As always, I’ll start the review with a summary of the book, just so you all know what I’m rambling on about!
This (Novella) is a two pronged story line. On one hand it features the rise of a mob hit man. The second connected story is about a fence, a low level outsider of the mob. It tells the two stories alternating in the book as they relate, and the Gypsy hag who’s control drives the way it goes. Her hold on our characters is subtle, yet devious. (Taken from Amazon)
So I suppose that doesn’t really give you much of an idea about what to expect? Let me expand a little for you, well, as much as I can do without spoiling anything. The story follows Lou and Fence, two individuals forced to make difficult life or death decisions around their intertwined fate. The mob, girlfriends and a weird gypsy all play a huge part in their lives, until eventually they reach a ‘do or die’ moment. Will they survive and find a way out of the mob? Or will they become fish food?
Rating – 4 Stars
I have to say, when I read the summary and had a quick flick of this book, I really didn’t know if I was going to enjoy it. Whilst I really enjoy a crime thriller, mob based fiction doesn’t usually interest me in the slightest. Therefore I was very pleasantly surprised when I picked up this book and was hooked relatively quickly into the story line and the dilemmas facing Lou and Fence. There were plenty of things I liked about this book, so I’ll waste no time in sharing them with you!
Firstly, the speed with which Alderman hooked me into the story was astonishing. I’d read just a few pages and already I had the compulsion, and need to carry on reading. It was as it I really were a fish being slowly pulled in, unable to resist the lure of the story as it weaved to it’s conclusion. I feel like this is closely linked to the pace of the book, and they compliment each other well. The pace increases hugely the further into the book you get, getting your heart beating faster as you power through the pages wanting to find out exactly what will happen next. To me, with a limited knowledge of mob life, I feel like the pace represents a little of the speed with which things can change. One minute you’re a favourite, the next you’re sleeping with the fishes, but that’s what makes this book so exciting and engaging.
Another thing I found rather exciting was the reality with which the story is told. Alderman has a unique way of telling the story, using multiple viewpoints to show different sides as they reach their conclusion, each feeding a little more in. Although initially confusing, once you fall into the routine of who’s telling what part, it’s very easy to follow and feels very realistic. As I’ve said, I’ve next to no knowledge of mob intricacies (aside from the good old horse’s head in the bed trick and I have no inclination of expanding that knowledge either!) but this felt natural to read. It didn’t feel over played or toned down like it might be on TV, and there were no real cliches either, which helps it to be accessible to even newcomers to the mob thriller genre, whilst feeling familiar to those who have read this genre before.
In addition, the characters have a unique, and very engaging way of capturing your attention. they’re both very similar in a way, yet quite different in their roles. Lou appears to have stumbled across this life path, whereas Fence seems to have chosen it with his eyes wide shut, to use a popular phrase. The way Alderman writes these characters really allows you to get into their heads and learn a great deal about them, and this is most engaging. Lou is the hitman you want to like, and in other circumstances you probably would. Maxi is just plain deranged, but strangely you feel sorry for her, and the other rag tag collection of mobsters have an equally strange appeal, whether it’s their funny names or their mannerisms. Either way, Alderman has created a wonderful ensemble of characters who are all different, yet all tied together by the same thread of fate, they’re all (literally) dying to please the big guys in charge.
In conclusion, this is a book I did quite enjoy, despite it not being from my chosen genre. It’s told with a unique and succinct style of storytelling, has a realistic and believable feel to it and, like any good crime thriller, is rather gritty too. It’s engaging and difficult to put down once you’ve started and most definitely a book I’d recommend to fans of the genre, or to someone looking for an easy start in this genre.
To Catch A Bad Guy by Marie Astor is currently FREE on all major retailers! This offer won’t last forever, so take a look at the summary below and then, if you fancy it, the one-click links are just below it.
Janet Maple’s stellar career ended with a layoff and her boyfriend of almost five years told her that he wants to be just friends. When she lands a job at one of New York’s premier boutique investment firms, Janet begins to hope that her luck is finally turning for the better. Not only is she happy with her new paycheck, but things also seem to be looking up on the personal front, as the company’s handsome attorney expresses keen interest in Janet. However, her euphoria is short-lived, as Janet soon discovers alarming facts about her new employer’s business tactics. When her boss dismisses her suspicions as groundless, Janet finds herself confiding to a cute IT engineer, Dean Snider. The closer she gets to Dean, the more Janet is tempted to break her rule of not dating co-workers, but what she doesn’t realize is that everything she knows about Dean, including his occupation and even his name, is a lie.
Dennis Walker is a top-notch white collar crime investigator who will stop at nothing to put culprits away. When an opportunity for an undercover assignment at one of New York’s premier boutique broker dealers comes up, Dennis jumps at the chance, adopting a persona of geeky IT engineer, Dean Snider. While he may be an ace at his job, years of experience fail him when Dennis meets Janet Maple and finds himself torn between his professional obligations and his personal desires. Will he have to choose between his feelings and duty, or will he find a way to satisfy both?
Today on Lily Loves Indie we are having a mini author feature on the thriller writer Thomas Rydder. All the details you need to know are below, so without further ado, I’ll get started!
I was born in 1957 in a small town in Western Pennsylvania that had – and still has – one traffic light. There wasn’t a whole lot to do there, and we had few neighbors, so I learned to play quite a bit of make-believe – soldiers, cowboys and Indians, that kind of thing. At the same time, I loved to read and watch old movies. On Saturdays, my dad played in a country western band, and I stayed up to wait for him. It was during that stretch that I discovered the horror movie. You know the ones I mean. Karloff, Chaney, Lee. The masters, right?
Fast forward 40 years. I’m now the project manager for a small civil engineering firm in picturesque Charleston, South Carolina with my lovely wife and four rescue pets, two dogs, two cats. Oh – and eight feral cats outside that put up with us because we give them two squares a day.
Anyway, since childhood, I’ve loved to create. I played trumpet, sang, even dabbled in genealogy. Nothing quite did it for me. Over the years, I’d composed quite a few term papers and theses (there are a few ex-teenagers in this world who owe their English grades to yours truly), and unfailingly earned an “A”. My wife knew this, and one day just suggested that I try writing.
What the hey, I thought. So I sat down and found a writing site called Hubpages. Nice little site, and I started getting the basics of writing a little from some of the inhabitants. I wrote a short story, and everyone liked it. So, I wrote another one. Except it kept growing, and I kept getting more ideas, and it lengthened to 20 thousand words, then 30, then 40. By the time I sat back, I had the rough draft of my first novel, except back then it was called “Werewolves and Flapjacks”. Somewhere along the way I decided to submit my work (now called “The Clearing) to three publishers. I was turned down twice, and miraculously was accepted by the gentleman who gently rules this site, Mr. Tim Taylor. And the rest, as they say, is history. By the way, you need to like Tim…he’s a great guy, and I owe him much, which can never be repaid.
I now have a second book availabe – “Restless Souls: 3 dark fables” – an anthology (novella and two short stories) of ghost stories, and life is grand.
Even though I make wise cracks about all of it, this is all like living a dream – and I don’t plan on waking up for a very long time.
So now we know a little about our author, perhaps we should learn a little more about their writing…
A collection of short stories and novellas, consisting of:
1. “Do Unto Others” (short story) – Jeremy is a street hood, lawless and unchained. When he is wronged by a local businessman, it becomes his mission to seek revenge. But his new enemy has friends – ones that don’t take kindly to intruders.
2. “Colors” (short story) – Harrison Street. attorney, biker wannabe, coward. When he finds the bike of his dreams, it seems too good to be true. It is.
3. “Simona Says” (novella) – Simona has had it rough. Death, disenchantment, and disappointment are all part of her life. She wants to be happy for a change, and she’s willing to do just about anything to find some. Anything.
A small town in western Pennsylvania – quaint, simple, peaceful. That is, until The Elder takes up residence. He has an agenda – one that is 1,000 years old, and cannot be denied. One that will change the lives of many – and end the lives of any who interfere.
Welcome to the fifth and final day of fabulous R.E Hargrave feature week! If you missed our interview with the author on Monday, you can find it here and if you missed our 5 star reviews of ‘Haunted Raine‘ or ‘Sugar and Spice‘ or ‘To Serve is Divine‘ you can find them by clicking on the titles! And so, it is time to deliver our final review for the author, of the second book in The Divine Trilogy, ‘A Divine Life’, although I cannot wait to get her back for her new books! Just one warning folks, this book does contain material not suitable for under 18’s, and my review may also contain such material, so if you are under 18, please avert your eyes now!
First, let’s start with a summary of this fantabulous book:
Over the past year of being Jayden Masterson’s collared submissive, Catherine O’Chancey has worked through the mental terrors left behind by her old Dom — she thinks. To celebrate their collar-ing anniversary, Jayden organizes a special day, during which her final limits and fantasies will be realized. Will it prove to be more than she canhandle? Can she endure the erotic onslaught her mind and body will experience and survive unscathed?
While Catherine faces dark shadows and pleasurable highs, Jayden finds his own inner strength being tested. He has come to realize that, somewhere along the way, Catherine has taken possession of his heart, mind, and body. Now he faces his biggest challenge ever; he must let go of all his submissives but one: his jewel, Catherine. Can he leave his philandering ways behind? Has he made the ultimate mistake by putting his jewel into the hands of others?
It’s just wonderful isn’t it? Gosh, I’m gushing about this book already and I haven’t even started the review properly yet! Before I let you know how I feel about it though (and it’s amazing, if you hadn’t already guessed) here is a little excerpt to get you all excited!
“So, how does that work? I mean, how does one draw the line between Master and husband?” Was such a complicated relationship possible? Could Jayden see her that way? Just thinking his name caused a funny feeling in Catherine’s chest. Her thoughts continued, now on overdrive . . .
No. Master didn’t do personal relationships. He’d said as much when they’d first signed their con-tract together. They’d both agreed to the understanding that this was nothing more than a sexual relationship. Hell, he was fucking two other people besides her that she knew of. If there were a chance that he wanted something more with her, he wouldn’t have handed her over to complete strangers today. Would he? Oh, God. Sir Jonathan’s offer to take Catherine on repeated itself in her memory, along with the knowledge that she had more sessions today with an unknown number of Doms. Was that what today was? Had the ‘inspection’ Sir Jonathan performed not been part of the scene? Was Sir Jonathan looking her over as a potential acquisition? What about Miss K offering to take her on back in February? Catherine’s stomach soured again.
“No. No, please, no. I — I can’t,” Catherine mumbled and began to shake.
Her world began crumbling around her, and panic took root. Catherine gasped for air, wrapping her arms around her mid-section.
“Erin! What’s wrong?”
Paige’s shriek snapped Catherine to attention, and she raised her watery eyes to meet her new friend’s.
“Paige,” Catherine started to cry. “He figured it out. I tried to be so good, so careful. He knows, and he’s going to get rid of me!” She thought she’d done so well at hiding her secret over the months, protecting her heart.
Paige had wrapped her arm around Catherine and was rubbing slow circles on her back. With a wince, Catherine became quite aware of every lash mark from Sir Jonathan’s whip. They now burned to her core when Paige’s soft hands brushed over them. Catherine flinched away from her.
“Shh, Erin,” she said in a calming voice. “Who knows what, sweetie? What are you talking about?”
Turning wide eyes on her, Catherine choked out, “Jay . . . Master. He knows I’ve fallen in — in love with him. I wasn’t supposed to. He found out, and now he’s interviewing me with strange Doms to get rid of me. I broke the rules and he —” she swallowed a sob, “he doesn’t want me anymore!”
Rating – 5 Stars
Honestly, I don’t know where to start with this review. I was truly speechless when I finished reading. The book follows the development of Jayden and Erin’s relationship as he lavishes her with surprises and treats to celebrate their first year together as Dom and sub, but for both of them, it’s evolved into much more than that. I’m aiming to keep this short, because I really don’t want to repeat myself after yesterday’s review and I’m really running out of superlatives!
The first thing I really want to mention about this book is how beautifully it follows on from ‘To Serve is Divine’. Honestly, I can’t remember where the first book finishes and this one starts. To me, as someone who reads a lot of series, this is something I always find to be a sticking point in most series, but like I said, Hargrave follows on directly, you could read it without a gap as if it were simply the next chapter. The greats who do this are people like Tolkien, where essentially, the series is just one very long book, and I get the same feeling with this series. The fact that it carries such momentum from one book into the next is another huge bonus as you are already completely immersed in their love when you open the book. The way it is written is so familiar that you can dip straight into it, without needing to reacquaint yourself with the goings on as well, which is, yet another, huge advantage and strength of these books.
Something else that really needs mentioning is the pace in this book. Although the events cover a relatively short length of time (a period of just a few days), each part is told in great detail. There is so much content and such a wonderful grasp of pace that you don’t notice the pages flying by, in fact, it feels like there’s much more going on and that it covers much more time. Before long I was despairing that there were only a few left and then left reeling at where they had all gone to! Although this may sound like the pace is really fast, it isn’t, in fact, there are moments that are so delicate that they are just divine to read. Hargrave truly is a master of pitching the speed of her writing so that it guides the reader through at just the right speed.
In addition to a great pace and a wonderful transition, there’s also a fantastically strong plot throughout this book. The whole idea from before is intensified and developed beautifully into a romance that is a delight to read. As with ‘To Serve is Divine’, the storyline and plot development takes centre stage, whisking the reader through a huge range of emotions and situations that are so truly engaging it is, once more, incredibly difficult to put this book down at all. Without spoiling anything, the story weaved to it’s conclusion is simply divine, and the final few chapters are just wonderfully written and have great style. Although with a little hindsight I knew certain things might have been coming, Hargrave carefully holds a little veil of mystery to make sure you can never fully guess what is going to happen. This is perhaps one of the most sublime features of this book, and it is my favourite piece of her writing (so far).
I know I mentioned this in my last review, but I really do love the characterisation of Catherine and Jayden. I cannot stress enough how well written they both are, how believable their relationship is, and how well they fit into their respective roles. The best thing though, is how well they interact with the other characters – they’re simply so completely natural that they fly off the page and you could imagine them acting out their dialogue in front of you. They’re tangible, almost touchable, and this really makes me wonder if this book series wouldn’t make a wonderful movie one day, or even a TV series. It just fits so well, and it plays like a film in your head as you’re reading.
So, I guess I must conclude, and boy has this week been a whirlwhind which ended with a bang. I honestly cannot recommend this book (and author) highly enough. It is an intricate tale of love, passion and sexual discovery (and recovery on Catherine’s behalf) that is simply exquisite and a true pleasure to read. The synthesis of characters, plot, pace, and all the other technical features are blended wonderfully and I have nothing more I could possibly say to praise this book in the way it truly deserves. Honestly, I’ll be on Tenterhooks until ‘Surreal’ is released, so R E Hargrave, my wonderful new found friend, PLEASE get writing!
So what are you waiting for? And what are you still doing here? Go one-click this and get yourself the next installment of this wonderful series! ‘A Divine Life’ is available on Amazon UK and Amazon US now. The final installment is due out next year, so you’ll have to twiddle your thumbs and wait patiently, but I’m sure Jayden will reward your patience!
Well that’s it from me for our author feature week and I’d love to take this opportunity to say a huge thankyou to R E Hargrave for opening my eyes to a wonderful new genre and for providing me with hours of enjoyment! I can assure you, she will always be welcomed back to our blog with open arms and I honestly cannot wait to read more of her writing. So, for the final time this week, here are her links, please go and show her some love…
Well, the title says it all really! This book is FREE at the moment on Amazon, and the other books in the series are available!
The links, summaries and covers are all below, if it’s your thing, or you’re a one-click addict like me, go enjoy yourself!
Piper Anderson has been given a fresh start in the picturesque town of Edenville, North Carolina. But her plans of settling into a normal life are derailed when she witnesses a prominent judge in her community committing a violent assault. Running from her own past and fueled by a passion to make the judge answer for his crimes, Piper is forced to decide if she’ll play by the rules or achieve justice in her own way.
Complicating things further, Piper finds herself fighting a powerful attraction to rookie cop, Bobby Wright. Although she’s increasingly enamored with Bobby, his staunch belief in the justice system is in stark contrast to her own. She may not share his opinions about the effectiveness of the law, but she certainly can’t deny how safe she feels when she’s in his arms or how every kiss leaves her desperate for more.
For Piper, the idea of finally living an ordinary life with a man to love is tempting. However, fate keeps placing the judge, quite literally, in her path. Will she decide the only way to win is to be as wicked as the judge, but with righteous intentions? And more importantly, will Bobby choose to let her go, or follow her as she crosses the line and takes justice into her own hands?
Cutting Ties, Book 2 of the Piper Anderson Series:
Against all odds, Piper Anderson has managed to pick up the pieces of her life. She’s holding tight to her budding romance with Officer Bobby Wright, anxious to have her moment with him. Now encircled by fiercely loyal friends, she finally feels like she’s standing at the edge of a normal life. That is until reports of a brutal attack at the local college campus turn her dream of happily ever after into a nightmare. The unmistakably familiar details of the attack are an instant reminder of the chains tying her to people and places she so badly wants to escape.
With her life and friends in danger, Piper must confront her past in order to fight for her future. To make matters worse, Piper and Bobby once again find their moral compasses pointing them in opposite directions. But what Piper doesn’t know is that Bobby has secrets of his own. How can their love survive when their pasts have shaped them so differently? Piper’s choices could bring her the freedom she yearns for, but will cutting ties with the past sever her relationship with Bobby?
To Piper Anderson, fate has always been that unavoidable circumstance that befalls a person. Some people are destined to be happy, and others, like Piper, have a rougher road. Each time she tries to step off her predetermined path in search of happiness, someone or something drags her back to it. Heartbroken after Bobby allows his own past to come between them, Piper is eager to leave Edenville behind.
With Jules as her companion, she heads back to New York, the place where it all began, in search of a piece of her history that isn’t tarnished. Although finding the truth isn’t nearly as difficult as Piper imagined it would be, she can’t shake the feeling that what she has discovered may be too good to be true. Can Piper find what she is looking for and finally change her own fate?