Shades of Justice by Carolyn Arnold

My Rating: 5 Stars

Date Finished: 15/05/2019

Date Published: 07/05/2019

Goodreads Synopsis: 

The line between good and evil isn’t always clear…

Detective Madison Knight has risked her badge—and her life—in the pursuit of justice before, and she just might need to do so again. Two victims are found murdered and naked in the home of Steven Malone, who is the largest contributor to the Stiles PD. One victim is his wife. The other victim is a John Doe. This high-profile double homicide immediately pits Madison against her sergeant, who seems more intent on protecting the Malones’ reputation and retaining a benefactor than catching a killer. 

Madison will need to pull on her tenacity and courage if she’s going to follow the evidence without prejudice. In the process, it becomes clear that finding justice isn’t always black and white, and often the shades in between tell the fullest story—and it’s not something she will forget anytime soon. 

My review:

I have read a few of the previous books in the series of Madison Knight and each one has been just as good as the last. With this being the 9th book in the series, the excitement and effort that has gone into the writing has not tuned down one bit. The book, and each one previously, can be read as a stand alone book too which I always find to be the sign of a really great author. 

Detective Knight has it all thrown into her with this book; a murder, her best friends, Cynthia, wedding and an internal investigation into the corruption at the police department. This, mixed with her own personal life, makes for a roller coaster of a read. The dialogue and the environment in which Arnold writes in, the town of Stiles, are very immersive and you can picture all the scenes throughout the book. There was plenty of action from start to finish and very fast-paced; it didn't take me long to get through the book once I started. 

I enjoyed the book from start to finish and cannot wait to see what is next in store for our characters. Arnold always seems to set herself a new bar when she writes the next book in the series and has not let the series get dry like some authors do with their series. Arnold has spent so much time researching her work, her characters and the detective world. Detective Knight and those that follow within the books such as her partner, Terry, are so well written and I always enjoy each character for what they are in the book. 

I would highly recommend 'Shades of Justice' and all the books in the Madison Knight series to anyone looking for a great crime thriller book. You will not be disappointed. More people should be picking up Arnold's books and hopefully with the reviews out there, they will. 

Happy reading :) 

Literacy Promotion

After a long time out of the review game, I have decided to try and get back in there. So, to begin publishing again I am taking part in book cover challenge. The challenge will cover 7 days of book covers I love to promote literacy. 

Day 1

I have accepted a challenge to post covers of seven books I love (1 book per day for 7 days) - no explanations, no reviews, just the covers. 
Each day I’ll ask a friend to take up the challenge who I have tagged on my Facebook profile. 
Let’s promote literacy & a book list. 

On the Count of Three by Carolyn Arnold

My Rating: 5 Stars

Date Finished: 23/12/18

Date Published: 4/12/18

Synopsis from Goodreads: 

 And they thought prison was hell… 

When a woman’s disappearance ticks off all the same boxes as two unsolved murders, Miami homicide detective Kelly Marsh is convinced there’s about to be a third. If she’s right and the killer sticks to their previous MO, she only has three days before Jenna Kelter’s decapitated head will show up somewhere in the city. With no time to waste, Kelly reaches out to the one person she knows can help: her former mentor and family friend Jack Harper, who just happens to lead a team with the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit. 

BAU special agent and profiler Brandon Fisher easily sees the similarities between Detective Marsh’s missing person case and the two cold cases: all three victims served time for DUI vehicular homicide and disappeared three days after being released from prison. But is that enough to assume Kelter has been abducted by a serial killer? Brandon’s not so sure and fears his boss may have let his personal connection to Marsh cloud his judgment. Surely there isn’t any other explanation for why they jumped into an investigation less than twenty-four hours after Kelter was reported missing. Then again, maybe Brandon is letting his own differences with the detective affect his perspective. He’ll need to move past it, though—and quickly. 

After all, this killer has evaded capture for the past six years, and they may be looking at a lot more victims than originally suspected. This serial killer is calling the shots and pulling them into a macabre game of cat and mouse. While the team has no choice but to play, if t
hey don’t make the right moves, one of them may not make it out of Miami alive.

My Review: 

Reviewing books has recently taken a back seat in my life and I hate it. I love reading and I have really struggled to find the time for it recently. I don't do New Year resolutions but it is a good way to start something fresh and make changes in your life. My New Year's resolution is definitely going to be to find more time for myself and the things I love; one of them being reading and reviewing books. I can only apologise to the many individuals who have contacted me over the last six months and I haven't gotten around to their reviews yet. I promise you are not forgotten about. 

So onto the actual review. Arnold is a brilliant writer and I enjoy everything she writes. I have read a few of her Brandon Fisher series and a few of her Madison Knight series. Arnold has also started a more recent series which involves the character Matthew Conor. Every single one I have read has been a five star read and this book is no exception. A lot of hard work has gone into these books and the story lines are just so good. 

Arnold is very good at her detail and has you engrossed in the story line from start to finish. Although there are a large range of crime/thriller writers out there, Arnold should be one of your top go to books if not already. She should definitely be up there with some of the top writers. I also enjoy how there is always plenty of involvement with the characters in her books. Although Brandon Fisher is the main character of this series, we also get plenty of dialogue from the other characters and how their back stories intertwine with one another. This book in particular brought about quite in that aspect for our main character Brandon with it's setting in Miami. 

Arnold's book can all be read as stand alones which is also another great factor of all of her series. I haven't read all of the books in any of the series but I know when I start any of the books that that will not be an issue. Even though is book seven in the series, Arnold has consistently made each one just as great. I really enjoyed the story line around the serial killer in this book and the psychology with it. 

Overall, Arnold has delivered yet another great book in her Brandon Fisher series. I really hope she will keep it going. Also a big thank you to Hibert and Stiles Publishing for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. It is always appreciated! 

Happy reading :) 

Murder my Darling by Gerald Darnell

My Rating: 5 Stars

Date finished: 10/11/18

Date published: 19/5/18

Synopsis from Goodreads: 

A famous author is murdered, Carson is at the scene of the crime and considered a prime suspect – but he doesn’t remember anything! 
Missing manuscripts, a missing diary and strange stories from the past bring an unusual group of characters together in this tangled web of deceit, blackmail and murder. The mystery travels from Memphis to New Orleans, while Carson works to prove his innocence – without success. 
Come along for the ride and follow the clues to a strange and unforgettable ending in the adventure called: Murder My Darling.

My review: 

I have enjoyed every one of the Carson Reno books I have read so far and this one is no exception. This is the 17th book in the series and I think I have read four of them so far. All of the Carson books can be read as standalone which is really great too. The cover for this book in the series is one of my favourites so far and I really think it has a much more professional and endearing quality to it. It feels as though as Carson is evolving throughout the book series, so is the quality and covers. 

Darnell writes really well and I would recommend any of his novels to anyone who reads the crime/thriller genre. He may not be as well known as some authors but he definitely deserves to be as well known as the big players in his genre. Each time I have read another Carson book, Darnell has always brought something new to the series. This one is no different and it was really great to read this book from a slightly different view point whereby Carson is in some serious trouble and not exactly on the right side of the law. 

Overall, this is another great addition to the Carson Reno series. I never have anything negative to say about Darnell as an author and Carson as a book series. So, this review is a little short and sweet but all I can really say is give them a go. You will honestly be surprised as to how much you end up enjoy this series and how much this series still relates to the present time; very realistic feeling and well thought out. Thank you for the opportunity again, even if it is a little late in posting. 

Happy reading :) 

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

My rating: 4 Stars.

Date finished: 24/4/18

Date published: 20/9/16

Synopsis from Goodreads: 

Presented by James Patterson's new children's imprint, this deliciously creepy horror novel has a storyline inspired by the Ripper murders and an unexpected, blood-chilling conclusion...

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord's daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father's wishes and society's expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle's laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

The story's shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling, #1 New York Times bestselling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.

My review: 

I had been looking at this book for a few months and deciding whether to read it. If you follow my reviews you may notice that crime/horror/thriller are my top favourite genres. I am also always on the look out for something a little different. What drew me to this book (apart from the gorgeous cover) is the strong female lead in a time where this wasn't really allowed. I don't specifically go out of my way to just read books with female leads, although I do read alot of them.

This book did actually take me a good several sittings to get through. Sometimes I would read big chunks and other times I wouldn't. The story read somewhere between fast and slow paced. Overall it was generally quite easy to read which I always like in a book. There was only one thing that niggled me whilst reading this book. Although it doesn't say in this synopsis from Goodreads, on the back of the book it does mention that our main character loved the ripper and this gave me a biased approach to looking for who the ripper might be. If you are going to read this book, don't fall into this trap as we don't really have any clues to who the ripper is until the back end of the book and it is not quite as obvious as you may think. 

The author does a really good job of creating a dark atmosphere and letting us into an environment of the late 19th century London. The way Maniscalco describes London and the way the bodies are shows an author who has done her research and create the perfect atmosphere. These were some of my favourite parts of the book. I'm not too sure on how much I really liked Audrey. She was an ok character but I'm not sure if I felt like I was rooting for her to find out who the ripper was.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. The series is definitely going to be something I will look to keep reading. Although there is quite a bit of detail to the murders and everything that goes with it, I can still feel the YA side of this book. If you're only starting to get into this genre, then this book is a great start. I look forward to picking up the next book! 

Happy reading :) 

The Secret of the Lost Pharaoh by Carolyn Arnold

My Rating: 4 Stars. 

Date finished: 12/4/18

Date published: 17/4/18

Synopsis from Goodreads: 

In Egypt’s Western Desert lies the tomb of an unnamed pharaoh that hides a secret so powerful, it could destroy the world as we know it.
Archaeologist and adventurer Matthew Connor has made a career of finding legends the world has all but forgotten. Though there’s one in particular that has fascinated him for years—the Emerald Tablets. Myth says that they possess the knowledge of the universe, allowing humankind to traverse Heaven and Earth, and have the power to bestow wealth and wisdom upon whoever possesses them. But if they fall into evil hands, it could cause a global disaster.
So when a former colleague stumbles across an ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic map that promises to lead to a pharaoh’s tomb and the Emerald Tablets, there’s no way he’s turning down her invitation to join the dig. He only has one stipulation: his best friends Robyn Garcia and Cal Myers come with him.
The road ahead isn’t going to be an easy one, and their shared dream of recovering the Emerald Tablets is being crushed at every turn. And just when they think it’s all over, they learn there are a few clues they have overlooked. But they’re no longer the only ones searching for the Tablets. Now, the fate of the world hangs in the balance, and soon they’ll find out that when it comes to hunting legends, they can’t trust anyone.

My review: 

This is the third book I have read by Arnold and completely different to the previous two. Arnold is known for her crime writing series's featuring Brandon Fisher and Madison Knight. I accepted the offer of reading this book as I completely loved the books I have read previously; they were both definitely 5 stars worthy books! I also, like many individuals I think, have a real interest in Ancient Egypt and mysteries in general. This book gave a feel of a real adventure type book and something any Indiana Jones type lover may really enjoy. 

Arnold has kept up on her excellent writing skills in this book as with the previous ones I have read and has also done a really good job of describing everything and the characters. One thing I really enjoy about Arnold's work is that she does a really good job of researching her ideas and the genre she is writing in. This book is no exception to that and it is well thought out and informed. 

This is the second book in the Matthew Connor series and I haven't read the first book. Arnold has done another good job here of allowing the reader to jump into a series without reading the previous book/s. The book had a fast paced read to it and it didn't take me long to get into the storyline once in. The storyline is pretty much go from the first pages. All things I like in a good book. 

Overall, this was a really good book; fast paced and entertaining. My own personal opinions however, are that I didn't love it just quite as much as the previous books I had read by Arnold. This is definitely not a reason to not pick this one up, I do just love my crime books more. I always appreciate a very well written book and I was still very entertained by this one. I would pick up another book in this series as I am fascinated by mysteries of this type. I look forward to the next book I pick up by Arnold, whichever the series!

Happy reading :) 

Madam Tulip and the Bones of Chance by David Ahern

My Rating: 5 Stars.

Date finished: 2/4/18

Date published: 03/18

Synopsis from Goodreads: 

A surprise role in a movie takes actress Derry O’Donnell to a romantic castle in the Scottish Highlands. But romance soon turns to fear and suspicion. Someone means to kill, and Derry, moonlighting as celebrity fortune-teller Madam Tulip, is snared in a net of greed, conspiracy and betrayal.

A millionaire banker, a film producer with a mysterious past, a gun-loving wife, a PA with her eyes on Hollywood, a handsome and charming estate manager—each has a secret to share and a request for Madam Tulip. 
As Derry and her friend Bruce race to prevent a murder, she learns to her dismay that the one future Tulip can’t predict is her own.

Madame Tulip is the third in a series of thrilling and hilarious Tulip adventures in which Derry O’Donnell, celebrity fortune-teller and reluctant amateur detective, plays the most exciting and perilous roles of her acting life, drinks borage tea, and fails to understand her parents.

My Review: 

This is the third book in the Madam Tulip series and I have to say it is my favourite so far. I have given previous books in this series four stars each, but this one definitely deserved a five star rating. I really enjoyed the setting of this book much more than the previous books and this had a big impact on my rating as well. The way Ahern has written this book and developed the characters through the series shows and I can say without a doubt that Derry and co. are growing along with the series. 

Ahern has really developed a great character with Madam Tulip and the characters that surround her such as Bruce and her parents. This series would not have been something I would have normally picked up in a bookstore and I love when I find I series that I love for being so different to my usual reading tastes and also different in its genre. I can really imagine all the characters and the way they talk in my head which is always a great thing for me. Derry is definitely my favourite character, and not just because she is the main character. I really do enjoy the way she takes in her Madam Tulip side character and the way she interacts with other characters; especially her parents. I automatically have a smile on my face when she speaks to them.The book is a fast paced read and can easily be read as a stand alone to the other two books which for me is a very good sign of a great writer. 

The Madam Tulip series brings something new to the crime/adventure genre (I'm not very good at placing books in genres mind!) that we should all be diving into. I would also especially recommend this book to people who like reading a good 'who done it' but don't want all the gritty/dark side of that type of genre. 

Overall, this book really upped the game for Madam Tulip and I really wonder where the next one will take us! I always look forward to the next book in the Madam Tulip series and I am really hoping it will continue for some time. 

Happy reading :)