Sunday, March 15, 2015

Ninja Book Swap

Yesterday morning, my cat was meowing at the front door , demanding his breakfast. As I opened the front door, I saw a package left on the floor. Pleasantly surprised, I opened the package and found the most beautifully wrapped presents from a fellow blogger from USA. I absolutely adore the books, the bracelet, and the clips are so cute! The chocolate was so delicious!



Thank you so much, Sarah (@SarahSaysRead) !
You should check out her awesome blog www.sarahsaysread.com .
Thank you Ninja Book Swap Team for organizing book swap all around the world!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Book Review : No Place to Die by Clare Donoghue

*Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

Last year, I won on a giveaway the debut book of Clare Donoghue, Never Look Back. And I was hooked. Now, when the second books is published, I couldn't wait until I put my hands on it. This time, the author has written even more gripping and dark story that made my worse nightmares come true.

What are you afraid of? Is it the dark? Or the tight space? Or the lack of air?

What if you wake up in a tight space under the ground with air enough for couple of hours?

Can you scream? Who can hear you?

Can you panic? Who will notice?

Can you escape? The lack of air makes you drowsy and sleepy.

Can you be saved? No one knows.

Creepy enough, exactly this happens to Maggie, college student. One day she goes on a date, and next thing she remembers is that is in a tight space, it is hard to move, no light, no fresh air. What the hell happened?

D.S. Jane Bennett receives a phone call from a family friend telling her that her husband is missing. Mark is a former policeman, now retired, and his wife has found blood stains in the kitchen. Jane finds out that Mark hasn't recovered after his last case when a young woman went missing. When another body shows up, buried alive in an underground shallow case and left to die with no air, Jane and her partner Mike find similarities between this creepy murder and the last case of missing Mark. Are there any connections? Is Mark another victim of the same killer? Who kills so cruelly?

Clare Donoghue writes so gripping stories that will make your hair stand on end. It happened to me. First, she did it with Never Look Back, now with No Place To Die. Her writing gets better and better with every next book. This one is far more better than the previous one. She tells the story also from Maggie's point of view, she made me feel the fear to be trapped inside the case and not being able to escape. To balance the creepiness of the story, she shows the softer side of the detectives. Jane has an autistic son, and Mike has an autistic brother. The author also shows the everyday problems that families with autistis members are coping with. Back to the mystery part, the end literally blew me away. I never expected that. So many turn-overs, so many gripping edges, and BAM! Totally blown away!

Must-read for 2015!

My opinion: 5 / 5.

You can pre-order the book on Amazon.com and buy on Amazon.co.uk.

Book Review : Silent Scream by Angela Marsons

*Copy provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

Couple of weeks ago I had an opportunity to read this debut crime novel and I must say that I was so impressed. I never expected a whirlpool of events that would turn my mind up-side down as a reader. This book did exactly that. Angela Marsons writes even better than many of the mystery crime writers I've read. So, let me tell you something about the book.

Teresa lives her last years in fear. She has divided her life to years B.C. (before Crestwood) and years after Crestwood. She did something bad and she knows that she'll be punished one day. And that day has come.

D.I. Kim Stone finds the body of Teresa drowned in the bath tub. The body shows obvious marks of pushing down. Someone drowned Teresa in her own bath tub.

When another employee in Crestwood is found dead, Kim suspects that something more is going on. Two people that worked in a children's foster home are found dead within couple of days. Why? Why would someone want to kill them? Is it some kind of revenge? For what? What have they done?

Near what used to be children's home, police finds another body, buried long time ago. Body of a child. Kim starts to gather the pieces of the puzzle.

D.I.Kim Stone is well described as a main character. She is tough, but also has a wild and also a soft side. She lives alone with no family, but has a passion for motorbikes, which is unusual for a woman. Life was hard for her, and she built a wall around her feelings, but those same feelings sometimes find their way to rise on the surface.

Ms. Marsons built a real puzzle when it comes to murders and killers. She created a story that goes back ten years in past when it all started, then goes back in present day where the consequences are. The story has turn-overs on every corner and makes you wonder till the very last page. Adding Lucy as a character really made the story more sensible and very emotional, not just filled with cold blooded murders. Who is Lucy? Well, you must read the book. Because it is a must-read.

My opinion : 5 / 5.

You can buy the book on  Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Book Review: Forever His Darling by Sarah Randall

*Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

Another Christmas story in March. I think that there is nothing wrong with feel-good stories no matter what the time of year it is. Because this is exactly that, a feel-good story that will restore your faith in love and happily ever after.

Matt Darling is everything that a woman can ever want. But his attitude is one of a kind. After his last relationship that caused him a lot of pain, he turned himself into an ice. No feelings, no more Mr. Nice Guy. The last thing he wants is house full of strangers on Christmas Eve. But his family is lack of money, and hosting the model for the photo shooting is just something that has to be done in order to earn some money. His little sister has a very unique way to help the family. Hosting the very famous Anastacia Harper is her idea. But the snow has fallen and that model has nowhere to go. And the ice around his heart slowly starts to melt.

Anastacia Harper has an amazing modeling career and thinks she has everything. But meeting the Darling family she slowly realizes what she is missing in her life: a family, people who love you and stand by your side no matter what. For the very first time she finds out what is it like to have a sister, to have a mother that loves you. And finally, she finds someone who can love her just the way she is, forever and ever.

So, celebrating the International Women's Day, here is an amazing romantic  story that will make every woman feel good. If you believe in happily ever after, then, trust me, this is a story that you don't wanna miss. Two amazing characters and a love story full of ups and down. Perfect gift for every woman.

My opinion: 4.5 / 5.

Book review: How to Bake the Perfect Christmas Cake (Home for the Holidays #2) by Gina Henning

*Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

I know that Christmas was almost three months ago, but this little book is on my TBR list for a while and I've finally found time for reviewing it. I absolutely believe that there is always time for a festive story and delicious cakes. In this light read, we follow the story of Lauren and her hot and cold boyfriend Jack. Lauren is such a nice person, so thoughtful, so smart but also naive in the same time. Her family is one of a kind, but we all have some unique members in our families, haven't we? But as much as I like Lauren, I don't like Jack. There is nothing wrong with him, as it turns out, but the way he is described, well, not my type of male character. His attitude is hot and cold and hot, you never know what to expect.

There is a lot of humor here, a lot of laughter, and a delicious Christmas cake. But every moment I was expecting something to happen, a twist, a turn-over. I was left disappointed. The story is easy-breezy, cute and romantic, little bit festive. But the characters aren't developed as much as they should be, or as much as I am used to. Maybe it is just my opinion, but this plot needs more ups and downs.  I liked Lauren as a main character and I really loved the way she cared for Jack's feelings and memories.  And I liked aunt Minnie. Her attitude is so one of a kind. There were moments when she reminded me of Hank and Frank from the Muppets.

I didn't find the recipe for the Christmas cake, but How to Bake the Perfect Christmas Cake is easy-breezy romantic festive read that is cute enough for spending your time on your sofa while it is raining outside.

My opinion: 3/5.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Book Review: Snow Woman (Maria Kallio #4) by Leena Lehtolainen

*Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

I 've never read anything of Finnish literature, and I decided to give it a try. Classical detective story is a perfect read for a mystery lover like me. I've found out that this is part four of the series, but that didn't stop me from enjoying the book. The main character, Maria Kallio, detective in Espoo Police, is trying to solve a murder of a woman who runs a shelter for abused women. There, Maria finds herself among women who ran from their abusive husbands and families. Many of the women come from a small Finnish population who consider everything as God's will and abortion as grief even if the life of the mother is in danger. There are couple of very emotional stories of the women who escaped the emotional and physical abuse of the ones who suppose to love them most. In the very same time, Maria finds out that she is pregnant, so there is also her doubt about having children or not. A criminal who was imprisoned by Maria, has escaped and plans his revenge. 

There is very little in the story about the actual murder. It is more about the women, about pregnancy and abortion, about emotional abuse. Not too many twists, just classic solving the crime via interviews and interrogations. I've found too much usage of names, maybe it is just my opinion because I'm not familiar with Finnish names, but too much information overloaded me and from time to time it was hard for me to follow the case. The ending didn't blow me away, just came naturally. 

Overall, Maria Kallio is an interesting main character, a woman detective, and I am looking for the other parts of the series to read. Pregnancy and abortion are not my type of read, but solving a crime definitely is.

My opinion: 3 / 5.

Book Review: The Rosie Effect (Don Tillman #2) by Graeme Simsion

*Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

Don Tillman is back. The guy who finds it very difficult to make friends, who has schedule and plan for everything, now is married, moved across the globe and is going to be a father. Yes, you've heard me right. Don Tillman is going to be a dad. But he wouldn't be himself, if he hasn't start a plan. A project. A baby under development. 

The previous book is one of my favorite books and I recommend it to anyone who reads. When I saw the second book, I just couldn't wait to start reading. I absolutely adore the main character. Don Tillman is so unique, one of a kind, you just can not not to love him. Receiving the great news, he starts to prepare for the role "father of the year". He isn't the greatest role model for a father but he does his best. In the most unique way. His way. 

Rosie as a character this time is really annoying, according to me. I really liked her in the previous book, but this time she was getting on my nerves so many times. Her attitude was really annoying, you can't blame the hormones for everything. 

Gene, Don's best and only friend is here too. The man is getting old, the wife left him, the children don't speak to him, he is not the ladies'man anymore. But his friend Don is here to help him and offer a place for stay even if it means constant fights with Rosie. But friendship is friendship.

Overall, I enjoyed Don's new life, new country, new family life. There are few new characters who just add more fun to the whole story. But the main character, Don, is just one of a kind. I don't mind to read at least ten books with him as a main character. This sequel is fun and entertaining and I would recommend it to anyone. 

My opinion: 4 / 5.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Book Review : Elizabeth Is Missing by Emma Healey

Wow! This story left me totally speechless. Not the crime book as I am used to, but its pages pulled me into one of the most addictive stories I've ever read. You won't see the blood , but it is there all the time right in front of your nose.

The story centers around Maud, an old lady who suffers from dementia. She can't remember what day is it, how old she is, she often mistakes her granddaughter with her daughter. She is confused most of the time, but in those moments when her mind is clear, she knows one thing: her friend Elizabeth is missing! Elizabeth is not at home, she rarely leaves her house because of her poor sight, her son is not very kind and takes things out of the house. Unfortunately for Maud, no one believes her. Who would believe an old senile lady? What happened to Elizabeth?

In the very same time, the story goes back in time during the WWII when Maud was a young girl. She had a older sister, Sukey, who disappeared soon after she was married. In the time of smuggling and couponing, Sukey and her husband suddenly disappeared. Her husband Frank, showed up couple of weeks later, but not her. No phone call, no letter, no nothing. Maud's parents were devastated, they never stopped searching. Maud never stopped searching.

You might ask how these two stories are connected? Oh, trust me, they are. As the story goes, the ending left me literally with my mouth open. I would never ever think that this is a debut novel. The author has  a lot of courage to take a character like Maud and create a web of events that is so confusing but also, so in order in the same time.

Maud is so unique character. She is confused most of the time, but every little memory of hers, every little sparkle in her brain means something. She might look like she doesn't remember anything, but when she does, everything makes sense. She is good people's  reader, she can recognize the good and the bad behind the face. For ordinary people, she is just an old senile lady, but behind that old wrinkled skin there is a true warrior who never gives up and nothing can stop her from achieving her goals, because her friend Elizabeth is missing!

No wonder that this is one of top ten crime books of 2014. This brave author is an amazing storyteller that brings the image of the past and incorporates it in the presence. She shows the life of the people suffering from dementia, and shows everyday problems that these people and their families have to cope with. But most of it, she writes one of the best crime stories I've ever read without spilling one single drop of blood.

My opinion: 5 / 5.


Sunday, January 11, 2015

Book Review: The City of Blood by Frédérique Molay

*Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

Paris today. There is an excavation on the place formerly known as Parisian slaughterhouse, also called The City of Blood. Thirty years earlier, Samuel Cassian, a major performance artist, made an extraordinary piece of art. He held a banquet at the place and asked each guest to bring something that was later buried. Now, thirty years later, all those things have to be dug up. But what no one expected is the finding of a skeleton, buried thirty years earlier, possibly in the same time with all those pieces of forks and dishes. To make things worse, thirty years earlier, the son of Samuel Cassian, went missing. Is this his body? Is it possible that the artist himself buried his own son? What's more weird is that the body remains show marks connected with modern day murders done by "The Paris Butcher".

The detective Nico Sirsky works on the case. He and his crew are working on the case "The Paris Butcher". The murderer leaves his victims with a specific mark, a piece of flesh on the shoulder is cut off. But these are modern day murders. How come a thirty-years-old skeleton has the very same mark? Is this the first murder? Is this where it all started?

To solve a crime from the present, Nico has to go back in time thirty years ago. All the visitors at the banquet are now suspects. In the very same time, he worries to death about his mother who suffers a heart attack and needs a surgery that she might not survive.

Comparing with the previous book, "Crossing the Line", the investigation in this story is more intriguing. There is more tension, more turn-overs. I enjoyed every single page. Nico is a great character, very tough when it comes for solving crimes. The author also shows his soft side by including his mother as a character and presenting Nico as a good son. Even if it is part three of the series, this book can easily stand alone. Well written, set up in a unusual surrounding, The City of Blood is a real refreshment for all those crime-fiction lovers who want to try something different. Totally recommended. 

My opinion: 4.5 / 5.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Book Review: Die Again by Tess Gerritsen

*Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

Five years ago, a group of people hungry for adventure goes on a safari trip in Africa. But soon what seems to be an exotic trip becomes the worst nightmare. People die. People disappear, in the night, in the bushes. No one knows what is going on.

Five years later, in US, police finds a human body hanging from a tree. That person worked as a taxidermist and ended like the animals he was working with. When a second body appears, the dynamic duo Rizzoli and Isles figures out that this is more than just a homicide, it is a serial killer we're talking about. The taxidermist seems that has no family. His only son disappeared five years ago in Africa.

I've been Rizzoli & Isles fan since forever. They are my favorite couple for solving crimes. What I like here is not just the puzzle that has to be solved and the tension that goes with it, but also showing both Rizzoli and Isles as human beings with ups and downs in their personal lives. Rizzoli has a daughter and husband and starts to learn that family comes first. Isles learns how to bond by taking care for one of the cats of the deceased victim. She also questions her relationship with her mother who is in prison. Do your ancestors define who you are? Coping with personal issues in their private lives, both Rizzoli and Isles have a crime to solve. A crime that takes them to a journey in the past of the victims' lives, takes them to the deepest jungles of Africa and shows them the darkest corners of the human mind. The story goes back in time for five years showing an African adventure seen from someone else's point of view. Then goes back to present where the taxidermist has been killed. The connection, well, you're have to read the book. Totally gripping, fulfilled with nail-biting moments and so many turn-overs, this read makes you ask yourself who is the biggest predator in the world. Hint: it is not an animal!

My opinion: 5 / 5.