Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Behind Closed Doors by Elizabeth Haynes + a Giveaway

Hi, readers! Today I'm a stop on the TLC book tour for Elizabeth Haynes's latest, Behind Closed Doors. This is the second title in her Briarstone Major Crime series. If you haven't had a chance to read Under a Silent Moon, don't worry I won't spoil it. I am also offering up a copy of that series debut here for one of you lucky readers, so you can get started with the Briarstone team! Be sure to read through to the end to enter.

Ten years ago, a young English girl disappeared while on vacation with her family in Greece. Louisa Smith worked the case - one of her first. Most assume the girl died, but the fact that the case was never officially closed has weighed on Lou. Lou gets a second chance when that girl is found in a brothel raid, ten years after her disappearance.

Meanwhile, Lou and her team are already on a tough case of their own: one man has been hospitalized after being brutally beaten while another lies dead. The two cases are seemingly unconnected at first, but it soon turns out they may not only be linked, but that the cases might also tie into discoveries made during an investigation Lou and her team worked just one year ago. 

Behind Closed Doors is a really dark read. The narrative alternates between Scarlett and the investigators, giving readers a disturbing look inside the world of human trafficking.

Scarlett is just fifteen when she is taken. Her trip to Greece offered her a first taste of teenage love but Scarlett's home life is anything but rosy and she starts to see the trip as a chance for escape. Ultimately the reader learns that she chose to stay for the sake of her sister; there are dark secrets in their family story, secrets that are only revealed as the book progresses.

The secondary case, which does turn out to be not so secondary at all, takes a backseat to Scarlett's tale, to be honest. She's captivating! She's strong and her story is tragic, plus the twists that Haynes teases along the way really do drive the mystery.

I did enjoy the fact that there are some lingering issues with the previous case. It's not terribly important to have read Under a Silent Moon first, though you will be aware at least of who DIDN'T do it in that one based on Behind Closed Doors. Briarstone itself seems to be a town rife with crime, so I do hope that means more of Lou, Jason, and Sam to come!

Rating: 4/5

To see more stops on the tour be sure to check out the official TLC tour page here.

For more on Elizabeth Haynes and her work, you can visit her website here. You can also like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

And now for the giveaway! To enter to win a copy of Under a Silent Moon, simply fill out the Rafflecopter below before Monday, April 13. US only please.

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Top Ten Tuesday: Recent Additions to my TBR

I've decided to jump on board with Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week the topic is: top ten books recently added to my TBR.

Monday, March 30, 2015

One Plus One by Jojo Moyes Giveaway

Jojo Moyes's latest, One Plus One, is out in paperback tomorrow and to celebrate the publisher is letting me offer up a copy for giveaway.

If you haven't read this one yet, you can check out my review post here. Here's a bit about the book from the publisher as well:

Like her breakout smash hit Me Before You, ONE PLUS ONE is a heartwarming tale of family dysfunction and devotion, the power of love, and second chances, told with Moyes’s trademark sensitivity and humor.

Suppose your life sucks—a lot. Your husband has done a vanishing act, your teenage stepson is being bullied, and your math whiz daughter has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that you can’t afford to pay for. If you’re Jess Thomas, you do what you always do—make it work.

Jess and her family (including their giant, smelly dog Norman) begin their doomed-from-the-start adventure stranded on the side of the road next to a dilapidated Rolls Royce—sans license, sans insurance—having just been pulled over by the police for a missing headlight. And the unexpected knight in shining armor who rescues them? Geeky Ed, the obnoxious tech millionaire whose vacation home Jess happens to clean. With big problems of his own, Ed, in perhaps his first ever unselfish act, offers to drive Jess and her dysfunctional brood to the Maths Olympiad and a prize that could turn everything around for Jess’s family. 

This unlikely cast of characters is easy to fall for: Nicky, Jess’s stepson, wears mascara, doesn’t fit in at school, but is fiercely protective of Tanzie, Jess’s precocious math prodigy daughter; Jess and Ed are the kind of opposites you love to watch attract; and pungent Norman, the immovable mascot of the back seat, is the best guard dog you’ll ever find drooling on your shoulder.

One Plus One is also available on audio.

And now for the giveaway: to enter simply fill out the Rafflecopter below before Monday, April 13. Open US only and no PO boxes please.

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Sunday, March 29, 2015

New Releases 3/31/15

Some of the new titles hitting shelves this week are:

The World Before Us by Aislinn Hunter

The Day We Met by Rowan Coleman

Murder Boy by Bryon Quertermous

Girl Underwater by Claire Kells

The Architect's Apprentice by Elif Shafak

At the Water's Edge by Sarah Gruen

The Figaro Murders by Laura Lebow

The Harder They Come by T. C. Boyle

Poison by Sarah Pinborough

Behind Closed Doors by Elizabeth Haynes

Voyage of the Basilisk by Marie Brennan

Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan

The Angel Court Affair by Anne Perry

Throne of Darkness by Douglas Nicholas

Normal by Graeme Cameron

The Patriot Threat by Steve Berry

The Strangler Vine by M.J. Carter

The Skull Throne by Peter V. Brett

The Honours by Tim Clare (4/2)

The Wicked Will Rise by Danielle Page

The Cemetery Boys by Heather Brewer

Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein

King by Ellen Oh

Sisters of Blood and Spirit by Kady Cross

Solitaire by Alice Oseman

New on DVD:
The Imitation Game

New Reviews at Bookbitch.com:
The Price of Blood by Patricia Bracewell
Shadow on the Crown by Patricia Bracewell

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Pre Pub Book Buzz: The Fold by Peter Clines

I consider our house a pretty big Peter Clines fan base. Both my husband and I read him (and my husband is reading this one as we speak - didn't even let me have a chance at it! Watch for my review closer to release date.)

The Fold is a break from Clines's super fabulous super heroes vs zombies series, but sounds equally wonderful and is in my reading plans as soon as I can tear it away from hubs. Here's a bit about the book from Goodreads:

The folks in Mike Erikson's small New England town would say he's just your average, everyday guy. And that's just how Mike likes it. Sure, the life he's chosen may not be much of a challenge to someone with his unique gifts, but Mike is content with his quiet and peaceful existence. 

That is, until an old government friend presents him with an irresistible mystery--one that Mike is uniquely qualified to solve: it seems that a team of DARPA scientists has invented a device that could make teleportation a reality. But something is very wrong with the project. The personalities of the scientists who work on it are changing. People are dying. And reality itself seems to be...warping. 

Mike soon learns that the machine is not at all what it appears to be--and that its creators may have opened a doorway to something horrible that lurks just outside our world's borders.

(Funnily enough there's both a Mike and a Becky in this book!)

The Fold is due out from Crown in June.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Something Red by Douglas Nicholas + a Giveaway

Hob has only been traveling with Molly and her caravan for a short time now, so many of the stops on their regular trek through England are new to him: the St. Germaine Monastery, for example, where the monks have made it their business to protect travelers, and Osbert's Inn, a welcome respite for weary pilgrims. Bandits target the road beyond and Molly has trained her people well in the event of an attack, but something worse than bandits is on their trail this time.

Hob felt it on the road outside the monastery. He felt it again before they were safely behind the walls at Osbert's Inn. It's an evil that thirsts for blood. A presence that weighs heavy on those sensitive enough to feel it coming. And it's hunting Hob and his new family.

Something Red is a deliciously atmospheric debut. It's quite dense, packed with detail and imagery, and much of the dialog works best sounded out as the author employs an almost old English approach (NOT Old English, but as if it's meant to be and still readily readable). But in spite of that, it does read rather more quickly than I'd expected, in part because of my own anticipation about what was coming and in part because it's the kind of tale that does grab hold and drag you along as Hob's group progress in their travels.

The story is set in a bone-chilling winter during the thirteenth century. Molly, or Queen Maeve, is an Irish exile who makes her way through England trading in remedies and music. Hob, an orphan, was discovered at priest house, having been taken in by an aging man of the cloth. Though Molly has yet to explain why she convinced the priest to relinquish the boy into her care, Hob is grateful and has learned much in the year and a half he's traveled with them. At just thirteen years of age, he's proven himself to be a good addition to their group. Also traveling with Molly are Jack Brown, a former crusader and her sometime lover, and her niece, Nemain.

Do be warned, it does take a while for something beyond looks and feelings to happen but the ride along the way is quite fun. This is the first in a trilogy, with the third installment due out Tuesday (March 31). There's a lot of character development but the reader is still left with questions about Molly/Maeve, Nemain, and Hob, particularly with respect to Molly's exile and her powers.

Something Red stands on its own - there's no crazy cliffhanger, but these characters are the kind you won't want to leave for long.

Rating: 4/5

And now for the giveaway! With the trilogy rounding out so soon, I'll be binging on the series myself. I though I would share the love and give away a copy of this first book to one of you lucky readers. To enter simply fill out the Rafflecopter below before Monday, April 13. US only please.

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Persona by Genevieve Valentine

Suyana Sapaki is the Face of the United Amazonian Rainforest Confederation. She was tapped as a teen and trained to represent the UARC in the International Assembly. But this doesn't mean that Suyana has any semblance of power or influence, and the IA makes sure its Faces know this. No, Suyana is expected to attend events, chair committees when asked, and express only the opinions and votes set forth for her. But when Suyana finds herself at the center of an assassination attempt, she has to wonder if someone has discovered her deepest secret. 

Genevieve Valentine is a smart author and it shows in Persona. The intricate layering of this world, which is much like our own - with a few key... exaggerations so to speak (some cynics would argue she's spot on with our own political system), takes some time to ease into. The political manipulations become clearer as the story progresses, thankfully. At the start I was more than a little confused about exactly how this was all playing out, trying to figure out the nature of the IA and the Faces to begin with.

In this world, politics are done behind the scenes. Faces like Suyana are meant to be seen, literally. They're contracted for everything from public appearances to relationships - a bit like endorsements but for every aspect of their lives. And yet, Suyana has managed to keep some pieces of her life personal. And it's this little secret that could be the reason someone wants her dead.

The attempt is witnessed by Daniel Park, a paparazzo (a Snap). Publicity and photos of Faces are also controlled by the IA, so Daniel's freelancing would be greatly frowned upon (and he's gotten in trouble with the IA before, as we soon learn). But when he ends up being the only person Suyana can count on he knows he can't tell her what he was doing at the scene.

There are so many potential plots against, for, or even by Suyana and Daniel that it's impossible not to become swept up in their story. And the clues Valentine sets along the way to key you into the world fit well within the story as they're placed, both avoiding any icky info dump as well as hang ups in the plot. A win, win all around.

Rating: 4/5