The Craftsman by Sharon Bolton

The CraftsmanExpected Release Date: October 16th, 2018

Publisher: Minotaur Books

Format: Kindle

Pages: 352

Genre: Mystery & Crime

Pre-Order: Amazon

Rating: 5/5

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Catching him will make her career – and change her forever.

August, 1999

On the hottest day of the year, Assistant Commissioner Florence Lovelady attends the funeral of Larry Glassbrook, the convicted murderer she arrested thirty years earlier. A master carpenter and funeral director, Larry imprisoned his victims, alive, in the caskets he made himself. Clay effigies found entombed with their bodies suggested a motive beyond the worst human depravity. 

June, 1969

13-year-old Patsy Wood has been missing for two days, the third teenager to disappear in as many months. New to the Lancashire police force and struggling to fit in, WPC Lovelady is sent to investigate an unlikely report from school children claiming to have heard a voice calling for help. A voice from deep within a recent grave. 

August, 1999

As she tries to lay her ghosts to rest, Florence is drawn back to the Glassbrooks’ old house, in the shadow of Pendle Hill, where she once lodged with the family. She is chilled by the discovery of another effigy – one bearing a remarkable resemblance to herself. Is the killer still at large? Is Florence once again in terrible danger? Or, this time, could the fate in store be worse than even her darkest imaginings?


I’ve read quite a few of Sharon Bolton’s books and all of them have been four or five star reads for me. I love the way she writes: the character development is always masterful and the atmospheric details pull you in to her world in a way that has you both wishing to stay and dying to get out. Her latest book, The Craftsman, far surpasses that and is deserving of more than just five stars. It has earned it’s spot as my favorite read this year.

I read a lot of Mystery and Crime novels and one thing that I find irritating is the way that a lot  of authors feel the need to write every female lead detective as damaged but bossy, arrogant and just like ‘one of the guys’. I get the strong female thing, but it’s overdone and borderline cliche.

In The Craftsman, Sharon Bolton introduces you to Florence Lovelady, who as a young detective in her twenties during the notorious Glassman case in 1969, struggles with sexism in the office. Her peers don’t take her serious because she’s a woman and would rather have her serve them tea then give input on a case. It’s real and it’s refreshing, so for that I gave two huge thumbs up. However, don’t be fooled, our lead detective is still full of spunk and does not easily take no for an answer.

But let’s get to the gist of the story which, in all seriousness, still has me in a book hangover. It begins in 1999 at the funeral of serial killer Larry Glassbrook, who killed three local teenagers back in 1969. Florence Lovelady, the investigator responsible for putting Larry away, returns to the town of Sabden to attend the funeral. While there, strange things begin to happen that seem eerily similar to Larry Glassbrooks MO, and they seem to be directed at Florence.

From here the story alternates between 1999 and 1969 and is perfectly executed. In the past we learn of Florence’s involvement in the case, as well as other drama in the town. Just when you think you know what’s happening, your blindsided with something even more shocking. We also get a taste of witchcraft but in a way that adds nothing but eerie charm to the environment and to the story. It’s authentic and real. It takes this book from ‘just another mystery’ and makes it next level. Florence is in danger but Larry is dead, so who is the person coming after her?

I urge you to not wait to buy this book: witchcraft, children being buried alive, and serial killers. If you’ve never read anything by Sharon Bolton, then make this your first; and if you have – well then what are you waiting for? The Craftsman will be released on October 16th, just in time for Halloween! Pre-order your copy now and then come back and tell me how much you loved it once your done!

Happy Reading!

 

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The Brilliant Death by Amy Rose Capetta

The Brilliant DeathExpected Release Date: October 30th, 2018

Publisher: Viking

Format: ARC Paperback

Pages: 330

Genre: Fantasy

Pre-Order: Amazon

Rating: 3/5

I received a copy of this from the publisher through BookishFirst in exchange for an honest review.

Teodora di Sangro is used to hiding her magical ability to transform enemies into music boxes and mirrors. Nobody knows she’s a Strega – and she aims to keep it that way.

Then she meets Cielo – and everything changes.

A Strega who can switch outward form as effortlessly as turning a page in a book, Cielo shows Teodora what her life could be like if she masters the power she’s been keeping secret. And not a moment too soon: the ruler of Vinalia has poisoned the patriarchs of the country’s five controlling families, including Teodora’s father, and demands that each family send a son to the palace.

If she wants to save her family, Teodora must travel to the capital – not disguised as a boy, but transformed into one. But the road to the capital, and to bridling her powers, is full of enemies and complications, including the one she least expects: falling in love



Teo is a Strega, only she’s kept it hidden from her family since she was a young girl since most people in the village don’t believe them to be real. A member of a powerful family, she’s used her powers to turn people who do not pledge loyalty to her father into charms and trinkets.

One evening, her father receives a formal letter from the Capo – a ruler who claims to have the desire to unite the country. After reading the letter, her father drops, coming dangerously close to death. On a mission to find help for him before it is too late, Teo sets off to the capital, using her powers to transform herself as a son of the DiSangro family.

Along the way she meets a fellow Strega, Cielo, who can transform himself into anything he wishes, including a woman. Together they venture to the capital and Cielo helps Teo with strengthening her powers, the two forming an unbreakable bond along the way.

This book sends off a very clear message. There’s a lot of obvious female empowerment which (don’t hate me), although I appreciate, it felt a little at times like ‘okay get off the soap box, we get it’. It was a little trite.

This book includes a gender-fluid couple as well as the struggle Teo herself faces with accepting who she is and who she loves. This earned a star for me because diversity in books is a wonderful thing and the world could use a little more of that. I think a lot of young people out there will feel good reading books with characters like these as it gives them something/someone to relate too, and that’s never a bad thing.

However, unfortunately the story itself just felt…underwhelming. There wasn’t a lot of character or world building and for most of the book I kept wondering when something really interesting was going to happen. The plot moved much to quickly and had it slowed down a bit  there would have been more time for the characters to develop. Sadly I skimmed a lot and didn’t feel like I missed anything in doing so.

Overall, I didn’t love it but I appreciated it. I wanted this book to be so much more than just a message though.  I mean, gender bending Strega’s and mafia battles?! It should have been most epic! I think there is a lot of room for improvement and I do hope the author writes more with Teo and/or other Strega’s!

Happy Reading!

 

 

 

 

Life Lately | Friday 9.14.18

Wait a hot minute…how is the summer over already?

The last few weeks of August was a complete whirl wind and now here I am, finally able to see the dust begin to settle. I’ve finished a couple of books since Pieces of Her but I just haven’t had as much time to read as I wanted.

I did finish Hangman by Daniel Cole which is a sequel to Ragdoll. I’ll be posting a review of that but until then, you can check out my short Goodreads review.

My daughter started Kindergarten this month, which is super exciting, and this week is my first week back to work after having some time off. I took an unintentional break from social media during that time so let me get you caught up all the bookish things in my life!

I received two ARC’s through BookishFirst which is a really cool way to win advanced reader copies if you’ve never heard of it. The first book I won, which is the one I’m reading now, is The Brilliant Death by Amy Rose Capetta. This book is about a young girl who hides her magic from her family. She turns her fathers enemies into music boxes and other trinkets but everyone in her village knows Stregas aren’t real. Then the Capo, the ruler of the land, sends poisoned letters to the head of fives families, killing them. Four lie dead, but her father is gravely ill. She must figure out a way to save him, hoping that her magic is the answer.

I’m not loving this book so far but definitely look for a review from me once I’m finished. I’m hoping it will pick up. It’s set to be published on October 30th by Viking.

The second book I won is An Anonymous Girl by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen. I’m really looking forward to reading this one! I read the first few pages and was hooked and the reviews on Goodreads are really positive with a rating of 4.21 out of 5.

In addition to those, I have a really large list of ARC’s on my kindle from  NetGalley. My main goal right now is to catch up on them so I’ve banned myself from buying any new books until I’m caught up.

Except I broke that ban today.

But, only because I’ve been eyeing this series for SO long and I just couldn’t help myself anymore. I purchased the first two books of the Deanna Madden series by A.R. Torre and I just can’t wait to get my hands on them!

The Girl in 6E (Deanna Madden, #1)The first book in the trilogy is called The Girl in 6E and I’ve seen this book talked about on Instagram and Goodreads quite a lot lately. However, I stood strong and continued to hold out.

But then Natasha from MyReadingisOdd talked about it in her latest video and it was all over. I immediately bought the first two books.

Whoops.

The main character is a cyber sex worker, making online videos from the confines of her apartment, which she never leaves. She also has murderous desires that would make Dexter blush.

YES.

I had a strong feeling that I was really going to love this book (which is why I didn’t bother checking the library first) so I also bought the second book, Do Not Disturb.

Do Not Disturb (Deanna Madden, #2)

I wanted to buy all three books but of course I couldn’t find a decent used copy on any of the sites I typically buy from. I did finally find it on Amazon but figured I’d read at

least the first one before I ordered it.

See, I DO have willpower.

I will probably be stalking my mailman until I get these.

Have any of you read these books? Did you love them or hate them?

I’ve seen people compare this to Dexter and 50 Shades of Gray, so if erotic is not your thing you probably wouldn’t enjoy these books.

 

 

So that’s really all I have. Looking forward to getting back into a routine now that things are calming down (just in time for the holidays’ to ramp things back up).

ChelseaDolling Reads and MyReadingisOdd are hosting the Contemporary-A-Thon next week and I’ve been toying with the idea of following along. So I’m going to look at what I have on my kindle and see if any of my ARC’s fit the challenges. I don’t read a ton of contemporary and admittedly a little unsure of what really qualifies.

Before I sign off, I’ll leave you with this fun bookish gift. I was in a wedding over the weekend, I officiated with another friend which was such a rad experience! The bride gave us all a gift which included cozy socks with fun sayings on the bottom. Mine couldn’t have been more perfect for me and I can’t wait to get home and put them on!

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Happy Reading!