bloghop · Book · review

She Be Damned : Review & Thirsty Thursday and Hungry Hearts Hop

She Be Damned
Author: M.J. Tjia
Series: A Heloise Chancey Mystery #1
Genre: mystery, thriller
Source: Netgalley
Buy from : Amazon

Thirsty Thursday and Hungry Hearts Quote For She Be Damned

This meme is hosted by (un)Conventional Bookviews every Thursday. Today, I had just finish a book that has a quote for food, so here is the quote to start. This is part of a memory of one of the characters, although it does not affect the story, it does impart important information about the heroine, Heloise Chancey.

… I sat at the kitchen table and helped myself to a bowl of sweetened black rice, adding coconut milk for its saltiness. I had eaten most of it when my mother’s maid ran into the kitchen, fell to the floor, and wrapped her arms around my legs.

“She is dead. She is dead,” she wailed.

The Review

If the meme has peaked your interest, I hope to entice you more with a positive review. First of all, this is the cover that Netgalley had, but I do prefer the one Amazon has.netgalley

The Story

The setting: 1863’s London, where Heloise Chancey is enjoying life after suffering in poverty for a long time. Her good looks may have given her a chance, but it was her observation and acting skills that got her into a fairly comfortable life in Mayfair.

But, girls were turning up dead around Waterloo, with their feminine parts missing. Despite that, the police were not doing anything, as the victims were prostitutes and not worth the attention. Heloise was recruited by a private investigator to investigate the disappearance of a young girl, cast out by family yet love still remains.

The characters are very interesting. Written in first person point of view, She Be Damned actually has two stories running concurrently. One is Heloise’s investigation, while the other is more like a memory of someone, presumable her Amah. Then things got interesting, as Heloise digs deeper, the suspect list gets longer. Heloise also met a Sergeant, who was investigating the case.

The Verdict

This is not just a fascinating mystery, it is a foundation for Heloise to set her fame in the story. Her dalliance with the Sergeant, and her success in cracking the case may be the break she needed to be recruited in future mysteries. Heloise shows the world that she can be a good detective, with her acting skills and her connections with the shadier world.

She Be Damned is a murder mystery that grips and makes you question whodunit until the end. Can you… Click To Tweet

She Be Damned is definitely a strong start to hopefully an exciting life of an amateur sleuth. The way Heloise solved her case might not be the most original, but she does have a good background story. I hope to see her grow as a detective, and watch her relationship with other characters.

Book · review

A Penny For Her Heart : Rachel Storme 3 Review

A Penny For Her Heart
Author: Alretha Thomas
Genre: murder mystery
Series: Rachel Storme 3

A Penny For Her Heart : Review

Rachel Storme is back in book 3, with a more complicated story and more exciting stage. When Vanessa Rossi found her best friend, Penelope “Penny” Newhouse dead at their work place. Worse of all, it is near the election time, and their boss the Mayor wanted to get everything solved before polls plummet.

Like the previous books, Rachel is a meticulous detective that inspects all leads. In Penny For Her Heart, there was one crucial clue that stopped Rachel from wrapping up the case when her boss said so. With the backing for her partner Herb, she digs deeper to find the real killer.

The author, Alretha throws in a lot of convincing red herrings. The skeletons that turned up from the investigation could have convinced a lot of people who were murderer was. If it were not for Rachel’s attention to detail, the real killer might have walked away free. Of course, in politics, things get murky. The setting was perfect, the mystery is a puzzle waiting to be solved.

Aside from the murder, Rachel has to deal with her family issues. Vanessa, the girl who found the body had to get on with life. But as clues keep popping up, Vanessa had to wonder if she is safe at all. With the killer at large, without a real motive, anyone could be next. That alone was enough to keep me reading until the end, because not only there were a lot of suspects, everyone seemed to have an alibi.


A Penny For Her Heart has what a murder mystery needs : no suspects! keep digging, Rachel... Click To Tweet

I like Rachel Storme series because the whole story just twists into something else by the end. Ever lousy at reading clues, this proves to me that I am a lousy detective, I got everything wrong.

Too bad there’s not butler in this one.


Book · review

Hush Little Baby : Book Review

Image from Netgalley

Hush Little Baby
Author: Joanna Barnard
Penguin Random House UK, Ebury Publishing
Genre:  Mystery & Thrillers
Publication Date: Aug 2017

Hush Little Baby can be a scary reality to some

The book is written from a triplicate point of view. There is Sally, the mum, Richard the dad and Martha his daughter. These three people were part of baby Oliver’s family at home, and when his hand was fractured, no one admits to it. Someone is lying of course, but who?

As in Western countries, well… developed countries with a good/ decent childcare system, family services get involved. A lot of times, parent’s get scared. Because not only they feel that they have done something wrong, they fear that their child will be taken away from them.

It is never easy raising a baby, harder when a stranger rips your darling out of your hands. While there is no question in the reader’s mind that baby Oliver has parents who love him, and a stepsister who is slightly indifferent to him; family services does not know that. Thus began a conflict between family and the ‘outsiders’.

Things get more complicated when skeletons in the closet shows up during investigations. The author tactfully reminds all parents that raising a child does not end when they reach double digits. Very often, when I am dealing with a terrible two, I get the statement: “wait till they are teens.”

(ノ ̄皿 ̄)ノ ⌒=== ┫ —– this is a table flipping emoji. This is me in my mind, except maybe the table is the jerk who says stupid things like that.

This is like my in- laws, they would tell me what I should be doing, and then turn around and ignored their own advice. Honestly, I have to tolerate their rudeness and dismissive behavior, because my mom will have my hide if I lash out. It is very un-Asian to be rude or scold your elders, no matter how much those jerks deserve it.


You might have to guess who did break baby Oliver’s arm until the end, or have your suspicions confirmed.  Hush Little Baby has a low amount of intrigue, focusing on family and relationship issues instead. Not sure why this is Women’s fiction, when it is a family matter. Hush Little Baby will break your heart, and make you wonder who has done it. But it is not the only… Click To Tweet

The ending was a positive one, the author creates a balance that is acceptable. Hush Little Baby can be too close to reality than some of us might care to admit. This is a good read, but a little confronting at times, especially if you have children.

Hush Little Baby has terrible in- laws too

Dear readers:

If your future mother- in- law tells you that you are family and she loves you as much as she loves her kids, do not be so naive. Yes, she may be very loving and nice to you, and you will have pretty good relationship if you are lucky. But in the end, if the fire burns in a building, you might not be high on her priority list. This is reality.

But if she hates your guts, it’s ok. Don’t try to change her mind, keep boundaries and hate her guts from the outside. No matter how much you crave her friendship and love, she will never ever think that you are good enough for her child. Swallow your words, and be nice, especially if you love your partner. Trust me, if you squeeze your partner, the mother usually wins.

But nothing is worse than a person who tells you lies, with a knife behind her back. That knife will definitely cut your relationship with your partner if you are not careful. This is my first hand experience, where I realized after a fight with my husband, what she had done to us. After the incident, I tried not to pick up her phone calls, because I could then make her tell me things in front of my husband, and then ask for his opinion. Kind of like a witness thing, caught her out a few times too, but at least we no longer argue about he said she said. She had the gall to complain to my own mother that I am not a family orientated person, and too dependent; my mom casually replied that she raised me that way.. haha…

If I can record all my conversations with her, I truly would.

(whinge/ relationship advice over)



Book · review

The Four Legendary Kingdoms Review

The Four Legendary Kingdoms
Author: Matthew Reilly
Genre: thriller, action
Series: Jack West Jr
ISBN: 978-1409167129

To the cover illustrator, why did you do such a bad job?? May be read the book before drawing hmm? That is so not Jack West Jr. First of all, pretty sure you drew both hands the same, they are not.

The Four Legendary Kingdoms nice covers

Australian cover + a heart breaker

I was recommended this author when I first arrived in Australia, that is eleven years ago now. The only book that I did not read is the Hover Car Racer, because I am not a fan of cars and it did not feature any of his heroes then. Jack West is a later hero that Matthew Reilly introduced, before then I was reading Shane Schofield.

It is not really a spoiler, because fans had been asking the author to put the two heroes together. I always envisioned a co-op scene, but never one like this. My heart just broke when I actually realized what was happening. Sure there were hints, I just refused to believe them.

The Four Legendary Kingdoms is almost like a rewrite, Reilly used the Twelve Labors of Hercules to draw up this magnificent, fast paced book that could stop hearts. As an author, he could create any world he wanted, and he created Hell, nice. We have a new Hercules, except he doesn’t have a club, only a titanium hand.

Through it all, this is actually a first book of a different series. Be warned, once you read this you will be pining for the next book. Because it not only uses classical stories, he also introduced end of the world. Basically the theme is: “if you do not do heroic deeds, the world will end.”

That guy didn’t even stand a chance, if I had pompoms I would be cheering him on. As usual, his team of family members are ready to help him save the world from burning into cinders. Hope his new friend will be in the next one too.


This is too hard to recommend, mainly because you have to start with Seven Deadly Wonders, and we are at Four Legendary Kingdoms now. See where we are at? Although he put it as a three part series, it would make more sense to start from there instead of this book.

If you start from Seven,  you will know who is who, and why things happen the way they do. I promise you that this series will be addictive to people who like fast paced action with a lot of things blowing up. Seriously, every chapter something blows up. My only gripe with the author is his overuse of exclamation marks.

The Four Legendary Kingdoms is fast paced, action packed book with a lot of things blowing up in the… Click To Tweet

If you are not sure about this writer and would like to read something of his without much commitment, try Great Zoo of China.

Book · review

The Feral Sentence Series Review

book 1 of the series

The Feral Sentence
Author: G. C. Julien
Edited by: Nikki Busch
Publisher: Self- published
Series: Feral Sentence novella series
Genre: action, dystopian, adult

The Feral Sentence Quote:
“If you can’t contribute to this society, then your presence here is useless.”

When Lydia Brone landed near Kormace Island, her new life begins. The narration is first person, to make you experience Lydia’s fear of the unknown. Through the author’s skill, the story remains so, to keep the readers unaware of next step. You would only learn about her history, as well as how Kormace Island came to be, when she reminisces.

Apparently, in the future, the government no longer wants to support prison inmates. Through legislation, Kormace Island is born. No one knows exactly what that means, even Lydia. We (Lydia and I) assumed that the Island is just another facility, but no…

There is nothing on that island except felons and murderers. The almost good news is that it is only female convicts, I am not sure where the male prisoners go. Lydia never mentioned that fact, because right from the first chapter, she has had to fight for her life.

I was fortunate enough to have The Feral Sentence Parts 1-4 of book 1. because this book works as a serial novella. Kind of like watching Walking Dead, only this one comes in around seventy pages of intense information dump. First of all, Lydia learns her new reality. Then she learns new skill, and how everyone has a role in the new society she landed in.

Very quickly, she learns that everyone had a shady past, and there is always a struggle to stay alive. Not only they have an enemy camp, the Island is deadly too. Mother Nature provides, she could also takes away. If you are a lover of gruesome scenes (not zombies, mind you) and thrilling events, The Feral Sentence is for you.


I could almost forgive the cliffhangers at the end of every part, this is designed to make you come back for more after all. Although this is a dystopian fiction, the world itself it not ruined or anything, but Lydia’s world has been made so. Throughout it all, I love how The Feral Sentence could make you realize that this could be our future if humans stopped caring about one another.

Would you want a jail like in The Feral Sentence? Read and comment. Click To Tweet