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review 2017-02-20 22:01
Audio/Book Review of The Healer by Christoph Fischer
The Healer - Christoph Fischer

When advertising executive Erica Whittaker is diagnosed with terminal cancer, western medicine fails her. The only hope left for her to survive is controversial healer Arpan. She locates the man whose touch could heal her but finds he has retired from the limelight and refuses to treat her. Erica, consumed by stage four pancreatic cancer, is desperate and desperate people are no longer logical nor are they willing to take no for an answer. Arpan has retired for good reasons. casting more than the shadow of a doubt over his abilities. So begins a journey that will challenge them both as the past threatens to catch up with him as much as with her. Can he really heal her? Can she trust him with her life? And will they both achieve what they set out to do before running out of time?

 

Review 4*

 

This is an intriguing psychological/medical thriller. I really enjoyed it!

 

I received a complimentary gift copy of this book in audio format from the author with no expectation of a positive review. This is my honest opinion.

 

This audiobook is narrated by Georgina Tate. She has a clear reading voice. Unfortunately, I was not keen on her reading style. She read the story in a jerky fashion in my opinion, taking unnecessary breaths in the middle of a sentence where no comma should be, and her pacing was a little too slow for my taste. She also did not modulate her voice or change her tone often, which made some sections rather monotonous. She also didn't even attempt to give the characters different tones or accents. This, in itself is not necessarily a bad thing, as not many people can do accents. Nevertheless, it made me feel a little bored at times and I considered switching over to a different story. However, I persevered right until the end.

 

Erica Whittaker is an interesting character. She is a woman who has been diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer. After a course of chemo that leaves her feeling extremely ill, she turns in desperation to a faith healer called Arpan, who has retired to the wilds of Wales, in an attempt to cure it.

 

I found myself intrigued with the storyline, which is told through the eyes of Erica. I also found some of the dialogue a bit clunky and repetitive, especially in the beginning where Erica first meets Arpan and tries to convince him to heal her. Arpan is an interesting character. He has retired from the limelight as a healer after a healing went wrong and his client died, which created a media circus. He is extremely reluctant to heal Erica and it's not until later in the story that one discovers the reason why. He also has an apprentice called Anuge (sorry, not sure of spelling). What got me curious about this situation is that if he's not practicing healing, why did he have an apprentice? Anyway, as the story unfolded, the mystery and suspense surrounding Arpan's apparent retirement comes to light when a drug company comes calling. I must admit there are several twists to this story that I didn't see coming, though I did have suspicions about a few things that I deduced correctly when they were revealed. The ending, however, left me feeling with a blend of surprise and disgust at how an innocent person can have their life ruined by either a potentially deadly mistake or a deliberate scam. The author has left the ending a little vague so a reader can make their own conclusion on this point.

 

Christoph Fischer is a relatively new author to me in that I've only read some of his short stories in an anthology he contributed to. Nevertheless, I love his writing style and, if I had read this book rather than listened to it, I think I would have enjoyed it better flow-wise. I would definitely read more of his books in the future.

 

Although there are no scenes of a sexual nature, violence or profane language, I do not recommend this book to younger readers due to the dark subject matter. I do, however, highly recommend this book if you love psychological or medical thrillers. - Lynn Worton

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review 2017-02-15 08:09
Review: Blink by K. L. Slater
Blink - K. Slater

Published by: Bookouture (16 February 2017)

 

ISBN-13: 978-1786811295

 

Source: NetGalley

 

Rating: 4*

 

Synopsis:

Three years ago, Toni’s five-year-old daughter Evie disappeared after leaving school. The police have never been able to find her. There were no witnesses, no CCTV, no trace. 

But Toni believes her daughter is alive. And as she begins to silently piece together her memories, the full story of the past begins to reveal itself, and a devastating truth.

Toni’s mind is trapped in a world of silence, her only chance to save herself is to manage the impossible. She must find a way to make herself heard. She must find her daughter. 

 

Review:

We're given a lot of information about the main characters in this book, so we get to learn a fair bit about Toni and little Evie, and their life together before Evie's disappearance. I really like it when authors give more background on characters as it makes me feel I know them a bit more, like friends, maybe; or neighbours. Perhaps this is why I felt so invested in Toni - I was rooting for her from the beginning. I got exasperated alongside her and anxious about her, as well as silently (I read quite a lot of this book in a public place!) willing her do/not do certain things! All the characters here are believable and very well written.

 

As with the author's previous book, Safe With Me, the narrative switches between the present time and a point in the past. In this book, however, I think it comes across almost seamlessly; much improved since the author's debut novel. The point in the past is the time of Evie's disappearance, upon which the tension builds and builds like a pressure cooker.

 

I was so shocked by the killer twist, which I definitely didn't see coming! To say any more would give the game away, but...wow! I found this book compelling in places would recommend it to fans of psychological thrillers.

Thanks to K. L. Slater, Bookouture and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in return for my honest review. 

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review 2017-02-14 21:37
Book Review of The Survivors (A Jazz Nemesis novel Book 3) by L.M. Smith
The Survivors (A Jazz Nemesis novel Book 3) - L.J. Smith,L.J. Smith

Abandoned by her lover.
Reunited with her father.
Ardently pursued by a man who has vowed to never leave her side.

 

From within the protective walls of Sanctuary, Jasmine and her friends find themselves numbered among a throng of refugees fleeing a world under constant assault from all sides. The horrors of The Maya Virus were just the beginning as nations emboldened by chaos succumb to the temptations of nuclear warfare, religious zealots employ drastic tactics against their rivals, and Mother Nature herself seems determined to destroy all that remains.

 

As governments crumble and factions unfold, the pressure is on for Jazz to take sides and declare her allegiance, but the rules are unclear and the lines may not be as cleanly drawn as some would have her believe. An ancient secret society disguised as a wealthy corporation creeps comfortably into a position of power; a struggling republic determined to maintain some semblance of normalcy clings to what little control it has left; a faithful crowd amasses to worship a newly emerged and powerful figurehead of myth and legend; an unlikely army forms in obscurity, it’s awesome power hidden from all who would seek to destroy it; and then there’s Damien, quite possibly Jasmine’s greatest temptation to date.

 

The fiercest war mankind has ever known is percolating on the horizon. What would you be willing to sacrifice to be counted among The Survivors?

 

Review 5*

 

This is the third book in the Jazz Nemesis series. I absolutely LOVED it!

 

Jasmine Marshall (Jazz to her friends) is an intriguing character. I really liked her when I first met her in The Citizens. Thanks to the experiments done to her (and her friends) in the first book, she has the ability to feel emotions of those around her and has become an empath. Together with the others in her group: Piper (a vampire), Kaori (a teenager with power of telekinesis), Beck (a US Marine inhabited by an angel) and Gabriel (a feisty Scot with the ability to become invisible whom they met in book 2), Jazz finds herself taking shelter in Sanctuary, an underground bunker protecting refugees from the Maya Virus that is devastating the world. There she comes face to face with someone she never thought she would meet again, her father.

 

I have been wanting to read this book for some time. Unfortunately, due to my large reading list, it's taken me longer than planned to get to read it. I must admit that it's been a while since I read the second book, The Refugees, and some of the original excitement I had for this series has ebbed. However, this is not to say that my enjoyment of this book was diminished, only more tempered.

 

This is a fast paced, thrilling ride of rollercoaster proportions and has had my heart pounding with dread and excitement in equal measure. The story is so well written it felt like I was actually there, watching it all happen. I found myself turning the pages, just to find out what mysteries would be solved, only to have more questions pop up! This book is told through the eyes of Jazz and Beck. This gives the reader an insight into their thoughts and feelings. This book also has more of a religious aspect to it, what with the mention of Armageddon and Beck's angelic role in it. But, there is also a feeling of an alien invasion (like Independence Day or The Day The Earth Stood Still) with a mysterious artifact from outer space threatening the safety of the world. However, to avoid any spoilers, I'll not say much more. I will say that there are several twists to keep things interesting and a few secrets revealed, though more are still lurking unanswered in the pages. Nevertheless, the author has left me eager to find out what happens next. Although the book doesn't finish on a cliffhanger as such, it concludes in such a way that it sets it up for the next book, which I am now looking forward to reading as soon as possible.

 

L.M. Smith has written a fantastic psychological thriller that also crosses several other genres, especially paranormal fiction and dystopian fiction. I love her fast paced writing style, and the flow is wonderful. I have added this author to my favourites list, and will read any of her books in the future.

 

I highly recommend this book if you love psychological thrillers, paranormal fiction, YA dystopian fiction, horror or urban fantasy. - Lynn Worton

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review 2017-02-03 23:40
Saving Sophie by Sam Carrington
Saving Sophie: A gripping psychological thriller with a brilliant twist - Sam Carrington

Saving Sophie is Sam Carrington's debut psychological thriller, and has been attracting a fair bit of chatter on social media, in addition to some glowing reviews. This prompted me to purchase a copy and pop along to her first ever book signing at Waterstones in Newton Abbot!

 

Published by: Avon (15 December 2016)

 

ISBN: 978-0008191818

 

Rating: 5*

 

Synopsis:

When Karen Finch’s seventeen-year-old daughter Sophie arrives home after a night out, drunk and accompanied by police officers, no one is smiling the morning after. But Sophie remembers nothing about how she got into such a state.

Twelve hours later, Sophie’s friend Amy has still not returned home. Then the body of a young woman is found.

Karen is sure that Sophie knows more than she is letting on. But Karen has her own demons to fight. She struggles to go beyond her own door without a panic attack.

As she becomes convinced that Sophie is not only involved but also in danger, Karen must confront her own anxieties to stop whoever killed one young girl moving on to another – Sophie.

 

Review:

The events that occur after teenager Sophie arrives home are narrated in turn from the perspectives of Karen Finch, Sophie's mum; Detective Inspector Wade, lead investigator; and Sophie herself. This means there is a wonderfully rich blend of information and opinion.

From the time that Sophie was escorted home by the police officers, it was pretty clear to me that something petty serious had happened, and I was hooked. I couldn't put the book down as I was desperate to find out what had happened that night. With each chapter, more is revealed about the narrator too. The story takes shape as Sam Carrington's captivating writing style reveals secrets, as twists and turns are deftly woven in and the reader is pulled in too.

Sophie has a pretty dysfunctional relationship with her mother, but it's hardly surprising as Karen has so many issues herself. Although I initially felt empathy for Karen, after a while I became a little annoyed with her; her daughter is very likely in danger and she seems more concerned about other things! Karen's husband, Mike, doesn't score highly on the parenting scale either. In a book, I do enjoy the characters that irritate me, that really get under my skin. They are much better that the too-nice characters that are just too eager to please. Give me a bad guy, as in genuinely bad, any day! 

I really like the way the story builds with each chapter, adding in more twists, until nobody knows who to trust. Then, Sam Carrington pulls it out of the bag  -  an unforseen final twist! I gave an audible gasp! It would've been much louder and followed by 'Nooooooooooooo!' but it was 4a.m. and I didn't want to wake:

1 - the man that was snoring beside me.

2 - the dog that was asleep on my feet, snoring contentedly.

I'm happy to report that Sam Carrington is busy with her second novel, which I'll definitely be purchasing when it arrives in all good book stores.

 

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review 2017-01-31 20:25
Right Behind You
Right Behind You - Lisa Gardner

By: Lisa Gardner

Quincy & Rainie, #7 

ISBN: 978-0525954583‚Äč

Publisher: Dutton 

Publication Date: 1/31/2017 

Format: Other 

My Rating: 5 Stars + +

 

Psychologically rich. Meticulously researched. Thought-provoking. Edge-of-your-seat thriller. Emotional. Gripping. Suspenseful. Gardner’s Best Yet! Top Books of 2017. 5 Stars +++

The "queen" of crime thrillers, Lisa Gardner returns to Bakersville, Oregon, following Find Her (2016) and the latest tantalizing prequel teaser: The 4th Man (Quincy & Rainie #6.5) with RIGHT BEHIND YOU — with fan favorites, highly anticipated retired FBI profiler and former police officer Quincy & Rainie dynamic duo: A heart-pounding, emotional, and gripping suspense crime thriller.

Fans will devour. Humans are complex. Hearts will go out to this brother and sister duo. Professional and personal lives connect. Where nothing is as it appears.

"Had a family once. Father. Mothers. Sister. Lived in our very own double-wide."

The opening takes us to a scene of domestic violence, abuse, and neglect. Two siblings. A brother and a younger sister. A brutal murder. A troubled past. Childhood trauma.

Flash forward years later, we catch up with Quincy and Rainie, retired FBI agent and former police officer, called in on a case, working with the local authorities in Oregon.

With the past books, Quincy was an FBI profiler and met Rainie, a deputy in Bakersville while working on a school shooting case. Now, both retired, they work together consulting on cold cases, or murders outside the police department’s norm.

They are experts in monsters. Homes can be broken. Can the members be mended by the love of others?

When Sharlah (5) and Telly (9) spent day and night trying to escape the violence of their parents- subjected to the unspeakable. Not a life, for an innocent and helpless boy and girl. There was no one to protect them from harm. The kids had to fend for themselves.

One night things get heated and the father tries to kill them. Telly comes to his sister’s rescue and the parents are murdered. They wind up in foster care separated.

Of course, Sharlah knows all too well about monsters. Her parents are dead, with no surviving relatives. Just a brother, four years older than her. She has not seen or heard from him since. She was very young and does not remember a lot about the night her parents died. No one talks about her brother. She has post-traumatic stress, and continues to go to therapy.

She had come to Rainie and Quincy with a case history of antisocial tendencies. They had qualified as foster parents despite Quincy's advanced years, and Rainie's continued struggle with alcohol. They plan on adoption. There is always a pull here with three different personalities.

Quincy was considered an expert in bonding. Sharlah was not easy. She was a lost girl. Broken. One who had been subjected to hardship and violence and had built the corresponding protective layers. She did not trust easily, nor reach out, with a lack of faith. However, she bonded with their dog, Luka. They were inseparable.

She was broken inside. Sharlah had been in their home for three years and they were close to adoption. She respects her soon to be parents and the work they do. However, she does not realize, nor do they, how she is connected to the case. The meaning of family. Everyone involved is part of this family unit.

Quincy is the quiet one; and Rainie, the emotional one. Sharlah really loves them, but not quite sure how to express her feelings. She has her guard up all the time. She knows they are experts in monsters, like herself. If you have read the other books in the series, you know the difficult journey this couple has traveled.

They are giving back by being foster parents to teenage daughter Sharlah, and their dog Luka. Luka is a former police officer. A trained member of law enforcement. He had to retire at five with a bum knee and not strong enough for active duty. Quincy got him for a cop friend and now he is Sharlah’s best friend. She was ten when she arrived in their home and had already been placed in many others.

We also meet Shelly the local small town Sherriff and fugitive tracker, Cal - nice added characters. There has been a shooting at the EZ Gas station in Bakersville, a backwoods town between Portland and Salem. Three victims. Multiple gun shots. A killer is on the loose.

They soon discover as the investigation is underway; there is a foster teen boy, who appears to be the perpetrator on a shooting spree. Why? What set him off? Could it possibly be Sharlah’s brother? The evidence is pointing his way.

He had been so good with his little sister, had read to her, taken her to the library and caring for her needs. Protecting her. However, upon their parent’s death, the siblings had been separated.

Quincy and Rainie fear for their daughter. Is Telly out to harm her? Where will he strike next? A psychotic break. A killer on the loose?

However, has Telly, the brother really killed his foster parents and the victims at the gas station? Or is it someone else? Why does he have photos of Sharlah?

As Quincy and Rainie fear for the safety of their own family and Sharlah, they also must dig deeper to understand what really happened all those years ago, at the murder scene to make sense of the events unfolding in the present.

The brother and sister duo have not seen or heard from one another for eight years. Why now? Did Sharlah have her own memories hidden away? Does she remember what went down that night so long ago? Is a brother trying to protect his sister, still today, after all these years?

One more person to kill. Secrets. Family is about trust.

The suspense builds as Gardner takes you back to the trailer, to the night it all began. The innocent lives of two young siblings and the painful cruel hand they were dealt. From tragedy, loss, pain, and trauma, to love, loyalty, and deep connections.

INTENSE! The author grabs you from page one (grabbed me with the preview included in The 4th Man) and never lets go, not even for a second. I knew I had to read this story. It is a "read in one sitting" kind of suspense. Psychologically rich, one of the best crime thrillers I have read this year. In addition, a vivid portrayal of the foster care system and the impact of both parents, and children have on one another.

With meticulous research and skillful crafting, Gardner combines law enforcement, profiling, cop procedures, domestic violence, foster care, social issues, juvenile system, adoption, alcoholism, at-risk kids, addiction, spree killing, fugitive tracking, crime, mystery, and suspense. It has it ALL.

In addition, to being a huge Quincy and Rainie and Gardner fan, (quickly going back to buy the previous audiobooks, to catch up); loved the relationship between Telly and Sharlah, and my favorite was the twist with Sandra and Frank (Telly’s foster parents), Sandra’s intriguing past and her relationship with Telly. Highly creative as the two families are intertwined. And let’s not forget the skill and love of a loyal dog.

Buy RIGHT BEHIND YOU, today! Gardner pulls out all the stops. Cannot wait for the next. Here’s hoping for more Quincy, Rainie, Telly and Sharlah. Gardner can flat out write complex crime, and spin a tale, like no one else.

A special thank you to Dutton and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

JDCMustReadBooks

"Right Behind You" continues one of Gardner's frequent themes: that danger often lies close to home.

 

 




By Amy Wang | The Oregonian/OregonLive (Great interview).

Gardner's next book will be a follow-up to her 2016 hit "Find Her," part of her Detective D.D. Warren series and a return engagement for her character Flora Dane. "I'm working on a novel now where a family has been murdered but, to be different, the 16-year-old daughter is missing," Gardner said.

The question the police must answer is whether the girl was involved in the crime or was kidnapped. Fans can once again nominate themselves or a loved one to appear in the book by entering Gardner's Kill a Friend, Maim a Buddy Sweepstakes. Read More

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/11/01/Right-Behind-You
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