Book Review: The Certificate

Book: The Certificate*

Author: Priscilla Masters

Jane Ziegler is a district nurse. Her job is to help those most in need, the sick, the needy, the long term ill. On paper Jane sounds wonderful, going from the GP practice to home care cases to oversee patients. The problem is Jane has spent her whole life getting overlooked. By her family, her daughters barely send a Christmas card. An ex husband who at best tolerated her when they were married. Her colleagues barely notice when she is there or not. And her patients are difficult and abusive.

She passes the time thinking of ways to commit the perfect crime. Then one day it comes to her. Surely it can’t be that simple? She works up the courage and finds that maybe it is. Spurred on by her success she tries again. But then things start to fall apart….

I enjoyed this book, you build no sympathy whatsoever for Jane, unusual for a main character. She is a horrible person, and you don’t want her to succeed. However you keep reading as the suspense is built, will she commit the crime, will she evade suspicion, or capture? There were some great little unexpected twists in the story, that only served to deepen my dislike of Jane and want to see her fail. My only complaint is that the story ended too soon. But it was certainly a gripping and engrossing read!

I received this book from NetGalley for review, but all opinions are entirely my own.

This review is also listed on Amazon, Goodreads and NetGalley.

*No affiliate links, I am just linking to make your life easier!

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Book Review: Immortal

Book: Immortal – Curse of the Deathless: Volume 1 (The Immortal Chronicles)*

Author: Derek Edgington

Immortality is a gift – or so you would think. For Asher Hearst, it means in his job as a small time investigator it becomes his main talent, he can take a punch, or a stabbing, and get right back up. He wears his opponents down with his undying nature and his witty banter (or so he likes to think). So when he takes on a job that against all advice he should have simply walked away from, he is going to need all his ‘talents’.

The job brings him into a dalliance with the Inquisition, a jaunt into supernatural packed world of Tír na nÓg, a romance beyond any that he could have ever imagined and more enemies than you could shake a ever healing fist at. With every action seeming to make him more vengeful enemies, will there be a limit to his immortality?

When I started this book I initially thought it was slightly similar to some that I had read before, supernatural detective-esque. I almost dismissed it. Luckily I persisted, because I quickly found myself drawn into the action, and was kept surprised by the constant twists and turns of the story. It was gorey, it was funny, it was entertaining, it kept the pace up and most importantly, it left me hanging and wanting more at the end. This book is volume 1, and my biggest question is – when is volume 2 out?!

I received this book from NetGalley for review, but all opinions are entirely my own.

This review is also listed on Amazon, Goodreads and NetGalley.

*No affiliate links, I am just linking to make your life easier!

Booke Review – One Two Three

Book: One Two Three available on Amazon*

Author: Elodie Nowodazkij

Just last year, Natalya Pushkaya was living her dream. Attending the School of Performing Arts in New York, and determined to become a prima ballerina. Then she lost it all. Her father, her dreams of dancing on stage and she blames herself for it all. She is back home in her home town of New Jersy to recuperate, scared, badly injured with only a slim chance of recovering her dream, but endless determination. But life gets in her way. Her mother, once a prima ballerina, is now an alcoholic, and Natalya spends her time caring for her. But her mother has a terrible secret she has been keeping from her, that drives her even further to drink.

In the meantime Natalya is rebuilding friendships that she let slide when she had no time for anything but dance, and learning to let people in. Then along comes Antonio, charming, sexy, but with problems of his own. His problems come to light just when Natalya’s mothers devastating secret comes out, driving Natalya to drink herself. Can she learn to trust and let people help her before she destroys her life?

This book is not one I tend to gravitate towards. But I found that once I started reading it, I was drawn in. The characters were so real, hurt by life, with everything seeming to break, yet they fought to regain control. When they fell down they picked one another up, the strength of bonds forming forged even stronger by their life situations. Natalya’s struggle to try and keep plates spinning, keep her mother in her job, keep herself in school, cope with the loss of her father and keep on trying to get back to dancing is a heartbreaking one, and seeing her try to do it along even more so. I found myself almost cheering when she started reaching out to people, and when her love interest blossomed cheered even more. She needed love, stability and hope. Ballet previously gave her all of that, and watching her have to find it in other ways was poignant, but beautiful at the same time. A beautiful and moving read.

I received this book from NetGalley for review, but all opinions are entirely my own.

This review is also listed on AmazonGoodreads and NetGalley.

*No affiliate links, I am just linking to make your life easier!

Book Review – The Beautiful Ones

Book: The Beautiful Ones available on Amazon*

Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Take a regency style romance, bring in a fantasy twist and combine with a coming of age story, threaded through with the angst of one’s self identity in society whilst ever being questioned and you have a novel that is both an enthralling escape of a read, and yet strangely relatable on many levels.

Antonia ‘Nina’ is a young woman from the country, sent to the big city to stay with her cousin and his wife, Valerie, to finish her training as a lady. Valerie is tasked with teaching Nina city etiquette – the who’s who of society, how to dress, when not to speak (most of the time according to Valerie), and a long list of must not’s besides. But all Nina is concerned with is her bugs and reading, and she is quick to speak her intelligent and enquiring mind, has a quick temper – all things that don’t make for a fine lady. To top this off, when her temper arises, so do objects around her, as he has poor control of her telekinetic abilities. This is a further embarrassment as a lady in Valerie’s eyes. Powers are for street performers and low class people, not the rich, and certainly not ladies. The sooner Nina can be married off and out of her house, the better in her eyes.

But then along comes telekinetic performer Hector Auvray. A chance meeting at a party sends Nina’s world into a spin. He has majestic control over his powers, and quickly charms Nina. But all is not as it seems. There is a sour past with Valerie that he keeps hidden. This secret can only end in tears. But for who?

While I loved the twist of the supernatural powers in this book, I would have liked to have seen maybe more of them. However it still did keep me gripped through the development of the characters. At first I feared it would be a predictable love story. Yet the book kept me enthralled, just as the magic tricks did, even though only written. The visual imagery was beautiful when describing them, and this added another layer to the story.

A story of love, passion, magic tricks and self discovery. I felt like I was really brought along on the journey, sailing on a flying mirror, and I wanted to send message to Nina, to shout at Hector, to slap Valerie! It has been a long time since I have felt that invested in characters in a book. Perhaps I discovered a little about myself along the way too….

I received this book from NetGalley for review, but all opinions are entirely my own.

This review is also listed on Amazon,  Goodreads and NetGalley.

*No affiliate links, I am just linking to make your life easier!

Book Review – Sweetpea

Book: SweetPea (Available on Amazon*)

Author: C. J. Skuse

Sweetpea by [Skuse, C.J.]

This book will appeal to that little bit of psychopath lurking inside us all. Who hasn’t had a day where we would have made a list of the people we could kill if we could get away with it? Or gone through the day pretending to be nice when really you just want to say ‘get lost’ to the world and everyone in it? If that is just me, then perhaps I have a lot more in common with Rhinannon, the main protagonist in this book than I realised. But I am pretty sure you will have been nodding along with me on this!

This book is at its most basic, a book about a serial killer. But it is really so very much more than that. It is about a person trying to fit in every day and be ‘normal’. A person who has dark thoughts and impulses, but unfortunately acts on them at times. A person who as dark and broken as she is, you find yourself connecting with her more and more as the book progresses, and her story unfolds. Her seemingly normal and boring life unravels before you, and you laugh, cry, stress out and scheme along with her at every moment of the journey. It is a dark journey and one so skillfully written that you can’t help but empathise with Rhinannon.

It is a dark, dark comedy, gruesome, violent and full of coarse language. It is a dark, twisted humour book, that delivers from the start, and keeps up the pace the entire way through. It is definitely not a book for everyone, but if you like it you will love it. I certainly loved it, I found it an explosion of energy and uniqueness that I have not read in a long while with a book. Thank you C.J. Skuse – and what happens next??

I received this book from NetGalley for review, but all opinions are entirely my own.

This review is also listed on Amazon.com, Goodreads and NetGalley.

*No affiliate links, I am just linking to make your life easier!

Book Review – The Woman in the White Mask

Book: The Woman in the White Mask available on Amazon*

Author: Rob Blackwell

The Woman in the White Mask (The Soren Chase Series, Book Three) by [Blackwell, Rob]

You have a secret so powerful that not even you know what it is….

This book is the third installment in the Soren Chase series, and what a read it is. (I would strongly recommend reading the previous books in the series from the beginning, they will make this read that much more enthralling!). From the beginning we have never really understood what happened that fateful night eight years ago when Soren’s life got torn apart. He lost his best friend, any chance at a normal life – and himself. Now we finally get to find out what really happened.

The woman in a white mask is determined to force Soren to reveal his secrets. But this being Soren, naturally there is so much more happening, from demon raising rituals, the evil Council threatening him and all he loves, tension between Friday and Sarah. Throw in a whole load of supernatural monsters, most of whom are pretty hard to kill and you can be sure that Soren is not exactly having a great time of it lately. The woman in the white mask strikes just at every moment of peril – and Soren being Soren, has many of them. She is slowly and tortuously drawing his secret out, but at what price to him?

This book starts out intriguing and moves swiftly to riveting and absorbing. You won’t want to put it down until you finish it. You will find yourself almost holding your breath at points, or clenching your body in tension, waiting for the suspense to drop. Rob Blackwell is a master at this genre. This latest book is no disappointment, it is a pinnacle of the Soren Chase series, and one not to be missed.

I received this book from the author for review, but all opinions are entirely my own.

This review is also listed on Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and Goodreads.

*No affiliate links, I am just linking to make your life easier!

The Plague Charmer – Karen Maitland

The Plague Charmer available on Amazon*

Author:  Karen Maitland

plague

Would you be willing to pay the price for salvation?

Set in 1361, The Plague Charmer paints a grim picture of a hard life in the town of Porlock Weir, a poor fishing village in Exmoor. The villagers rely on fishing to try carve out an existence, with what they can get from the land to subsidise this. They have little, but what they do have they are grateful for. Superstition is woven throughout their lives, as with many fishing folk, traditions and superstitions are key to survival. The great plague had struck over thirteen years ago, long enough to almost be forgotten. But when it strikes again, the fear rises fast and superstition and anger with it.

Then comes a stranger, plucked from the ocean, who offers to help – but the villagers are not willing to pay the price. As the plague spreads in the village the cost becomes that bit more conceivable. There is so much to lose if they pay the price, but so much more to lose if they don’t.

The historical accuracy in this book is excellent, it really made you feel like you understood what it was like to be a poor villager in the 1300’s, and how difficult life really was. Bring in the fear of plague, and on top of that supernatural happenings, how could they not go out of their minds? To us reading it it could simply be a storm. To them, the end of the world. Throughout the book I felt myself really drawn into the characters lives, really wanting some to survive and others to get justice served upon them. But above all, I really found myself grateful I didn’t live in the 1300’s! The book was intense, not a light read, however the complexity of the characters, the woven story lines and the building suspense all made for an excellent read. I would recommend it as a read, and definitely one you stick with past the first few chapters and get stuck into, it is a slow grower, but once you are into it, you are really in!

I received this book from NetGalley for review, but all opinions are entirely my own.

This review is also listed on Amazon.co.ukAmazon.com, NetGalley and Goodreads .

*No affiliate links, I am just linking to make your life easier!