Thursday, November 30, 2017

Brass by Xhenet Aliu

A waitress at the Betsy Ross Diner, Elsie hopes her nickel and dime tips will add up to a new life. Then she meets Bashkim, who is at once both worldly and na├»ve, a married man who left Albania to chase his dreams—and wound up working as a line cook in Waterbury, Connecticut. Back when the brass mills were still open, this bustling factory town drew one wave of immigrants after another. Now, it’s the place they can’t seem to leave. Elsie, herself the granddaughter of Lithuanian immigrants, falls in love quickly, but when Bashkim learns that she’s pregnant, Elsie can’t help wondering where his heart really lies, and what he’ll do about the wife he left behind.

Seventeen years later, headstrong and independent Luljeta receives a rejection letter from NYU and her first-ever suspension from school on the same day. Instead of striking out on her own in Manhattan, she’s stuck in Connecticut with her mother, Elsie—a fate she refuses to accept. Wondering if the key to her future is unlocking the secrets of the past, Lulu decides to find out what exactly her mother has been hiding about the father she never knew. As she soon discovers, the truth is closer than she ever imagined.

Told from two alternating points of view two decades apart this is the story of Elsie, the single mom who started out with high hopes and good intentions when she fell in love with a married man.

"It was 1996, the middle of March, a brutal part of the year when spring was supposed to hit but didn't, when I'd given up on ever being warm again."

Elsie's only daughter Luljeta both loves and hates her mother, never quite feeling like she fits in anywhere. She has been told very little about her father and now that she is growing from child to young woman decides to find out the truth for herself.

Part love story, part coming of age tale, part family drama but without being sappy this bittersweet novel touched my heart and hit my funny bone with sarcastic wit.

4 out of 5 stars

I received an advance copy for review.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor

The must-read thriller of 2018, this riveting and relentlessly compelling psychological suspense debut will keep readers guessing right up to the shocking ending

In 1986, Eddie and his friends are just kids on the verge of adolescence. They spend their days biking around their sleepy little English village and looking for any taste of excitement they can get. The chalk men are their secret code; little chalk stick figures they leave for one another as messages only they can understand. But then a mysterious chalk man leads them right to a dismembered body, and nothing is ever the same.

In 2016, Eddie is fully grown, and thinks he's put his past behind him. But then he gets a letter in the mail, containing a single chalk stick figure. When it turns out that his friends got the same message, they think it could be a prank . . . until one of them turns up dead. That's when Eddie realizes that saving himself means finally figuring out what really happened all those years ago.

Expertly alternating between flashbacks and the present day, The Chalk Man is the very best kind of suspense novel, one where every character is wonderfully fleshed out and compelling, where every mystery has a satisfying payoff, and where the twists will shock even the savviest reader.

I nearly passed up the chance to read this book. With it's simple unassuming cover, written by an author I had never heard of... I nearly passed it by without a second glance. Especially as it claimed to be "The Must Read" of 2018. So many make that claim. Too many make that claim. I nearly passed it by. What a loss that would have been. What a flaming pile of Buckaroo indeed that would have been on my part to miss out on reading this novel. I just this minute finished it. I'm still stunned. Pardon me if it shows. I began this book a day or so before Thanksgiving. I kicked myself over that repeatedly. So much to do and so little time to read. It took me more than a week to finish it. I thought about it day and night when I wasn't reading. All through the holiday preparations I could not wait to get back to this book. Looking at that claim now "The must read thriller" I am nodding my head in approval. I'm applauding. Heck I'm cheering out loud. This was an incredible read. 5 out of 5 stars from me, and if I could I'd give it 10.

I received an advance copy for review.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Killer Choice by Tom Hunt

The electrifying debut thriller that asks the question: To save the one you love, is there any price you wouldn’t pay?

His wife is sick.
He needs $200,000 to save her.
A mysterious man offers to give him the money with just one catch: He has to murder someone to get it.

Gary Foster’s life is finally heading in the right direction. After years of trying, his wife, Beth, is pregnant, and he recently opened a business with his brother. But one phone call changes everything....

After collapsing suddenly, Beth has been rushed to the hospital. Tests reveal a devastating diagnosis: an inoperable brain tumor. Their only hope is an expensive experimental treatment available abroad, with a cost that’s out of their reach. And Beth’s time is running out....

Then a strange man approaches Gary and offers the money he needs, on one condition: that he kill someone, no questions asked. End one life to save another.

In this nail-biting debut novel of domestic suspense, one man makes a choice that forces him to confront the darkest reaches of his soul and betray those closest to him. As he’s swept up in a nightmare of escalating violence, he must question his own morality—and determine just how far he’s willing to go to save the woman he loves.

Gary and Beth are happily married and happily pregnant after having tried so long for a baby that they had nearly given up hope. All seems to be going well until suddenly and unexpectedly Beth collapses. After a trip to the emergency room they are given devastating news. Beth has an inoperable tumor and may have less than a year to live. Her only hope of survival is a costly experimental treatment that they can not afford.

Meanwhile a shady character named Otto has caught the eye of a crooked cop and wants to be rid of him permanently. He hatches a plan to have the cop murdered by someone who has no connection to him so that he will never be a suspect. When Otto sees an article about Gary and Beth's dire situation he decides to take advantage of their desperate need for money.

This was a fast paced, suspenseful, action packed thriller with a lot of heart. There were a couple of things that irked me, having to do with police procedure and cash that I won't go into so as not to spoil the story but overall I enjoyed it.
3.75 out of 5 stars rounded up to 4

I received an advance copy for review.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Green by Sam Graham Felsen

A novel of race and privilege in America that you haven't seen before: a coming-of-age story about a life-changing friendship, propelled by an exuberant, unforgettable voice.

"This isn't some Jedi bull****; the force I'm talking about is real, and its energies are everywhere, working on everyone."

Boston, 1992. David Greenfeld is one of the few white kids at the Martin Luther King Middle School. Everybody clowns him, girls ignore him, and his hippie parents won't even buy him a pair of Nikes, let alone transfer him to a private school. Unless he tests into the city's best public high school--which, if practice tests are any indication, isn't likely--he'll be friendless for the foreseeable future.

Nobody's more surprised than Dave when Marlon Wellings sticks up for him in the school cafeteria. Mar's a loner from the public housing project on the corner of Dave's own gentrifying block, and he confounds Dave's assumptions about black culture: He's nerdy and neurotic, a Celtics obsessive whose favorite player is the gawky, white Larry Bird. Together, the two boys are able to resist the contradictory personas forced on them by the outside world, and before long, Mar's coming over to Dave's house every afternoon to watch vintage basketball tapes and plot their hustle to Harvard. But as Dave welcomes his new best friend into his world, he realizes how little he knows about Mar's. Cracks gradually form in their relationship, and Dave starts to become aware of the breaks he's been given--and that Mar has not.

Infectiously funny about the highs and lows of adolescence, and sharply honest in the face of injustice, Sam Graham-Felsen's debut is a wildly original take on the struggle to rise in America.

This coming of age story is set in the 1990s and centers around the friendship of David and Marlon, two very different kids who find they have a lot in common.
David is one of the only white kids at Martin Luther King Middle School in Boston. He's a target for bullies and hates that his parents won't send him to a private school like his little brother Benno.
Marlon is being raised by his grandmother because of his mother's instability. When Marlon sticks up for David one day when he's getting bullied the 2 strike up a friendship. They find they are both basketball fans and both hoping to attend Harvard someday. Marlon is embarrassed by his mother, while David is embarrassed by his Grandfather. Although they share much in common their friendship is repeatedly tested.
While I enjoyed the story I felt there were quite a few aspects of Marlon's character that could have been better developed and that were deserving of a more in depth exploration other than just being the black kid with big dreams and an unstable mother.

I received an advance copy for review.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Lerewood by Andrea Churchill

Legends speak of a place called Lerewood, an isolated little village set in the middle of an immeasurable, ghostly wood. The townspeople suffer from severe poverty and filth, living more like savage animals than a cultured civilization. However, despite the town’s inhuman conditions, the townspeople never seem to die from disease or starvation, and their numbers only seem to grow with each generation. No one knows the truth of how Lerewood came to be, but many secrets seem to revolve around an ancient, legendary creature that lives in the surrounding forest. They say she’ll hunt anyone who dares trespass onto her land; those who enter the forest never come back.

One middle aged man, Uallas, depressed and tired of abuse from his monstrous wife, decides to commit suicide by entering the wood. But when he steps foot into the mythical dark forest, Uallas finds that everything he ever knew about the town, and himself, were lies. These new discoveries only lead to more questions, where the truth can only be found in the mysterious, undiscovered world.

The Lerewood introduces the topics of natural evil, identity, and judgment, all while moving the reader with detailed personification. It is a tale of darkness, and will appeal to many readers with its rich, moody descriptions of the eerie, mythological forest.

 Most of the people of Lerewood seem to accept their fate, that they can never leave, and that there is no other way of life out there. To venture into the woods would mean certain death, for those who have tried it have never returned. It's easy for the townspeople to believe there is nothing else out there since they are taught this from the time they are children. Legend has it that many years ago two outsiders did make their way into the village and that is what is possibly behind the curse that leaves these people trapped in poverty and despair. One man will find out the truth when he is driven out of his home by his abusive wife. The Lerewood is a dark and magical tale that I found most intriguing.

I received a complimentary copy for review.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Expulsion by Angel Gelique

This book contains extremely gory, depraved, disturbingly graphic material that many may find offensive, including a descriptive scene of a self-performed abortion. Adult readers only!


Perhaps you're ready to give it a try despite the warning---maybe even in spite of it. But be fully warned, this story is truly revolting. Imagine seeing a child get struck by a truck. In his last moments of fear and agony, he feebly lifts his head off the ground, leaving the right side of his face upon the pavement. No doubt you feel terribly for the poor child. But does morbid curiosity compel you to watch? Or do you turn to flee, emptying your stomach along the way?
Please only read this book if you are able to tolerate extremely vile situations.

You have been warned.


Elizabeth thought that she got rid of her unwanted baby.
She was wrong….

On a stormy Sunday afternoon, twenty-four-year-old Elizabeth Cotton has a bizarre encounter with a stranger dressed in black, which leads to an unexpected and unwanted pregnancy. In an act of desperation, Elizabeth aborts her unborn child, savagely expelling the fetus from her womb.

Years later, she is happily married to Martin Howe and in her second trimester of pregnancy. Plagued by horrific nightmares, Elizabeth has a dreadful feeling that something is terribly wrong.

When she gives birth, it is immediately clear that the baby is not a typical newborn. Elizabeth believes that she is being punished for her past—for deplorably terminating her unborn child’s life. But she isn’t the only one tormented by the aberrant infant.

Evil has been unleashed and mankind will face its ultimate challenge.

First off definitely heed the warning. This book is extremely hard core horror. Revolting, disgusting, stomach turning, graphic gore. If you can't handle that, this is not the book for you. If you can, well you will meet a child by the name of William who makes Damien from the Omen look like a mild mannered lovable tot. William reeks of death and disease and has unholy powers that no one can escape. As he grows so do his powers and it won't be long before he no longer needs his parents, especially considering the special diet he prefers.
3.75 out of 5 stars.

I received a complimentary copy with no obligation to review.

Monday, November 6, 2017

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

A novel of suspense that explores the complexities of marriage and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love. When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are reading about a jealous wife and her obsession with her replacement.
You will assume you are reading about a woman about to enter a new marriage with the man she loves.
You will assume the first wife was a disaster and that the husband was well rid of her.
You will assume you know the motives, the history, the anatomy of the relationships.
Assume nothing.

Discover the next blockbuster novel of suspense, and get ready for the read of your life.
Then.. Vanessa was a young carefree woman, teaching preschool, loving her life, loving her work, loving the man of her dreams. Sure he seemed at times to be a bit of a control freak but what woman in love won't look past a few flaws when she feels like the luckiest woman alive about to marry her soul mate?
Now.. Vanessa is not so young, not so carefree, has lost touch with her friends, works to survive, has lost everything she ever was and spends most of her time stalking her "replacement" Emma, the beautiful young woman who is engaged to marry Vanessa's husband. I can't say much more without giving away the intricately woven twisting turning plot. One thing for certain, I sure didn't see the end coming until it held me by the throat. What really went wrong in Vanessa's marriage? You'll be shocked by the answers.
I received an advance copy for review.
Pre-order your copy, get more info, or see the teaser trailer by clicking here

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Bongo Fury 2 Holiday for Skins by Simon Maltman

Sequel to the bestselling 'Bongo Fury' novella. Follow Jimmy as he gets into much deeper trouble in this black humoured, Northern Irish noir. Previous Press: “The mood is cynical, the wisecracks are plentiful, and the alcohol pours generously… an engaging and unique tale of crime and corruption.” The High Window “A mystery noir with a twist ending worthy of Dennis Lehane.” The Big Thrill

In this second installment Jimmy Black, owner of the Bongo Fury music shop, family man, amateur private eye, and part time drug dealer gets swept up into a murder investigation when the killer hits close to home. A bit darker than the first Bongo Fury. A quick and enjoyable read.

I received a complimentary copy for review.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Kill Creek by Scott Thomas


At the end of a dark prairie road, nearly forgotten in the Kansas countryside, lies the Finch House. For years it has perched empty, abandoned, and overgrown--but soon the door will be opened for the first time in many decades. But something waits, lurking in the shadows, anxious to meet its new guests.
When best-selling horror author Sam McGarver is invited to spend Halloween night in one of the country's most infamous haunted houses, he reluctantly agrees. At least he won't be alone; joining him are three other masters of the macabre, writers who have helped shape modern horror. But what begins as a simple publicity stunt soon becomes a fight for survival--the entity they have awakened will follow them, torment them, threatening to make them part of the bloody legacy of Kill Creek

Four horror writers receive an invitation to participate in a 2 day interview in an old abandoned house at Halloween which will be posted on the internet. They are promised it will go viral, and they could all use the publicity.
Each writer has their own particular style, each has their own particular secrets.What could possibly go wrong? It's just a house right? This started as a slow burning subtle kind of horror. The type that gradually pulls you in deeper and never lets go. I love haunted house stories and I highly recommend this one if you do too! 5 out of 5 stars from me.

I received an advance copy for review.