Book Review: The Devil’s Picture Book by Arabella Seymour

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Genre: Suspense, Drama

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Four women, friends from their school days, have grown apart with distance and time, until one of them puts in motion an ambitious plan for a reunion – at a country house health spa which – unknown to any of them – has a history of murder, intrigue and bad luck all it’s own.
There is Rhiannon, determined to find out who her real parents were; Alexa, desperate for time to herself away from her controlling husband; Alice, whose husband treats her with contempt; and tragic Sunny, whose promising new life has suddenly come crashing down in ruins when she discovers she has a terminal illness.
Across their path comes Andrea, the unhappy and neglected wife of ex SAS officer Roddy DeVille, tipped for New Year Honours glory, desperate to regain her fading beauty and his love along with it.
The women meet without realising that this reunion will change each of their lives in ways none of them could possibly have imagined.

Intriguing is the best word I can come up with for this book. It’s very intriguing. Almost from the first page I kept wanting to read more. It’s well written and a nice change of pace from the books I’ve mostly been reading now. It’s very intricate and complex with great characters, mostly. And I couldn’t have asked for a better ending.

So why the mediocre rating?

Simply because practically all of the men in this novel sucked. The only one who didn’t was Lexi’s old boyfriend. And while I know this wasn’t a romance or anything, there couldn’t have been at least one marriage that was happy? There are more ways to complicate a woman’s life than to be stuck in a miserable marriage.

Granted, Riannon’s main problem wasn’t her marriage. It was finding out who her parents were. But in the end, her husband, Stephen, turns out to be selfish and mean as well. He starts out nice, but it’s later revealed that he actually believes a girl was asking to be raped because of her clothing and has no problem betraying his wife to save his job. Yeah, so great.

Lexi’s and Alice’s husbands are both controlling, just in different ways. Their storylines are actually so similar that I had a hard time of telling them apart, which really irritated me. Because, again, crappy husbands aren’t the only way to make women unhappy. On top of that, Alice gets conned by a man, confirming her husband’s claim that she’s naive.

Furthermore, the conspiracy with Roddy DeVille feels more like an afterthought than the main story. While a good portion of the story does revolve around Roddy and Andrea, the book could have held its own just fine without them.

And, speaking of afterthoughts, Sunny was barely in the story, despite being one of the main characters. Which is too bad, because she could have had an interesting, if tragic story.

So because of all that, this story is only a three star. However, if you want a well-written suspenseful drama, then I definitely recommend The Devil’s Picture Book.

…And of the Son by John Skinner, Jr. (My Dad’s Book!)

Thomas “T.J.” James, Jr. finds himself wondering about that very thing. When his past and his present collide in a horrific set of circumstances, T.J. has to work out the details of the situation and finds himself in the middle of an investigation that brings his past nightmares back to life.

Hi, guys. I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted on here, and you might be disappointed about how short this post is. But this is a really important post for me. My dad has just published his first book on Amazon. That’s right. It came out a little earlier today. I’m not doing a review of this book, because that would obviously be a potentially biased review. Also, I haven’t actually finished it yet… (ahem).

What I have read of it, I really liked. And I (and my dad) would love it if you guys checked it out. It does have strong content that isn’t suitable for all audiences, so reader discretion, everybody.  Here’s the Amazon link  if you want to check it out.

 

The Prophecy: Book Three of the Sanctum Trilogy

 The Sanctum’s civil war draws to a close in this third and final book as Jools leads Sanctum and Magicals alike into battle with Carter Breslin’s armies. As the official head of the Academy, she needs to keep a cool head even while dealing with her own inner emotional turmoil that threatens to destroy her as the body count builds up. Meanwhile, Darby is dealing with the betrayal of Jedda, her true love, and Wyatt goes into denial about his and Dev’s chances of surviving this war, and his mother, Sam, continues her obsession with Continue reading

Explosions, Foreign Countries, and General Badass-ness

 Lately, I’ve been wanting to read two types of books: and classics. Hunt the Wolf obviously falls into the former, and it was just what I was looking for. It was full fights, explosion, foreign countries, good prevailing over bad, and general badass-ness.

SEAL Team Six leader Tom Crocker is determined to take down an Al Quaeda leader who is called AZ. After a failed mission to retrieve him, however, and a chewing out from his superiors, Crocker is ready to kick some butt. When the king of Norway asks Crocker and his team to track down a girl kidnapped by human traffickers, it looks like Crocker will be able to do just that.

My biggest problem with this book was that it was kind of predictable. I could predict a lot of the events that happened, although a few did take me by surprise. But I thought that the foreshadowing could have been a little bit better handled. However, I thought the writing was excellent. It was really easy for me to get absorbed in the book, and I could picture Crocker and his team as they tracked down the missing girl. I liked Crocker’s character, too. Even though he enjoys his work, he also loves his wife and daughter, and he tries to balance his personal and work life as much as possible. Actually, most of his team was pretty cool. I thought Akil was particularly funny and lovable, and the banter between him and Crocker was great. I’d probably give this book four out five stars, and I’ll take a chance and say that anyone who liked the Taken movies (and seriously, how can you not like those movies?) would like this book.

 http://www.indiebound.org/book/

And, as you may have noticed, there’s been a lot of Indiebound links on my blog. I’ve recently become an affiliate with them, which means that I get a small percentage of money if you click on one of the links on my blog and then buy the book. However, I’m doing this mostly because I support Indibound, and I support local bookstores. Considering the fact that 68% of the money you spend at a local shop stays in your community instead of the 43% with a chain, or none with Amazon (unless the author you’re buying is local) I think it’s worth spending a bit more time and money getting a print book from my local bookstore when I can. (I buy books from Amazon, but only if I can’t order them from a store). If you mind these links, then leave it in the comments or email me.

The Traitor’s Emblem

Mysteries, tribulations, and secrets enshroud Nazi Germany citizens and for Paul Reiner, perhaps, more than most. Growing up with his mother as a servant in his aunt’s house, he deals with the abuse taken from his aunt, uncle, and younger cousin, as well as the kids at school, who hate him because his father was branded as a traitor. But when his older cousin tells him that Paul’s father was murdered in his aunt and uncle’s house, and he defends a noble Jewish girl from his younger cousin’s advances, Paul’s world is turned upside down, and he finds himself in trouble as he fights to find his father’s murderer, hold onto the girl he is in love with, and survive from day to day. It is the story of how he obtains the Traitor’s Emblem, the metal made for the Nazi who betrayed the Freemasons.

I liked this book a lot. I thought it was well put-together and very intriguing. Even when I knew I had work to do, I couldn’t help reading a few pages at every chance I got. I like how not everything is in black and white. There are even times when it’s possible to sympathize with Jurgen, Paul’s younger cousin, who later becomes a Nazi. It was suspenseful and intriguing, and I loved seeing the characters progress over the years as the events unfold. I’d recommend this book to anyone with a love for history, mysteries, and thrillers.

 If you’re interested, you can find the book here:

<a href=”http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781439198797?aff=KaraSkinner”>http://www.indiebound.org/book/</a&gt;

Page Turner: Lust, Money, and Murder by Mike Wells

I have to admit it: most of the self-published books I’ve read just haven’t done it for me. It’s not that they’re completely bad, but they don’t hold my attention. They don’t have that spark that keeps me turning the pages.

You get the point.

But Lust, Money, and Murder by Mike Wells wasn’t one of them. I couldn’t put it down. After her father’s suicide, Elaine Brogan joined the Secret Service to track down the man responsible- a counterfeiter who caused her father’s arrest. After she discovers the man she was tracking down was already dead, she goes to Bulgaria- only to fall madly in love with her new boss. But after secrets unfold and Elaine does some investigating herself she finds out the boss isn’t everything she thought he was.

Wells is an excellent writer with a gift of character development. He shows Elaine as an irresponsible teenager, and how she changes into a mature woman through the death of her father, as well as her father’s love for her that exceeded that of even his love for his wife. The characters are all flawed and completely believable, without a perfect one in there, something that makes a story for me.

He might have made too many guys fall for Elaine though to be realistic. But that’s beside the point.

I’d recommend this book to anyone who loves adventure, and, well, lust, money, and murder. It’s witty, cool, and intriguing. It’s great especially for mystery and espionage lovers.