Once Upon A Lie by Michael French



Alexandra, a white girl living with her family in a very affluent area.  Parents are wealthy, throw social parties at their lakeside house.

Jaleel, a black boy whose parents have been killed, wanted for a crime he didn’t commit, living arrangements are in a squat.

Events bring these two different people together.  Their backgrounds are poles apart, but they form a friendship based on trust and acceptance, not on their race, upbringing or financial status.

Alex has everything she wants, the daughter of a top lawyer, his wife an outgoing and beautiful socialite.  All Alex’s wardrobe choices are because her mother has deemed them acceptable for her daughter to be seen in, including make up, and to a certain point the items in her bedroom.  When Alex decides she wants to be a bit of a rebel, she cycles to a rougher neighbourhood up the road.  It’s here she meets Jaleel selling lemonade, why would an 18-year-old sell lemonade ?

Jaleel has a story that shows the harsh realities of growing up in a racist world.  Becomes evident when he is accused of murdering his father.  The facts of the case are completely overlooked by the detective in charge, who decides what happened rather than heed what Jaleel has told him.  Jaleel spends the next few years being anonymous, keeping his head down.  He assumes another name so he can complete his education, selling lemonade is one way of being able to do this and live. Things are okay, until he forms a friendship with Alex.

This story is a murder and mystery of sorts.  But in truth it is a look at how society views people who are different to themselves.  This book explores various themes, such as ;- racial prejudice and inequality, prejudice, social and family dynamics, and of course racism.  I was very surprise by this book in a good way, the topics discussed are woven very well into the story.  There is a good cast of characters as well as a good story with some very good plot twists thrown in leading to a good conclusion.

This would be a good book for readers of general fiction, I would recommend this book.

I would like to thank Readers House for putting me in touch with this author and his book


“A simple cup of lemonade unites two lives, leading to a maze of adultery and murder that shatters Alex’s youthful innocence and Jaleel’s struggle to reshape his life. While the forces of the law try to unravel a mysterious death (or at least find a scapegoat) the two youths see the trajectories of their lives entwine, unravel, and come together again.” -Midwest Book Review

Once Upon a Lie is about two strangers who become unlikely friends, only to unintentionally put each other’s life in jeopardy. Jaleel Robeson, a gifted, eighteen year-old black man, falsely accused of murdering his father in a small Texas town, is on the run. He assumes a new identity in 1980s Los Angeles as a successful student on his way to college. Alexandra Baten, a restless sixteen year old white girl, lives in a privileged Toluca Lake family but feels trapped by her parents’ values. One weekend, she rides her bike into a run down neighborhood, meeting a young black man selling lemonade. Thus begins a friendship between opposites, at least on the surface, but they learn they have more in common than they imagine. Told from each character’s point of view in alternating chapters, we become involved in a gripping tale of two Americas where discontent and violence always lurk under the surface. When they erupt, no one is safe. Once Upon a Lie is both a family drama and a crime drama, as well as an exploration of interracial love, mother-daughter relationships, and redemption through courage.


Paperback, 388 pages
Published March 15th 2016 by Terra Nova Books
ISBN 1938288653 (ISBN13: 9781938288654)
Edition Language English
#1 Amazon best selling author Michael French graduated from Stanford University and Northwestern University. He is a businessman and author who divides his time between Santa Barbara, California, and Santa Fe, New Mexico. He is an avid high-altitude mountain trekker, as well as a collector of first editions of twentieth-century fiction.

He has published twenty-four books, including fiction, young adult fiction, biographies, and art criticism. His novel, Abingdon’s, was a bestseller and a Literary Guild Alternate Selection. His young adult novel, Pursuit, was awarded the California Young Reader Medal.

The Reconstruction of Wilson Ryder was published January 2013.

Mountains Beyond Mountains was published April 2013.

Once Upon a Lie was published March 2016.

Book details, synosis and about author are from Goodreads website.

Blowback: A Detective “Cadillac” Holland Mystery by H. Max Hiller



This is a crime/ mystery story set in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.  Detective Cooter Holland is charged with finding Michael Ferris , he is on the run.  Ferris was involved in a shooting, but the gun was found to be linked elsewhere.  Holland is called in as the witnesses to the shootings are being threatened by Ferris.  Police resources are stretched and because Holland has essential skills from his time as a Military Intelligence agent, he is the ideal man for the job.  He has his own style and way of doing things , it has worked well for him in the past, why not now?  As Holland delves further into the investigation, other leads and coincidences crop up, leading to a much larger case than originally thought. Things twist and turn, taking him down different paths.

This is a well told story with some very well described and good characters. The way their stories have been intertwined throughout the book is very good.  The author has included details of the time Holland spent in Baghdad with his friend Tony, who also has a part to play in the investigation.  The way Hurricane Katrina left her impact on the people and environment in this area is also addressed. Telling how resources have  been stretched, also the immediate impact on people’s lives and families was an interesting inclusion.

This is a prequel to in a series of books.  At the time of writing my review there are 3 more available in this series.

I really enjoyed this book, it was well paced and was a page turner right the way through, with a very satisfying ending.  I would definitely recommend this book to readers of crime and mystery. Look forward to more by this author.

I would like to thank the author for bringing this book to my attention and sending me a copy.  My review is my own honest and unbiased opinion.


Every story must have a beginning and the story of State Police Detective Cooter Holland began with what should have been a simple fugitive arrest. Nothing is ever simple with Detective Holland.
Detective Holland lived a life of unintended consequences while working as an Intelligence operative tracking down terrorists. It taught him how to resolve the cases he is assigned differently than NOPD’s Chief of Detectives would prefer that he handle them. He has just been tasked with tracking down a fugitive murderer named Michael Ferris, but Detective Holland won’t bring the man to justice until he has decided what justice for the man’s crime actually is.
Ferris’ running from the law has exposed his brother, a much less than ethical used-car dealer and his own fiancé, a tough-as-nails would-be burlesque dancer, to the wrath of the gang of illicit gun-dealers whose members he shot in what initially looked like self-defense, but which may be tied to something far larger. Detective Holland doesn’t have much time to find the fugitive and get some answers before more lives are endangered. There are going to be consequences whether he captures Michael Ferris or not, and only Detective Holland can handle the unintended ones.



  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2210 KB
  • Print Length: 191 pages
  • Publisher: NEMO Publishing (19 May 2017)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0719MZ6T8







Sydney lives on a ranch and is half human and half shifter.  Her father is human, her mother a wolf shifter who had died in a car accident some years before.  As the time approaches for the first ever transformation into her wolf form, Sydney goes off to her Aunt Susan at Bayou Fontaine.  Here she will learn what she needs to know about the process and also what to expect after, if she survives that is.  On arrival she meets Kyle, she already is aware of him from recurring dreams she has had about him, he has had similar dreams, yet this is the first time that have met.  It is obvious from this first meeting that they have a bond, but as with most things, their path to happiness will not be a smooth one.

This book is set at a good pace, with some well described characters.  Even though it appears to have quite a simple story line, there are enough twists to keep the pages turning.  It is a reasonably quick read and quite enjoyable.  There are some sexual references in this book, but nothing overly detailed.

This is a book suited for readers of Paranormal Fantasy, Romantic Fantasy and those who like escapism.

Thank you Tammy Tate for sending me a copy of this e-book via Readers House.

My review is my honest and unbiased opinion.


Sydney is half human, half wolf, and has fallen in love with Kyle, a full-fledged shifter who for the last six months has been appearing in her dreams.

The next full moon, Sydney makes her first shift from human to wolf. The transformation won’t be easy. Thanks to her human genes, it could leave her disfigured. Or, worse. Dead.

Edward knows he can’t rush Sydney to the hospital if something goes terribly wrong, so he sends his only daughter to live with his late wife’s wolf clan deep in Louisiana’s alligator infested bayou. Despite holding Edward responsible for her sister’s death, Susan agrees to help.

Sydney learns Kyle is in Bayou Fontaine. But, for the sake of the pack, the council has already chosen Emily, as his mate. The relentless she-wolf will stop at nothing to claim what is rightfully hers and teams up with Kyle’s twin brother, Justin, who’s hell bent on revenge.

The clock is ticking…


Kindle Edition, 282 pages
Published January 14th 2017
Edition Language English

The Homecoming by Tammy Tate

The Ludlow Ladies’ Society by Ann O’Loughlin



Connie Carter has left a life in America to live in the Irish countryside residence of Ludlow Hall.  She has lost everything and has to start agin and try to make sense of what her life is.  Ludlow has been stood empty and is need of love, life and care.  Local residents are at first, apprehensive of what this stranger from across the pond will do to their beloved Ludlow. Connie herself is apprehensive of not fitting in and being a stranger in this close-knit community, as she begins to get acquainted with the area she finds a couple of local ladies willing to help.  Eve, used to live at the hall and is a member of The Ludlow Ladies’ Society along with her good friend Hetty.  The Society has a project to make memory quilts for an upcoming festival.  During the making of these quilts, secrets, memories, heartbreak as well as good memories and stories will rise and make themselves known.  The three women all have previous histories that still haunt them, and it is while the quilts are being made, they will be able to deal with the past and move forward.  In doing this they form a strong bond and a friendship, they will need this support more than they know.

You will want to read this book in a day.  Once you start it, you will not want to put it down until the very last page has been read and absorbed.  It is a beautifully written, heartwarming story of friendship.  There are secrets in the lives of the women that are hard to read, it is not a soft story to read.  Ann has shown how cruel, vindictive and nasty people can be, but balanced it beautifully, showing the caring and compassionate nature of people.  As you read through the story, you will see how tragedy can be almost too much to bear, it is something that should not be dealt with alone.  Also how to move on towards the future, you need to deal with the past and completely leave it behind.

I would highly recommend this book to readers of General and Women’s Fiction.  It is a book that will creep its way into your heart as you read it.  A wonderfully written and beautiful story that had me in tears in several places, and shocked in others.  I also think this would make a great choice for Book Reading Groups, as there many things for group discussion contained within this story.

I would like to thank Netgalley, Ann o’Loughlin and Black & White Publishing for my eARC copy of this book.  My review is my own honest and unbiased personal opinion.


Connie Carter has lost everybody and everything dear to her. To help nurse her grieving heart and to try and find answers, she moves from her home in America to Ludlow Hall, deep in the Irish countryside. All she knows about Ludlow is that her late husband spent all their money on the house – without ever mentioning it to her. Now Connie needs to know why.

At Ludlow Hall, Connie befriends Eve and Hetty and is introduced to the somewhat curious Ludlow Ladies’ Society. But can Connie ever reveal her hurt? And, more importantly, can she ever understand or forgive? As the Ludlow Ladies stitch patchwork memory quilts to remember those they have loved and lost, the secrets of the past finally begin to surface.

The Ludlow Ladies’ Society is a story of friendship, resilience and compassion, and how women support each other through the most difficult times.

“The Ludlow Ladies Society brought me to a beautiful place and into a circle of friends that I didn’t want to leave. Unputdownable. Ann’s world is uniquely Irish in its warmth and charm.”


Paperback, 288 pages
Expected publication: July 4th 2017 by Black & White Publishing
Original Title The Ludlow Ladies’ Society
ISBN13 9781785301278
Edition Language English

Darien: Empire of Salt by C. F. Iggulden


Expected publication: July 13th 2017 by Michael Joseph


Darien is a city in the new fantasy series by Conn Iggulden.  He is more known for his historical fiction books.  This is his first journey into fantasy and is aimed at Teen and YA readers, but also works very well for adult audiences as well.

Darien is ruled over by Twelve families, with overall control lying with the King.  He is only a weak figurehead, with all the decisions being made behind the scenes by the Families.  The main characters are Elias Post from the village of Wyburn, he is the main food hunter of the village.  When the plague arrives he decides that he needs medicine for his family, along with Vic Deeds they make their way to the city.  Vic Deeds has his own reasons for accompanying Elias.  Daw and Nancy are associates of sorts, their own paths meet and events occur that require a special kind of partnership.  Tellius and his group of ragged boys, who work their own trade for the benefit of Tellius and their group, he is a very likeable Fagin type character.  Then there is Arthur, a boy who does not speak.  They all have their own reason for being in the city.  There are a couple of the characters who have an ability, or a knack.  This becomes more apparent as the story unfolds.

The author has created some great characters, as well as the ones previously mentioned, there are also ones who I feel will make themselves known more in future books.  The emphasis for this book seems to be more on the characters than on the setting.  With this being the first in a series, the foundations have been set,  I would like to think more detail about the history of this world will be explored in future books.  The writing is a bit disjointed at times with character changes mid chapter, but not so much as to lose track of the story.  Once the stories of the individuals start to merge, towards the latter half of the book, it really does becomes a brilliant, imaginative and action packed read.

I will be keeping my eye out for further books in this series and will definitely be reading more.

I would recommend this book to more mature YA readers as well as Adult fantasy readers.

I would like to thank Netgalley, Penguin UK – Michael Joseph and also C.F.Iggulden for my ARC of this book, for my honest and unbiased opinion


From acclaimed historical novelist Conn Iggulden, DARIEN is an epic new fantasy series of spellbinding imagination.


Twelve Families. One Throne. Welcome to the Empire of Salt.

The city of Darien stands at the weary end of a golden age. Twelve families keep order with soldiers and artefacts, spies and memories, clinging to a peace that shifts and crumbles. The people of the city endure what they cannot change.

Here, amongst old feuds, a plot is hatched to kill a king. It will summon strangers to the city – Elias Post, a hunter, Tellius, an old swordsman banished from his home, Arthur, a boy who cannot speak, Daw Threefold, a chancer and gambler, Vic Deeds, who feels no guilt – and Nancy, a girl whose talent might be the undoing of them all.

Their arrival inside the walls as the sun sets will set off a series of explosive events. Before the sun returns, five destinies will have been made – and lost – in Darien.


Hardcover, 352 pages
Expected publication: July 13th 2017 by Michael Joseph
ISBN 071818646X (ISBN13: 9780718186463)
Edition Language English


The Dog Walker by Lesley Thompson



This book is set in present day and 1987, in London.  A group of cottages are the setting for a disappearance, they run alongside the Thames, it is used often by dog walkers.  One particular dog walker and jogger was Helen Honeysett, she went missing one evening in 1987 and her body was never found.  The residents were questioned at the time, but nobody was arrested.  In the present day setting, Stella, owner of Clean Slate, is asked to investigate the old case by Adam, the husband of Helen.  Her colleague Jack is asked to discover strange noises in a different house.  Between Stella and Jack they gradually work through both their cases, talking to residents, raking through old notes and newspaper clippings.  It soon becomes obvious that not everybody is as they seem, they have things to hide, secrets that they want to keep, and their own reasons for not wanting to be involved.

This is the first book I have read by this author, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  It is very well paced and even though there are a lot of characters , they are memorable and unique.  There has been obvious prior planning in this book as the underlying plots and stories are very intertwined.  It has been very well laid out and includes a very helpful cottage plan at the beginning of the book, listing residents living in the houses in 1987 and also present day.  Towards the later end of the story as Stella is working through her thoughts, the author shows the views from the perspective of Stella, for example, What was he / she doing?  Could he / she have etc.  The story comes to a very satisfying ending, leaving no unanswered questions.  It had me hooked from the first few pages right through to the final page.

I would highly recommend this book to readers of crime and mystery books.  I will be buying more of this authors books.

I would like to thank Portobello Book Blog https://portobellobookblog.com/ and Lesley Thompson for this book that I was lucky enough to win in a giveaway.


Brand new from the #1 bestselling author of The Detective’s Daughter.

Stella and Jack must reawaken the secrets of the past in order to solve the mysteries of the present.

January, 1987. In the depths of winter, only joggers and dog walkers brave the Thames towpath after dark. Helen Honeysett, a young newlywed, sets off for an evening run from her riverside cottage and disappears.

Twenty-nine years later, Helen’s body has never been found. Her husband has asked Stella Darnell, a private detective, and her side-kick Jack Harmon, to find out what happened all those years ago. But when the five households on that desolate stretch of towpath refuse to give up their secrets, Stella and Jack find themselves hunting a killer whose trail has long gone cold.


Hardcover, 400 pages
Published April 6th 2017 by Head of Zeus
Original Title The Dog Walker
ISBN 1784972258 (ISBN13: 9781784972257)
Edition Language English

Necrobloods by Lauren Stock and Robert Stock


MY REVIEW: I give this book a 4*

This is set in Salem Massachusetts, great setting for a group of friends who have special powers.  The “normal” residents have no idea what is going on around them, they are shielded.  Celeste and her best friend Gena have powers, they can summon the wind and use nature as an ally.  When they are being normal 16 year olds they have the usual discussions regarding boys, sweet sixteen parties and their basketball games.  Outside of this they learn more about the battle of the millenia. A battle between Elementals and Spirituals, with an Adjudicator overseeing.  But Celeste starts to have very odd vision like dreams.  A new boy starts the school and is attracted to Celeste, a new girl starts and hates Celeste for no apparent reason.

Overall this is a good book, it is aimed at YA readers.  The characters are well presented, though I did feel that at times they were very stereotyped.  The plot was very good, easy to keep up with, with a few good twists included.

I would recommend this to YA readers aged around the 14-16 ages.  Though as an adult, I did enjoy it.  My initial thoughts were that it had a Twilight feel to it, I by the way enjoyed those books a lot.  The book kept me engrossed right the way through and had a very satisfactory ending.

I read this book for Readers Review Room my review is my own, my opinion is honest and unbiased.  http://www.readersreviewroom.com/


16 year old Celeste Boyd casts Elemental magic. With the great battle coming, she and her best friend Gena are learning more about their abilities. Even more pressing, though, are the basketball finals and the mysterious new boy in school, Carter Wells. Celeste now has to choose between her crush and Carter, who is showing quite the interest. And then there are the crazy dreams with the huge dragon eye…


Paperback, 224 pages
Published November 10th 2015 by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
ISBN 1523678712 (ISBN13: 9781523678716)



Two Nights by Kathy Reichs



To begin with, I would like to state that even though I am aware of this author I have not actually read any of her books.  Therefore I give a review to this hugely popular author with no prior expectations.  I would also like to add that, this book is a stand alone one.  So onto my review.

It is set in the US, Sunnie is ex military and also ex police.  She is psychologically fragile due to past experiences, but has a tough, no-nonsense outlook, also a bit hot-headed.  She has a past that haunts her.  To deal with this, she has pretty much isolated herself from the world, on Goat Island, seeing people only when it suits her, and that’s not often.

A bombing has taken place at a school, killing some.  The grandmother of a 15-year-old girl comes to ask Sunnie for help.  The girl was caught up in the explosion, no-one knows of her whereabouts, if she is alive or dead. Her grandmother is a very typical “Old Money” Southern lady, money is no object, and she wants Sunnie to do what Sunnie does best, track, trail, follow leads and catch those responsible.  But who is following who ?

This is a fast paced story, with lots of action and some good characters.  The main characters are well described and soon become recognisable as you read, but as the story progresses you meet more charachters with nicknames, they are then given alternative names, then their real names, so it can become a little confusing.  It has a good plot line that leads you very nicely through the ever-changing series of leads, clues and paths.  When you think you have worked something out, there is a twist that is thrown in, until you are finally brought to a dramatic and satisfying end.

I would recommend this book to readers of thriller, mystery and suspense novels.  I also think it has some very good talking and discussion points for Book Reading Clubs / Groups.

I would like to thank Netgalley and Random House UK, Cornerstone for my ARC of this book for my honest and unbiased review.


#1 New York Times bestselling author Kathy Reichs steps beyond her classic Temperance Brennan series in a new standalone thriller featuring a smart, tough, talented heroine whose thirst for justice stems from her own dark past.

Meet Sunday Night, a woman with physical and psychological scars, and a killer instinct. . . .

Sunnie has spent years running from her past, burying secrets and building a life in which she needs no one and feels nothing. But a girl has gone missing, lost in the chaos of a bomb explosion, and the family needs Sunnie’s help.

Is the girl dead? Did someone take her? If she is out there, why doesn’t she want to be found? It’s time for Sunnie to face her own demons because they just might lead her to the truth about what really happened all those years ago.



  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: William Heinemann (29 Jun. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0434021113
  • ISBN-13: 978-0434021116


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2654 KB
  • Print Length: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Cornerstone Digital (29 Jun. 2017)
  • Language: English



The Devil’s Prayer by Luke Gracias



This is a story that spans the centuries, starting in Spain then to Australia and then across mainland Europe.

A nun commits suicide in Public during a holy festival.  The reasons for this choice are found in her book of confession.  It is discovered by her daughter Siobhan.  As Siobhan goes through the confession the story of her mother is laid out before her.  Rather than being the mother who walked out on them a few years ago, she is actually something very different and the safety of her daughters is paramount.  Siobhan has a younger sister, Jess, but it’s only Siobhan who the confession is for.  As the story unfold the reason for this and many other things become apparent.

The story takes us through the Catholic faith, discussing saints, secrets, monasteries, churches, libraries, books, manuscripts and codices.  It soon becomes obvious that there has been a lot of research into this subject.  For the most part it is well paced, only slowing slightly towards the end a huge amount of dates, places and people are mentioned, but still enjoyable and digestible.  There are some brutal scenes depicted in this book and so is not for the fainthearted.

At the end of the book there are a lot of unanswered questions that I assume will be answered in a following book, or books.  I look forward to reading more from this author.

I would recommend this book to readers of thriller, historical fiction and mystery.  It is not a book for the faint-hearted as there are some quite brutal scenes described in this book. It is not comfortable reading but is part of the plot.

I would like to thank Netgalley and Australian eBook Publisher for allowing me an ARC copy of this book, for my honest and unbiased opinion.


A nun commits suicide in front of thousands in Spain. In Australia, Siobhan Russo recognises that nun as her mother, Denise Russo, who disappeared six years ago.

In search of answers, Siobhan travels to the isolated convent where her mother once lived. Here she discovers Denise’s final confession, a book that details a heinous betrayal that left her crippled and mute, and Denise’s subsequent deal with the Devil to take revenge. In the desperate bargain Denise made with the Prince of Darkness, she wagered Siobhan’s soul.

As Siobhan discovers the fate of her soul, she learns that hidden within the pages of her mother’s confession is part of The Devil’s Prayer, an ancient text with the power to unleash apocalyptic horrors.

And now her mother’s enemies know Siobhan has it.

Can Siobhan escape an order of extremist monks determined to get the Prayer back? Can she save the world from its own destruction?

Explicit Content Warning: “The Devil’s Prayer” is a historical horror thriller that contains brutality, rape, sex, drug abuse and murder. Readers may find its content offensive and confronting.

You can view the video teaser for the book on https://vimeo.com/156061258. (less)


Kindle Edition, 294 pages
Published February 18th 2016 by Australian eBook Publisher
Edition Language

The City Always Wins by Omar Robert Hamilton

31450918I would like to thank Netgalley for my ARC of this book for my honest and unbiased opinion.


This tells the story of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution.  Protesters make their grievances known.  They have had to endure police brutality, fraud, corruption, lack of free elections and freedom of speech.  The protesters organise strikes. demonstrations, riots and take part in online activism.  When President Mubarak is overthrown by the military and another is elected president, nothing seems to change.  There are more protests, arrests, torture and death.  The violence increases and is like a vicious circle.  The more the activists want to get the word out, the more they are leaving themselves open to attacks and being killed.

The story is focused on Miriam. Khalil and their group of friends.  They are producers of podcasts, conduct interviews, organise protests, help families of the injured, dead and arrested.  Their aim is to get justice for the atrocities that have been committed to the people of Egypt.  It shows a different perspective of the revolution, how things are discussed and planned, how they will deal with the aftermath, their expectations and how they keep the pressure up for justice and the truth to be seen.

I would recommend this book for readers of contemporary fiction.  It is a tough read due to the nature of the subject, but a worthwhile read.


A debut novel that captures the experience of the Egyptian revolution like no news report could

The City Always Wins is a remarkable novel from the psychological heart of a revolution. From the communal highs of pitched night battles against the police in Cairo to the solitary lows of defeated exile in New York, Omar Robert Hamilton’s debut is a unique immersion in one of the key chapters of the twenty-first century. Arrestingly visual, intensely lyrical, uncompromisingly political, The City Always Wins is a novel not just about Egypt’s revolution but about a global generation that tried to change the world.


Hardcover, 336 pages
Expected publication: June 13th 2017 by MCD
Original Title
The City Always Wins
0374123977 (ISBN13: 9780374123970)
Edition Language