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Oh these Irish families

The Liar’s Daughter Book Cover The Liar’s Daughter
Claire Allan
Fiction, Psychological,
HarperCollins UK, Avon
January 23, 2020
400

Joe McKee – pillar of the Derry community – is dead. As arrangements are made for the traditional Irish wake, friends and family are left reeling at how cancer could have taken this much-loved man so soon.

But grief is the last thing that Joe’s daughter Ciara and step-daughter Heidi feel. For they knew the real Joe – the man who was supposed to protect them and did anything but.

As the mourners gather, the police do too, with doubt being cast over whether Joe’s death was due to natural causes. Because the lies that Joe told won’t be taken to the grave after all – and the truth gives his daughters the best possible motive for killing him…

A gripping suspense novel about deadly secrets and lies. The perfect read for fans of Clare Mackintosh.

The ‘good’ man is very ill with cancer, and in his illness he is attended by his family – in good Irish fashion. He has cancer and has only months to live so they are gathered – his daughters, one by second marriage and one by the first are there to look after him. The husband and baby of the second daughter are there too as the baby is still being breast fed; and the sister arrives from England. All to say the last things they needed to him before…

But it is not a happy family.

In good traditional Irish family sagas there are dark secrets and they start to ooze out – and then he dies, and the police come calling and more emerge from the dark Irish boglands it seems. The text feels like you are wandering in a dark misty bog, where there is no solidity to your footsteps – the foreboding that there is something really wrong oozes from the book in a delightful fashion.

This is not a book to read if you want to be cheered up. This is a book that re-emphasised for me, the insidiousness of the way the Roman Catholic church offers forgiveness and sanctuary in return for a few prayers, no matter how heartfelt they are, your sins are forgiven if you only tell the priest in confession. Well I don’t believe that. It gives people too easy a way out of their deeds. And yes, our ‘good’ man had many sins to be forgiven and he thought becoming religious in his older age would help…

The style has the right quality for a book with this storyline and draws you in, and the characterisation is well done.

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Renee George and books

Hex Book Cover Hex
Barkside of the Moon
Renee George
humour, mystery, cosy, paranormal
Barkside of the Moon Press

Pit Bulls are Sweet . . . and that’s no mystery! Shifter Lily Mason and her pit bull Smooshie are once again on the trail of a murderer and this time close to home! Sometimes, trying to be part of the human world can be a real killer. . . Cougar-shifter Lily Mason is ready to put down roots in the human town of Moonrise, Missouri. She only has two problems: her attraction and proximity to Parker Knowles, her boss at the Pit Bull Rescue Shelter, and her need to shift into animal form more than once a month. When she gets the opportunity to buy a “fixer-upper” outside of Moonrise with plenty of room to get wild without running into easily freaked-out humans, Lily jumps at the chance. Smooshie, Lily’s lovable pit bull and partner in chaos, is eager to participate with the home improvements. Unfortunately, Smooshie’s help includes digging out a mummified body from the living room wall. Lily is still recovering from the last murder investigation she got involved in–and she’s not looking forward to being in the middle of another one. The case gets even stickier when Lily’s landlord is murdered, rumors of a heist gone wrong run rampant, and Parker’s old high school buddies have returned to Moonrise, thus increasing the suspect pool. Lily’s attempts to become a bona fide citizen of Moonrise might well be thwarted by this newest complication–especially when the murderer sets sights on her. Murder & The Money Pit, Book 2 of the Barkside of the Moon Mysteries from USA Today bestselling paranormal cozy mystery author Renee George, is a gripping murder mystery that keeps you guessing from beginning to end!

I am reviewing here 2 series by the author Renee George. She writes humorous stories with fun heroines and cosy in style – not too graphic but..

I read 3 books in the Hex series. They were 4 stars but could have been 5 stars if they were longer. The opposite to other books – I found these too short! The story telling was sharp, funny with good characterisation and the story moved along at a good pace. Just needed some more events in the whole storyline..

I then read 4 Books in Barkside of the Moon series :

Really cute series. Cosy but plenty of murders, some suspense and romance – thwarted and unresolved.

So, 2 shifters move into a human town and try to conceal their differences. Buzz is a short order chef and Lily, his niece,  works part-time as an assistant in a pit-bull rescue centre and has a pit-bull softie herself.

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Your other half

Dead Ringer Book Cover Dead Ringer
(Gaslamp Gothic #5)
Kat Ross
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Retelling, Urban Fantsay,
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: December 13th 2019

Dead Ringer
Kat Ross
(Gaslamp Gothic #5)
Published by: Acorn Publishing
Publication date: December 13th 2019
Genres: AdultFantasyParanormalRetelling

Goodreads B&N Amazon iBooks Kobo Google Play

A poisonous secret. 
A terrifying curse. 
And a client she’d just as soon see dead in a ditch….
 

Summer 1889. Harrison Fearing Pell hoped for adventure when she signed on with the Society for Psychical Research as an occult investigator. Slogging through New York’s sewers in pursuit of a “mud man” wasn’t exactly what she had in mind. But the reeking monster terrorizing the dance halls of the Tenderloin leads her to an even more peculiar mystery — and the last man on earth Harry wishes to become entangled with. 

James Moran is a prodigy in music, mathematics . . . and crime. Harry’s older sister, the famed detective Myrtle Fearing Pell, has vowed to put him behind bars. But Harry owes Moran a personal debt, so when he demands her aid she can hardly refuse. It turns out that the brilliant black sheep of New York Society is part of a secret club at Columbia College whose members have started dying in bizarre ways that may not be accidents. 

Thus begins one of the strangest cases of Harry’s career, a tale of murder, cold-blooded revenge and fairytale bogeymen to make the Brothers Grimm shudder. As the bodies pile up, each preceded by sightings of the victim’s doppelgänger, Harry and her stalwart friend John Weston must race against time to save a man who arguably deserves his macabre fate.

I am reviewing here a 5 book series – urban fantasy and gothic. The Blog Tour is for book 5. It was suggested we read books 3 and 4 if we wanted first to get background, but having started book 3 I decided I needed to go right back to book 1 to start the story from the beginning. Although I then discovered that these characters originated in yet another series! Which I will read in due course.

Book 1 is linked but not closely to book 2 and thus book 3 but it is the characters in the books that follow through. Each book of the first 4 is a story about a main set of characters, with the characters from the previous books playing a minor role. In book 5 all the characters come together.

Each book has 2 main characters that emerge who are not quite what they appear on the surface – for a start the 2 in book 2 are very much older. It is likely that the female character – currently known as Vivienne – was born in the time of Sumer and ran away from home to become bonded magically to a Daeva.

Now a Daeva is thought to be a very nasty creature according to the folklore.  In the Avestan language (not spoken but used in the old Zoroastrian scriptures), this was a term for a supernatural entity with a disagreeable character. The Zoroastrians believe them to be creatures of the shadows with their principal activities -according to the Persians – as being the creators of chaos and disorder, and battling goodness. They are a Principal amongst the demonic infernal hordes. But in these Kat Ross stories, perhaps due to their bonds with humans, they are actually battling for good and against evil. In the Kat Ross series the Daeva’s original name was Achaemenes and he was at least 2000 years old.

Vivienne had been bonded to a Daeva before him but she had died during the battle when they had freed the Daeva slaves from their mistress.

Vivienne shows her origins by the goddesses she worships. There are 3 major ones.

1.Mami aka Ninhwsag – who was a Babylonian goddess who created mankind from her bottom which was made of clay and blood.

2. Kavi was 1 of the 10 Mahavidyas – which are a set of Sakta and Budddhist goddesses and is the destroyer of evil forces.  The Sakta were a set of Hindu goddesses where Sakti means power. They are also called Durga who was known in the 16th century as a Great Goddess, Ma and Devi. The Sakta Pethas are places of worship for many goddesses.

3. And Inanna (Innuna), a Mesopotamian goddess who had many roles – love, beauty, sex, desire, fertility, war, justice, and political power. In Sumer she was also known as Isktar.

All these goddesses took on different names according to the culture in which they were worshipped but all tended to originate from the Sumerian era.

I found the whole series to be addictive and full of interesting things to learn – abut ancient goddesses for instance, the details that emerged about the Zoroastrian religion – which is very ancient but still practiced in India for instance. I know that the Indian steel magnates Tata are Parsees or Zoroastrian priests who fled to Mumbai from persecution in Iran. Near Mumbai there is a Parsee retreat village called Matheran and I have stayed there in the hotel that the Tatas use. Matheran is a very interesting place as you can only travel by horse or foot in the forests and village. And is now ‘sold’ as an eco-village of course.  You come up from Mumbai on a toy train which is great fun. The hotel we stayed at is called the Verandah in the Forest , see the photo below, and the name and the situation were very appealing to me…  just one warning, don’t sit down in the forest as the ants are very bitey!

So Matheran embodies much of the Parsee religion.

I am now looking forward to reading more by this author as I found the work original and well written with a good style and plenty of stuff happening to keep you interested… and exploring the characters in different books was a good concept.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kat Ross worked as a journalist at the United Nations for ten years before happily falling back into what she likes best: making stuff up. She’s the author of the Fourth Element and Fourth Talisman fantasy series, the Gaslamp Gothic paranormal mysteries, and the dystopian thriller Some Fine Day. She loves myths, monsters and doomsday scenarios. Check out Kat’s Pinterest page for the people, places and things that inspire her books.

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What a housewife does in between chores

The Housewife Assassin's Horrorscope Book Cover The Housewife Assassin's Horrorscope
Housewife Assassin #18
Josie Brown
humour, crime, thriller,
Signal Press
(16 Nov. 2018)

Murder. Suspense. Romance. And some handy household tips.

IN BOOK 18 OF THE HOUSEWIFE ASSASSIN SERIES:

Donna, Jack, and their Acme black ops team must find twelve suspects, each born under a different Zodiac sign, who hold the clues to a Doomsday operation that will embroil the United States in a world war.

Always before a 4 star but heading down with this book to a 3, I think the series is beginning to get a little tired, and to my mind, this story not quite up to standard. I only managed one snigger and a couple of smiles.

I also didn’t find the chapter intros as amusing as usual.

We now have Jack happily married with our housewife (not) and all the other romances going smoothly. There seemed not to be any major hiccups, mis-representations, or even sexy escapades from our housewife, although Jack nearly got into trouble. So all the things that make the series fun were largely missing.

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Christmas comes again

The Duke's Desire Book Cover The Duke's Desire
12 Dukes of Christmas
by Erica Ridley
Historical Fiction ,Romance
WebMotion
Pub Date 24 Dec 2019

Meg Church adores two things: life in a village of perennial Yuletide, and the freedom of being a spinster with no reputation to protect. Oh, very well, three things: She’s harbored a secret tendre for Christmas curmudgeon Lucien le Duc since the moment she first glimpsed him. But the sexy blacksmith won’t give her the time of day, much less a night of torrid passion.
Ever since Lucien le Duc was forced to flee his beloved France during the revolution, his all-consuming goal has been to recover not only his lost land and fortune, but also his rightful place among the French aristocracy. He would never be distracted by an English dairy maid’s sultry glances… or her soul-consuming kisses… or the temptation to turn one night into forever…
The 12 Dukes of Christmas is a series of heartwarming Regency romps nestled in a picturesque snow-covered village. Twelve delightful romances… and plenty of delicious dukes!

I always read her books as soon as I get hold of them, and then wait anxiously for the next in the series. Now this is book 8 of the 12 Dukes of Christmas.  Annoyingly the remainder of the series are available on Amazon but didn’t some out in NetGalley before Xmas.

How did she count the 12 dukes, well she included the le Duc brothers and this is the story of Luc, the last one in the village to marry or even have a serious relationship. Why? Well he was focused on going home – to France – and getting the family lands, and possibly even a title, back as the Revolution was over. He also therefore refused to speak English. And had developed a rather bad speaking accent and poor vocabulary as a result.

We have another of our feisty and unconventional heroines involved in this story – Meg. Meg was far from an innocent, although her preferred method of birth control was sponges soaked in vinegar and douches. These actually date back a long way – ancient Egyptians also used sponges with either vinegar or lemons in the belief that the acidity will kill sperm. What she didn’t know was that using vinegar could lead to the deterioration of normal vaginal flora, and can irritate the vaginal mucus. Both eventualities heighten the risk of developing infections. However, she was right to some extent, as vinegar can kill sperm, but the sponge would need to be kept inside for quite some time to ensure that no sperm are left in the vagina.

So Meg sets out to seduce Luc before he returns to France, as she has had a crush n him forever.

As always with these series, when an author says ‘I’m going to write 12 books in a very short length of time, the books are short novellas with little character or story development, and this only gets shorter as the series continues. Nonetheless, if you’ve read the previous books, you know the characters involved and the setting so it doesn’t matter so much. And Erica still has a good style of writing and I really liked her making fun of the way 19th century writers wrote torrid sex scenes…

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