Sunday, May 21, 2017

Excerpt: The Second Jezebel by Peter Mowbray

The Second Jezebel
by Peter Mowbray
Amazon | Goodreads

The wedding between the Princess Marguerite de Valois and Henri King of Navarre was intended to be a celebration that would at last bring peace to the warring Catholics and Huguenots in France.

Instead, it was a precursor for the infamous Massacre of Saint Bartholomew.

By the time the bloodshed had abated, none was seen as guiltier of creating the horrors of that night than the Queen Mother - Catherine de Medici.

Seventeen years later, as Catherine's life hangs in the balance, the mob threatens to drag her body through the streets.

To them she is no longer Queen Mother, merely the second Jezebel in history to be thrown to the dogs.


It did not take many hands to hold her down, as the woman was old and frail, her muscles weak against the strong arms of her assailants.

Someone pulled roughly at the black skullcap on her head, exposing the thinning auburn streaks. Some spat at her, the warm phlegm trickled towards her eye, but she had no free hand to wipe it away. All around her noise, shouting and screaming and a red haze of fire. She looked through the smoke and her eyes focussed on the frightful images in front of her.

People everywhere were running around, their swords and daggers seemed to appear from nowhere, but their swift work created so much blood; it was splattered onto cobbled streets, streams of it clung to her shabby gown, her hands dripped with it as though it was pouring from her own body.

All around her, corpses began to pile up, slowly at first and then so many that they fell closer and closer to her but she could not move to pull away. All manner of severed limbs and headless cadavers reeked of the foul stench of death and seemed ready to swallow her up.

Then, suddenly she was staring at a figure clad in a long dark cowl, without image save for bony, white hands that gripped a dagger, the tip of which was pressed lightly against her throat, its point just piercing her skin. The figure spoke in a deep, hateful snarl “Welcome lady to your own Saint Bartholomew’s night.”

The last thing she heard was the crackling noise as the dagger was pushed straight into her throat…

Excerpt courtesy of publisher (here)

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Beast of London by L.D. Goffigan

The Beast of London
by L.D. Goffigan

Find out more about this book and author:

Just released: April 17, 2017
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Thriller
Paperback: 286 pages
Rating: 3

Mina Murray series:
The Beast of London
Fortress of Blood - June 2017

First sentence(s):
Walking through the streets of the East End, I felt the sudden unnerving sensation of a gaze prickling the back of my neck.

Mina Murray once lived an adventurous life, but after a tragedy in the forests of Transylvania, she left it all behind. Now she has settled into a quiet routine as a schoolteacher in London, engaged to the respectable solicitor Jonathan Harker, attempting to fit into the stuffy upper class London society to which he belongs.

Her dark past comes careening into her present when Jonathan is abducted by a group of vampires from a society ball. Determined to rescue him, she teams up with her former paramour Abraham Van Helsing and his colleague, Scotland Yard Inspector John Seward.

As they pursue Jonathan’s abductors from England to the Low Countries and beyond, Mina realizes that Jonathan’s abduction is tied to a larger threat against humanity…

An electrifying retelling of a classic tale, THE BEAST OF LONDON is the first book of the Mina Murray series. If you love adventure, romance, and mystery with a paranormal twist, then pick up your copy today.

My two-bits:

Nice start to a vampire series set in late 1800s London and Transylvania. There are interesting scenes set in London's upper class society with its strict etiquette.

The story jumps right in with some world building vampire action. But it is a bit slow in providing details of the main characters and their individual background and personality to gain empathy.


* review copy courtesy of author

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Revived by Ernesto Pavan

by Ernesto Pavan

Find out more about this book and author:

Published: February 23, 2017
Publisher: self
Genre: Dark Humor, Zombies
Rating: 3

First sentence(s):
It started like a bad influenza — one that game me constant, terrible headaches, made my muscles feel like wet rags, and prevented me from holding anything in my stomach.

For deadpan snark queen Violet Sharpe, death is not the end.

If you think life sucks, wait until after you're dead. After finding out she's contracted porthmeos, a nasty parasite, Violet is faced with a choice: either meet her end before her thirtieth birthday, or become one of the Revived, which is the politically correct word for... well, a zombie.

But the challenges of her new un-life are way worse than she thought. As part of a new minority, she faces discrimination and hatred, not to mention a laundry list of physical limitations and the looming ghost of depression. Can she meet these challenges with her usual strength and dark humor? Or is being Revived a fate worse than death?

My two-bits:

Some of these zombies had a choice before becoming zombified. This story takes you into the life a such a creature. The issues that arise from being a functioning zombie are tackled moreso than stereotypical "braaaaains" zombie action.

Living with a decaying body (mind still intact) and its complications made me think of people who go through cancer or a long term illness.

Makes you wonder - If the price to living is a gradual decay, is it worth it?


* review copy courtesy of author

* May - Happy zombie awareness month!

Monday, May 15, 2017

Libra by Don Delillo

by Don Delillo

Find out more about this book and author:

Published: 1991 reprint
Publisher: Penguin Books
Genre: Historical Fiction
Paperback pages: 480
Rating: 3

First sentence(s):
This was the year he rode the subway to the ends of the city, two hundred miles of track. He liked to stand at the front of the first car, hands flat against the glass.

In this powerful, eerily convincing fictional speculation on the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Don DeLillo chronicles Lee Harvey Oswald's odyssey from troubled teenager to a man of precarious stability who imagines himself an agent of history. When "history" presents itself in the form of two disgruntled CIA operatives who decide that an unsuccessful attempt on the life of the president will galvanize the nation against communism, the scales are irrevocably tipped.

A gripping, masterful blend of fact and fiction, alive with meticulously portrayed characters both real and created, Libra is a grave, haunting, and brilliant examination of an event that has become an indelible part of the American psyche.

My two-bits:

While written well, I could not really get into this story.

The story is told with multiple characters that revolve around the main character, Oswald, along with some of the planning and the plotting of the assassination of JFK.

Although this is a somewhat involved book about Oswald, to me, he comes across as a minor character in the general scheme of things.


* part of Book Passage Literary Prize Book Group (here)

* post book club meeting - I came away understanding more about the book and author's writing style which include hyper-realism and massive research efforts.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Antisocial by Jillian Blake

by Jillian Blake

Find out more about this book and author:

Release date: May 16, 2017
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre: Mystery, YA
Hardback pages: 256
Rating: 5

First sentence(s):
If I seem a little wired or high strung or just plain off, don't worry. I'm not nuts. I just have a tendency to over thing every single thing that comes my way, ever.

What if your greatest secrets became public? For the students at Alexandria Prep, a series of hacks leads to a scandalous firestorm—and the students are left wondering whose private photos and messages will be exposed next. It’s Pretty Little Liars meets WikiLeaks.

Senior spring at Alexandria Prep was supposed to be for sleeping through class and partying with friends. But for Anna Soler, it’s going to be a lonely road. She's just been dumped by her gorgeous basketball star boyfriend—with no explanation. Anna's closest friends, the real ones she abandoned while dating him, are ignoring her. The endearing boy she’s always had a complicated friendship with is almost too sympathetic.

But suddenly Anna isn’t the only one whose life has been upended. Someone is determined to knock the kings and queens of the school off their thrones: one by one, their phones get hacked and their personal messages and photos are leaked. At first it's funny—people love watching the dirty private lives of those they envy become all too public.

Then the hacks escalate. Dark secrets are exposed, and lives are shattered. Chaos erupts at school. As Anna tries to save those she cares about most and to protect her own secrets, she begins to understand the reality of our always-connected lives:

Sometimes we share too much.

My two-bits:

Very timely book in regards to the impact of the internet and social media amongst teens these days. The question of personas offline and online resonates throughout the book.

Also, thoughts on the fragility of friendship.

This is a book that generates lots of discussion.

References to modern pop culture icons that makes the story relatable - like Game of Thrones :-)

The mystery of whodunnit kept me guessing to the end which makes for a fast read.

Got me thinking of internet footprints. Being mindful and cautious is something to consider with any kind of public posts.


* review copy courtesy of tour

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