Beth's Book-Nook Blog

Reviews of What I've Been Reading….

PICTour for Alex Gray’s THE SILENT GAMES

The Silent Games
by Alex Gray
The Silent Games by Alex Gray

Alex Gray’s stunning new Lorimer novel, set against the backdrop of the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, brings the vibrant city to life in a race to stop the greatest threat the city has ever known.
2014: The Commonwealth Games are coming to Glasgow and security is extra tight, particularly after a mysterious bomb explodes in nearby rural Stirlingshire. As the opening ceremony for the Games draws ever closer, the police desperately seek the culprits. But Detective Superintendent Lorimer has other concerns on his mind. One is a beautiful red-haired woman from his past whose husband dies suddenly on his watch. Then there is the body of a young woman found dumped in countryside just south of the city who is proving impossible to identify. Elsewhere in Glasgow people prepare for the events in their own way, whether for financial gain or to welcome home visitors from overseas. And, hiding behind false identities, are those who pose a terrible threat not just to the Games but to the very fabric of society.
Critical Praise:
An excellent procedural in which Gray … does for Glasgow what Ian Rankin did for Edinburgh in the annals of crime fiction.” — Kirkus Reviews on The Silent Games
“Gray has no equal when it comes to unmasking killers and she has excelled herself here . . . Gray is the new master of Scottish crime writing.” — Scottish Daily Express
“Brings Glasgow to life in the same way Ian Rankin evokes Edinburgh.” — Daily Mail (UK)
Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: March 13th 2018
Number of Pages: 368
ISBN: 9780062659262
Series: A DCI Lorimer Novel, #11 (Stand Alone)

Get Your Copy of The Silent Games from Amazon,Barnes & Noble, & HarperCollins. Don’t forget to add it to your Goodreads!!
 If you read my blog, you know I love Alex Gray’s DCI Lorimer novels. They all can stand alone, but I love to read them in order. This one was no exception – I couldn’t put it down! It seemed to have three different story lines going at the offset: Lorimer attends his high school reunion which is organized by his old flame (whose husband promptly turns up dead),  a young girl is kidnapped from Africa and black-marketed for sex in Scotland, and some thugs are planning a bombing at the Scotland Glasgow Games. I wasn’t sure how these three would come together, but converge they did, with a satisfying conclusion!

Thank you for making me part of the tour and for my review e-copy! I hear there’s another title in the works….

Author Bio:

Alex Gray

Alex Gray was born and educated in Glasgow. After studying English and Philosophy at the University of Strathclyde, she worked as a visiting officer for the Department of Health, a time she looks upon as postgraduate education since it proved a rich source of character studies. She then trained as a secondary school teacher of English. Alex began writing professionally in 1993 and had immediate success with short stories, articles, and commissions for BBC radio programs. She has been awarded the Scottish Association of Writers’ Constable and Pitlochry trophies for her crime writing. A regular on the Scottish bestseller lists, she is the author of thirteen DCI Lorimer novels. She is the co-founder of the international Scottish crime writing festival, Bloody Scotland, which had its inaugural year in 2012.
Catch Up With Alex Gray On alex-gray.comGoodreads, &Twitter!

 

 But wait! There’s more! A  Giveaway!!
Giveaway:
This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Alex Gray and Witness Impulse. There will be 3 winners of one (1) Print copy of Alex Gray’s THE SWEDISH GIRL. The giveaway begins on March 12, 2018 and runs through April 15, 2018. Open to U.S. addresses only. Void where prohibited.

 

Direct Link to Giveaway:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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PICTour for THE SWEDISH GIRL by Alex Gray

The Swedish Girl

by Alex Gray

Tour January 8 – February 12, 2018

The Swedish Girl by Alex Gray

Another gripping Lorimer novel from Alex Gray, evoking Glasgow like no other writer can

When Kirsty Wilson lands a room in a luxury Glasgow flat owned by Swedish fellow student Eva Magnusson she can’t believe her luck. But Kirsty’s delight turns to terror when she finds the beautiful Swedish girl lying dead in their home and their male flatmate accused of her murder. Kirsty refuses to accept that he is guilty and, inspired by family friend Detective Superintendent Lorimer, sets out to clear his name.

Meanwhile, Lorimer calls on trusted psychologist Solly Brightman to help unravel the truth behind the enigmatic Eva’s life and death. But it is not long until another woman, bearing a marked resemblance to Eva, is brutally murdered. Horrified, Lorimer realises that Kirsty could be right. Is it possible that Glasgow’s finest detective has put the wrong man behind bars? And is there a cold-blooded killer out there orchestrating the death of the next innocent victim?

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: January 9th 2018
Number of Pages: 368
ISBN: 9780062659255
Series: A DCI Lorimer Novel, #10 (Stand Alone)
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | HarperCollins 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

 I so enjoy Alex Gray’s novels with Scottish detective DCI Lorimer and his colleagues. This was was particularly entertaining as it focused on his friend’s college-age daughter and her friends. Alex Gray never disappoints! Her writing is smooth and her mysteries well-plotted. While they are crime mysteries, I don’t find them overly graphic. DCI Lorimer is in all the books, but each can stand alone.

Thanks for making me a part of the tour!

Author Bio:

Alex GrayAlex Gray was born and educated in Glasgow. After studying English and Philosophy at the University of Strathclyde, she worked as a visiting officer for the Department of Health, a time she looks upon as postgraduate education since it proved a rich source of character studies. She then trained as a secondary school teacher of English. Alex began writing professionally in 1993 and had immediate success with short stories, articles, and commissions for BBC radio programs. She has been awarded the Scottish Association of Writers’ Constable and Pitlochry trophies for her crime writing. A regular on the Scottish bestseller lists, she is the author of thirteen DCI Lorimer novels. She is the co-founder of the international Scottish crime writing festival, Bloody Scotland, which had its inaugural year in 2012.

Catch Up With Alex Gray On: Website 🔗Goodreads 🔗, & Twitter 🔗

 But wait! There’s more! Enter below for a giveaway copy of this novel!!

Giveaway

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Alex Gray and Witness Impulse. There will be 3 winner of one (1) eBook copy of Alex Gray’s A Pound of Flesh. The giveaway begins on January 8 and runs through February 14, 2018.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

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Partners in Crime Blog Tour for THE PIPER by Charles Todd

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Today I’m thrilled to be taking part in a blog tour for THE PIPER, through Partners in Crime Tours, my first time taking part with them!

I received this mystery novella via e-copy. It is a quick read and cleverly plotted. I’d love to read more with this character in it and by this author.

Here’s the overview from PICT:

Scotland Yard inspector Ian Rutledge returns shell shocked from the trenches of World War I, tormented by the spirit of Hamish MacLeod, the young soldier he executed on the battlefield. Now, Charles Todd features Hamish himself in this compelling, stand-alone short story.

Before the Great War, Hamish is farmer in the Scottish Highlands, living in a small house on the hillside and caring for a flock of sheep he inherited from his grandmother. When one spring evening he hears a faint cry ringing across the glen, Hamish sets out in the dark to find the source. Near the edge of the loch he spots a young boy laying wounded, a piper’s bag beside him. Hamish brings the piper to his home to stay the night and tends to his head wound, but by the time Hamish wakes the boy has fled. He tracks the footsteps in pursuit of the injured lad and finds him again collapsed in the grasses—now dead.

Who was the mysterious piper, and who was seeking his death? As Hamish scours the countryside for answers, he finds that few of his neighbors are as honest as he, and that until he uncovers a motive, everyone, including Hamish, is a suspect.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: January 10th 2017
Number of Pages: 100
ISBN: 0062678094 (ISBN13: 9780062678096)
Series: Inspector Ian Rutledge #19.5
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

Charles Todd

About Charles Todd:

Charles Todd is the New York Times bestselling author of the Inspector Ian Rutledge mysteries, the Bess Crawford mysteries, and two stand-alone novels. A mother-and-son writing team, they live on the East Coast.

Catch Up with the latest Charles Todd news on their Website 🔗, Twitter 🔗 & Facebook 🔗

 

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Review: AT THE WATER’S EDGE by Sara Gruen

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I had never read a book by Sara Gruen, though I’ve certainly heard of “Water for Elephants”. I thought this one sounded intriguing, and I was able to get an ARC from Net Galley.

AT THE WATER’S EDGE starts with a young WWII war widow in Scotland losing her baby and then committing suicide by drowning herself in the lake. We then switch to the social scene in Philadelphia and young marrieds, Ellis and Maddie, and their best friend, Hank, whooping it up and causing a scene for New Year’s. Hank and Ellis are both unable to serve in the war due to physical reasons. The three are young, wealthy, immature, and irreverent. When Ellis’ family is angered by their behavior, Ellis decides they will redeem themselves by travelling to Scotland to locate and film the Loch Ness Monster – a task his father tried before him. Ellis is sure this will redeem him in his family’s eyes. Hank goes along with this plan and Maddie is dragged along against her will. Once in Scotland, however, they realize their fun is not appreciated and their attitude and behavior is pretty insensitive and inappropriate. As times passes, Maddie begins to see her husband in a new light (not a favorable one!) and starts to mature and change herself. However, things start to spiral out of control towards the end of the book as Ellis becomes determined to “find the monster” and to not let anyone stand in his way.

I could not put this book down. In other places I’ve seen it reviewed as a romance. While it does have a romantic component to it, I would not classify it as a romance, but as historical fiction. I loved the character of Maddie. I really had hope in the beginning that she would not be as self-centered and callous as her husband, and she lived up to my expectations! Ellis, on the other hand, I could not stand. It’s rare I have such a violent dislike for a character, but there is whole part of this book where Ellis tries to make Maddie think she is mentally frail and anxious and that she needs hospitalization (perhaps a lobotomy!), even though Maddie is fine. I have no sympathy for big manipulators who play mind games with their wives in order to do what they want.  On another note, I have seen some reviews that say “the monster in the lake symbolizes Hitler and Ellis, and that’s so obvious, blah blah blah”. However, I had a different take on it. (Ms. Gruen – if you ever do me the honor of reading my humble blog, please let me know if I’m right). I think the monster in the lake lives within all of us — we all have a monster within, and it’s what we do with it that shapes us. Do we become like Ellis — self-centered and self-serving to the point of harming others? Or like Maddie? Remember the “monster” saved Maddie at one point, too. And the vagueness at the end — how did Ellis end up where he ended up? Maybe the monster was seeking justice…

So, I like my “Lord of the Flies” take on the monster idea better than just monster = Ellis/Hitler – which of course can be seen as true as well.

Did you read this book? If so, what did you think? I loved it!

Thank you, Net Galley and Random House, for my copy.

Find it at an indie near you! (I’m an Indie Bound affiliate). It publishes 3/31/15.


Find it at an Indie!

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Historical Fiction Blog Tour Review: A LITTLE WICKED by Janet Macreery

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Hello! I’m happy today to be part of HFVB tour’s A LITTLE WICKED blog tour, hosting Janet Macreery’s YA novel about a young, resilient Scottish girl in the 1600’s.

In A LITTLE WICKED, young Dory’s clan is murdered by a rival clan, and she is sent by her uncle to America. Dory first poses as a boy in order to get passage on a ship (where she works as the bird boy). Upon arriving in Massachusetts, she finds her uncle and aunt and joins their household – in Salem. It is 1692 and that is definitely NOT a year to be living in Salem, Massachusetts! Dory is drawn in to the hysteria over witchcraft. Will she have the wits to once again survive?

I enjoyed reading this short and entertaining book. I loved the character of Dory, who was resourceful and strong and sensible. This poor girl had one tough time after another, yet she never gave up. I also liked the little twist at the end!

Recommended for older elementary readers and middle school, it should also be engaging for reluctant readers.

You can see this book on Amazon where I am an Associate. Thank you, Amy of HFVBT and Ms. Macreery, for my copy!

Here’s a You Tube book trailer (love the bagpipes!):

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Quick Review: DEATH OF A POLICEMAN by MC Beaton

Regular readers will know that I love MC Beaton’s cozy mysteries. Her latest Hamish Macbeth book just published. In this one a bothersome police officer has been put on assignment by Hamish’s nemesis Blair to track Hamish and to try to catch him slacking off so he can look bad. Unfortunately, the police officer ends up murdered. Hamish and his sidekick Dick need to figure out who the murderer is, and why people are suddenly showing up dead all over Lochdubh.

This is typical Hamish Macbeth fare — his pets, his work, the village characters, Hamish’s dismal love life. Poor Dick deals with an unproductive love life in this story, too. I know that some folks might find these stories too incredible (police procedure is enthusiastically broken) or the characters too caricaturish (e.g. Blair), but that is one reason why I like these stories. They make me laugh. Plus I love a good mystery!

I remember seeing the series on the BBC (via Netflix) and I wish they would make more of them. Robert Carlyle was the perfect Hamish!

If you love getting your Hamish fix, you will most probably  like DEATH OF A POLICEMAN.

Thank you to Net Galley and Grand Central Publishing for my review copy.

You can see this book on Amazon where I am an Associate:

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Review: The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley

While on vacation, I downloaded and read “The Winter Sea” on my Kindle (actually my Kindle recommended the title to me). This was a new author for me and the genre was one I don’t often read – historical romance.

In “The Winter Sea”, author Carrie McClelland is visiting the coast of Scotland to get ideas for a historical novel she is penning. Carrie starts having vivid dreams and strong feelings about the different places she sees and even the people she meets. Carrie’s ancestor lived in this area, though she has little information on her, and Carrie eventually comes to believe that she is channelling the memories of Sophie, her ancestor from the 1700’s. In current day, Carrie feels drawn to the son of the man from she rents a small cottage; and both his sons show romantic interest in her. Sophie’s story and her history become Carrie’s quest, and she learns about Sophie’s life as she tells her story through her novel.

This lengthy (over 500 pages) book was an interesting read, especially as it was really two stories in one, with alternating chapters (Carrie in present day; Sophie in the 1700’s). I did find some of the story rather flat: everyone seemed in love with Carrie and I wasn’t exactly sure why. She was an “okay’ character, but not particularly compelling or extraordinary. In the 1700’s, Sophie had her share of suitors as well, though she professed an undying love for one man. I did find some of the events in the story – particularly those of 1700 – rather unbelievable. And of course, it all tied together neatly. however, if you enjoy historical romances, you would probably enjoy this novel.

I have to say that the most interesting part of this novel to me was the idea of “genetic memory” and memory being handed down. At one point it is said that some believe that people who think they have past lives are actually having genetic memories from their ancestors. An interesting concept!

I thought perhaps this story would be similar to “Outlander” – the Diana Gabaldon series which I adore – however, I consider the Outlander books to be more of a saga (and one in which I have learned a ton about what life was like in the 1700’s in Scotland) while I would categorize this book as a story.

You can see this book on Amazon where I am an Associate:

 

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