Archive | September 12, 2015

Black In White, A Quentin Black Paranormal Mystery, (Quentin Black Mystery Book 1), JC Andrijeski

Black In White,  A Quentin Black Paranormal Mystery, (Quentin Black Mystery Book 1), JC Andrijeski

Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews

Genre:  Romance, Fantasy & Paranormal, Mystery

If you read my reviews regularly you’ll know it’s no secret I adore JCA’s writing style, and the Allie’s War books are one of my all time favourite series. When an author starts a new series I wonder if I’ll like it as much, if it will pull me in. Well, this series ( or trilogy – I need to check that) is another winner for me, though a much lighter feeling read than the AW ones.

I feel that Quentin Black really is a mysterious man, and it’s easy to see why the police, particularly Miri’s friend Nick, are convinced he’s connected in some way. Miri though doesn’t feel he’s the killer, he doesn’t fit the profile she has drawn up in her psychologist role, though he does share some similarities. She can’t tell Nick the real reason she thinks he’s innocent though – that she has other talents that have helped her gain her reputation for reliability. It’s something most people wouldn’t understand, that she has a special insight into people’s minds, and when she meets Black, he talked to her mind to mind. That scared her as its never happened before, and he seems to be suggesting they share some characteristics, as well as telling her he’s not human and talking about other dimensions. Is he just a Psycho/weirdo or is there a nugget of truth in what he says? Miri needs to know more. Its the first time she’s met anyone who can do what she can, and Black seems far advanced. There’s a lot of mystery behind him though, he seems to head a team, have almost limitless wealth and to be able to get his way out of situations such as the one he’s currently in. Nicks determined to pin him for the murders, and yet Black confidently tells Miri he’ll soon be released. Then he is…Nick’s angry and suspicious and Miri – she has to know more.

She can’t let the chance to know more about her gift/talent go – its something she’s always had to hide, as no one would understand and yet Black talks about it as being normal. He can’t believe she knows so little. They’re both a puzzle to the other and want to know more. It  brings her into danger though, going along with him while trying to uncover secrets he’s holding. He’s one of those irritating people who answer a question with a question, and plays her usual psychologist tricks to get answers back on her. She finds an irresistible attraction to him too – despite being engaged, and with her marriage planned for five months time.

Its a fun read, I enjoyed the parallels to the AW series, the way Black talks about sex and shocks Miri, they way I could feel the sensuality between them. ( Though I got horribly hung up on trying to work out how this book could fit into that timeline – I couldn’t make it work :- ) so finally just forced myself to ignore that) For much of the book Miri’s boyfriend is away working so I couldn’t really asses their relationship, but it didn’t seem to have anywhere near the attraction as between Black and Miri.

Its a simpler book, but with the same tight writing as AW, the same sensuality brought in and wrapped up with a solid believable story. Its got a kind of natural break ending, but leaving a huge question I need answering. Its not a complete story but one that clearly continues into further books. Fortunately JCA is a prolific writer and doesn’t keep us waiting years for the next part. This has follow up books planned for November and December this year – hurrah, and I definitely  want to read them. I know already this is one for the back to back reading fest once all the books are out.

Stars: A solid five 🙂

ARC supplied by author

If you enjoyed my review I’d love it if you would please click “Like” and if you didn’t I’d love to know why, so I can make future reviews more helpful.

Allie’s War series free first book

The Courtesan, Alexandra Curry

The Courtesan,  Alexandra Curry

Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews

Genre:  Literature/Fiction Adult.

I’ve read some fabulous historical books about life for girls in Japan and China. Initially this reminded me a few of them and I really enjoyed the first half. Its a fictional account of the life of a real person, based loosely around events that did happen to her. Once Jinhua married though it lost some of the attraction for me, odd as I thought the travel part would be an area I’d enjoy, but the book just lost much of the magic it had, the have to keep reading even though events are grim and shocking.
The early part is tough, harsh, cruel and at times very emotional. I felt for poor Jinhua, traded off to a brothel at just seven years old, to endure years of harsh training, and the horrors of foot binding even though she’s past the age it’s usually done. Its something that always shocks me, how parents put their girls through such pain, supposedly loving them and yet allowing their bones to be broken so the foot could be “reshaped,” and the growth stunted to produce tiny three inch long feet,( four inches in western measurement) revered by Chinese men of the time and a sign of a Lady, someone who couldn’t do any manual work of course because of her feet. Horrifically cruel and yet if they didn’t do it then the girls would grow up shunned for ugly feet, not make good marriages and end up in a life of poverty. Weird how we humans are sometimes…it didn’t really die out until the early 1900’s.
Anyway, there’s poor Jinhua. gone from having a father who adored her, who is killed on a moments whim by order of a child emperor, and that changes her whole life. We see how she gets sold, trained as a “money tree”, how tough her life became and how her only friend was the maid Suyin. Suyin also had her feet bound when she was older, and in her case it went wrong and left her with permanent deformities and a limp, so she’s only fit for life as a maid, someone to be beaten when Lao Mama, the house owner, loses her temper and can’t hit one of the girls in case she marks them. The friendship that developed between Suyin and Jinhua was very real, when both the girls had no-one else. Again it reminded me of scenes in other books. They were living in an intense situation, and neither had anyone else, and I could feel just how close they were. This early part was my favourite, despite how horrific some of it was, how causal life was treated – it echoes reality of those times ( and probably now too in some places) I felt very close to Jinhua and her situation, but as she grew older and that changed the story just lost its magic for me.
Stars: three, that early part felt very real but somehow as it went on I felt detached from the story and became less and less interested in Jinhua’s predicaments.
ARC supplied by Netgalley and publishers.
If you enjoyed my review I’d love it if you would please click “Like” and if you didn’t I’d love to know why, in case I’ve inadvertently added a spoiler and need to edit.

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