Archives for posts with tag: ghosts

via #BookTwins If You Liked..The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold..You Might Like Silhouettes by @ELTenenbaum | Rosie Amber

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Hi all:

I was going through my recent reviews and realised that  I had accumulated even more than I remembered, so I decided that perhaps I could share more than one at a time. Why these two novels together? Well, they are very different, so I thought they might appeal to very different readers, but I found both very compelling. I hope you find them as interesting as I did.

Eros. The Aegean Chronicles by Yelle Hughes

Eros. The Aegean Chronicles by Yelle Hughes

First, Eros. The Aegean Chronicles 2 by Yelle Hughes.

I know the writer from a writer’s group (ASMSG) and she’s always generously sharing everybody else’s content. She also designs her own covers and is always supportive of other’s efforts. She’s fascinated by Greek mythology and I read the first book in her series, Triton (you can check that review, here) at a particularly challenging time in my life and it made it more bearable. One of my favourite characters from that book was Erok (Eros but he’d changed his name. You’ll have to read the book to know more), and I’d been intrigued as to what had happened to the character since. So… I could not resist.

First, the description of the book:

Sindi Carrington is on a mission: Find a prop to pose with her young clients. She discovers a black and white tiger in the thrift shop that is absolutely perfect. So perfect, Sindi practically steals him out of the bin. Obsessed with her new find, she takes him home for herself instead of using him as a model in her studio.

Centuries ago, Erok Karlakos, the former God of Love, runs away from his baby cherub image to become a warrior of Greece. A tragic relationship and his mother’s incessant whining was the catalyst for his revolt. Caught and captured in an undignified way, disqualifies the immortal from taking on the title, “damsel in distress”. After he meets the quirky photographer, he has no complaints. Yet, there’s something familiar about this mortal, though he can’t quite put his finger on it. Erok needs to escape and finally meet Sindi face to face.

After one failed marriage, will he be able to trust Sindi won’t try to stab him if he reveals his true identity? Will she freak when she finds out he is a god? Alternatively, will he to pay the price of losing another true love? Does Sindi have what it takes to keep her man…warts and all? On the other hand, will she fall into the same pattern of mistrust? The Fates will test her. She hopes she passes this time.

P.S.

A head’s up; this is an adult book with some erotic content for grown folks.

Just because we’re older, doesn’t mean we don’t like to have fun.

Now, my review:

Eros. The Aegean Chronicles 2 by Yelle Hughes. Greek Gods Close and Personal and Romance in a Grand Scale

I read Triton, the first book in Yelle Hughes’s Aegean Chronicles some time ago and I enjoyed it enormously. I read it at a point in my life when I was going through hard times (illness in the family) and I found it very therapeutic as it took my mind off things. And the second book is worthy of the series. The mixture of fantasy, Greek mythology, fun characters, conspiracy, adventures, and fabulous locations ticks all the necessary boxes to ensure all around entertainment. There is erotica too. Erotica is not a genre I read often or I favour, so I wouldn’t dare to comment on how well this book compares to others in that aspect, although I must admit there is a scene in Eros’s house (although he prefers to be called Erok) that I found intensely beautiful. I’ll only tell you that wings are involved.

In the first novel in the series we met three Greek gods who come into contact with three women in Columbus, Ari, Sindy and Gail. What follows when the Gods set eyes on the women (and in some cases spend time with them, unwillingly or not) is only the beginning of the stories told in the series, as Greek gods are notably similar to human, and we have stories of resentment, revenge, envy, and conspiracies ahoy. In this novel we discover what had happened to Erok when he went missing, and how he reencounters his true love. Ms. Hughes gives us not only a hot romance (one of the most romantic stories I’ve read in recent times) but also chuckles, excitement, fights and tales of friendship and eternal bonds. There are many unexplained things and stories left to tell at the end of this novel that will keep us coming back for more, but on its own it is a memorable and satisfying read.

http://www.amazon.com/Eros-Aegean-Chronicles-Yelle-Hughes/dp/1514176084/

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Eros-Aegean-Chronicles-Yelle-Hughes/dp/1514176084/

The Damnable Legacy by G. Elizabeth Kretchmer

The Damnable Legacy by G. Elizabeth Kretchmer

Second, The Damnable Legacy by G. Elizabeth Kretchmer

I had not heard of the author before, but was contacted by somebody working for Booktrope (it’s an interesting concept and I admit to being intrigued by it to the point of submitting a book I’d written long ago. So far I haven’t heard anything, and to be honest I’d be surprised if I did, but…) who’d read some of my reviews and thought I might like this book (it’s not surprising I have a long list of books to read). When I read what it was about I couldn’t resist. And having heard from the author since, I have another one of her books (quite different), in my list to read. I’ll keep you posted. But first, a description, so you’ll see why I was intrigued.

Lynn Van Swol still regrets the decision she made thirty years ago to place her daughter for adoption so she could climb the highest mountains of the world. Frankie Rizzoni is the troubled biological granddaughter Lynn has never known. And Beth Mahoney is a minister’s wife with terminal cancer and the only one who knows the relationship between the two. She designs a plan upon her deathbed to bring Lynn and Frankie together, but now, narrating from the afterlife, she must helplessly watch as her legacy threatens to unravel. The Damnable Legacy is a story about both love and survival, exploring the importance of attachment, place, and faith, and asking how far we should go to achieve our goals -and at what cost.

Here, my review.

The Damnable Legacy by G. Elizabeth Kretchmer. Climbing to the top and discovering a few home truths.

I was offered a free copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Although I don’t have a bucket list as such, on my list of things to do and places to visit, Alaska is pretty high up. As much as I love a good adventure and great plots, I’m always game for books that dig deep into characters’ psyches and are full of people being tested and revealing their strengths and weaknesses. A novel that promised complex characters and an expedition climbing Mount Delani ticked all the boxes for me. And I’m happy to say it delivered. And how!

The narrator of The Damnable Legacy is Beth. In some ways the novel is a standard (if there is such a thing) first-person narration. Only Beth happens to be dead, and what she narrates is, rather than her life, that of the people she has left behind and she cares about, or those who have somehow become embroiled in her plans for her husband, Ryan, and Frankie, the granddaughter of a friend also deceased. Beth made her husband promise he’d climb Delani and organised his trip as part of her ploy to ensure his wellbeing and that of Frankie.

Beth is not a ghost as we usually understand them. She does not appear to the living, to her upmost frustration at times, as she’d like to intervene, to be able to question or warn, but she can’t. This is not a novel in the vein of Alice Sebold’s The Lovely Bones, either. Beth doesn’t even know where she is now, but she thinks she might be in hell, condemned to be the spectator of things she set in motion, but that don’t always go according to her plans and that she has no control over. She is an enhanced spectator, and through her we see what happens to different characters, and she can tell us what they feel, but not, what they really think or what they plan to do next. Her reactions might guide or mirror ours, although sometimes they don’t, because she has a personal investment in the matter, and what she sees makes her reflect on her actions and her beliefs about herself.

Although thanks to Beth we have access to some privileged information, we have to interpret people’s actions based on the clues we are given, and on observations that are not neutral or always enlightened. We might disagree with her at times, but we are drawn into the action and the lives of these characters, and we get reminded that things aren’t always as they seem to be, that appearances might be deceptive, and that we must learn to question not only other people’s motives but also our own.

All the characters are complex, many of them are dealing with loss of one kind or another, and some are more likeable than others (Ryan, Marisa, some of the people Frankie meets on her way), some grow and change over time (Brad, Jack and Frankie), and some are difficult to fully understand or empathise with, but engaging and fascinating in spite (or because) of that, like Lyn.

I’m not a professional climber, but the organising of the climb to Delani, the dynamics between the members of the expedition, the omens, the difficulties they face, and the descriptions of the process and the landscape, rang true and are vividly and beautifully written. Frankie’s search for Ryan, that parallels that expedition, is interspersed in the narration and she also encounters many difficulties although of a different nature. There is closure to the adventure part of both stories, but what the future holds for some of the main characters is left open to the reader’s imagination. For me, at least, the novel ends in a hopeful note.

A novel that made me think, feel and marvel. I recommend it to readers who enjoy stories with a heart, in beautiful settings, with an interesting adventure background, and complex and challenging characters.

I look forward to reading more novels by the author.

http://www.amazon.com/Damnable-Legacy-G-Elizabeth-Kretchmer-ebook/dp/B012LJ8QEO/

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Damnable-Legacy-G-Elizabeth-Kretchmer-ebook/dp/B012LJ8QEO/

As you see, two very different offerings today. Thanks to Yelle and G. Elizabeth for their books, thanks to all of you for reading, and you know, like, share, comment, and CLICK!

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!

Today I bring you another review. A few months ago I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing the first book in the ‘Time, Karma and Blood Series’ by John Dolan, ‘Everyone Burns’. And I could not pass the opportunity to read and comment the second one.  I leave you my five stars review, a link to the book in e-format and paperback and a link to my review of the previous book, just in case you missed it.

Hungry Ghosts, 'Time, Blood and Karma' Book 2 by John Dolan

Hungry Ghosts, ‘Time, Blood and Karma’ Book 2 by John Dolan

Hungry Ghosts (Time, Karma and Blood Series Book 2) by John Dolan. Family secrets, family feuds, betrayals and ghosts.

‘The spirits of the dead are all around us, but it is we, the living, that are the true hungry ghosts.’ I could not agree more with the reflections of David Braddock, the detective-cum-philosopher and therapist who is the protagonist of Hungry Ghosts, the second book in the ‘Time, Karma and Blood Series’ by John Dolan. I read the first book in the series Everyone Burns and when I reviewed it I mentioned that I thought this would be a five star series but the first book left me wanting more and with too many questions pending. Be reassured, Hungry Ghosts delivers on all the promises of the first and more, and although, of course this being a series everything could not be resolved, the novel answers many of the questions, whilst opening new avenues for inquiry and intriguing plots.

‘Sometimes I come across as superficial. Of this I am aware. However, you may be confident that inside my head I am forever plumbing new shallows, finding novel ways to express the obvious, reheating old jokes.’

David Braddock, one of the most peculiar detectives I’ve met in fiction (and I am aware all famous detectives have quirks and characteristics that make them memorable) is back with a vengeance. Or rather, he is the intended victim of a revenge attempt. Vending the rules, although it appears to be the standard MO in Thailand, does not come without consequences even there. People die, lives are destroyed, and strange alliances are made and broken. Not your standard day at the office.

If Braddock still retains many of the characteristics we’ve come to expect of most males detectives (he has an array of love interests, two of them married, one related to him by first marriage…), we get to see more of his soft/emotional side. His strange relationship with his first wife (now dead), his daughter (away in England), his housekeeper (not his maid, as he insists throughout the whole book. She is clearly much more than a housekeeper, as signaled by the fact that they have never had sex), his mother-in-law, and crucially, his father. Family secrets abound, not only those of the Braddock family, but also of other families. Fathers and sons with troubled relationships are mirrored on both sides of the law (although the lines are very fine and there is no black and white here, rather different shades of grey), and even Braddock’s Zen master, the Old Monk, has sons who are on opposite sides of the law.

The author shows his talent by using a variety of points of view throughout the novel that allow us to understand better the events and the motivations behind the actions of the characters. We share in the murderer’s frame of mind, the Chief of Police of Samui and his wife (and Braddock’s lover), the detective’s sister in law, the gangsters… We might side with Braddock but we are privy to the thoughts and feelings of others and are a step ahead. That is why the twist at the end is even more effective. We should have seen it coming but we were too taken by the action and the story, and rooting for the flawed hero to realise that…

John Dolan treads carefully and manages to recap enough information to allow somebody who has not read the first novel to enjoy and make sense of this one, whilst at the same time not boring somebody who has recently read ‘Everyone Burns’, and just nudging their memory (especially with the unfamiliar names) along.

David Braddock is fast becoming one of my favourite detectives. Although an amateur at both detective work and psychology (or therapeutic interventions), he has a natural flair for both. I couldn’t help but think that he might make an interesting team with Mary, the psychiatrist who gets involved in all sorts of crimes in my stories. It’s a thought.

Hungry Ghosts has gang-warfare, police corruption, revenge, murders and violence, secrets and revelations, honey traps and meddling employees, witty repartees and reflections (‘I need to simplify my life so far as women are concerned. Maybe I should get castrated and have done with it.’), ghosts and padrinos (Thai style). I, for one, can’t wait to see what happens next and what will come of the sudden epiphany Braddock experiences in this book. As he observes: ‘We are the artisans of avoidance, the fabricators of falsehoods. We sell ourselves snake-oil and we call it medicine.’ I’m sure there will be more revelations to come and I suspect the author might take us in unsuspected directions. I am getting a ticket for the next trip. Are you?

Links:

e-version:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ENZAURQ/

Paperback:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/0957325622/

Here I leave you a link to my previous post about ‘Everyone Burns’.

https://olganm.wordpress.com/2013/08/20/review-everyone-burns-time-blood-and-karma-book-one-by-john-dolan-counselling-politics-and-detection-in-thailand/

Thanks for reading, and you know the drill, if you’ve enjoyed it, like, share, comment, and don’t forget to CLICK!

Hi all:

You’ll remember I posted the beginning of a YA novella that I was getting ready for publication, ‘Twin Evils?’ a couple of weeks ago. Well, it’s finally available in Amazon, and to welcome it and introduce it to everybody I thought I’d leave you the description, another taster, and the book cover. And of course, the link….

I hope you enjoy it and you go and check it out!

Twin Evils?

Once upon a time there was a pair of twins, a girl and boy. Ruth was blonde, blue eyes, very fair and really good. Max was dark haired, grey eyes, broody and bad. Their next door neighbour and pal, Hilda, tried to be friends with both but it was not an easy task. They didn’t like each other and she found herself in the middle trying to keep the peace. Max found his sister impossibly perfect and tiresome, and Ruth could not stand her brother’s bad boy attitude and his horrible behaviour. She was scared of him. Ruth was too perfect and child-like for the real world and Hilda suspected something was wrong but didn’t know what. Was she the angel everybody took her for? Was she ill? Why didn’t she behave her own age?  When both twins started talking about fate and said that “something” would happen she worried. What could she do? Unfortunately they were right and “something” happened.

‘Twin Evils?’ is a Young Adult novella (approx. 40 pages) that begins like a fairy tale, talks about friendship against all odds, tragedy, romance, and has a touch of the paranormal. Fast paced and entertaining with intriguing, mysterious and ultimately lovable characters it will make you feel good but leave you wondering. If you have plenty of imagination and love a compact and fulfilling read, try it out!

And now, if you remember the previous extract, the two families were preparing a party…

At the party Max was wearing black denim trousers and a black T-shirt. He didn’t listen to his mother about wearing something ‘nicer’. With the final details of the cake, Hilda and her family got to the party quite late, when all was well on the way. Max was in the hall, and seemed to be anxiously waiting for Hilda.

“Hi Hilda. It’s ludicrous. You must see Ruth’s dress. It’s so…disgusting…I can’t even talk.”

“That’s something that doesn’t happen to you very often. Happy Birthday Max.” Hilda kissed him on the cheek, but he grabbed her by the arms, hugged her, and planted a kiss on her lips.

“Nice” He said with a smile.

“If it weren’t your birthday I’d slap you. My parents have your present, but I guess you’ll open them later. Where is your sister?”

“Inside, licking the teachers’ bums.”

Hilda pinched his bottom, and when he laughed, she slapped him on his behind too.

“More, more…I love it…Be kinky with me, will you, Hilda?”

Hilda couldn’t avoid blushing, and to cover it up she turned around.

“Shut up, you pervert. I am going to kiss your sister. See you later.”

Ruth was being petted and admired by all the adults. Her dress was somewhat infantile for her age. The pink ribbons and the white lace made her look younger, and her long hair done in locks was excessive. For once Hilda agreed with Max. It was too sweet and syrupy for her own taste. Ruth wasn’t very developed as yet, but she was far too old for that. Most of the other girls in the party were wearing short dresses or tight trousers, but Ruth…Hilda looked at her own flowery dress. Simple, normal…She intruded to kiss Ruth and tell her about the presents. Ruth replied that she’d be out soon. Hilda left her to her admirers and went outside.

“So, what’s your opinion?”

Max was next to her again.

“I agree with you completely. I think your sister is far too old for that kind of dress.”

“You see? I am not always wrong.”

“You’re seldom right, though.”

“I’ll get you a drink. Seldom right. I like it.”

Max returned shortly with a soda.

“No punch?”

“You don’t want to drink that punch.”

“But your father is a real expert at mixing it.”

“Not today. I’ve tried it. It’s too sweet for me, and I know you don’t like drinks that sweet. He used peach instead of lemon. Bad choice.” Max said.

“I don’t like peach. OK, I’ll trust you on this one.”

Max bowed and went back to his corner, to “observe”.

Steph and Patrick were the appointed cooks of the barbecue, some people began to dance, the cake was brought in and the candles blown, mainly by Ruth while Max stayed behind, the twins opened their presents…There were more gifts for Ruth than for Max. Ruth got jewellery, clothes, perfumes…Max got some records, books, computer games…Hilda gave Ruth a pair of earrings she liked and Max an Ouija board. He was thrilled by it.

Ruth gave one of her lovely speeches to thank everybody for their kindness, her family and Hilda’s in particular for making it ‘such a special birthday’. When she finished, Max stood up and said:

“I am not as good with speeches as my most adorable twin sister, but I decided to share something with you. I hope you like it.”

He climbed up on a chair, turned his back on the guests, and pulled his T-shirt up. Most people were simply amazed by it, but Ruth fainted and both sets of parents got very distressed. Hilda heard the comments of a couple of students in their same course:

“What’s all the fuss about? It’s a fantastic tattoo. What’s all the fuss about?”

“Maybe they hate tattoos. It might be against their religion. Or it’s some family thing…I don’t care.”

Patrick and Steph took Ruth inside and laid her on the sofa. She recovered shortly after and asked Hilda, who was looking after her:

“Why did he do that? Why did he choose that drawing? It’s a threat, isn’t it?”

“He did it all for effect. He felt nobody was paying him enough attention. I didn’t realise what he wanted to do with it. He’d showed it to me when he came back from camping and he said that he’d show it to your parents, but not when. I should have imagined…”

“You couldn’t have known. He’s too devious.”

As the night went on, the behaviour among the young people became more and more bizarre. Hilda couldn’t understand what was happening. They became very loud, some began fighting, many were sick…Even Ruth seemed not herself, dancing madly and then becoming sick all over her dress. It wasn’t normal. Something was going on. Hilda looked at Max. What had he done? He was smiling, like the cat that’d eaten the cream, and he was looking at the punch…She had to confirm her suspicions. She went to get a glass of punch. Max pushed her before she could drink it and spilt it all on the floor.

“Sorry.”

Hilda held his arm tight and looked him in the eyes.

“What did you put in the punch, Max? I’m not daft, you know?”

“No…” He opened his mouth to deny it, avoiding her gaze, but she took his chin and made him look at her. He gave up. “OK…only some whisky, vodka, and a few pills.”

“What type of pills?”

“Amphetamines, Es…Nothing too dangerous. They’ll all be fine tomorrow. It’s funny to see the adorable Ruth sick like a parrot. Lovely.”

“You’re nasty, Max. Very nasty.”

Hilda rushed to her parents and explained the situation. With the help of the other adults still at the party, they got rid of the drink and took the worst of the girls and boys home. None of them seemed to require medical attention. Hilda left the house without a word for Max. She was mad at him. He had endangered everybody. OK, he might have been angry because Ruth had dominated the party, but…How could he be so nasty and mindless? And, did she want to be friendly with somebody like him?

Twin Evils cover11

Link:

http://viewbook.at/B00BDRA9DM

Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed it and check the novella out. And please, spread the word!

And on Friday, guest author Eduardo Perellón!

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