Blitz: Arabella Park by Meiling

Arabella Park
Meiling
Publication date: October 1st 2017
Genres: Mystery, Young Adult

Everyone knows that losing friends is a natural part of the high school experience. It’s all a game of musical chairs, really. Yet, what happens when a friend doesn’t intentionally “go ghost” but is abruptly taken away?

Kameron, Grayson, Mikey, Yasmin, and Jenna have been thick as thieves from childhood. Rightfully so—they make up the American minority in the German twin city of Arabella Park. When one of the five suddenly turns up missing, the remaining friends must find a way to bring her back while keeping up the facade of leading ordinary small-town lives.

As they search for their missing friend, they discover things about themselves and one another that will catapult them into an explosive climax and the ultimate revelation of who done it.

A multi-faceted mystery told from the alternating points of view of five friends, Arabella Park brings to life what it means to endure the most frightful, profound time of one’s life—the teenage years—while being stretched to the limits of what it means to be an adult, even a hero.

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EXCERPT:

From non-Catholics, Father had often been presented with the question of why it was necessary for the laity to confess their sins to a priest. After all, weren’t priests just sinful men like everyone else?

Father’s rehearsed response to this question usually included scripture passages from James 5 (Confess your sins one to another) and John 20 (If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven.) Afterward, he’d explain the church’s longstanding tradition of designating holy men to council confessors and thus help them back on the road to holiness.

For those who held the sacrament in such great contempt that this explanation would not suffice, Father would add this to his reply: “Yes, priests are sinful. We, like all other men, must go to confession as well.”

This was the truth of the matter and usually an answer that settled the argument, at least for a time.

Father himself made it a point to go to confession three times a week, though in years past he’d gone nearly every day just to make sure that he had the grace to overcome even venial sins.

Yet, there came a time, some days after he’d heard that certain confession of murder, he was sure that he was in a state of mortal sin.

Thus, he went to visit Father Kaiser at Dom zu Eichstätt, the largest Catholic church in Arabella Park.

Father went smoothly through the beginning ritual of confession with Father Kaiser. It had been a week since his last confession. He stated his smaller sins—watching too much television, failing to say his morning prayers on Wednesday, entertaining an impure thought.

At last, Father reached the Great Sin, the one that had brought him there to begin with. He hesitated, breathed, closed his eyes.

“Are you okay?” asked Father Kaiser after some time.

“Yes,” Father answered. “I have one more sin to confess.”

Father Kaiser was silent, save his easy breathing.

“I’ve done something terrible. I don’t know if I can say it.”

“Don’t worry. Jesus will forgive whatever it is, so long as you confess. You’re in the right place.”

Right. That was right. Jesus could forgive anything, even….

“Murder,” Father said finally. “I am an active accomplice to murder.”

 

Author Bio:

I’ve lived the most ordinary life ever. Thus, I write for my own entertainment and hopefully, one day, the entertainment of millions of others. I’m a guitarist/singer/songwriter and above all, a hard worker. (At least, I’d like to think so.) Not sure what other clever thing I could say, so [insert clever line right here.] 🙂

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Audiobook Review: Taking on Water by David Rawding

Synopsis

When James Morrow, a social worker, first meets Kevin Flynn, he suspects the teen is being abused. To learn more about Kevin’s home life, he gets to know the boy’s father, Tucker, who’s a lobsterman. James is able to put his suspicions to rest, and the two families begin to form a friendship.

When a kid at the local recreation center dies of an overdose, Detective Maya Morrow adds the case to the long list related to the drug problem plaguing the small New Hampshire coastal town of Newborough. But her investigation gets her much too close to the dangerous players.


Both the Morrows and the Flynns are holding dark secrets, and when their lives collide, tragedy is inevitable.

Review

A gripping novel that keeps you thinking throughout whilst delivering many twists and turns.  Character stories interlink whilst developing, keeping you guessing about what is going to happen next.

The narration and production are perfect for this novel, well-paced and with good intonation Curt Simmons guides you through the story and his gravitas keeps you engaged.

The only criticism is that the book is a little slow to develop, a significant portion of the story is given to building the character profiles – a necessity in the progression of the book but making ‘getting in to the book’ somewhat challenging.  However, when the story starts to pick up pace it does so rapidly and kept me enraptured.  I couldn’t leave it alone until the climax of the book.

Overall, a great book and one I enjoyed listening to.  Having listened to it while cooking, I was very lucky not to burn the food more regularly as I stood listening to the story.



Blitz: Serenade by Heather McKenzie

Serenade
Heather McKenzie
(The Nightmusic Trilogy #1)
Published by: Clean Teen Publishing
Publication date: April 17th 2017
Genres: Mystery, Romance, Suspense, Young Adult

Kidnapped and held hostage in the Rockies, a teenage heiress falls for her abductor while her corrupt father and devoted bodyguard fight to get her back. The discovery of true love and dark family secrets turns deadly in this epic coming of age adventure.
Kaya Lowen dreams of living like a normal eighteen-year old, but being heiress to a billion-dollar company has put her life in constant danger. Fiercely guarded by her powerful and corrupt father, she develops close bonds with those who protect her, especially Oliver – a bodyguard who has proven his devotion to her time and again. He wins her heart – until a chance encounter with a mysterious stranger has her questioning everything she believes in. Haunted by true love and reeling from a guilty conscience, Kaya’s world unravels when she’s kidnapped.
Held captive in a rugged wilderness fraught with raging storms, mystical caves and deadly predators, Kaya’s father scours the forest and her bodyguard fights to get her back. But, the discovery of a dark family secret makes Kaya wonder if staying in the arms of her blue-eyed abductor—a captivating stranger with dark secrets of his own – is a safer place to be. At least, that’s what her heart is telling her, her head is saying run…
An epic adventure centered on a smoldering love-triangle, Serenade sings a timeless tale of courage, self-discovery, and life-or-death love that will leave you breathless.

EXCERPT:
This was it, now or never.

I gathered every single ounce of energy I had and steadied my mind to ignore the pain in my foot and the dizziness in my head. Then, with everything I had, I turned and bolted toward the dense forest. The darkness instantly enveloped me. I could see well enough not to run into tree trunks, but branches caught me at every turn. My head felt as if it was spinning like a top, but I forced my legs to keep going. I could hear the men’s voices yelling at each other in an organized manner.
I tripped and found myself on all fours. Get up, girl. There’s nothing wrong with you—get up…
I made it a few more steps before my head connected with a blue spruce, and then I collapsed in a pathetic heap. My arms were so wobbly I could barely wipe at the gash across my forehead. My body was completely failing me. I prayed to God that the dog would just snap my neck and get it over with quickly…
Human footsteps approached. I gulped in some air and tried to push myself up, but the world tipped on its side and I fell with it. Within moments, large hands had my wrists pinned to the ground. I struggled and fought with everything I had left, which wasn’t much.
“Stop fighting,” he said.
His voice created such confusion inside me. I kicked harder.
“Stop… please,” he begged.
His body pinned mine to the ground. I could feel tears welling up in my eyes.
“Please, Kaya, trust me. I won’t let anyone hurt you, I promise.” He leaned forward and pressed his sleeve to my bleeding forehead, dabbing and inspecting it closely while I had no choice but to gaze up him. How could this beautiful man be a kidnapper? It just didn’t fit.
“It’s just a scratch; no stitches required,” he said, voice trailing off as his eyes met mine.
We stayed like that for a while: me on the ground, him kneeling over me, and our line of sight only on each other—until an unmistakable sound broke through the tree tops.
“They’ll find me,” I said softly, wondering if Oliver was in the helicopter circling over our heads.
He positioned his arms under my body, and, in one graceful motion, he picked me up and into his arms. “Just don’t run. Promise me that, please. I’ll keep you safe. You have my word. Okay?”
He held me tightly—protectively—waiting eagerly for my reply with turmoil in his blue eyes. My whole body hurt, and admittedly, I couldn’t have walked another inch. The wolves or that beast would have got to me long before Oliver would have. I was at my kidnapper’s mercy, laying helplessly in his arms and falling harder for him by the second.
“I promise,” I said.

Author Bio:
Heather McKenzie is a Canadian author and Serenade is her first novel. A professional singer/songwriter with five albums to date, she has been telling stories through music for years and pulls from her extraordinary experiences as a musician to fuel her passion for creating Young Adult fiction. A rocker at heart, a mom of three, an aspiring painter, and a lover of animals, she is kept grounded by her husband at their home in Edmonton.


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Blitz: The Secret Billionnaire by Teymour Shahabi

The Secret Billionaire
Teymour Shahabi
Publication date: September 26th 2016
Genres: Mystery, Young Adult

March 24. Billionaire Lyndon Surway takes off in his private plane and never returns.
His will leaves the entirety of his wealth—one of the largest fortunes in history—to his “dear friend Lucian Baker.” Only there is no trace of anyone by that name. And the fortune itself is nowhere to be found.
Andrew Day knows nothing of wealth and privilege, but he won a scholarship to study at the most exclusive school in the country, in the town where the mystery, decades later, remains unsolved. There he discovers friendship and danger with the aristocratic Cameron and the beautiful Olivia. But watchful eyes follow him everywhere… Until, one night, he comes across a secret that will change his life. As he begins to unravel what really happened to the Surway fortune, the question remains: who is Lucian Baker?
Winner: Northern California Book Festival, Best Young Adult Book, 2016
Winner: Great Midwest Book Festival, Best Young Adult Book, 2016

Teymour Talks About The First Review of His Book:
EXCERPT:
The Metropolitan Times
June 24, 196…
At nine o’clock yesterday morning, following ninety days of fruitless searching, billionaire industrialist and businessman Lyndon Surway was officially pronounced dead. Mr. Surway was last seen by members of his staff departing from the main airplane hangar of his estate a few minutes past eight in the morning, flying alone aboard one of his aircraft. His last recorded words to the command center crew of his hangar were: “Clear skies and mild winds. Perfect visibility, or as perfect as I could hope, for as long as I can tell. Gentlemen, I wish you a thorough enjoyment of this fine day.” Nothing unusual was noted in his language or behavior.
The late Mr. Surway often took his plane out with no stated destination. But this time, he failed to return at the customary hour of six in the evening. As no word had been received from him, the kitchens were advised that he would likely dine outside. At ten o’clock on the following morning, when there was still no news of Mr. Surway or his aircraft, the Steward of the House alerted the municipal, state, and federal authorities, and a search began for the missing magnate. But no airport, hotel, hospital or inn within fuel’s range of the estate could provide any information. Dozens of interviews bore no result. Countless journalists and detectives rushed in from every corner of the country, but none of them could unearth a single clue regarding Mr. Surway’s whereabouts. Not even the Steward could guess where Mr. Surway had gone. On the morning of his disappearance, Mr. Surway had only told him: “My day is free and so am I.”
Fifteen infantry troops were dispatched, with over a hundred hound dogs, across more than two hundred miles of hills and valleys surrounding the town of Spring Forge, where Mr. Surway lived. The infantry and the dogs found nothing. The Air Force then loaned eighteen jet-powered aircraft to continue the search. The Navy joined the effort with five ships, sixteen helicopters, and four submarines to scour the coastal regions, islands, and ocean floor within flying range of the Eastern Seaboard. Again nothing was found. Finally then, a large-scale search was conducted through the grounds and the buildings of Surway House itself, led by seven hundred volunteers from Spring Forge and other towns throughout the valley. Still they found nothing. Yesterday marked three months since Mr. Surway’s disappearance. The aircraft was legally declared lost, and its owner deceased. Mr. Surway, estimated for each of the past twelve years to be the wealthiest man in the Western Hemisphere, leaves behind no known relatives.


Author Bio:
Teymour Shahabi was born in Paris in 1985 of Persian parents. He moved to the United States to study Comparative Literature and Mathematics at Harvard University. He lives in New York City where he’s spent the last few years among serious professionals, many of whom probably prefer to read nonfiction. The Secret Billionaire is his first published book.
You can watch (and help) him try to figure out writing and life at www.facebook.com/teymour.shahabi.


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Blitz: Sherlock Holmes and the Nine-Dragon Sigil by

Cover

NEW RELEASE
SHERLOCK HOLMES
AND THE NINE-DRAGON SIGIL Tim Symonds

Genre: Mystery and Thriller
Publisher: MX Publishing
Publication Date: November 16, 2016

Never had Holmes and Watson found themselves up against a human-being as clever, devious and frightening as the Empress Dowager of China.

It’s the year 1907.
Rumours abound that a deadly plot is hatching – not in the fog-ridden back-alleys of London’s Limehouse district or the sinister Devon moors of the Hound of the Baskervilles but in faraway Peking. Holmes’s task – discover whether such a plot exists and if so, foil it. But are the assassins targeting the young and progressive Ch’ing Emperor or his imperious aunt, the fearsome Empress Dowager Cixi? The murder of either could spark a civil war. The fate of China and the interests of Britain’s vast Empire in the Orient could be at stake.
Holmes and Watson take up the mission with their customary confidence – until they find they are no longer in the familiar landscapes of Edwardian England. Instead, they tumble into the Alice In Wonderland world of the Forbidden City.

About Tim Symonds

Tim Symonds was born in London, England, and grew up in Somerset, Dorset and the Channel Island of Guernsey, off the coast of Normandy. After spending his late teens farming in the Kenya Highlands and driving bulldozers along the Zambezi River, he moved to California and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from UCLA with an honours degree in Politics.
He lives in the ancient woodland known as the High Weald of Sussex, where the events recounted in Sherlock Holmes and The Dead Boer at Scotney Castle took place. His second novel, Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Bulgarian Codex (MX Publishing 2012), took Holmes and Watson into the very depths of the Balkans in 1900. Holmes and Watson were back in the region – Serbia – in Sherlock Holmes And The Mystery of Einstein’s Daughter (MX Publishing 2014), and not long afterwards in ‘Stamboul’ investigating a plot against the despotic Sultan, in Sherlock Holmes And The Sword of Osman (MX Publishing 2015).
Official Tim Symonds website: http://tim-symonds.co.uk/

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Book Unleashed

Review: A Chilling Absence by Shelly Maynard

Synopsis

Lily Grimes had it all. She was head cheerleader, the girlfriend of the All-American High School Quarterback, had been accepted to a prestige college near her hometown and the best family and friends a young woman could ask for. Just before Christmas 2004, Dr. Jethro “Jet” Manning, the doctor-in-training for the quaint little town, nearly runs over Lily, who is found unresponsive and icy cold in the middle of a backroad.

Fast forward to 2015 – Lily Grimes finally wakes up and has to face the reality of being in a coma for the past 11 years. Her life has changed but just as she feels like she is getting into the groove of things, Lily discovers secrets have been kept, lies have been told and everyone whom she considered a ‘friend’, may not be out for her best interest.
Lily feels like something is missing – a piece of herself. Is it simply because she was in a coma for so long or is there literally a piece missing? As she sets out on a mission to find the answer, Lily discovers that she’s being stalked and someone is trying to kill her.

Who can she trust and will she ever find the secret to those eleven missing years?

Review

The plot to this sounded very promising and had a lot of potential to be a very good read. 

However, although I found the idea compelling, and I did finish it very quickly, I felt that the writing itself struggled in places. 
There were a few grammatical errors which made it feel a bit messy, and the characters weren’t given much depth. I found that this meant I wasn’t emotionally invested in the characters and their wellbeing, even toward the end where Lily’s life was hanging in the balance, I felt distant. 

In saying this, the mystery surrounding  Lily was very intriguing and the lack of emotion echoed how Lily must have felt waking up having lost 11 years of her life.  Some of the ending was slightly unexpected, as there were a few red-herrings thrown in which I felt was a really good addition, it was this was kept me reading and wanting to know the whole truth about what happened to Lily, although some of the final answers were a little predictable as it had been heavily hinted at in previous chapters. 

If someone was looking for a fairly easy read, with a good basis to a plot without getting too heavily invested in then I would recommend this book as it was quite an interesting read with mystery and suspense elements. 

By Chloe

Disclosure: The Pursuit Of Bookiness received a copy of this book free of charge in return for an honest review. All opinions are our own

Review: The Fragile Will by Glen Ebisch

Synopsis

When high school English teacher Cassandra Reilly is laid off, she takes a poorly paying part-time job at a local nursing home to make ends meet. Her employment problems may be solved when one of her patients passes away after naming her in his will as the director of a new literary research center. But Cassie isn’t certain she can handle the position, and her doubts increase when she receives a threat against her life.


The lawyer who handles the will proves to be a source of support and comfort, and Cassie hopes their friendship will deepen into love. As the danger increases and Cassie faces her doubts about her own abilities, she begins to develop a new strength of character that will help her achieve her life’s goals

Review

I’ve not come across this author before but in my usual judge a book by it’s cover mentality drew me in to pick this one up.

Unfortunately this time my hunch let me down…I didn’t find this book strong in its story line or edgy enough.

It was nicely paced but quite easy to see where it was leading which is such a shame as it doesn’t give me the urge to carry on reading.

However, at only 170 pages long it’s a nice easy read that would make that morning commute a touch less monotonous on the train without having to worry about it really taxing you before you’ve finished your morning coffee





Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book free of charge in return for an honest review.  All opinions are my own

Review: For Reasons Unknown by Michael Wood

A crime, mystery novel with a slight thriller twist, For Reasons Unknown takes you through the life of Jonathan who witnessed his parents death when he was eleven. 
Twenty years later and his childhood home is being demolished.  South Yorkshire Police decide to re-open the cold case and assign DCI Matilda Darke to it in order to ease her back into Police investigation after an enforced sabbatical.  As the investigation begins, a dead body is found…
The fast paced story follows DCI Darke’s attempts to get one step ahead of the killer to prevent further deaths – can she solve the case? Can she regain her confidence and credibility as Head of the Murder Investigation Team?
An absolute page turner, this book keeps you guessing.  There are plenty of clues that lead you to reach of conclusion of ‘who dunnit’ but as soon as you do, a twist of narrative introduces doubt.  The story keeps you second-guessing yourself right up to the ‘reveal’.
A fantastic book that I would recommend to anybody who enjoys crime novels – descriptive, engrossing narrative that allows the reader to fully immerse themselves in the story and feel as though they are with DCI Darke and Jonathan as they work towards identifying the killer and solving the crime.