Trust No One by Paul Cleave

Trust No OneTrust No One by Paul Cleave

In the exciting new psychological thriller by the Edgar-nominated author of Joe Victim, a famous crime writer struggles to differentiate between his own reality and the frightening plot lines he’s created for the page.

Jerry Grey is known to most of the world by his crime writing pseudonym, Henry Cutter-a name that has been keeping readers at the edge of their seats for more than a decade. Recently diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s at the age of forty-nine, Jerry’s crime writing days are coming to an end. His twelve books tell stories of brutal murders committed by bad men, of a world out of balance, of victims finding the darkest forms of justice. As his dementia begins to break down the wall between his life and the lives of the characters he has created, Jerry confesses his worst secret: The stories are real. He knows this because he committed the crimes. Those close to him, including the nurses at the care home where he now lives, insist that it is all in his head, that his memory is being toyed with and manipulated by his unfortunate disease. But if that were true, then why are so many bad things happening? Why are people dying?

Hailed by critics as a “masterful” (Publishers Weekly) writer who consistently offers “ferocious storytelling that makes you think and feel” (The Listener) and whose fiction evokes “Breaking Bad reworked by the Coen Brothers”(Kirkus Reviews), Paul Cleave takes us down a cleverly twisted path to determine the fine line between an author and his characters, between fact and fiction.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I thought this book had a really interesting premise and was excited about it–but wasn’t as excited after I started reading it. I didn’t hate it, but I certainly didn’t love it as much as some of the other reviewers have.

I expected that the story might be a bit difficult to follow based on the idea that the main character had Alzheimer’s, but that wasn’t really too bad. What bothered me was that it seemed like this story would get going for a bit and become exciting and then drop off into useless exposition again–just because. Perhaps that was just my interpretation of the story, but I felt like the harshness of the coarse language was only there for shock value, and not that it really added anything valuable to the story.

This is interesting, but I viewed it in a rather removed sort of way, as there were no characters I felt close to, nor any that I really desired to get to know better.

Overall, it wasn’t a book that I think everyone will love, but one that I would recommend to those who like to read things outside the box.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Decapitating the Union by John C. Fazio

Decapitating the Union: Jefferson Davis, Judah Benjamin and the Plot to Assassinate LincolnDecapitating the Union: Jefferson Davis, Judah Benjamin and the Plot to Assassinate Lincoln by John C Fazio

This is a comprehensive work on the assassination of Lincoln and the attempted decapitation of the United States Government in the closing days of the Civil War. After a Foreward by Joan L. Chaconas, it begins with the prelude to the national fratricide and ends with the incarceration, trial and sentencing of all but one of the assassin’s action team and one innocent man and an in-depth analysis of conspiracy. In between, the author covers the underground mosaic; John Wilkes Booth and his co-conspirators; the great kidnapping ruse that concealed the attempted decapitation; conundrums, enigmas and mysteries relating to key players (Parker, Forbes and Cobb); the assassination itself and Booth’s escape; attempted decapitation of the government; the death of the President; pursuit of the fugitives and the death of Booth; and Edman Spangler’s innocence. The author makes use of hundreds of sources to justify his rejection of the simple conspiracy theory and his affirmation of the Tidwell, Hall and Gaddy thesis of the complicity of the highest levels of the Confederate Government and its Secret Service Bureau, including the operatives in Canada, whose twofold purpose was retribution and snatching independence from the jaws of a toothless and chaotic government.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I know what you’re thinking…oh no, not another Lincoln book–and whilst I understand that sentiment, allow me to ensure you that this one is worth the time to read and actually does present some new information and ideas.

Being fascinated with this subject myself, I’ve read most everything about it that I can get my hands on. When I saw this book I had fears that it would be a compendium of repeated information, but that is not the case. This author has made great strides to correct false information that has been repeated as truth, and to present ideas and back them up with hard evidence. Mr. Fazio asks questions in this writing that I have not seen elsewhere.

I found this to be a well-rounded book, with a good, solid background history. Whether this is your first Lincoln book, or if you have been studying the man and his life and death for some time, this book will have something to offer you.

Some of the points discussed at length in this book are:

The attempts on Lincoln’s life prior to the actual assassination.

Who was who in each circle, the president’s and that of the confederates.

Charles Forbes and his involvement.

A sensible debate over Booth’s supposed jump from the presidential box and his resulting broken leg.

Differences of opinion of historians on multiple events

As well as many more points. I was most impressed by the research this author compiled on Booth. John C. Fazio has presented the most worthwhile description of the man and his motivations that I have seen yet in any book.

There are photos included in this book that I have not seen used in prior books. I also appreciated the author’s view on Spangler and his role in the events.

This is an extensively researched, well-worded book that did more than just repeat a conspiracy theory for the millionth time. I appreciated the author’s approach to presenting information and not attempting to sway the reader in any particular direction.

This would be a perfect choice to introduce this subject to anyone who is just beginning to research it, as well as a great addition to any collector’s library. I was greatly impressed.

This review is based on a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

A Duke but No Gentleman by Alexandra Hawkins

A Duke but No Gentleman (Masters of Seduction, #1)A Duke but No Gentleman by Alexandra Hawkins

The Duke of Blackbern and the Marquess Norgrave have always had the wildest of friendships. Best friends growing up, they bask in the pleasures the rich, opulent world that London has to offer, consuming drink and women at their leisure.

But Norgrave has always been a step behind. Blackbern can best him at anything—playing cards, riding horses, and bedding women. So when the stunningly beautiful but innocent Lady Imogen Sunter strays across their path, both men agree a friendly competition for the lady’s affections cannot hurt.

But when Blackbern’s feelings turn into something deeper and Lady Imogen’s desire become clear, Norgrave will do anything to win the wager. Only one man can lay claim to Lady Imogen’s heart… and one shocking act will change them all irrevocably…

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you like your romance steamy and filled with all kinds of tension–romantic and otherwise, this would be a great book for you to choose.

I love it when the hero is not perfect, but overcomes his own issues to be what the heroine needs. The villain is really bad, as all villains should be and the story is exciting. I thought the author did a good job on the love scenes, filling them with passion that seemed realistic and the chemistry between the characters was apparent early on.

There is a lot going on in this book and the threads were all tied together nicely at the end. Although there are a lot of different situations involved in this novel the characters were easy to keep separate so remembering who was who wasn’t a problem.

Imogene is a lovely heroine. She is smart and strong whilst at the same time being feminine. I also really enjoyed the dialogue between the various characters.

Overall I thought this was a great book from an interesting period in history. Good characters, imaginative story and excellent descriptions.

Thumbs up.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Somebody I used to Know by David J. Bell

Somebody I Used to KnowSomebody I Used to Know by David J. Bell

The breakout author of The Forgotten Girl and Cemetery Girl, “one of the brightest and best crime fiction writers of our time” (Suspense Magazine) delivers a new novel about a man who is haunted by a face from his past….

When Nick Hansen sees the young woman at the grocery store, his heart stops. She is the spitting image of his college girlfriend, Marissa Minor, who died in a campus house fire twenty years earlier. But when Nick tries to speak to her, she acts skittish and rushes off.

The next morning the police arrive at Nick’s house and show him a photo of the woman from the store. She’s been found dead, murdered in a local motel, with Nick’s name and address on a piece of paper in her pocket.

Convinced there’s a connection between the two women, Nick enlists the help of his college friend Laurel Davidson to investigate the events leading up to the night of Marissa’s death. But the young woman’s murder is only the beginning…and the truths Nick uncovers may make him wish he never doubted the lies.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really found this to be quite an intriguing book. The mystery is set up in the very beginning and continues to mature throughout the story.

The main character is able to carry a novel like this well enough, and I thought his profession and lifestyle was a good choice. He seemed like a ‘regular guy’ and it made it easy to relate to the way he thought about things and see his side more clearly.

The supporting characters in this book are good, and I enjoyed the various unexpected twists the plot turned. The only issue I had with this book, is that I felt like about 75% of the way through, too much was revealed, and I was able to guess the rest before it happened. The end came off as rather predictable. I’m still not sure if I could logically reason that things would work out so well in the real word–but hey, it is fiction. I did respect the author for spending time describing the importance of the character’s ex-stepson. It was nice to see a bit different relationship dynamic than the usual father protects flesh and blood scenario.

I liked the interactions between the main character and his dog. With all of the intense things happening in this story, I felt that simple thing really helped to ground this story.

Overall, I was impressed with this book. It made me wonder what was going to happen next for a large majority of the story. It made me laugh a couple of times and in the end, the characters and story were memorable.

Recommended.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

The Dreadful Fate of Jonathan York

The Dreadful Fate of Jonathan York: A Yarn for the Strange at HeartThe Dreadful Fate of Jonathan York: A Yarn for the Strange at Heart by Kory Merritt

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book and everything about it from the concept of the story to the illustrations. I am not always one for graphic novels as often times I don’t feel like they tell a complete story, but that was not the case with this book.

The story here is fun, interesting and different. It wasn’t predictable and the illustrations are so good that you want to go back and flip through it again just to admire them. I couldn’t help but feel a bit sorry for the main character. He goes through a lot.

The use of limited colours really worked here. They weren’t distracting as you read the story and I think people of all ages will have fun with this. According to the author bio, this is the first published work of this author, and I really hope that there will be more to follow. This would be a great addition to anyone’s collection.

The mixture of prose and traditional storytelling in this book makes for a nice flow as well.

Also–this book has a great message about getting out there and creating a life for yourself that is worthy of talking about later. Loved the monsters. Two big thumbs up for this one. I recommend you check it out–you will have a good time.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Here’s your chance to win a copy of “If Jack Had”

Would you like to win a copy of an exciting Ebook? Here’s your chance! Simply share this post with your favourite social media outlet and then drop me a comment to let me know you did. A winner will be chosen tomorrow afternoon 6/27. Find out all the details on this book below! It’s one you don’t want to miss :)

If Jack Had High Res front
About If Jack Had:

“What’s the difference between a serial killer and an assassin? A pay check.”

Jack is a Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalist with a secret second job. Since he was a smart-ass grad student slinking around New York’s Upper West Side and Brighton Beach, he’s been working as an assassin for the Russian mob.

Beginning at the end – that is, with an aged, incontinent, and at last truly alone Jack, his mind made up that tomorrow will be the first day he kills someone he loves: himself – If Jack Had [Black Rose Writing, June 4 2015] tells his story in rearview, providing an all-access-pass into the enviable, high-flying life he clear-cut for himself against all odds…and the (literal) trail of dead he left along the way.

The debut novel from sixty-eight-year-old Manhattan author Steve Rappaport, If Jack Had is, much like its protagonist, more than meets the eye. A caper comedy featuring sex and drugs, blasphemy and blood, far-flung exotic locales and all the other stuff that makes for good, not-so-clean fun, If Jack Had also happens to have a big, beating heart. Beneath the surface, it’s a meditation on family, fatherhood, the indignities of aging, the inevitability of loneliness, and the preciousness of life itself.

headshot sr
About the Author:

Steven Rappaport, age 68, has been a stock trader, pot dealer, itinerant hippie peddler, cab driver, retailer, and is currently a successful commercial real estate salesperson in Manhattan. He offers a simple rationale for his first novel: “My eldest son, Jack, died at forty from a progressively debilitating, unknown neurological disorder. This brilliant boy, a Vassar grad, never got to live the life he deserved. I’ve infused him with one.”

If Jack Had [Black Rose Writing] is available via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and in brick-and-mortar bookstores nationwide as of June 4, 2015.

Find If Jack Had on Goodreads and at http://ifjackhad.com

My Review:

I think the blurb description of this book is very apt. It is dark, and it is ironic. This is a gritty, no-holds-barred type of book that will not be for everyone, but those who love it will truly love it.

I’ve always liked narrators that get right to the heart of the story and tell you how they feel about life, and you definitely get that with this book. From his adventures as a much younger man to the final moments of his life, this narrator gives it to you straight and doesn’t hold back.

This is the kind of book that keeps you wondering what will happen next, makes your imagination run wild and then twists and goes for shock value when you don’t expect it to. Kind of reminded me a little of Pulp Fiction, at least in the way the atmosphere of the story came across.

I think people who enjoy books that are a bit outside the conventional will find something to love here. There’s some dark humour worthy of a good laugh, an interesting story and a character strong enough to lead a book like this. Overall, I thought it was definitely worth a recommendation.

This review is based on a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Love in a Small Town by Curtiss Ann Matlock

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Mollie and Tommie Lee have been married for twenty-five years. They grew up in Valentine, Oklahoma, and were sweethearts from the get-go. But something is missing in their marriage, and Mollie can’t bear to stay where she doesn’t feel loved. Tommy Lee is confused and hurt and angry when she leaves for the refuge of Aunt Hestie’s empty cottage, but he has complaints of his own. In her unique voice, Curtiss Ann Matlock uncovers the heart of their story—their passion and promise, their hopes and dreams.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you are at all familiar with the work of this author, then you know that she writes at the deepest level of human emotion. Her characters do not have to be rich or famous to make you like them, and that is exactly what I loved about this novel.

This book is about people who are easy to relate to, because they are so much like the rest of us. If you have been or are currently married, then you will find yourself nodding in agreement with the situations in this book. All marriages have trouble at some point, and Curtiss Ann Matlock brought this fact to attention in “Love in a Small Town,” without using the basic formula of shocking event causes split.

I loved that the chapters were headed with song titles and that the main character seemed to pluck the thoughts right out of my head as I was reading. This author has a rare talent for being able to find her way inside the hearts and minds of her readers. Molly, the main character is such a sweet person and you can’t help but feel the same things she does as you read along. I wanted so much to fix things for her.

Another reason I loved this book was the way the author made the rest of the family and friends truly important to the story. Rather than feeling like there are other names in the book just because the author realised they couldn’t successfully pull off a book with just one or two characters, the author really managed to give me a sense that these people were integral to the story. Each of them have their own charms and quirks and make you laugh, or cry, or relate to them in some way.

Above all, this is a beautiful love story about aging, changing, life and marital/family relationships and what it means to make a promise of forever. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a wonderful read–any time of the year.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the author. All opinions are my own.

D. E. M. (Deus Ex Machina) by Lee Ness

D.E.M. – Deus Ex Machina by Lee Ness

No good turn goes unpunished!

When Rachel is spurred to use her computing skills to find an abducted boy, she has no idea that it will bring her to the attention of an anonymous vigilante. Is the vigilante what he seems and what does he want with Rachel? As she gets drawn deeper into his world she tries to find out more about him only to put herself and her friends in grave danger. When she finally realises that he isn’t a vigilante at all, Rachel is in a race against time to save her friends and prevent him from escalating the war between Israel and Palestine.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Pleasantly surprised is the way to describe my reaction to this book. Although I am not a huge fan of political thrillers and have limited knowledge when it comes to computer operations, this book offered a lot more than that to the general reader.

The author wastes no time creating an interesting situation for the main character and pulling the reader into the story. From the beginning I could identify with the main character, although we don’t learn much about her until later in the book.

I thought her background and the way the author connected it to the story was really well planned and I liked all of the unexpected twists in this story. Try as you might, you won’t be able to figure this one out until the very end.

The descriptions of the procedures the hackers used were interesting and kept me wanting to find out more, and the relationships between the characters grew more intense throughout the story. This is the kind of book where you are never sure who to trust and that makes in an exciting journey.

Overall, I thought this was a great book and would encourage other readers to give it a try.

About the author:

“I was originally a non-fiction author, having written two sports books (The Sports Motivation Master Plan and Growth: Using the Mindset Model for Sporting Success). But once I had the writing bug, I had to write a novel. The first one I created in my head while driving a very slow mini-bus full of athletes to and from a competition. After 5 hours driving, I had the basic plots for a series of novels about a future Olympian in ancient Greece. I wrote the first of these, Hoplite over the next year or so, but I wisely decided not to publish. I didn’t have the skill at that point and the book wouldn’t have been ready. I edited about 7 times and removed the first 8 chapters.
While I was deciding what to do, I wrote a short story. I enjoyed the story so much, and the two characters in it, I decided to turn that into a full novel and the short story became chapter 1. With what I’d learned from writing and editing the first book, I felt a lot better. It still needed some serious editing and I made a few mistakes originally, but I think the book is much more polished and has a great pace (in my opinion!)
So became D.E.M. – Deus Ex Machina. It came from the short story, which in turn came from a piece of advice given to me long ago as a young manager “No good deed goes unpunished!” Additionally, I just loved the term Deus Ex Machina. So three separate things came together and the story is where they intersect.
Writing D.E.M. has helped me rewrite the original novel, which I’m releasing in 6 parts on e-book over the course of 2015 and on paperback in December. I’ve written the follow up to Hoplite, which I’m just finishing the final chapters on now, and then I have the full plot for D.E.M. – Quid Pro Quo. I’ve given myself the target of releasing that one on 01/01/16, which will be a challenge, but people who’ve read the first one keep asking me for the second, so I can’t let anyone down.”

The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson

The BooksellerThe Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson

Shereads.org summer pick. To find out more about all the amazing things she reads does, please take a moment to visit. Shereads


The Bookseller

A provocative and hauntingly powerful debut novel reminiscent of Sliding Doors, The Bookseller follows a woman in the 1960s who must reconcile her reality with the tantalizing alternate world of her dreams

Nothing is as permanent as it appears . . .

Denver, 1962: Kitty Miller has come to terms with her unconventional single life. She loves the bookshop she runs with her best friend, Frieda, and enjoys complete control over her day-to-day existence. She can come and go as she pleases, answering to no one. There was a man once, a doctor named Kevin, but it didn’t quite work out the way Kitty had hoped.

Then the dreams begin.

Denver, 1963: Katharyn Andersson is married to Lars, the love of her life. They have beautiful children, an elegant home, and good friends. It’s everything Kitty Miller once believed she wanted—but it only exists when she sleeps.

Convinced that these dreams are simply due to her overactive imagination, Kitty enjoys her nighttime forays into this alternate world. But with each visit, the more irresistibly real Katharyn’s life becomes. Can she choose which life she wants? If so, what is the cost of staying Kitty, or becoming Katharyn?

As the lines between her worlds begin to blur, Kitty must figure out what is real and what is imagined. And how do we know where that boundary lies in our own lives?

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars.

The idea behind this story is a fantastic one, but in some places I wasn’t so certain of the execution. Whilst Kitty/Katharyne were both interesting facets of the same base personality, I found that I liked one of them but not the other.

Kitty was the kind of character that it is easy to support and was open to the audience to get to know better and to share in frustrations with. Katharyne was the exact opposite. She was reserved, closed-off even. We spend much of the novel thinking one thing and begin to find out about two-thirds of the way through that all is not as it seems. This was an interesting twist and very rewarding for me as a reader, but it also made me question what I knew of the character previously, leaving me feeling as if I were on shaky ground.

I liked the way the author incorporated the famous books of days gone by in this story, and honestly I had expected it to be a bit more about her life as a bookseller but it didn’t turn out that way.

The relationships in this book are unusual in that they aren’t clearly defined from the beginning. Whilst one side of the main character’s life allows her to grow and make some very important discoveries, the other side falters and leaves her seeming less complete.

This was certainly an outside the box kind of book that will make you think. Overall, I’m still not a hundred percent sure what to think, but I can say, I believe it is worthy of a read.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through the Shereads.org blog network. All opinions are my own.

View all my reviews

Win a really fun Prize courtesy of Disney!

Note: All samples and prizes provided through Disney Publishing

Please read to the bottom for how to enter to win a prize pack:)

Gabby Duran and the Unsittables

About the Book:

Case File: The First Unsittable

Summary: The Association Linking Intergalatics and Earthlings (hereby known as A.L.I.E.N.) has a new member. After months of investigation, Gabby Duran, Associate 4118-25125A, has proven herself to be a babysitter extraordinaire. Her celebrity clients fly her around the country to care for their rambunctious little humans. Our spy, Associate 4118-23432B, otherwise known as Edwina, believes Gabby can be trusted with the truth: aliens are living among humans on Earth. And here at A.L.I.E.N we believe that even extraterrestrials need a babysitter now and then. No one was up to the task…until now.

After accepting the top-secret position, Edwina has paired our new associate up with her first charge, a little girl from the planet Flarknartia. The timing for associate 4118-25125A is less than ideal. It’s a school day on Planet Earth, Gabby’s audition for the solo part in the band is tonight, and this tiny alien is a bit more than meets the eye.

Can Gabby Duran, Associate 4118-25125A, First Sitter to the Unsittables, keep her otherworldly charge safe in the unpredictable halls of middle-school and keep A.L.I.E.N hidden?

Elise Allen

About the Authors:

Emmy-nominated writer and New York Times best-selling author Elise Allen made a name for herself with her acclaimed young adult novel Populazzi (Harcourt), and the Jim Henson’s Enchanted Sisters chapter books (Bloomsbury). In television, she has written for talent ranging from Bill Cosby to Kermit the Frog, and is currently writing for the new Disney Junior show The Lion Guard. Her dog may or may not secretly be from another planet.

Daryle Conners

Daryle Conners is an award-winning writer, filmmaker and video game designer. She writes joke and riddle books and has designed many game titles for the PC and iPhone/iPad including Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Scene It? Harry Potter, Hot Wheels Slot Car Racers, and Scene It? Twilight Saga. Her non-fiction books include Lunchtime LOLZ, Nintendo DS Hot Tips, ROFLs,Video Game Secrets and Monster High Jokes, all for Scholastic. Daryle lives in Seattle, where she still babysits from time to time.

READ AN EXCERPT

http://www.bighonchomedia.com/assets/Disney/Gabby/GabbyDuranExcerpt.pdf

LEARN MORE

Learn more at the Official Site

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#GabbyDuran

Available at these fine retailers

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

BAM

Indiebound

Chapters

iBooks

 My Review
Gabby Duran and the UnsittablesGabby Duran and the Unsittables by Elise Allen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I have decided that I am in the wrong business and Gabby Duran has the job that I want!

I loved this book–it made me giggle all the way through. I am a huge fan of middle-grade fiction. I love the fantastic story lines and the fun events that adult books just can’t quite pull off. This book is the epitome of everything a good mid-grade book should be.

Gabby Duran is a wonderful character that kids will have no trouble relating to. She is smart, sly and compassionate. One of my favourite things about this book was Gabby’s obvious affection for all the little kids (both terrestrial and extra-terrestrial,) that she sat for. She is a good role model for patience and acceptance of those who are a bit different.

This is filled with the fun kind of danger that will keep young readers on their toes and wanting to turn pages. I loved the shape-shifting alien and the silly humour. This book doesn’t have any gross-out humour, so parents can feel good about their kids reading it. The authors took enough liberties with reality to make it fun, but not so many that you can’t follow the story. I am really looking forward to seeing where else Gabby goes and what adventures await her.

If you are looking for a book for a special child in your life, this would be a perfect choice. Recommended.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher, Disney Publishing, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

View all my reviews

Now here’s your chance to win something really fun!

Prize Pack!

COOLEST BABYSITTER IN THE GALAXY prize pack

One (1) winner receives:

· a copy of Gabby Duran and the Unsittables

· and branded Tumbler and UFO light-up flyer.

All you have to do is share this post with your favorite social media outlet–and leave a comment to let me know you did. One winner will be chosen at random on Saturday the 16th of May. Open to US residents only.