Sunday, 9 December 2018

The Last Witness by Denzil Meyrick

The Last Witness (DCI Daley #2)The Last Witness by Denzil Meyrick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out over 3 days

Pages - 320

Publisher - Polygon

Source - Waterstones

Blurb from Goodreads

James Machie was a man with a genius for violence, his criminal empire spreading beyond Glasgow into the UK and mainland Europe. Fortunately, James Machie is dead, assassinated in the back of a prison ambulance following his trial and conviction.

But now, five years later, he is apparently back from the grave, set on avenging himself on those who brought him down. Top of his list is his previous associate, Frank MacDougall, who unbeknownst to D.C.I. Jim Daley, is living under protection on his lochside patch, the small Scottish town of Kinloch. Daley knows that, having been the key to Machie’s conviction, his old friend and colleague D.S. Scott is almost as big a target. And nothing, not even death, has ever stood in James Machie’s way.

My Review

James Machie was one of the most brutal criminals Daley and Scott had to deal with before he was killed. Now it seems the impossible has happened, Machie is back, he is on a killing mission and has no problems hiding it. The police are freaked out, the people that betrayed him know he is coming for them but how do you defend yourself against a ghost?

A brutal killing opens the book, a few years later someone in witness protection/relocation is horrifically killed. The killer happy to show his face has the cops confused, weirded out and knowing it can't be him, can it? The hunt is on for the killer, the police have to move quickly before the killer gets to his targets. He is taunting them and the chase is on, who will die next and how is the killer back from the dead?

I do enjoy Meyricks writing, the characters are great and love or hate them you want to know what is coming next. As well as the killer and threat to the officers lives we have the politics within the police ranks and Daley's personal life and woes. Sometimes when you have the personal aspect as well as the crimes it can be frustrating or dull, not so with Daley. I always want to know what is coming next for him, he is such a decent guy and you are always rooting for the team. The book as with the first one has some Scottish humour in the way the team/locals interact which I love, it is true to life in the way small communities are with their own and if you don't laugh it will minimally draw a smile from you. I have all the other books to read and cannot wait to see what is coming next 4.5/5 for me this time.

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Wednesday, 5 December 2018

A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult

A Spark of LightA Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - over 2 days

Pages - 352

Publisher - Ballantine Books

Source - Watersones (I think)

Blurb from Goodreads

The warm fall day starts like any other at the Center—a women’s reproductive health services clinic—its staff offering care to anyone who passes through its doors. Then, in late morning, a desperate and distraught gunman bursts in and opens fire, taking all inside hostage.

After rushing to the scene, Hugh McElroy, a police hostage negotiator, sets up a perimeter and begins making a plan to communicate with the gunman. As his phone vibrates with incoming text messages he glances at it and, to his horror, finds out that his fifteen-year-old daughter, Wren, is inside the clinic.

But Wren is not alone. She will share the next and tensest few hours of her young life with a cast of unforgettable characters: A nurse who calms her own panic in order save the life of a wounded woman. A doctor who does his work not in spite of his faith but because of it, and who will find that faith tested as never before. A pro-life protester disguised as a patient, who now stands in the cross hairs of the same rage she herself has felt. A young woman who has come to terminate her pregnancy. And the disturbed individual himself, vowing to be heard.

Told in a daring and enthralling narrative structure that counts backward through the hours of the standoff, this is a story that traces its way back to what brought each of these very different individuals to the same place on this fateful day.

My Review

We open at five pm, in The Center, a place for women's reproductive health (among other things) and very much known for the place where abortions take place. It has seen many things, every day it encounters the protesters, today is different, today we have a gun man, a hostage situation and it is late in the day. Wren is fifteen and contemplating death/dying, something before today had not been in her priorities or mind. We meet George Goddard - the gun man, Hugh McElroy - the negotiator, Janine, Izzy, Bex, Louie Ward, Olive, Joy, Harriet & Vonita - all characters who have been in The Center or are when the gun man changes everyone's lives.

The story has no chapters, we have time stamps as we go back and forth on the day but also prior to the day as we get some back story on the characters. It took me a wee bit to settle to this format, Picoult is a great writer and she does make it work but it did take a bit of getting used to and distracting at some parts. The story captures the reader very quickly as we know from the offset the situation and as we delve in we get a bit more info of the characters and what has transpired prior to five pm.

You know from the blurb abortion features in the book, it is the centre of the attack. I don't think I was prepared for the detail of the abortion parts, I just didn't think it would be as graphic. It isn't a huge part of the book but the parts it does feature it is explicit and I had to put the book down for a wee bit and go back to it so just an FYI for anyone picking it up.

There are so many themes to this one, Picoult always does a great job highlighting prejudices, judging people and showing different sides of the coin. It is a book that gives food for thought and will push on some of the emotive feels for most if not all readers. This is not a book for the faint hearted, anything featuring abortion and extremism, double standards, murder will always evoke strong emotions. It also looks at families, relationships, what leads people to abortion, actions and consequences, life, death, love - it has a lot going on! I always enjoy Picoult books, she has a way of getting under the readers skin and making them question their own opinions/judgements. I felt the ending came to quick and I was left a big hanging and whilst it isn't on any major things I just like to know everything, 3.5/5 for me this time. I have read Picoult before and have a few of hers on my tbrm, I think this will be a marmite book and certainly controversial

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Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Bait, Grist & Security by Mike Hodges Blog Tour

Today I am the final stop, closing the blog tour, for Bait, Grist & Security by Mike Hodges. If you didn't catch the previous tour stops please check them out as everyone has different content so worth checking out.

Bait, Grist & Security is available to buy on amazon, ebook and treebook format, CLICK HERE to order yours.

About the author: Mike Hodges


Mike Hodges was born in Bristol, UK. As a television producer in the 1960s, he was invited to join the investigative programme World in Action. This took him to the US, covering the 1964 presidential election, and that same year to the war in Vietnam. He produced and sometimes directed the arts programmes Tempo and New Tempo. He is perhaps best-known for his work in cinema and television, including: Get Carter, Suspect, Rumour, The Manipulators, Pulp, The Terminal Man, Flash Gordon, A Prayer for the Dying, Morons from Outer Space, Florida Straits, Black Rainbow, Croupier, and I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead. He lives in London. This is his first book.

Mike Hodges is the director of the 1970s crime classic Get Carter, which is widely considered one of the greatest British films of all time. These novellas are marked by the same combination of style, grit and deadpan humour that have attracted a cult following to his films. For fans of Derek Raymond (He Died With His Eyes Open), Andrei Kurkov’s Death and the Penguin and Martin McDonagh’s film In Bruges, as well as classic American noir in the vein of Raymond Chandler and James Ellroy.

I have a wee extract from chapter two for you:


Early that same night, the last train had arrived on time. At exactly
21.36. The two carriages, all that remained of the express from London, are shunted backwards to the deserted platform.
Ayling-on-Sea is at the end of the line.
Water gushes through a hole in the station roof. A solitary passenger alights, slamming the door shut. He notes the rain splattering the platform, puts down his tattered suitcase, and slips a finger into the galosh that’s become dislodged. Opening a black umbrella, he proceeds to the unmanned ticket barrier.

Outside, a sign indicates a vacant taxi rank. The passenger moves to the courtesy phone housed under a plastic hood and picks up the receiver.
The line is dead.

Cussing, he starts his walk into town.

* The Journey’s End boarding house is at the unfashionable end of the esplanade. A ‘Vacancies’ placard dangles seductively between the frilly curtains of the front room. The passenger lowers his umbrella to study a scrap of paper before pressing the bell. The red and yellow sunrise pattern of the glass front door is abruptly illuminated as a figure comes to open it.

The passenger steps back to fully appreciate the woman standing before him. ‘Mrs Westby?’
‘Mr Snazell?

‘That’s me.’
‘En suite for one night?’
‘Correct,’ he looks her over. Enough curves to drive a man crazy. ‘Although the view’s so good I may stay longer.’
Snazell eases himself past Mrs Westby’s buffer breasts into the small hallway, his eyes fixed on her white silk blouse and the black ruched brassiere peeping out from behind a wayward button. Lewdness is an essential ingredient in Sandra Westby’s life. She enjoys being an object of male desire. Her glistening blood-red lips shape themselves around each word before finally setting it free.

‘You’re my only guest tonight.’ ‘One-on-one. Great.’
‘Choose a room between 1 and 15.’ ‘69.’
‘Don’t be saucy now. I’ll put you in 13.’ ‘13 – that’s my lucky number.’
‘I’ll put you in 7 then.’
She plucks a key off a board behind the small counter and starts up the stairs. Snazell follows, his attention alternating between her arse rotating inside a tight silk skirt and the immaculately straight seams of her black stockings. Reaching the second landing, she opens Room 7 and switches on the light. Snazell steps inside the small room. He immediately pumps the mattress, appreciatively.

‘Very nice. Nice and hard. The way I like it.’ He sits on it and bounces a couple of times. ‘Bet this bed could tell a few stories.’
‘Only cries and groans,’ replies Mrs Westby. ‘Of eternal love?’
‘I wouldn’t go that far, Mr Snazell.’ ‘Hanky-panky?’
‘That’s more like it.’
She sighs as she shuts the door then opens it again. ‘The bar will be open for aperitifs in half an hour.’
Left alone Snazell snaps open his suitcase. Lifting out several pairs of thermal underwear and woollen pyjamas, he reveals the tools of his trade: binoculars, bugging equipment, and a Smith & Wesson .32 automatic with silencer.

Monday, 3 December 2018

Urbane Extravaganza The House on Downshire Hill by Guy Fraser-Sampson Blog Tour

Today I am on the Urbane Publications Extravaganza - invited by the lovely Kelly over at #LOVEBOOKSGROUPTOURS - please check her out guys, click here. My featured book is The House on Downshire Hill by Guy Fraser-Sampson

Blurb for the book:

'An enticing blend of elegance and darkness ... of which the finest Golden Age writers would have been proud.' - Nicola Upson, bestselling author of the Josephine Tey series

When a wealthy recluse is reported missing from his home, a shocking discovery sparks a homicide investigation which begins to lead the team from Hampstead CID in some very unexpected directions.

What has happened to the man's family? Who is the mysterious character with whom he appears to have been sharing his house? Do transgressions from the past have a bearing on crimes of the present day?

In this, the fifth volume of the Hampstead Murders, we see a murder enquiry once more playing out against a shifting background of police politics and personal tribulations. Again, the beautiful London village of Hampstead with its Georgian terraces and stuccoed villas provides an unlikely setting for events which show only too clearly the dark and ugly side of human nature.

You can buy it on kindle or treebook format, click here


Guy Fraser-Sampson is an established writer, previously best known for his ‘Mapp and Lucia’ novels, which have been featured on BBC Radio 4 and optioned by BBC television. His first three books of detective fiction, Death in Profile, Miss Christie Regrets and A Whiff of Cyanide, have drawn high praise from fellow crime writers as well as from readers on both sides of the Atlantic. Book 4, A Death in the Night, was published in November 2017 by Urbane Publications.

The House on Downshire Hill publishes at the end of 2018

Urbane Twitter @UrbaneBooks

Lovebooksgroup Twitter @LoveBooksGroup

Guy Fraser Sampson Twitter @GuyFSAuthor

I have a wee extract for you - chapter 1, enjoy!

Detective Inspector Bob Metcalfe had various reasons to be cheerful as he made his way from Frognal towards Hampstead police station. First, as he took the small footpath beside the former residence of Gracie Fields which led past the graveyard and up into Church Row the sun, which had been attempting to break through some rather hazy clouds, finally did so. After the grey, damp weather of the previous few days this marked a welcome change.

Second, he and the rest of the team had recently received favourable comments from the powers that be at Scotland Yard for successfully concluding an investigation into a suspicious death at an exclusive club for female university graduates. This meant a few days of quiet as they waited for assignment to a new enquiry, and having a respite from the long hours and intense efforts which normally attended a homicide investigation was always agreeable. Last, and by no means least, he had recently become engaged to be married, a development which even a few months ago would have seemed extremely unlikely given the highs and lows (mostly lows, to be honest) of his personal life.

He crossed Fitzjohns Avenue, one of the two main roads which meet at the top of the hill by Hampstead tube station, and cut down Perrin's Court which brought him swiftly to the second, Rosslyn Hill. From here it was a right turn and a walk down the hill to the police station, passing the King William IV pub, commonly known as 'the Willy', where he and his colleagues had been known to take a modest drink or two after work. He stayed on this side of the road as he progressed down the hill, since it kept him away from the window shoppers and aggressive pram wielders who tended to clog the other pavement. He crossed the road at the zebra crossing and completed his brief but agreeable walk to work.

The desk Sergeant said "good morning, sir."

Since he would normally have used the informal 'guv' Metcalfe looked at him sharply, for they had been uniformed constables together, and it was always difficult to know whether someone was 'extracting the Michael' as DCI Tom Allen would have said. He wondered if this newfound formality was for the benefit of a trainee constable who had started work a few days previously, but a subtle jerk of the sergeant's head indicated the presence of Detective Superintendent Collison, who was leafing through some papers away in the corner of the room in a rather desultory fashion. As he dropped them back into the tray he caught sight of Metcalfe.

"Morning, Bob."

"Good morning, guv. Anything happening?" "No, not really."

"Excuse me, sir," the desk Sergeant said diffidently, "but there is that missing person's report."

"Yes, I was just looking at that. Is there anything to it, do you think? It all seems a bit tenuous."

"I saw the lady when she came in, sir. I'd say she was genuinely upset. Shall I ask someone from uniform to call on her? It's only just round the corner after all."

"No," Collison said after deliberating for a moment. "On reflection I think you're right. Let's do the job properly and send somebody from CID. Who's free, Bob?"

"Just about everybody at the moment, guv. What about Priya?"

"Okay then. Have that sent up to DC Desai, will you please, Sergeant?"

"So how are the wedding plans coming along then?" Collison asked as they walked up the stairs together.

"Oh, quietly you know. We haven't even set a date yet. It's all been a bit sudden to be honest. I'm still trying to get used to the idea."

"No second thoughts I hope?"

"Absolutely not, no."

"Good. Lisa seems like a really nice girl."

They walked past the door to the operations room, currently eerily empty since the conclusion of their most recent case.

"Now, let's see, where is Priya? I think she's sharing an office with Timothy isn't she?"

He knocked briefly at the next door they came to and poked his head into the room. Timothy Evans was eating a large pastry, much of which he seemed to have spread across his desk. Priya Desai was watching him and trying to look disapproving. Priya never had to try very hard to look disapproving.

"Priya, do you have much on at the moment?"

"No, sir, just getting rid of the last of the filing actually."

"Good. I was just taking a look at some papers downstairs and I came across a missing person's report which was filed yesterday. Because it doesn't deal with a child it wasn't treated as a matter of urgency. There's also some doubt about whether it actually discloses anything sinister. Apparently some lady hasn't been able to contact one of her neighbours for a while. Do you think you might be able to pop round and have a word with her? It's only just round the corner in Downshire Hill."

"Yes of course, guv. It'll be nice to get out of the station."

As she said this she cast a pointed glance at the snowfield of sugar and crumbs on her colleague's desk.

"Good. I've asked the desk Sergeant to send up the report. Ah, here it is I believe. That was quick. Thank you, Constable." He stood aside to let the trainee constable hand an internal brown envelope to Desai.

"Report back to DI Metcalfe, will you? Depending on how you see things, we'll decide whether to take things further or not."

Where a missing person's report concerned neither a child nor a vulnerable adult the police had a wide measure of discretion as to how seriously or urgently to press their enquiries. Where the concern expressed amounted to little more than an elderly neighbour not answering the door, usually a visit from uniform was enough. There was hardly a serving officer in the Metropolitan police who had not, as a young constable, forced entry to a house to discover the natural death of its occupant. DCI Tom Allen, who delighted in regaling younger officers with the gory details of his early career, had a fund of such stories, including his pièce de résistance which concerned an elderly man who had died over a year previously and whose body had been largely mummified by the cool breeze from an open window.

Metcalfe ducked into his own office while Collison continued along the corridor. He was feeling at least as much at a loose end as the rest of the team, but was trying very hard not to show it. An old university friend who now worked at an investment bank had described to him over dinner the unnatural calm which descended on a corporate finance department once a deal completed. He had explained how everyone took the opportunity to schedule anything from a weekend away to a dental appointment as quickly as possible, since they all knew it was only a matter of time before the next merger or equity issue arrived on their desks from one of the rainmakers on the directors' floor upstairs. He had reflected at the time that this sounded pretty similar to what CID went through when a homicide investigation closed down. He couldn't quite decide whether it felt like the beginning of term, or the end.

One of the doors he passed was open, and he saw Detective Sergeant Karen Willis putting a file into her out tray. Presumably she, like Desai, was just tying up the few loose ends which remained in documenting the Athena Club case. She looked up at him and smiled, tossing her dark hair back as she did so.

"Good morning, guv."

"Good morning, Karen. How are you? And how's Peter?" "We're both fine, thank you."

Karen's boyfriend was Dr Peter Collins, who had for some time been an official psychological adviser to the Met, and whose skills Collison had used extensively since he had first come to Hampstead as a Detective Superintendent.

"That's good," he replied and then wondered what to say next.

"It feels strange, doesn't it?" she asked. "I suppose it always does, but I went on leave the last couple of times so it didn't really hit me the way it has now. I don't think I'll ever get used to being completely committed to a big case one day, and it suddenly all being declared over the next. It's a sort of flat feeling, isn't it? I suppose it might have something to do with stress, and adrenaline, and all that sort of thing."

"Yes, I suppose so. Still, if history's anything to go by we won't have long to wait for something else to crop up, so I should make the most of it if I were you."

"Good, then I shall."

"Actually, while I'm here, there's something I wanted to talk to you about."

He came in and closed the door behind him.

"This is all very speculative, but every time I see the ACC he seems to have some new idea about my future. As you know, all I really want to do is to stay here and get on with solving crimes, but he seems to see things rather differently." "That's hardly surprising is it, guv? You've been marked out as a high-flyer, everyone knows that. They're grooming you for a top job, perhaps the top job. They'll want you to be sitting on committees, briefing civil servants, that sort of thing."

"You're right of course, but I wish you weren't. It's all very flattering being apparently held in high regard by the ACC but I'd much rather just take my chances like everyone else."

"How do you mean?"

"Well, other officers are going to see me being promoted ahead of them and they're likely to resent it, aren't they? It's only human nature."

"I would have thought you'd be used to that by now, guv. Wasn't that an issue when you first came here to Hampstead?"

"You know it was. And it put me under a lot of extra pressure, I don't mind admitting. If we hadn't been able to crack that first case it would have been extremely embarrassing – not just for me, but for the ACC as well."

"Well, you did crack it. So what's the problem?" Collison gave a wry smile.

"Why is it you sound like my wife so often?" "How is Caroline? And the baby?"

"They're both very well thank you, but listen: this is what I wanted to talk to about."

He sat down, glanced out of the window to marshal his thoughts, and then went on.

"I said that the ACC seems to have lots of different ideas about my future career. Well, that's true, but there's one that he keeps coming back to and it involves quite a senior post with Special Branch."

"Well, that wouldn't be as bad as sitting on a committee now, would it? And the branch is a traditional route to the very top, as I understand it. Didn't the present Commissioner used to be Commander there?"

"Yes he did, as everyone keeps reminding me. But here's the thing. As a sweetener, he's suggested once or twice that I might be able to take either you or Bob with me. How would you feel about that? It would mean a promotion, I assume."

"I'm very flattered, guv, but why are you asking me? Bob is a much more experienced officer."

Collison shifted awkwardly on the chair.

"Bob's got a natural leg up coming here as a DCI on homicide. He's overdue for it in my view, as I've told the ACC repeatedly. That's not true of you. If you wanted it, I think this could be a great opportunity for you. Like I say, I think if I press them they might make you a DI immediately."

"Have you had this conversation with Bob?" she asked quietly.

"No, I haven't. To be perfectly honest I think you would be my number one choice. That's why I wanted to hear your reaction first. Bob's a great copper and he knows his way around a homicide enquiry with his eyes shut, but the branch is different. It needs a flexible, imaginative approach, and I don't think that would be playing to his strengths. Also, he's a really nice bloke and that might not be a good fit with what goes on at the branch."

"What does go on?"

"Well I can't be sure, but don't forget I got quite involved with them over that business at Burgh House. So I know some of the things that went on, and I can guess at others. Let's just say that once you move into the security world you need a rather different perspective on things. You need to be able to do things because you're comfortable that they're in the national interest without worrying too much about the ethics of it all."

"And you think that I could do that? I'm not sure whether to be flattered or not."

"I'm sorry, I don't think I'm putting this very well am I?"

"No, I see exactly where you're coming from, guv, and I think you're right to be concerned. I'm not sure how I'd handle that, to be honest. If this ever becomes a serious enquiry then I'd need some time to think about it." Collison gave a little laugh.

"That's exactly what I've been telling the ACC for the last six months or so."

Saturday, 1 December 2018

Happy December 1st - Seasonal Giveaway

Christmas can be such a hard time for so many of us for a variety of reasons. I try and always enjoy December to the max, I remember loved ones who loved the holiday. I put my decorations up 12 days before and down 12 days after (a tradition we grew up with). From December 1st I crack out my themed holiday clothes, Trixie isn't always as happy.

So I have chosen my first season read (I often try and read books relevant to a theme if there is one on that month, ie February romance books, October scary). I was on the blog tour for this one and heard so much good about it, plus how cute/festive is the cover (mine is a hardback).

I love RAK (Random Acts of Kindness) as you will know if you follow the blog or any of the blog accounts - Instagram Facebook Twitter I often do additional giveaways as well as the monthly giveaway. I was so lucky to get a copy of this beautiful book to review and as it is Christmas themed I feel a wee giving something back would be lovely. So, my RAK is for an Amazon voucher to buy the kindle version of A Christmas Gift. I am only going to leave it open for 1 week so the winner has it in plenty of time for Christmas. This will be UK only as it is an Amazon Voucher but for my international followers I will be having a themed giveaway that I will open worldwide.

This will be my first time reading this author but as I said I have heard so much good about it I can't wait to get stuck in. It has been a busy day so hoping to curl up with miss paws and the book tonight. Good luck if entering, as always use Rafflecopter to enter, the more entries you complete the more times your name goes in the draw. Please only complete the ones you are carrying out, sadly the last two comps have had people disqualified for claiming entries they haven't done! Feel free to share the comp and as always thanks so much for supporting the blog, commenting, emailing and spreading the book love.

P.s how cute is my wee lantern. My o/h bought me it last year or the year before, I love it so much I keep it out all year long <3

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Within The Silence by Nicola Avery Blog Tour

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Within the Silence by Nicola Avery, please check out the other stops on the tour.

I have a wee guest post from Nicola, enjoy.

I’ve always felt that I’ve done certain things before. Or knew things about places or properties I’d only just visited. Even felt instant connections, good and bad, to people I’d just met. This feeling could at times be very overwhelming and emotional. I also have no explanation for my desperate need to travel to Australia, where I lived for over ten years. I remember landing in Sydney, after an extensive trip through other countries, and announcing that ‘I was home’! Such a strange and powerful connection.

In my late twenties I returned back to the UK for a wedding. Whilst here I accompanied my parents to visit a small village in Sussex. Here I walked past an overgrown entrance to a driveway with a side view of a property. Against all advice I strode up this driveway to the house, now completely abandoned, the paint on the side entrance door chipped and faded, the windows curtain less, the garden out of control. On the main lawn I stood and faced this house, and knew it. Somewhere in my psyche I remembered and loved this building. So powerful were the emotions I even suggested coming back from Australia and living there if my father would buy it! He didn’t. When I returned back to Australia, photos of this abandoned property were put amongst my trip photos, no explanation could be found for my need to have these in the wedding trip album.

Five years later I received a letter from the UK in which contained a photo depicting that same house, with its name, a hay stack in the field beside the property with 3 young children dressed in Edwardian clothes. The photo had been in my dead grandmother’s personal collection.

When I came home to England, some five years later, I investigated my family tree, discovering that the property had once been rented by a member of my descendants back in 1780.

This was all too coincidental and, as a result, I decided to study and understand the concept of previous existences, testing myself where possible with my heightened intuition around this area. I have now mapped out most of the properties in the surrounding areas, and know names of those that lived there during this period and the relationship to one side of my family.

This fascination led me later to further investigations, guiding me to Glastonbury where I underwent a professional past life recall – the results were astounding. Still not convinced, but definitely intrigued, I later studied hypnotherapy and past life therapy myself, in an attempt to further understand the techniques and findings. After qualifying I provided past life therapy to a number of individuals and had the privilege to share some extraordinary stories and sessions with them.

Do I believe myself? Well I can’t verify everything as proven, but I can still astound a number of individuals with my knowledge of things, I couldn’t possibly know.

Within the Silence by Nicola Avery is published on 22nd November, you can buy yours now, CLICK HERE.

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

The Collector by Fiona Cummins

The Collector (The Bone Collector, #2)The Collector by Fiona Cummins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - < than 1 day

Pages - 400

Publisher - MacMillan

Source - Fellow book worm

Blurb from Goodreads

The Collector by Fiona Cummins is the gripping sequel to Rattle.

Jakey escaped with his life and moved to a new town. His rescue was a miracle but his parents know that the Collector is still out there, watching, waiting…

Clara, the girl he left behind, is clinging to the hope that someone will come and save her.

Life has fallen apart for Clara's mother as she starts to lose hope.

The Bone Collector has a new apprentice to take over his family's legacy. But he can't forget the boy who got away and the detective who had destroyed his dreams.

Detective Etta Fitzroy's life collapsed when the Collector escaped. With Clara still missing, and a new wave of uncannily similar murders beginning, will she be able to find him again?

The Collector is back and this time he has nothing to lose . . .

My Review

First if you haven't read the first book, "Rattle" I suggest you do otherwise you have missed so much of the back story. This is the sequel and we have the same characters from the first book, the Bone Collector isn't happy he has lost all of his collection and is looking for the one who got away. He needs an apprentice, he needs new specimens and he knows exactly who and what he wants, nothing will stop him this time! On the other side is the officer who tangled with the collector and can't settle knowing he is still out there. What follows is a race against time, a cat and mouse game, who will survive?

We open with a news article covering the wee girl who went missing, then skip to young Saul, a troubled kid who has to look after his alcohol dependent mother, keep face with his friends and deal with his emotions. Someone is watching Saul and has great plans for him. Detective Etta Fitzroy's still picking up the pieces from her losses on the Bone Collector case, starting to rebuild her life when the past reaches out, the game is on.

Saul is a huge part of the story, Etta actually doesn't play a huge part. We get a microscopic look into Saul's life, follow the Bone Collector in his quest, snapshots with Etta and little Clara Foyle's mother as she struggles to accept her daughter is gone. The story grips the reader from pretty much the opening chapter because we have had the back story (so again if you haven't read Rattle please check it out) and we need to see what comes next. I love getting a story where you follow the bad guy and their plans/skulduggery. I am looking forward to the next from this author, 4/5 for me this time!

View all my reviews

Monday, 26 November 2018

According to Yes by Dawn French

According to YesAccording to Yes by Dawn French
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 352

Publisher - Michael Joseph

Source - Poundshop

Blurb from Goodreads

The Foreign Land of the Very Wealthy - otherwise known as Manhattan's Upper East Side - has its own rigid code of behaviour. It's a code strictly adhered to by the Wilder-Bingham family.

Emotional displays - unacceptable.

Unruly behaviour - definitely not welcome.

Fun - no thanks.

This is Glenn Wilder-Bingham's kingdom. A beautifully displayed impeccably edited fortress of restraint.

So when Rosie Kitto, an eccentric thirty-eight-year-old primary school teacher from England, bounces into their lives with a secret sorrow and a heart as big as the city, nobody realises that she hasn't read the rule book.

For the Wilder-Bingham family, whose lives begin to unravel thread by thread, the consequences are explosive. Because after a lifetime of saying no, what happens when everyone starts saying . . . yes?

My Review

Rosie Kitto has left England and bagged herself a job looked after two wee boys from a very rich family whilst their parents are mid divorce. Rosies employer is Glen Wilder, not a hair out of place, she is very conservative, cold, her home, her grand children, her rules. Rosie could not be anymore different, eccentric, embracing life, emotions and trying to work through things she has ran from in England. America has a lot to offer for Rosie but Rosie has much more to offer this family, the power of letting go and saying yes.

Let me start by saying I loved how this started, think a non magical Mary Poppins, Rosie is the breath of fresh air this family needs. The grandmother Glen doesn't do emotion, affection or letting go, Rosie is all about living in the moment, praising the children, encouraging the kids to embrace who they are and showing them with affection. She challenges Glen's rule and the males of the family respond positively. As Rosie moves in she teaches them all how to interact, how to say yes, and finds herself learning what causes the family to be the way they are.

So she is fun loving and I really liked how she broke down the boundaries without being a bitch, she was so good with the kids and just brought life to the family. However the book then took a turn that I didn't see coming, I didn't really get the point of and it just ruined it a wee bit for me. Sex in a book is never an issue, I have read 50 shades but I just felt was it really required in this story and how it comes about. Maybe one or two scenes ok I got but the other parts just, for me, seemed to come from no where and it took away from the book.

Her relationship with Glen, if you can call it that also flipped a wee bit and I was a bit like really? Like I get what the author was going for and one part I thought ah fair enough but other parts I just couldn't fathom. I am absolutely in the minority as so many seemed to love this book and I didn't hate it at all. I just struggled to get my head around Rosie's choices/behaviour because she was so fun loving and focused on the job/bairns then it took a total sweep in direction. I also felt some of the issues covered in the book weren't given as much attention, scope, depth for how big a thing it was compared to some of the smaller stuff. Not badly written at all, I do like French books, I think this is my second and I will read her others but I think the things the main character chose to do and because it was so unexpected, to me, I just couldn't wrap my head around. 2.5/5 for me this time, absolutely grab a copy and check it out, as I say so many loved it and I didn't hate it I just didn't love it.

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Saturday, 24 November 2018

What Was Lost by Jean Levy

What Was LostWhat Was Lost by Jean Levy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out over 2 days

Pages - 464

Publisher - The Dome Press

Source - Review Copy

Blubr from Goodreads

How would you live if you had no memories? And what if you were suspected of a terrible crime?

Sarah has no memories. She just knows she was found, near death, on a beach miles from her London home. Now she is part of a medical experiment to see whether her past can be retrieved.

But bad things seemed to have happened before she disappeared. The police are interested in her hidden memories too. A nice man she meets in the supermarket appears to have her best interests at heart. He seems to understand her - almost as if he knows her...

As she fights to regain her memories and her sense of self, it is clear that people are hiding things from her. Who are they protecting? Does Sarah really want the truth?

My Review

Meet Sarah, a children's author, successful, a woman who spoke her mind as and when, well that was Sarah. Sarah now is a very different woman after her accident, well we think it was an accident. Sarah was found near death and injured at a beach after being missing, Sarah has no memory of what happened. Whatever Sarah survived was enough to affect her brain and shut out all of her memories apart from when she was a child. For her own protection she lives in a very sheltered bubble, assessed by professionals, her money and contact with others controlled. Life is very confusing and lonely for Sarah until she meets a man at the supermarket, fate brings him to her life again and again until Sarah starts to trust him and try piece together her memory and what actually happened.

Sarah isn't a reliable narrator to be honest, purely because she herself isn't sure what has happened, she tries to take note of things so she can remember. As the reader this can be a wee bit frustrating as you just want to know everything and "What Was Lost" doesn't give up it's secrets easily. We follow the professionals trying to unravel and understand Sarah's brain and we also get snippets of chat from the police. We know something bad has happened but we are as much in the dark as everyone else.

For a debut novel it really hooks you in, slowly revealing more of the story as we get snippets from the other characters. I was like oh I am not sure about you and something isn't right with this one, I felt like I used to watching murder she wrote, I suspected everything and every one lol. The professionals in the book, well some of them, really ripped my knittin in the way they handled some of the decisions or actions with/in regards to their patient.

It is a book that keeps the reader on their toes as you honestly don't know what is coming, why people are behaving as they are and what else is being kept from us/Sarah. I liked the build up, the tension and I loved the wee cat who isn't a big part at all but did demand attention when he briefly appeared. The brain is an amazing organ and I found myself putting the book down and looking up relevant conditions whist reading this, I love when a book does this.

I am so happy this was sent to me for review and I cannot wait to see what is next from this author, if you are looking for something new and like books that keep you guessing then this is for you. 4/5 for me this time and had work not gotten in the way I am sure I would have read it in one sitting.

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Friday, 23 November 2018

Talking with Female Serial Killers by Christopher Berry-Dee

Talking with Female Serial Killers - A chilling study of the most evil women in the worldTalking with Female Serial Killers - A chilling study of the most evil women in the world by Christopher Berry-Dee
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 7 days on and off

Pages - 320

Publisher - John Blake

Source - Asda

Blurb from Goodreads

Christopher Berry-Dee, criminologist and bestselling author of books about the serial killers Aileen Wuornos and Joanne Dennehy, turns his uncompromising gaze upon women who not only kill, but kill repeatedly.

Because female murderers, and especially serial murderers, are so rare compared with their male counterparts, this new study will surprise as well as shock, particularly in the cases of women like Beverley Allitt, who kill children, and Janie Lou Gibbs, who killed her three sons and a grandson, as well as her husband. Here too are women who kill under the influence of their male partners, such as Myra Hindley and Rosemary West, and whose lack of remorse for their actions is nothing short of chilling. But the author also turns his forensic gaze on female killers who were themselves victims, like Aileen Wuornos, whose killing spree, for which she was executed, can be traced directly to her treatment at the hands of men.

Christopher Berry-Dee has no equal as the author of hard-hitting studies of the killers who often walk among us undetected for many years, and who in so many cases seem to be acting entirely against their natures.

My Review

Berry-Dee gives us a snapshot insight into some of the worst female killers, I know the book says female serial killers however some mentioned are only single killers. All of those mentioned are horrific, make your skin crawl, your breath catch and make you question humanity. Some of the names featured I recognised as I have read/seen a lot of true crime over the years but some were new for me.

Let me just start by saying this isn't a terribly written book however there was a lot that I didn't love. There is A LOT of self promotion and I don't have an issue with authors bragging on their previous work, why not they have worked hard for it. However this is one of his books and I think the focus should be on the material in the book. There are a lot of throwbacks and name dropping to his previous books/shows and not always relevant, in my opinion, to the sentence it is dropped in. There also seemed to be missed opportunities or cut offs, for example on one part the author is talking about how horrific something is the police seen or said and there is no detail given, the sentence just rounds up by X was killed or reference to their family. You get a wee bit of history on one killer and a token mention of who they killed then the next person will have more than a few pages on their background and who they are and their victims were.

I think my problem is when I read books like this each person gets approximately the same amount of focus or at least a chapter to themselves. This book you would have pages on one person then one paragraph on another. The other thing I noticed was the author would name call or negatively comment on the persons appearance or weight in quite derogatory terms. I haven't came across this before and everyone is absolutely entitled to their opinions and some of these individuals are the most heinous to have walked the earth but name calling from an author I found to be surprising.

I think many people have and will love this book as a snapshot introduction to female killers rather than an in depth look. The cover features Myra Hindley (well the one I read did) she features only in a passing sentence or two. He seems to have a fair few books under his belt and has worked/interviewed many killers so knows his stuff, I just didn't like how this one presented. I would read this author again I just won't be running out to buy his previous works. Try it and let me know, I would love to hear your thoughts as I think I may be more in the minority as I didn't love this one, 2/5 for me.

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Every Colour of You by Amelia Mandeville

Today is my stop on the blog tour for debut novel "Every Colour of You" by Amelia Mandeville.

Every Colour of YouEvery Colour of You by Amelia Mandeville
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - when I could over 3 days (work)

Pages - 400

Publisher - Sphere

Source - Review Copy

Blurb from Goodreads

Living back at home and spending most of her time behind a checkout till, it's fair to say things aren't going quite as Zoe had planned. But she's determined to live every day to the full, and she's spreading her mission of happiness, one inspirational quote at a time.

Since his dad died, Tristan has been struggling with a sadness that threatens to overtake everything. He can't face seeing his friends, can't stop fighting with his brother, and as much as he pretends to be better, the truth is he can't even remember what 'normal' feels like.

One person can change everything.

When these two meet, Zoe becomes determined to bring the missing colour back into Tristan's life. But the harder she tries to change the way Tristan sees the world, the more she realises it's something she can't fix - and in trying to put him back together, a part of her is beginning to break . . .

A novel to break your heart and put it back together again - Every Colour of You is the debut novel from Amelia Mandeville, with heart-wrenchingly relatable characters, big emotions and an unforgettable story.

Blurb from Goodreads

Meet Tristan, from the opening chapter we know he has just been through something intense and very quickly learn of his ongoing battle with his mental health. Zoe explodes into his life very quickly and this story is theirs, meeting in a hospital waiting area and every day that passes there after. Each chapter flips from Tristan and Zoe, headed each one so we know who is speaking and each in first person narrative. A reluctant friendship, decided on by the headstrong Zoe who is hiding some secrets herself!

We know Tristan is suffering and trying to just get through each day. Zoe is a lighter than life character, little miss positive to the point of annoying at times. Tristan had the life anyone would want before it all changed, popular, handsome, university life, girls at his heels. Now Tristan doesn't know how to get through the days, his mental health is an uphill struggle every single day and then there is Zoe. Tristan has no option, Zoe has decided to invade his life and she isn't going anywhere, they ARE going to be friends. The story allows the reader a glimpse of life with the black dog, the feelings, the not knowing why you feel how you feel, the lows, the lack of control and the impact of of that has on the individual and those around them.

Both the characters are very different and whilst Zoe is very positive and strong willed you get a hint of something, but not sure what, isn't quite what she projects. It is an emotive read when you get into it and how Tristan impacts on Zoe with some of his struggles is a bit hard to read but I think many readers will be able to identify with it when close to someone like Tristan. Mental health, dysfunctional families, friendship, health, grief, loss, love and personal growth are just some of the issues covered in this debut novel. It took me a wee bit to settle to this one but once I did I couldn't put it down to see where it was going and what was next for these two. Emotive and tough reading in places, shining a light on some very important issues that even in 2018 society shys away from or misunderstands, 4/5 for me this time. I look forward to seeing what Mandeville puts out next, a book that will stay with you after you finish the last page!

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Saturday, 17 November 2018

November's giveaway

Guys I am so sorry this is so late, it has been a bit of a month!

So, up for grabs is an Amazon voucher for £5, I haven't worked out how to sort it worldwide so it is ONLY UK guys, sorry. Decembers comp will definitely be worldwide.

To enter, as always, please use the Rafflecopter below, good luck guys!

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Friday, 16 November 2018

Prince Lestat by Anne Rice

Prince Lestat (The Vampire Chronicles, #11)Prince Lestat by Anne Rice
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - just about 1 week on and off

Pages - 458

Publisher - Anchor Books

Source - Amazon I think

Blurb from Goodreads

The vampire world is in crisis – their kind have been proliferating out of control and, thanks to technologies undreamed of in previous centuries, they can communicate as never before. Roused from their earth-bound slumber, ancient ones are in thrall to the Voice: which commands that they burn fledgling vampires in cities from Paris to Mumbai, Hong Kong to Kyoto and San Francisco. Immolation, huge massacres, have commenced all over the world.

Who – or what – is the Voice? What does it desire, and why?

There is only one vampire, only one blood drinker, truly known to the entire world of the Undead. Will the dazzling hero-wanderer, the dangerous rebel-outlaw Lestat heed the call to unite the Children of Darkness as they face this new twilight?

My Review

The Voice is speaking to vampires and causing chaos and murder through them but who is the voice and what does it want? We catch up with Lestat, the voice reaches out to him also and we get a wee bit of a back story on some of the important ones in Lestats life and some of the vampires from previous books make an appearance.

So it was nice to catch up with Lestat after everything he has done and he withdrew into himself. He saved a human and we get a look at her and her life. The voice makes a fair few appearances to other vampires and incites riots/deaths/murder. It is a busy busy book and to be honest I expected A LOT more of Lestat. However we visit so many other vampires I would say Lestat is in less than half of the book. It is still an interesting read just not what I was expecting and whilst I liked it I didn't love it. We go back to the origins of how vampirism started and to be honest if you didn't read the previous books there is enough info in this to catch up.

If you enjoyed the previous books I think you will like this, I also noticed there are two more after this one so I will check them out. I enjoyed catching up with old characters and meeting new ones, the voice was an interesting spin also, 3/5 for me this time.

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Thursday, 15 November 2018

The House Across The Street by Lesley Pearse

The House Across the StreetThe House Across the Street by Lesley Pearse
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 352

Publisher - Michael Joseph

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

Twenty-three year old Katy Speed is fascinated by the house across the street. The woman who lives there, Gloria, is the most glamorous neighbour on the avenue, owning a fashionable dress shop in Bexhill-on-Sea. But who is the woman who arrives in the black car most Saturdays while Gloria is at work? Sometimes she brings women to the house, other times they have children.

Hilda, Katy's mother, disapproves of Gloria. She wonders if these mysterious visitors have just been released from prison. Is Gloria secretly bringing criminals, or worse, into the heart of the community?

Then one night, the house burns down. In the wreckage, the bodies of Gloria and her daughter are found. Katy is sure the unexplained visitors must be responsible until her father is arrested and charged with murder. Have the police arrested the correct person? Are the rest of the street safe? Can Katy find the truth before it's too late?

My Review

Katy is always watching the house across the road, usually when ironing. Gloria is always bringing in women to her home but why, what is she doing, why the mystery? When the house burns down and bodies are found Katy can't rest, she needs to know what Gloria did and why her father is arrested.

The pace of this one is a wee bit different from the others I felt. We start off getting to know Katy, her sharp tongued mother, her relationship with her father and brother. The book splits into three main parts, the family dynamics, the murder and the investigation.

Katy's story is really involved in the whole book, we learn of the family interactions, Katy's friendships and the sheltered life and her complex relationship with her mother. Katy is such an innocent and pure character, loyal, fierce and brave if a little misguided.

The book takes a few dark turns, violence, murder, secrets and some tense scenes that kept me turning page after page. The story isn't continuous action or a thriller from the get go but Pearse has a knack of hooking you from the beginning even with the family build up scenes. If you like her previous books I think you will enjoy this one, 4/5 for me this time.

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Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Where the What If Roams and The Moon Is by Esther Krivda Blog Tour

Today is my turn on the blog tour for "Where the What if Roams and The Moon Is" by Esther Krivda all stops on the tour offer different content so please check them out.

Can we just take a wee minute to look at this book cover, I LOVE it!

And I have ten things about Esther

Ten Things You Didn’t Know About Me
By Esther Krivda

Where the What If Roams and the Moon is Louis Armstrong

I take Singing Lessons.

If I were Queen, I’d paint the Roses Turquoise.

I walk around singing in my apartment. Or is it, I walk around my apartment singing? I should know that. (You do probably. Or is it, You probably do?)

I don’t sing that great.

I still sing.

I can sew. I have two projects that I plan to tackle. Any day. Skirts. One skirt is on its way from the newly formed Selkie Patterns. They call it their London skirt. They designed the pattern and the fabric. The fabric has Big Ben and a church (I think) on it. I’m waiting. And the other skirt I saw in a window when I was walking to the 42nd Street Library to go write in their Reading Room. It stopped me in my tracks. I got the big idea I could copy it. We’ll see. For the overlay part of the skirt, I bought a tulle-y-lacey-netty-see-through-like fabric; for the underskirt, I bought a stretchy drapey fabric; then I bought two kinds of ribbon; both black, one lacey, one velvet; both for the ruffle-y trim. I think I can copy it. I don’t have a pattern. I’ll just do it. I’ll be a Nike.

I take portrait drawing classes. Whatever you do, don’t draw your loved-ones. Draw strangers. And then don’t ever show it to them. I mean look what Lucian Freud did to The Queen. What could she say? That’s when you’re glad you’re not a fly on the wall. (There seems to be a Queen theme here. I don’t know why. We don’t have Queens where I come from.)

I am the youngest of seven children. Some of my brothers and a sister and my Mother and my Father are in the Big Unknown. That makes me sad.

I have a beautiful view. I am including a photograph of it. What you’re looking at is the tippy-tippy end of Northern Manhattan. That’s where, supposedly, the Indians got gypped and sold Mannahatta (not a typo) to some greedy people. That makes me sad. Every June, this Mohawk Chief comes to the park that you’re looking at and Blesses us anyway. He blesses the River, and the Eagle, and the Wind, and the Rain, and the Earth, and the Trees, and the Clouds, too. It makes me so happy.

Oh, by the way, my Uncle is the What If.

You think I’m kidding.

Think again.

Monday, 12 November 2018

The Good, The Bad and The Rugby by Mark Farrer Blog Tour

Eeek this is my first blog tour with Emma at #damppebblesblogtours

The Good, The Bad & The Rugby by Mark Farrer

#TheGoodTheBadTheRugby @mark_farrer

The Good, The Bad & The Rugby Blog Tour runs from Thursday 1st to Wednesday 14th November 2018 so please check out the other stops

Book Blurb:

Getting to the truth. By trial… and eror error.

Cullen is on jury duty, and the sleepy Scottish town of Melrose is experiencing a rare crime wave: the famous Rugby Sevens trophy is stolen, a dead body is unearthed, there is a spate of petty arson, and someone drives a van into Gloria’s front room. Why? And what is her husband doing every night up on Eildon hill?

In this hilarious crime romp, misguided loyalties, thwarted love, and unbelievable gullibility reach crisis point on the one day in the year when the world pays a visit to Melrose.

At the final whistle, Cullen will ensure that justice is done.

Because sometimes twelve good men just isn’t enough.

About Mark Farrer:

Mark was born in Liverpool, studied Computer Science at Hull University, then had a successful career in IT management in London and the South-East for twenty years before moving to Edinburgh in 2001. He continued working in IT until 2015 when he decided to retire from the rat race and focus on becoming a writer. He now spends half his time writing and the other half worrying why he is not yet making money from writing.

The Good, The Bad & The Rugby is Mark’s third comic novel featuring a morally righteous loner called Cullen. He also has a perma-free novella on Amazon, called Dirty Barry, which tells how Cullen and Big Paul first met. He is currently at work on a second novella, called Bronchial Billy.

Mark has three children, one at University, one on a gap year in Ghana, and one still at High School. He lives with his partner Claire, a photographer, near West Linton, in the Scottish Borders.

He likes: his Mini Cooper, songwriting, playing piano, vanilla panna cotta, The Beatles, woodburning stoves, wittertainment, Bill Bailey, #sadmanonatrain, fruit gums, Carl Hiaasen, The Wire, spicy food, Van Gogh, Lindsey Buckingham, oaked chardonnay, House MD, long walks, cinema, reading in bed, florentines, Only Connect, board games, Otis Lee Crenshaw, Budweiser, GBBO, India, cheese, David Armand’s mimes, bookshops, Scandi Noir, Diet Coke, The Economist, Blackadder, good sausages, Dickens, Helena Bonham-Carter (secret crush), the Times crossword, the song mmmbop, and pies.

And lists.

He dislikes: ITV, pinot grigio, tattoos, ballet, ready meals, rap, religion, clutter, artificial raspberry flavouring, marmite, jazz, under-powered showers, people who don’t look after their stuff, opera, sprouts, and waste.

And mashed potato.

He really doesn’t like mashed potato.

Social Media:



Amazon Author Page:

Purchase Links:

Amazon UK:

Amazon US:

Download DIRTY BARRY for FREE!

UK Only Giveaway:

For your chance to win 2 bookmarks featuring the covers of all four of Mark Farrer’s books, please click the following Rafflecopter link. Please note this a UK only giveaway. The 14 winners will be selected at random and your postal address will be passed onto Mark Farrer. There is no cash alternative. The giveaway ends of midnight (GMT) on 16th November 2018. Any personal information stored by the Rafflecopter giveaway will be deleted after the winners have been drawn. Good luck!

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Saturday, 10 November 2018

Dead Souls by Angela Marsons

Dead Souls (D.I. Kim Stone, #6)Dead Souls by Angela Marsons
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - < 1 day

Pages - 387

Publisher - Bookouture

Source - Gift

Blurb from Goodreads

The truth was dead and buried…until now.
When a collection of human bones is unearthed during a routine archaeological dig, a Black Country field suddenly becomes a complex crime scene for Detective Kim Stone.

As the bones are sorted, it becomes clear that the grave contains more than one victim. The bodies hint at unimaginable horror, bearing the markings of bullet holes and animal traps.

Forced to work alongside Detective Travis, with whom she shares a troubled past, Kim begins to uncover a dark secretive relationship between the families who own the land in which the bodies were found.

But while Kim is immersed in one of the most complicated investigations she’s ever led, her team are caught up in a spate of sickening hate crimes. Kim is close to revealing the truth behind the murders, yet soon finds one of her own is in jeopardy - and the clock is ticking. Can she solve the case and save them from grave danger – before it’s too late?

My Review

Kim Stone and the team are back after an archaeological dig uncovers human remains bringing about a joint investigation with someone from Kim's past. Throwing up one of the hardest investigations Stone has to endure, from a personal and professional aspect the team are pushed to the brink.

With Stone and Detective Travis investigating the bones, Stone's team are investigating hate crimes bringing the danger a bit too close to home. This aspect of the book will make for hard reading for some fans, racism, suicide, abuse and brutality are horrific and Marson's does well to capture the reality within fiction.

We learn a wee bit more about Stone's past, her and Travis background and how they both struggle to remain professional and focused with the elephant in the room. Yet another dark tale with some of the worst sides of humanity but glimmers of light from the team and the relationships they have. 4/5 for me this time, short chapters are guaranteed to get a thumbs up from me, add to that a story that hooks you pretty much from the get go!

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Friday, 9 November 2018

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

Dread Nation (Dread Nation, #1)Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages -455

Publisher - Balzier + Bray

Source - Competition win

Blurb from Goodreads

Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville—derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.

But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose. But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies. And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.

My Review

Meet Jane, forced from her family to train to defend and keep safe families with money, to become an Attendant. Effiencent in slaughtering zombies but also etiquette so as to behave in an acceptable manner in front of the families and their friends. Jane isn't the only one, Miss Prenton's school of Combat is one of the better ones, taking in children under the Native and Negro Reeducation Act. Racism is alive and well and America will use it to keep their "better" families safe and use the "undesirables" of what is left of society to protect the elites!

This book is so infuriating in parts, the main character Jane is a delight, she is sassy, smart and has her own plan. She needs to bow to some of the rules but she won't allow herself to be compromised which leads her to being in many hot water situations.

Told in first person narrative we learn a bit about Jane's upbringing and day to day life and issues within the school and how these girls are treated, what the end goal is. The author has taken slavery and put it into an apocalyptic situation, exploring some of the most horrific behaviours of human beings. Whilst this is of course a work of fiction, the school aspect is taken from very real events from history. The kids in America from Native families had been forcibly removed and sent to "schools" to be taught how to be civilised. At the end of the book the author has included some books readers can check out to read more about this, pretty shocking.

The book itself is an interesting take on the zombie apocalypse, the racism, supreme-ism is probably more in the story than that of the apocalypse but both interweave and an interesting read. I can't imagine anyone reading this and not being upset or annoyed at some of the behaviours of the characters but you will love Jane. She is strong, loyal, brave, fearless and just a great female character. This was my first dance with this author I would absolutely read her again, 3.5/5 for me this time.

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Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Savage by Richard Laymon

SavageSavage by Richard Laymon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - over 4 days

Pages - 437

Publisher - Headline Feature

Source - Amazon

Blurb from Goodreads

Whitechapel, November 1888: Jack the Ripper is committing his last known murder and beneath the bed on which he's butchering his victim cowers a fifteen-year-old boy. So begin the adventures of Trevor Bentley: a boy who embarked on an errand of mercy and ended up on a quest for vengeance, a boy who will bring the horrors of the Ripper to the New World.

My Review

Imagine Jack the Ripper had an eye witness to his last slaughter, that witness is fifteen year old Trevor. Trevor gets a first hand account of what Jack is capable of and being the fine young lad he is he can't let Jack carry on, by intervening he changes his own life and those he encounters forever. The first part of the story is Trevor, encountering Jack and how they come to part. Then Jack ends up on a bit of an adventure, a bit of a western, outlaws, coming of age, fighting, shooting, murder and then back to Jack. It was almost two different stories, the part with Jack the Ripper then a few hundred pages of different adventures, growing up, shaves with death and then back to Jack.

For a fifteen year old Trevor has a very good streak of nobleness, righteous and justice - maybe kids where like that back then who knows. It has a bit of a Tom Sawyer I think I want to say, remember Treasure Island type adventures and pirates, jostles with bad guys and growing up? A bit of all that and then one of our worst killers in history.

Certainly different and an interesting take on the old Jack the Ripper but whilst some parts worked well some could have been stronger if left to that vein or split into two separate stories. I have read a few Laymon books and I do like his writing. He carves great characters and sets scenes so vivid you can easily lose yourself in the world he has created, even just a few pages in. 3.5/5 for me this time, I will be buying more of his work!

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Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Hard Return by Rosie Claverton Blog Tour

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Hard Return by Rosie Claverton, all stops are different so please check out the other stops.

Some info for the book and author

Hard Return by Rosie Claverton
Publisher: Crime Scene Books (4 Oct. 2018)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1912563037
ISBN-13: 978-1912563036
Amazon UK

BLURB: 12 men locked in a compound. 12 men watching their every move. 1 man murdered. When Jason's friend Lewis is trapped in a secret prison compound with a murderer, Jason must go back behind bars - but Amy won't let him go in alone. Hiding their intentions from both the convicts and their watchers, they work together to find justice for the murdered man while keeping their cover. As the danger mounts, Jason, Amy, and Lewis find there might be no escape for any of them - except in death.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rosie Claverton is a novelist, screenwriter, and junior psychiatrist. She grew up in Devon, daughter to a Sri Lankan father and a Norfolk mother, surrounded by folk mythology and surly sheep. She moved to Cardiff to study Medicine and adopted Wales as her home. She then moved to London to specialise in psychiatry.

Her first short film Dragon Chasers aired on BBC Wales in Autumn 2012. She co-wrote the ground-breaking series of short films The Underwater Realm. Her Cardiff-based crime series The Amy Lane Mysteries is published by Crime Scene Books.

Between writing and medicine, she blogs about psychiatry and psychology for writers in her Freudian Script series, advocating for accurate and sensitive portrayals of people with mental health problems in fiction.

Recently returned to Cardiff, she lives with her journalist husband and their nearly new daughter.


Twitter: @rosieclaverton

For my stop on the tour I have a guest post, enjoy.

Guest post When Second Fiddle Takes Over the Orchestra: Developing a Cast Over a Series

I don’t usually go back to re-read my old novels. However, when the first two novels in The Amy Lane Mysteries were relaunched this year, I spent a lot of time back at the beginning of the series. And I realised exactly how much my characters had changed and shifted over the course of the books.

At the beginning, my concept revolved around my two protagonists – Amy Lane, agoraphobic hacker, and Jason Carr, streetwise ex-con. They were complementary characters, growing together to solve crimes with aligned strengths and weaknesses.

The third POV character was Bryn Hesketh, a middle-aged police officer trying to make sense of an increasingly criminal Cardiff. His sidekick was the baby-faced Owain, an eager pup of a detective. Jason’s baby sister Cerys was a teenaged brat who had to see the consequences of her actions first-hand before she could grow up.

Hard Return is the fifth novel in the series and it marks a shift in direction. The first three novels form an arc where Amy and Jason are making and breaking their relationship, before they reach crisis point at the end of Captcha Thief. Terror 404 – the fourth novel, of course – is about reforming them as new partners, about to embark on a new journey together.

But their travel companions have also experienced trials and tribulations, victory and despair. Bryn has become more world-weary, more jaded, and has faded into the background as the younger, more volatile characters come to the fore. Owain has survived a near-death experience as a changed man, making decisions that break him apart from the group, walking the line between friend and enemy.

And little Cerys Carr became a police officer, and now the third POV character for my fifth book. She was only ever meant to be a background figure as part of Jason’s family, but readers loved her, and that made me see her differently. She also joined forces with Catriona, a character I threw into my second book as a foil within the police department, who then demanded I pay more attention to her and her sensible jumpers, her outdoor exploration, and her flaming red hair.

When I was making Jason’s criminal past, I also threw in his former best friend Lewis as part of a brief description. Little did I know that he would be opening a novel four years later! Exploring a character in depth who has been a constant presence throughout the series was a great way to explore Jason through their relationship, as well as Amy’s reactions to someone else enjoying a close friendship with Jason.

It’s hard to keep in touch with old favourites without alienating new readers. A couple of series antagonists make a reappearance in Hard Return, and I try to show how they are intimidating and powerful without rehashing all the bits of backstory that brought them to this book.

What started as a two-hander has organically grown into an ensemble cast, a family of characters that me and my readers have invested in. I wonder where we’ll be in five novels’ time!

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