HER NIGHTLY EMBRACE by Adi Tantimedh (Audiobook)

hernightlyembrace
Series: Ravi PI, #1
Publisher: Atria/Leopoldo & Co
Release Date: November 1, 2016
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★½


The first in a trilogy of whip-smart novels—currently in development as a TV series set to star Sendhil Ramamurthy (NBC’s Heroes and Heroes Reborn)—about a destructive private investigator and his eccentric coworkers, who handle cases so high-profile that they never make the headlines.

Ravi Chandra Singh is the last guy you’d expect to become a private detective. A failed religious scholar, he now works for Golden Sentinels, an upmarket London private investigations agency. His colleagues are a band of gleefully amoral and brilliant screw-ups: Ken and Clive, a pair of brutal ex-cops who are also a gay couple; Mark Chapman, a burned-out stoner hiding a great mind; Marcie Holder, a cheerful former publicist; Benjamin Lee, a techie prankster from South London; David Okri, an ambitious lawyer from a well-connected Nigerian immigrant family; and Olivia Wong, an upper-class Hong Kong financial analyst hiding her true skills as one of the most dangerous hackers in the world—all under the watchful eye of Roger Golden, wheeler-dealer extraordinaire, and his mysterious office manager, Cheryl Hughes.

Thrust into a world where the rich, famous, and powerful hire him to solve their problems and wash their dirty laundry, Ravi finds himself in over his head with increasingly gonzo and complex cases – and the recent visions that he’s been having of Hindu gods aren’t helping. As Ravi struggles to stay ahead of danger, he wonders if the things he’s seeing are a delusion – or if he might, in fact, be an unrecognized shaman of the modern world…


I heard a lot of buzz about this book, so I decided to give it a listen on audio. HER NIGHTLY EMBRACE is the first in a series that follows the investigations of Ravi Chandra Singh, P.I.

I enjoyed Ravi’s character. He’s smart, witty, flawed, and conflicted. He can see visions of Hindu Gods, or are they really there? They even tweet about him to each other. Ravi was once a religious scholar, but left his studies to become a teacher, a career that didn’t last long. Eventually he landed a job with an exclusive detective agency called Golden Sentinels.

This book is set up differently than I expected. Instead of having one central plot, the book is a collection of stories covering a different case Golden Sentinels is investigating. I think it worked pretty well. I do wish the secondary characters had been fleshed out a little more, which was probably harder to do jumping from story to story.

One note of caution: there is a lot of bad language in this book. A lot! After a while it became jarring and distracting. Swearing is fine when it’s called for, but this was a bit over the top for me.


Audiobook • 7 hrs, 30 mins • Sendhil Ramamurthy, Narrator

As the blurb says, this book is “currently in development as a TV series set to star Sendhil Ramamurthy,” so it makes sense that he would narrate the audiobook! Loved his performance as Ravi, and also did brilliantly with the other characters’ accents and mannerisms. I will definitely keep an eye out for HER NIGHTLY EMBRACE to come to the small screen.


Disclosure: I received a copy of this audiobook from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

PROSE AND CONS by Amanda Flower

prosecons
Series: Magical Bookshop, #2
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: December 6, 2016
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★★★


Magic, books, and cats collide in a village near Niagara Falls in the latest mystery from the author of Crime and Poetry…

In Cascade Springs, New York, Violet Waverly and her grandma, Daisy, are the proprietors of Charming Books, where the power of the written word is positively enchanting.

October in Cascade Springs means tourists are pouring in for the annual Food and Wine Festival, and Daisy hopes to draw those crowds to the store. She asks Violet and the local writing group, the Red Inkers, to give a reading of the works of Edgar Allan Poe on the shop’s front porch to entertain the revelers. Everyone eagerly agrees.

Yet their enthusiasm is soon extinguished when Violet discovers one of the writers dead in the shop moments before the event. After the shop magically tells Violet she’ll need to rely on Poe’s works to solve the murder, she enlists the help of her trusty tuxedo cat, Emerson, and the shop’s crow, Faulkner. But they must act fast before someone else’s heart beats nevermore…


Loved this book, LOVE this series! PROSE AND CONS continues the story of Violet Waverly as the caretaker of a magical bookstore in Upstate New York. Charming Books is an amazing shop where the books choose you, the customer. The story also uses the books from its shelves to help Violet solve mysteries, or at least nudge her in the right direction. In this case, it was all about Edgar Allan Poe, whom I adore. ♥

The mystery is intriguing and twisty, and the setting – a chilly Autumn festival – was perfect. Plus, a little paranormal and Poe! I enjoyed the Gothic atmosphere the elements created. I highly recommend this series, and look forward to more.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

CrimeAndPoetry

Click cover to see my review of book one in the series!

THE SHIMMERING ROAD by Hester Young

shimmeringroad
Series: Charlie Cates, #2
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Release Date: February 14, 2017
Source: Penguin’s First to Read Program
Rating: ★★★★


A pulse-pounding mystery from the author of The Gates of Evangeline featuring Charlotte “Charlie” Cates, an unforgettable heroine whose dark visions bring to light secrets that will heal or destroy those around her…

When soon-to-be mother Charlotte “Charlie” Cates begins to have recurring dreams about harm coming to her unborn daughter, she knows these are not the nightmares of an anxious mom-to-be. They are the result of her mysterious gift. But before she can decipher what these dreams might mean, Charlie learns that the mother who abandoned her when she was a toddler is the victim of a double murder in Arizona. The other victim — Jasmine, a half-sister Charlie never knew she had — has left behind a child, a little girl who speaks to Charlie in her dreams and was present on the night of the murders. Convinced that she must help her orphaned niece, Charlie travels to Tucson, Arizona, where she must confront her painful ties to her mother and delve into her sister’s shadowy past.

To untangle the web of secrets that will reveal the truth of her nightmares, Charlie can no longer avoid her family’s checkered history. Who is in the racy photos that turned up in Jasmine’s apartment? Where is her niece’s father, whom Jasmine was rumored to have been seeing again on the sly? Was her mother’s charity work in Mexico really as selfless as it seemed? And most important of all, what did her niece really witness on the night of the murders?

The search for answers leads Charlie across the Mexican border, from the resort town of Rocky Point to the border town of Nogales, and elucidates the meaning of her dreams in most unexpected ways. Ultimately, to protect her niece and her unborn child, Charlie must battle not just evil but the forces of nature, in one final terrifying encounter in the Tucson desert.

A thrilling mystery that combines literary suspense and romance with a mystical twist that is unputdownable. If you love Kate Atkinson and Alice Sebold, you should not miss Hester Young.


Is there such a thing as a Southwestern Gothic? If so, this is it. THE SHIMMERING ROAD is an intriguing sequel to Hester Young’s first book, THE GATES OF EVANGELINE. (Read GATES first, so you’ll know the backstory.) Charlie’s paranormal gift brings her and fiancé Noah to Tucson, Arizona, and straight into a complex murder mystery that hits close to the heart. The story grabbed my attention pretty quickly, and of course, Charlie’s dark visions gave me the creeps. I was surprised by Charlie’s initial reaction to her orphaned niece, though by the end I could understand where she was coming from.

I enjoyed the desert setting of this book, both in southern Arizona and just across the border in Mexico. The author did a great job incorporating life in a Mexican-American border town into the mystery. Lots of interesting twists in the plot, and I was never sure what characters could be trusted. Definitely a page-turner!

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book through Penguin’s First to Read Program in exchange for an honest review.