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review 2018-04-22 11:00
Murder Takes the High Road by Josh Lanyon

From award-winning male/male author Josh Lanyon: a librarian finds himself in a plot right out of one of his favorite mystery novels.

Librarian Carter Matheson is determined to enjoy himself on a Scottish bus tour for fans of mystery author Dame Vanessa Rayburn. Sure, his ex, Trevor, will also be on the trip with his new boyfriend, leaving Carter to share a room with a stranger, but he can’t pass up a chance to meet his favorite author.

Carter’s roommate turns out to be John Knight, a figure as mysterious as any character from Vanessa’s books. His strange affect and nighttime wanderings make Carter suspicious. When a fellow traveler’s death sparks rumors of foul play, Carter is left wondering if there’s anyone on the tour he can trust.

Drawn into the intrigue, Carter searches for answers, trying to fend off his growing attraction toward John. As the unexplained tragedies continue, the whole tour must face the fact that there may be a murderer in their midst—but who?

 

~

 

Review

 

Length – 60k
Cover – Perfect!
POV – 1st person, one character
Would I read it again – Yes!
Genre – LGBT, Murder Mystery, Crime, Romance, Adventure
Triggers – historical murder, contemporary murder, brief violence


** COPY RECEIVED THROUGH NETGALLEY **
Reviewed for Divine Magazine


This is my first book by Josh Lanyon, only because I'm constantly prioritizing my review books over those I've bought for myself. I'll be bumping those books up on my priority list, after this.

Now, just an FYI – I've watched every episode of Midsomer Murders, CSI: Vegas, Murder She Wrote, Columbo, Vera, everything Agatha Christie. I've read every Sherlock Holmes, historical mysteries by Elizabeth Peters. I've watched more true crime shows than I can count. I generally – about 85% of the time – get it right. Be forewarned, that I went into this hoping it would be a mystery and it was. I still figured out who the killer was before the halfway mark, but I hadn't quite figured out all of the who or the why. And I can say that I was thoroughly impressed by how it was all put together, how it was laid out, when it all came together, and the final big reveal. It was a brilliantly done mystery, by someone who lives them every day vicariously through TV and books.

~

The main character, who provides the POV, is Carter – and he's everything I could have wanted in a main character. He's a librarian, so has a vast wealth of knowledge on multiple subjects; he's a murder mystery buff, who loves the books that the tour follows, so knows what signs to look for; he's smart, instinctive, and just logical enough to second guess the more ludicrous ideas, the question everything, even himself, and to provide all the snarky I could want in a disillusioned romantic.

I love that the recent break up of Carter and Trevor wasn't just glossed over, but was a pivotal used throughout the book, adding distractions, an extra air of mystery, and another suspect that he kept a naturally close eye on. I also love how it played into Carter's mindset – he was instantly doubtful of his feelings and thoughts, because he'd just discovered that he'd been wrong about Trevor for years.

The rest of the cast were brilliantly written, and not shoved to the side as some secondary characters can be. They all had their part to play. From the manipulative and myster-buffs Rose and Sally, to the enigmatic Ben and his mother, Yvonne, the constantly-disappearing and mysterious John. There were the secretive foursome of teachers who knew each other before the tour, Trevor and his new boyfriend, secret-keeper Alison who was the tour guide, and the understated pairing of Nedda and her husband Wally, and finally the assistant Elizabeth. All of whom could easily have been in on the plan.

The vast array of characters made for interesting reading, a lot of speculation, and a lot of innocent innocuous goings on that might not mean anything at the time, but couldn't be important later. Which is exactly what you want in a mystery; lots of suspects, lots of potential clues, and lots of intrigue.

I love that the tour bus of people – Tours to Die For – were recommended to sit with a different person for each meal, despite having a stable room mate. It meant that Carter could get to know everyone independently, without it feeling forced or too coincidental. I also love that they were all massive fans of the fictional author, Vanessa, which meant they often discussed her, her history, and her works, which allows us readers to get a deeper feel for the person who had brought them all together. I loved the amount of detail that was put into Vanessa's character and how it wove the plot together.

Being Scottish – half Edinburgh area and half Glasgow area, and a regularly holiday-goer to Argyll and Bute – I was worried that I'd read this book and be bogged down by the horrible inaccuracies that are so often made. I've read books written by non-Scottish people that focus far too heavily on the stereotypical, even going so far as to write the accent, which becomes tedious, especially when done wrong. This one didn't even make me stop to consider the acurateness – everything was recognisable, relatable, understandable and as far from stereotypical as possible. The author really did their research (as explained at the end, by a real life tour of Scotland) and made it possible to feel like we, the reader, were taking the tour along with the characters. There was a perfect amount of attention to detail, description, and scenery that made it possible to follow the dips and flows of even the briefest tourist stop. It was an added benefit that the author chose to show it all from an American tourists POV, accounting for the strange and unknown, the unpronounceable or non-understandable, without making it sound or feel stereotypical or insulting.

I'm not going to say too much about the plot, because there's a lot I can't say without ruining it for anyone about to read it. And you all should. It's great fun, with suspense and intrigue all throughout, a dash of romance, drama and mystery laced in between. The romance is a slow-burn, but also insta-love in some ways. I loved how it was done – slowly easing from strangers to acquaintances, then moving Carter and his beau through circumstances that bring them closer and closer. Despite how short the actual time is between strangers to lovers, the progression feels natural and Carter is smart enough to question it, his beau is smart enough to question whether it's just a rebound. It's natural and relatable.

What I can say is that I loved Carter from the get-go. He was brilliantly sceptical and curious. I liked that he used his librarian resources and instinct, logical reasoning, and didn't become the stereotypical busybody shoving his way into everyone's business, while trying to solve a crime all by himself. He was basically dragged into the position of crime-solver, reluctantly, so, and did it because his curiosity wouldn't let go, which was great. I loved that people naturally gravitated towards him, because everyone knew his motive for being on the trip from the first day, and he was a source of safety and security to the others, in a sea of strangers they couldn't trust.

It was also really nice to see that the cast weren't your stereotypical 20-something stud-boys. These were real men, with all characters 40+. Carter mentions that he's forty and probably the youngest of the tour, but you never really know the actual ages of everyone else involved, but it's suggested that they at least 60+, especially when the possibility of one of them dying naturally while on the tour is presented. At times, I often forgot that fact, because they were all spritely and well written characters, not your typical cranky old men or women with zimmers. These were realistic men and women in their later years, who were just like anyone else's mum or dad, gran or grandad.

~

This was a roller coaster of classic murder mystery who-dun-it. Full of twists, turns, and misdirects, it can stand up there with some of the best in the genre. I can't wait to read more.

~

Favourite Quote

There were a lot of great one-liners in this book, which made it even more enjoyable.

““Was that or was it not a sinister look?” I whispered to John.
“I can't tell. She always looks that way to me. If she had fangs, she'd have bared them at you. That I can confirm.”

“He broke off as the sound of a gong reverberated from below. “What the hell was that?”
“The dinner gong, you barbarian.”
“The dinner gong? That sounded like we just declared war.”

Source: www.carinapress.com/shop/books/9781459293595_murder-takes-the-high-road.html
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review 2018-04-21 18:51
Annoyingly vague review
Closed Circles (Sandhamn Murders Book 2) - Viveca Sten,Laura A. Wideburg

Ya know what's frustrating? Like lips moving from Heaven to flapping at you frustrating? NOT BEING ABLE TO TELL YOU WHY THIS ISN'T A 4-STAR REVIEW. Because major, major spoilers would be required for me to do that.

 

Minor irks: Carina and Thomas are brought up and dropped in the space of a few sentences. I'd like more of that please. The partial resolution of Nora's marital woes is a good start, but this entry has next to no Nora-and-Thomas time and I missed it. The Eva subplot's resolution doesn't seem finished, somehow. It seems unlikely to be complete as it stands and it itches for that reason.

 

Something about these books and their lutefisk-and-cardamom atmosphere makes me crave a jalapeño cheeseburger. I guess that's an index of how very Swedish they are. And how cozy are they? So cozy I want to cruise the piers (I'd have to learn to time-travel, but that's just an added bonus) to recover from the wholesome.

 

So all in all, a good read and a series I can recommend to my smut-averse, violence-averse puzzle-solving friends.

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review 2018-04-21 15:18
The Scarecrow Queen - Melinda Salisbury

“In every fairy tale there is a kernel of truth, and that is the truth of this one. For him, I am poison. I am his death. And I will deliver.” 

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text 2018-04-20 15:16
Movie Review: Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

 

 

I’m a fan of Marvel Cinematic and have enjoyed the films produced, some are better then others, but I still enjoy watching them all and seeing the big picture. My favorites or the Iron Man movies and The Avengers. I’m a fan of the Black Widow. As for Thor I’ve enjoyed the movies, but they weren’t great. It has felt like Thor has gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to his films until now.

 

Here in Thor: Ragnarok I was blown away. It was AMAZING and is by far the best prediction of a Thor franchise movie to date.

 

Thor’s been searching for the Infinity Stones and has seen Ragnarok in his dreams. He’s trying to prevent the end of days.

 

I laughed so hard in this movie. Their was one funny moment after another. The cinema tronics was spectacular. I loved the storyline. Loved the characters and seeing them grow and make new friendships.

 

I have to say my favorites in this film are the two lead females. We have our evil Goddess Hela and the introduction of a Valkyrie. The introduction of these two strong women was marvelous. Even though Hela is evil, she was wickedly terrific to watch. Cate Blanchett played the role superbly. Just watching Hela do her evil thing was cool to see. Then our Valkyrie who is in a dark place, but finds her way out and stands tall once again.

 

Then of course Loki, Thor and Hulk where amazing as well. I liked seeing the brothers together again. Thor has grown and learned that Loki will always be the trickster, still doing the same thing over and over, yet in the end they fight together to safe lives. Then we have Hulk and Thor spending time together and making a friendship, a deeper friendship. We also get to see the Hulk character and how he wants people to see him as more and on the plant he is on, he is the Champaign.

 

Thor: Ragnarok has no shortage of action, adventure, and humor. By far one of my favorites.

 

 

Bought Video

 

 

 

 

I was born and raised in Northern Indiana. I’m an outdoor sun loving reader living near San Fransisco. I’m a mother, wife, dog owner, animal, and book lover. I’m the owner, reviewer, and mind behind Angel’s Guilty Pleasures. My favorite animals are horses & dogs. As for reading I love all things paranormal & urban fantasy. My favorite shifters are dragons!

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Source: angelsguiltypleasures.com/2018/04/movie-review-thor-ragnarok-2017
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review 2018-04-20 10:00
Release Day Review! Shifter Bound (Pack Bound #3) Leisl Leighton!
Shifter Bound (Pack Bound) - Leisl Leighton

 

 

One pack, one coven, a destiny intertwined...

Five hundred years ago, facing extinction, a group of powerful witches united to create a pact with the Were to save witch-kind. The pact expelled an ancient evil, known only as the Darkness, that was blocking the Were from their wolves. With the Darkness destroyed, the Packs and their Covens grew strong as they thrived beside each other in their brand-new world.

But the Darkness was not destroyed.

Shifter-Witch Eloise O’Brien has betrayed her Coven and almost killed her brother to save the Were Pack she’d infiltrated as a spy. Now living with the Were she once feared and hated, she learns the truth of who she really is—the prophesied Nexus. A witch of unspeakable power, she must make a choice between the light and the dark, between Iain McShane, the Lone Wolf she is coming to love, and her once beloved brother and Coven who are now working for the Darkness.

 

 

 

The intriguing Pack Bound saga continues in another thrilling romance that keeps readers on the edge of their seat as the wolves and the witches struggle to accept the changes that are taking place in the pack and with the never ending attacks by their evil nemesis.

 

All the characters in this series are strong and compelling, easily captivating readers with their lives and their romances and Eloise and Iain have a strong sizzling attraction that is pulls them together but their romance is full of strife and upheaval that tugs at readers’ heartstrings and keeps them fully invested in the story emotionally as well as being kept intrigued with every things that is going on. 

 

The suspense and intrigue of all the exciting events that take place in this story keeps readers on the edge of their seat with anticipation as well as keeping them wondering just how the pack will overcome all the adversity and insecurities that flow from the pages as their enemy comes up with new ways to kill off the pack and anyone who gets in their way. There is lots of twists and turns to ensure that the readers can’t possible guess what will happen next.

 

I was completely caught up in the suspense of the story as well as this emotionally turbulent romance where both the hero and heroine seem to think that neither has a chance at a ‘happily ever after’. This series continues to enthrall me and their enemy continues to incite some very strong emotions from me as well, so needless to say I can’t wait to find out what happens in Moon Bound which is supposed to be released next month.

 

 

 

Shifter Bound is the 3rd book in the Pack Bound series.

 

The 4th book - Wolf Bound will be released on May 1, 2018

 

Shifter Bound is available in ebook at:

Amazon   GPlay   Kobo   B&N   iBooks   

 

Leisl Leighton can be found at:

Website   Goodreads   Twitter   Facebook

 

 

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