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review 2018-06-08 23:55
Thrills Abound in A Secret to the Grave by Jane Blythe @jblytheauthor
A Secret to the Grave (Detective Parker Bell Book 1) - Jane Blythe


Jane Blythe is a suspense/thriller writer that is on my must read list. I eagerly anticipate each book I receive from  her and she has never failed me. I am beginning her Detective Parker Bell series and know I am going to have many hours of thrills and chills.


So….let’s begin.


Cover by QDesign


A Secret To The Grave (Detective Parker Bell #1)

Amazon  /  Goodreads




Beware! Once I started, I couldn’t stop and I recommend locking your doors and turning off your phone before beginning.


Just looking at the cover for A Secret to the Grave has chills running up and down my spine, as I rub by hands together with glee, eager to dive into another series by Jane Blythe.


Detective Parker Bell and his friend and partner, Detective Skylar Wyatt are on the case and it will not be easy to unravel the who, what and why. The kidnapper has taken his first victim and left rules to the game he wants to play. Follow the clues and save some faceless women and Jane will die. Do nothing, let the women die, and Jane will live. What do you think?


The first brutal, savage, grotesque murder creates a sense of urgency for all of them…and me.


Parker struggles with his past, nightmares making sleep something to be avoided, but nine women’s lives are at stake and they are counting on him and his cohorts to save them. So, buck up. The clock is ticking…


I can hardly wait to see where Jane Blythe will take me to next. I want dark, gritty, truly terrifying suspense and death and there is no short supply of it here.


Jane Blythe kept me guessing the why of it. I love that. The women are geniuses that have their own nightmares and I keep wondering why they don’t fight back.  No matter what the maniac does to them, the women keep the secret he so desperately wants to know. Why are they willing to go peacefully (?) into that good night? They are damaged goods and I wonder, how far will they let this go before someone decides enough is enough. I love the twists and turns Jane has created. I am curious…so very curious about the secret, the real mystery.


I sure do hope curiosity doesn’t get this cat. LOL


Romance? Oh yeah…and she fights it every step of the way. Both Parker and Tessa had a hard life and remain aloof in the love department, though they have cherished friends.


The fire alarm went off at the police station, my heart began to beat faster.


A shot rings out…Oh, please, please, please, don’t let it be her.


The slow, agonizing suspense in this riveting, action packed thriller made ME want to go after HIM myself. I wanted to scream at Parker, HURRY, HURRY!!!!!


I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of A Secret to the Grave by Jane Blythe.

Animated Animals. Pictures, Images and Photos 4  Stars







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Source: www.fundinmental.com/thrills-abound-in-a-secret-to-the-grave-by-jane-blythe-jblytheauthor
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review 2018-05-31 19:41
Review: The Shepherd of the Hills
The Shepherd of the Hills - Harold Bell Wright

The year was 1999. Most of my friends at the time were in their late teens. I was twenty. We were a group obsessed with music, we all knew we were destined for a future in the auditory arts. A couple are still involved in making music; most of us gave it up a decade or more ago. We all had a faith in God, though I think that's largely been shaken at this point. Most of the time we hung out, we discussed music, movies, books, and theology. That year, we fell under the tutelage of a much older mentor. He challenged us in many ways. He inspired us to think outside of the conventions of faith and brotherhood. We loved him and we believed he loved us. He ended up being a creeper in the end, but that's a story for another time.

Every time my friends and I discussed lit, our mentor would chime in with his favorite author: Harold Bell Wright. None of us had heard of him. Wright was an author of a different time who'd largely been left behind. Our mentor swore by the brilliance and majesty ofThe Shepherd of the Hills. One by one, my friends read it and brought their opinions of the book back, and before long entire nights were spent discussing The Shepherd of the Hills. I planned on reading it back then, but life took me slightly on the outside of the group and I hadn't returned to the idea in the two decades since.

The Shepherd of the Hills was a widely successful book in its day: 1907. I can see why. It’s a gripping tale that toes some of the era’s conventions without stepping over any lines. The Shepherd of the Hills features the same kind of blend of mystery and adventure that made Mark Twain what he was, but in place of Twain’s signature witticism, Wright inserts spirituality. And this spirituality is interesting, because on one hand it feels very orthodox Christian, but on the other it is full of a mysticism that I would've imagined not accepted by people of faith at the time. Likewise, the novel has progressive thoughts regarding marriage, gender roles, and other things while at the same time remaining firmly rooted in a very conservative soil.

The Shepherd of the Hills is in part an adventure story, but it is just as much a love letter. It is a love letter to the Ozark hills of Missouri and an allegory for the love letter of Jesus. Surprisingly, considering that the author could've written a very cloying Jesus-loves-you tale without alienating his audience, Wright was cautious in laying the religious allegory on too thick. Even so, I thought the tale dragged on a bit too long for my tastes. The longer it goes, the more the plot is replaced with introspection, and the more Wright’s spiritually intriguing story is pushed aside for a traditional sermon. I think Harold Bell Wright’s story is still read today because it is just different enough and it is mechanically sound, but I do have doubts that it’ll persevere through the next generation or two. There are other authors that I believe better captured the time and they will be the ones who will be remembered in the future.

I think that if I had I read this novel in 1999, along with most of my friends, I probably would’ve “agreed” with our mentor that it was a fabulous book. That’s what you do when you’re young and under the influence of another. I might've even enjoyed it some, but in reality, I wouldn't have loved it all that much. Twenty years late to the party, I can only say that it was a fine read, certainly a good example of the twentieth century’s first decade, but it didn’t grab me the same way it grabbed him. For my former mentor, this was the book to end all books. I’m sure he had his personal reasons why this book touched him so and they probably had to do with the person he was at the moment he first read it. That’s the subjectiveness of reading. Our impression of the written word is a greater reflection of the person we are at the moment we read it than of the work itself. So all that said, if you read my review because you wanted his opinion, then by all means this a five-star book.

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review 2018-05-25 10:00
Das Beste war der Dämon
The Dark of the Moon - E.S. Bell

Jeden Tag erinnert das Loch in ihrer Brust Selena Koren daran, dass sie die Gunst ihres Gottes verlor. Eisige Kälte flutet ihren Körper bei jedem Atemzug. Seit 10 Jahren kennt sie keine Wärme – seit sie 400 unschuldige Leben opferte, um Lunos‘ Krieg mit den Zak’reth zu beenden. Sie setzte ihre beträchtliche Macht als Paladin ein und zahlt einen hohen Preis dafür. Sie würde beinahe alles tun, um die schreckliche Wunde zu schließen. Doch kann sie es verantworten, für ihren Orden der Aluren zur Attentäterin zu werden und zwei dunkle Priester der Bazira zu töten? Widerwillig übernimmt Selena die Quest, nicht ahnend, dass sie bald selbst zur Beute wird.
Sebastian Vaas ist der beste Assassine in ganz Lunos. Der Zak’reth-Krieg nahm ihm seine Familie, schenkte ihm jedoch die Erkenntnis, dass er sein Talent teuer verkaufen kann. Nach einem Jahrzehnt des Blutvergießens plant Sebastian, sich zur Ruhe zu setzen. Ein letzter Job soll seinen Ruhestand sichern. Der Orden der Bazira heuert ihn an, um einen Paladin der Aluren auszuschalten. Als er erfährt, dass Selena sein Ziel ist, die gefallene Heldin, die hunderte der Zak’reth in den Tod schickte, zögert er. Aber eine Unbekannte wird ihn nicht von seinem Ruhestand abhalten. Er nimmt den Auftrag an.
So beginnt eine wilde Jagd, die Selena und Sebastian quer durch das Inselreich führt. Zu spät begreifen sie, dass sie beide lediglich Bauern in einem viel größeren Spiel sind – und der Einsatz ist Lunos‘ Schicksal.


„The Dark of the Moon“ verwandelte mich in Dornröschen. Es langweilte mich in einen 100 Jahre andauernden Tiefschlaf. Meine Güte, war das vielleicht ÖDE. Meine Augen werden immer noch glasig, wenn ich an die Lektüre zurückdenke. Sofort stellt sich das Bedürfnis ein, einfach zur Seite zu kippen, um auf der Stelle einzuschlafen. Wie gelang es E.S. Bell, aus einer spannenden Ausgangsidee ein dermaßen dröges Buch zu kreieren? Wie ist es möglich, dass mir sogar eine Verfolgungsjagd mit Zombie-Meerjungfrauen lediglich ein müdes Gähnen entlockte? Ich glaube, der Großteil meiner Probleme hing damit zusammen, dass der Reihenauftakt äußerst vorhersehbar ist, aber bis die Autorin den erwarteten Punkt erreicht, dauert es entsetzlich lang. Sie schlachtet Szenen und Situationen bis zum Bersten aus, wodurch die Handlung qualvoll langatmig ist und nur stockend Fortschritte macht. Sie stockte vor allem dann, wenn ein Dialog ins Spiel kam, was oft der Fall war, denn „The Dark of the Moon“ ist dialoglastig. Per se ist das nicht negativ, doch leider sind ihre Dialoge vollkommen hölzern und finden im luftleeren Raum statt. Wird sich unterhalten, interagiert plötzlich niemand mehr mit der Umgebung. Die Autorin beschreibt Gespräche nur, statt sie natürlich in die Handlung zu integrieren. Dadurch entstand der Eindruck interaktiver Löcher, die meine visuelle Vorstellungskraft stark beeinträchtigten. Ich kann allerdings generell nicht behaupten, dass ich mich wohl oder angekommen gefühlt hätte, obwohl ich ein großer Fan von Seefahrer-Geschichten bin. Lunos ist ein Inselreich. Einst war es ein zusammenhängender Kontinent, bis Drachen das Reich vor tausenden von Jahren in einem schrecklichen Krieg zerstörten und die Landmasse zersplitterte. Ihre Nachfahren, die Vai’Ensai, werden deshalb noch immer mit Argwohn und Ablehnung behandelt. Idiotisch, wenn ihr mich fragt, aber okay. Lassen wir durchgehen. 10 Jahre vor der Handlung in „The Dark of the Moon“ wurde Lunos von einem weiteren Krieg erschüttert. Die gefürchteten Zak’reth raubten, plünderten und mordeten sich von Insel zu Insel. Mir ist nicht klar, wer dieses Volk eigentlich ist. Was wollten die in Lunos? Woher kamen sie? Sind es Menschen? Dämonen? Schreckensgestalten von outta space? Die Bewohner_innn waren in großer Not, sie hatten der erbarmungslosen Kriegstreiberei der Zak’reth nichts entgegen zu setzen. Erst der heldenhafte, aufopferungsvolle Einsatz von Selena Koren wendete das Blatt. Leider wurde Selena jedoch nicht belohnt, sondern ist seit diesem verhängnisvollen Tag mit einer grässlichen Wunde gestraft, die Kälte in ihren Körper atmet. Von ihrem Gott verlassen, von ihrem Orden als unrein geschnitten. Tragisch. Ich hätte Selena vermutlich bemitleiden können, wäre sie nicht ohne Fehl und Tadel. Ihre berechenbare Rechtschaffenheit ermüdete mich, weil sie keinerlei Ecken und Kanten hat. Erst gegen Ende erhält sie ein wenig Feuer, aber da war es für mich bereits zu spät. Selena wird permanent von ihrem Freund und Beschützer, dem Vai’Ensai Ilior, begleitet. Die Beziehung der beiden fand ich zum Gruseln. Ilior verhält sich Selena gegenüber wie ein bevormundender, übervorsichtiger großer Bruder. Er untergräbt ihre Autorität als Paladin. Er stellt ihre Befähigung, sich allein zu behaupten, ständig in Frage. Ich hätte ihn längst zum Teufel gejagt, besonders, da Selena gleich zwei Mordanschläge plant. Den Unterschied zwischen Aluren und Bazira habe ich ebenfalls nicht kapiert. Für mich sind beide Orden lupenreine Fanatiker und ihre Differenzen erschienen mir maximal oberflächlich. Als Höhepunkt negiert dann eine Wendung am Ende noch die gesamte Handlung des ersten Bandes, sodass ich mich fragte, warum ich den Quatsch überhaupt lesen sollte.


Gäbe es einen Preis für Bücher, die heftiges Augenrollen auslösen, „The Dark of the Moon“ hätte ihn zweifellos verdient. Der pfiffige Sebastian Vaas kann mit einem Jutesack über dem Kopf hervorragend kämpfen und unsere liebe Selena ist so clever, anzumerken, dass die stumme Mannschaft eines Schiffes ja gar nicht anders aussieht. Man möchte sich fremdschämen und hinter einer ausladenden Pflanze verstecken. Selbstredend werde ich die „Chronicles of Lunos“ nicht weiterverfolgen. Es ist schon bezeichnend, wenn meine liebste Figur in einem Buch ein bösartiger, fieser Dämon namens Svoz ist, der mit Vorliebe einen Morgenstern schwingt, während mir die Hauptcharaktere völlig am Po vorbeigehen. Svoz, hau sie doch einfach alle zu Mus.

Vielen Dank an den Verlag Trillian und Netgalley für die Bereitstellung dieses Rezensionsexemplars im Austausch für eine ehrliche Rezension!

Source: wortmagieblog.wordpress.com/2018/05/25/e-s-bell-the-dark-of-the-moon
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text 2018-05-08 14:52
VBT, EXCERPT & #GIVEAWAY - Unringing the Bell (Bucks County Mysteries #1) by Judy Higgins
Unringing the Bell - Judy Higgins

In the small town of Goose Bend, Pennsylvania, people don't forget. Especially something as sensational as 12-year-old Jacob Gillis burning down the town. Nineteen years later, Jacob returns, hoping for redemption. Instead, he finds himself entangled in a murder investigation. The prosecutor, taking advantage of Jacob's involvement with the victim's beautiful sister-in-law, threatens Jacob with loss of career and reputation if he doesn't play by his rules. Only by outwitting the prosecutor can Jacob save his future.


Source: archaeolibrarianologist.blogspot.de/2018/05/vbt-excerpt-giveaway-unringing-bell.html
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review 2018-05-02 02:01
ARC Review: Hard Line by Sidney Bell
Hard Line - Sidney Bell

Tobias is a consummate good boy. The perfect people pleaser. After announcing at a young age that he would become a doctor like his Papa, he's now stuck in premed classes he hates, but can't tell anyone. Struggling with abandonment issues all his life, after being found in a dumpster as a baby and having been adopted by a Haitian couple who provide a loving but strict home, he has tried and tried and tried to be the perfect son, the perfect friend - because if only he's perfect, people won't leave him. He remembers what happened the last time he tried to break free of his parents' expectations. It earned him a trip to the Woodbury Center, where he met Ghost and Church (whom we met in the first book). Yes, Tobias is a good boy. 

Until he isn't. 

When Ghost goes missing and Tobias realizes that he may be in trouble, he will do whatever it takes to find his friend. Including blackmailing a PI to help him.

Sullivan is that PI. He's working an old case that his boss took over from the previous owner of the firm, and he is pursuing a new trail that puts him in Tobias' path. Blackmailed into helping the younger man find his friend, he reluctantly begins to spend time with Tobias while gathering clues.

It becomes clear quickly that Sullivan possesses a quality Tobias craves. He craves it without knowing what to call it. Soon, they spend their days searching for clues and their nights exploring their mutual kink. 

This book is really a character study wrapped in a mystery/suspense plot. The author cleverly weaves Tobias' growth as a person, as an individual, as someone who figures out his own needs and wants compared to what he's been told to need and want, into the plot and provides Sullivan as the key to give Tobias wings to fly. 

Of course, standing up for yourself isn't an easy thing to do when you've been indoctrinated all your life to do for others, to sacrifice your own wants and needs, to stay the course laid out for you by someone else, while grappling with crushing guilt and fears of abandonment. All too often, we attempt to change ourselves, only to be told by those we love to change back. To revert to who and what we were, because change is hard. It's difficult, not only for the person changing, but also for the people in your lives who may not understand your need to become someone different. Some people will withhold their affection because you've decided to become a truer version of yourself, and if you fear losing them, if you don't meet their expectations - well.... That takes a lot of strength to overcome.

Tobias learns that people don't always leave because he's not perfect. Tobias learns to trust himself. Tobias learns to trust Sullivan. 

And Sullivan learns to trust Tobias. It takes him a bit longer to see the younger man clearly, but eventually, he does. 

The mystery/suspense - yeah, not going to give anything away here. I will say though that it had some twists and turns I didn't expect, and it kept me glued to the pages until the very end. 

I really enjoyed this book. I enjoyed it even more so than the first one. While it could be read as a standalone, I think it would make more sense to someone who's read the first one - there is some background info that should be present for this book to have the full impact. 

And, honestly, why wouldn't you read both? Sidney Bell has written a fabulous follow-up to the first book, and they are both well worth your time!

** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher via Netgalley. A positive review was not promised in return. **

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