From a Position of Strength – Sean Heary

This book contains:

  • Attempted murder
  • Multiple murders
  • Moving a dead body and staging a murder
  • Espionage
  • Plans for mass murder
  • Treason.

Cathy and Rossi are back. If you’ve read my reviews of their earlier escapade’s you’d be familiar with them, but just in case you’re not.

Cathy is a CIA Analyst who finds herself out in the field when she wouldn’t normally be. She’s worked hard to get herself the life she’s got today and won’t apologise for how she got to where she is. She’s sassy, practical and does everything she can to get to the truth of anything she’s working on.

Rossi is a charming, flirty ex-Vatican Police commander who want’s nothing to do with Cathy. Especially when she turns up unexpectedly. Since leaving the Vatican, he’s spent his downtime learning all manner of skills one wouldn’t expect him to learn.

Cathy suddenly flies into Rome and drags Rossi into yet another hair brained espionage scheme expecting him to work with her. As they traipse from Rome, to Gaeta, and back to Rome, over and over as they slowly figure out what is actually going on.

Their previous cases feel like they’re perfectly simple in comparison to how complex this case turned out to be. With so many players, so many possibilities, it got a little crazy there for a moment.

I feel a little conflicted about this third instalment.

While I loved the mystery and trying to figure out what was going on, the ending left a little to be desired.

I was expecting to take about a week to read this, but I got so caught up trying to keep up with all the changes and every new bit of information, that I smashed through it in a couple of days. I mean, there was A LOT to keep up with!

But then, when I got to the epilogue, I wasn’t impressed. It was a great ending. I just think I needed another chapter to close out my last few questions before we got the epilogue. I don’t want to ruin the book by telling you what my questions were, but they were enough to leave me feeling a bit deflated.

The Secret Letters – Taryn Leigh

Welcome back everyone, South Africa is a country I feel a bit of an affinity for. I’ve dated a South African, I love their accent (especially the Afrikaans one!) and in some ways, their country is SO SIMILAR to my own but at the same time, SO DIFFERENT!

My major grievance with this book was how little a part the letters played. I don’t think we even heard about a letter until almost halfway through the book. Given the blurb almost entirely revolved around the letters I really expected them to play a much bigger part.

I think when we learn about the first incident and her healing process, the letters should have been mentioned. Even if not too many details were given, just enough to know that they’d played a part in her healing process would’ve been good.

I also had some concerns with was the editing. There were a few moments where I stumbled a bit because of typo’s, or other minor grammar errors. I’m by no means perfect myself. But these were noticeable enough to frustrate me a little bit.

The story was interesting enough, characters complex and grey enough that these minor errors felt glaring. I really enjoyed the depth to this story, making those errors feel like a bit of a let down even though they really are quite small.

With some more writing experience and a good editor to work with, I really do think Taryn can write some amazing books. This is one of the few books where I actually read the author’s acknowledgment and I’m so glad I did. So many parts felt too real and like they were coming from a little while back that it felt like it had to be real. And it was.

This book is inspired by true events, although it’s still a work of fiction. And that just reinforces the security and lifestyle aspect of South Africa that I’m highly conscious of.

In terms of being a book worth reading. I do feel like it is! Reading about the impact of rape and a country with a strong rape culture is important. It’s also the second book in a row where I’ve read an attempted rape scene. What’s going on?!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Thursday (or maybe Friday) I’ll be reviewing Pirates Persuasion by Lisa Kessler.

The Circle-A Killings – Sean Heary

Welcome back everyone, the last few reviews I’ve done on Monday’s have been fantasy or sci-fi. Now it’s time to go back to Sean Heary and his suspense books!

Some sequels pick up exactly where the previous book left of. Generally speaking, the one’s I’ve read tend to have a bit of a gap. Sean’s created a little bit of a gap, but not much in the grand scheme of things. Yet emotionally, we’re way past where we left The Concordat.

The thing that intrigued me the most about this story was the motivation behind them. In The Concordat, it felt very religious. Looking back, I realise it’s more political than religious so I’m not sure how I missed that. Or maybe I forgot?

Either way, this suspense is stemmed from someone’s wealth. The richer you are, the more likely you are to die. O! And that’s the other thing! This is about a serial killer not a single object!

I think at the end of every chapter I had a suspect in mind. At several points I was partially correct in my theory for the who, why and how. Yet I never nailed it. Sean’s writing sucks you in, gives you all the clues you need (in hindsight I can see this) and yet doesn’t give you quite enough to figure it out.

The information you have to make your theories is exactly what Lorenzo and Cathy have. In several spots I had a brainwave SECONDS before I read one of the characters having the same brainwave. It keeps you involved without ever being obvious which is amazing!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review; on Friday I’ll continue The Boys of Jackson Harbour series with Wrapped in love by Lexi Ryan.

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.

Zapata – Harper McDavid

Welcome back everyone, we’re going from a cold Cornish winter setting to Mexico! I already feel warmer just thinking about Mexico.

Well the first thing I want to say is, when you get to about the 70% mark put on a full-on action movie like John Wick 3. Why do you ask? Well, I spent some time on the couch reading a good portion of the last third of the book while my partner watched John Wick 3 and the fight scenes perfectly matched the intensity of what I was reading.

To give you an idea, this is the This is War of books. This is the type of book I can see made into a movie and becoming a date night favourite. It has enough romance for the girls, while being action packed enough for the guys to love it, while also not over the top to the enough that the guys hate it.

Yes, I’m stereotyping couples. But that’s coz I’m thinking of my relationship and the types of movies we can truly enjoy that satisfy both our preferences.

Yes, the book includes kidnapping, human trafficking, the sex slave trade, drug use, various other criminal activities and unthinkable circumstances. So, if any of this triggers you, avoid this book! And I really do mean that!

If you love the excitement, not knowing what’s going to happen and those full-on action-packed stories that make you feel the adrenaline pumping through your body. Then you’ll probably love this.

For a debut novel I am amazed at the quality and I can see myself (and my partner who doesn’t normally read much!) loving her novel! I likened this to Matthew Reilly to him, but where the writing is a little bit more mature and the content is DEFINITELY more mature. But just as fun, action orientated and engaging as his books.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing #Jerk by Kat T. Masen. Continue to read further down to find out about the author.

Author Bio

As a child, Harper McDavid watched her mother ride the roller coaster of writing books, swearing she’d never do it herself. But some things are just hardwired, and luckily for Harper, the world has moved on beyond typewriters and ten-pound manuscripts.

Harper’s gritty romantic suspense incorporates her own background in science and engineering and work experience along the border. The result is a collection of hardhat-wearing heroines that occasionally employ the use of the little black dress.

Harper is the mother of three daughters and lives in the foothills of Colorado with her husband, two dogs, and a fat cat. Her free time is spent traveling the world in search of that next story and perusing her local library for funny book covers.

The Bastard – Lisa Renee Jones

Welcome back everyone, after a brief step back in time we’re back into modern times. This time in America where we have a mix of romance and suspense.

I found myself underwhelmed with this story as a whole. It had some great moments that captured my attention. But at the end of it I found I wasn’t dying to read the next book. Considering the last book I got from NetGalley I immediately bought the rest of the series this was a massive let down.

It’s not that the writing wasn’t good. We had a great mix of past and present, twists popping up at the right time etc. But I felt like I just didn’t really care. I feel like maybe there was some emotional buy in missing right at the start of the book.

If I had that buy in, I think I would’ve liked this a lot better.

Would I read the next book if it was given to me? Probably, but only if I felt like I had nothing else to read.

I’m kinda hoping that I just wasn’t in the mood to read this style, or at all when I read this. It would make me feel better about not really being interested given how highly it’s rated on Goodreads. But it just didn’t do it for me. Sorry.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing To the Stars and Back by Camilla Isley.

The Consequence of Loyalty – Trey Stone

Welcome back everyone, this week we have a change of pace from the romances I’ve been reading so far this year. Instead, we have a bit of a complex, suspense/thriller style story.

Writing Style

I found this book an interesting read throughout. Although there were a few cases of typos (I don’t think you can ever get rid of them entirely) that had me pausing to figure out what had been missed so I could understand the meaning of the sentence. Overall, this read as a story that is meant to challenge you and keep you guessing.

What I found quite useful was the date and time stamp at the start of each chapter. Since we were swapping between various characters and went back in time at a couple of points, this made it really easy to see the flow of the story and understand when I was reading about a particular character.

Given how complex this story is, I would’ve been lost without this so I’m super thankful!

Initial Thoughts

When I first started reading this story, I got the feeling I was going to read a book equivalent to “Quantico”. And that was pretty damn complex, so I knew I’d be in for a confusing ride if this was anything like that.

I was a little bit lost to begin with, until I got used to the writing style, when we kept swapping characters. But this quickly settled as you got told pretty much at the start of each change who you were following now based on where they were, what they were feeling and what they were doing.

Final Thoughts

I will admit I powered through this one more because I got my reading mojo back and because I was trying to avoid having to study since I wasn’t feeling 100%.

That’s not to say that the story wasn’t intriguing. It was!

It just wasn’t the whole reason I read this one in like 2 days.

Anyway, as I worked through the story, I found I couldn’t figure out what direction I was meant to be heading in. Was I meant to be seeing clues as to who was behind everything? Was I just meant to be along for the ride?

If I wasn’t meant to be seeing any clues as to who the mastermind behind the shooting was, then congrats! Coz I certainly didn’t pick up on anything. But if I was meant to see clues and start to figure out (even just vaguely) who was responsible. Well, you missed the mark there.

It kinda felt like when you’re near your word limit for a uni report or essay, but you don’t wana cut out anything you’ve done so far. So you just cram the last bit of the report into the fewest possible words without actually explaining yourself properly. It honestly was like a hail Mary as to who the evil mastermind was that I didn’t pick up on until they walked into the kitchen to arrest them.

Surely, I should have had at least SOME inkling by this stage as to who needed to be arrested? I’m not saying I’m always right with these things. But normally afterwards once you know who the bad guy is you see all the clues fall into place.

And I didn’t get that with this one. Which was a shame since the rest of it was well written and kept me engaged throughout the whole story.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing Trust the Wolf by Zoe Ashwood.

Author Bio

Trey Stone is an author, reader, and reviewer. His first book, The Consequence of Loyalty, a crime thriller set in Columbus, Ohio was published in 2017. When he’s not working on his second novel, he enjoys reading, playing the guitar, and his day job as an archaeologist.

The Awakening – Gary Morris

Welcome back everyone, this weeks book is another author request. This time from an author who only has one other published book, so you might not have heard of him.

But if you haven’t, you should give him a go because this is a book unlike any I’ve ever read before. It’s based in Hong Kong and includes a fair bit about the Chinese culture and history which is fairly new to me.

Story overview

The story begins at the end of the 19th Century in Hong Kong with a small and happy family. Only to have the parents murdered in the first chapter and a rampant display of racism between the local Chinese people and the “Gweilo”, or English, people.

Typically both races believe the other to be savages purely because they do things differently. Of course, you’d be forgiven for thinking this is the main theme of the book. However, it’s not the key theme so I’m going to leave that there.

Lei’s need for revenge against the Triads as the long survivor of her family is what we learn to be, the key theme of the story. As such, she learn’s Kung Fu to become calmer and to learn empathy.

However, her thirst to hurt “bad people” means she never quite reaches that goal. Instead, she ends up accepting her fate and became an almost merciless killer in her quest for vengeance.

My thoughts

Throughout the story Lei chooses to fight back against those that want to oppress others. And this, I believe, is something many people don’t have the courage, and or, the skills to do. So good on her for standing up for what she believes in!

However, the examples we see of Lei’s excessive force does scare me a little. But only because that lack of compassion or regard for human life is what typically forms the basis for a sociopath’s personality.

And typically speaking sociopaths can’t change who they are or how they react to things. They can learn to mimic emotions, but they can’t feel them the same way most people can. So how can Lei truly learn and display compassion if she’s unable to truly feel it?

Surprisingly enough, she does find the ability to be compassionate. And the time she finds this ability is what truly surprises me. It’s at this moment that we really get to explore the difference between revenge, and justice. Can she live with the knowledge that she caused destruction and the loss of hundreds of lives.

That’s a lot for anyone to bear, let alone someone who’s only about 18-20 years old. I can’t imagine the guilt gnawing at her conscious and how difficult it would be to get to sleep each night knowing that she cut those lives short.

So knowing that she had to live with that for eternity I can sympathise with her need to leave China and be somewhere else. Somewhere different where she can come to terms with everything she’s done.

Gary has told me since reading Miao-Shan that there is a second book for me to look forward to. And I will, because I want to know what she does next!

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review. On Friday I will be reviewing Second Chance at the Ranch by Maxine Morrey.

Yes you read that right! This Friday! I look forward to seeing you again then. But don’t forget to read a little bit about this week’s author Gary Morris below.

Author Bio

For most of my working life, I was in the collectables field. First dealing in stamps and then in antiques. I have always had a love for Asian art and history. Particularly Chinese and Japanese. I have also directed and produced a computer game.

I started writing fiction professionally in 2010, during which time I wrote two complete novels, of which Miao-Shan is the second one. At the end of 2010, I returned to the property industry, without having acquired an agent. For the next six years, I wrote part-time.

I currently have two other books completed (one an unusual spy thriller, and the other a time-travelling paranormal fantasy), but neither is ready for publication yet.

Naked Truths – Karen Botha

Welcome back to another week on Book Tour. Just to let you know I seem to be reading books a little quicker now and I don’t know if that’s because the books I’m reading are shorter or because I’ve gotten a new job I actually get more reading time. So you may see some extra reviews go up on Fridays if I’m reading 2 books a week. I will have to see how I go!

So I want to start off this review at the end of the book momentarily, but it is for good reason. It’s so I can say: nooooo!!!! I turned the page to get closer to closing off the book and was left with the book abruptly ending RIGHT as it was getting really interesting!!! WHY?!?!?!?!?! Now I’ve gota wait until the next book to find out what they said!

As frustrating as I find that it’s one hell of a way to ensure people come back and buy the second book. And I’m sure you will want to because I totally got suckered in with this one. It slowly builds up the tension then seems to release it, only to build it up to breaking point and when you think everything is all good all of a sudden things don’t make sense anymore!

I don’t know if this is because one of the characters has split personalities, or whether Karen didn’t realise (and I’m not comparing exact words, just my memory of the wording) that at one stage of the book they were thinking and saying one set of thoughts and feelings only to have that completely contradicted at the end of the book. I honestly don’t know, but it really added to the suspense levels and my brain going “what the hell is going on?!”

Anyway I should probably tell you a little about it! We have 3 characters that this book follows and it’s not really an even spread as to who you’re following. It’s more of a who does it make sense to follow at this point of the book? We start off following Lucy as she’s painting her house on a public holiday and she gets a call for a new client to get a massage.

Giles is the only guy that we follow and the book pretty much rotates around him. He’s at the centre of everything and it’s his character that I felt had those conflicts. Some of the conflicts made sense but some of them didn’t.

The final character we follow is Paula. Paula is Lucy’s best friend and an ex-homicide detective. And it’s this that brings her into the story and what forces the story to evolve, change and grow throughout the book. I honestly believe without Paula being the unfortunate third wheel this book would be just another typical romance novel. So having her in the mix throws that out the window and gives us the suspense and craziness that hooks you in.

I feel like I can’t really say much else about the book without ruining it for you. With the suspense novels you really need to read the build up and what exactly causes it to really get the full impact. General romance novels you can typically say a little bit about it since they all follow the same framework but I feel like with this style you need to discover each little fact and contemplate it yourself to really enjoy it.

I hope you enjoyed this weeks review. I will see you next week with “All Wrapped Up” by Sun Chara. Don’t forget to keep reading to find out about Karen!

Author Bio

Karen Botha was born in Lincolnshire, England where her father was in the Royal Air Force. As a young girl she always had a passion for reading and writing, studying English Language before University.

Working most of her adult life in digital marketing didn’t leave her much time to pursue her passion for stories. But, at the age of 36 she retrained as a reflexologist and started working for herself. This helped her free up more than enough time to enjoy a re-found passion; writing.

Her first novel was inspired by the true lift experiences of her clients. But don’t believe everything you read, she has more than enough imagination to catch you out with twist and turns galore.

She enjoys romance, travelling and motor sport, which also provide her inspiration for her books.

She currently lives in London with her husband and rescue dog, Shadow.

Daisy – Karen Botha

Welcome back all, this is the first week in the coming weeks where I will be reading a Karen Botha novel. And I gota say I’m impressed and am now looking forward to the next book of her’s I’ll be reading! I’m also already looking forward to the second instalment of this series.

We start off this book with Daisy, our main character, rushing to a business meeting in the pouring rain in London. She is instantly attracted to him in a way she can’t understand to the point where she misses some crucial info he gives her. When we swap to his side of things (it does swap between these two every 1-3 chapters with the occasional other character involved as well) I started to feel a bit wary. Why did he have answers to potential questions “prepared”? There was something about this phrasing that kept nagging at me until I got my answer right near the end of the book!

Needless to say I was intrigued. Especially when she played him by having him come to a fundraiser just so she could figure out what details she missed. And she got them alright! She even got them with a side sex with her hot new business partner! only problem is, she’s fairly certain he set her up the next morning when her house got broken into leaving her with a smashed face, smashed house and missing money. At this stage I felt like there had to be more to the story than we were getting, because otherwise, why write a book including this at what felt like a pivotal moment?

I can’t write too much about what happens in the book without ruining the main plot for you which is what I really connected to. After trying to figure who’s robbed her Daisy gets sucked into a murder mystery where she’s the prime suspect. How is she going to get out of this and back to her life as she knows it? Well it involves reuniting two friends that are in love, testing the limits of her resolve and it ends up giving her what her heart wants but she’s been too afraid to pursue. All while on a rollercoaster ride with Errol.

The one theme that kept playing over and over through this book was that our choices, not our morals and values, are what shape the person we become. And I agree with this whole heartedly. I also agree that in the pursuit of fame and/or fortune many people forget what their morals and values are. So seeing this play out where Daisy is essentially not true to her morals and values is an extreme example of what can happen.

I also realised about halfway through the book that I’m fairly certain this book is the first book I’ve read where the main character is a black woman. How is it possible that out of ALL the books I’ve read, I’ve never come across one where the main character is a black woman? Have I been living a sheltered reading life? Or are there really that few books that use black woman as their main characters? I’m pretty sure I’ve had almost every other nationality appear as main characters, but not that. It really made me take a moment on my bus ride to work to absorb, recognise and wonder at that.

But the thing that made it amazing for me was that Karen hasn’t written it in a way where it’s screaming “I’ve included a minority! Look at me! I’m amazing and support them!” It’s written in a way that it’s like it’s a common day occurance and shouldn’t be a surprise. And in reality that’s true. Minorities should be respected equally as much as larger demographics. And this book felt like it had the perfect balance to me.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoyed this review, next week I will be reviewing another book by Karen Botha, “Naked Truths”. Continue down to read a bit more about Karen.

Author Bio

Karen Botha was born in Lincolnshire, England where her father was in the Royal Air Force. As a young girl she always had a passion for reading and writing, studying English Language before University.

Working most of her adult life in digital marketing didn’t leave her much time to pursue her passion for stories. But, at the age of 36 she retrained as a reflexologist and started working for herself. This helped her free up more than enough time to enjoy a re-found passion; writing.

Her first novel was inspired by the true lift experiences of her clients. But don’t believe everything you read, she has more than enough imagination to catch you out with twist and turns galore.

She enjoys romance, travelling and motor sport, which also provide her inspiration for her books.

She currently lives in London with her husband and rescue dog, Shadow.

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