Thursday, April 20, 2017

The Memory Watcher by Minka Kent

The Memory WatcherThe Memory Watcher by Minka Kent
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What an engrossing thrill ride for the reader in The Memory Watcher- A Psychological Thriller by Minka Kent. Kent has written a psychological mystery/thriller with all of the characters being not too likable. Everyone in this story is manipulative, using one another, and has a hidden agenda. If you don't like that kind of thing, move on. But for readers who don't care about having a happy ending, who don't mind a little obsession, and gleefully read about betrayal, social media facades, and adultery, this is the perfect book for a riveting escape. Kent accurately captures the essence of a false narrative in this story, with unreliable and unlikeable narrators. Highly recommend for a total immersion into reading a creepy and fascinating look at suburban life with all of it's demons and secrets.

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Friday, March 31, 2017

Jukebox by Saira Viola

JukeboxJukebox by Saira Viola
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A gifted writer with an expansive vocabulary, Saira Viola's Jukebox is a modern take on the London style gangster story. A fast paced book filled to the brim with brilliant metaphors, alliteration galore and characters that are predictable in a surprising way, Jukebox exposes a fresh literary talent in Saira Viola. At it's core the story is about desperation, the main character Nick's father has Alzheimers; and all of the attendant hardships and sorrow that accompany that diagnosis. Nick wants to be a musician, but desperate times call for desperate measures as it were, and Nick has followed the advice of his father and become a fledgling lawyer. Gritty with a realistic feel to the people in Nick's life; his uncle, who thinks he is the next Bernie Madoff, to Nick's martyred mother, this novel so accurately depicts the human condition, it is hard to stop reading. Creative fiction that combines a wonderful use of language with a solidly engaging story. Highly recommend.

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Thursday, March 30, 2017

The Knowing: By David Graham

The KnowingThe Knowing by David Graham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"To know, is to know you know nothing. That is the meaning of true knowledge." - a wonderful quote by Socrates starts off this book, and couldn't be more apt. With a heady prologue that gets off to a ponderous beginning, what with a toxic technological soup that is inherently evil and dangerous, this novel begins with a bang. The Knowing: A thrilling horror fantasy by David Graham is the perfect amalgamation of horror and inexplicable events, conspiring together to destroy humanity. This is a gripping book, with well thought out characterization and a skillful plot that doesn't disappoint. Be prepared to be immersed into a shocking world filled with corruption, danger, and difficulties everywhere. As a successful sequel to Graham's The Screaming, this new novel certainly can stand on it's own terrifying merits, while subtly evoking touches of humor here and there, along with the requisite chills and thrills that make this genre so tempting.

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Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Pallbearers and Gamblers: A Novel by Michael John Cruit

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As part of the Honor Guard, Michael Dibiaso, a Vietnam vet, acts as a pallbearer for vets killed during the war. This experience, along with his time in Vietnam takes its toll on Michael in Pallbearers and Gamblers: A Novel by Michael John Cruit. The years is 1971, the war is in full swing, and with few supporters, vets are largely not welcomed when they return home. Michael is called home to attend to his mother who is dying of cancer. This combined with his father's involvement with Al Capone, his father acting as Capone's financial advisor, makes for an interesting and complicated homecoming for Michael. Before he knows it, he becomes embroiled in a money making scheme that could make him millions. Fraught with emotion and struggle, this novel examines the deep implications and consequences that war has not only on veterans themselves, but the community as a whole. Drug use is part of the reality that grips many veterans in an effort to escape their tortuous lives; Cruit adding this aspect to Michael's character to more completely define him. Fully engaging, with an accurate portrayal of the price of war on families, this is a highly recommended book.

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Friday, March 24, 2017

Jane of Manchester by J G Dow

Jane of ManchesterJane of Manchester by J.G. Dow
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Jane of Manchester by J.G. Dow is a rambling, diary-like look at the life of Jane, who works in a florist's shop, has good friends and supportive parents. While all may seem fine on the surface, Jane is somewhat at odds with her spot in life; while everyone around her is either getting married, already married with kids, or has a great plan of action, Jane is living a rather simple and uninspired existence. This disquietude tugs at her in a small way throughout the story, while nothing is inherently wrong, things are the same old, same old, day after day. The first person narrative fits this story well, it captures the character of Jane astutely, and weaves the story around her everyday activities. The backdrop of Manchester and the culture of the Brits is enjoyable and sensitively rendered. The author, Dow, also gives the story a somber touch by fully describing the alcohol infused lifestyle that many young woman engage in, which may be enlightening for some. There are a few funny moments in the book that thankfully allow it to rise above the mundane and ordinary as well. All in all, an entertaining, light, novel.

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

Shepherd: A Henry Shepherd Novel by Michael Ozarks

Shepherd: A Henry Shepherd Novel (The Henry Shepherd Series Book 1)Shepherd: A Henry Shepherd Novel by Michael Ozarks
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Shepherd: A Henry Shepherd Novel (The Henry Shepherd Series Book 1) by Michael Ozarks is a wonderful first entry into this series. Henry the protagonist begins in the first chapter by apologizing for his name. That bit of melancholy seems to permeate the book and sets the tone. Driving home one night, Henry accidentally hits and kills a girl, Karen. While not charged with a crime, Henry carries the guilt with him like a cloak. Fate intervenes however, and soon Henry is involved with Karen's twin sister. With that unlikely premise, the story and characters are quite well written, Henry not only being overcome with his burden of killing someone, but his involvement with the victim's sister is yet another emotional hurdle. This story truly describes the power of forgiveness and redemption even in the most troubling and impossible of circumstances. A must read for an emotional and fulfilling literary journey. Looking forward to the next installments in this series.

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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Dare To Remember by Susanna Beard

Dare to RememberDare to Remember by Susanna Beard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dare to Remember by Susanna Beard is a well put together psychological, suspenseful story. The main character Lisa, and her flat-mate are brutally attacked one night, Lisa's flat-mate is killed and Lisa wakes up in the hospital with no recollection of the attack. Moving to the countryside, Lisa struggles to put her life back together and put the attack behind her. Much of the story is devoted to Lisa trying to recover memories from that night; she has flashes of remembrance, little nudges in her subconscious that may reveal what happened. Lisa establishes some friendships in her new environment, most notably with her next door elderly neighbor. This relationship appears to be a healing balm for Lisa, and is well developed and portrayed. Beard does an excellent job with character development in this story, and while not a thriller in the truest sense of the word, the writing was nuanced enough and careful enough to make this novel an outstanding debut. With enough of a subtle twist to the story that prompts an "oh, okay, that's what happened" response from the reader, I look forward to reading more from this author. Thanks to Netgalley.com for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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