Hi all:

This is another one of the books I picked up in Net Galley based on the comments and the intriguing description.

Here it is:

Madeleine's Kiss by Pete Gilboy

Madeleine’s Kiss by Pete Gilboy

Description

“I didn’t do anything to Madeleine. I’m a noted professor, for God’s sake! Of course I Iiked her. How could I not? She was so sweet and southern-charming and girlish. Innocent and crazy, and delightful to be with.

“I helped Madeleine, that’s all. Yes, I know she’s missing now, but I can explain that. I can explain everything. I can even explain the devastating kiss, and what happened right afterward. I think it’s actually beautiful what happened to Madeleine. I didn’t hurt her at all.

“But even my lawyer didn’t believe me. That’s why I’ve to say it all right here.

“This is the story of what really happened to Madeleine.”

Here is the description in Amazon:

“THIS WON’T BE YOUR USUAL MYSTERY OR THRILLER READ.”

Madeleine is missing.

Adam Snow says he didn’t do it.

Sure.

Now, as he awaits the jury’s verdict, Adam Snow

reveals the truth about Madeleine.

. . .

“Uniquely Gripping”

“Riveting and eye-opening”

“This won’t be your usual mystery or thriller read.”

— Midwest Book Reviews

And here my review. A word of warning, I go on a bit.

Thanks to Net Galley and to Dogear publishing for providing me a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Choosing the point of view a story is written from must be one of the most difficult decisions, when it comes to writing. There are some books that one suspects may not have worked if written in any other way. And sometimes we wonder if others wouldn’t have worked better if someone else had told the story. And oh, the horror, the horror of the inconsistent point of view.

I have always been intrigued/fascinated by narrators. And that most interesting and talked about of all, the unreliable narrator. To my mind, even if you have the most detached of scientifically-minded experts telling you a story, there will always be something personal in the telling.

But like Adam Snow, the narrator of Madeleine’s Kiss, I digress. This novel is a first person narration; we could even call it a confession. Adam is a History of Art university professor. From the beginning we know he is on trial, and his trial has something to do with a girl he calls Madeleine (her real name is something we never get to know. Among many other things.)

The Madeleine the narrator tells us about is a fascinating creature. Perhaps deranged, with a huge imagination, or, as she believes, quite special. She is on a journey to try to find another woman, Rosa Lee, a long-lost relative, and another fascinating character, whose story we only know through fragments, incomplete documents, and stories that might be real or not. How and why Adam gets involved in her journey forms much of the body of the story.

Adam’s voice is at times self-deprecating, at times defiant, but always fully aware of what others might think of his version of the story. He intersperses his recollections of the actions with comments about the past (as a justification for how and why he does things), about what is going on currently, and with works of art (his favourite artist is Georges Seurat) that open each chapter.

Although Adam appears to be an example of the saying “those who can’t, teach”, he is enough of an artist to create a story, beautifully written, to justify his predicament. If we believe him or not it’s up to us, although perhaps ultimately irrelevant. He is not the most sympathetic of characters, but his way to tell the story intrigues us enough to makes us want to keep reading until the end.

The novel reminded me in certain ways of We Must Talk about Kevin although I felt much less personally involved and there is no final great revelation. And if the narrator in Kevin might be completely unaware of her biases (even manipulation) when telling the story, there is no doubt that Adam knows full well what the readers might think.

Peter Gilboy creates a fascinating novel where facts are the least important part of the story and where an artist is born, even if not, perhaps, a painter.

This is not a whodunit kind of thriller, but rather an imaginative novel, not fast-paced, but a great psychological portrayal and a game of cat-and-mouse, but not with the possible victim, but with the readers.

Peter Gilboy is an author to watch out for.

Here are the links:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00Y2DA4LG/

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00Y2DA4LG/

Peter Gilboy, author

Peter Gilboy, author

This is Amazon’s page for Pete Gilboy. There isn’t a lot of information although it mentions two other sites:

http://www.amazon.com/Peter-Gilboy/e/B000APWWM4/

His website:

https://www.petergilboy.com/

And his blog:

http://www.fictionwriterblog.com/

Thanks so much for reading, and if you’ve found it interesting, like, share, comment and CLICK! I hope I’ll be back with you live soon!

Hi all:

I was very intrigued by the description of this book when I read it in Net Galley, and despite my long list of books waiting to be read, I could not resist. It did not disappoint (I’ve seen it in the Guardian List of the Non-Booker prize books), although it is not an easy read.

But first, a bit about the book:

Rawblood by Catriona Ward

Rawblood by Catriona Ward

She comes in the night.
She looks into your eyes. 
One by one, she has taken us all.

For generations they have died young.
Now Iris and her father are the last of the Villarca line.
Their disease confines them to their lonely mansion on Dartmoor; their disease means they must die alone.
But Iris breaks her promise to hide from the world. She dares to fall in love.
And only then do they understand the true horror of the Villarca curse.

Editorial Reviews

Review

From Victorian ghost story to anti-war polemic and back again: I raged, wept and hid under the bed covers. As full of science as it is the supernatural, this is a hauntingly brilliant virtuoso performance. — Emma Healey author of ELIZABETH IS MISSING Gloriously dark and claustrophobic, Rawblood is a haunting gothic novel of intelligence and complexity. It has many echoes of the classics but is entirely its own book. Essie Fox, author of THE SOMNAMBULIST

About the Author

Catriona Ward was born in Washington DC and grew up in the US, Kenya, Madagascar, Yemen and Morocco. She now lives in London where she works as a writer and researcher for Bianca Jagger’s human rights foundation. Rawblood is her first novel. @Catrionaward.

The book was due to be published on the 24th of September, so if there haven’t been any problems, it should be available by the time you read this review.

Links:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00U67GLR8/

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00U67GLR8/

Now, my review:

Thanks to Net Galley and Orion for giving me a free early copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Rawblood is a challenging novel (it’s not an easy read) and a novel difficult to define. The story of a ghost, or a haunted house, the Rawblood of the title, has elements of the gothic horror tale. The house itself, the characters, the Victorian era some of the stories are set in, the setting, even the style of writing. But there’s much more than that.

The story is told from many characters points of views, in different styles as pertains to the characters. We have a young girl who narrates the story in the first person, as she grows up. We have the diary of a young man, a doctor, who observes and takes notes of everything as if it was an experiment (and there is something of the mad scientist locked up in the cellar also), there is a woman with magic powers (a witch) who also tells us her story, in a stream-of-consciousness style. There is a sick woman and her companion; they both go to Italy and become embroiled in the story too. There is a young man who’s lost a leg in WWI and is trying to find his bearings. There are not only multiple characters and protagonists, but also different eras. Although the readers senses they must be all related somehow to the family cursed, the Villarcas (if that is what is happening), the connections don’t become clear until the very end. And most of the book we spend wondering who is who and what their role is in the story.

It is a haunting book, not only because of the nature of the story, but because of the beauty and lyricism of the language, and the strong emotions of all the characters who get touched by the ghost (for lack of a better name). The mysterious she of the story has an intense hold on everybody she comes in contact with, no matter how cynical or sceptical they might be to begin with.

The pace of the novel varies depending on the fragment we’re reading, and as I said, so does the style. The language, with many archaic words, is not for easy consumption, and it shows a care an attention to detail not common these days.

Perhaps if I could change anything, I wonder about the ending (not the explanation behind the ghost. I think that’s perfect) and the re-rehearsing of much of what has happened before again from the point of view of the ghost. But then, perhaps that’s right too, as it makes the point stronger.

I wouldn’t say this is a book for everybody, but it is a gem for readers with a taste for the extraordinary, time, patience, and a love of literature. I’m sure we’ll hear more about Catriona Ward.

Thanks to Net Galley, Orion and of course, Catriona Ward for her novel, thank you all for reading, and if you’ve enjoyed it, like, share, comment and CLICK!

Hi all:

Today I bring you the review of a book I really enjoyed. It’s very quirky. I hope you like it.

What Milo Saw by Virginia Macgregor

What Milo Saw by Virginia Macgregor

What Milo Saw by Virginia Macgregor

First, the description:

‘From the first page, we were hooked . . . If you loved The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, this is for you . . . Brilliant! *****’
Heat
‘A poignant and very clever read – you’ll fall in love with Milo!
Company
‘Not dissimilar to Christopher in Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time . . . Beautifully written and complete with a powerful message, What Milo Saw will make you think, and then pick up the phone to call your mum’
Daily Express
A BIG story about a small boy who sees the world a little differently
Nine-year-old Milo Moon has retinitis pigmentosa: his eyes are slowly failing and he will eventually go blind. But for now he sees the world through a pin hole and notices things other people don’t. When Milo’s beloved gran succumbs to dementia and moves into a nursing home, Milo soon realises there’s something very wrong at the home. The grown-ups won’t listen to him so with just Tripi, the nursing home’s cook, and Hamlet, his pet pig, to help, Milo sets out on a mission to expose the nursing home and the sinister Nurse Thornhill.
Insightful, wise and surprising, What Milo Saw is a novel filled with big ideas, simple truths and an emotional message that will resonate with everyone. Milo sees the world in a very special way and it will be impossible for you not to fall in love with him, savour every moment you spend with him and then share his story with everyone you know.

Now, my review:

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review through Net Galley.

It has already been suggested that readers of The Curious Incident… might enjoy this book, and I can say I have enjoyed both. As other reviewers have noted, one of the main differences it that What Milo Saw offers a variety of points of view, not only that of nine year old Milo, but also his mother, Sandy, his grandmother Lou, Tripi, the Syrian chef at the nursing home (and an illegal refugee) and although the story belongs to Milo, we get other perspectives and a kaleidoscopic effect.

One of the many strengths of the novel is Milo. He suffers from retinitis pigmentosa (that means he sees everything though a pinhole as it were, and eventually he will end up blind) and as many characters tell him, that allows him to focus and see things that many others miss. But despite how extraordinary and insightful Milo proves to be at times, he’s also a little boy. His placing his trust in somebody because of a passing remark, his catastrophizing and disappointment in adults in general, his black and white way of looking at things, his quick judgements and misunderstanding of situations, his enthusiasm and tantrums, the good and the bad, make him real and human. He is not a mini-adult; he is a believable and fully-fledged child.

The adults in his life are living through crises and difficulties (his grandmother is losing her memory and physically unwell, his mother has not recovered from her husband’s abandonment and finds it difficult to get organised and carry on with life, and Tripi is desperate to find his sister but scared of being found out as an illegal immigrant) but Milo inspires them to never give up and to be a better version of themselves.

Milo, his little pig Hamlet (growing suspiciously fast), Al (a Scottish undercover reporter and relative), Tripi, Sandy, all the residents and eventually even Mrs. Hairy and the whistling neighbour, join forces to try and bring down the horrible owner of the Forget Met Not nursing home, Nurse Thornhill. She is the bad witch of the fairy tales, although, unfortunately she might not be miles away from some real examples.

The book’s style is smooth offering an easy read, and the language used is well adapted to the specific characters. The protagonists are easy to root for (some irresistible from the beginning, like lovely Tripi, others grow into their own, like Sandy), and the novel achieves a communitarian and choral effect conveying and optimistic and life-affirming message.

This is a touching and warm-hearted book, set up in a recognisable modern Britain (for good and bad) full of unforgettable characters and a fairy tale ending. A fabulous read I recommend wholeheartedly to anybody who likes little books with big stories.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00GFHG1B4/

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00GFHG1B4/

Thanks so much to Virginia Macgregor for her book, thanks to all of you for writing, and you can like, share, comment (although it will be a while before  I can reply) and of course, CLICK!

Hi all:

I don’t usually bring you reviews of non-fiction books, but when I saw this one in Net Galley, I could not resist, I’m not sure why. OK, here goes…

The Eagle in Splendour cover

 

The Eagle in Splendour: Inside the Court of Napoleon by Philip Mansel

First, the description:

The grandeur and extravagance of the court of Napoleon I once surpassed even that of that Louis XIV, the Sun King. His palaces at Saint-Cloud and the Tuileries shimmered with walls of Lyons silk and exotic treasures gleaned from distant campaigns; it echoed with the rustle of jewel-encrusted gowns, the drums of military marches and the whispers of his courtiers’ intrigues. This was the center of Napoleon’s magnetic power, a dazzling reflection of the greatest empire in European history. Napoleon’s military conquests changed the world, but it was through the splendor of his court that he strengthened his ambitions for empire and retained his control over it. Mansel brings to life in exquisite detail the heady world of this court: the power and ambition, visual magnificence and rigid hierarchy; stories of mistresses, fortune-seekers, servants and courtiers. Ultimately, the life of the court illuminates the life of Napoleon and the great force of a man who conquered half the world yet, in the end, was “devoured by ambition.”

Now, my review:

Thanks to I.B Taurus for providing me with a free copy through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

Some historical figures have maintained a hold on people’s imagination for years. Napoleon is one of them. Mansel focuses on Napoleon’s court, its organisation, its style, its people, its excesses and its politics, to tell the story of Napoleon’s rise and fall. Despite Napoleon having started his military career under the auspices of the Revolution, he went on to create a monarchy. Mansel hypothesises (and makes a very good case) that his court was central to his success (and ultimately his failure), and the excesses that characterised such court (the palaces had to be bigger, the furniture more luxurious, the courtiers better dressed, the women prettier…) were an attempt at giving his endeavour a legitimacy that he felt he lacked, in comparison to other monarchs in Europe (and in France), who came from long dynasties of rulers.

The book discusses other aspects of Napoleon’s life, including his family, his conquests, his battles, his personal life, but always with a focus on the court. Such focus serves the story well, allowing us to get to know many of the main players, the role they had played in previous governments, and what they did under Napoleon’s rule, and is peppered with quotes, that provide a more personal point of view and illuminate the character of Napoleon as seen by his courtiers.

The only issue I have with the book is that it is perhaps not best suited for a digital version. There were problems with the formatting of the version I had that I imagine won’t be present in the final version, like strange word divisions, accents out of place, etc. The wonderful images of course are not resizable and although I can adjust the size of the letters so that I can read without glasses, I needed my glasses to see the images well. Also, having all the notes at the back and not being able to follow a clickable link made them difficult to check. Perhaps a chart with the main players and how they connected to each other would also be helpful (especially if it could be linked to the names), more so at the beginning of the book when the reader is not yet familiar with everybody.

Although I haven’t read many books on Napoleon I felt that by the end of Mr Mansel’s book I knew the emperor and the man much better. I recommend this book to people who enjoy history and books about Napoleon in particular, and if you can, I’d suggest getting a paper copy as it might obviate some of the difficulties I found with the digital version.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Eagle-Splendour-Philip-Mansel/dp/1784531758/

http://www.amazon.com/Eagle-Splendour-Philip-Mansel/dp/1784531758/

Thanks so much for reading, and you know, like, share, comment if you like (but I won’t be able to comment for a while) and of course, CLICK if you’re also fascinated by Napoleon. 

Ah, this review won me automatic approval from I.B.Tauris in Net Galley, and that means I can access any books they post there. I guess I’ll be reading more history and non-fiction books from now on… (In fact, I got another one, and it sounds fantastic! I’ll keep you posted!).

 

Hola  a todos:

Un par de novelas más que se presentan al concurso de novelas independientes de Amazon este año. Y las dos de géneros muy diferentes.

Ojo por ojo de Peter Joseph

Ojo por ojo de Peter Joseph

Ojo por ojo de Peter Joseph

De la historia real: Tras el fin de la Segunda Guerra Mundial en Europa, un grupo de judíos decidió que regresar a sus vidas normales constituía un acto de egoísmo y un insulto a los millones de hermanos que habían perdido, como si sus tormentos y sus muertes hubiesen sido totalmente inútiles. Liderados por Abba Kovner, un poeta escapado del Gueto de Vilna, el grupo de judíos ideó un plan para envenenar el suministro de agua potable de las más grandes ciudades alemanas con el objetivo de exterminar a 6 millones de personas, tantas como judíos habían perecido a manos de los nazis.

Sinopsis

Agosto de 1945. Tres meses después de la rendición, en medio del caos instalado en Alemania, una serie de asesinatos empiezan a sucederse en la Zona de Ocupación Estadounidense. James Allon, agente especial del FBI de origen judío destinado en Alemania, es elegido para investigar el caso, que amenaza con romper la delicada relación diplomática con el gobierno ruso. Ayudado por un detective muniqués del que todavía desconfía, Allon emprende la caza de un grupo de judíos liderados por una mujer que esconde un terrible secreto. A medida que la investigación avanza, las dudas de Allon se convierten en obsesión, y pronto se ve enfrentado a un dilema moral: escoger entre realizar su trabajo y perseguir a sus propios hermanos, o dejar actuar a quienes solo buscan justicia para su pueblo.

Ojo por Ojo está inspirada en ese grupo de personas que quiso vengar el honor de su pueblo cometiendo un acto impensable. Una historia alternativa que bien pudo haber sucedido en realidad. Una mezcla de thriller y novela negra ambientada en las ciudades de Múnich y Berlín de la inmediata posguerra, que explora la grandeza y la miseria de la condición humana.

myBook.to/ojoporojo

Mi último: ¡Sí, acepto! de Stefanía Gil

Mi último: ¡Sí, acepto! de Stefania Gil

Mi último: ¡Sí, acepto! de Stefania Gil

Jen Campbell está convencida de que el amor, no está hecho para ella. No después de haber sido engañada de la misma manera en sus dos matrimonios.
Así que, para ella, es más divertido y menos complicado tener “amigos ocasionales” y concentrar toda su energía en sacar adelante su negocio de las flores y la pastelería que abrieron ella, su mejor amiga y dos fabulosas mujeres más.
Claro, todo eso parecía funcionar de maravillas para Jen hasta que, James Bracco, apareció en su vida con su encantadora sonrisa y la paciencia necesaria para hacer que ella vuelva a creer en el amor. Pero… ¿Lo logrará? ¿La paciencia de James será tan duradera como para aguantar los desplantes de Jen?

Nota de la autora: Esta novela ocurre en un tiempo paralelo al de “Siempre te Amaré”. Ambas novelas puedes leerlas por separado y sin un orden específico porque cada una, es una historia auto conclusiva.
“Mi último: Sí, acepto” es una novela romántica tan espontánea y divertida como su protagonista.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B010QTGRMY/

http://www.amazon.es/dp/B010QTGRMY/

Muchas gracias y mucha suerte a Peter Joseph y a Stefanía Gil, gracias a vosotros por leer, y no os olvidéis de darle al me gusta, comentar, compartir, y hacer CLIC!

Hi all:

No, I wasn’t joking. I’m definitely not going to be around much for the next few weeks. But hopefully I should be able to be around to reply to comments to my blog today (although I’ll be in Barcelona).

I normally don’t share two posts on the same day, at least not in English, but recently I met Nicolette Andrews and when she told me she was publishing her book on the 14th of August, I thought I should share it with you, even if it is a week early. And as it’s available for pre-order, there’s no risk you might forget.

Nicolette sent me some information about the book, the cover, that is beautiful, and a few snippets…

Here they come.

Kitsune. A Little Mermaid Retelling

Kitsune. A Little Mermaid. A Retelling by Nicolette Andrews

Kitsune. A Little Mermaid Retelling by Nicolette Andrews

Short description:  A Kitsune turned human must make a human fall in love with her in less than a month or be turned into a fox.

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Summary:

Rin is a Kitsune, or at least she was until a witch’s spell turned her human. To regain her powers, Rin must make the lord’s son fall in love with her before the next full moon.  She thought it would be easy, her kind have been seducing humans for centuries. But Hikaru is different. He’s handsome, intelligent and kind –the opposite of everything she’s assumed about humans. The plan is to seduce him and get back her powers, there’s no room for love.

Hikaru never believed in the Yokai. In fact, he thought it foolish to believe in monsters. A lifetime of skepticism has guarded him from truths too painful to accept. And Rin’s mysterious arrival in his life challenges all his long held beliefs. She has bewitched him. Though he is drawn to her, he has to keep his distance. His father’s treaty depends on his marriage to another and even an innocence dalliance could ruin everything.

While they try to deny their attraction, they are drawn together as if by fate’s design. Falling in love is dangerous. Not only are they from different worlds, but their time together can only end in heartache. To break the spell Rin must betray Hikaru or be turned into a fox.  But if they’re willing to risk it all, they may find a love to last lifetimes.

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About the Author:

Nicolette Andrews is a romantic fantasy author who lives in San Diego CA. She’s been trapped inside magical world, heavily influenced by Southern California, for most of her life. She doesn’t likes to take life too seriously (or herself for that matter). Her favorite creative medium is writing, whether it is on paper, or on a computer but on occasion, she likes to pretend she can draw or even may attempt homemade gifts, with varied results. She enjoys cooking, baking and generally working with her hands. She spends most of her free time with her family: two daughters and a wonderful husband plus a few cats and a dog. You can connect with her via her website, Facebook or even Twitter.

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Social Media links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nicolette-Andrews/466873950016197

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Nicandfantasy

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/Nicandfantasy/

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Nicolette-Andrews/e/B00BS3MBXC/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

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Preorder Links: 

Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B010W97G00?%2AVersion%2A=1&%2Aentries%2A=0

Kobo:

https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/kitsune-6

Itunes:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id1016230876

Barnes and Noble:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/kitsune-nicolette-andrews/1122253346?ean=2940152137385

Google Play:

https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Nicolette_Andrews_Kitsune?id=DdAYCgAAQBAJ&hl=en

Thanks so much to Nicolette for bringing us her new novel, thanks to you all for reading, and you know what to do, like, share, comment and of course, CLICK! See you soon! I leave you a few reviews so you don’t get bored. :)

Hi all:

Today I bring you one of my reviews as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team. First, let me tell you a little bit about the book:

The Undertaker's Son by B A Spicer

The Undertaker’s Son by B A Spicer

The Undertaker’s Son by B A Spicer

A picturesque village in south-west France offers the chance of a new life for Martha Burton. But, beneath the rural idyll, lurks an evil that will not remain buried forever.

Claude Cousteau has never been in love. He has no real friends. The only meaningful attachment he has ever formed is to Felix Dumas, an influential lawyer, who once showed him kindness and with whom he spent an idyllic sunny afternoon, as a child.

When Felix Dumas’ way of life comes under threat, Claude is determined to defend the only true friend he has ever had.

 

Author Bev Spicer

Author Bev Spicer

About the author:

Bev Spicer was born in Bridgnorth, a small market town in the Midlands. Her father was an Observer for the RAF and an experienced glider pilot (Bev spent many a weekend at the Midland Gliding Club, where she too learned to glide). Her mother was a local beauty queen and county hockey player, who still lives in Bridgnorth.

Bev was educated at Queens’ College, Cambridge, and became a lecturer at Anglia Ruskin University in 1997, moving to live in France with her husband and her two youngest children ten years later, where she lives in a lovely Charentaise house (in need of renovation).

She is widely read and has travelled extensively, living in Crete, where she taught English and learned to speak Greek, and in Seychelles, where she worked for the government and co-designed materials which were used to teach at secondary school level. She now writes every day and teaches English in her spare time.

Her humorous memoirs have been widely praised for their light-hearted but intelligent style, and hilarious, fast-paced dialogue. Her more literary novels and short stories have been equally well received for their complex characters, impressive prose, and imaginative settings.

You can find Bev’s blog here: http://baspicer.blogspot.fr/

Her Facebook page: http://on.fb.me/1D1fiWF

She’s on Twitter: https://twitter.com/BevSpice

Her Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/Bev-Spicer/e/B008BHV7YC/

And now, my review:

I am reviewing this book as part of Rosie’s Book Review Team. Thanks to Rosie and to the author for providing a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

The book intrigued me because of the description and the setting. We all seem to expect crime, and crime novels, to be set in big cities, but when evil hides in a small, picturesque and peaceful town, it seems worse. As if evil had no place in such environment. It’s true that it’s perhaps more difficult to hide in a small and idyllic French town, but some manage to hide in plain sight.

The novel, written in the third person, is told from the point of view of a large number of characters, from the “evil” character hinted at in the description, the undertaker’s son of the title, Claude, to Patrice, a young student who ends up being more central to the plot than it seems at first. The author allows us to peer into the heads of her characters, and this is sometimes a very agreeable experience (like in the case of Martha Burton, the British divorcee out to create a new life for herself in France, who, despite disappointments in love is fairly happy), and at others, an utterly terrifying one. Apart from Claude, who has no redeeming qualities, and Patrice, who is a nice young man without any shades, all the rest of the characters are all too human: they hesitate, they are morally ambiguous at times, and even downright immoral. Felix Dumas, the crook, is utterly dislikeable, but even he has some redeeming qualities (he does not understand his son, but seems to love him, and he tells Claude not to take drastic measures. He does not want anyone killed.) And Angeline… It’s a credit to the author that by allowing us into the minds of her characters, we might not agree with what they do, the secrets they keep, or their reasons and justifications, but we understand them. Well, that is, except for Claude.

Claude reminded me of the main character in Peeping Tom due to his fascination with death. But, in contrast with Mark Lewis, the protagonist of Peeping Tom, who is a victim of his father’s psychological experiments, Claude is unknowable. We share his memories and see his attachment to Felix, but he operates outside of our conceptions of right and wrong. He’s a psychopath, but from what we get to see of him, he uses his interest and fascination with death in a utilitarian way, and turns it into a business, rather than being compelled to kill. He plans his jobs with military precision, and seems alien to humankind, functioning at a different level. This is not the typical serial killer whose neighbours would say he seemed so “normal”. He is nothing if not extraordinary. A character very difficult to forget that makes us question the limits of humanity and conscience.

The plot is intriguing but the writing ebbs and flows through certain moments, like parties, planting a tree, and the fleeting memories of a dementing old-man, that help us get a vivid sense of the town and its people, and make us care for the fate of its inhabitants. For the duration of the book we become privileged town dwellers and get to know everybody. This is not a frantically paced thriller, but a novel that shares in the more relaxed pace of its setting, and that’s perhaps what makes it more chilling.

The ending is satisfying (perhaps everything works out too well and that’s the least realistic aspect of the novel) and reassuring. I look forward to reading more novels by B A Spicer.

Four and a half stars.

I haven’t forgotten the links, but the author just let me know that on 7th and 8th, to coincide with this post, her book would be FREE, so make sure to get it!

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00G04DWWS/

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00G04DWWS/

Thanks to Rosie for creating and coordinating her team, thanks to B A Spicer for her book, thanks to all of you for reading, and you know, if you’ve enjoyed it, like, share, comment, and of course, CLICK! It’s FREE!

Hola a todos. O bueno, de hecho, adiós. Este jueves me voy a casa de mi madre y de allí nos iremos las dos juntas al pueblo de mi padre, Paradaseca, Ourense, donde llevaremos sus cenizas, visitaremos a familiares, y solucionaremos unas cuantas cosas. Allí no tenemos teléfono fijo, e incluso la conexión de móvil es algo precaria (solo una de las compañías de móvil cubre la zona), así que no tendré acceso a internet, al menos no regular.

Me planteé revisar y dejar programados algunos artículos que ya había publicado en el pasado, o preparar algunos nuevos, pero me pareció una pena no poder leer los comentarios y compartirlos, que es lo que más disfruto. Como tampoco he tenido mucho tiempo, he decidido darme, y daros, un descanso. Aprovecharé para compartir una cuantas novelas más que se me habían quedado en el tintero (y hay muchas más, no os olvidéis de echar un vistazo), hoy y el viernes, y luego, si tengo oportunidad y tiempo, igual os envío algún post sorpresa, con fotos, que la zona es muy bonita y hace más de veinte años que no la visito.

Así que si no me veis mucho y no me paso a visitaros por los blogs, es por eso.

Espero aprovechar para leer, escribir, pensar, y descansar algo. Y conectar de una forma diferente. No sé exactamente cuándo volveré, aunque confío que será a principios de Septiembre.

Bueno, y ahora, un par de novelas que se presentan al concurso de Amazon, para que no digáis que os dejo sin nada qué hacer. Las dos suenan fascinantes y no podrían ser más diferentes, y la primera, relatos cortos, para que no os quejéis de que no tenéis tiempo.

El final de algo de Manuel Navarro

El final de algo de Manuel Navarro

El final de algo de Manuel Navarro

Diez cuentos en torno al amor, el sexo, la amistad, la muerte, la soledad…, facetas de nuestra vida en la que siempre hay algo que empieza y algo que termina.
Relatos en los que el lector encontrará acciones, conductas y sentimientos de los personajes con los que podrá identificarse o distanciarse.

Un anciano dentista que recuerda a un amigo de la infancia, un hombre que busca el amor y cree haberlo encontrado en una mujer a la que observa a diario, un matrimonio que pierde a un hijo de diecinueve años, una mujer casada que mantiene una relación extramatrimonial, un individuo que se gira a mirar a cualquier mujer que se cruza en su camino, un joven que se enamora por primera vez, una pareja que ha dejado de amarse, un conductor de autobús que gana una fortuna en el casino son algunos de los personajes de estos diez relatos.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B010QS3X0O/

http://www.amazon.es/dp/B010QS3X0O/

La hija del dragón de Myriam Millán

La hija del dragón de Myriam Millán

La hija del dragón de Myriam Millán

En el año 1600, el pueblo de Nyitra pudo ver cómo una mente perturbada acababa con la vida de más de quinientas doncellas. Difundida por una creencia popular de que habitaba un demonio en los bosques que buscaba sangre de jóvenes vírgenes, los habitantes de aquellas tierras, no tenían dudas, que el destino que sufrían sus hijas, estaba relacionado con algo que ocurría tras los muros del castillo de Cachtice.
Londres 2013, comienzan a aparecer cadáveres de jóvenes procendentes del tráfico humano, aparentemente desangradas con antiguos aparatos de tortura.
El Doctor Emanuel Mason decide estudiar el caso. Pronto descubre que esta vez tendrá que analizar una de las mentes más sádicas de la historia, hasta llegar a los orígenes de un misterioso ritual de sangre, un rito milenario practicado por distintas culturas y religiones, que aún hoy día es un misterio para el ojo humano. Porque hay razones para matar que nunca deberían ver la luz.
Con una historia basada en la leyenda de Erzsébet Báthory, la autora de Décima Docta da un paso más esta vez y promete desvelar algunas incógnitas sobre antiguos rituales en esta novela, mitad histórica, mitad contemporánea, cien por cien thriller.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01124ROF6/

http://www.amazon.es/dp/B01124ROF6/

Adiós a todos, os echaré de menos, y no os olvidéis de darle al me gusta, comentad, compartid, haced CLIC y sobretodo leer!

Hi all. Or rather, goodbye for a little bit.

This Thursday I’m leaving to join my mother and then we’ll be travelling together to the little hamlet where my father was born, Paradaseca, Ourense (I did check in the internet but there isn’t a lot about the place, apart from the fact that a pair of twins from there seem to have seen a UFO a few years back. Anyway…). We are taking my father’s ashes back home, visiting relatives and sorting a few things out. We don’t have a land line there and it seems that even mobile reception is poor (it’s a fairly hilly region, and the hamlet is very nearby the only sky resort in that part of the country, so mountains don’t help matters), so I don’t expect to be able to connect to the internet regularly.

I considered sharing some old posts, or trying to programme new posts in advance but I didn’t have much time to do that, and I love to check the comments and answer, so no good from that perspective. What I’ve decided to do is to share a few of the reviews I hadn’t had time to share with you, and I’ll leave them programmed. I’ve also shared some that you might not have seen in Lit World Interviews, although I know many of you are regular visitors.

I’ll be away for a few weeks (not sure how long as it depends on how long it takes so sort everything) but I hope to be back early in September. Sorry I won’t be able to visit your blogs and comment, but I didn’t want you to worry if I disappeared.

If I manage to get a connection I might send a surprise post sharing whatever is happening and pics, as the place is beautiful and I haven’t been there for over 20 years. I’ll make sure I keep reading and writing, if I have time, and I hope to come back refreshed.

Do take care. I’ll miss you all.

Ah, and let’s not forget the review. You know I review books for BTS e-magazine (link on the side bar) and although I can’t share the same review, sometimes I recommend you the books I’ve come across whilst there. With this book, I had  whale of a time, so much so that I decided to write another review so you could enjoy it.

The book is:

Where Eagles Cry by Dee Ann Palmer. Wild California, handsome men, gorgeous horses and a daring heroine

Where Eagles Cry by Dee Ann Palmer

Where Eagles Cry by Dee Ann Palmer

First, the description of the book:

Jilted by love in 1834, Cara Lindsay sails from Boston to Mexico’s rugged California to begin a new life with a favorite aunt. Heartbroken to learn her aunt has died, she takes a companionship position to the wife of Don Miguel Navarro, the tough and irresistible owner of a major inland rancho. Prior to her arrival, Miguel’s wife had suffered a permanent brain injury in a suspicious fall, and the lonely ranchero’s heart opens to Cara’s kindness and beauty like parched earth to rain. Yet love may break Cara’s heart again, for she would never be any man’s mistress. Until ships sail for Boston months away, she’s trapped in the midst of danger and an impossible love. When the bells ring and the eagle cries, will she be the next to die?

Now my review:

This is a great novel for lovers of historical fiction and romance. Set in the California under Mexican rule (just lost to Spain and in a period of historical turmoil) the descriptions of life at the time are detailed but never boring. The story is seen from the eyes of Cara, a young American woman who has suffered several losses and is at a loose end.

She ends up taking a position in the Navarro ranch, looking after the wife of Miguel, el jefe. The book has been compared to Jane Eyre, as Desira, la patrona, suffered a serious accident, lost her child and has been left brain damaged; although she is not locked in the attic (Miguel is much nicer than Rochester, although Cara is not always sure about his intentions). We see the story from Cara’s point of view. Her poor understanding of Spanish and her total naiveté with regards to the world and California in particular, create many misunderstandings. There are secrets, mysteries, plots to kill, Native-American raids, mountain lions, love rivals, wild horses and barely contained passion.

The plot is complex enough to keep everybody guessing, the intrigue is well maintained, and Cara, the main character, is strong and determined (most of the time) although in keeping with the customs of the period. She doubts herself and has her moments of weakness, but she’s a very likeable and loveable character.

There are also strong secondary characters and the ending is satisfying. It’s a solid romantic historical adventure novel and a very enjoyable one. You won’t regret giving it a go.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BUCJGCU/

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00BUCJGCU/

Thanks so much for reading, and you know, like, share, comment and CLICK! Bye! Missing you already! See you soon!

Hola a todos:

Como sabéis llevo unas semanas compartiendo algunas de las novelas que se presentan al concurso para novelas independientes de Amazon, y hoy os traigo una de una autora que nos ha visitado antes, y a la que he tenido el placer de leer (aunque no todas sus novelas, pero no es por falta de ganas). Vi que había publicado una novela nueva pero no estaba segura de si la presentaba al certamen o no. Cuando se lo pregunté fue tan amable de enviarme una nota de prensa, así que hoy hay suerte y tenemos algo más información.

Y sin más bla, bla, os dejo con Cartas a una extraña de Mercedes Pinto.

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NOVEDAD LITERARIA

A la venta Cartas a una extraña, una nueva obra de Mercedes Pinto. La autora de Hijos de Atenea y Maldita vuelve a sorprendernos con una novela llena de secretos protagonizada por una mujer fuerte capaz de enfrentarse al pasado para liberarse a sí misma y ayudar a un joven cuyas cartas le llegan al alma.

Cartas a una extraña es una historia de suspense y misterio, pero con dos grandes historias de amor de base. Creo que podrá satisfacer las expectativas de un amplio número de lectores, tanto a hombres como a mujeres de 18 a 100 años. Está ambientada en nuestros días y en cuatro escenarios principales: Madrid, Olympic Peninsula (en el Estado de Washington), Londres y París.

Con esta novela, Mercedes Pinto Maldonado participa en el 2º Concurso Indie convocado por Amazon y El Mundo.

Cartas a una extraña de Mercedes Pinto

Cartas a una extraña de Mercedes Pinto

Sinopsis de Cartas a una extraña

Berta regresa a la casa familiar, donde nunca deseó volver, para hacerse cargo de la herencia de su madre, una mujer oscura y controladora que convirtió su infancia en un infierno. Asediada por los recuerdos, decide liberarse de los fantasmas del pasado desenredando la madeja de engaños de doña Alberta y su primogénita y devolviendo la libertad a su última víctima, cuyas cartas sin abrir, ocultas en el desván hasta que da con ellas, le llegan al corazón. Pero hay quienes no se alegran de la decisión de Berta y pronto se ve inmersa en un camino de trampas que puede hacer peligrar su vida.

Autora Mercedes Pinto

Autora Mercedes Pinto

Biografía de la autora

Mercedes Pinto Maldonado nació en Granada, allá por los años sesenta, aunque reside en Málaga. Está casada y tiene tres hijos. Estudió medicina en las facultades de Granada y Málaga, pero lo dejó para dedicarme de lleno a la pintura y a la literatura. Con varias exposiciones de pintura en su haber, finalmente se decantó por la literatura, porque es la disciplina artística en la que más cómoda se siente y en la que mejor se expresa.

Tiene cuatro libros publicados con Ediciones B con su línea digital B de Ebooks: El talento de Nano (novela juvenil), La última vuelta del scaife (novela histórica), Maldita (novela trágico romántica ambientada en los años cincuenta) y Pretérito imperfecto (novela trágico romántica contemporánea), editada en papel con Libros Mablaz; con Ediciones Click, el sello digital de Planeta de los Libros, he publicado El fotógrafo de paisajes (novela negra); con Libros Mablaz La caja mágica, cuyos derechos he cedido a la Ciudad de los niños; y he autoeditado Hijos de Atenea (novela histórica) y Cartas a una extraña (novela de suspense y romántica contemporánea) en Amazon.

Mis páginas

Web: www.mercedespinto.com

Blog: https://mercedespinto.wordpress.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mercedespintomaldonado?ref=hl

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MercedesPintoM

Autora en Amazon: Author.to/MercedesPintoMaldonado

fe5fe335-1f28-4407-8eff-d3e3812e25f3

Muchas gracias a Mercedes Pinto por la información, gracias a todos vosotros por leer, y ya sabéis, dadle al me gusta, comentad, compartid, y haced CLIC!

 

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