Friday, 30 October 2015

Shifter: City of Wolves by Avery Burch

It's supposed to be adult paranormal romance, but I think it is a combination of YA and New Adult with fairly graphic scenes. That is possibly something the author needs to look at more closely.

The age of the main characters and their dialogues does not gel with the more adult content in the book.

At times it seemed as if two sub-genres were colliding in a way that suggests the author isn't quite sure which direction she wants to go in.

Then there is the matter of keeping it realistic, well as realistic as you can get when werewolves are involved. Having your main female character give fellatio to the main male character in the middle of huge fight or slaughter scene, well it just isn't realistic.

Everyone around you is being killed, weapons are being fired and you fear for your life. So you do what everyone would do in that dire situation you wipe out your boyfriends winkle and blow, suck and lick for what your life is worth.

Sometimes less is more, and in this case the author needs to be more certain and stand behind her storyline instead of resorting to quick erotic thrills to keep the reader reading. Is her storyline strong enough without all the graphic intervals? Yes, I believe it is. Perhaps a little too much on the YA side, but then maybe that is where Birch would be more comfortable.

The other thing I found slightly dodgy was the fascination with incestuous scenarios. I know they are wolves, and animals don't adhere to higher social standards when it comes to being related, but these are shifters. They are men and women with the possible genetic coding of a shifter. They live as humans, and the elitists abhor the shifters, so why would they entertain incestuous relationships? Surely even by their standards it is going to be seen as legally and morally wrong?

I think when Burch finds a little more of her own voice to make this series as strong as it potentially could be.
I received a copy of this book courtesy of the author.

Buy Shifter: City of Wolves by Avery Burch at Amazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Blog Tour: The Ripper Gene by Michael Ransom

Today is my turn on the Blog Tour for The Ripper Gene by Michael Ransom. I am thrilled to be able to give away a hardcover copy of The Ripper Gene to one of you lucky readers! All courtesy of Forge Books/MacMillan and Michael Ransom.

To enter the giveaway just do one of the following (or all of them if you want), Retweet the giveaway tweet on Twitter or send me a DM, comment on this post or for the readers, who value a little anonymity just send me a quick email to mm_cheryl@yahoo.co.uk. The winner will be revealed on Friday the 30th of October!

Now let's get down to the nitty-gritty of The Ripper Gene

About the Author:
Michael Ransom is a molecular pharmacologist and a recognized expert in the fields of toxicogenomics and pharmacogenetics.

He is widely published in scientific journals and has edited multiple textbooks in biomedical research.

He is currently a pharmaceutical executive and an adjunct professor in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Raised in rural Mississippi, he now makes his home in northern New Jersey. The Ripper Gene is his first novel.

Follow Michael Ransom on Facebook, Twitter @MRansomBooks, Goodreads and at michaelransombooks.com

About The Ripper Gene:
A neuroscientist-turned-FBI-profiler discovers a gene that produces psychopaths in this thrilling debut novel.

Dr. Lucas Madden is a neuroscientist-turned-FBI profiler who first gained global recognition for cloning the ripper gene and showing its dysfunction in the brains of psychopaths. Later, as an FBI profiler, Madden achieved further notoriety by sequencing the DNA of the world’s most notorious serial killers and proposing a controversial “damnation algorithm” that could predict serial killer behavior using DNA alone.

Now, a new murderer—the Snow White Killer—is terrorizing women in the Mississippi Delta. When Mara Bliss, Madden’s former fiancée, is kidnapped, he must track down a killer who is always two steps ahead of him. Only by entering the killer’s mind will Madden ultimately understand the twisted and terrifying rationale behind the murders—and have a chance at ending the psychopath’s reign of terror.

Review:

The Ripper Gene has quite a fascinating premise, perhaps not really as far-fetched as it may seem. We live in an era of technology and amazing advancements in medicine and genetics. Now in the 21st century parents can dictate the gender of their child, filter out hereditary diseases or extra chromosomes. Designer babies in a world of commercialism.

So, let's say scientists made it possible, in the near future, to not only discover whether someone has the so-called warrior gene, but also find out if they are a psychopath or sociopath. Then taking it one step further being able to discover the genetic footprint of their possible heinous crimes,  and how they will perpetrate them.

The ability to recognize and perhaps even track specific individuals, who are predetermined to commit horrific crimes. Not quite a simple as that is it? First of all there is simply no way to determine whether they will actually kill or which external factors they will be influenced by. Would you want to know if you have a gene like that or whether one of your loved ones could possibly be a serial killer in the making?

Even with all of the information on the Ripper Gene, Dr Lucas Madden still can't manage to keep up with a vicious serial killer. Always one step and one body ahead of the police, the murderous monster is playing cat and mouse games with Lucas.

When events take a personal turn Lucas finds himself in the middle of a dangerous triangle of lies, death and false memories. He suddenly comprehends that although he thinks he is in control of the situation and his analysis of the Ripper Gene in the killer, he is actually just a pawn in a violent killing spree.

The Ripper Gene is an intriguing blend of science, crime and psychological thriller. It grips you and draws you in from the first few pages. Ransom knows how to combine the science and fictional elements without losing the attention of the reader, For a debut novel it is a very strong start.

The Ripper Gene [Forge Books/MacMillan] is available on Amazon, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million and in brick-and-mortar bookstores across North America.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

28th October 2015: Blog-Tour: The Ripper Gene by Michael Ransom

On the 28th of October I will be looking forward to welcoming Michael Ransom and his book The Ripper Gene to the blog, as part of the ongoing blog-tour for his intriguing book.
Featuring my review and hardcover giveaway of the The Ripper Gene!


About the book:

A neuroscientist-turned-FBI-profiler discovers a gene that produces psychopaths in this thrilling debut novel.

Dr. Lucas Madden is a neuroscientist-turned-FBI profiler who first gained global recognition for cloning the ripper gene and showing its dysfunction in the brains of psychopaths. Later, as an FBI profiler, Madden achieved further notoriety by sequencing the DNA of the world’s most notorious serial killers and proposing a controversial “damnation algorithm” that could predict serial killer behavior using DNA alone.

Now, a new murderer—the Snow White Killer—is terrorizing women in the Mississippi Delta. When Mara Bliss, Madden’s former fiancée, is kidnapped, he must track down a killer who is always two steps ahead of him. Only by entering the killer’s mind will Madden ultimately understand the twisted and terrifying rationale behind the murders—and have a chance at ending the psychopath’s reign of terror.

I hope you will pop by to find out all about The Ripper Gene.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Today: Blog-Tour 'Christmas Ever After' by Sarah Morgan

Today it is my pleasure to welcome Sarah Morgan and her new book Christmas Ever After to the blog. It is only a few weeks until Christmas, and Morgan is spreading a little bit of joy, love and Xmas spirit with the third part of the Puffin Island trilogy. to get us in the mood.


Sarah Morgan writes warm contemporary romantic fiction with her trademark humour which has gained her fans across the globe. Described as ‘full of sparkle’ by Lovereading, she has been nominated three years in succession for the prestigious RITA© Award from the Romance Writers of America and won the award twice; in 2012 and 2013.

Sarah lives near London with her husband and children, and when she isn’t reading or writing she loves being outdoors, preferably on vacation so she can forget the house needs tidying.
Visit Sarah online at www.sarahmorgan.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AuthorSarahMorgan and on Twitter @SarahMorgan_


Review:

This is the third part in the Puffin Island trilogy. First time in Forever introduces us to Emily and Ryan, Some Kind of Wonderful is about Zach and Brittany, and Christmas Ever After features Skylar and Alec.

Sarah Morgan is a literary wizard when it comes to creating romance. Reading one of her books is often like eating a deliciously frosted cupcake with sprinkles on top. She will make your heart sob, fuel your ire and then make you feel all fluffy and warm inside.

An excellent choice if you are looking for a sometimes complicated, but ultimately happy read. Not everyone wants to finish a last page and feel distraught. Some readers just want a chance to relax and feel like a unicorn has marched in with a years supply of cotton candy and marshmallows.

When you read a Morgan you need to make some room for the unicorn happy, the feeling that everything is right in the world at this moment in time, and the feeling of being content. You disappear inside the pages of a book, and for a few hours you are transported into another world.

In Christmas Ever After the two people from the Puffin Island group, who were voted most likely to never get along with each other, end up getting to know more about each other than they ever wanted to know.

Skylar and Alec come from completely different families. Skylar is used to doing whatever pleases her parents and being subjected to their disappointment when she doesn't. In the midst of a family full of status seeking power-hungry individuals, Skylar is a creative free spirit with a mind of her own. She doesn't quite fit. They see Christmas as business opportunity, as a great time to make business and social connections.

Alec comes from an open fun-loving family, who embrace each person as an individual and try to support their choices in life. Christmas is a time of loving and giving to them. They are warm-hearted, funny and they clearly love Alec very much.

When Skylar ends up in a spot of trouble she discovers another side to Alec, an unexpected soft and understanding side. She isn't just completely thrown by this, Skylar also finds it oddly attractive. The two of them find themselves in a strange predicament of mutual irritation and attraction. This whirlwind of emotions comes to a head on the infamous Puffin Island.

If this your first Sarah Morgan then I also recommend her Snow Crystal series.

Buy Christmas Ever After at Amazon.uk or Goodreads for any other retailer

Read: Moonlight over Manhattan (From Manhattan with Love #6), Holiday in the Hamptons (From Manhattan with Love #5)New York Actually (From Manhattan with Love #4)Miracle on 5th Avenue (From Manhattan with Love #3)Sunset in Central Park (From Manhattan with Love #2)Sleepless in Manhattan (From Manhattan with Love #1)First Time in ForeverMaybe This ChristmasSuddenly Last Summer or The Notting Hill Diaries, all by Sarah Morgan.

Follow @SarahMorgan_@HQStories and @HarperCollinsUK

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Blog-Tour: Christmas Ever After by Sarah Morgan 22nd - 30th October

I know it's not quite Christmas yet, but to get you all warm and tingly, let's end breezy October with the Blog-Tour for Christmas Ever After by Sarah Morgan. It is the third part of the #PuffinIsland trilogy.

I will be talking about Christmas Ever After right here on the 26th of October and I hope you will join me for my review.


So you can follow the Blog-Tour with a little more ease, and read what my fellow bloggers have to say about the new #PuffinIsland release Christmas Ever After by Sarah Morgan, I have included the links to their blogs.
22nd of October
chicksthatread.com
23rd of October
splashesintobooks.wordpress.com
24th of October
erins-choice.blogspot.co.uk
25th of October
bookishjottings.wordpress.com
26th of October
mmcheryl.wordpress.com
27th of October
bookaholicconfessions.wordpress.com
28th of October
theloveofagoodbook.wordpress.com
29thof October
chicklitchloe.blogspot.com
Friday 30th of October
bookthing.co.uk

Hope to see you here on the 26th!

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Carrying Albert Home

Carrying Albert Home is essentially a love story, just not a conventional one. It is about a woman discovering her true love and a man understanding that to love a woman often means caring for something she holds close to her heart.

In Hickam's case it is a nostalgic journey of memories and stories about and with his parents at the centre of it all.

For Elsie, Albert is the one thing that ties her to the man in her past. The man she believes she truly loves. It takes a long journey with an alligator, oh and the rooster, for her to discover the truth.

The people you leave behind in the past have been left there for a reason. Not only that, the grass always tends to be the same shade of green on the other side. Such a pity greener grass seekers don't seem to understand that.

It is a light-hearted tale, a blend of fact, fiction and memories. For me it lacked a certain finesse.

The author's notes at the end were quite fascinating. Even now he would love to hold any kind tangible evidence of some of the stories. Unfortunately he finds himself in the same position as most of us.

Some parts of our parents lives will always remain a mystery to us. Tales grow taller with the years and more dramatic by the minute. Little yarns spun to entertain us as children become the factual stories of the future.

In this case however I am pretty sure there was an Albert. and it wouldn't surprise me at all if he managed to live to a grand old age after being carried home.
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.

Monday, 12 October 2015

Time to Die by Caroline Mitchell

Jennifer Knight is a policewoman with special abilities. The kind of ability that is a little out of the norm. She has a gift, the gift of foresight.

The images come to her via nightmares and sometimes even day-mares. She uses her gift on the job with her similarly gifted colleagues.

The team is called in to deal with an odd suicide. There seems to be some kind of connection to a strange Tarot reader. Little do they know that this odd man is a very dangerous individual. Dark visions and magic mixed with an almost obsessive need to kill.

It was interesting to see a main character with enough baggage to cause OCD. Her need to control leads all the way back to being helpless as a child. The reason for that helplessness turns up again after many years, which angers Jennifer and makes her more anxious than usual.

Perhaps she can deal with her OCD when she finally lets go of all her secrets, and there are quite a few. Even her sister is unaware of just how many secrets Jennifer is keeping to herself.

I liked the concept, although I do think Mitchell needs to give the special police squad a little more attention. Venture out a wee bit more with the other member instead of just focusing solely on Jennifer the entire time. You can give a main character enough space in a story without eclipsing everything else.

Overall this crime with a shot of supernatural has a lot of potential, it just needs a little more polish and structure.
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.

The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine by Alex Brunkhorst

Sometimes I come upon certain authors and I just know they have an exceptional talent. Brunkhorst is one of those authors, she has a certain je ne sais quoi.

I was really surprised when I read the word internet about half a chapter in, I was certain the scene was set somewhere between 1920 and 1950. The golden age of movies and film stars. It has a specific feel to it. Very Gatsby meets Hollywood.

Thomas finds his destiny inexplicably linked to and determined by Lily. She becomes not only a source, but also the door into a completely new world for Thomas. The world of the rich, the famous and the powerful. The people who pull the strings in town.

It is never made quite clear in the book, whether Lily has a hidden agenda. Did she know what would happen? Was it her wish to see the golden bird freed from her gilded cage? Is Thomas merely the patsy or can Lily see something in him that is special enough to make her want to support him.

Thomas finds this new world fascinating, despite being on the boundary of it, and he craves more of it and time with his new acquaintances. This new world leads him to Matilda.

Matilda is an enigma, a young girl trapped in a time warp. She is kept hidden from the world like Rapunzel in a tower awaiting her prince. When he meets Matilda, Thomas forgets about his new connections and everything pales in comparison. No threat of failure, destruction or fall from grace can keep him away from the mysterious and innocent young woman. He is beguiled to the point of not being able to think straight.

What happens next is the inevitability of life, of reality and of fairy-tales stripped of their mysticism.

Brunkhorst is definitely an author to watch. I think it is safe to say this won't be the last we hear from her. She is an exquisite writer with the very rare talent of surrounding a story with an aura of a specific era. So much so that it never really leaves you as a reader, this feeling of being inside a story within a story. Watching and listening to something unfold in one era whilst being convinced it is taking place in another.

Thank you to MIRA UK and Harlequin UK for my copy of The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine.
Buy on Amazon UK or Goodreads for any other retailer.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

A Banquet of Consequences by Elizabeth George

I have always liked Havers, so I really feel sorry for the way she is treated by her superior officer. What makes her a good detective is her gut instinct and the terrier like grip on the cases she works on. She isn't interested in conforming her looks, behaviour and attitude towards work and life.

Unfortunately non of that gels with what the upper echelon of the police ranks believes she should look like or do.

I also think the author needs to give us back Lynley and Havers as a team. Havers and Winnie are amusing, but the Lynley and Havers bring in the gold. The way they bounce of each other in dialogue and actions is what has always made this duo so interesting.

Instead George has Lynley bouncing his upper class wit off Dorothea, Ardery and Dairdre. It is funny, however it doesn't have the same charm as with Havers.

Then there is snobby 'could do with a drink' Ardery, who has it in for Havers. Sorry, there is only so much we will send you to the end of the earth blackmail, I can take. That particular sub-plot has become repetitive.

George likes to string and twist her plots in peculiar ways. In this story she casts a wide net (really wide) and slowly draws it in again (very slowly).

Personally I kind of liked the diabolical character of Caroline and the way her meddling ways seem just a little obsessive at the beginning. Just how disturbed she really is only becomes evident a lot later in the book.

Everything links together in the end with an admittedly uncomfortable and shocking ending. Very much a classic George, who doesn't shy away from difficult topics.

As for Lynley, well I would like to see him back in field instead of pining over some female. Can't he pine and work at the same time? Let's get him back to solving crimes with Havers, whilst she is busy breaking rules. At the moment they are both bound by rules and bored till the point of madness.

George needs to either let them both back out of the box to play police together or let go of the two of them for good.
I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Chance by Peter Dudgeon

Ask yourself what you would do if your were able to see crimes being committed before they had actually happened. 

Being fully aware of the fact that if you do intervene in a future event, you may actually be changing future itself and something worse could happen instead.

Now put yourself in the place of a child in this position. Everyone puts your visions down to childish fantasies and an overactive imagination. Spot on predictions are called coincidences and blown off by the adults in her life.

They seem to think a lot of her 'stories' are related to her less than stellar home life. Her mother is dealing with addiction issues, because of this Cassie suffers from the neglect and bad decision-making of her parent. 

Cassie has quite a good understanding of what she can see and how, despite being so young. She knows that her visions are events and people she can see through the eyes of another person. Unfortunately for Cassie she is seeing through the eyes of a sadistic killer. A dangerous, ruthless killer with no remorse and a taste for pain.

I'm going to leave it at that lest I reveal some of the twists in the plot.Well maybe just a few more things. It was interesting to see how the lack of trust between parent and child changed throughout the story, and how the mother regains it.

Dudgeon has created a fast paced thriller with an unexpected ending. Despite his main character being a very young girl, the story never veers from the well thought through adult plot. It could do with a little more smoothness in the dialogues, but the author makes up for it with the creative twists.
I received a copy of this book courtesy of the author.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Rywka's Diary:The Writings of a Jewish Girl from the Lodz Ghetto by Anita Friedman and Rywka Lipszyc

Perhaps a better title would have been: Where is Rywka? It is certainly the question I was left with after reading this book.

The diary of Rywka Lipszyc has been verified as one of the many manuscripts hidden or buried by some of the unfortunate individuals on the Sonderkommando in Auschwitz.

Those brave men hid detailed manuscripts, diaries and other written accounts of concentration camp victims in an attempt to retain some kind of evidence.

Evidence of the atrocities committed by the Nazis and their many collaborators. As we now know, they were right to think there would be a highly organised attempt to cover up everything that took place during the Holocaust.

It's interesting to note that a lot of the pictures of the Lodz Ghetto used in the book are actually propaganda photos (much like the ones taken in the Warsaw Ghetto) taken by the Nazis themselves in an attempt to manipulate what the world thought was going on in the ghettos. Instead of the truth they presented healthy and glorified images of the situations, which is why many of the photos seemingly portray happy workers and healthy people.

The truth was and still is an indicator of the abysmal deeds the human race is capable of.

Holocaust survivors are plagues by survivor guilt, pain, despair, anger and feelings of helplessness. Is it any word the majority of them choose to bury the memories of this period in their lives in a deep dark locked box, hidden away in the back of their minds. Some of them never speak of their experiences at all, others changed their identities and even religion, which means the people around them may never know what their loved ones went through in the Holocaust.

Rywka's diary is much like that of any other young girl, full of emotional turmoil and personal drama. It often seems as if she chooses not to reveal the entire despair and pain she feels. Keeping an element of denial and in doing so a steady level of normality in her dismal world.
She tries not to acknowledge the truth about her baby brother and sister, although her subconscious and the truth slip through now and again in her writing.

Mina had to make a choice between Rywka and Esther. Her decision was the most logical and one all of us would have made. Regardless of that fact I think she still feels a certain amount of guilt because of her choice. She based it on information given to her by the doctor treating Rywka,

Perhaps we will never know what really happened to Rywka. If she is alive then perhaps the trauma has caused some sort of amnesia, maybe she feels resentment towards her cousins or being with them could bring back memories she doesn't want to relive. The reality and the more probable scenario is that Rywka didn't survive very long after the cousins were separated, and she is buried somewhere under a wrong name or in a completely different place.

I recommend this book to anyone interested in the Holocaust, history and eyewitness accounts of that particular era.
I received a copy of this book, courtesy of the publisher, via Edelweiss.

Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes

This story reminded me of something, but for the life of me I just can't put my finger on it. Perhaps it was the whole bodies melding into each other and becoming strange portal like creepy horror shows.

It isn't so much broken monsters as a psycho serial killer, who comes into contact with something dark, evil and all consuming.

Technically he was only a wee bit unstable before he meets the inspiration for his future pieces of art.

It isn't for the faint of heart or readers who don't like a bit of gore with their gruesome.

Beukes has incorporated the reality and use of social media in her plot. A modern approach I think many younger readers will find it easy to envisage and connect with.

How easy and quickly it is to communicate or share information with the world, and the dangers that can potentially arise from that particular freedom.

The story is creepy, as in hairs on the back of your neck, and perhaps a little uncomfortable when you envision the scenarios.
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Shattered Blue by Lauren Bird Horowitz

Noa is swimming in a pool of grief and regret, and not all of it is her grief. Her beloved sister is dead and now she has to redefine herself as a person, in the family and in society. What or who is she without her elder sister?

Poetry features quite heavily in Shattered Blue. It is the Noa expresses her emotions, her pain and how she tells everyone what she is really feeling. It is what separates her from the masses and from the ghosts of the past.

When Callum steps into her life Noa knows there is something different about him, and that they have an unusual connection. I don't think she was expecting it to be a supernatural one.

Fae wars and dysfunctional fae families are the focus of this story. The boundaries between the mortal world and the fae kingdom are moved and crossed. The family disagreement in one kingdom becomes a fight to the death in the mortal world.

In the midst of all of that Noa also discovers the flutterings of a new love or is it perhaps just a glamouring? Her heart seems to connect with someone completely different during the story, which suggests a heart divided or a lot of confusion on her part.

I wonder how or whether Horowitz will continue the sub-plot of the sister, who visits Noa with a persistence that borders on a haunting from a parallel world. Perhaps death is only a reality in the mortal world?

Looks like Noa's journey with the fae boys, yes there is a second one, has only just begun.
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.