#BookBlogger Word Search – Sunday Funday

I love this wonderful book blogging community!  Such a warm and supportive group!

As a token of thanks to those bloggers who have been SO supportive of Fictionophile, I have created a little ‘Word Search‘ puzzle.

Hope you enjoy it! ♥

 

(Hint: There are 42 words and they can be vertical, horizontal, slanted right or left, or upside-down)


The puzzle is a .png image. Just print it out and have fun!

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Posted in Book bloggers, ramblings & miscellanea | Tagged | 14 Comments

Two more crime writers that deserve to be read

While perusing my book shelves, I look fondly on certain tomes.  Some authors are ones I haven’t heard about in a while…  I have highly positive memories of their work. Where are they now?  Are they still writing?new-to-you-authors

In this blog post, I aim to introduce you to two of these exemplary crime novelists. Perhaps you’ve heard of one of them, or perhaps, if you’re a huge crime fiction fan such as myself, you’re familiar with both of these names.  If you have NOT heard of them, then perhaps it is time to start yet another new reading adventure.

Most of the novels I’ve mentioned in this post are available on Amazon (though not all are available in Kindle format).  If you can’t find them on Amazon, check out your local public library.  If they don’t have them, then perhaps they will get them from another library for you via inter-library loan.  And, last but not least… there is always the treasure hunt you can perform in your local used bookstore.right-crime-tape-divider

Julia-Wallis Martin was born in Sussex, England. Her first novel, the Edgar nominated A Likeness in Stone, was filmed as a two-part drama by the BBC. Her second novel, The Birdyard,was one that stands out in my memory.


An entire house, long submerged in the dark waters of a reservoir, unearths a starting find: the corpse of Helena Warner, an Oxford college student who disappeared twenty years earlier. For former homicide detective Bill Driver, it means the reopening of a case that, in his mind, was never really closed. And Driver thinks he knows who did it. But three of Helena’s friends– her cold former lover Ian Gilmore, her jealous best friend Joan Poole, and talented but institutionalized artist Richard Wachmann– conspire to keep a decades-old, deadly secret from seeing the light of day…all the while, a killer continues to strike again and again.


When 12-year-old Joseph Coyne is missing and is assumed to have been abducted, Detective Parker makes a promise to the boy’s mother: We’ll get him back, alive. It proves to be a promise that Parker cannot keep. When another young boy is missing under similar circumstances, the evidence leads Parker to an aviary or bird yard attached to an abandoned house. While the finches imprisoned in the aviary exert a magical appeal to the young boys who surreptitiously come to watch them, its owner is a shadowy figure whose hold over his young visitors seems far more sinister. Convinced that the killer is stalking his third victim, a child Parker knows, he enlists the help of a child psychologist to unravel a dark secret.

Here is photo of the Julia Wallis Martin novels that I own:


Alison Taylor never intended to be a crime writer. In 1986 she was working as a senior social worker for the former Gwynedd County Council. Increasingly disturbed by reports of the alleged abuse of children in care, she took her concerns to the police. As a result she was fired. What her actions have helped to expose is one of Britain’s worst scandals of institutionalised physical and sexual abuse in children’s homes in North Wales. Disillusioned by the prospect of returning to social work, Alison concentrated on writing. Her first novel Simeon’s Bride evolved from a short story written for a national competition and was published in 1995. It won her outstanding critical acclaim and comparisons to PD James and Ruth Rendell. Her second novel In Guilty Night was a compelling story containing the controversial issue of child abuse. And most recently, The House of Women was published in 1998, again to widespread acclaim from the media. A television series featuring Superintendent Michael McKenna is currently under negotiation.

The novels in this series include:

#1 Simeon’s bride#2 In guilty night

#3 The house of women

#4 Unsafe convictions

#5 Child’s play

Here they are ‘in situ’ on my bookshelves:

I’d love to hear from you if you’ve read either of these two novelists – or, if you plan to. ♥

Posted in Authors, Mystery fiction, Psychological thrillers | Tagged , , | 17 Comments

“Tin man” by Sarah Winman

Having just finished this novel about five minutes ago… all I can say is WOW!  My regard for literary fiction increases every time I read such a quality novel.

This is a novel about three people, two men and one woman who have a bond that is stronger than most people will ever experience.

Dora Judd is a stifled woman. A housewife in the 1950s, she is under the thumb of a domineering husband. Her life holds little joy and is as colourless as the brown rooms of her home.  When she wins a copy of Vincent Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers‘ at a raffle, she guards the painting fiercely.  It is her little bit of colour in a drab existence.  When she gives birth to her son, Ellis, love and joy once again are a part of her life. She recognizes her son’s artistic talent and encourages his efforts.  When Dora passes away, his father demands he give up such a foolish pastime – so at sixteen years old he begins work as a panel beater at the Cowley car plant in Oxford. Hence Ellis Judd, our protagonist, is the ‘Tin Man‘ of the title.

1963 We meet Michael our second protagonist as a motherless boy who is taken in by a caring woman named Mabel.  At twelve years of age he meets Mabel and also Ellis for the first time. These two people will show him the exquisite nature of acceptance for the first time. Michael is gay. Since his mother died, his father has realized Michael’s true nature and has shunned him from his affections.

Michael and Ellis are boyhood friends – and for a brief time during a trip to France, they are more than friends…  Ellis is the love of Michael’s life.

When Ellis introduces Michael to Annie, they love one another immediately. The trio share a friendship deep and true.

“I could never bring anyone into our three. I had no room to love anyone else.”

Annie is the love of Ellis’s life.  Skip ahead in time and Ellis Judd is forty-five years old.  His life’s joy has vanished with the passing of his beloved wife, Annie. He has chosen to work the night shift at the plant since Annie’s death as he cannot sleep at night anymore. They had thirteen loving years together. Now she is buried in the same cemetery as the author, C.S. Lewis.

“Her name on the stone still drew disbelief and sadness.”

Winman is a storyteller with enviable prowess. She writes with deep compassion and empathy for all of her characters. Because of this, they become very real to the reader and their pain becomes your pain, their joy becomes your joy.

Tin Man” is a book about acceptance, loneliness, heartbreak, grief and loss.  A novel of true love and the myriad forms that it comes in…

Highly recommended!

I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from G.P. Putnam’s Sons via Edelweiss.  This is my honest review of an exemplary novel.

Sarah Winman (born 1964) is a British actress and author. In 2011 her debut novel When God Was a Rabbit became an international bestseller and won several awards including New Writer of the Year in the Galaxy National Book Awards.  “Tin Man” is her third novel. She now lives in London, England.

Posted in Book Reviews, Edelweiss, Favorite books, Literary fiction, Love stories | Tagged , | 12 Comments

Wednesday’s Word = Silent (Cover Love redux)

This is a new spin on my Cover Love posts. Although I still plan to continue my Cover Love series, I just thought it would be sort of fun to concentrate on title words for a change – instead of pictures.  Most readers will acknowledge that some words reappear time and time again in titles.  Often these words are associated with a particular genre.  Case in point: “The girl on the train” and “Gone girl” spawned countless thriller titles with the word ‘girl’ in the title.

Today, for the third edition of Wednesday Word, I’ve chosen the word “Silent“.  I know there are countless books with the word silent in the title, but I’m featuring 20 fairly recent titles that appeal to me personally, as a way of sharing my book love. Some of these titles I’ve read, the rest are on my TBR.

(I’ve limited myself to 20 titles as I tend to get carried away. LOL )

Just click on the cover to read the book’s synopsis from Goodreads.
You might just find your next favorite book!

Are you tempted by any of these covers?

Have you read one of these titles and absolutely LOVED or HATED it?

Please let me know in the comments.

Posted in Wednesday Word | Tagged | 15 Comments

“The lie” by C.L. Taylor

“Your past doesn’t have to define your future.”

“I was escaping from a job I hated, Al was escaping from a failed relationship, Daisy was tagging along for the adventure, and Leanne… well, she was looking for somewhere to call home.”

Five years ago four young women went on the ‘trip of a lifetime’. Emma, Daisy, Alexandra, and Leanne have been friends since university. They live in London and decide to travel to Nepal.  Their decision to take this trip would leave an indelible mark on all of their lives, leaving at least one of them dead.

Skip ahead to the present day.  Jane Hughes works at Green Fields Animal Shelter in Wales.  She has had a lifelong affection for animals and this work is what she has always wanted. Living nearby, she bikes to work and cares for the dogs at the shelter.  She has a new and promising relationship with a primary teacher named Will who has a young daughter named Chloe.  Life is good.

One day she receives a threatening note.  Someone knows the secret she has been keeping for the past five years. Her real name is Emma Woolfe.  As the five year anniversary of the Nepal fiasco looms, someone is trying to freak her out. Still traumatised by her experiences in Nepal, Jane/Emma is an easy target. Right around this time, there is a new volunteer worker at the shelter. Angharad is keen to work, yet she seems inordinately interested in Jane…


Flashback to Nepal. After a few days drinking and enjoying the sunshine, the four young women trek up a mountain to a yoga retreat named Ekanta Yatra.  The fissures in their friendship are put to the test shortly after they arrive. This is a seriously creepy place.  The charismatic leader, Isaac demands they give him their passports. That should have been their first clue.  It is the beginning of monsoon season so they learn they cannot leave safely. The leaders seduce and manipulate people into their way of thinking – if they cannot do this they try to break them physically instead. As one devastating experience follows another Emma finds herself alienated from her friends. Her best friend Daisy seems almost like a different person. In fear for her life, Emma attempts to escape…


Back to the present in Wales 

Jane is run off the road on her way to work. Then she receives a foreboding text message with the words “Only the good die young. That’ll explain way you’re still alive then.”


This is a thriller that explores the toxic nature that can define some female friendships. I liked the character of Emma, though the other girls sparked little affection. Daisy and Leanne in particular were unlikable and in my opinion, emotionally unstable.  The scenes set in Nepal were unsettling and oftentimes quite gruesome.  I read these anxiously anticipating coming back to the scenes set in Wales and the present day.  I believe that this thriller will appeal to many readers, though I cannot honestly say if was a favourite read of mine. I did find enough to admire in this book to be interested in reading more of C.L. Taylor’s work.I received a digital copy of this novel for free – at my request, from Sourcebooks/Landmark via NetGalley. I provided this review voluntarily.

C.L. Taylor is the Sunday Times bestselling author of five stand-alone psychological thrillers: THE ACCIDENT, THE LIE, THE MISSING, THE ESCAPE and THE FEAR. Her books have sold in excess of a million copies and have been translated into over 20 languages. THE ESCAPE won the Dead Good Books ‘Hidden Depths’ award for the Most Unreliable Narrator.

Cally Taylor was born in Worcester and spent her early years living in various army camps in the UK and Germany. She studied Psychology at the University of Northumbria and went on forge a career in instructional design and e-Learning before leaving to write full time in 2014. She now lives in Bristol with her partner and young son.

Posted in Book Reviews, NetGalley, Psychological thrillers | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Two crime writers that deserve to be read

While perusing my book shelves, I look fondly on certain tomes.  Some authors are ones I haven’t heard about in a while…  I have highly positive memories of their work. Where are they now?  Are they still writing?new-to-you-authors

In this blog post, I aim to introduce you to two of these exemplary crime novelists. Perhaps you’ve heard of one of them, or perhaps, if you’re a huge crime fiction fan such as myself, you’re familiar with both of these names.  If you have NOT heard of them, then perhaps it is time to start yet another new reading adventure.

Most of the novels I’ve mentioned in this post are available on Amazon (though not all are available in Kindle format).  If you can’t find them on Amazon, check out your local public library.  If they don’t have them, then perhaps they will get them from another library for you via inter-library loan.  And, last but not least… there is always the treasure hunt you can perform in your local used bookstore.right-crime-tape-divider

margaret-murphy

Margaret Murphy

was born and brought up in Liverpool, Lancashire where she gained a degree in Environmental Biology at the University of Liverpool and later an MA with Distinction in Writing at Liverpool JMU, a course on which she now lectures. She has been a countryside ranger, science teacher, dyslexia specialist and psychology student.

After a string of successful stand-alone novels, Murphy began her first series with The Dispossessed which was followed by Now You See Me, featuring fictional Merseyside detectives Jeff Rickman, Lee Foster and Naomi Hart.

Her novels have garnered critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic. Murphy is the founder of “Murder Squad” – a touring group of crime writers – and a former chair of the Crime Writers’ Association. She is also 2006/07 Chair of the CWA Debut Dagger.

In June 2013 she published a book under the pseudonym of AD Garrett called Everyone Lies.

Murphy is a contributor to both BBC Radio Merseyside’s Drive Time and Radio 4’s The Message.

darkness-fallsweaving-shadows

 

Darkness falls (Clara Pascal #1)
Weaving shadows (Clara Pascal #2)

 

the-dispossessednow-you-see-me

 

The dispossessed (Rickman & Foster #1)
Now you see me (Rickman & Foster #2)

 

and Margaret Murphy’s stand-alone psychological thrillers

dying-embersthe-desire-of-the-mothpast-reasoncaging-the-tigergoodnight-my-angel

 

 

 

 

Dying embers

The desire of the moth

Past reason

Caging the tiger

Goodnight, my angelfeatherline

Julie Parsons

New Zealand born, Julie Parsons immigrated to Ireland at the age of twelve. After school she went to University College, Dublin. She worked as a radio producer, then television producer for RTE (Irish national television station). But she had always wanted to be a writer and in 1996 she wrote her first novel, a thriller, ‘Mary, Mary’.  Julie lives in Dun Laoghaire. Co Dublin, within sight of the sea. The sea, with all its power, beauty and mystery, is hugely important to her.

 

She has written two novels featuring Michael McLoughlin:

#1 Mary, Mary

and

#2 I saw you

 

 

 

 

 

Julie Parsons has written several outstanding ‘stand-alone’ crime novels:

 

Eager to please

 

 

 

The courtship gift

 

 

The hourglass

 

 

 

 

 

The guilty heart

 

 

and, most recently,

 

 

The therapy house

 

featherline

cat-in-read-cup

Posted in Authors, Fiction, Mystery fiction, Psychological thrillers | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Anticipated on my TBR = “Jar of Hearts” by Jennifer Hillier

I was lucky enough to be given a complimentary copy of “Jar of Hearts” from St. Martin’s Press/Minotaur Books via NetGalley and will be reading and reviewing it soon.  Until then, I thought you might like to read an excerpt that might whet your appetite.

Excerpt from Jar of Hearts

Also, here is a video of the author, Jennifer Hillier talking about her book.Jar of Hearts” is available for purchase now at all popular book retailers.

If you have read “Jar of Hearts” or plan to, I love to hear from you in the comments.

Posted in book exerpts, Psychological thrillers | Tagged | 3 Comments

“Us against you” by Fredrik Backman

“The game is simple: everyone gets a stick, there are two nets, two teams.
Us against you.”

Last year I read “Beartown“. It was phenomenal, so I was super excited to learn that there was going to be a sequel.  Well folks, this time the sequel surpassed the first.  WOW!
I don’t really even like hockey, but, like Beartown, it is much more than a book about hockey. It is a book about people, about a town, about the world.

I strongly urge anyone who is entertaining the idea of reading “Us against you” to read “Beartown” first.  In Beartown you will come to love the town and its inhabitants.  In “Us against you” the love will swell enough to break your heart.

Beartown is recovering from the scandal that rocked the town to its very foundations.  Some people were more affected by the scandal than others, yet all bear the brunt of what happened.

“How long can you stay in a place that keeps trying to reject you like a hostile virus?”

We reunite with the Andersson family, Peter, Kira, Maya, and Leo. This family has been broken by the events in the previous book.  Now they are each struggling to live – to put one foot in front of the other, to soldier on.

Many more beloved and familiar characters make a second appearance: Amat, Benji, Sune, and Ramona to name just a few.

“The complicated thing about good and bad people alike is that most of us can be both at the same time.”

We meet new characters that will write indelibly on our hearts. Alicia, a four-and-a-half year old who is in love with hockey. Bobo, a young man who learns the lessons taught by loss and responsibility. The ‘Pack’, a group of hooligans with hearts of gold hidden behind a violent reputation. A young man named Vidar who loves as strongly as his fists have become.

We experience the hurts and betrayals of these characters in such a profound way that it feels personal.

“Love is like leadership. Asking for it doesn’t help.”

With myriad themes running throughout this novel, Backman does what very few authors can claim to do. He makes you CARE about each and every character (even the hooligans and the corrupt politicians). He makes wise and astute observations about parenting, friendship, responsibility, loss, loyalty, sacrifice, revenge, power, bureaucracy, leadership, teamwork, violence, respect, courage, consequences, and the powerful feeling of ‘belonging’.  Not bad for one novel.

With concise sentences Backman turns just a few words into moving and impactful observations.  This is a novel peopled by wonderful characters.  I was reluctant to finish the book as it would mean I would have to leave Beartown…

I really cannot recommend “Us against you” highly enough.

Many thanks to Simon & Schuster and Atria Books who provided me with a digital copy of this novel via NetGalley.  Here is a link to the online Reading Group Guide provided by Simon & Schuster.

Whenever I read a book, I always highlight my favourite passages.  With Backman books, I tend to get carried away.  Here are just some of my favorite quotes from “Us against you”

“What does it take to be a good parent? Not much. Just everything. Absolutely everything.”

“Fathers need to seize the day, because childhoods are like soap-bubbles, you only get a few seconds to enjoy them.”

“Unfairness is a far more natural state in the world than fairness.”

“The path back to normal life is indescribably long once death has swept the feet out from under those of us who are left.”

“The worst thing we know about other people is that we’re dependent upon them. That their actions affect our lives.”

“People will always choose a simple lie over a complicated truth”.

“Many of our worst deed are the result of us never wanting to admit that we’re wrong.”

“A great deal is expected of anyone who’s been given a lot.”

“It’s hard to care about people. Exhausting, in fact, because empathy is a complicated thing. It requires us to accept that everyone else’s lives are also going on the whole time.”

“You can always be absolutely certain of one thing when it comes to power: no one who gets their hands on it ever lets go of it voluntarily.”

“Our spontaneous reactions are rarely our proudest moments.”

“Exclusion is a form of exhaustion that eats its way into your skeleton.”

Fredrik Backman is a Swedish columnist, blogger and writer of the #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove (soon to be a major motion picture starring Tom Hanks), My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s SorryBritt-Marie Was HereBeartownUs Against You, as well as two novellas, And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer and The Deal of a Lifetime. His books are published in more than forty countries, in more than twenty-five languages. He lives in Stockholm, Sweden, with his wife and two children.

Posted in Book Reviews, Favorite books, Literary fiction, NetGalley | Tagged , , | 34 Comments

Wednesday’s Word = Perfect (Cover Love redux)

This is a new spin on my Cover Love posts. Although I still plan to continue my Cover Love series, I just thought it would be sort of fun to concentrate on title words for a change – instead of pictures.  Most readers will acknowledge that some words reappear time and time again in titles.  Often these words are associated with a particular genre.  Case in point: “The girl on the train” and “Gone girl” spawned countless thriller titles with the word ‘girl’ in the title.

Today, for the third edition of Wednesday Word, I’ve chosen the word “Perfect“.  I know there are countless books with the word perfect in the title, but I’m featuring 20 fairly recent titles that appeal to me personally, as a way of sharing my book love. Some of these titles I’ve read, the rest are on my TBR.

(I’ve limited myself to 20 titles as I tend to get carried away. LOL )

Just click on the cover to read the book’s synopsis from Goodreads.
You might just find your next favorite book!

Are you tempted by any of these covers?

Have you read one of these titles and absolutely LOVED it?

Please let me know in the comments.

Posted in Dustjackets, Wednesday Word | Tagged | 14 Comments

English language quirks and perversities

As an English speaking person, I take the vagaries of the English language for granted.  I take joy in reading and discovering the perversities of my native tongue.  I can only imagine how difficult it must be to learn English as a second language.  It would seem that for every rule there is an exception (or six).

Saw this graphic on Pinterest and thought you might enjoy the read.  The English language is so glorious, complicated and perverse.

English…. don’t you just LOVE it?

Posted in ramblings & miscellanea | Tagged , | 18 Comments

Are you insane?

Be thankful you live in the twenty-first century.

Back in Victorian times, when women were considered second class citizens, their families
could shuttle them off to asylums at the drop of a hat.

Here are a list of reasons you could be incarcerated in an insane asylum: (the one you should most be concerned with has a circle around it LOL)

 

Posted in ramblings & miscellanea | Tagged | 19 Comments

“Motherland” by G.D. Abson (official @TheMirrorBooks #blogtour)

SHORTLISTED FOR THE CRIME WRITERS ASSOCIATION DEBUT DAGGER AWARD

Motherland” is a fast-paced, police procedural crime novel set in the beautiful, yet corrupt, St. Petersburg, Russia.  The protagonist is Natalya Ivanova, a Russian police detective with the Criminal Investigations Directorate. (Russian C.I.D.)

On a personal note, Natalya is in her late thirties, married to a fellow police officer, and is as yet childless, though she has come to care for her teenage step-son.  Thanks to an inheritance from her husband’s mother, they live in a luxury apartment with a view of the stone lions on Lviny Bridge.

Lviny Bridge, St. Petersburg, Russia

Her work with the police normally involves the investigation of domestic violence. This is rampant in the chauvinistic Russian society where the perpetrators of domestic abuse rarely get punished for their crimes. Despite the fact that she is surrounded by patronizing, and condescending co-workers, Natalya’s idealism remains unabated, much to the amusement of her husband Mikhail.

One weekend, while she is ‘on-call’, she receives a telephone call to investigate the disappearance of Zena Dahl, a 19 year-old student and the adoptive daughter of a billionaire Swedish businessman. Natalya Ivanova speculates that the young woman was kidnapped, but when the body of the young woman is discovered, the focus of the investigation shifts. Events conspire to put Natalya’s police career, perhaps even her life, in jeopardy.  When the FSB get involved, things spiral downward…

“Women hate the lie more than what it conceals.”

Natalya’s personal life is precarious as well. She has begun to mistrust her husband and suspects him of corruption.

“Honesty is admirable in an honest society, but here it destroys you.”

Throughout the novel one is made abundantly aware that this is a city, and a country, that accepts corruption as the norm. A place where everyone uses bribes to smooth their way through a corrupt bureaucracy.  A place where the populace is rightly distrustful of the police who are often incompetent or corrupt themselves, partly due to the minuscule wage they earn.  A place where the police officers have to be breathalyzed before they can take out a police car. A place where young men are conscripted into the army – by force if need be…

I am always intrigued when an author chooses a protagonist of a different gender to their own.  In this case, the author really extended himself by writing with a woman protagonist AND having set his novel in a foreign country.

This book reinforced my gratitude that I live in a democratic country, with all the freedoms and privileges that Canada has to offer. I believe “Motherland” was the first novel (other than ‘Dr. Zhivago’ many years ago) that I’ve read that was set in Russia. It is fast paced, the writing flows well, yet – although police procedurals are a favourite sub-genre of mine, “Motherland” was just not in my comfort zone. The author obviously has a lot of talent, yet I’m skeptical as to whether I’ll continue on with the series.  This in no way reflects on the novel, rather it is a personal foible of mine that I want to ‘like‘ the setting, and sadly Russia just doesn’t appeal at all – though the character of Natalya did hold appeal for me. The Russian psyche is so vastly different from the Canadian psyche that I felt uncomfortable while reading it.

Motherland” meticulously sheds a spotlight on modern day Russia’s continued political corruption, rampant chauvinism, propaganda, and organized crime.  Well fleshed out characters and an expertly rendered, intricate plot assure promised success for this thriller series. A worthy addition to the suspense/crime thriller genre.

 

I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from Mirror Books via NetGalley. ** My thanks to Melanie at Mirror Books for inviting me to be part of the blog tour **Check out the other stops on the “Motherland” blog tour:

G. D. ABSON was born in County Durham (England) and grew up on army bases in Germany and Singapore before returning to the North-East. He works as a freelance business analyst and lives in the South West of England. He has cultivated contacts in the St Petersburg police force in order to write this novel, and has more Natalya Ivanova crime novels planned.

Follow G.D. Abson on Twitter.

Posted in 1st in series, Book Reviews, Mystery fiction, NetGalley | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

Wednesday’s Word = Lies (Cover Love redux)

This is a new spin on my Cover Love posts. Although I still plan to continue my Cover Love series, I just thought it would be sort of fun to concentrate on title words for a change – instead of pictures.  Most readers will acknowledge that some words reappear time and time again in titles.  Often these words are associated with a particular genre.  Case in point: “The girl on the train” and “Gone girl” spawned countless thriller titles with the word ‘girl’ in the title.

Today, for the third edition of Wednesday Word, I’ve chosen the word “Lies“.  I know there are countless books with the word lies in the title. I’m featuring 20 fairly recent titles that appeal to me personally, as a way of sharing my book love. Some of these titles I’ve read, the rest are on my TBR.

(I’ve limited myself to 20 titles as I tend to get carried away. LOL – For this post I actually had 37 titles and I had to cull 17)

Just click on the cover to read the book’s synopsis from Goodreads.
You might just find your next favorite book!

 

Are you tempted by any of these covers?

Have you read one of these titles and absolutely LOVED it?

Please let me know in the comments.

Posted in Dustjackets, Wednesday Word | Tagged | 12 Comments

“The stolen girls” by Patricia Gibney

Almost exactly a year ago, I read the first novel in Patricia Gibney’s Lottie Parker police procedural series.  It was fantastic! I’ve been meaning to read the second in the series for some time now – I’m SO glad to report that it was just as good as the first.


Those of you who haven’t yet made the acquaintance of Lottie Parker, I’ll recap.
Lottie Parker is a Garda Síochána detective inspector who lives and works in the fictional town of Ragmullin in the Irish Midlands.

Lottie is one of those wonderful ‘flawed’ protagonists.  Four years after his death, she is still grieving for her late husband, Adam. Lottie throws herself into her work – often to the detriment of her home life with her three teenage children. In her early forties, Lottie has an addictive personality and she valiantly tries to stay away from booze and cigarettes. She doesn’t eat properly and she is always tired. Also, she is slightly OCD – she is constantly counting things.

“A town where no one saw anything, very few said anything and those who did never told the whole truth.”

This time around, Lottie is back at work after an extended leave which came as a result of the closing events of the first book.  It is May in Ragmullin, yet the outside temperatures are more like mid July.  Ireland is feeling the effects of a heat wave.  Her first day back, she is tasked with a murder enquiry.  A young girl’s body has been found by a road works crew in downtown Ragmullin. The girl had been shot in the back and buried in the recently dug-up road.  Also, forensic reports say she was four months pregnant, AND has had surgery recently that removed one of her kidneys.

On the home front, Lottie is as out of her depth as ever.  Two of her children, Katie and Sean, are still traumatized by events in the first novel, while the third child, sixteen-year-old Chloe, is increasingly secretive, sulky, or volatile.

Meanwhile the Garda have no leads on who the victim is, let alone leads on who might have killed her.  When a second body of a young girl is found by Andri Petrovci, the very same road works worker, he becomes a prime suspect.  The second girl also shows signs of having a kidney removed.

Lottie’s point of view is not the only one in the book. We come to learn about the desperate and dire experiences of a young boy in Kosov0 in 1999.  His experiences were hard to read, and the author more than explicitly describes the atrocities that took place there during that time.

Also, we occasionally read the point of view of a captive young woman who is suffering a violent and heinous abduction.

Lottie Parker’s second in command, Mark Boyd is fighting his own demons, yet remains loyal to Lottie at all times.

“She wondered how she could juggle her day to fit in everything she had to do.”

Lottie is riddled with guilt and is constantly fighting a losing battle with the home/work balance.  When she is home she feels she should be working, when she is working, she feels she should be at home.  The proverbial ‘Catch-22’. In addition, her fatigue is palpable, as is her growing attraction to DS Mark Boyd.

“She felt her heart breaking for the frightfulness of the world and feared for the very soul of the human race.”

When a young woman, Mimoza Barbatovci, visits Lottie at her home accompanied by her young son, Lottie has one more worry added to the myriad she already has.  Mimoza leaves Lottie a note written in Albanian.  How did this young woman come to have Lottie’s dead husband’s uniform name badge?

Lottie and Boyd’s investigations take them to a  ‘direct provision centre‘ run by a man named Dan Russell. He is an ex-army man who once worked in Kosovo with Lottie’s late husband, Adam.

“Daily routines continued while evil lurked behind closed doors”

When one of Chloe’s school friends goes missing, and another body is found, Lottie’s life spirals out of control.  The final pages of the book fairly dripped with tension…

Excellent characterization and a compelling plot are the highlights of this novel. With themes of rape, organized crime, human trafficking, illegal organ harvesting, and self-harm, it was an extremely difficult read at times.  It certainly reinforced the idea of ‘mans inhumanity to man‘. I highly recommend this novel, and this series, to readers of crime fiction who are not deterred by graphic violence, and emotionally draining circumstances. I hope that not too much more time passes before I get the opportunity to read the 3rd novel in this stellar series.

My sincere gratitude to Patricia Gibney and her publisher Bookouture for providing me with a digital copy of this novel via NetGalley.

Read what the author has said about her character, Lottie Parker.

Read my review of the first title in the Lottie Parker series: “The missing ones”.

Patricia Gibney is a widow and the mother of three children. She lives in Mullingar, Ireland. She started writing, for therapy, when her husband Aidan died.
She secured an agent in January 2016 and she joined The Irish Writers Centre. She loves reading crime thrillers. The second novel in the series, features Lottie Parker and a host of credible characters. They are all part of her extended family, you know the kind – people you love one minute and want to kill the next!

Follow Patricia Gibney on Twitter or, visit her website.

 

Posted in Book Reviews, Mystery fiction, NetGalley | Tagged , , , , | 13 Comments

Frustration: a chat transcript

Most of you folks know that I live in Canada.  Recently I received a ‘gift’ book from an author who wants me to review her book.  Wonderful? YES.  However… the gift was a gift card for Amazon.com

Although I do have an account with Amazon.com and I can purchase any ‘physical’ book or other item, I cannot buy Ebooks from them. The site redirects me to Amazon.ca.  Therefore, I cannot use the gift to buy the author’s book.

In my infinite wisdom, I thought I’d contact Amazon and attempt to get my gift voucher transferred from my Amazon.com account to my Amazon.ca account.

101 minutes and ELEVENcustomer service associates‘ later, I finally got a result – and my book was loaded on my Kindle.

Thought you’d get a giggle out of my frustration.  Here is the transcript of my CHAT.

Take note of the .ca and the .com references.

I dare anyone to tell me that I did not WORK for that book!  LOL

This is the screenshot I sent them

Have you ever encountered such ridiculous red-tape?  I mean seriously…. ELEVEN different people in supposedly eleven different departments.

Well that’s it.  My RANT for the day.  Thanks for listening reading.

Posted in ramblings & miscellanea | Tagged , , | 63 Comments