Beth's Book-Nook Blog

Reviews of What I've Been Reading….

TWO JOURNEYS HOME by Kevin O’Connell

A while back, I read and reviewed BEYOND DERRYNANE by Kevin O’Connell, a story of an Irish family of “fallen aristocracy” in the 1700’s and how they lived with the courts of Europe when ousted from Ireland. I was thrilled that Mr. O’Connell reached out to offer me TWO JOURNEYS HOME, a sequel to DERRYNANE that continues Eileen’s story.

Here’s the overview:

It’s now the late-Summer of 1767. As the eagerly anticipated sequel to Beyond Derrynane opens, having spent almost six eventful years at the court of Maria Theresa, Eileen O’Connell has availed herself of a fortuitous opportunity to travel back to Ireland.

Her vivacious personality matched only by her arresting physical presence, Eileen returns to Derrynane this time not as a teenage widow but, rather, as one of the most recognised figures at the glittering Habsburg court. Before departing Ireland several months later she experiences a whirlwind romance, leading to a tumult of betrayal and conflict within the O’Connell clan. Once back in Vienna she unexpectedly finds her responsibilities as governess to the youngest Habsburg archduchess now linked to relations between France and Austria.

Abigail, rather than being eclipsed by her colourful younger sister, has instead ascended to the vaulted position of principal lady-in-waiting to Empress Maria Theresa. No longer “just a girl from deep in Kerry,” she is a beloved – and powerful – figure at court.

Hugh O’Connell, the youngest of the large family, leaves behind waning adolescence and a fleeting attraction to the youngest archduchess when he begins a military career in the Irish Brigade of the armies of Louis XV. But, perhaps as a foreshadowing of his adult life and career, more royal entanglement awaits him in France …

In the continuing saga, the O’Connells will confront intrigue, romance – even violence. Despite their innate wisdom, cunning and guile, what their futures hold remains to be seen.

With his uniquely-descriptive prose, Kevin O’Connell again deftly weaves threads of historical fact and fancy to create a colourful tapestry affording unique insights into the courts of eighteenth-century Catholic Europe as well as Protestant Ascendancy-ruled Ireland. Watch as the epic unfolds amongst the O’Connells, their friends and enemies, as the tumultuously-dangerous worlds in which they dwell continue to gradually – but inexorably – change.

Along with Beyond Derrynane, Two Journeys Home – and the two books to follow in The Derrynane Saga – comprise an enthralling series of historical novels, presenting a sweeping chronicle, set against the larger drama of Europe in the early stages of significant change, dramatising the roles, which have never before been treated in fiction, played by a small number of expatriate Irish Catholics of the fallen “Gaelic Aristocracy” at the courts of Catholic Europe, as well as relating their complex, at times dangerous, lives at home in an Ireland still controlled by the Sassenach.

In addition to Eileen’s, the books trace the largely-fictional lives of several other O’Connells of Derrynane, it is the tantalisingly few facts that are historically documented about them which provide the basic facts which give rise to the tale, into which strategic additions of numerous historical and fictional personalities and events mesh seamlessly.

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O’Connell is a fantastic storyteller. His prose is so rich and beautiful, it is a joy to read. The story is compelling and the characters are memorable — all the more so because they are based on real people. I must admit, I am Irish but I did not know about this piece of Irish history. It is fascinating, but historical fiction at the same time – my favorite kind of read: keeps my interest and I learn something new!

Thank you to Mr. O’Connell for my copy. Highly recommended for historical fiction lovers!

About the Author

Kevin O’Connell is a native of of New York City, descended from a young officer of what had – from 1690 to 1792 – been the Irish Brigade of the French army, believed to have arrived in French Canada sometime following the execution of Queen Marie Antoinette in October, 1793. At least one grandson subsequently returned to Ireland; Mr. O’Connell’s own grandparents arrived in New York in the early Twentieth Century. He holds both Irish and American citizenship. Given this heritage, he has been a serious student of Eighteenth Century Irish and European history for virtually all his life; one significant aspect of this has been a continuing scholarly as well as personal interest in the extended O’Connell family. As a result, in 2014, Mr. O’Connell began writing a series of historical fiction novels, now known as the Derrynane Saga. His first book, Beyond Derrynane: A Novel of Eighteenth Century Europe, was published by The Gortcullinane Press in July 2016, is in global circulation and has received a range of positive critical reviews, in the United States, the UK and in Europe. An alumnus of Don Bosco Preparatory School, he is a graduate of Providence College and Georgetown University Law Centre. For much of his forty-plus year long legal career, Mr. O’Connell has practiced international business transactional law, primarily involving direct-investment matters, throughout Asia, Europe and the Middle East O’Connell is married, has five children and ten grandchildren. He resides with his wife, Laurette, and their golden retriever, Katie, near Annapolis, Maryland, USA.

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SILENT FEAR by Lance and James Morcan with GIVEAWAY!

Silent Fear ebook cover

My friends at Sterling Gate Books in New Zealand have sent me information on an upcoming book (publishing 10/31) that sounds really intriguing!

Silent Fear is the latest novel by New Zealand father-and-son writing team Lance & James Morcan, authors of seven other published novels including THE NINTH ORPHAN, WHITE SPIRIT and INTO THE AMERICAS. It’s available now under Amazon’s Pre-order program for auto-delivery to kindle users on October 31.

 

Background info:

Silent Fear is dedicated to the many millions of deaf people around the world. This novel was inspired by the murders of deaf students at Gallaudet University, one of the world’s most prestigious learning institutions for the deaf, between 1980 and the early 2000’s. The investigating authorities didn’t know if the killings were ‘inside jobs’ and for a time nearly everyone connected to Gallaudet was under suspicion.

When you can’t hear…death comes silently.

Synopsis:

Scotland Yard detective Valerie Crowther is assigned to investigate the murder of a student at a university for the Deaf in London, England. The murder investigation coincides with a deadly flu virus outbreak, resulting in the university being quarantined from the outside world.

When more Deaf students are murdered, it becomes clear there is a serial killer operating within the sealed-off university. A chilling cat-and-mouse game evolves as the unknown killer targets Valerie and the virus claims more lives.

A stunning, claustrophobic, “whodunit” murder mystery with shades of horror, sci-fi and romance, Silent Fear (A novel inspired by true crimes) is the eighth novel by father-and-son writing team Lance & James Morcan. Included is a commentary by Deaf filmmaker Brent Macpherson on the unique aspects of Deaf culture the story covers. Together, the Morcans and Macpherson are currently developing a feature film adaptation of Silent Fear.

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Relevant links:

The book’s Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/dp/ B075HRYTVC/

Book’s Goodreads page: https://www.goodreads.com/ book/show/35626239-silent-fear

Authors’ Amazon bios and pics:

Lance  https://www.amazon.com/Lance- Morcan/e/B005ET3ZUO/ref=dp_ byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

James https://www.amazon.com/James- Morcan/e/B005EPOU48/ref=dp_ byline_cont_pop_ebooks_2

We have also set up Silent World, a new Goodreads discussion group, to promote the book at:https://www.goodreads.com/ group/show/237556-silent- world-a-discussion-group -New members welcome!   

And here’s a short YouTube video promoting the book and the planned feature film:https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=-8bv1vbQxYo


Lance, at Sterling Gate, has given me a free pdf ARC that I can read via my iPad, and he has authorized me to share info with interested readers on how to win their own! Please email me at bethsbooknookblog@ymail.com if you are interested. I will use random.org to choose a winner. Please email me by November 15.

What are you waiting for? Get reading!

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THE CURIOUS AFFAIR OF THE SOMNAMBULIST AND THE PSYCHIC THIEF by Lisa Tuttle

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Description

I found this little gem on Net Galley and it seemed like the type of historical mystery that I would enjoy. I loved this duo of detectives and I particularly liked how much of this story is told from a woman’s point of view — a POV that loses sight of the intricacies of a women’s role in Victorian England.
Well-written and well-plotted, I can only hope that this is the start of a series!
Thank you for my review e-copy!
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Book Shout Out: The Things We Learn When We’re Dead by Charlie Laidlaw

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The very pleasant Charlie Laidlaw reached out to me and asked if I’d be interested in checking out his new novel. To be honest, I have not read it yet, but I’m happy to give a shout out as it sounds really interesting and Charlie seems like a super nice guy! (And quite honestly, in this volunteer business, people who are pleasant and friendly get more from me than complainers and demanders).

Here’s the overview via Amazon:

Intriguing and compelling… a tale that grips until the very last page – Jodi Taylor, bestselling author of The Chronicles of St Mary’s. 

On the way home from a dinner party she didn’t want to attend, Lorna Love steps into the path of an oncoming car. When she wakes up she is in what appears to be a hospital – but a hospital in which her nurse looks like a young Sean Connery, she is served wine for supper, and everyone avoids her questions. It soon transpires that she is in Heaven, or on HVN. Because HVN is a lost, dysfunctional spaceship, and God the aging hippy captain. She seems to be there by accident. Or does God have a higher purpose after all? At first Lorna can remember nothing. As her memories return – some good, some bad – she realises that she has decisions to make and that she needs to find a way home…

More information about the book The Things We Learn When We’re Dead is a modern fairytale of love and loss and, for those readers who want to make the connection, a retelling of The Wizard of Oz: how a young woman comes to reassess her life and find a new beginning. Lorna Love, born and brought up in small-town Scotland, is apparently killed in a car accident on the day of the London bus and tube bombings. But the afterlife isn’t quite what she expected. For a start, Heaven is a broken-down spaceship and God is the double of Sean Connery. However, the book is neither fantasy nor sci-fi; Heaven simply a dreamscape through which Lorna comes to see her life through new eyes – from the people she loved, to the death of her brother. In fulfilling familiar expectations, the book offers a counterpoint between the absurdities of Lorna’s imagined Heaven and banality of her rather ordinary life. The book, grounded in the 9/11 and 7/7 bombings, also offers the metaphor that we are all connected, even by distant events. It is, essentially, a humorous book, using an oblique construct to provide a new perspective on a familiar theme. But, while making the familiar unfamiliar, it also reassures them that Lorna will have her second chance.

“Intriguing and compelling… a tale that grips until the very last page.” Jodi Taylor, best-selling author

“Clever and compelling… this book is hugely original and well worth a read…hugely enjoyable.” Book Bag

“A gem of a book…a really good book about life and growing up.” Book Lore

Charlie Laidlaw was born in the west of Scotland and is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh. He has been a national newspaper journalist and worked in defense intelligence. He is married with two grown-up children. Visit http://www.charlielaidlawauthor.com

Available in the USA at:

Ebook  http://amzn.to/2xDBvkr

Print  http://amzn.to/2wUke2Q

 

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THE NAMES OF DEAD GIRLS by Eric Rickstad with GIVEAWAY!

So excited to read this follow up to the mystery THE SILENT GIRLS by Eric Rickstad. This novel continues where the first one left off. Suspense and mystery, along with solidly created characters, made for a fast and fun read! Thank you for my review e-copy via Edelweiss!

Here’s the scoop from Partners in Crime Tours:

The Names of Dead Girls

by Eric Rickstad

on Tour from September 18 – October 2, 2017

Synopsis:

The Names of Dead Girls by Eric Rickstad

William Morrow is thrilled to present the sequel to the New York Times and USA Today mega-bestseller The Silent Girls, which went on to sell more than 300,000 copies. The Names of Dead Girls is a dark, twisty thriller that once again features detectives Frank Rath and Sonja Test as they track a perverse killer through rural Vermont. By popular demand, the story picks up after the shocking cliffhanger on the last page of The Silent Girls and reveals what exactly happens between Rath and his nemesis, Ned Preacher. Although The Names of Dead Girls is a sequel, it reads perfectly as a standalone – new readers can dive in seamlessly.

After years spent retired as a private investigator, Frank Rath is lured back into his role as lead detective in a case that hits far too close to home. Sixteen years ago, depraved serial rapist and killer Ned Preacher brutally murdered Rath’s sister and brother-in-law while their baby daughter, Rachel, slept upstairs. In the aftermath, Rath quit his job as a state police detective and abandoned his drinking and womanizing to adopt Rachel and devote his life to raising her alone.

Now, unthinkably, Preacher has been paroled early and is watching—and plotting cruelties for—Rachel, who has just learned the truth about her parents’ murders after years of Rath trying to protect her from it. The danger intensifies when local girls begin to go missing, in crimes that echo the past. Is the fact that girls are showing up dead right when Preacher was released a coincidence? Or is he taunting Frank Rath, circling his prey until he comes closer and closer to the one he left behind—Rachel? Rath’s investigation takes him from the wilds of Vermont to the strip clubs of Montreal, but it seems that some evil force is always one step ahead of him.

Eric Rickstad is a master of the bone-chilling, nightmare-inducing thriller, and The Names of Dead Girls is one you won’t want to miss.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery / Thriller

Published by: HarperCollins Publishers

Publication Date: September 12th 2017

Number of Pages: 400

ISBN: 0062672819 (ISBN13: 9780062672810)

Series: The Silent Girls #2

Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

Read an excerpt:

Rath drove the Scout as fast as he could without crashing into the cedars along the desolate stretch of road known as Moose Alley that wound through thirty miles of remote bog and boreal forest. The rain was not as violent here, the fog just starting to crawl out of the ditch.

Rath hoped the police were at Rachel’s and had prevented whatever cruelty Preacher had in store; but hope was as useful as an unloaded gun.

The Scout’s temperature gauge climbed perilously into the red. If the engine overheated, Rath would be stuck out here, miles from nowhere, cut off from contact. In this remote country, cell service was like the eastern mountain lion: its existence rumored, but never proven.

Finally, Rath reached the bridge that spanned the Lamoille River into the town of Johnson. His relief to be near Rachel crushed by fear of what he might find.

At the red light where Route 15 met Main Street, he waited, stuck behind a school bus full of kids likely coming from a sporting event.

He needed to get around the bus, run the light, but a Winnebago swayed through the intersection.

The light turned green.

Rath tromped on the gas pedal. The Scout lurched through the light. On the other side of the intersection, Rath jammed the brake pedal to avoid ramming into the back of the braking bus, the bus’s red lights flashing.

A woman on the sidewalk glared at Rath as she cupped the back of the head of a boy who jumped off the bus. She fixed the boy’s knit cap and flashed Rath a last scalding look as she hustled the boy into a liquor store.

The bus crept forward.

No vehicles approached from the opposing lane.

Rath passed the bus and ran the next two red lights.

The rain was a mist here, and the low afternoon sun broke briefly through western clouds, a silvery brilliance mirroring off the damp asphalt, nearly blinding Rath.

Rachel’s road lay just ahead.

Rath swerved onto it and sped up the steep hill.

A state police cruiser and a sheriff’s sedan were parked at hurried angles in front of Felix and Rachel’s place.

He feared what was inside that apartment. Feared what Preacher had done to Rachel.

Sixteen years ago, standing at the feet of his sister’s body, Rath had heard a whine, like that of a wet finger traced on the rim of a crystal glass, piercing his brain. He’d charged upstairs into the bedroom, to the crib. There she’d lain, tiny legs and arms pumping as if she’d been set afire, that shrill escape of air rising from the back of her throat.

Rachel.

In the moment Rath had picked Rachel up, he’d felt a permanent upheaval, like one plate of the earth’s lithosphere slipping beneath another; his selfish past life subducting beneath a selfless future life; a niece transformed into a daughter by acts of violent cruelty.

For months, Rath had kept Rachel’s crib beside his bed and lain sleepless as he’d listened to her every frayed breath at night. He’d panicked when she’d fallen quiet, shaken her lightly to make certain she was alive, been flooded with relief when she’d wriggled. He’d picked her up and cradled her, promised to keep her safe. Thinking, If we just get through this phase, I won’t ever have to worry like this again.

But peril pressed in at the edges of a girl’s life, and worry planted roots in Rath’s heart and bloomed wild and reckless. As Rachel had grown, Rath’s worry had grown, and he’d kept vigilant for the lone man who stood with his hands jammed in his trouser pockets behind the playground fence. In public, he’d gripped Rachel’s hand, his love ferocious and animal. If anyone ever harmed her.

Rath yanked the Scout over a bank of plowed snow onto a spit of dead lawn.

He jumped out, tucked his .22 revolver into the back waistband of his jeans, and ran for the stairs that led up the side of the old house to the attic apartment.

He hoped he wasn’t too late.

***

Excerpt from The Names of Dead Girls by Eric Rickstad. Copyright © 2017 by Eric Rickstad. Reproduced with permission from Eric Rickstad. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

Eric Rickstad

Eric Rickstad is the New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author of The Canaan Crime Series—Lie in Wait, The Silent Girls, and The Names of Dead Girls, psychological thrillers set in northern Vermont and heralded as intelligent, profound, dark, disturbing, and heartbreaking. His first novel Reap was a New York Times Noteworthy Novel. Rickstad lives in his home state of Vermont with his wife, daughter, and son.

Catch Up With Our Author On:
Website 🔗, Goodreads 🔗, Twitter 🔗, & Facebook 🔗!

 

Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Eric Rickstad and HarperCollins Publishers. There will be 3 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on September 16 and runs through October 4, 2017.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 

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Publishing this week: POLITICAL JUSTICE by Dennis Carstens

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Political Justice
by Dennis Carstens

POWER, MONEY AND CORRUPTION COLLIDE IN TIMELY MUST-READ POLITICAL THRILLER
A politically-driven couple — he a charming governor and she the brains behind their meteoric rise — is poised to blow any preconceived notions you have about politics and power out of the water. Tom and Darla Carver certainly have revolutionary ideas on how to improve America. But improving their own political position and influence is always the underlying objective.
Forget the headlines, but have fun guessing who’s who while devouring this delectable thriller.
Political Justice: A Marc Kadella Legal Mystery by Dennis Carstens [October 3, 2017] is
the seventh outing for the charismatic defense lawyer burning up Amazon best-seller lists. When one of now-president Tom Carver’s dalliances gets more than a polite brush off (she gets a death certificate!) the spin machine grinds into action as Darla resorts to bribes and leaks to preserve her own political legacy. She will even go so far as to frame an innocent, honorable soldier for treason to get what she craves. Kadella defends the man and as a legal defense is crafted, the lawyer is pulled further and further into the trial’s twists and turns.

“I try to create a story that is entertaining, interesting and, most importantly, thought provoking,” Carstens says. “I want to create something that gives the reader a legal, moral or ethical dilemma to think about. In doing so, as in real life, every little detail may not be wrapped up in a nice, neat bow at the end. But the reading experience is well worth the ride.”
A compelling mystery that readers can’t help but compare to political controversies current and historical, Political Justice is poised to be the most celebrated Marc Kadella mystery yet.
Dennis Carstens was born in Worthington, MN, and has lived most of his life in the Twin
Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. He received a BA from the University of Minnesota and his J.D. from a highly respected private law school, William Mitchell, in St. Paul. A veteran of the U.S. Air Force and a retired trial lawyer, Carstens brings these life experiences to his fiction for a dose of realism and accuracy sadly missing from much of the legal thriller genre today.
Connect with Carstens at http://www.denniscarstensauthor.com and on http://www.facebook.com/
TheKeyToJustice.

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I haven’t read it, but it sounds intriguing. You can read the whole series or an individual one as a stand alone.

I’m always happy to shout out for a Pub Day and thank my friends at Smith Publicity for sending me this book info!

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