This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp.

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About the Book.

This explosive, emotional, page-turning debut about a high school held hostage is told from the perspective of four teens each with their own reason to fear the boy with the gun.

My Review.

I have read a few books that are categorised as YA this year. This novel about teenagers is one that is more geared towards adult fiction than the rest.
There has been a shooting at a high school, both teachers and students have been held hostage at gunpoint in the assembly hall. Four different students are describing the events as they happen. Two of them are inside and two of them outside, all of them have a connection to the killer and they reveal how as the story unfolds.
All four accounts are frightening, but for me the most chilling accounts were told from the two who were outside and trying to get help without putting more people in danger. Some scenes were upsetting to read, especially the ones concerning the boy with the gun. I would have liked to read what he was thinking and the thoughts of the police sent to the scene, but it stays with the four students. I found it quite convincing and realistic but it was disturbing book. I was relieved that it wasn’t a long novel.
With thanks to the publisher for the copy via Netgalley.

Lone Wolf by Sara Driscoll

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About the Book

In the first book in a thrilling new series, FBI Special Agent Meg Jennings and Hawk, her loyal search-and-rescue Labrador, must race against time as they zero in on one of the deadliest killers in the country . . .
Meg and Hawk are part of the FBI s elite K-9 unit. Hawk can sniff out bodies anywhere living or dead whether it’s tracking a criminal or finding a missing person. When a bomb rips apart a government building on the National Mall in Washington D.C., it takes all of the team’ s extensive search-and-rescue training to locate and save the workers and visitors buried beneath the rubble.
But even as the duo are hailed as heroes, a mad bomber remains at large, striking terror across the Eastern seaboard in a ruthless pursuit of retribution. As more bombs are detonated and the body count escalates, Meg and Hawk are brought in to a task force dedicated to stopping the unseen killer. But when the attacks spiral wide and any number of locations could be the next target, it will come down to a battle of wits and survival skills between Meg, Hawk, and the bomber they’re tracking to rescue a nation from the brink of chaos.

My Review

I read a lot of crime fiction, either told by a police officer’s view or that of the criminal but I have never read one where the main characters are a dog handler with the FBI and her partner the dog. I didn’t really know what to expect but I certainly never expected to enjoy it as much as I did.
The action starts immediately when they must attend the scene of a bombing and see if they can find any survivors. It was very tense reading whilst they tried to help children who had been trapped during their visit. But more buildings are targeted and both Meg and Hawk are in high demand, trying to save people and Meg is also trying to stop further attacks from the unknown bomber.
The investigation into who the perpetrator was and how to stop him was the main storyline but the relationship between a dog handler and rescue dog was something I had never really thought about. You see it on the news when something goes wrong but I had never realised how close the bond was and when you read about Meg’s previous partner this was very convincing and upsetting.
I think this could be a fantastic new series, I liked Meg, her team, family and people who she meets during this novel who could become more than friends.
Sara Driscoll is an author I have never read before and I would like to thank the publisher for the copy received.

The Price of Inheritance by Karin Tanabe.

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About the Book

After eight years in the American Furniture department at Christie’s, twenty-nine-year-old Carolyn Everett is a rising star. But one wrong decision and a scandal leaves her unemployed and broken. Desperate to piece her life back together, Carolyn leaves New York City to work in a tiny antique store in Newport, Rhode Island.

One day at a small county auction, she discovers a piece of Middle Eastern pottery, which she purchases for twenty dollars on a hunch. Curiosity sends her on a mission to find its original owner, and she eventually winds up in the town’s United States Navy Base—and in a relationship with notorious womanizer Marine Sergeant Tyler Ford, who claims the relic came to him as a gift from his translator during the early days of the Iraq War. From two different worlds, Tyler and Carolyn become obsessed with the mysterious relic—and each other—until the origin of the art comes under intense scrutiny and reveals a darker side of Tyler’s past. Carolyn still feels like there’s more to the story, but can she risk attaching herself to another scandal—and does she truly know the man she’s fallen in love with.

My Review

The Price of Inheritance is not a novel that I would usually read but I was on a break from crime fiction and this was the novel that looked most appealing.
After losing her job and returning home in an attempt to rebuild her life Carolyn gets a job working for her old employer. It’s completely different to her job with Christie’s but she enjoys it, especially going to an auction and finding a gem. When she sees a bowl that is unusual she buys it. It isn’t her area of expertise but her interest is piqued and she is determined to find out its history and value. She tracks down the man who sold it but is uncertain if he can be trusted.
I enjoyed reading this book. This is the first book that I have read that takes place in auction houses and art history is something I know nothing about. I found myself resorting to the internet looking up the artists and museums mentioned.
I did feel that the characters were slightly stereotyped. All the military were brainless womanisers and a few of the wealthy were condescending but I liked Carolyn and William very much. I loved the sections that took place in the auctions, they felt very convincing. I could sense the tension that the people connected to a sale must experience.
An author that I would be interested in reading again, thanks to the publisher for the copy received via NetGalley.

Caraval by Stephanie Garber.

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About the Book

Scarlett has never left the tiny isle of Trisda, pining from afar for the wonder of Caraval, a once-a-year week-long performance where the audience participates in the show.
Caraval is Magic. Mystery. Adventure. And for Scarlett and her beloved sister Tella it represents freedom and an escape from their ruthless, abusive father.
When the sisters’ long-awaited invitations to Caraval finally arrive, it seems their dreams have come true. But no sooner have they arrived than Tella vanishes, kidnapped by the show’s mastermind organiser, Legend.
Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But nonetheless she quickly becomes enmeshed in a dangerous game of love, magic and heartbreak. And real or not, she must find Tella before the game is over, and her sister disappears forever.

My Review

Caraval has to be one of the strangest books that I have read and once I got into it I loved it.
Scarlett and Tella are desperate to get away from their abusive father’s clutches. As far as Scarlett is concerned the way to do it is to go along with the marriage that has been arranged for her, even though she has never met her husband to be. Her plan is to take Tella with her, but before she marries they decide to accept an invitation to take part in the game that has been devised by Legend.
When they arrive on the island Tella disappears and Scarlett has to find her before the game is over and get back in time for her wedding. She is helped by a number of people including Julian, Dante and Jovan. But who can be trusted?
Everything about this book is bizarre. Colour is exaggerated, vibrant and seems to be brighter if emotions are high. There is magic, buildings move, tunnels and bridges appear and disappear. Some people show how little they can be trusted in their desire to win the game. When Scarlett makes mistakes, and she makes a few the danger levels increase for everybody.
There are always characters I am not keen on, obviously the father is one in this novel. But with the others, my opinion changed constantly. As it stated in the synopsis everybody was playing a game and everything was a performance. What I thought was real might not have been, and who might have been be a good person could have been part of a cruel trick.
I hadn’t realised that this was a debut novel, or that it was part of a series. I hope that I don’t have to wait too long for the sequel.
With thanks to the publisher for the copy via NetGalley.

A Constant Soldier by William Ryan.

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About the Book

The pain woke him up. He was grateful for it. The train had stopped and somewhere, up above them, the drone of aircraft engines filled the night sky. He could almost remember her smile . . . It must be the morphine . . . He had managed not to think about her for months now.

1944. Paul Brandt, a soldier in the German army, returns wounded and ashamed from the bloody chaos of the Eastern front to find his village home much changed and existing in the dark shadow of an SS rest hut – a luxurious retreat for those who manage the concentration camps, run with the help of a small group of female prisoners who – against all odds – have so far survived the war.

When, by chance, Brandt glimpses one of these prisoners, he realizes that he must find a way to access the hut. For inside is the woman to whom his fate has been tied since their arrest five years before, and now he must do all he can to protect her.

But as the Russian offensive moves ever closer, the days of this rest hut and its SS inhabitants are numbered. And while hope – for Brandt and the female prisoners – grows tantalizingly close, the danger too is now greater than ever.

And, in a forest to the east, a young female Soviet tank driver awaits her orders to advance . . .

My Review

War Fiction is only something I read occasionally, the books that I have read previously have all been told by a British or American slant so reading a novel told by a German officer’s view was completely different.
When Paul Brandt arrives back home from the Eastern Front with horrific injuries he is understandably disillusioned. He had never agreed with the War or Hitler’s plan and only joined up when he was given two options. Serve or go to prison for political offences. Soon after his return he sees a face from the past and when learning what is happening nearby he is determined to try and help.
When reading this novel, I felt almost like a spectator. It was obvious that Germany was devastated by the war they had no chance of winning but so many people were still in denial. I could see so many different personalities. Brandt and Neumann full of remorse and self-hatred, Jäger, bitter, rational and not afraid to upset those around him. And then there were the bullies, Peichl was one and there were others waiting in the background for their chance to shine.
There were other things that struck a chord. Doctors who visited the rest hut were feared and it took a while to realise who they might be. Definitely not the type of person you would expect a doctor to be. Gold fillings and teeth found in the possession of an officer was a chilling reminder of what was going on nearby.
Whilst distressing at times I wasn’t as devastated as I expected to be. Strangely perhaps, to others it was the description of the weather that I found most upsetting. How it must have been for a member of my family walking home across Europe after years spent as a P.O.W.
A lot of the novel was about desperation and fear but there was also a calm acceptance where I would have expected panic. There were also odd snippets of humour, mainly from Brandt and Jäger that was much appreciated.
I would have liked to know more about what happened to the characters who survived but accept that it was very realistic. Many people would have lost touch almost immediately.

With thanks to the publisher for the copy received