Thursday, 18 August 2016

Q & A with Dreda Say Mitchell

Warm welcome to the fabulous Dreda Say Mitchell, here to talk about her new book Blood Sister, the first in a new trilogy. You can read my review here.

1. What gave you the idea for Blood Sister?

I was enjoying writing my new DI Rio Wray thriller series when I did one of the many prisons visits I do, talking about my life and being a writer. On this occasion it was a woman’s prison and chatting to the inmates re-ignited my interest in writing about the working class people I grew up with, especially the women. And of course the trials and tribulations, including crime. So that’s how I came up with writing the Flesh and Blood trilogy; about the lives of three generations of women in one family spanning four decades.

2. Tiff and Jen are night and day, did you think of creating them like that straight away or did you take a while to mould them?

Pretty much straight away. I wanted two sisters who have the same goal – to get off The Devil’s Estate – but who go about it in very different ways. One, on the straight and narrow and the other on the criminal highway. I had a total ball writing them.

3. Did you know straight away it was going to be a trilogy?

I knew I wanted to write a criminal saga and that was going to take more than one book. I’ve written a trilogy in the past and found it to be a good way of planning a series of novels.

4. Will book two be a 10 year span?

Blood Mother spans thirty years. We start in 1972 and end up in 2003 where Blood Sister ends.

5. Without giving the game away, what can we expect from book two?

Love, love, love Blood Mother. This is Babs’ – Tiff and Jen’s mum’s – story. Babs is a young woman who finds herself in trouble – twice over! She finds herself pregnant in the early seventies, which was a harsh and unforgiving time to be an unwed mum. Then she thinks she’s found the man who will save…but he turns out to be more Devil in disguise than knight in shining armour.

6. Are you reading anything just now?

2 books I’ve recently read that I couldn’t put down.

The Unseeing – Anna Mazzola
Cut To The Bone – Alex Caan
Both are debuts authors who I predict amazing things for!

7. For anyone who hasn’t read your work before, how would you describe it?

The Flesh and Blood trilogy and much of my work is about women behaving very badly indeed! But also exploring their vulnerabilities and their relationships. And, at the centre of it all, is crime.

8. Where can fans find you?

Twitter: @DredaMitchell Facebook: Like my author page at Dreda Say Mitchell and follow/friend me at DS Mitchell.

And if that isn't treat enough, I am offering up my copy of Blood Sister as a giveaway prize. All you have to do is complete the entries in the Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Blood Sister by Dreda Say Mitchell

Blood Sister (Flesh and Blood Trilogy, #1)Blood Sister by Dreda Say Mitchell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - <1 day

Pages - 400

Publisher - Hodder

The first in a trilogy following one family over forty years on an East London estate, BLOOD SISTER is non-stop drama, perfect for fans of Kimberley Chambers and Mandasue Heller.

There are two ways out of Essex Lane Estate, better known as The Devil. You make good, or you turn bad.

Jen Miller is determined not to make the same mistakes her mother did. She's waiting to find herself a good job and a decent man.

Her younger sister Tiff is running errands for a gangster and looking for any opportunity for fun and profit. But she might just be in over her head...

The choices you make and the plans you have don't always turn out like you expect. Especially when you live on The Devil's Estate. Jen and Tiff are about to learn that the hard way.

At least they can rely on each other.

Can't they?

My Review

Jen & Tiff Miller are sisters living and doing what they can to get through life on Essex Lane Estate, locally known as The Devil's Estate. Jen wants a better life than what their mother has managed, Tiff just wants to have fun and not be bored. Each sister makes choices that will shape their life and time on the estate & learn that with all choices come consequences.

Oooh this is a fabulous start to what is to be a trilogy, Jen is the smart one who won't lower herself to settling for any of the boys going nowhere on the estate. Tiff is bored, known to the police and not adverse to getting inebriated down at the graveyard. When an opportunity to get involved with some known faces arises Tiff grabs it with both hands. Both sisters are drawn into the world that keeps places like The Devil's Estate going, corruption, violence, death & money are just the beginning. The time span of this novel is over ten years, 1993 to 2003, setting the stage and introducing some of the key characters who are guaranteed to keep the readers on their toes. An explosive beginning to what I am sure will be a great trilogy although I am not sure what the next novel will hold, I cannot wait until it is out 4/5 for me this time. Thanks to BookBridgr for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

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The Fear by Charlie Higson

The Fear (The Enemy, #3)The Fear by Charlie Higson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 3 days on and off

Pages - 496

Publisher - Penguin

Blurb from Goodreads

The sickness struck everyone sixteen and over. Mothers and fathers, older brothers, sisters, and best friends. No one escaped its touch. And now children across London are being hunted by ferocious grown-ups who are hungry, bloodthirsty, and not giving up.
DogNut and the rest of his crew, in search of the friends they lost during the fire, set off on a deadly mission from the Tower of London to Buckingham Palace and beyond, as the sickos lie in wait. But who are their friends and who is the enemy in this changed world?

My Review

This is book three of the series, I would recommend if you haven't read the others to go back and get the first one as things are starting to come together in this book. Also, many characters have featured in the previous books and you understand it better and their actions if you have their previous history. This book sees Dognut leaving the safety of their home, the Tower of London to go looking for the rest of their people they lost with the big fire. We see the group coming across familiar faces, running into more dangers and now some of the diseased are stronger, intelligent and working together to hunt down their prey.

I have liked the previous books and this one too as we start to see the tellings from the previous books coming together and the groups interacting. However, I felt this time there are some deaths that are just gratuitous and I know in this time of tale people do need to go but still, one or two really annoyed me.

The adults are, some of them, becoming more dangerous, evolving, thinking and becoming a bigger and more deadly enemy for the kids. With that you also have the politics of the head of one of the groups who will do anything and everything to obtain his needs. Whilst they are young and in a situation where there are no adults I still question the reality of some of the choices and plans he has. Overall, a decent installment of the series, whilst I would like to see where it all ends up, I won't be rushing out to buy the next ones, 3/5 for me this time.

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The Pleasures Of Autumn by Evie Hunter

The Pleasures of Autumn (Pleasures, #3)The Pleasures of Autumn by Evie Hunter
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 448

Publisher - Penguin

Blurb from Goodreads

When fine arts curator Sinead O'Sullivan is charged with a stealing the Fire of Autumn, a dazzling ruby with a history of violence and treachery, bail is set at one million Swiss francs.

Investigator Niall Moore is hired to stop her fleeing and to find the jewel. Niall knows Sinead's form as the feisty red-head led him a merry dance when their paths crossed once before. Despite the overwhelming sexual chemistry between them, Niall knows that he cannot trust her.

Sinead toys with Niall, refusing to tell him what she knows about the theft. An expert in interrogation, Niall uses every trick of the trade - and every tool in his erotic armoury - to get at the truth. And Sinead - just as well armed - counters his every move with one of her own.

As thief and thief-taker fight for dominance, there can be only be one winner ... but what happens when the stakes are raised and it's no longer just a jewel and Sinead's freedom in play?

My Review

Sinead is about to leave behind her career as the sensual burlesque dancer Lottie and take up a more fitting career for mousey personality, a museum curator. Low and behold, a priceless jewel is robbed and Sinead is captured on video committing the theft. Enter Niall Moore, investigator and seemingly Jack of all Trades, he is hired to keep an eye on Sinead to ensure the bail money is safe and then hired to investigate the crime. A sexual tension soon builds up between the two along with mutual distrust and a begrudging working relationship. As danger mounts, both will reassess their positions, feelings and how much they will risk to expose the truth.

For fans of 50 shades of grey and the erotica novels that have since followed, if you like them I am sure you will love this. Crass language at times, graphic sex scenes and chat although not quite rivalling James would cause an eye roll or two. Some big plot holes and you need to suspend reality however, if you take it for what it is and you enjoy erotica style reads with a bit of danger and crime I am sure you will love this. 3/5 for me, I have never read this author before however I would read them again, certainly ideal for a holiday read.

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Saturday, 13 August 2016

The Secret Friend by Chris Mooney

The Secret Friend (Darby McCormick #2)The Secret Friend by Chris Mooney
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Publishers - Puffin

Pages - 438

Blurb from Goodreads

Two dead girls in the river

Two tiny statues of the Virgin Mary concealed in their clothing

One CSI on the hunt for their killer

When Judith Chen is found floating in Boston's Harbour, links are made with the murder of Emma Hale, a student who vanished without trace, only for her body to wash up months later.

CSI Darby McCormick is assigned to the case and uncovers a piece of overlooked evidence from the Hale investigation which brings her into contact with Malcolm Fletcher, a former FBI agent now on the Most Wanted list after a string of bloody murders. And when a third student goes missing, Darby is led into a dangerous game of cat-and-mouse with deadly links to the past and a man who speaks to the Blessed Virgin. A man who wants to be a secret friend to the girls he abducts.

My Review

This is the second book in the McCormick series, I would advise reading the first purely because I loved it and it gives a bit of a build up for McCormicks character. A young woman's body is found, she had been missing for a prolonged period of time, now another is missing and the police realise they have limited time to catch the killer. Why would someone keep the girls alive so long then kill them off and why is each found with the statue of the Virgin Mary with them? As the investigation heats up a rogue FBI agents name pops up and soon a game of cat and mouse begins with him, Malcolm Fletcher and CSI McCormick.

I really like Mooney's writing style, you are drawn in pretty quickly to the story and investigation. Darby is assigned to the case and looks over the previous evidence to see if anything has been missed. This crosses paths with one of the most wanted men, ex FBI and killer who has information about the case but what does he want from McCormick in exchange. There are a few aspects of the story, the killer, why he is the way he is and his time with his captive. Fletcher, the ex FBI agent and his interactions with McCormick, the investigation itself and the possible motive to what drives the killer.

An action packed wee book that keeps you turning the page, I look forward to the next book and where it will take McCormick and if we will see any of the other characters. 4/5 for me this time, I bought all the books of this series after the first one so I will be reading this author again.

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Saturday, 30 July 2016

No Turning Back by Tracy Buchanan

No Turning BackNo Turning Back by Tracy Buchanan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 400

Publisher - Avon

Blurb from Goodreads

You’d kill to protect your child – wouldn’t you?

When radio presenter Anna Graves and her baby are attacked on the beach by a crazed teenager, Anna reacts instinctively to protect her daughter.

But her life falls apart when the schoolboy dies from his injuries. The police believe Anna’s story, until the autopsy results reveal something more sinister.

A frenzied media attack sends Anna into a spiral of self-doubt. Her precarious mental state is further threatened when she receives a chilling message from someone claiming to be the ‘Ophelia Killer’, responsible for a series of murders twenty years ago.

Is Anna as innocent as she claims? And is murder forgiveable, if committed to save your child’s life…?

My Review

Walking along with your child on the beach and out of nowhere a teenager attacks, self defence is a must but what happens when you accidentally kill the attacker? Social media goes wild and Anna finds herself and family being scrutinised, judged and dragged through the mill. If things aren't bad enough, Anna starts receiving messages from someone claiming to be the serial killer from decades ago who was never caught. The police aren't willing to listen and Anna finds herself under scrutiny from not only them, the press and the public but on the radar of a killer.

This is my first dance with this author and I have to say, from the opening chapter I was hooked. The prologue takes us to the killer and their first victim which in itself puts grabs your attention, then we flip to Anna, popular radio show host who finds herself on the beach and under attack with her daughter. The story follows her, the victims family and the small town reaction to a well loved radio host under the social media scrutiny after a horrendous event. How society as a whole judges her and how it impacts on her family, how people judge on what would you do, how you act and every other aspect of Anna's life.

I really enjoyed this multidimensional story, with a host of complexities ranging from relationships, friendships, secrets, motherhood, family, murder, societal values & judgements not to mention the whole cat and mouse aspect! A great introduction, for me, to this author, I will be seeking out more by this author, 4/5 for me. Thanks so much to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review, you can buy a copy now from all good retailers.

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Thursday, 28 July 2016

Kimberley Chambers & Anna Smith author event at Waterstones

Can we just take a moment to appreciate how beautiful the window pane is in Waterstones.

I am literally just through the door and home from yet another fabulous event hosted by Waterstones, was also lunching and dinner with friends, the book chat was the finale of the day. Tonight's event was the lovely Kimberley Chambers and Anna Smith chatting together about their books, Chambers Tainted Love is out today in paperback.

There was a wee clearance box out to browse whilst we waited so I picked up another book, shhh don't tell my other half! The ladies had a great and relaxed evening, introduced themselves and a bit about their background. Chambers is hilarious, if you have never had the pleasure of meeting her or hearing her talk, you really should get to one of her events. One of the gentlemen in the audience actually praised her for when he reached out online she replied as a lot of well known authors who are very popular don't always. Anna Smith I don't really know (not that I know Chambers but she does have an online presence), I may have read one of her books but it has been a while if I have, I need to seek one out. I also don't see her on any of the online book groups whereas Chambers has a huge presence and often in or the subject of much chat in them.

The ladies had a great flow with each other, easy banter which had a knock on effect with the audience. Sometimes it is like pulling teeth trying to get audience interaction, not so tonight, in fact had the chap in Waterstones not made time for signings we may still be sitting there.

I also got to briefly meet Fliss, one of Chambers team, I have spoken to her online so it was lovely to meet the actual person and she is just as lovely in person. The team at Waterstones did a grand job as always and the ladies got a great turnout for the chat, I don't think there was an empty seat by the time they got started.

You can find the ladies on Twitter & Facebook Anna Smith @annasmithauthor

And Kimberley Chambers @kimbochambers

What a great day and to top it all off, I came home with one or two new books :P

Well from I first started reviewing

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