Her by Harriet Lane

Her
by
Harriet Lane

Rating:

Nina Bremmer has it all. She’s sleek and sophisticated. Her painting career is successful. Her marriage is solid and all is good with her teenage daughter. Their upscale London home reflects a perfect life. But nothing is at it seems because no one can get away from a painful past.

Strange and dangerous emotions surface when Nina sees Emma Nash in a park. As Nina watches Emma from a distance, she’s sure this is who it is, so many years later. She doubts Emma will remember and that’s good. It’s Nina’s perfect chance to make things right. Right in her own head, that is.

It’s not easy to review a psychological suspense story, because the reading experience of a book like this depends on knowing nothing at the beginning and learning a little bit at a time. Her is a twisted story of one woman who stalks another, messes with her family and plans an unnamed revenge. The reader is along for the ride, unable to stop the process.

Harriet Lane has a clean writing style and is very good at describing people and relationships. She chooses her details carefully and makes it clear what is important to know and remember. Tension builds slowly as she reveals the history, bits at a time, between Nina and Emma. Lane makes the reader equally uneasy with dangerous settings, as Emma is unknowingly manipulated.

Both Nina and Emma tell their story, in alternating chapters that describe the same events. In this style, Lane shows how different, and dangerous perceptions can be. I wanted to corner Emma and tell her to watch out!

Her is a fast read that reaches a dreadful but ambiguous conclusion just as Emma begins to put it all together. While I enjoyed the lead-up, I was a little disappointed with the abrupt finish, as were many Amazon readers. I would have liked more explanation and tie-ups at the end, and that’s coming from a reader who likes open endings. Still, I recommend Her to readers who enjoy psychological thrillers because the characterizations and settings were excellent.

How do you feel about abrupt or open endings?

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What’s in a mystery? Solving the genre

Everyone loves a good story and there’s nothing better than an intriguing mystery. But there are lots of books with the mystery label so how do you define the genre?

In the typical mystery, the main character solves a crime or a series of crimes and the story finishes with a nice tie-in of facts and events. It’s often full of puzzling clues, shady characters and red herrings. Sometimes the characters are amateur sleuths, sometimes they are professional detectives. While some readers like to solve the puzzle ahead of time, others prefer to see the story unfold. Many readers like complex stories, others like a fast-moving plot.



Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin
is an excellent mystery crime story about a town hampered by racism.

Mystery writers understand that readers have different tastes, which has led to many subgenres. The cozy mystery takes place in an intimate setting and leaves out the gory details. Hard boiled and noir mysteries are gritty and violent. Procedurals include a blow-by-blow analysis. Historical mysteries (surprise!) take place in the past.


     

Second Street Station and Brooklyn on Fire by Lawrence H. Levy are entertaining historical mysteries set in 1890s New York.

A developing subgenre is the science fiction mystery, which places its characters in a supernatural element. Adding to the list are legal and medical mysteries and comic capers. For those who prefer nonfiction, there are plenty of true crime stories. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote is one of the most well-known true crime stories and one that I want to read.

And for readers who like happy endings, there is the romantic suspense in which love and justice conquer. If you like this subgenre, check out Everything We Keep by Kerry Lonsdale.

While these mysteries involve solving a crime, thrillers and suspense come from a different angle – in these the protagonist is in high stakes danger from the very beginning. Many twists and turns propel the reader to an exciting conclusion.


  

If you like medical thrillers, you will enjoy Eating Bull by Carrie Rubin and her earlier book, The Seneca Scourge by Carrie Rubin, which steps into the medical sci-fi world.

No matter the style, writers of all subgenres often create lasting characters that feature in entire series of books. For an avid reader, what’s better than the anticipation of the next story?

In a rut? Expand your scope! Many mysteries include complex characters and dramatic settings and open the genre to readers who might not otherwise venture down the mystery aisle. From classic authors like Edgar Allan Poe, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie to modern writers like Michael Connelly, Peter May and Tana French, you are bound to find an exciting story!

Some mysteries and thrillers overlap subgenres, making them hard to label but always great to read!


  

Death in a Red Canvas Chair and Death in a Dacron Sail by N. A. Granger are a little bit cozy and a little bit medical and a lot of fun to read.

In the Woods by Tana French is a psychological crime story with many interesting characters.

Echo Park by Michael Connelly features the recurring character Harry Bosch, also a popular video series on Amazon. Soon I’ll be reading another by Connelly – The Lincoln Lawyer, Book 1 of the Mikey Haller series.

     

If you like dramatic landscapes and complex characters you will enjoy The Lewis Trilogy by Peter May. I’ve read The Blackhouse and The Lewis Man and I’m getting ready to read The Chessmen.

Others I’ve recently read include:

Caught by Harlan Coben
The Fever by Megan Abbott

The Good Neighbor by A.J. Banner

I’m a novice mystery reader and I’m having fun learning more about the genre. The books I’ve listed represent only a fraction of what’s out there. What type of story do you like? What are your favorites?

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Who’s That Indie Author? Suzette D. Harrison

whos-that-indie-author

Author name:  Suzette D. Harrison

Genre:  African-American Historical Romance; Urban Christian Romance

Books:  My Joy, Taffy, When Perfect Ain’t Possible, Living on the Edge of Respectability

Bio:  Suzette D. Harrison, a native Californian and the middle of three daughters, grew up in a home where reading was required, not requested. Her literary “career” began in junior high school with the publishing of her poetry. While Mrs. Harrison pays homage to Alex Haley, Gloria Naylor, Alice Walker, Langston Hughes, and Toni Morrison as legends who inspired her creativity, it was Dr. Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings that unleashed her writing. The award-winning author of Taffy is a wife and mother who holds a culinary degree in Pastry & Baking. Mrs. Harrison is busy cooking up her next novel…in between batches of cookies.

Favorite thing about being a writer:  The joy of living in someone’s head!

Biggest challenge as an indie author:  Expanded exposure, marketing, and promoting

Favorite booksSugar by Bernice McFadden, Standing at the Scratch Line by Guy Johnson, The Sisterhood of Blackberry Corner by Andrea Smith, and any and everything Dianne McKinney Whetstone has ever written!

Contact Information:
Website:  sdhbooks.com
Facebook: SDH Books
Twitter: @Ariasu62
Instagram: suzetteharrison2200
YouTube: Suzette Harrison

 Awards/special recognition:  Building Relationships Around Books (Christian Fiction, 2016); Black Pearls Magazine (“Top 10 Authors of the Year, 2016).

UPDATE:  Taffy was just awarded the 2017 Romance Slam Jam “Emma Award” for best cover. Check it out!


Are you an indie author?  Do you want to build your indie author network? Get your name out on Who’s That Indie Author!

Email bvitelli2009@gmail.com for a bio template and other details.

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Who’s That Blogger? Giselle Roeder

whos-that-blogger

Blogmaster:  Giselle Roeder

Blog name:  giselleroeder.com

Type of blog:  History of WWII, Travel, Life in general, Adoption, interesting people, Health & Lifestyle, Books including my own, Love, Seniors and more.

Where in the world?  Canada

Blogging since when?  2014

What’s your story?  My book We Don’t Talk About That made a splash after publishing, was front page news in 2014 and I was advised to be present on social media. I have a webmaster who set up a website. After I learned a bit more I enjoyed posting my stories. I also belong to a Writer’s Group and the stories I write there have to do with my life experiences and I wanted to share! It is actually my main drive, to SHARE! I am told that my blogs are not just entertaining but always somehow educational. That’s my aim.  And, to make people THINK!

What types of blogs do you follow?  About new books of every genre, lifestyle, book writing & marketing blogs since there is so much to learn, travel, photography, animals, relationships. I enjoy reading about personal experiences of other bloggers.

Early bird or night owl?  My best time are quiet evenings. Often I get up in the middle of the night to write. Not just blogs, also working on my next book.

Coffee or tea?  Midmorning I have what I call “the second cup” – it’s the water run-through a second time on a used Keurig cup. It looks like tea but still has some coffee taste and is strong enough for me. Black tea rarely, but herb and green tea. My main hydration comes from water mixed with juice, cranberry, grape or apple juice.

Most recent binge watch or other obsession:  Chocolate! Oh yahh, I have to watch that! At least I look for the dark one. But I also watch the scale and know when to stop.

Check out these recent blog posts by Giselle Roeder:

Pigs, piglets, sows, hogs, and boars are all swine!
Trees – their Beauty, their Purpose, their Importance
Vimy Ridge: The Battle defining Canada as a Nation


Hey bloggers!  Are you interested in expanding your blogging world?  Email bvitelli2009@gmail.com to be featured on Who’s That Blogger!

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When do you read?

Image: Pixabay

“When do you read?” My work friend asked me that today and even though I answered right away – my answer was “mostly early in the morning before the day begins” – her question got me thinking because that isn’t always true. So I lied a little even though I didn’t mean to.

Lately I’ve been sleeping longer than usual, so when I do get up I have to hit the ground running. I have a little pocket of time after the kids go to school, but sometimes that gets eaten up by boring but necessary chores.

But I do my best reading in the morning and can concentrate when the house is quiet. It’s my favorite time of the day and the perfect time to start a new book.

This summer everything will change with a full (and happy) house and different schedules, including the one where I make my group sign up for a shower time. But the younger kids won’t be getting up at 5:30 and 6:00 like they do all school year to catch the bus, so my reading time is about to get better!

Although I do my best reading in the morning, once I get rolling with a book, I can read it at any time in the day and that’s what I do. Sometimes I read standing up in the kitchen while I’m waiting for someone or something. Sometimes I catch a few pages while I’m sitting in the car, also waiting. I don’t like reading in public though, because I like to hide my geeky habit of writing down characters’ names and taking notes. Don’t get the wrong idea. I’m not writing a thesis. I do it because I can’t remember things unless they’re written on paper.

Unless I’m extra peppy at night, I can’t read past a certain time. I’ve always been this way and it comforts me now that I’m getting older. I tell people this when they point out that I’m not as young as I used to be. So the memory thing, that’s age related, but the falling asleep thing, that’s just who I am!

Tomorrow morning I’m starting a new book my book club friend gave me last night. It’s called Her by Harriet Lane and I’m determined to pop out of bed as soon as my alarm goes off!

When do you read?

Many thanks to S. and K. for inspiring this post!

Who’s That Indie Author? Laura Simmons

whos-that-indie-authorAuthor name:  Laura Simmons

Genre:  Fiction – Paranormal Romance

Books:  Little Bits of Karma, Tough Karma: A Race Against Time

      

Bio:  Laura Simmons grew up in northern Virginia and spent most of her career working for various Department of Defense contractors in the Washington, DC area. She has a fascination with all things metaphysical. She enjoys writing paranormal romance stories featuring astral travel, psychic abilities, reincarnation and more. She also loves jigsaw puzzles, bowling, vacationing at the beach with her husband, and studying tarot cards and other types of divination systems.

Little Bits of Karma is her debut novel and focuses on reincarnation.  The minor characters from that book had an adventure they wanted to share, and Tough Karma: A Race Against Time is their story.

Favorite thing about being a writer:  My favorite thing about being a writer is having others read and enjoy the stories I’ve written.

Biggest challenge as an indie author:  Selling and marketing my books.

Favorite books:  I have a fondness for time travel and Highlander romance novels. Some of my favorites are, His Enemy’s Daughter by Terri Brisbin, The Devil’s Lady by Deborah Simmons (no relation to me), Another Dawn by Deb Stover, The Clan Graham Series by Suzan Tisdale

Contact Information:
Twitter:  @LauraSimmons37
Website:  littlebitsofkarma.com
Goodreads Author:  Laura Simmons
Amazon Author Page:  Laura Simmons


Are you an indie author?  Do you want to build your indie author network? Get your name out on Who’s That Indie Author!

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The Lewis Man by Peter May

The Lewis Man
by
Peter May

Rating:

When villagers on the Isle of Lewis discover a perfectly preserved body in a peat bog, officials assume it’s from another time, long gone. They think they are looking at ancient remains, for bog bodies usually date back centuries, if not thousands of years. But when clues point to a violent and more recent death, investigators know they have a murder case on their hands. Is there enough evidence to identify the body and find his killer?

Fin Macleod has quit his police detective job in Edinburgh. The death of his young son, Robbie marked the end of his marriage and now he returns to his Lewis home, hoping life on the island will help.  And hoping, too, that he might fix his broken relationship with Marsaili and become a real father to their son Fionnlagh. Once a detective, always a detective, however, and he soon discovers shocking connections between the bog body and the people close to Fin.  Is there enough time to find the truth before the official DCI from Inverness arrives?

The Lewis Man is the excellent second book in The Lewis Trilogy by Peter May. It begins nine months after the conclusion of The Blackhouse, a gripping and dramatic murder mystery surrounding the death of Fin’s classmate, schoolyard bully Angel Macritchie.

This story is focuses on Tormod Macdonald, Marsaili’s father, who is suffering from dementia and trying hard to hold on to details about both his present and past. Fin is sure this information will help solve the mystery of the bog body.

The Lewis Man is a lot more than a mystery as the reader learns more about the characters from The Blackhouse and the hard life on the islands of Scotland’s Outer Hebrides. The influence of weather and landscape figures prominently with relentless rain, wind, an imposing sea and the constant shifting of clouds and sun. It’s a beautiful but difficult place to live, yet villagers hang onto their lifestyle and traditions with proud stubbornness.

Fin’s character develops even more in book two, shedding light on the reasons behind his loneliness, his loss of faith and need to find a place called home. As in The Blackhouse, May includes themes of friendship, love and religion and introduces new subjects, including family compromises, obligations and caring for loved ones with dementia.

I enjoyed reading The Lewis Man very much.  Although it’s always best to read the books in order, The Lewis Man could be read independently, as important details from The Blackhouse are clearly explained. It may be harder to understand and appreciate the character development, however, without knowing events and dynamics of the first book. I’ll definitely be reading The Chessmen, the final book of the trilogy and look forward to Fin’s now hopeful search for happiness.

I recommend The Lewis Man to readers who like mysteries set in a dramatic place and stories about characters and their search for happiness.

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Want to start from the beginning? Click here for a review of The Blackhouse.