although William Bellman's life at first seems blessed—he has a happy marriage to a beautiful woman, becomes father to a brood of bright, strong children, and thrives in business—one by one, people around him die. And at each funeral, he is startled to see a strange man in black, smiling at him. At first, the dead are distant relatives, but eventually his own children die, and then his wife, leaving behind only one child, his favourite, Dora. Unhinged by grief, William gets drunk and stumbles to his wife's fresh grave—and who should be there waiting, but the smiling stranger in black. The stranger has a proposition for William—a mysterious business called "Bellman & Black" . . .'

My Thoughts:
I went into reading Bellman & Black without first reading Diane Setterfield's other novel, The Thirteenth Tale, so I had no idea what to expect from this author. After doing further research since finishing this one I've come to realise that these two books are apparently completely different to each other in the way they are written so if you like one you won't necessarily be a fan of the other.

Unfortunately I found Bellman & Black a very tedious, slow-paced and difficult book to read. I'd have to go as far as to say that I thought it was boring, plain and simple.

First up were the characters, I couldn't relate to any of them and didn't really end up liking any of them either.

Second up is the whole 'Ghost Story' thing. Where was the ghost story? I couldn't see how this aspect came into the book at all. In my opinion the main character, William Bellman, had psychological issues which made him have a bit of an imaginary 'friend' in the form of Black and be manipulated by him throughout the story but I'm still not really sure.

Lastly, was the plot itself. Other than the fact it very closely followed the career of William Bellman and his successful business as well as the unfortunate demise of his poor family, I can't really think of anything else memorable that actually happened during the whole book.

I had to force myself to finish it just so I could have something to review, but I certainly won't be recommending this book to others.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Review - Ice Station by Matthew Reilly

Ice Station (Shane Schofield, #1)Ice Station by Matthew Reilly
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Hardcover611 pages
Published 2009 by Pan Macmillan Australia Pty Limited (first published 1998)
Source: Own Copy

At a remote ice station in Antartica, a team of US scientists has made an amazing discovery. They have found something buried deep within a 100-million-year-old layer of ice. Something made of METAL.

Led by the enigmatic Lieutenant Shane Schofield, a team of crack United States marines is sent to the station to secure this discovery for their country. They are a tight unit, tough and fearless. They would follow their leader into hell. They just did...

My Thoughts:
Ice Station was your typical fast paced, edge of your seat adventure from Matthew Reilly. As with his usual style, every chapter ends on a cliff-hanger and this just makes you want to keep reading non-stop and never put the book down.

It contains Reilly's usual unbelievable plot twists that always fascinate and never cease to be entertaining. I love picking up a Matthew Reilly book whenever I am in a bit of a reading funk because they are guaranteed to get my reading mojo back.

This was my first time reading a Shane Schofield book and I am really looking forward to more. He is a very straight but likeable character and one that I am interested in seeing develop further.

Ice Station contained so many 'Are you serious?' moments for me but was such an addictive read that I couldn't help but enjoy.

I am also now absolutely fascinated by how versatile a mag hook can be!

In my opinion Matthew Reilly very rarely fails to disappoint, especially if you are after a book with something big constantly going on, whether it is believable or not!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Book Blast - Deceived by Ashlee Mallory


by Ashlee Mallory

Book Blast on April 18, 2016

Deceived He took everything. Now it’s her turn… Former foster kid Olivia Michaels is finally about to have it all. She’s recently engaged, and on the cusp of earning a big promotion at a job she loves. But her perfect life is ripped apart by accusations of insider trading and fraud, and ultimately the murder of her best friend. Faced with the possibility of life in prison—or worst, death—she accepts a deal. A plea of guilty for something she didn’t do, in exchange for three years in prison. Olivia’s lost everything. The only thing she has left now is time. Time to remember what she’s lost. Time to realize who had the most to gain. Time to plan exactly how she’s going to exact her revenge. When she leaves those prison walls, she’ll have more than just a new family of friends who’ll have her back; she’ll have a plan. And he’ll never see her coming. Grab hold for this fast-paced, high-stakes caper that won’t let go!

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller
Published by: Indie
Publication Date: April 18, 2016
Number of Pages: 299
Series: A Final Justice Thriller, #1
Purchase Links: Amazon Barnes & Noble Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

The hammering pain in my head finally brought me into consciousness, although I couldn’t yet bring myself to open my eyes. I lay there, trying to remember what happened. Someone had struck me. But Charlotte had been next to me and the blow…
I was wet, cold, and there was a strange smell in the air, an earthier smell, like copper, like…
I opened my eyes and managed to turn my head.
I sat up and winced as pain and nausea hit me over the sudden movement. Why was I wet? Why was there blood on my hands? My shirt? Had my head been bleeding? And where was Charlotte?
I couldn’t rise, not just yet, and came to my knees, crawling to the coffee table and my cell phone. This wasn’t right. Something was wrong.
Someone might still be here.
Where was Charlotte?
There was pounding again, only not from my head and voices called out. Police? Then there were officers swarming in.
Relieved, I sat back on the carpet, dropping my head to my hands. What had just happened? There was so much talking, someone asked me if I was okay, who I was, if anyone else was in the house. I shook my head as I tried to make sense of their questions.
“We have a body,” a female officer called out.
I turned to the officer, who was looking down at something behind the couch, already calling it in.
“What do you mean?” I stumbled to my feet, but wavered instantly. Before I could buckle back down, arms were around me.
“Olivia? Are you okay?” It was Ethan. He’d arrived and was holding me up. “Oh my God, what happened? Is that your blood? Are you bleeding?”
But I was barely listening. They’d said a body and I threw myself forward, trying to see something, anything.
Her feet were the first thing I spotted. She’d been wearing her black Jimmy Choos that we’d picked up on her birthday four months before, but one had fallen off and was next to her now bare foot.
Still, so still.
Another officer came over, stepping around the bod—around Charlotte. “I think we have a weapon.”
I’d reached the area where Charlotte was lying, her eyes glassy as they looked up, lifeless. Her pretty blonde hair streaked with fresh blood. The carpet underneath her deep crimson. Sure enough, by her side was something. The lamplight made the surface of the long scissors almost glisten—except where the dark color that could only be blood covered them.
The female officer squatted down along with the male officer to look at her, neither of them touching anything. The eggshell blouse she’d been wearing was now mostly red and it was apparent from the wound and the blood pooled underneath that she’d been stabbed in the throat.
I couldn’t stop the sob this time as I screamed her name. Over and over.
And then there was a prick in my arm and I was floating, adrift. And darkness again took me.

Author Bio:

Ashlee MalloryAshlee Mallory is a USA Today Bestselling author of Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense, and Thrillers. A recovering attorney, she currently resides in Utah with her husband and two kids. She aspires to one day include running, hiking and traveling to exotic destinations in her list of things she enjoys, but currently settles for enjoying a good book and a glass of wine from the comfort of her couch.

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


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This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours for Ashlee Mallory. There will be 6 US winners. One There will be SIX (6) winners for this tour. One winner will receive one $25 gift card from (US Only) the other 5 winners will each receive eBook copy of Deceived by Ashlee Mallory. This giveaway is for **US residents only**. The giveaway begins on April 18th and runs through April 30th, 2016.
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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Review - Supernatural Freak by Louisa Klein

Supernatural Freak (Supernatural Freak, #1)Supernatural Freak by Louisa Klein
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
ebook185 pages
Published January 30th 2013 (first published August 9th 2012)
Source: Author for review

'When paranormal expert Robyn Wise is offered an outrageous sum of money to cure a boy who is turning into a dead tree, she's very sceptical. A politician ready to pay that much to make his son stop growing branches instead of hair? Come on! She's more likely to be abducted by aliens. This is a trap. Or much worse. And, of course, it's much worse.

The child is turning into a dark portal, created by a powerful entity determined to absorb Fairyland's power. This means that not only queen Titania and her court are in danger, but the very balance of the magic fluxes.

Robyn'd rather stick a pencil in her own eye but, to learn how to destroy the portal, she has to sneak into the Wizardry Council, a place full of wizards who are hiding something—though it’s certainly not their dislike of her.

There, she discovers a terrible secret that could help to overthrow Fairyland's enemies for good, but puts her in the midst of an ancient and deadly war, and not as a bystander, but as the main target.'

My Thoughts:
When I think about how I felt when reading Supernatural Freak, the first word that comes to mind is confused.

In my opinion there was just way too much going on at once in this book for it to be enjoyable. It's like the author tried to be impressive and fit in as many supernatural beings as possible in one story and because of this it just didn't seem to gel together and was just plain confusing to try and keep track of who was who and what was actually going on.

Unfortunately, I felt the writing was very disjointed and it also lacked some serious editing. I also didn't feel a connection with any of the characters due to none of them being fleshed out enough for me to really get to know them.

This story would have benefited a lot more by being made into a longer book or by having some of the characters left out and not introduced until future instalments. If this had been the case the world could have been embellished upon a lot more and the story most likely would have made a lot more sense and been more pleasurable to read.

I must admit I was very glad to finish this book and am definitely not planning to read the sequel.

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