Tom Stone: Day of the Dead – Lon Casler Bixby & Don Simkovich

Welcome back everyone, I hope you enjoyed the last Friday review for a while with Zoe Ashwood’s Trust the Wolf. When I put out a message on Twitter late last yr for new books and that I was open to suggestions this was one of the one’s that came recommended, and it’s a genre I’ve been wanting to try for a while, but until now have been a bit too nervous to actually try.


Writing Style

This was a new genre for me, so I’m not sure how the writing compares to others in the crime genre. But some dates would’ve been nice because I’m honestly still not sure if this spanned a month or three?

I can tell that time is passing based on the fact that people are at different places, or with different people. But I couldn’t tell how much, and I think that may have helped me get more involved.

There were also some descriptions given about a family interaction or something that didn’t feel like it was adding anything to the story other than breaking up the crime aspect with some romance or domesticity. Is that normal in this type of genre?

I’m not too sure, but I’m not sure I enjoyed it. Maybe it’s just my work brain being in overdrive trying to get multiple projects finished at work and remembering to write succinctly and to only write what adds value. But I got lost a little bit when those moments came up.


Initial Thoughts

I will admit that after finishing the first 3 chapters I had to put this book down and read something else first. It had nothing to do with the book and everything to do with the fact that I’m a massive mood reader. If I’m not in the mood to read that genre or book, it ‘aint happening.

And unfortunately, I realised 3 chapters in I wasn’t in the mood for a crime novel so knew I had to put it down and come back to it when I was more in the mood if I was going to give it a fair shot.

I’m glad I did, because when I came back to it, I was in a much better frame of mind to just absorb it and go along for the ride.


Final Thoughts

In the end I found I enjoyed the book overall, but I don’t think crime novels are the genre I can keep coming back to. At least not this style.

I find that odd since I’ve liked other ones that are a bit more suspense related compared to this one. But I honestly felt like I was reading an episode of NCIS where they actually play by the rules and it takes them a while to catch the criminal. And there’s nothing wrong with NCIS! I actually really like NCIS!

But I think I enjoy that style more visually on the TV rather than in a book. But if you like this style, don't forget to check out the other 3 books in this series.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing No Place Like Home by Maxine Morrey.

Full Tome Stone series - all available today

The Concordat – Sean Heary

Hi all, welcome back to a review that is not a Blog Tour. It's been a while! On the other hand I still haven't grabbed a book from my TBR pile, but for good reasons. I'm feeling totally privileged and amazed to find that I have author's contacting me to read and review their books. Knowing how many books are released every year, and how less and less people seem to be interested in reading I can't imagine how hard it is to break into the market and become successful as an author. So where possible I'd love to support authors trying to break in by doing my little bit while also trying to expand my reach (which in turn helps those authors).

(Sorry I have to deviate for a moment, I loved seeing this picture when Sean sent it through because it has my favourite vodka in it!)

This week's one was one that Sean and I weren't sure I'd enjoy because I'm still new to the thriller/ suspense style of writing. But I've always loved those moments in the books I've read previously and Adriana Gavazzoni really introduced me to the genre and I loved her series as well.

I have a love of history and my newfound enjoyment of thriller/ suspense books led me to believe that unless Sean's writing style sucked I'd probably enjoy this book. So it was just a matter of how much would I enjoy it?

Getting stuck into it I read the first few chapters and was immediately engrossed. My dad is Catholic but non-practising and so I've never really had much of an understanding of religion and how it played into politics so I was starting to get a different understanding of how the Vatican worked. Once I got to about 5 or 6 chapters in (there's 72 chapters in all and they aren't very long) where every chapter followed someone new I was starting to think this was going to be even more complex than Game of Thrones and I'd need to get a notebook to keep track of all the characters!

Luckily it calms down a little as more and more of said characters are killed off making the overall plot of the book thicker and deeper. And what better way to hook someone like me than to kill of character's when they have JUST started to feel  important? Well of course, I just HAD to keep reading! I started to resent having to go to work coz I just wanted to know what happened next! Luckily with the chapters being so short I was able to finish up at the end of a chapter most of the time, which gave me some sort of closure during the day while I was at work.

There's so many plots happening concurrently throughout this book I always felt like I was on the back foot trying to figure out what was going on. Which I loved! I enjoy the typical romance novels quite a bit, but I also love to be challenged and I get bored if I'm constantly reading the same style of book. So this was an amazing break from the romance novels as this didn't feel like it was a romance novel at all. Yes there were elements here and there. But they felt really well placed and as if they added to the overall story rather than being the focal piece.

My one regret about this book is how it ended. Those last 3 chapters really burst my bubble a little bit. I have been informed that there will be a second book so I'm hoping that will redeem that ending for me. It just felt like the ending didn't really fit with the rest of the books feel. But I will have to wait until I read the second book to know for sure!

But other than the ending I honestly didn't have any complaints! This is one I definitely plan to give to my dad for Christmas (yes I will actually pay for a physical copy for my dad!) because this style of book is well and truly up his alley and I can see him smashing it out in a couple of days.

I hope you enjoyed this review and I will see you next week with "Survival of the Richest" by Skye Warren.

Author Bio

Sean Heary is a former business executive who lived for many years a stone’s throw from the Kremlin. No wonder he writes political thrillers. He also spent several years in Tashkent, Uzbekistan where he met his wife. Born and raised in Australia, Sean now makes Germany his home.

The Brilliant Game – A. Gavazzoni

Welcome back all, I hope you've been looking forward to this review because I've been looking forward to sharing it with you!

This is the final instalment of Behind the Door and Lara's Journal and I can honestly say I enjoyed reading this one and was cursing my Kindle when it was taking forever to download so I could get started.

So this one picked up a little bit after Lara's Journal ended but not before Simone's daughter was freed. Following on from the previous book I can tell you that you're in for one hell of a ride!

Firstly Peter's sister isn't connected to any of the murders and gets released. At first I couldn't believe this because how else did Peter escape? And how else could he have known when to kidnap Simone's daughter? And then I thought, maybe Peter has another accomplice? Maybe a guy? Maybe that's how the sperm samples aren't related to Peter's sister.

That certainly felt more plausible than Peter being adopted since it was never mentioned in any of the previous books. And surely if Peter was adopted that would've come out sooner. I mean, it'd just have to right? Which means Peter's sister and the receptionist are now out of the running for being the killer. Which leaves us with the ex-boyfriend; although he seems to have dropped off the map so I think we can scratch him off as well. So really we're left with Peter Hay, Carl and Edward.

And somehow I couldn't see Carl being responsible. I mean he really doesn't feel right for this. He goes to Simone honestly looking for help. He's in crisis over what happened with Lara and needs to absolve his guilt over her death. To begin with that's in the form of getting her to read his memoir and analysing the possibility that he purposely killed Lara. Then he is given a copy of Lara's story, her whole life on paper for him to read and really understand why she was who she was. Except facing those details can be tough so I understand why he'd need someone else, a third party, to read it along with him.

During this book we're introduced to two more possible candidates for all the murders. A necrophiliac that Simone had previously treated, and John, one of Lara's lovers. Even though when the necrophiliac angle was introduced because Peter's DNA didn't match the semen found on the body it just didn't feel right. This necrophiliac was one who sought out already dead bodies. Unless of course he was brought in as the accomplice who would get rid of the bodies? But I dunno... It just didn't feel right to me.

John on the other hand went of the rails a bit once he read Lara's Journal. So I could see him killing people. But again, he didn't know Simone previously, so why was he attacking people and leaving them on her doorstep, and why attack her patients?

Now normally I would like to leave some mystery to the book so you can enjoy the full impact when you read it for yourself. But there's a few things I need to tell you because OMG! Adriana really left it to the last minute making me feel like there'd need to be a fourth book just to give me the answers I wanted!

But, instead she made it so that it all came out during Peter's trial in the final chapter of the book so you're only left with a couple of pages to process what's happened. Although I'm not a big fan of Tolkien's writing style where it takes 5+ pages to describe a leaf falling. I would have felt a little bit better with A LITTLE bit more time to have the reveal occur and see how everyone responds to it. I think one more chapter would have REALLY made this book amazing.

But Adriana really leaves you on tenterhooks that whole way through. Guessing, and guessing who could be behind the murders. How could Peter be innocent but not innocent? How did it take the FBI until the last minute, and even then it took Simone to figure out and expose what had happened?

I definitely feel like I need longer to just sit and process everything that came out in the last chapter of this book. So I think I should take a day before I start a new book.

I hope you enjoyed reading the final review on this trilogy and I honestly think you should give this trilogy a go if you enjoy books with suspense, sex and romance.

Thank you Adriana for giving me to opportunity to read your series. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading all 3 books the whole way through!

Lara’s Journal – A Gavazzoni

Welcome back all, as promised I have the next instalment of Behind the Door for you! Now something that I often find when reading book series is that they get repetitive and a bit boring so sometimes I go into these with a grain of salt when the first book has really grabbed my attention.

But I didn't need to with this one. I was really unsure how we could continue on from the previous book when the killer has fled the country and we've solved the murder. Other than literally just reading Lara's side to her relationship with Carl (which I wanted to read anyway) I wasn't sure what else could be done. Like really, what would you have done if you were the author? Because I am a big fan of, if you've gotten it right don't ruin it by trying to make more money out of sequels when you had never planned on writing them.

Now the set up for this book is no where near as good as the set up for the third novel so I get the feeling that Adriana finished the first book intending to wrap it up there. Then really wanted to share more. Whereas the ending of this book is a total, blatant set up for a third book. Which I don't mind because it show's there's a plan. And she's ended it on a cliff hanger. And I am a TOTAL sucker for a good cliff hanger!

Anyway I feel like I've jumped ahead because I'm SOOOO eager to read the next book! Like normally I'd space it out a bit to give you guys, my readers, a bit of variety but I don't think I can with this one 😐

ANYWAY! I must move on to give you reason's why I liked this one so much! So we start off with a girl hooking up with a guy at a nightclub and having sex in the bathroom. Since I thought this was Lara, whatevs! Only, it turns out it's Simone, and she's slept with her friends cousin! How completely unlike Simone! But then again she had been kidnapped and drunk A LOT of wine and it's not like she's in a relationship. So she can totally live her life the way she want's to!

Next thing we know one of her reliable crazy patients has attacked his mistress, wife and the club his mistress works in so Simone has to rush home. Just in time to find out that the cousin is a crazy stalker. Just what she needs when she's still recovering from being kidnapped!

Within a couple of weeks of returning like 3 or 4 of her patients have turned up dead, the FBI don't know whether to suspect her or Peter Hay (the guy that kidnapped her). And I was tossing up between the stalker boyfriend, the new receptionist, Peter, Peter's sister, Carl and Edward as to who the guilty party could be! Now to give you a bit of an idea where's why I suspect each of them:

  • Stalker boyfriend rocked up then everything turned to shit for Simone in a way that's different to before which suggests someone new
  • The new receptionist doesn't seem to smile, is happy to take the job of someone who was just killed. And no one died until after she started...
  • Peter Hay because you know, he did kidnap her and kill all those other people!
  • His sister, for revenge against Simone for Peter having to flee the country, and poison is typically known to be a female choice
  • Carl because both times he entered Simone's life shit hits the fan
  • And finally Edward, with him I don't really have a tangible reason why, it's just a gut feeling

Since this book ends on a cliff hanger I never get to find out who the one responsible for this round of deaths is. But my main suspects are the new receptionist and Peter's sister but with her I feel that Peter would have to be involved somehow. Ideally my gut is telling me the receptionist and Peter's sister are either one and the same or somehow linked.

So now that I feel like I've turned into a bit of a conspiracy theorist I'll let you go! And I look forward to sharing my next review on "Master the Marchioness" by Em Brown next week.

Bleddyn Hall – Amanda L.V. Shalaby

Bleddyn Hall is the first book in quite some time that I’ve read a historical romance novel. And pretty much all of these books have followed the same these. Girl is reluctant to get married because it puts her in a man’s control and her family have always allowed her freedoms most woman in that age (most of these books I read are regency romance ones) were allowed. However they meet/ reconnect with someone that loves them for themselves and they go through their courtship only to meet an obstacle (usually some silly rumour or misunderstanding) to then work things out and get married and live happily ever after.

 

Bleddyn Hall definitely doesn’t follow this theme! Yes, it has a girl who doesn’t want to marry for money or social standing. BUT Isabel is a very typical regency age woman. She strictly believes in polite society, social norms and is against anything that might be looked upon as “improper”. The only thing that makes her different to most regency age woman is that she wants to marry for love and is willing to marry down or to a poor man to ensure that she is loved.

 

Yet somehow the most handsome and eligible bachelor of the season falls almost immediately in love with her. How dos this happen? I can count the number of times I met the hottest, nicest guy of the night and had him fall instantly in love with me. Precisely 0 times. It just doesn’t happen! And what really frustrates me about most romance novels is when this happens without any real life drama.

 

The good thing Amanda has done here is that while writing from Isabel’s perspective and the occasional change to Tresham’s perspective is that neither want to fall instantly in love. Their internal dialogue (done from a third person perspective which I found weird and tricky to wrap my head around for the first quarter of the book) shows us that they admit there is an immediate attraction and lust between them. But neither of them want to jump into anything. Instead they get to know each other by talking, flirting and teasing one another. Which is something many people don’t do in this day and age, and it’s something that my partner and I get criticised for.

 

Over a series of weeks (because everything marriage wise seems to only need a month or so to decide upon in that age) Tresham proposes to Isabel and she accepts. As their families are celebrating the news, Tresham receives word that his father has suddenly passed away. As such he heads home the next day while his mother and twin younger sisters work on convincing Isabel to join them when they leave in a few days.

 

Now, I’m used to the usual sort of regency romance books was sitting there looking at the fact that I was only about a quarter of the way through the book thinking “what the hell could happen to throw a spanner in the works that is going to take 3/4 of the book to get over?” Because normally you don’t reach this stage until about 3/4 of the way through the book!

 

Boy was I in for a surprise! Turns out that there was a murder mystery underway at Bleddyn Hall and Tresham was the main target for. As Isabel was being ignored by her previously loving fiance I was left wondering why she would put up with it and why she wouldn’t just go back to her aunt and uncle in London. Surely if Tresham really loved Isabel he wouldn’t be so mean to her, even if he is distraught after the death of his father?!

 

I was proved wrong after Isabel and Tresham’s younger brother Clement started investigating what was happening themselves in secret after they discovered that a long forgotten brother Ewan was the cause of both murders. And surprisingly in the end it turns out Ewan is actually Tresham’s twin brother and had locked him away and was masquerading as him. Which explains why Tresham had been acting so odd compared to everything we knew about him up until his fathers death.

 

After a bit of planning, Isabel and Clement manage to get the key to Tresham’s cell and work to break him out. But not after two sinister encounters with Ewan where they needed to pretend like they didn’t know it was actually Ewan, and not Tresham. The first encounter with Ewan was Isabel taking breakfast in a sun room where Ewan unexpectedly joined her. Unfortunately, although Ewan starts of well imitating a gentleman he inevitably reverts to his nefarious ways and attempts to rape Isabel. Luckily Isabel is able to fight him off long enough for Clement and a couple of servants to come rushing in and ensure her safety in that moment.

 

After that encounter, Clement stays with Isabel and they rush to Clement’s father’s study to get the key to Tresham’s cell and then on to free him. Except as is normal at this point of the book, Ewan has a spy following them and quickly learns that they are in there and so anticipates something is happening. Luckily Clement knows of a secret tunnel from the study down to near the stables and helps Isabel fit through the passage.

 

This is where I found myself starting to really get into the book. I admit, up until this point I was only mildly interested in the story, however as soon as Isabel started to really solve mysteries my interest was piqued and I found myself drawn in. I started resenting needing to follow through with my plans and drive myself to the airport because I just wanted to know if they managed to save Tresham!

Good news is that they are successful. What I found quite amusing and found myself feeling smug about, as that while Isabel and Clement were freeing Tresham and Ewan was chasing after them. One of Ewan’s creditors finally catches up to him and kills him! Therefore making Isabel’s and Clement’s rescue of Tresham so much easier.

Then I was given a bit of a heart attach when Tresham calls Isabel to his study to discuss their engagement. The way he was talking I thought for sure he was going to end the engagement and mean that Isabel stayed, figured out what was happening and suffered his crazy brother for nothing! Luckily Tresham is just so proper he was trying to be understanding of what Isabel has gone through and give her the option to leave if she wanted.
Luckily she didn’t want that and they got married a few months later to then chaperone the twin sisters the following season to be reunited with their chosen men.

Now there are a number of other twists, cool facts and family secrets I haven’t mentioned. So if you like romantic murder mysteries there is still plenty of things for you to work out as you read the book.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this review so please comment below!

And the next book out of the rank is “The Seven Steps to Closure” by Donna Joy Usher.