Brave Deeds by David Abrams

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I would like to thank Netgalley for my ARC of this book for an honest and unbiased opinion.

MY REVIEW:

3* but almost a four.  I am wavering on this one a little bit.

The story focuses on a group of six American soldiers in Baghdad.  They have gone AWOL in a stolen Humvee to attend the memorial service of their Sergeant Raphael (Rafe) Morgan.

When the Humvee breaks down, they decide to continue their journey on foot.  They find that their last-minute plan has not been well thought out and their preparation is lacking.

As the story tells of their journey through a hostile Baghdad, it also tells of their individual histories.  Their time together as a group and their relationship with Rafe.

I did enjoy this story to a point, but found at times it was a little bit erratic as it jumped to and from from present to past very quickly. Their personal pasts were good but I found a little to brief, and would have enjoyed knowing more of their individual stories.

The part I had a little trouble with was the initial stealing of the Humvee from a secure Army base.  The trick they employed seemed a little too simplistic, but then sometimes the simpler the better. Each to their own opinion. But the lack of training I struggled with the most.  I feel that soldiers go through rigorous training, this training would instill an instinct in them, an instinct of being prepared at all times.  I would imagine hours of training and drills, also the hostile environment would make it second nature to remember the basic items that could be the difference between life and death.  Again this is my personal opinion and i have no military experience.

That being said, I did enjoy the way the relationship between the characters gave the story some depth, and the observations during their journey was insightful.  It gives me, as a reader an image of a place where i will probably never go or have any experience of.  I will be looking at purchasing other books by this author, as i think the story basics are good and interesting.

Because I got this as an electronic ARC , Ifound that the abbreviations were explained as i read, this meant that i didn’t have to mess around finding a glossary of abbreviation terms, really annoying when i read on a Kindle.

THE BLURB:

From Fobbit author David Abrams, Brave Deeds is a powerful novel of war, brotherhood, and America. Spanning eight hours, the novel follows a squad of six AWOL soldiers as they attempt to cross war-torn Baghdad on foot to attend the funeral of their leader, Staff Sergeant Rafe Morgan. In an inhospitable landscape, these men recall the most ancient of warriors while portraying a cross-section of twenty-first century America—sometimes strong, sometimes weak, but subject to the same human flaws as all of us.

Drew is reliable in the field, but unfaithful at home. Cheever, overweight and whining, is a friend to no one—least of all, himself. Specialist Olijandro, or O, is distracted by dangerous romantic thoughts of his ex-wife. Fish’s propensity for violence is what drew him to the military and could be a catalyst for the day’s events. Park is the quiet one, but his quick thinking may make him the day’s hero. And platoon commander Dmitri “Arrow” Arogapoulos, is stalwart, yet troubled with questions about his own identity and sexuality. As the six march across Baghdad, their complicated histories, hopes, and fears are told in a chorus of voices that merge into a powerful portrait of the modern war zone and the deepest concerns of us all, military and civilian alike. Moving, thoughtful, funny, and smart, Brave Deeds is a gripping story of combat and of brotherhood, and an important addition to the oeuvre of contemporary war fiction.

BOOK DETAILS:

Paperback, 256 pages
Expected publication: August 1st 2017 by Grove Press, Black Cat
ISBN 0802126863 (ISBN13: 9780802126863)
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Perfect Remains by Helen Fields.

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MY REVIEW:  5*

If you think this book is your average murder mystery you are going to be in for shock. It is far from average. Helen Fields has used her experience as a barrister to add an excellent psychological aspect to this story.
It is set in Edinburgh, Scotland.  The remains of a body is found burnt in a bothy.  Burnt beyond recognition, DNA evidence almost destroyed. Just some teeth and a scrap of silk scarf.
Enter newly arrived Detective Inspector Luc Callanach, fresh from Interpol. Half Scottish half French. Welcomed by some, looked on suspiciously by others. He will need the help of his team to solve this murder, and the missing women that soon follow.
He has an ally in D.I Ava Turner, she gives him a few tips on a couple of things. He will need to use his instincts, and his experience to solve these cases with her help. In turn he will help her solve her own gruesome and shocking case.
The story will take you on a journey that includes, murder and missing women. But it takes on a great twist as to the reason behind the women being taken is revealed
This is a very well written book, the characters are very diverse and have thier own unique traits. Ava is more than what she first appears to be, Luc has a past that he is ashamed of.

I would definitley recommend this book, it is a great read.

THE BLURB:

The first in a nail-shredding new crime series. Fans of M.J. Arlidge will be gripped from start to finish.

On a remote Highland mountain, the body of Elaine Buxton is burning. All that will be left to identify the respected lawyer are her teeth and a fragment of clothing.

In the concealed back room of a house in Edinburgh, the real Elaine Buxton screams into the darkness.

Detective Inspector Luc Callanach has barely set foot in his new office when Elaine’s missing persons case is escalated to a murder investigation. Having left behind a promising career at Interpol, he’s eager to prove himself to his new team. But Edinburgh, he discovers, is a long way from Lyon, and Elaine’s killer has covered his tracks with meticulous care.

It’s not long before another successful woman is abducted from her doorstep, and Callanach finds himself in a race against the clock. Or so he believes … The real fate of the women will prove more twisted than he could have ever imagined.

Fans of Angela Marson, Mark Billingham and M. J. Aldridge will be gripped by this chilling journey into the mind of a troubled killer.

BOOK DETAILS:

Paperback, 416 pages
Published January 26th 2017 by Avon
ISBN 0008200947 (ISBN13: 9780008200947)
Edition Language English

The Breakdown by B.A Paris

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*I would like to thank Netgalley for an ARC of this book for my honest and unbiased review.*

MY REVIEW: 3*

How would you deal with living in an isolated cottage close to where a murder had just occured ?
How would you feel when you wake up in the morning, to discover the woman in the car you passed last night had been brutally murdered ?


This is what Cass has to deal with. She feels guilty that she passed this woman last night. She was parked up in a layby on an isolated road close to where Cass lives. Cass did slow down and then stop, but she never went to check.  If she had checked would the woman still be alive ? Or would she herself have been a second murder victim ?
Cass does not tell anyone that she passed the car and this guilt eats her up. She dicovers she actually knew the woman, Jane Walters. Cass had met her at a party that she and her best friend Rachel had attended, they had got on so well, that they then went on to have lunch together.
Add to this guilt, the sleepless nights, silent phonecalls, things being forgotten, and meetings being missed. Cass gradually goes into a decline of drastic proportions.


This is a well written book and i liked the characters. But i actually made a note at 20% into the book, as to why and who i thought the “baddies” were. It is unusual for me to do this, as i normally don’t work out the plot as i am reading. But the more i read the more obvious to me it became. The character of Cass did start to jar a little, but i understand that is the nature of her, and it also would have been how her husband, Matthew, and friend Rachel would have felt. There were a couple of points in the ending that did surprise me.  That being said i think it is worth reading. It would not put me off buying another book by this author.

THE BLURB:

If you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust?

Cass is having a hard time since the night she saw the car in the woods, on the winding rural road, in the middle of a downpour, with the woman sitting inside―the woman who was killed. She’s been trying to put the crime out of her mind; what could she have done, really? It’s a dangerous road to be on in the middle of a storm. Her husband would be furious if he knew she’d broken her promise not to take that shortcut home. And she probably would only have been hurt herself if she’d stopped.

But since then, she’s been forgetting every little thing: where she left the car, if she took her pills, the alarm code, why she ordered a pram when she doesn’t have a baby.

The only thing she can’t forget is that woman, the woman she might have saved, and the terrible nagging guilt.

Or the silent calls she’s receiving, or the feeling that someone’s watching her…

BOOK DETAILS:

Hardcover, 336 pages
Expected publication: July 18th 2017 by St. Martin’s Press
Original Title The Breakdown
ISBN 1250122465 (ISBN13: 9781250122469)
Edition Language English
* This book is available to buy now.*

The Judas Cypher by Greg Dragon

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*I would liket o thank Netgallery for this ARC  for my honest and unbiased review*

MY REVIEW:

I gave this a 4*

When a planet becomes polluted through the actions of humans, how do you clean it to make it more habitable ?

The solution was to create and build synthetics humans ( synths ), or androids, who look and act like human beings.

When they have done their job, what then happens to them ?

They become recognised but have no rights.  They are employed as waitresses, babysitters, maids, taxi drivers, jobs that do not require a high level of skill.  They are worked long hours for little pay.  Not everyone likes them or accepts them, but there are some that are sympathetic.

Dhata Mays is a bounty hunter and private investigator in the employ of active police officer Jason Dale.  When a body is dicovered Jason calls on ex policeman Dhata to help him with the case.  They initially think it is the body of a syth, but when it is discovered that it is a human, and a judge with it’s spine removed things take a turn for the worse.

The trail of the killer leads to the underworld of gangs, criminal bosses and power mad individuals.  It will need the help of both human and synthetic to discover why a spine would be removed with surgical precision.

In a futuristic world where people have ICL’s (Internal Contact Lens) implanted in their eyes to access internet and personal computers, cybernetic enhancements and body parts are the norm, the power struggles are the same ones that have always been around.  It is just now the struggles are between Human and Synthetic.

Given the subject matter, it would be easy to think that this would be a very technological reliant story.  But it isn’t, is does have a few terms, but none that leave you in confusion, and a glossary at the end to recap is handy.  It has a good solid plot and an all round good murder / thriller.  I enjoyed this book and would recommend.

THE BLURB:

In a war between man and machine, he must find a way to protect them all…

After a devastating war forced humans to rely on synths for survival, the two have learned to coexist peacefully.

Until now….

When detective Dhata Mays is called in to investigate a homicide, what he uncovers threatens the serenity of this futuristic society. The gruesome murder means only one thing: someone is ready to incite another war. Now, it’s up to Dhata to ensure that the truth stays hidden—to protect both sides of the battle. But can he be unbiased in a black and white world that forces him to take sides?

BOOK DETAILS:

ebook
Published March 23rd 2017 by Thirsty Bird Productions
Edition Language
English

 

 

A Margin of Lust (Seven Deadly Sins, Book 1) by Greta Boris

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* I recieved this ARC from Netgalley for my honest and unbiased review*

Expected publication June 13th 2017


MY REVIEW: I gave this a 4*
Gwen Bishop is a real estate agentwho has landed a dream listing, only problem is the dead body in the bedroom, it’s the body of another estate agent.

Her husband Art is an acting principle of St Barnabas Lutheran School, if he wants the job to continue he will need the support of his wife at school functions.

Between juggling their jobs around their family of three children something will give. Neither of them want to lose what they have built up in their carrers, and cracks start to show in their marriage.

The murder of the estate agent is similar to others in Texas. This gives Art the excuse that Gwen should scale back her work or stop altoether.

There is alot going on in this book, with lots of quick chapters. The perspective of the murderer gives an insight into his life and his feelings, that gives him the justification for doing what he does. The story focuses more on Gwen than Art, giving her a better character, but there is enough abou Art to show him as a compassionate and caring man.

The story is about a relationship that is under pressure from work, murder and the lusting after what you want. Whether it is a sale, the better job or what you rightfully think is yours. I didn’t see the murderers identity in the story, when he was unmasked it was very subtle and had to go back , re-read that section to make sure i had read it right.

Because there are alot of quick chapters the story unfolds a little slower, allowing the characters to develop, and started to quicken up towards the end. A good read and would definitley recommend to others.

THE BLURB:

Gwen Bishop lands the listing of her dreams – a multi-million dollar beachfront property. It is a perfect property. Perfect, that is, except for the secret in the basement and the dead body upstairs. Not willing to be denied her victory (and hefty commission), Gwen swears she will sell the dream house…or die trying.

BOOK DETAILS:

Paperback
Expected publication: June 13th 2017 by Fawkes Press
ISBN13 9781945419218
Edition Language English

The Stars Are Fire by Anita Shreve

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* Would like to thank Netgalley for my ARC of this book for my honest and unbiased opinion*


MY REVIEW: 5*
This is an emotional and inspiring story. Set in Hunts Beach, Maine. It starts in 1947 with Grace and Gene Holland and their two children. Graces best friend Rosie her husband Tim and their son.
That summer was dry and went on longer than it should, due to the drought, warnings were put out telling people to be on alert. It isn’t long before another word is on the lips of the towns folk and that is Fire. Wild fires are spreading along the coast and it is not long before the inevitable happens in Hunts Beach. WHile Gene and Tim go to help with fire defences, Grace and Rosie are left at home wondering what they would pack or do if the fire came.

When the fire starts burning the town, people panic, the air is full of shouting, car horns, ash and burning debris. Grace and Rosie grab their children and do the only thing available to them and several others, they head to the beach and hunker down in the sand with wet blankets over them hoping for the best. When they are found and rescued from the beach, the town has been burnt to the ground. They have nothing left, Rosie and Tim go to his mothers’ house in Nova Scotia. Gene has not returned, is he dead or has he just run off ?

She has always been reliant on Gene, he is the only wage earner, he takes her shopping as she cannot drive. She now has to learn how to live life as an independant single mother. What will happen to her? Will she be able to do this? Will Gene ever return ?

The transformation of Grace from the meek little wife and mother to an independant single parent is great. The little steps she achieves in her life give her a strength that she will need to get through the decisions she will have to make later in life.

This is a great book, a first for me by this author, and it will not be the last.

THE BLURB:

From the New York Times best-selling author of The Weight of Water and The Pilot’s Wife (an Oprah’s Book Club selection): an exquisitely suspenseful new novel about an extraordinary young woman tested by a catastrophic event and its devastating aftermath–based on the true story of the largest fire in Maine’s history.

In October 1947, after a summer long drought, fires break out all along the Maine coast from Bar Harbor to Kittery and are soon racing out of control from town to village. Five months pregnant, Grace Holland is left alone to protect her two toddlers when her husband, Gene, joins the volunteer firefighters. Along with her best friend, Rosie, and Rosie’s two young children, Grace watches helplessly as their houses burn to the ground, the flames finally forcing them all into the ocean as a last resort.

The women spend the night frantically protecting their children, and in the morning find their lives forever changed: homeless, penniless, awaiting news of their husbands’ fate, and left to face an uncertain future in a town that no longer exists. In the midst of this devastating loss, Grace discovers glorious new freedoms–joys and triumphs she could never have expected her narrow life with Gene could contain–and her spirit soars. And then the unthinkable happens–and Grace’s bravery is tested as never before.

 

THE BOOK DETAILS:

Expected publication: May 2nd 2017 by Random House
Original Title The Stars Are Fire
ASIN B01LYMHHJG
Edition Language English

The idea of You by Amanda Prowse

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I give this book a 5*

MY REVIEW:

*I would like to thank Netgalley, Lake Union Publishing and Amanda Prowse for an ARC copy of this book for my honest and unbiased review*

This book has brought lumps to my throat on several occasions. I had heard of Amanda Prowse but had not actually got around to reading any of her books. I have to give a massive thanks for the email i recieved to tell me i had been pre- approved for this title.

This book shows how decisions made twenty four years ago would not be made in the same way today. How the support of your family can have an impact on how you feel about yourself and those around you. But nothing in life is simple, nothing goes as it should, and sometimes life has it’s own version of how your plan shall play out.

Lucy is attending a christening, it is a work colleagues baby. She is thinking about her life, she is nearly forty years old. No husband, no baby, no sleepless nights, no baby paraphernalia strewn around. But she does have a successful career, a nice spacious flat and is smart. But for Lucy she wants what other women her age have, and that is a family.

When she was with her ex Richard she brought the subject of them having a baby. He didn’t want a family and her wasn’t messing around with her crazy cousin behind her back either. After they split up, she found that he was actually going to marry said crazy cousin, and the wedding wasn’t far off.

While she is feeling sorry for herself, and by herself Jonah Carpenter introduces himself to her. They hit it off and get married and Lucy gets her husband and messy house. From here on in the story really does come into it’s own, as we are taken on a roller coaster of emotions. This story then deals with some very emotional subjects and it is done with care and honesty.

THE BLURB:

With her fortieth birthday approaching, Lucy Carpenter dares to hope that she finally has it all: a wonderful new husband, Jonah, a successful career and the chance of a precious baby of her own. Life couldn’t be more perfect.

But the reality of becoming parents proves much harder than Lucy and Jonah imagined. Jonah’s love and support is unquestioning, but as Lucy struggles with work and her own failing dreams, the strain on their marriage increases. Suddenly it feels like Lucy is close to losing everything…

Heart-wrenching and poignant, this latest work by bestselling author Amanda Prowse asks the question: what does it mean to be a mother in today’s hectic world? And what if it’s asking too much to want it all?

BOOK DETAILS:

Paperback, 332 pages
Expected publication: March 21st 2017 by Lake Union Publishing
ISBN 1503942333 (ISBN13: 9781503942332)

The Castaways by Jessika Fleck

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*I recieved this advanced reader copy for a fair review*

Thank you Netgalley and Entangled Teen for my copy of this book.

MY REVIEW: 4*
I really did enjoy this book, so much so that i read it in one go. There are alot of characters in this book, each is unique and memorable and has their own story. It moves along at a great pace, though at the start the bullying scenes were not nice to read, but it added to the suspense and was used well through the story, so was essential .
This book has a Lord of The Flies feel to it, take away the plane crash and have a corn maze instead. Olive Maxi Gagmuelher has run into the maze to get away from a bully Olive has been teased, beaten up and been the victim of bullying for years from the group of girls called The Trio. They cornered her at the Carnival in town and carried on what they had started at school earlier in the day.
The Carnival was there the year before, it has the usual rides, games and stalls you would expect to find and also a Maze in the corn. Last year a young boy entered the maze but never came out.
When Olive enters the maze she is aware of it’s history, but regardless it is her only means of escape. She finds herself transported to The Island where she finds that she is not alone.
It is on this island that she finds that she is more than the nobody she feels she is, more than the girl with the name that causes her embarrassment, she is not worthless and a target for school bullies. She is accepted into the group after proving herself worthy, for thinkiing fast and for protecting one of the other children on the island.

THE BLURB:

Mean Girls meets Lord of the Flies in this YA contemporary fantasy.

The Castaway Carnival: fun, mysterious, dangerous.

Renowned for its infamous corn maze…and the kids who go missing in it.

When Olive runs into the maze, she wakes up on an isolated and undetectable island where a decades-long war between two factions of rival teens is in full swing.

Trapped, Olive must slowly attempt to win each of her new comrades’ hearts as Will—their mysterious, stoically quiet, and handsome leader—steals hers.

Olive is only sure about one thing: her troop consists of the good guys, and she’ll do whatever it takes to help them win the war and get back home.

THE BOOK DETAILS:

Paperback
Expected publication: April 3rd 2017 by Entangled TEEN
ISBN13 9781633759183
Edition Language English

Butterfly on the Storm by Walter Lucius

 

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MY REVIEW:
 This is the first book in The Hartland Trilogy.
I give this one 5*
Thank you to Netgalley, Penguin UK and Walter Lucius for a copy of this ARC for my honest and unbiased review.
This book has so much going on in it. There are so many stories that gradually come together to make an outstanding read. I loved everything about it. It is fast paced and gripping from start to finish. It has background stories that link various characters, as well as an ever evolving plot that leaves you caught up in it. There feels like alot of research has gone into this, or at least a good background knowledge.
Set in the Netherlands, the story begins with a young Afghan boy being involved in a hit and run, as the police and medics deal with that, a car fire close by is thrown into the equation. Danielle a Doctor on the scene forms an attachment to the boy, from the treatment she gives at the scene to the hospital and then beyond she is like a protector. It is at the hospital that Danielle meets Farah Hafez, a journalist and martial arts fighter. Who, after a gala fight, goes to the hospital to visit a competitor. On entry she sees the boy coming in on a stretcher, when he speaks a word in Afghan, she responds. She lived in Afghanistan until she was nine years old before coming to Amsterdam to live. She wants to help the boy and find out his story.
From this point on the reader will journey from Amsterdam, South Africa, Russian to Afghanistan. That journey will deal with corruption, greed, exploitation, bribary, arms trade and torture. The police and journalists have one agenda, to uncover the truth. But it will never be as simple as that, unconnected events have to be linked, people in power will stand in the way. In the turmoil of immigration issues in the Netherlands and the terror campaigns in the other countries, those who have power will not let it be taken from them. They will protect themselves at all costs.
This is the first of a trilogy that i am now hooked on. I will recommend this book and eagerly await the rest.
THE BLURB:

The first instalment in the best-selling original Dutch thriller The Heartland Trilogy – think Stieg Larsson’s Millennium series

***

A hit-and-run on a woodland road near Amsterdam involving an Afghan boy is connected to a powerful international crime syndicate.

Journalist Farah Hafez, together with her colleague Paul Chapelle, gets caught up in an investigation that takes them all the way to Moscow and has greater political and personal ramifications than they bargained for. After this perilous journey, their lives will never be the same again.

Butterfly on the Storm, the first instalment of The Heartland Trilogy, is not only a fast-paced thriller, but also an intriguing tale of lost loves and ideals.

INFO:
Hardcover
Expected publication: March 30th 2017 by Michael Joseph (first published March 29th 2013)
Original Title De vlinder en de storm
ISBN 0718181352 (ISBN13: 9780718181352)
Edition Language English
Literary Awards Schaduwprijs (2013)

Saint Death by Marcus Sedgwick

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This is an amazingly powerful book. I give a 5* review for this book.

MY REVIEW:
It is set in Juarez a town on the Mexican US border. There are gangs, drugs, crime, violence, corruption, murder, illegal immigration, robberies and a constant battle for power. This is where Arturo grows up, he lives in a world where this is everyday life, in his little shack.
His friend Faustino comes to see him after an absence on 10 months, with Eva and her 1 month old baby. Faustino has been caught up in the gang world and needs the help of Arturo or he will be killed.
The story then starts to pick up momentum and we start to see a country where religion has a large presence, from Christ the King on Mount Cristo Rey with his arms outstretched, to, Santa Muerte known as the White Girl, the Saint of Death, a rebel angel who is worshipped by criminals, police, prostitutes, politicians and the army amongst others.
Belief has alot to play in this story, tests of faith follow Arturo as he winds his way through 36 hours, the time he has to save his friends. He is put into positions where he has a choice. These choices are to test him to his limit, will he commit a crime to save his friends? What will he have to sacrifice? Or will he sacrifice anything at all ?
Marcus Sedgwick does not hold back with this book, he discusses the brutel conditions people living in the border towns have to deal with in their normal everyday lives, but it written with passion and heart. It moved me to the verge of tears in places, it is emotional and strong.

Thank you very much Netgally, Hachette Children’s Group and Marcus Sedgwick for the chance to read this eARC.  In returnI give my honest and unbiased review.

THE BLURB:

A potent, powerful and timely thriller about migrants, drug lords and gang warfare set on the US/Mexican border by prize-winning novelist, Marcus Sedgwick.

Anapra is one of the poorest neighbourhoods in the Mexican city of Juarez – twenty metres outside town lies a fence – and beyond it – America – the dangerous goal of many a migrant. Faustino is one such trying to escape from the gang he’s been working for. He’s dipped into a pile of dollars he was supposed to be hiding and now he’s on the run. He and his friend, Arturo, have only 36 hours to replace the missing money, or they’re as good as dead. Watching over them is Saint Death. Saint Death (or Santissima Muerte) – she of pure bone and charcoal-black eye, she of absolute loyalty and neutral morality, holy patron to rich and poor, to prostitute and narco-lord, criminal and police-chief. A folk saint, a rebel angel, a sinister guardian.

THE DETAILS:

Kindle Edition, UK, 272 pages
Published October 6th 2016 by Orion Children’s Books
Original Title Saint Death
ASIN B01E4AQP8M
Edition Language
English