Monday, 25 September 2017

The Art of Hiding by Amanda Prowse

The Art of HidingThe Art of Hiding by Amanda Prowse
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - dipped in and out over 2 days

Pages - 290

Publisher - Lake Union Publishing

Source - Netgalley

Blurb from Goodreads

What would you do if you learned that the life you lived was a lie?

Nina McCarrick lives the perfect life, until her husband, Finn, is killed in a car accident and everything Nina thought she could rely on unravels.

Alone, bereft and faced with a mountain of debt, Nina quickly loses her life of luxury and she begins to question whether she ever really knew the man she married. Forced to move out of her family home, Nina returns to the rundown Southampton council estate—and the sister—she thought she had left far behind.

But Nina can’t let herself be overwhelmed—her boys need her. To save them, and herself, she will have to do what her husband discouraged for so long: pursue a career of her own. Torn between the life she thought she knew and the reality she now faces, Nina finally must learn what it means to take control of her life.



My Review

You live in a gorgeous house, the neighbourhood is dripping in money, perfect husband, two beautiful boys - life for the McCarrick's is good. However when an accident rips Nina's life apart she thinks mourning her loved one is the biggest challenge, Nina is wrong. What she thought she knew and her life is about to change, drastically. Going from never having to think about finances, the kids private education, food, mortgage, to counting every penny, Nina needs a reality check. Caught in the waves of grief, having to protect her kids as best she can and get her head around her new life and circumstances the whole family and their relationships are to be pushed to the limits.

I have read Prowse before, she has a certain style of writing, quickly drawing the reader into the life and emotions of the characters. I can't say I liked Nina hugely when I first met her however as her story unfolds, her background and her relationship with her husband we are given a window to seeing how she became who she is. A tale of grief, loss, strength, lies, love, materialistic possessions, family, relationships and much more. The main characters, mainly mother and the sons all travel on a very personal journey of self exploration and growth. It is in parts hard to read due to the realistic scenarios and reactions created by Prowse, the pain they each suffer, more so if the reader can relate which I think many will . Who hasn't been thrust into unforeseen circumstance and or grief and loss.

Human nature can go either way when our world is shaken, we can fall apart, go down the route of destruction or we can power through. Prowse examines the human response to such events and the various reactions we experience when stability and normality are threatened. A very human story with so much emotion, strength, love and a 'you never know the moment' type and the waves that follow. 4/5 for me this time, I have read Prowse before and will read her again. I actually have a few of hers on my tbr. Thanks to Netgalley for sending me a review copy.

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Sunday, 24 September 2017

Aloha I am home





We went on holiday to Benidorm and the internet there wasn't great so I didn't take my laptop, hence the lack of updates and reviews on here. I did manage to read seven books though, one being over 600 pages and my workie had been on at me for ages to read, "The Given Day" by Dennis Lehane (author of Shutter Island). That book was rather brutal in some of its content, racism, and I think one that will stay with me. I hope to catch up on my reviews over the next few days however I have a mix of days and nightshifts at work and heading to Liverpool at the weekend for Horrorcon with a friend!



So, home from holiday and a fair bit of post. However I absolutely have to share my fav with you. I won a competition before I went away on author C L Taylors Facebook page. I won a pen and a usb stick, I absolutely love usb sticks and when I opened the parcel I thought oh, they have only sent me a pen.





However, the pen is actually a pen AND a usb stick, how awesome is that! If you are an uber geek and love gadgets like me then you will appreciate my delight. So I decided I would do a wee post to show the fabulous post, plus it has been a week since I shared any pictures of Princess so I figured you want one of her too. And I will do a wee giveaway too as it is nice to give something back don't you think?


I also got a fabulous signed bookmark.






I also got a wee postcard with the previous book covers, if you haven't read them and you like psychological thrillers you really need to check them out.










So, celebrating my wee win and to highlight an author who deserves it I am doing a wee giveaway for an Amazon voucher for one of C L Taylors books. Her new YA one, out in October is pre - order but can be chosen if the winner so wishes. The winner will pick the ebook they would like to win and I will send the voucher for it. To be in with a chance of winning just use the Rafflecopter below to enter. The more entries you complete the more times your name goes in, open worldwide, you DO need an Amazon account as the voucher is for Amazon.



a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, 15 September 2017

The Madam by Jaime Raven

The MadamThe Madam by Jaime Raven
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - on and off 3 days

Pages - 328

Publisher - Avon Books

Source - Book shop

Blurb from Goodreads

Women always uncover the truth . . .

Three years and eleven months. That's how long Lizzie Wells has been banged up inside Holloway prison, serving time for a crime she didn’t commit.

Six months. That's how long it’s taken Lizzie to fall in love with her fellow inmate, Scar.

Now they are both finally free and, together, they are about to embark on a vengeful search to find those who framed Lizzie . . . and to make them pay.

THE BUSINESS MAN. THE COPPER. THE MADAM.



My Review

Imagine waking up beside a corpse, covered in their blood and the murder weapon lying on the floor. Fast forward just under four years later, Lizzie is out of prison and she wants to know who set her up. As she starts to dig into the past the warnings come fast and furious and Lizzie finds not only herself but those closest to her in danger. Someone wants Lizzie to leave well alone and will stop at nothing to make it happen.

We follow Lizzie as she emerges from jail, with the help of her partner Scar they set about trying to find information about the crime Lizzie is meant to have committed. Not only do we have theme of investigating the crime, attempting to engage the police we also see Lizzie assessing her choices now she is free. Lesbianism, her mothers cold attitude towards her, dealing with the loss of her child all the while being threatened. It is a busy wee book and you find yourself evaluating how would you act and what would you do. I found Lizzie quite frustrating at times, some of her choices and behaviours had me almost screaming in frustration.

It is a busy wee book, you have the danger and threats hanging over Lizzie and it keeps a decent pace throughout. There is a lot of sadness and Lizzie has much to resolve, a good pace that engages the reader and keeps you turning page after page. 3/5 for me this time, this is my first time reading this author and I would read him again.

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Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Dark Dates by Tracey Sinclair

Dark Dates (Cassandra Bick Chronicles #1)Dark Dates by Tracey Sinclair
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - dipped in over 3 days

Pages - 246

Publisher - Amazon media

Source - author

Blurb from Goodreads

All Cassandra Bick wants is to be left to get on with doing her job. But when you’re a Sensitive whose business is running a dating agency for vampires, life is never going to be straightforward – especially when there’s a supernatural war brewing in London, a sexy new bloodsucker in town and your mysterious, homicidal and vampire hating ex-lover chooses this moment to reappear in your life…

Witty, sharp and entertaining, Dark Dates is a heady mix of vampires, witches and werewolves – with the occasional angel thrown in – and introduces Cassandra Bick, a likeable heroine destined to join the ranks of fantasy’s feistiest females.



My Review

Cassandra makes a living from her dating agency, a dating agency like no other. Hooking up humans and vampires. The agency has come to the notice of someone, someone who wants Cassandra to stop. With threats on her life, attacks on the office and vampires being killed Cassandra should give up and stay safe but she won't be warned off. Her "bootie call" Cain, ex boyfriend and destroyer of "Others" no just vampires but other beings drops in and out of her life and usually when trouble is afoot. There is more than meets the eye to Cain and Cassandra is about to find out just how special and different the people in her life really are.

This is the first in a series, we meet Cassandra who is a Sensitive with a capital S, her sense helps her read Others and help her in some tricky situations. There is a lot to her Sense and I think as the series goes on we will learn more about it. I had to email the author as I had a fair few questions about it, I think along with the character learning about it the reader is too. It is a fresh and interesting approach as vampire stories have been around for such a long time so it is hard to make it original. We have vampires, a sassy Sensitive with a mouth on her, a fabulous witch side kick, a mysterious old boyfriend who Cassandra can't seem to keep out of her bed and violence and deaths all round.

There is bad language, sex, mystery, homosexuality, a lot of humour especially from Cassandra she is quirky, feisty, strong, independent and I did laugh out loud in parts. If work hadn't gotten in the way I could have read this in one sitting. There was more than a few actions I found myself frustrated with, especially how Cassandra responded to certain situations however I think that brings realism into it. How often has someone acted or said something in a situation and you just wanted to slap them or shout no why didn't you say X,Y,Z! A very promising start to a series and I look forward to more from Sinclair and seeing what is in store for Cassandra and crew, 4/5 for me this time. Thanks to the author for introducing to a new series and sending me a review copy.

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Monday, 11 September 2017

You by Caroline Kepnes

You (You, #1)You by Caroline Kepnes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - less than 1 day

Pages - 422

Publisher - Simon Schuster

Source - Book shop

Blurb from Goodreads

When a beautiful, aspiring writer strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe Goldberg works, he does what anyone would do: he Googles the name on her credit card.

There is only one Guinevere Beck in New York City. She has a public Facebook account and Tweets incessantly, telling Joe everything he needs to know: she is simply Beck to her friends, she went to Brown University, she lives on Bank Street, and she’ll be at a bar in Brooklyn tonight—the perfect place for a “chance” meeting.

As Joe invisibly and obsessively takes control of Beck’s life, he orchestrates a series of events to ensure Beck finds herself in his waiting arms. Moving from stalker to boyfriend, Joe transforms himself into Beck’s perfect man, all while quietly removing the obstacles that stand in their way—even if it means murder.


My Review

Meet Joe Goldberg, Joe is working in a bookstore when sees her, from the first sentence we see Beck through Joe's eyes. Cataloging her dress, her expression, her book choice, her interaction with him we see how it all kicks off. Joe stalks Beck and starts sculpting himself to be her perfect man. Page by page we are drawn further into Joe's world and watch as he goes to deprived lengths to get exactly what he wants, Beck.

This book is absolutely not for the faint hearted or easily offended. There is a lot of sex, masturbation, depravity, the C word which many find offensive as well as other derogatory words for the female anatomy, some of which feature within the first 14 pages! I think it is to show just how dark, depraved and creepy Joe actually is and as the tale unfolds it he gets darker and creepier. His obsession with Beck knows no limits and nothing and no one will get in his way.

It isn't too often we get a book where we see the tale from within the psychopaths perspective particularly as Joe thinks his behaviour and actions are completely normal for someone "in love". There isn't a rapid decent into madness it is just a constant stream of interactions, actions and situations and how Joe reacts to them. Some of it is disgusting and horrifying particularly as Joe deems it all as normal. Whilst you want to put the book down and go give your eyes, brain and soul a shower you can't help but turning page after page to see what comes next. Apparently there is another book after this one, I can't imagine where the book will go but I think I have to read it to find out what comes next, 4/5 for me this time. This was my first encounter with this author, with themes of a strong sexual nature, stalking, violence, murder and very disturbing "acts of love" this is to be approached with caution.

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Saturday, 9 September 2017

Blood Daughter by Dreda Say Mitchell

Blood Daughter (Flesh and Blood Trilogy #3)Blood Daughter by Dreda Say Mitchell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - dipped in and out over 3 days

Pages - 400

Publisher - Hodder

Source - BookBridgr

Blurb from Goodreads

They say blood is thicker than water.
That's not going to stop it being spilled.

Life hasn't been easy for the Miller family. Finally, mum Babs has had one bit of luck. She plans to share the profits with her daughters. She thought they'd be pleased...

But money always causes trouble, especially when it's desperately needed. Jen wants to make a better life for her kids. Tiff owes a lot of bad men a lot of money. And Dee is worried that her husband is getting back into the criminal life.

As the sisters fall out, a gold bullion heist brings more opportunities - and many more dangers. None of them are giving up without a fight...



My review

Guys this is book three in a trilogy, if you haven't read the previous two I advise you to do so. You can get away with reading this one off the bat as it does give you history of that which has passed. However, I think in order to fully appreciate the things the characters do and full impact of it you should have vested in the previous books. Babs is still in the jail but has come into a bit of money and wants to share it with her daughters. As you know money always causes issues and this family was already packing enough baggage for a whole crew! Jen, Tiff and Dee have very different attitudes towards what should happen to the money as well as their own personal dramas. As the tension builds between the siblings danger is lurking around the corner and no one has anyones back!

I do love the Miller family, they really have been through the mill already and the book is broken into different issues. Babs coping (or trying to) in jail, the sibling rivalry, the sisters personal issues, Dee's husband keeping away from the life and all manners of skulduggery. Like an onion there are many layers to the book, love, lies, violence, secrets, the past coming back to bite you in the bottom and death. You would think by the third book the story would be starting to slow or the author run out of ideas, not in this trio. The book keeps packing punches, hooking the reader and keeping the pace page after page.

I have read a few of Mitchell's books and have another couple on the tbr, each book is fresh and for this one giving some closure and rounding up a fabulous tale. You won't be disappointed and I cannot wait to see what Mitchell has next for us, 4/5 for me this time. Thanks so much to BookBridgr for providing me with a review copy! Blood Daughter is available to buy now from all good retailers, paperback and kindle.



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Friday, 8 September 2017

Book event - Games People Play by Owen Mullen





So I have the book on my TBRRM (to be read review mountain) and have a fair few in front of it, however after attending the event I think I need to do a big of rejigging.

Owen was interviewed by the lovely Sharon Bairden from the blog "Chapter in my life" if you like crime and haven't read her reviews, please nip over for a visit. I also met some lovely folks from The Crime Book Club on Facebook and TBConFB. I met the lovely Andrew from CBC and found out he has a blog, Book n beer which is a fantastic idea, recommending a book AND a beer! And if that wasn't enough the lovely James who works in Waterstones is back working at the store.





Sharon had some belting questions for Owen and then opened it up to the audience, I got a wee video and uploaded it to my Instagram





Owen told us about his journey from independently published to being picked up by a publisher, his football team, a wee bit of his history and his experience with a negative, short and hillarious "review".





And here is Princess Trixie with Owen's book, will post my review once I get around to reading it. If you haven't been to a book event or an author event at Waterstones I highly recommend it!.


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