A broken kind of beautiful

A Broken Kind of BeautifulA Broken Kind of Beautiful by Katie Ganshert

Fashion is a fickle industry, a frightening fact for twenty-four-year-old model Ivy Clark. Ten years in and she’s learned a sacred truth — appearance is everything. Nobody cares about her broken past as long as she looks beautiful for the camera. This is the only life Ivy knows — so when it starts to unravel, she’ll do anything to hold on. Even if that means moving to the quaint island town of Greenbrier, South Carolina, to be the new face of her stepmother’s bridal wear line — an irony too rich for words, since Ivy is far from the pure bride in white

My rating:

4 of 5 stars

 

A beautiful kind of read.

This book deals with faith very well. There is no surprise or point when this suddenly shifts to a “god book.” Although some Christian novels seem to feel as if they are trying to push or persuade you, this book doesn’t do that. You know from the beginning that it is a Christian book, but the author leaves you free to come to your own conclusions about belief.

In the beginning I wasn’t all that excited about the main character. She came off as a selfish, spoiled brat with an agenda that seemed at first like it would prevent her from forming a real relationship with anyone. I am now certain this was intentional on the part of the author as it allowed for great character growth later in the story.

The relationship between the two main characters is the main focus of this story. There is a lot of tension and I thought the author did an excellent job of making the story line between the two of them both realistic and complicated.

I enjoyed reading this book. It was compelling enough to keep me turning pages and never dulled or hit boring spots. The love story is layered and interesting and the type that you are never quite sure will succeed until the end.

If you enjoy books where the characters feel very real and the issues at hand are things you can relate to, this would be a great choice.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

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Hell yes, I read: Inside the mind of a lifelong reader

This is the conclusion to the 2 part series on reading habits (or not reading, if you caught the first half.) Today we are joined by Pamela, from Year Round Thanksgiving

and Poetry by Pamela.

Pam reads more than anyone else I know, so I thought she would be perfect to provide contrast to our previous guest. She has some really interesting answers, so authors, if you are wondering what makes your book sell, have a read.

 

Ionia: Why do you read so much? There are so many forms of entertainment, but what makes you come back to books?

Pamela: I have always been a reader. I grew up loving books. One of my fondest memories as a very young child, was “running away from home”. My mom had made me do something I didn’t want to do (but I am sure now that it was something I should do) and so I announced that I was going to run away from home. Back then, suitcases were those hard sided ones. I proceeded to pack it full of my books to take with me. No clothes or toys, just books. And then I asked my mom is she would carry it for me so I could run away from home because I could only drag it as far as the end of the driveway.

I’m not really much of a television watcher. I do love movies in the theater, but if the movie is based on a book I’ve read, I’m nearly always disappointed. Books capture my imagination and feed my soul.

Ionia: When you do find a book you think you’d like to read, what is it that first captures your attention? What makes you pick that book rather than another?

Pamela: What better way to spend an afternoon than in a bookstore or library? I can browse for hours. I think that the cover of a book is the first impression. It doesn’t mean that is all I consider, but that is what draws me to look at it. From there, the genre and the book blurb have to captivate me. Of course, most of the indie books are not in the bookstores or libraries and I find those through some of the promotional sites, blogs, and word of mouth.

Ionia: How important are what other customers say about the book in reviews? Do you pay attention to star ratings and customer reviews?

Pamela: Of course I read YOUR reviews and have picked up several books because of that. I don’t generally read reviews of books on the sites where I’m purchasing a book. Reviews can be so skewed by the readers. I rely heavily on the book description. I don’t notice the star ratings as much either.

Ionia: Do you do most of your reading in paper format or digital and why?

Pamela: There was a time I would have answered this question with “I will NEVER read other than a paper book”. Then I bought a Nook. I was hooked from the beginning. I could carry dozens of books with me all the time. About that time I also noticed that I began reading more and more. I was already a voracious reader, but my Nook (Julio is what I named him) was so easy to carry with me everywhere…and I did. But then I realized that so many indie books were only available on the Kindle platform. So I bought a Kindle. They fit so easily into my purse or briefcase so I always have one of them with me. No more outdated boring magazines in waiting rooms. Plus, when I’m reading on my Kindle and fall asleep, it doesn’t (a) hit me in the head and (b) keeps my place. I still love to touch books, smell books, and hold paper books, but I prefer reading electronically.

Ionia: You’ve decided to read this book. What makes you say..never mind. Not for me, or do you ever give up before finishing?

Pamela: I don’t very often quit reading a book. I guess it is that hopeful nature I have that keeps me going. But I do have to say that if a book can’t capture my interest or attention in the first 25-50 pages, there is a strong chance that I may just give up. There are so many really good books to read that I don’t feel it is necessary to read a book that doesn’t hold my attention. There have been some very popular mainstream books that I just couldn’t get through. I’m trying to think of the name…I saw the movie and it was good, but the book just couldn’t keep my interest. Oh, I know, it was “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” by Stieg Larrson. Everyone said after the first 100 pages, it got interesting. I just couldn’t wait and gave up. If it is an indie book and has obviously not been proofread or edited, there is also a good chance I will just put it aside too.

Ionia: Does it matter to you if the book was put out by a big publisher or an indie author or indie press? Does the name of the publisher have any influence on if you will take the risk and buy the book?

Pamela: I love indie authors. But I also love some really big name authors. I have noticed that some of the bigger names aren’t necessarily good books. There seems to be a tendency for their books to start feeling the same as their last one, even if they aren’t in a series. I want something that is original. My preferred genre is thriller/suspense/mystery and there seems to be a formula for those books. But character development and plot twists and turns still keep me reading. I realize that much of life is a pendulum. Right now my pendulum has swung toward the indie author/publisher. I throw in a mainstream mass market book from time to time though.

Ionia: Do you have any favourite categories that you do enjoy reading when you find a book that you enjoy?

Pamela: As I mentioned before I really enjoy the suspense/thriller/mystery books. But I have been branching out with genres. Historical Fiction is another favorite of mine. But I will read just about anything. I’m not a big fan of sci-fi though. Or romance. I avoid romance books most of the time. Isn’t that ironic? I write love poetry and yet I don’t like romance books. Hmmm maybe I should read more romance.

Ionia: Does price influence your buying decisions? Are you more likely to buy a less expensive book than a more expensive on or is it really about the content?

Pamela: I remember the days that I bought all of my books in hard cover…at $19.99 up to $29.99 each. So, purchasing a book that is $9.99 is still a bargain. I am not dissuaded from reading something on my Kindle by price generally. That being said, if I spend $10-$15 on a Kindle book and it isn’t well written or edited, I’m not happy. Trust me, you wouldn’t want to see how much I spend on Amazon in the course of a year. I keep thinking how nice it would be to win one of those sweepstakes where the prize is $1000 at Amazon. Wouldn’t that be fun? As much as I enjoy reading, I also enjoy finding new books and buying them for my to-be-read queue.

Ionia: Will you buy a book just because it is part of a series? The hole in the shelf syndrome, if you will? Even if you don’t intend to read the books, will you buy based on having a partial series?

Pamela: Oh dear, someone told you about me, didn’t they? I have just enough OCD tendencies that I couldn’t possibly read books in a series out of order. And if I enjoyed the first one, I most certainly will buy every single one in the series…in order. But I also purchase books from authors, even those not in a series, so I will have them all. In fact, I have every Stephen King book he has published in hard cover copies. But I also have a lot of them for my Kindle. As I said earlier, I prefer reading on my Kindle so I want them to read in that format. But my bookshelf wouldn’t be complete without every single one of his books on it.

Ionia: Does sales rank have anything to do with purchasing decisions?

Pamela: What a great question. Until I published my own book, I had no idea about the sales ranking. Obviously then, it didn’t impact my purchasing decision at all. Even now that I know about the sales ranking, I rarely pay attention to it. I think it is the thing that the authors love (at least when the numbers are good), but from a reader standpoint, not so much.

Ionia: One final question: Where do you see the most advertising for books and have you ever bought based on an ad from that place?

Pamela: The only place I really notice book advertising is on blogs and through the multitude of “free and bargain book” sites. I subscribe to several of those and I find a lot of really good books that way. I may not buy them at the time, but I add them to my wish list.

Oh my, I just realized that we’ve been talking for a long time. I know you are busy and I’m sorry if I talked too much. But thank you again for giving me the opportunity to talk about one of my favorite subjects.

Thank you so much for being here today and giving us some insight into the mind of someone who really loves literature!

Book review challenge series – Ionia Martin

Thank you, Rosie, for the lovely interview! It is not too late to secure a book for yourself and take up the review challenge! Looking for some great reading? Go check out Rosie’s review challenge:)

Rosie Amber

Day 5

Today our guest is book reviewer extraordinaire Ionia Martin. Please join me in welcoming her to the blog. Plus we have author Adrienne Vaughan’s views on the importance of book reviews, posting a review to Amazon and gearing up to write your own review.

Ionia Martin

1) Where can readers and writers find your blog?
You can find me at http://readfulthingsblog.com

2) Where do you post your book reviews as well as your blog?
It depends on the book, but I usually cross-post to Amazon.com US and UK as well as posting to Facebook, Linked-in, Goodreads and Twitter. If the author has a publisher site I will sometimes post there too.

3) What type of books will you consider for review?
I don’t do sci-fi books. Otherwise, I accept almost anything that doesn’t include graphic material. If a 15 year old couldn’t read it without blushing or getting sick, I…

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Interview with The Talented Ionia Martin

It appears as though it will be difficult to escape me talking about me today. What a bloody narcissist ! Thank you John, for the lovely interview. It is always fun talking with you:)

Fiction Favorites

Ionia Martina books-31

John:  Before we start and before Ionia gets here, I have to tell you I am as nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs. I have the opportunity to ask Ionia Martin a series of questions which have been designed to gain additional knowledge about this talented and beautiful person’s decision to become a reviewer. So why be nervous you ask? Why not be nervous? Can you imagine having the opportunity to ask really good questions of an icon and then come up short? . . . Er . . . let me rephrase that. Can you imagine having the opportunity of asking really good questions and then falling flat on your ass because the questions are too mundane or have been asked one hundred times before? To prevent this catastrophic situation I did extensive research and memorized every single interview Ionia has done over…

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Founders’ Son: A Life of Abraham Lincoln by Richard Brookhiser

Founders' Son: A Life of Abraham LincolnFounders’ Son: A Life of Abraham Lincoln by Richard Brookhiser

Abraham Lincoln grew up in the long shadow of the Founding Fathers. Seeking an intellectual and emotional replacement for his own taciturn father, Lincoln turned to the great men of the founding—Washington, Paine, Jefferson—and their great documents—the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution—for knowledge, guidance, inspiration, and purpose. Out of the power vacuum created by their passing, Lincoln emerged from among his peers as the true inheritor of the Founders’ mantle, bringing their vision to bear on the Civil War and the question of slavery.

In Founders’ Son, celebrated historian Richard Brookhiser presents a compelling new biography of Abraham Lincoln that highlights his lifelong struggle to carry on the work of the Founding Fathers. Following Lincoln from his humble origins in Kentucky to his assassination in Washington, D.C., Brookhiser shows us every side of the man: laborer, lawyer, congressman, president; storyteller, wit, lover of ribald jokes; depressive, poet, friend, visionary. And he shows that despite his many roles and his varied life, Lincoln returned time and time again to the Founders. They were rhetorical and political touchstones, the basis of his interest in politics, and the lodestars guiding him as he navigated first Illinois politics and then the national scene.

But their legacy with not sufficient. As the Civil War lengthened and the casualties mounted Lincoln wrestled with one more paternal figure—God the Father—to explain to himself, and to the nation, why ending slavery had come at such a terrible price.

Bridging the rich and tumultuous period from the founding of the United States to the Civil War, Founders’ Son is unlike any Lincoln biography to date. Penetrating in its insight, elegant in its prose, and gripping in its vivid recreation of Lincoln’s roving mind at work, this book allows us to think anew about the first hundred years of American history, and shows how we can, like Lincoln, apply the legacy of the Founding Fathers to our times.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Other books on Lincoln have noted his interest in the founding fathers and how he looked back to them, but here, for the first time, a historian of the founding looks ahead to Lincoln.”

And so he did. This is a truly excellent example of careful research and a desire to look at a much analysed life in a way that it has not been considered before.

I have read tons of Lincoln books. I know people say this about books a lot, but truly, I have been collecting them since childhood and I read everything I can find on the subject. Naturally, when there have been so many books written about one man, (if you want to see an example of this, check out the Lincoln Book Tower at Ford’s,)you are sure to run into information that has been documented before, albeit not always correctly. In such cases, it becomes important to the armchair researcher how the information is presented. This book took a different approach to telling the story of Lincoln from his youngest days to the end.

It was appealing to me to see a book that did not focus on the untimely death of the sixteenth president, but rather his life. His preoccupations with certain poets, George Washington and Lincoln’s propensity to suffer from melancholy and discontent with religious beliefs were focal points of this book instead. I felt while reading this, as though the author has made a great connection with history and was a reliable source for information as well as a talented wordsmith. This book does not have the drab, dull feel of a history book as many such titles do.

**My favourite thing about this book was the way the author approached giving facts. There was no point when I thought “well that was certainly subjective to your own interpretation.” So many Lincoln books have lost me for the author’s inability to keep their own opinions out of the way of the facts. Thank you, Mr. Brookhiser for giving it to us straight.

Getting to know Lincoln through his interests and the events and people who shaped him into the famous man we have all heard about was a nice approach for this book. If you are interested in Lincoln, the founding fathers or American history in general, this would be a great addition to your library.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own.

Hell no I don’t read, but if I did…

There will be a part 2 for this series in a day or so with the same questions asked to a lifelong reader, just for comparison.
 
I have seen a lot of blogs poll readers or feature readers and ask them what they look for in a book. What do they want to see on the cover? What do they want to see in a title? Is there something that influences their buying decision one way or the other more so than other things?
 
I’m not here to do that.
 
Well, not exactly.
 
I, being the great (short) pioneer that I am…am going to ask pretty much the same exact questions, but to someone who doesn’t read, or at least not very often, anyway. I think getting an opinion from someone who doesn’t read much is an organic approach to this non-scientific method of questioning. I’d like to know what would make someone who doesn’t usually read much, be encouraged to buy a book and maybe even pick it up and open the cover. So here we go.
 
 
My guest today does a lot of different stuff and he is a good guy, so you all can’t give him too much guff for not reading. Well, you can, but I will not be held responsible. I have to give him credit for patience. He always listens to me ramble on about books, even when he doesn’t care what I’m talking about. I do the same to him when the 49ers play. blah blah something about a funny looking little ball that has nothing to do with a foot.
 
I am going to protect his identity from the hoards of angry people who think everyone should read.
 
Rather than his actual name, we are going to call him Jeremiah “that guy.”
 
So with out further ado, here is “That guy” and I having a bookish conversation.
 

Ionia: So, “that guy,” why don’t you read all that much? I know you have to read for work and you have to read for daily life, but why don’t you read more for pleasure?

TG: I don’t find books very often that pique my interest enough to read them, or at least not all the way through. I find something that might interest me occasionally, but then I tend to lose interest rather quickly. Sometimes the plot goes to sleep and so do I.

Ionia: When you do find a book you think you’d like to read, what is it that first captures your attention? What makes you pick that book rather than another?

TG: The first thing I look at is the title. It isn’t as much the cover as it is the title. The title has to be really interesting and make me want to pick it up. If the title seems boring, I won’t even bother. Secondly, I look at the size of the book. I might be feeling ambitious, but I know my concentration has limits, so if the book is enormous…uhm…Tom Clancy…if I can watch it in the movie a lot faster there is no hope for the book. Sorry readers. I do look at the cover, but it isn’t as important to me as the blurb and the one liner that tells what others thought. I might not buy a book solely on what those say, but I’d rather read a book with a boring white cover that has people saying good things than one with an awesome cover art that has no one saying anything.

Ionia: The title thing is interesting. There have actually been studies done on what happens if a poorly selling book gets a more exciting title. The results were kind of amazing. Some books that had been out for ages started selling to the top of the charts within a few days of the change. How important are what other customers say about the book in reviews? Do you pay attention to star ratings and customer reviews?

TG: If I’m buying online I do somewhat take into account the customer reviews. A lot of it depends on whether or not it is fiction or non fiction. Fiction is subjective. People may love one writing style and not another or they may be influenced by which POV the book was set in. With non fiction, especially if you are using the book to learn a new skill or for education purposes, I would pay more attention to the reviews. If, for instance I got a book about algebra and the other customers said it was confusing and unhelpful, I may look at another one instead. But with fiction, I pay little attention to the opinions of others. Sometimes it is the one star reviews that make me interested in a book though.

Ionia: I have to agree about the one star reviews. Plus, sometimes they point out things that the four and five star reviews don’t, such as which characters could have been improved, or plot holes. I hate those. Do you do most of your reading in paper format or digital and why?

TG: I have both, but I am somewhat old fashioned. I like paper books. I don’t ever have to worry about my battery dying in the middle of a hardcover. I do have to say though, reading a paper book in the dark is not very easy. It is easier to collect more books with a reader than with normal books and it takes a lot less effort to move them.

Ionia: I’m really amazed at your bravery for facing down this rabid audience of readers and writers. I appreciate the honesty here. Don’t look behind you. Charles, put down the mallet. John, it isn’t nice to make faces. Susan…never mind. Susan you can continue whatever it is you’re doing over there. What turns you off in a book, right away? Say you have gotten past the title, and the cover, and the blurb. You’ve decided to read this book. What makes you say..never mind. Not for me.

TG: If the author can captivate me and hold my attention (for fiction anyway) within the first 3-10 pages I will continue. I can handle a small boring spot, but if it is more than a few pages I lose focus and put the book down. If I like the direction and approach the author takes to writing and I can visualise the content, I am more likely to keep reading.

Ionia: Does it matter to you if the book was put out by a big publisher or an indie author or indie press? Does the name of the publisher have any influence on if you will take the risk and buy the book?

TG: It doesn’t matter. It is more about the content than who it came from or where. If you don’t write things that I find interesting, then I won’t pick up the book.

Ionia: Do you have any favourite categories that you do enjoy reading when you find a book that you enjoy?

TG: I like to read fantasy. As I am a highly visual reader, I love the descriptions and worlds in fantasy, but I will read other stuff if it is interesting.

Ionia: Does price influence your buying decisions? Are you more likely to buy a less expensive book than a more expensive on or is it really about the content?

TG: Price really doesn’t affect my decision. If I’m liking the above named things about the book, I’ll spend the money.

Ionia: Will you buy a book just because it is part of a series? The hole in the shelf syndrome, if you will? Even if you don’t intend to read the books, will you buy based on having a partial series?

TG: No. If the book doesn’t interest me and I have books 1, 2, 3, and 5, I won’t buy 4 just because I don’t have it.

Ionia: I think our wallets all envy your reserve.  Does sales rank have anything to do with purchasing decisions?

TG: Not at all. I can find a great book at a thrift shop or one that has a million plus sales ranking. It makes no difference to me as far as buying the book.

Ionia: One final question: Where do you see the most advertising for books and have you ever bought based on an ad from that place?

TG: I see the most advertising from Kindle, but I don’t necessarily buy based on those ads. They might encourage me to look at a book, or download a sample. It really is about the content and the overall impression I get of the book. A pretty cover doesn’t mean that it will be a great fit for me.

Ionia: Thank you so much for your time and for answering all these questions. Put down your torches and pitchforks people. He is doing all of us authors a service.

 

So what do you all think about what our guest had to say today? Do you agree or disagree? Authors, here’s your chance to give your hard earned two cents.

 
 

 

How do you want it?

Here is your opportunity to tell me what to do. Come on, you know you want to.

images Tell me what you want, and I will give it to you…

within reason…

Did that sound sexy? I put out my pouty lip and tried for the head flip, but I banged my head on the cabinet behind me and almost knocked myself out. So much for sexy. On to the point in this post. I don’t want to bore you with posts you don’t want to see in your readers or email so….

 

Readful Things is and has always very much been a participant related blog. Obviously one of the main focuses of this blog is book reviews and that will not change, but I also want to give the audience a chance to speak and tell me what you want to see more of.

Wednesdays are filled by the Mirror Interviews, so that day is good. The book reviews will remain, but what else would you like to see? Here are some options:

More author interviews with both traditional and indie authors

giveaways for free merchandise and books

personal posts (we know I don’t actually ever really post much that is personal, but humour me.)

Poetry related posts

writing and topics on the craft posts

guest blogs from industry professionals

travel and photo posts

book discussions

random humour

video links for upcoming films

opinion pieces (from me and others)

me dancing naked in bunny slippers (Wait..don’t run away, I just wanted to make sure that you were paying attention.)

I meant panda slippers

Anything else you think might be interesting for this blog and relate to books, writing, screenplays, promo of authors, etc. please feel free to mention. I may not use all suggestions but I am always happy to consider.

Also, tomorrow will be a really interesting post from a non reader—sounds weird, I know, about what would make him buy a book. I figure if we can figure out how to make a non reader read then there is hope for sales from the masses of others out there who do.

Opinions please.

The City by Dean Koontz

The CityThe City by Dean Koontz

#1 New York Times bestselling author Dean Koontz is at the peak of his acclaimed powers with this major new novel.

The city changed my life and showed me that the world is deeply mysterious. I need to tell you about her and some terrible things and wonderful things and amazing things that happened . . . and how I am still haunted by them. Including one night when I died and woke and lived again.

Here is the riveting, soul-stirring story of Jonah Kirk, son of an exceptional singer, grandson of a formidable “piano man,” a musical prodigy beginning to explore his own gifts when he crosses a group of extremely dangerous people, with shattering consequences. Set in a more innocent time not so long ago, The City encompasses a lifetime but unfolds over three extraordinary, heart-racing years of tribulation and triumph, in which Jonah first grasps the electrifying power of music and art, of enduring friendship, of everyday heroes.

The unforgettable saga of a young man coming of age within a remarkable family, and a shimmering portrait of the world that shaped him, The City is a novel that speaks to everyone, a dazzling realization of the evergreen dreams we all share. Brilliantly illumined by magic dark and light, it’s a place where enchantment and malice entwine, courage and honor are found in the most unexpected quarters, and the way forward lies buried deep inside the heart.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Part coming of age story, part suspense novel, this is definitely not the Dean Koontz I recall from earlier novels.

I really wasn’t sure what to think when I began reading this novel. I have had good and bad feelings about the work of this author in the past. Sometimes his work would surprise and thrill me and yet other times I would come away feeling like I just didn’t get it. This novel, was a little bit of both.

If I had to choose what I liked about this novel and sum it up in a single paragraph, it would be that it is different and a bit unexpected. The writing is superb and the descriptions did not run away with the story as I have noticed in some of his other works. This was a new direction for Mr. Koontz to take his readers, and for the most part I thought it worked.

I won’t go so far as to say that every second of this book was exciting, but it was a thoughtful tale and had a lot of fully formed, independent characters that all added to the story. There was still some suspense and some tense moments as with his other works.

Overall, I gave this book three stars for being an example of an author taking a risk and making it work. If you are a fan of the older Koontz novels, this may strike you as a bit of an oddity but I encourage you to give it a shot.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through Netgalley. All opinions are my own.

Book Review Challenge Series – A Woman’s Wisdom

Check out Rosie’s challenge!

Rosie Amber

Day 2

Today as part of our book review challenge series we will hear from book reviewer and good friend, Bodicia about how she writes a book review. Plus there are tips on downloading a PDF file of a book to your Kindle and my thoughts on writing non-fiction book reviews.

A Woman's Wisdom

Take it away Bodicia.

Where can readers and writers find your blog?

http://awomanswisdom.wordpress.com/

 

Where do you post your book reviews as well as your blog?

I post my reviews on Amazon UK, Amazon US and Goodreads.

 

What type of books will you consider for review?

I will consider most books for review except erotica, those which are overtly religious and those filled with too much gore and violence.

 

What format do you like books to be in for review?

As a rule I normally only accept mobi and PDF formats.

 

What’s the first thing you…

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Identity by Ingrid Thoft

IdentityIdentity by Ingrid Thoft

“Thoft’s gripping sequel…A quirky and empathetic heroine, a fast-moving plot, and a surprise ending make this a winner.”
Publishers Weekly

Firecracker P.I. Fina Ludlow returns in the next hard-driving entry in the acclaimed series by Ingrid Thoft.

It’s been a couple months since Fina’s last big case—the one that exposed dark family secrets and called Fina’s family loyalty into question—but there’s no rest for the weary, especially when your boss is Carl Ludlow.

Renata Sanchez, a single mother by choice, wants to learn the identity of her daughter Rosie’s sperm donor. A confidentiality agreement and Rosie’s reticence might deter other mothers, but not Renata, nor Carl, who’s convinced that lawsuits involving cryobanks and sperm donors will be “the next big thing.” Fina uncovers the donor’s identity, but the solution to that mystery is just the beginning: within hours of the case going public, Rosie’s donor turns up dead.

Fina didn’t sign on for a murder investigation, but she can’t walk away from a death she may have set in motion. She digs deeper and discovers that DNA doesn’t tell the whole story and sometimes, cracking that code can have deadly consequences.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4.5 stars

This is one time when I have to say, no matter what is written in the book blurb, it will never do the complexities of this book justice.

“I’m not a battered wife, dumbnuts. I’m in a dangerous line of work.”

Wow. I’m not even sure where to begin. In a lot of crime/mystery thrillers you don’t really get the opinion that the character does anything other than work. They don’t eat, sleep or have any normal life outside of the work they do. That’s not the case with this novel. I have to admit, I dislike Fina for one reason…she eats…everything and never gains an ounce. I suppose though, that is fitting for a female P.I. who is always on the move. Seriously though, I have never seen a character with a bigger appetite.

As a main character, Fina can be a bit conceited at times, but not in a way that makes you dislike her. This is the first time I have ever read a novel with a female P.I. that I liked. Ingrid Thoft has a unique style of writing that allows the reader to feel close to the story. Rather than there being a big event and then lots of technical junk that bores you to death, she uses her main character to uncover little mysteries, one at a time until the big resolution happens in the end.

Fina was not obsessed with her love life every second of the story. I appreciated this as it seems it is usually the focal point of the story, often even taking over the mystery/murder. The complicated relationship she has with her family brought another element of realism to this book. When a character has other things beside their job at the heart of the story, I feel like they are much more plausible.

I also liked that Fina gets her butt handed to her a couple of times. The author is clearly not afraid to let anything happen to her main character, even though she is a woman. Loved it.

This novel was not only compelling, but also had moments of laugh-out-loud humour, which made it a lot of fun to read. There are some great descriptions, “Pitney was short and round and always brought to mind an armed garden gnome.”

You will also find some passages that just make you want to quote the book to whomever is nearest you, “And she hated all the euphemisms for death; when people passed it was either gas or a test. You die and you’re dead. That was that.”

I was a little bit surprised by the end of the book, it wasn’t the shocking-oh-I-could-never-have-guessed ending that many books in this genre tend to have. Instead, it was a smartly written conclusion to a book that already had a lot of those moments in it previously.

If you like mysteries, sassy main characters and want to live vicariously away from your diet, this is a book you want to read.

Recommended.

This review is based on a complimentary copy from the publisher and provided through Netgalley, all opinions are my own.