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.


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!.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

Q&A with author Jackie Baldwin

Thanks to Jackie for taking the time out to answer my questions and sending healing vibes your way xxx

How did you get the writing bug?

From the encouragement given to me by my teacher in primary 3, I think. She loved my stories and also put on a little play I wrote at the end of term. Her parting shot to me was that I should be a writer when I grew up. The seed just grew from there.

Where did the idea for Dead Man’s Prayer come from?

I suppose with your first book in particular you write the book you want to read so I threw a lot of stuff in there that I’ve always been interested in like twins, the corrosive nature of guilt, the ‘otherness’ of Catholic priests, our capacity for redemption and the devastation wrought by mental illness.

Religion plays a big part in the story, what made you go for this theme?

I attended the local Benedictine Convent in Dumfries from the age of five. Although the nuns themselves were lovely, back then Catholic education was quite extreme for an imaginative, impressionable child with a literal mind and it had a profound effect on me. At the age of eight I would lie awake agonising about whether I would be brave enough not to walk over the crucifix if the ‘Commies’ burst into my class and held a gun to my head. I would sit in my bedroom having called down God to one side of the wardrobe and the Devil to the other and try and get them to reconcile to bring about world peace. I also developed the habit of walking with my eyes cast down in case I looked up and saw the words, ‘Thou shalt be a nun!’ writ large in the sky, as you don’t get to say ‘no’ to God. I suppose all that guilt and angst had to bubble to the surface some time, hence the arrival of DI Farrell. Also, I felt that such a character offered the reader something a little different.

Do you see this being a long series?

I honestly have no idea as I think that will be determined by readers, rather than me. I certainly have plenty of ideas. The arrival of Police (Scotland) rather lobbed a grenade at crime writers who set their books in more rural areas. The second book in the series is set just before it comes into being but if I write a third I will require to have DI Farrell and DS McLeod based in the central belt and send them down as part of an investigative team. However, I feel that new dynamic would keep things fresh and provide plenty of scope for conflict so I would relish the challenge.

What are you currently writing?

I have just finished the second DI Farrell novel. The next thing I write is going to be something completely different and will be set in the Highlands.

Do you have any rituals or quirks you need to do before starting or finishing writing?

No, not really. I do seem to be able to shift industrial quantities of biscuits and coffee while I am writing though. I think it’s about procrastination as much as anything else. I’m about to start a new health and fitness regime though so I will have to learn to embrace my inner raw carrot instead.

Who is your go to author?

I like to read a variety of books. When I was younger I would become crazy for one author at a time and binge read all their books to the point that I would put myself off which was really annoying. I would say that on the crime front, my favourite author at the moment is Susie Steiner as I loved her book ‘Missing Presumed.’

What is your favourite/most recommended book?

‘The Rosie Project’ by Graeme Simsion.

Where can fans find you?

I am on Twitter @JackieMBaldwin1 I have a Facebook Page at Jackie Baldwin Author and a website at I love to hear from people. Writing can be a lonely business.

Anything else you would like to add I may have missed?

I would just like to thank you for having me on your blog, Lainey. It’s been fun!

And if it isn't enough bringing you a Q&AI am offering up my pre-loved copy as a giveaway. As always enter via the rafflecopter (below), open to all. Good luck and thanks for stopping by xxx

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Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Book Launch - Smile by Roddy Doyle

Hosted in the fabulous Waterstones, Sauchieshall street in Glasgow City Centre.

So tonight I went to see the fabulous Roddy Doyle. Famous for so many works but for me The Woman Who Walked into Doors, I read this as a teenager. The movie (it was a book first), The Van - which I learned last night is part of a trilogy in a book series, guess who has ordered that!

The man himself is a legend, I have always had a fondness for any accent but the irish accent I could listen to all day. If you haven't heard him speak or about his new book, I put a wee quick video up on my Instagram (Always_Reading) so you can have a wee listen.

Smile is the newest book, this is the Blurb from Amazon.

Smile has all the features for which Roddy Doyle has become famous: the razor-sharp dialogue, the humour, the superb evocation of childhood – but this is a novel unlike any he has written before. When you finish the last page you will have been challenged to re-evaluate everything you think you remember so clearly.

Just moved in to a new apartment, alone for the first time in years, Victor Forde goes every evening to Donnelly’s pub for a pint, a slow one.

One evening his drink is interrupted. A man in shorts and pink shirt brings over his pint and sits down. He seems to know Victor’s name and to remember him from school. Says his name is Fitzpatrick.

Victor dislikes him on sight, dislikes too the memories that Fitzpatrick stirs up of five years being taught by the Christian Brothers.

He prompts other memories too – of Rachel, his beautiful wife who became a celebrity, and of Victor’s own small claim to fame, as the man who says the unsayable on the radio.

But it’s the memories of school, and of one particular Brother, that he cannot control and which eventually threaten to destroy his sanity.

He read a passage from the new book and whilst it has been years since I read Doyle, it made me want to buy all the old books again and even the ones I have read. I bought the hardback edition of the new book and whilst I am drowning in review books (and the hundreds I keep buying), I need to bump this up the review list!

Smile is out to buy from all good bookstores now, in Hardback edition. If you have already read it or a fan please let me know which books are your favourite.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Alien Covenant by Alan Dean Foster

Alien: Covenant - The Official Movie NovelizationAlien: Covenant - The Official Movie Novelization by Alan Dean Foster
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 345

Publisher - Titan Books

Source - Book shop

Blurb from Goodreads

Ridley Scott returns to the universe he created, with Alien: Covenant, a new chapter in his groundbreaking Alien adventure. The crew of the colony ship Covenant, bound for a remote planet on the far side of the galaxy, discovers what they think is an uncharted paradise. But it is actually a dark, dangerous world.

When they uncover a threat beyond their imaginations, they must attempt a harrowing escape.

Acclaimed author Alan Dean Foster also returns to the universe he first encountered with the official novelization of the original Alien film. Alien: Covenant is the pivotal adventure that preceded that seminal film, and leads to the events that will yield one of the most terrifying sagas of all time.

My Review

So if you have seen the movie Alien Covenant you pretty much know everything that is coming in the book, it is a novelization of the film. However, there are wee snippets that are new, the movie starts with David, the synthetic, coming to and speaking to his creator. In the book we get a little bit more insight to this, story tweaks and that is why I do love reading books of movies I have enjoyed, you do get changes and wee bits more information.

So, Prometheus we saw Doctor Elizabeth Shaw and David left alive, this book/movie opens with another synthetic, identical to David however this is Walter and a new crew and ship. The crew are headed to a destination with colonists asleep on board. When the ship comes across a signal and investigate the planet it looks even better than their destination. However they are attacked, injured and come across David from Prometheus but no sign of Doctor Shaw. As David starts to tell them of his time on the planet and the creatures they have just escaped the crew find themselves in danger from all corners.

Oooooh I do love Alien movies and after reading this one I want to see if there are more of these books for the previous movies. There are quite a few subtle changes and I think, for the most part, they work better with the book. I won't go into them as I don't do spoiler reviews however we are offered more insight into David, his motives and rational and his relationship with Doctor Shaw.

Atmospheric, tense, dark, deaths abundance and if you enjoy the movie(s) I think you will enjoy the book as I feel you do get more out of it. The only thing I would *warn* about is a rape type reference that unless I missed it I don't think was in the movie. I also don't think it particularly added anything except a bit more bizarre behaviour for what it is referenced to and it isn't anything in any kind of detail. The interactions and scenes with David and Walter were really good and I would have liked a bit more between the two synthetics because they were so alike and so different in many respects, their scenes together highlighted so much contrasts. 3.5 stars for me this time, despite only watching the movie last week I was still drawn in and turning page after page wanting to see what was coming even though I knew. I will be looking more up by this author and absolutely checking out more in the series.

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Saturday, 2 September 2017

The Treatment by C L Taylor

The TreatmentThe Treatment by C.L. Taylor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - approx 3 hours

Pages - 384

Publisher - HQ

Source - Netgalley

Blurb from Goodreads

“You have to help me. We’re not being reformed. We’re being brainwashed.”

All sixteen year old Drew Finch wants is to be left alone. She's not interested in spending time with her mum and stepdad and when her disruptive fifteen year old brother Mason is expelled from school for the third time and sent to a residential reform academy she's almost relieved.

Everything changes when she's followed home from school by the mysterious Dr Cobey, who claims to have a message from Mason. There is something sinister about the ‘treatment’ he is undergoing. The school is changing people.

Determined to help her brother, Drew must infiltrate the Academy and unearth its deepest, darkest secrets.

Before it’s too late.

My Review

When Drew's little brother gets shipped to the RRA (residential reform academy) she is a tad relieved. He is troublesome, irritating and all the things little brothers can be, more so since their father left/went missing/died? years ago. When a doctor warns Drew her brother is in danger and the academy isn't what it seems Drew embarks on a mission to save her brother but at what cost?

I read this in one sitting, whilst the book is YA (Young Adult) it absolutely can be enjoyed by adults, I sank it in about three hours. Drew starts digging into what the academy is but despite many successfully reformed kids there does not seem to be a lot of information, if any, on the social medias. When Drew sees "evidence" with her own eyes she knows she has to get into the academy. The story starts off giving us insight into Drew's life, her family home set up and her chain of thought on how to tackle the situation. It is a tense build up and split into two parts, the before and infiltration, the after and what life is like inside the academy. In some parts the hair starts to stand up on the back of your neck, things aren't right, the plot is teased out page by page to discover just what is happening.

I didn't want to put the book down as I had to know, where is this going, what is happening, who can I/she trust? Thankfully yesterday was a day off so I could zone out and devour the story. It is a steady paced read in that the reader is took on the journey with the main character, having to go through the plan stage by stage creating distrust and holding your breath at parts. There are themes that cater for the teen reader, childish bullying, friend turned enemy, bitching, who fancies who but it doesn't detract from the bulk of the thriller theme. It is enough for the aimed at audience and relevant whilst not detracting from the main story that will engage the adult reader. To be honest, I think even the themes for the younger readers will spark old memories within the mature reader and it wasn't so long ago that I couldn't empathise with Drew or the issues raised.

I have liked all of Taylor's books I have read, I was a bit apprehensive going into this one, when an author branches into new territory as a reader you do worry. Will they be able to capture the new voice and writing, can they engage the reader as they have done in previous genre? Absolutely unfounded worries, Taylor has shown she can turn her hand to YA as well as psychological thrillers, 4/5 for me this time. Now to wait *patiently* for her to get the next book out, be it YA or her normal genre I cannot wait. Thanks so much to Netgalley for providing a review copy, you can buy your own now from all good retailers from October this year.

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Friday, 1 September 2017

Without A Trace by Lesley Pearse

Without a TraceWithout a Trace by Lesley Pearse
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - on and off over 5 days

Publisher - Penguin

Pages - 416

Source - Book shop

Blurb from Goodreads

Coronation Day, 1953.

Molly Heywood has always been a pillar of strength for her local community, so when her friend Cassie fails to attend the Coronation Day party in the village, it is Molly who heads out in the rain to look for her.

But nothing can prepare Molly for what she is going to discover.

Now with Cassie gone and her six-year-old daughter Petal missing, it is up to Molly to head to London to uncover the past Cassie kept so well hidden.

But will Molly discover the truth before it's too late? Or has Petal disappeared forever?

My Review

Molly is one of the naive and sweetest characters I have read in a while, her friend Cassie is wild, is a single mother and prefers the company of men to women. When Cassie is found murdered and her child missing Molly can't let things go. The investigation fizzles out but Molly can't let go. Leaving home to get away from her abusive father, make a life for herself whilst still holding out hope of finding little Petal, Molly embarks on a journey that will force her to grow up and see the real dangers outside a little town.

As always, I do love Pearse's books, she brings the time period alive by highlighting either events happening at the time or bringing forth the attitudes and prejudices of that era. Molly is a great character, she is so innocent and despite having a stunting and hateful force in her home kind and trusting to all she meets. The book touches on violence, racism, homophobia, murder, some of the attitudes and issues reflected from that time period. The main focus of the story though is the journey and personal growth of Molly, a sweet and relatively sheltered girl who experiences things that shape and form the woman she becomes. In between that is the mystery of Cassie, who she was, what she ran from, her secrets, her child and life lessons that are still very applicable in this day and age.

The pace is possibly slow in parts for some readers as the book takes its time to reveal its secrets, with personal growth and character self discovery you do find it slower compared to murder/thriller. However Pearse creates characters you invest in and finds you turning page after page to find out what happens and, for me, to get Cassie's back story. Some parts may make for uncomfortable reading as Molly gets involved in a few dangerous or upsetting situations, reflective I felt of real life issues for a young woman alone. Otherwise another fabulous tale from this author, if you have read her before you know what you are getting. If this would be your first dance with this author she carves great tales with happiness, sadness and looks at characters from the best and worst sides of humanity, 4/5 for me this time.

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Sunday, 27 August 2017

Supporting our authors giveaway alert

Because bloggers aren't blaggers! Bloggers support authors in many different ways. Some will only post reviews of the books they loved & contact the publisher with feedback on the ones they didn't. I tend to be one of the bloggers who post all of my reviews, low and high star ratings as I think what one dislikes can be another persons love and snag the sale. I myself have bought a fair few books based on those low star reviews because the things they hated are a huge selling point for me and vice versa. Some will buy a copy or two of most review books they are sent, some buy ones they loved only, some buy finished copies for friends and or themselves, we all do our bit.

Being a blogger means we review books we have read and some of us are lucky and privileged to be sent copies to review and advanced reading copies of books before they are available to buy. I was sent an e copy of Run by the fabulous Mandasue Heller.

So, today I am doing a wee impromptu giveaway of a brand new paperback copy of Run, you can read my review HERE!

Mandasue is a great author, gritty crime and her novels are standalones so you can jump right in with her newest release. Her next book is due out December this year or January 2018, keep your eyes peeled for that one.

You can find Mandasue on Twitter @MandasueHeller or on Facebook, give her page a wee like CLICK HERE.

Here is Princess T posing with the prize. To be in with a chance of winning, as always, just use the Rafflecopter below, as always the more entries you complete the more times your name goes into the draw. Good luck, this comp is open to all.

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Friday, 25 August 2017

Villains by Dick Kirby

VillainsVillains by Dick Kirby
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - dipped in and out over 1 week

Pages - 309

Publisher - Constable & Robinson

Blurb from Goodreads

'Villains' introduces the reader to the bad, the mad and the dangerous to know, recounted by those who had intimate dealings with, both criminal and copper, London's underworld.

My Review

Not too sure what I was expecting when I picked this book up, a lot more of the Krays I think because they are on the front cover. There is one story about them and a brief mention of them in another. It is relatively short chapters and stories about real life gangsters and or criminals of that time period and shows how vastly different the police dealt with them compared to now.

Police corruption, some stomach churning acts of punishment from one criminal to others, bank robberies, murder, wheeling and dealing. Most names have been changed and the author talks about this at the beginning and the reason for it. If you are very clued up on your criminals of that era you may be able to work out who the real accounts are about, if like me you are not it still makes for very interesting reading.

True crime in bite sized chapters that you can dip in and out of as life allows. There are more out there by this author and I will read them as I come across them. Interesting if true crime is you thing, 3.5 stars for me this time.

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Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Blood Mother by Dreda Say Mitchell

Blood Mother (Flesh and Blood Trilogy #2)Blood Mother by Dreda Say Mitchell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Publisher - Hodder & Stoughton

Pages - 480

Blurb from Goodreads

Book 2 in a trilogy following one family over forty years on an East London estate, BLOOD MOTHER goes back to the 70s to tell the next story in the Flesh and Blood series, perfect for fans of Kimberley Chambers and Mandasue Heller.

Babs had all the world ahead of her, until she got pregnant and the father did a runner. Salvation comes in the form of a man who'll look after her. Or so she thinks. Stan Miller is really the devil in disguise... and over the next twenty years, Babs will have reason to regret she ever met him.

Starting in the 70s, BLOOD MOTHER is the second thrilling installment in the Flesh and Blood series, capturing a London that was very different from today but where some things still hold true: be careful what you wish for, and watch out for who you trust...

My Review

This is book two of a trilogy, book one looks at Bab's two kids growing up and their journey into adult hood. This book takes us back to the 1970s when Babs is just a slip of girl and spans over a few decades bringing us to the early 2000s. Babs is pregnant out of wedlock, if that isn't enough to rock the street, the father will shock and bring more grief for Babs. When she meets Stanley Miller he is the answer to all her prayers but nothing is ever free and Babs finds her actions and decisions have consequences that will haunt her and her children!

Ooooh you guys, this is a fabulous book. If you like skulduggery, lowlife characters, schemes, the grittier side of life you will absolutely love this one. You could get away with starting with this one however I would advise to read the first in the series so you get a better feel for the characters. With murder, prostitution, racism, secrets, lies, betrayal and loss the book covers a host of situations that will make some readers feel uncomfortable. It adds an air of authenticity to the depravity and level some folk find themselves when surrounded by poverty but also shows that even in the darkest of times and situations you have things that money cannot buy, friendship and loyalty.

If you enjoy Chambers and Heller then Mitchell is absolutely an author you need to sink your teeth into. Book three is out this week and I cannot wait to sink my teeth into it, highs and lows, sadness, love, laughter and darkness are just some of the themes that will take you on an emotional roller coaster with this one. 5/5 for me this time, I would have devoured it in a few hours if time had permitted, as it was I sunk it in under a day.

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Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Keep Me Safe by Daniela Sacerdoti

Keep Me Safe (Seal Island #1)Keep Me Safe by Daniela Sacerdoti
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 352

Publisher - Headline Review

Blurb from Goodreads

A lost girl shows a mother and her daughter their way home. Keep Me Safe is the much anticipated new novel from the author loved by over a million readers, Daniela Sacerdoti. Perfect for all fans of Nicholas Sparks and Cecelia Ahern. 'Beautifully written... I could almost hear the sea and the wind. A great book' Lesley Pearse

When Anna's partner walks away from their relationship, she is shattered. But it is her little girl Ava who takes it hardest of all. The six year old falls silent for three days. When she does speak, her words are troubling. Ava wants to go home. To a place called Seal. To her other mother.

Anna knows to unravel the mystery she must find Seal and take Ava there. She hopes this tiny island will unlock her daughter's memories. But could it also offer a new life... and unexpected love... for Anna too?

My Review

Anna wants to give her little girl the security and life she never had but when her partner leaves both her six year old Ava their world is turned upside down. Ava withdraws and seems to shut down for three days, when she comes out of it she is asking Anna for her mother. Anna is uneasy and confused, Ava talks about another family and home frequently getting upset. Eventually Anna takes Ava to this place in the hopes of settling the mystery and bringing her daughter some closure. The town is welcoming but Ava knows things, her memories of the place she has never visited are accurate and eerie. Bringing Ava to Seal will help Ava, some of the locals and maybe even bring some closure for Anna too?

This is a different wee book, atmospheric, hints of supernatural, a small close knit town, secrets, hurt, attraction and loss are only some of the themes covered. It is a busy wee book and some of the scenes set in Seal are so vivid you can hear the waves crashes and smell the thick sea air as the author draws you into Anna and Ava's world. A mother will do anything for her child and that is exactly what Anna sets out to do, no matter how outlandish the plan seems. There are a few questionable actions of some of the characters in the book and a few things I saw coming before they happened. Otherwise it is a lovely read with some splashes of sorrow and a few turns of fate to bring one broken family to another to find some answers and closure.

This is the first time I have read this author, I would certainly read more and would like to hear more about the other characters. The supernatural aspects would be great to have some more insight into and see how the characters develop, I will be looking out for book two which I believe is out next year. 3.5 stars for me this time, if you are looking for something with a bit of romance, mystery, intrigue, supernatural and family dramas I think you will greatly enjoy this one.

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Sunday, 13 August 2017

IT by Stephen King

ItIt by Stephen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - dipped in and out over 6 days

Pages - 912

Publisher - Hodder & Stoughton

Blurb from Amazon

To the children, the town was their whole world. To the adults, knowing better, Derry Maine was just their home town: familiar, well-ordered for the most part. A good place to live.

It is the children who see - and feel - what makes the small town of Derry so horribly different. In the storm drains, in the sewers, IT lurks, taking on the shape of every nightmare, each one's deepest dread. Sometimes IT reaches up, seizing, tearing, killing . . .

Time passes and the children grow up, move away and forget. Until they are called back, once more to confront IT as IT stirs and coils in the sullen depths of their memories, reaching up again to make their past nightmares a terrible present reality.

My Review

This is a re read for me, I read it as a kid (yes I had no place reading such a book at a young age but it began my love of reading and horror), re read it seven years ago and again in prep for the new movie. There is a killer in Derry Main, supernatural and targeting kids, killing them in vicious and terrifying ways. With the killing of young Georgie it kicks starts something IT (the monster) could never have foreseen. Georgie's brother Bill and his friends go on a journey of terror and with a beautiful childlike innocence to confront IT and make a pact for the future, if IT comes back they will too.

The book is split over two timelines, back in the 50s when it all first happens and in the 80s (present day) where the group are now adults and called upon from their pact they made when kids. The killer takes the form of many, Pennywise the clown being one of the most that we readers and fans of the movie know best. But IT has many forms and has gone unchallenged for a long long time. Bill, Ben, Eddie, Bev, Stan, Mike & Ritchie are brought together in friendship and fear to form the Losers Club, they are uniting against the local thug and unknowingly IT. A tale that covers so so much, yes it is a horror and yes there are some claustrophobic gut churning moments of absolute terror but there is also so much more. Friendship, loyalty, innocence, love, racism, marriage, violence, abuse, supernatural and that is just scratching the surface. I loved this book as a kid although I was caught up in the horror side of it. As an adult the other themes really stand out, the racism is horrific and really strong through a huge portion of the book.

I only got to read this in snippets as I have had work and other things on, but I found myself sitting at 3am not realizing how many hours had passed as you just get absorbed into the story. I know some folk have mixed views on how the book turns and wraps up, I think because this was pretty much one of the first books I ever read it will always have that power for me. Clowns are particularly frightening for so many folk, I never had issues with them but Pennywise is indeed something else. I have this book in hardback and ebook and it is absolutely a keeper for me, master King has long been one of my favourite authors and I still have a few of his I haven't gotten to yet. 5/5 for me this time, absolutely not for the faint hearted of easily offended and it is a huge book at almost 1000 pages, if you like King or horror I think you will love this one!

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Friday, 11 August 2017

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

The Couple Next DoorThe Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 304

Publisher - Bantam Press

Blurb from Goodreads

Fast-paced and addictive, THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR announces a major new talent in thriller writing.

You never know what's happening on the other side of the wall.

Your neighbour told you that she didn't want your six-month-old daughter at the dinner party. Nothing personal, she just couldn't stand her crying.

Your husband said it would be fine. After all, you only live next door. You'll have the baby monitor and you'll take it in turns to go back every half hour.

Your daughter was sleeping when you checked on her last. But now, as you race up the stairs in your deathly quiet house, your worst fears are realized. She's gone.

You've never had to call the police before. But now they're in your home, and who knows what they'll find there.

What would you be capable of, when pushed past your limit?

My Review

You are feeling unattractive, tired and your six month old baby is clearly not welcome at your beautiful thin bubbly neighbours dinner invite. Your husband wants to go and talks you into using a monitor and regular checks on the baby, you reluctantly agree. When you get home the door is open, the baby is gone and you have no idea how this could have happened. This is what happens to Anne, Marco her husband is beside himself. Anne is going to be judged, it is almost the McCann's happening in a small neighbourhood. The detective is checking up on everyone and we all have our secrets we want to keep!

Oooh this is a great page turner, we build up an atmosphere between Anne and her husband, her husband and flirty neighbour the beautiful Cynthia. The evening ends quickly and there in begins the real story, the baby is gone, the investigation begins. All of our characters have secrets, who doesn't as the police investigation continues we learn more about each character. I suspected everything and everyone but didn't really see where the story was going. A decent pace, lots of themes that I can't really specify without giving away parts of the story and I never do spoiler reviews.

It is a story that gets you thinking, how well do you know anyone around you, how easy your life can change with one bad decision. This was my first time reading this author, I would absolutely read her again, 4/5 for me this time.

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Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Library of the Dead by Glenn Cooper

Library of the Dead (Will Piper, #1)Library of the Dead by Glenn Cooper
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out over 3 days

Pages - 410

Publisher - Arrow

Blurb from Goodreads

The most shocking secret in the history of mankind is about to be revealed...A murderer is on the loose on the streets of New York City: nicknamed the Doomsday Killer, he's claimed six victims in just two weeks, and the city is terrified. Even worse, the police are mystified: the victims have nothing in common, defying all profiling, and all that connects them is that each received a sick postcard in the mail before they died - a postcard that announced their date of death. In desperation, the FBI assigns the case to maverick agent Will Piper, once the most accomplished serial killing expert in the bureau's history, now on a dissolute spiral to retirement. Battling his own demons, Will is soon drawn back into a world he both loves and hates, determined to catch the killer whatever it takes. But his search takes him in a direction he could never have predicted, uncovering a shocking secret that has been closely guarded for centuries. A secret that once lay buried in an underground library beneath an 8th Century monastery, but which has now been unearthed - with deadly consequences. A select few defend the secret of the library with their lives - and as Will closes in on the truth, they are determined to stop him, at any cost...

My Review

We open in 2009 in New York City, someone is killing people and if not for the calling card the murders would not be linked, they are so different in their nature and victimology. Will Piper is called onto the case, a serial killer expert however he is a loose canon himself with many personal issues but he is the best hope the team has. With a timeline that jumps around, visiting a time period approximately 1200 years ago and back and forth to present day.

So a wee heads up, the detective and main character has a bit of an attitude on him and I think some folk may be offended by his interactions and thoughts towards his female partner. There is quite a bit of swearing throughout and one particularly harrowing scene with the brutal death of a baby. This is not a spoiler but I feel, knowing how some folk can't read certain acts of violence toward children or sexual aggression toward adults, a heads up is required as both happen.

The killer sends a postcard with a coffin and date to the victims and within a day or two of or on that date they die. Each in very different circumstances and each equally brutal, the police are baffled as to how the killer is doing this. The investigation begins and Will does his thing no matter who or what gets in his way. We get a look into Will's personal life as well as the police procedures although this isn't the heart of the book.

It is certainly different to any other serial killer books, I believe this is the first of a series and whilst I would read the others that follow I won't be rushing out to track them down. 3/5 for me this time it will be interesting to see what the future has in store next for Will Piper.

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Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Monster In The Closet by Karen Rose

Monster in the Closet (Romantic Suspense, #19; Baltimore, #5)Monster in the Closet by Karen Rose
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 448

Publisher - Headline

Blurb from Goodreads

The Sunday Times bestselling author of Every Dark Corner returns with an exclusive novel celebrating ten years of Karen Rose's thrillers in the UK. MONSTER IN THE CLOSET reunites readers with characters from Karen Rose's bestselling Baltimore series.

A mother is dead, and now her killer hunts the child that witnessed the brutal crime...

Private Investigator Clay Maynard locates missing children for clients, but has nearly given up hope of finding his own daughter, cruelly stolen from him by his ex-wife twenty-three years ago.

Equine therapist Taylor Dawson has chosen to intern at Daphne Montgomery-Carter's stables so that she can observe the program's security director - her father, Clay Maynard. Trying to reconcile the wonderful man she's getting to know with the monster her mother always described, Taylor never expects to become the target of a real monster, the man who murdered the mother of the little girls she works with at the stable. Neither does she expect to fall for Ford Elkhart, Daphne's handsome son, who is dealing with his own demons. As family and friends gather for a wedding, Taylor starts to imagine a permanent life in Baltimore.

But not if the real monster gets to her first...

My Review

Taylor Dawson has gotten herself a position at a horse therapist stables where they help to treat children who have been victims. Taylor has ulterior motives, she is checking up on her father, a man she has ran from her whole life and been terrified from. Until, on her death bed, her mother gave her a confession of sorts and Taylor has to find out the truth about her biological father. The clients of the program are often traumatised and or at risk, Taylor meets one such child and finds herself the target of a madman and putting those around her at risk too.

So some of the characters in the book are part of another series and this one is book five, I haven't read all of the previous books and the ones I have haven't been in order. I think you can get away with picking this up and reading it as a standalone as it gives you enough info to get the jist of the background characters. I would advise though if you are reading or planning to read the others I would read them first as there are spoilers in this one.

The book features murder, relationships, secrets, lies and as is Rose's signature there is some lust, petting and sex or sexual thoughts. There is a fair amount of violence also and the pace is fast as we have a brutal murder from the first chapter and it kicks off from there. A cat and mouse game played between one psychotic criminal and those trying to protect an innocent, a budding attraction with a host of emotions, dilemmas, dangerous situations and how a close knit family pull together. I have read Rose before and I will read her again, 4/5 for me with this page turner.

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Sunday, 6 August 2017

Happy birthday to me

Today is my birthday, I am just home after gallivanting around - I went to Amsterdam with the girls and then off for two nights with my o/h around Scotland.

The buildings in Amsterdam are beautiful, some squint and tipped forward, apparently this is because they use pulleys to get heavy goods up to the flats and by tilting the buildings they reduce the risk of damage to the building and furniture.

I found a few bookstores there but only one that sold books printed in English, I ended up buying three, I was restricted as I only had hand luggage with me. I bought The Fireman by Joe Hill, The Rivals of Dracula by Nick Rennison and Ghost Road Blues by Jonathan Maberry.

The view from the plane was stunning.

Then driving around Scotland for a wee road trip with the o/h. There was some stunning views, I took my wee TripFiction postcards with us. If you haven't heard of them please check out their website HERE. TripFiction matches up readers to books by locations, it is such a great idea and they have a FB/Twitter account and do giveaways.

This one was in Loch Long

This one was in Amsterdam

We stayed overnight in Oban and I found a Waterstones, they had some great book displays out, the new Rebus book by Ian Rankin with the crime scene tape, small things can be so eye catching. I tweeted the piccy to Rankin, I think authors must miss so much stuff and I love things like that and I am just a reader.

I also bought some wee bits and bobs from Waterstones, I had been given money for my birthday and saw some bookmarks, who can resist. I also found a Star Glider, you remember those Styrofoam aeroplanes from the 80s? If not see the picture, this is a mini one and I thought Princess Trixie (the kitty cat) may enjoy it. Wonderwoman magnetic bookmarks and a wee metal one with my initial. I think I did pretty well not to buy any books, o/h pointed out buying a book would have been cheaper, just no pleasing the non book geeks!

I spent the last night in a deep bubble bath with my book relaxing and then we traveled home today, stopping off at a castle where we found a birds nest with four babies in it, you can find loads of piccys from the trips on my Instagram, click HERE.

So after all that travelling tonight is chill, I am re reading IT by Stephen King and finally got a reason to break out the new bookmark to match it. My book is one of the older ones, 1987 I believe and published by BCA Hodder & Stoughton. I wanted to reacquaint with the book before the movie comes out, I have re watched the old one, love Tim Curry as Pennywise, totally freaks you out. Hope you guys are having a great night and chilled Sunday.

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