Friday, September 15, 2017

Review: Merle: A French murder mystery

Merle: A French murder mystery Merle: A French murder mystery by Angela Wren
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another amazing book by author Angela Wren.

Second in the Jacques Forêt series, it's as good as the first and worth the almost two year wait.

Forêt is now working as an investigator in a company full of problems. Owned by two brothers, they've been hacked, are losing clients and can't see eye to eye how to solve them.

When one of the workers in the company is murdered, the case goes from a simple commercial problem to one much more darker. Even though Forêt is no longer a gendarme, he takes an active part in the investigation, part because of his background and part because of his working in the same company as the victim.

The narrative goes to and fro, from the day after the murder to several weeks before, and then after.

We are reunited from some of the characters from the previous book "Messandrierre" and the atmosphere of a small French town is amazingly detailed. And there's also Beth, Forêt's love. All the characters in the book are extremely well described, including some very nasty ones, like Forêt's ex girlfriend who works in the same company as him.

All in all, a great book. Looking forward to #3.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Review: The Vineyard: A Novel

The Vineyard: A Novel The Vineyard: A Novel by María Dueñas
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

While I liked this book, I didn't love it.

I'd heard so many amazing things about the author's other book "El tiempo entre costuras" (The time in between that, although I haven't read it, I was expecting probably too much.

This is the story of Mauro Larrea, a widower who emigrated from Spain to Mexico in the 19th century, worked in the mines, raised his two children and landed himself a place in society, only to lose it all after a bad business venture. From Mexico he goes to Cuba and then back to Spain.

I know this is fiction, but it was way too improbable. Even if money can buy most things, it was too much to believe.

Larrea is neither good nor bad, but he doesn't seem to have much of a conscience.
The other main character, Soledad Montalvo is much like him. They lacked depth. The plot and place descriptions, on the contrary, are extremely good and detailed

For me, it read like a soap opera: too many adventures, a bit of romance and a happy ending.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review

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Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Review: Everyone Brave is Forgiven

Everyone Brave is Forgiven Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was somewhat reluctant about this book, as I've read many WW2 books lately and I was a bit bored with the subject. I didn't know what kind of war book it was going to be and was surprised by the story.

Young Mary North drops out of finishing school in Switzerland as soon as she hears war has been declared, telegraphs the Home Office asking for a job and rushes to London. There, she finds out that she will be teaching young children, as most of the teachers are joining the war.

Rich and kind of useless, she does manage to be quite a good teacher, especially to young Zachary, the only black boy in the class, son of an American jazz musician. However, that's not what the other teachers think, so they fire her as soon as possible.

Trying to get her job back, she meets Tom Shaw and falls in love with him. But when Tom is killed in an air raid, her whole world falls apart.

The two main points of the story are the war seen from the city, as in Mary's life and the other side of the story, focused on Alistair, Tom's friend who is in the trenches. This is the scary war part.

Mary and Tom start a relationship as they write letters to each other, but will it survive the war?

I really liked this book, but I have to give it 3 stars because it's so slow. There are parts that -for me- could have been much more agile (Alistair in the island, for example)

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Monday, April 03, 2017

Review: Black Widow

Black Widow Black Widow by Christopher Brookmyre
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm beyond excited to have read such a good book, and to have discovered a new author.

I'm a mystery fan, and it's beyond me that I hadn't read anything by Cristopher Brookmyre before.

This is book 7 in the Jack Parlabane series, but it's so well written and the plot is so good that you don't feel you're missing information about the books published before (you just want to run to the nearest library or bookstore and get them all).

Jack Parlabane is a reporter who's going through a bad moment, both personally and with work. He's made a few mistakes that cost him his reputation and he just divorced.

Diana Jager is a surgeon who almost lost everything when she was outed as the author of a certain blog that berated other doctors. Now working in a smaller and less prestigious hospital, she falls in love and marries Peter, who works in IT for the same hospital.

Six months after the wedding, he is dead in a strange accident, and it all point to Diana as being guilty.
But all is not what it seems, and Mr. Brookmyre will take us on a journey where the ending will leave you more than surprised.

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Review: The History Major

The History Major The History Major by Michael Phillip Cash
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

One more book that I don't know how to rate. It is impeccably written, but I did not care at all for the main character, and the setting seemed too far fetched at first. It's only in the final pages that I understood what this book was about, and even if it is short, a novella, I found it disconcerting to not understand what it was about.

The main story is as follows:
Amanda Greene is a college student who one day wakes up with a massive hangover, only to find out she has a roommate she's never seen before and has to attend classes she never registered for, in a strange campus where something like a ghost lurks in the buildings and gardens

She's had a fight with her boyfriend (and constantly moans and whines about missing him) and grudgingly attends a History seminar, where the lecturer is none other than Aristotle. She also whines all the time about History being a major waste of time. Not very endearing, right? And let's not talk about her girlfriends, who all fit the description of mean girls perfectly.

During this lecture, Amanda is "transported" to the world of Lucrezia Borgia, Jeanne d'Arc and Eva Braun.

Why? That is for the reader to find out, no spoilers here.

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Review: The Beautiful Dead

The Beautiful Dead The Beautiful Dead by Belinda Bauer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm turning into a Belinda Bauer fan. I haven't read many of her books (yet) but the ones I have read are so good I just want to keep on reading.

In The Beautiful Dead, we have the story of Eve Singer, a young TV reporter who covers the crime section. If it sounds ghoulish, trust me, it is! She fears life and success are passing her by, so she will do anything to at least maintain her job. At the same time, she is taking care of her elderly father, who has dementia, so life is complicated, lonely and kind of sad for her.

Then she covers a horrible crime scene, and then another; But the killer has chosen her to promote his story, and when he reaches out to her, she realizes there is a very fine line between right and wrong. Will she encourage the killer and with it promote her career? Will she survive this story?

Eve is a great character: she has morals, but she also knows that this might be the end of her career if she doesn't ditch them. But she is smart and knows that the killer can't be trusted and that what she is doing is so wrong, in so many levels. I was struggling with her all along the book.

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Review: Murder in the Marais

Murder in the Marais Murder in the Marais by Cara Black
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have mixed feelings about this book, Why? Because I can't say it's that good, but I enjoyed it very much.

Aimée Leduc has an investigation agency, mainly tech stuff. When she is approached by a friend of her late father, who wants her to look into an old photograph and break the code/mystery around it she hesitates, but finally accepts.

Then there's a murder, and Nazis, and more murder attempts, and it goes on and on. I think this was, for me, the main problem. We have a tech investigator who suddenly turns into something like James Bond.

But I did enjoy the fast pace, the story was a good one (if you stick to the main plot) and the characters are well described. I really liked the feeling of the city and the way the mc moves around it.

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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