Friday, 27 November 2015

Follow Me by Angela Clarke

Follow MeFollow Me by Angela Clarke
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Publisher - Avon

Source - Netgalley

Blurb from Goodreads


The ‘Hashtag Murderer’ posts chilling cryptic clues online, pointing to their next target. Taunting the police. Enthralling the press. Capturing the public’s imagination.

But this is no virtual threat.

As the number of his followers rises, so does the body count.

Eight years ago two young girls did something unforgivable. Now ambitious police officer Nasreen and investigative journalist Freddie are thrown together again in a desperate struggle to catch this cunning, fame-crazed killer. But can they stay one step ahead of him? And can they escape their own past?

Time's running out. Everyone is following the #Murderer. But what if he is following you?


My review

Freddie is a journalist, well she would be if she could catch a story and get herself out there. Whilst trying to keep her bills paid and working in a coffee shop she meets her old friend Nas. Nas is a police officer and Freddie finally has a chance to possibly scoop a story, finding herself in the middle of the investigation Freddie must help to catch a killer before he strikes again.

Oh Freddie, what an annoying little character she is, I felt sorry for Nas having to deal with her. Initially she seems to have no thought for anyone but herself although, as the story progresses and we get through the tough veneer we see another side to Freddie. Both her and Nas did something as kids, that is referred to throughout the tale however it doesn't come to light until much later. The story focuses on the victims, the killer and how the police try to catch the killer with the help of Freddie. Freddie is a loose cannon but she knows social media and the police need all the help they can get catching this killer who is flaunting his crimes on social media.

There is a lot to like in this book! Every chapter starts with an online text speak header, for example IKR - meaning I Know Right, there are loads of these I still don't know despite being a user of social media for years, I liked that. The games played with the police, the taunting, always one step ahead, reminded me of a few killers I have read before and loved. The chapters are fairly short which keeps your attention and makes for putting it down hard. There are some shocks along the way and the killings are fairly brutal so not for the faint hearted. 4/5 for me this time, I think this is a strong debut novel and I will be watching for more from this author. Thanks so much to Netgalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. This title is available to buy on the kindle on the 3/12/15 or in paperback format from the 31/12/15.

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Tuesday, 24 November 2015

The First wife by Erica Spindler

The First WifeThe First Wife by Erica Spindler
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 3 days

Pages - 352

Publisher - St Martin's Press

Blurb from Goodreads

An idealistic young woman marries a man she barely knows only to discover his first wife disappeared under mysterious circumstances. As a child, Bailey Browne dreamed of a knight in shining armor swooping in to rescue her and her mother. As she grew older, those dreams transformed, becoming ones of a mysterious stranger who swept her off her feet and whisked her away from her ordinary existence; then, suddenly, there he was. Despite the ten-year difference in their ages and her working class upbringing and his of privilege, Logan Abbott and Bailey fall deeply in love. Marriage quickly follows.

But when Logan brings her home to his horse farm in Louisiana, a magnificent estate on ninety wooded acres, her dreams of happily-ever-after begin to unravel. A tragic family history Bailey knew nothing about surfaces, along with whisperings about the disappearance of his first wife and rumors about women from the area who have gone missing, and when another woman disappears, all signs point to her husband's involvement.

My Review

When I first started this book, I thought it sounded so familiar. A couple meet, whirlwind romance, he is older and from money, she is alone as her mother has passed. His first wife disappeared and there is all kind of mystery surrounding his family and she is the new Mrs Logan Abbott. It totally reminded me of Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier, at least the first part did, even down to being met with dislike and almost hostility but those closest to her husband.

Bailey is really quite naive, caught up in the dreaminess of Logan, she marries and heads back to his huge estate. She soon discovers she knows very little about Logan and when she probes about his wifes disappearance Logan becomes distant. Soon Bailey finds there is more than one female has disappeared, the gossip in the village is rife and the chef of police is very open about his suspicion of Logan.

I didn't love Rebecca so the fact this started so alike it took me a bit to get into it. However, soon I wanted to know the family secrets, the hinted at gossip and find out what actually happened to Bailey leading up to her accident and the revelations that follow. The last quarter of the book really kicked off, secrets, lies and all the things you wondered about throughout the story are addressed which I enjoy, I hate loose ends. I would read Spindler again, sure I have read and enjoyed her before, 3/5 for me this time though.

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Wednesday, 18 November 2015

World War Moo by Michael Logan

World War Moo: An Apocalypse Cow NovelWorld War Moo: An Apocalypse Cow Novel by Michael Logan
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 3 days

Blurb from Goodreads

It began with a cow that just wouldn't die. Yep. That's right. They're still infected, and now the disease has spread to humans. The epidemic that transformed Britain's bovine population into a blood-thirsty, brain-grazing, zombie horde...err... herd... is threatening to take over the globe.

And there's not much time left to stop it. All of Great Britain is infected and brimming with rage. The rest of the world has a tough choice to make. Should they nuke the Brits right off the map — men, women, children, cows and all — in the biggest genocide in history? Or should they risk global infection in a race against time to find a cure?

With fanatical infected trying to escape the cursed island, and the Brits ready to defend themselves with every weapon at their disposal, including an intercontinental missile sloshing with infected blood, it may only be a matter of time before the virus gets out.

This means war.

My review

I really enjoyed the first book, now book two sees the virus has spread to the humans and the world wants to eradicate Britain before the rest of the world is infected. There is little to none media coverage and the world thinks Britain is over ran with zombies. Most of the infected are fine, still people going about their business, until they come across an uninfected, then the rage takes hold. Except for those who have learned to control it, the rest of the world want to be safe, some of the British want to infect everyone so we can all live in harmony and have the missile ready to do just that.

This is so very different from the first book, there aren't as many cows in this one although there are some mention of infected animals the main focus is on humanity. The relationships of those still living, infected with uninfected, how those few managed to overcome the rage & attempt to teach others to hold onto their humanity. There is a fair bit of politics in this one and although there is still humour involved, politics isn't really my thing. Some of the humour and scenes are a bit foolish but to be honest, it works well with the overall theme of the book. It is interesting, funny, black humour, murder, relationships, humans adapting, love, courage and anger to name just some of the topics this tale covers.

It is a fresh idea on the whole zombie apocalypse & I enjoyed finding out what happened to the characters from the first book and meeting some new ones. How humanity deal with the struggle and life choices in the face of being wiped out. I hope Logan considers a third installment, I would certainly read it and recommend this to those who enjoyed Apocalypse Moo, 3/5 for me this time. Thanks to the author for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

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The First Thing You See by Gregoire Delacourt

The First Thing You SeeThe First Thing You See by Grégoire Delacourt
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 3 days

Pages - 236

Publisher - Weidenfeld & Nicolson

Blurb from Goodreads

Imagine you are a young mechanic living in a small community in France. You own your own home, and lead a simple life. Then, one evening, you open your front door to find a distraught Hollywood starlet standing in front of you. This is what happens to Arthur Dreyfuss in the village of Long, population 687 inhabitants.

But although feigning an American accent, this woman is not all that she seems. For her name is Jeanine Foucamprez, and her story is very different from the glamorous life of a star. Arthur is not all he seems, either; a lover of poetry with a darker past than one might imagine, he has learnt to see beauty in the mundane.

THE FIRST THING YOU SEE is a warm, witty novel about two fragile souls learning to look beyond the surface - for the first thing you see isn't always what you get!

My Review

Arthur Dreyfuss is quite an attractive man, pleasant kind and a mechanic by trade living in a small village. His fairly normal life comes to a halt when Scarlett Johansson arrives at his door, seeking refuge from Hollywood. It soon becomes apparent Scarlett is actually a look a like, her name is Jeanine Foucamprez and her whole life she has struggled to be Jeanine. Slowly they open up to each other, their attraction grows and learn who they really are.

This is possibly one of the most bizarre reads I have read, there is a huge focus on Scarlett/Jeanine's breasts and they are referred to in a fair few passages. The whole thing is almost like playing out a fantasy, the whole town is enthralled with this starlet. Yet all Jeanine wants is someone to see her as her despite encouraging and allowing people to believe she is Scarlett. There are a lot of poetry references dottered throughout the book which was a nice change as poetry isn't something I generally read much to be honest. It also makes you think the impact on people trying to live up to others expectations can have.

There is humour, awkward sex references/scenes, dark discussions fliting over abuse, self harm, love and personal growth are just some of the issues covered. I am not normally one to comment on covers but this one is quite quirky and appealing, despite not knowing this author I would have been tempted with the cover alone which isn't always something that draws me. This is also the book Scarlett Johansson apparently tried to stop from being published which I am sure only encouraged sales. The story left me feeling like I had missed something, I finished it thinking I had missed the point of it, I didn't hate it I actually found reading it relatively easy, I just didn't get it. 2/5 for me this time, thanks so much to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. I think I would read this author again, the writing was easy to follow and different from what I would normally pick up myself, I just didn't really get this particular tale.

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The Good Life by Martina Cole

The Good LifeThe Good Life by Martina Cole
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 512

Publisher - Headline

Blurb from Goodreads


Cain Moran wanted Jenny Riley more than he had ever wanted anyone or anything before in his life. But loving Jenny Riley was the easy part; it was telling his wife he wanted a divorce that was going to be the killer...

Jenny is not just any girl. She cares nothing for Cain's hard-man reputation - she just wants to be with him.

But Cain is not a free man. And he's about to find out that when his wife Caroline said 'til death us do part, she meant it.

When Cain is sentenced to life in prison it seems that Caroline might have got her wish. All Cain and Jenny know is that if their love can survive such separation, then one day they will have a chance at the Good Life together again.

But there are greater trials ahead than either can foresee. They're about to learn the hardest lesson of all:


My Review

It has been ages since I read a Martina Cole book and I got this on offer. Jenny is nervous, Cain is getting home after a long stretch in jail and she ponders over things that have come to pass. The book then heads back to the past, when they first met and to present day. Jenny is fairly naive when she meets married man Cain but attraction overcomes them and they begin their journey. Cains wife is not a woman who takes disrespect and plagues their life together, on top of that the dangers of living the life will have consequences for them all.

To be honest, this was very nearly a two star book for me, not because of the story of the writing and I do enjoy how Cole spins a tale. More to do with the massive spoiler right at the beginning of the book. The whole story then goes back to the beginning of the couples lives and builds up to the spoiler but the reader already knows it is coming and there isn't anything new or surprising after that.

There are the usual, bad language, sex, drugs, murder, violence and the relationships and breakdowns of the faces and their associates. However, after reading your opening chapter, there is no big reveal as you are told what has happened. The story is still enjoyable, I just wish someone had pointed out the massive spoiler pre publishing and removed it, it would certainly have added more to the story finding out later. 3/5 for me this time, I have read this author before and will read her again.

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Thursday, 12 November 2015

Emma L Clapperton & Denzil Meyrick in conversation

A lovely wee evening at Waterstones for In Conversation with Emma L Clapperton & Denzil Meyrick.

I haven't read either of these authors yet so it was nice to pop along and hear them chat, the focus was on Emma's book Beyond Evidence. A paranormal thriller, previously released in 2012 self published, now re vamped and available in paperback to buy now.

When you go to a book event it is always nice to see so much support for the author, friends & family however a good publicist can just top it all off. Allan went away and got me a chair to save me standing which was very nice and considerate, on top of this he made sure the glasses of complimentary wine were never empty, including the authors. It may not seem like much but these little details are very much noted, considering we were soaked from the pelting rain, these little extras really mean a lot.

The questions were really good and you felt you were part of a cozy chat, I will certainly be checking out both these authors.

Tonight also saw me finally get to meet Noelle, a fellow book lover and reviewer who traveled up from England for the event. Unfortunately I do not have any pictures of Noelle but you can stop by her fabulous blog, click here, and get to meet her there and pick up some fabulous reviews and crime book recommendations.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Q & A with Leigh Russell

Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions and offer up a signed copy of your newest book Blood Axe. You can find my review for it here

Tell us about the new book.

The titles in my series are written to work as stand alone as well as part of a series, because I think readers who pick my books up part way through the series should be able to enjoy them as much as fans who have been following my detectives' careers from the start. When writing, I try to cater for both sets of readers. So although my latest book, Blood Axe, is the third in my Ian Peterson series, and the eleventh book in which Ian appears, it can be read on its own. Blood Axe is set in York, where Ian Peterson has recently relocated on his promotion to detective inspector. While he searches for a brutal killer, he is also struggling to save his failing marriage. Like all my books, it begins with a murder, and the story spins out from there.

What gave you the idea for this series and particularly this book?

Ian Peterson appears in the first three books in my Geraldine Steel series. In Death Bed Geraldine Steel moves to London, leaving Ian Peterson behind in Kent. When Geraldine Steel became successful, my publisher suggested I write a spin off series for Ian Peterson. And that was how the Ian Peterson series came about. Blood Axe was inspired by one of my frequent visits to York, where Ian Peterson works to solve more murders in a month than occur in ten years in the real city of York. I became interested in the Vikings, who settled in York and lived there peacefully for many years, leaving the city steeped in Viking history. The Vikings were civilised traders with a sophisticated culture, who are often misrepresented as violent pillagers. The more I learned about them, the more they fascinated me. It was not a huge leap from researching them to creating a Viking character of my own. Although my character is a obviously fictitious, I did a lot of research to make sure my Viking's thought processes and feelings are as authentic as possible.

This is the first book I have read in this series, despite it being the 3rd book. Do you feel readers need to start at the beginning or is it ok to start with this one?

Many readers start at different points in the series, when a title catches their eye. Hopefully they enjoy what they read enough to want to read the rest of the series!

The killer is very mysterious, did you find it hard writing from their point of view?

Actually, no. I'm always fascinated by my killers and intrigued by writing from their point of view. A reviewer in Crime Time wrote that my books 'take the reader in to the darkest recesses of the human psyche'. I'm not quite sure how I get there, as I'm not 'dark' at all. On the contrary, I am really quite a harmless person, and totally opposed to violence. But I am fascinated by my characters, and the most interesting of these are the killers. What is it drives people to behave in such an extreme and inhumane way? I explore that question in my books, alongside the experience of my detectives who are working to track down my 'mysterious' killers.

I loved that you included a list of acronyms in the start of the book, do you always do this?

Yes, we do this for the US market, as they have different acronyms in America. No Exit Press do this in all of my books. I don't think my new publisher, Thomas and Mercer, will do the same as my new series is not police procedurals so there will be hardly any acronyms, if any. I'm so glad you found it useful. A lot of people do. I've even been known to check the list myself, just to double check I haven't made a mistake.

Are you doing any blog tours or have other events planned for this release?

My publicist is organising a little blog tour, but I'm happy to be interviewed at any time. As a full-time author, relying on book sales to pay my bills, I'm very grateful for any help I can get in raising awareness of my books. I do a physical tour, signing books, whenever a new book is published, and have a series of library visits planned in the spring, as I'm a passionate supporter of libraries. Together with literary festivals and research trips, my books keep me busy!

Where can fans find you, ie website, social media etc?

My website is Links to my facebook page, twitter account, and blog, can all be found there, along with reviews, interviews, the schedule of my forthcoming events, my contact details, and of course links to all my books.

What is next for Leigh Russell?

First and foremost, I will be writing. The next Geraldine Steel novel, Murder Ring, is out as an ebook next month, and in 2016 the first and second titles in my new Lucy Hall series will be published, starting in February with Journey to Death. Once the second Lucy Hall is finished, I'll start writing the ninth Geraldine Steel book which will also be published next year. I also have some travelling lined up. Every year I teach for the Writers Lab on a beautiful Greek island where I'll be returning in 2016. This year I travelled to Rome, Paris and Seychelles to research locations for my new series. I've been lucky enough to be invited to both Florence and Turin next year, so I'll probably do some further research for the third Lucy Hall book which is set in Italy. I'm also looking forward to visiting New Orleans for the American crime fiction convention, Bouchercon, and I'll be travelling all around the UK for festivals, crime panels, author talks and book signings. Finally, I'm very excited that the Geraldine Steel and Ian Peterson books are in development for television with a major production company. I'm typing with my fingers crossed that the project will be a success. Thank you very much for interviewing me here, with such interesting questions.

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