Review – The War Widow by Lorna Gray

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While the bells of a Royal Wedding peel out to the fading echoes of war, danger stalks the coastline of Wales…

Wales, 1947

Injured and terrified after an attempted abduction, desperation drives artist Kate Ward to the idyllic scene of her ex-husband’s recent suicide. Labelled a hysterical, grieving divorcée, no one believes she is being pursued by two violent men demanding answers she cannot give. Not the police, not the doctors, and not the guests at the Aberystwyth hotel she has come to in an attempt to find out what happened to her charismatic photographer ex-husband, and why her identity – and her life – are now at risk.

Kate can trust no one, not even the reclusive war-veteran-turned-crime-novelist, Adam Hitchen, a reserved widower and the only source of kindness in a shadowy world of suspicion and fear. And as ghosts old and new rise to haunt her, Kate must rely on all her strength and courage to uncover the shocking truth hidden within a twisted web of lies…

My View

Well, what can I say about this? What a corker!! It really is an incredible read, this is the first book I have read by Lorna Gray and it definitely will not be the last. I will admit that I am a fan of war era romances and I have read a lot of them but there is something very special about this book. This book is right up there with the best I have read right alongside the likes of Pam Jenoff and Kate Mosse.

Set just after the war in 1947, After Kate Ward’s ex-husband committed suicide she found herself being nearly kidnapped, injured and then followed by two unknown thug’s who are wanting answers to questions that she doesn’t know, she doesn’t understand the questions or why these people would be after her. She flees her home in Lancaster to Wales where she stays in the Aberystwyth Hotel, in the very same area where her ex-husband had spent the last of his days. She hopes that she can try to figure out what is going on and why she is being followed, but those answers aren’t coming as she thought as she finds herself under the gaze of the other hotel guest’s who see her as an unhinged, paranoid and grieving woman who by all accounts could be suffering from her own mental break down.

No one believes that she is in as much danger as she states, she is fearful and alone with terrifying events that even start clouded her own judgment. She can’t trust no one and yet she can’t seem to find the answers she needs. She eventually finds an ally in the form of elusive veteran come crime writer Adam Hitchman who is in Aberystwyth doing research.

Along with Adam, Kate takes off a journey to find the truth and discover why her life is in danger and who is behind it, along the way they keep bumping into the mysterious Jim Bristol who keep’s turning up along the way. But is he more than he appears to be? As they become embroiled in a dark and dangerous, life or death game of cat and mouse, Kate and Adam become closer until a romance develops between this unlikely couple.

This is written I first person you see the story unfold though Kate’s eyes, you feel her troubles her fears her few joys and this creates a connection to her that you very rarely get in other books. I know a lot of readers don’t like first person books, but this is a must read it is stunningly beautiful book, it really is too good to be true. Ms Gray has done an astounding job at conveying Kate’s circumstances and her fragile frame of mind, her confusion, unease and fear is palpable from that first page. Kate has a complexity and honest vulnerability about her that is engaging to the reader, even when there is lightness like when she is reading Jane Eyre in the hotel there is raw edginess to her that draws you in.

I am known for my love of historic details in stories and this is spot on, the vividness and description of Aberystwyth is incredible. Gray takes hold of your senses and imagination from that first page and keeps hold of you right to the end. There is a real feeling of the life and time throughout the book the peace from the end of the war, the relief that it is over as well as the unknown. I like how Gray has added those little touches that bring this book to life, such as bringing to attention that the UK were still on ration books until the mid-fifties. I love that!

The War Widow smoothly takes you on a journey that has more twists and turns then being in a maze, it is beautifully written with a plot that will make your mind boggle and you find yourself stumped for words at what is going on. It’s a roller coaster ride through a dangerous and complicated time, where all is not quite what it seems. I absolutely loved it, it is a page turning, compelling and intricately crafted perfect piece of thrilling fiction which has a wonderful and understated romance tucked away between the pages.

It is a timeless and thought-provoking story that gripped you from the onset and doesn’t let you go, with characters are intriguing and strong each one is precise and consistent stories of their own that runs throughout to keep you engaged.

Absolutely incredible!

This was a complimentary copy via the author and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The War Widow is available now and can be purchased at Amazon.


Black Soul by Odessa Black ~ Review

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The Forbidden Series #1

Half man, half angel, all soldier.
The souleaters will stop at nothing, even death, to uphold divine law. When duty brings Noah Kavanaugh into Nurse Caroline’s path, he is unprepared for the intense desire igniting between them. Rejecting the impulse to take Caroline as his mate becomes unbearable. The limits of his own self-control are tested. So is his loyalty to the law he upholds.
A forbidden human Caroline is determined to find a cure for the mysterious Noah’s illness. With her blazing attraction to him, she’d willingly sacrifice her heart, body, even her life to end his suffering. However, can she bring herself to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to save them both?

My View

Noah is a Souleater, who after angering the head of the souleaters, the evil Amon he is sentenced to a long and excruciating death, Noah is dying because he isn’t feeding on souls and as such he is living amongst humans, his carer Gertrude has a fall and send her daughter Caroline in her place. Noah and Caroline soon fall for each other and Noah soon finds that he doesn’t have the same urgency to die than he did before and finds that Caroline is making him fight and making him stronger just by her presence in his life. That is where Noah’s problems start, evil Amon finds out about Noah’s new lease of life and now he has new ammunition to torment Noah. Caroline.

I haven’t read a book in this genre before, and from the back blurb it did intrigue me but unfortunately  I did find that the back blurb did slightly differ from where the story was going. I am in two frames of mind about this, on one side it is actually quite disturbing and not my usual type of book and not something I think I would have picked up off a shelf. Then on the other hand it is oddly addictive, it is engrossing and I did find that I was unable to put it down, I had to finish it.

It is a sweet if eerie story about a fallen angel who has to pull his way back from his death-bed to save the planet and the human his has fallen in love with. It’s not so much good versus evil as our hero Noah is a bit of both he is supposed to be a good Soaleater, only taking evil from the world but he has a predatory evil streak and it was that side of him that I wasn’t keen on. His good half, the halve that falls in love with human Caroline is charming and sweet but the overriding gruesome-ness does tend to take over and it is a little of putting. But there are some really lovely scenes those between Noah and his three brother Souleaters; Luke, Matt and Zach are particularly sweet and very funny.

I’m not a huge fan of supernatural/sci-fi and I did find that Dark Soul does lean very close to that side, whether that was intentional or maybe that is just what I took from it, but either way the further along the story goes the more supernatural we get. I am afraid there was parts where I was just confused as to what was going on.

It didn’t help that this is written in first person, we see everything play out through Noah’s eyes. It is very rare that I pick up books written in first person as I like to get to know all characters, and personally I can’t relate to the other characters when all I see is one characters views.

All in all, I found Dark Soul intriguing and in parts enjoyable but over all It’s not my cup of tea, I have not doubt that this will be a hit for those that read and throughly enjoy this genre, but as it is Black Soul wasn’t for me.

This was gifted to me from the author for an honest review.

The Emperor’s Tomb ~ Review

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Steve Berry ~ The Emperor’s Tomb (Cotton Malone Series #6)

The emperor's tomb

Back Blurb :

The tomb of China’s First Emperor, guarded by an underground army of terra cotta warriors, has remained sealed for 2200 years. Though it’s regarded as one of the greatest archeological sites in the world, the Chinese government won’t allow anyone to open it.

Why not?

That question is at the heart of a dilemma faced by former-Justice Department operative Cotton Malone, whose life is shattered when he receives an anonymous note carrying an unfamiliar web address. Logging on, he sees Cassiopeia Vitt, a woman who’s saved his life on more than one occasion, being tortured at the hands of a mysterious man who has a single demand – “Bring me the artifact she’s asked you to keep safe.” One problem: Malone doesn’t have a clue what the man is talking about, since Cassiopeia has left nothing with him. So begins Malone’s most harrowing adventure to date-one that offers up astounding historical revelations, pits him against a ruthless ancient brotherhood, and sends him from Denmark to Belgium to Vietnam then on to China, a vast and mysterious land where danger lurks at every turn.

My View :

When I first picked this one up I was looking forward to getting lost into another Cotton Malone adventure, but unfortunately I was very disappointed, the plot and character’s were there as always but it was slow and sluggish and I’m afraid that I did put it down half way through to start another but I did eventually go back and finish it mainly because I don’t like leaving a book unfinished but it wasn’t anywhere near as good as the other Cotton Malone novel’s are.

I do like Steve Berry he is an incredible novelist, his imagination and skill is amazing and the Cotton Malone series’ is brilliant, Malone is such a strong well-defined character and I love how you don’t have to read them in order to know what’s going on or who’s who because each one is different. But I do hate to say it but this isn’t a favorite of mine, which is such a shame it doe’s have all the ingredient’s for a perfect Cotton Malone tale. Thrill’s and humor, well researched background and the character’s are as always flawless, but for me this one was a little flat I can’t explain why it just didn’t live up to the hype.

The saving of this was having the brilliant Cassiopeia Vitt in it, she is such a brilliant character’s she always come’s across as a one woman army, she is independent, self-reliant but you do see those more human emotion’s behind that hard exterior. As always she doe’s steal every scene she is in, but even that for me couldn’t bring up to the mark I am just hoping the next one is better as I do love this series. But I don’t want to put anyone off what I wasn’t fond of could be someone else’s favorite.

The Prophecy ~ Review

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Kris Kusneski ~ The Prophecy

The Back Blurb :

When the writings of 16th-century visionary Nostradamus ring alarmingly true, Jonathon Payne and David Jones find themselves in a life-or-death race to stop those who would use the seer’s predictions for their own dark purposes. In an adventure that spans two continents and several centuries, Payne and Jones must locate a sacred text that may change everything we know about the future.

My View :

This was the first Kuzneski book I read and I was hooked from start to finish, true it can get a bit confusing with the long conversation’s that seem to go on across chapter’s but it is a really good romp and thank’s to this one I did start my Payne and Jones section on my bookshelf. It is fast paced and thrilling, the characters are brilliant especially the main two Payne and Jones they seem to bounce of each other which is so nice when reading a book, everything is in brilliant detail from the character’s to the smallest thing is so wonderfully researched that it is very real and very believable. This is definitely one for those who are not the most committed reader’s as it is fast and enjoyable, so I strongly suggest that all those that don’t read a lot to give this a go. A great read.

Must Read Series’

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I am a fan of a good series’, I find them more compelling and fascinating then one-off novel’s, I love how you get to know more and more about each character as the series’ goes along. I know some don’t like to commit themselves’ to them but I love following a certain character as they make they way through the book’s, it’s fascinate’s me how their personality’s unfold’s and grow’s into some thing that you can treasure and say “Yeah! I’ve read them” I have been through so many series’ everything from Thriller’s to chick lit and Historical, Personally the best series’ are the one’s that you know are only going to have so many episode’s and that way you know that eventually they are going to finish. A lot of series’ do go on and on for far too long and the problem with those is that you do get bored with them.
So here are six of my favorite’s.
#1 The Inferno Club ~ Gaelen Foley
This is the best thing that Foley has ever done, they are so good that you can re-read them again and again and again and you will never get bored. These follow the stories’ of seven special agent’s working for a secret society for the king, they protect the king and the realm from every outer and inner threat’s especially the evil secret society called the promethean’s, the agent’s are stunning in every respect, they are wonderfully drawn up that you do fall in love with them, unlike a lot of series’ I don’t really have a favorite because each one is just as good as the one before. This is by far my favorite series’ ever and I cannot stress this enough but this serie’s has to be read. Amazing
#2 The Languedoc Trilogy ~ Kate Mosse
I love this trilogy it is amazing, Kate Mosse is such an amazing writer her imagination and her skill is unbelievable, these are really long book’s but please don’t let that put you off because these are very special. I love the fact that while you are reading each one you don’t realize that you are reading a trilogy as each one is set in a different era with different charecter’s but then something pop’s up and you remember that yes that was in the last one, they really are stunning, my personal favorite is the last one Citadel, it is so moving that at time’s you can be sitting there with tear’s streaming down your face. Simply breathtaking.
#3 The Hathaway’s ~ Lisa Kleypas
This is so soothing and calming that you do instantly fall in love with the adorable Hathaway’s, this follow’s the individual live’s of the Hathaway sibling’s as they try to gorge out a life for themselves’ through many trial’s. Like Foley Kleypas is a wonderful story-teller and you really feel like you are living these very trial’s with this band of uncivilized and unruly set of sibling’s, this is so enchanting that you just need to read from start to finish.

#4 The I Heart Series’ ~ Lyndsey Kelk
This is definitely a Chick Lit favorite of mine, the character Angela is so normal and down to earth that nearly every girl on the planet can relate to her in some way. This basically follow’s Angela’s wacky adventure’s as she start’s a new life in New York, she is a very real character she has flaw’s that we all have she is clumsy and not very civilized and she is hilarious at time’s. This is ultimate Chick Lit, Kelk has done another series’ but this is the one that you need to read, unlike a lot of series’ where you can dip in and out when you like you have to read these in order to understand the story.
#5 The Payne & Jones Series’ ~ Kris Kuzneski
This is the first thriller on my list and it is so good; What I like about this is that even thought the characters’ Payne and Jones are the same the plot is always different with each book, which off course keep’s you hooked as you never know which direction the story is going and you never get bored, you have the series’ aspect’s with following the two main character’s which you do see each character evolve as the series goes along and as each book is so different each one is a lot like a stand alone series’ and another great thing about these is that you don’t need to read them in order. This is perfect for new reader’s who like a bit of action but also like great plot’s.
#6 The Maiden Lane Series’ ~ Elizabeth Hoyt
This is yet another historical Romance but the difference between this and a lot of other’s is that you have to read this from book one if you don’t you will get confused about who’s who and what’s going on. This follow’s the tale of a select few Aristocratic family’s in London which as you will soon see are all linked in one way or another. These are a lot darker than what is usual for Historical Romance, but that make’s it stand out and get’s you hooked. I do admit that the first one’s are better than the newer one’s; but’s it’s still a worthy series’.