The Firemaker (China Thrillers #1) by Peter May

Author’s Synopsis

Margaret Campbell, a Chicago forensic pathologist, has been invited by the Chinese government to teach at the Beijing police university. She has accepted the six-week assignment with misgivings but is desperate to escape a troubled life in America. Arriving in Beijing, she checks “nothing to declare” on the health declaration they gave her on the plane—nothing, that is, “except a broken heart and a wasted life, neither of which was contagious.”

She gets off to a bad start when her car knocks senior detective Li Yan off his bicycle. In a furious clash, he dresses her down in perfect English. But Li soon finds himself reintroduced to Margaret by his superiors when the newly promoted detective’s first case requires Margaret’s special expertise to identify a horribly burned corpse. Thrown together to track down the killer, Margaret and Li must bury their personal and cultural differences when they uncover a conspiracy that threatens not only their lives, but the lives of millions.

My Views

I’m a fan of May’s work and I prefer the audio versions read by Peter Forbes who gives May’s beautiful language a melodic voice. His books are usually set In Scotland and the Hebridean Isles but these stories centre on an American woman in China and I wasn’t sure if I liked it at first. I soon changed my mind.

The story unfolds and the detective element is balanced nicely with a hint of romance but not enough to put the book in the romance genre. Margaret is a strong female lead but she has very little power in China where, the moment she opens her mouth, every conceivable faux pas pops out resulting in loss of face for anyone nearby.

Li’s reluctance to get involved with Margaret is palpable but when they’re thrown together, he slowly begins to warm to her. Li’s innate innocence is endearing but his current case takes a turn for the personal.

May’s beautiful description and eye for the aesthetics in life still shines through even though the difference between his portrayal of China and that of Scotland are worlds apart and that is what makes his books so addictive.

http://www.gothic-mansion-books.com/

The Firemaker

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Sweet Tea and Sympathy (Southern Eclectic #1) by Molly Harper

When Margot’s city life comes crashing down around her in spectacular fashion, she doesn’t realise just how far-reaching the effects will be. As she becomes the laughingstock of the internet, she loses heart but a surprise call gives her another option. The family business funeral home isn’t exactly what she’d trained for but the hot teacher Kyle certainly keeps life interesting.

This romance has Harper’s unique blend of humour and a big dash of emotion making it a great read. Margot is a likeable character and when things go wrong for her, it reminds the reader that we all carry embarrassing stories that we’d rather not go viral. The situation between Margot and her father was a particularly sore spot for me personally but by the end of the book, I felt like I’d taken something important from the story.

http://www.gothic-mansion-books.com/

Sweet tea and sympathy

The Cabin: An Off the Grid Suspense Thriller by John Koloen

Jacob was seeking a less complicated life when he purchased the cabin in a secluded space by a lake on a logging road but that isn’t what he got. When the cabin across the lake shows activity he when the owners are away he doesn’t want to get involved but one tiny peek through the window is all it takes.

This action-packed book takes us through a nightmare situation and the reader is carried along while things stack up against the good guys. Jacob is far from incapable but when the bad guys have the big guns you’re in for a nervy read.

I enjoyed hearing from everyone’s point of view which is something that doesn’t happen often. It helps to ramp up the suspense when your favourite character is at risk.

http://www.gothic-mansion-books.com/

The Cabin

Safe With Me by K. L. Slater

Anna doesn’t have much in life but what she does have is carefully tended. Even the people on her delivery round get special attention until her boss notices how late she gets back to the depot. As one thing after another begin to slip, Anna’s life loses the order she loves, and she doesn’t know who to turn to. Liam becomes her fixation but is there more to him than meets the eye?

This novel is full of sinister undertones and there were too many possibilities to be able to guess where the danger really lay. Anna’s innocence is in complete contrast to her actions and the reader is left feeling uncomfortable. As a regular consumer of thrillers, I found this one to be quite different from others in the same genre and that’s a refreshing change.

http://www.gothic-mansion-books.com/

Safe With Me

Fight (Caged Trilogy #2) by H. G. Lynch

Having been caught and made prisoner once again, Tilly is helpless. The fact that Dominic is incarcerated with her makes everything worse. She doesn’t dare resist the witches request because Dominic will pay for it in pain and the witches know just how to cause pain.

The first book in the series brought up plenty of questions and many of them are answered in this story. Tilly’s whole life has been one long sentence of misery and servitude but that doesn’t stop her falling in love. Her strength and endurance shine through even when others around her turn their backs.

Frank’s orders cause major conflict and Tilly is still pulled between the two male wolves like an eternal triangle. This is not just a love story. Lynch is particularly adept at pulling readers into the action and creating an addictive story.

http://www.gothic-mansion-books.com/

Fight

The Blackburne Legacy (Bloodlines Legacy #1) by Apryl Baker

Alex has been locked up for years and when she’s finally released, she thinks it’s an opportunity to put the past behind her and get on with living her life. Within hours of settling into her new home with her brother trouble finds her and if it isn’t the bad boy Luka with his dangerous gypsy magic, then it is the fact that she’s concealing the madness that seems to be creeping back. The difference is that this time, Alex has friends who also have some pretty crazy secrets.

Alex is a complex character who doesn’t know or understand herself so her mysteries are unraveled slowly, much to the reader and the character’s surprise. Her past doesn’t just come back to bite her it barrels into her like a freight train and changes everyone’s lives which makes for a real action read.

I didn’t realise how much I enjoyed the story until I got to the end when the book hangover set in. Baker has a knack for hooking you in without you realising it so I can’t wait to read the next book.

http://www.gothic-mansion-books.com/

The Blackburne legacy

Paralyzed (Vagabond Circus #2) by Sarah Noffke

Finley and Zuma chase Jack across the country to prevent him from confronting knight. Their love hate relationship is tested on the journey but they arrive too late. Knight is always one step ahead of them and unless Finley opens up to Zuma, she won’t know the true horrors that knight is really capable of.

This is an action-packed read leading straight from the first book. The romance between the leading pair is full of conflict including mortal danger and a third party. The story is fast-paced and Noffke is dropping little foreshadows like treats from a candy bag. Not only is the story unique and exciting but it encompasses a lot of well-rounded characters each with their own intrigue. After reaching the cliff-hanger ending it looks like I’ll be purchasing the next book in the series.

http://www.gothic-mansion-books.com/

Paralyzed