Sunday, 19 August 2018

The Promise by Katerina Diamond

The Promise (DS Imogen Grey #4)The Promise by Katerina Diamond
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - less thank one day

Pages - 448

Publisher - Avon

Source - Netgalley (review copy)

Blurb from Goodreads

‘All hail the new Queen of Crime!’ Heat

When troubled teen Connor moves to Exeter from the US to escape his past, he finds himself embroiled in a world of popular kids and easy girls. Everyone wants to be his friend, but they don’t know about what he did…and they don’t know about his father.

As Connor’s life in England begins to unravel, DS Adrian Miles and his partner Imogen Grey are working up against the clock to catch a serial killer who dates his victims before he kills them. Determined to uncover the truth, Imogen is forced to act as bait – but will she take it too far and risk her own life?

Katerina Diamond is back with a bang in this dark, twisted novel, perfect for fans of M.J. Arlidge and Karin Slaughter.

My Review

This is book four in the series, I say often you can pick up a book and start reading but with this I would advise going back to get the back story of the characters and more understanding of the existing relationships. Connor is 16 and moved with his dad to where his dad grew up, Connor is beautiful, popular and soon pulled into school life but they don't know why Connor had to leave his old school. Nor do they realise what Connor's father is really like and what is the pull to the neighbour next door?

Detective Imogen Grey and Adrian Moles are on the case of a murdered woman, why was she targeted and is this a serial killer? We then split into another narrative, a young trouble woman being abused, targeted and in fear for what is coming next. It took me a wee bit to settle into the three separate stories, Connor - we know something in his past happened but why and what is the deal with his father? The young woman whose story will bring chills to anyone who has dealt with an abusive and or manipulative partner. We get to see a more personal side to the detectives, four books we have been with them, seen them survives challenges, killers, family life, work life engagement. It is a really busy wee book but it works, I think Connor's story was the main focus rather than the killer/detectives or the unidentified woman but I found them all engaging .

I sank into the story quickly, I have read all the books in this series so was eager to see what came next for our officers. It is brutal in parts, riveting, shocking but we also see a gentler side of our detectives from the reverberations of everything that has passed so far. During a few scenes I gasped out loud, one in particular I had to read over again I was so shocked, I LOVE when a book catches you like that! 4/5 for me this time, I cannot wait for the next installment in the series, hurry up writing Diamond.

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Saturday, 18 August 2018

Meg by Steve Alten

Meg (MEG, #1)Meg by Steve Alten
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1.5 days

Pages - 438

Publisher - Tsunami Books

Source - My keeper shelf

Blurb from Goodreads

Revised and Expanded. On a top-secret dive into the Pacific Ocean's deepest canyon, Jonas Taylor found himself face-to-face with the largest and most ferocious predator in the history of the animal kingdom. The sole survivor of the mission, Taylor is haunted by what he's sure he saw but still can't prove exists - Carcharodon megalodon, the massive mother of the great white shark. The average prehistoric Meg weighs in at twenty tons and could tear apart a Tyrannosaurus rex in seconds. Taylor spends years theorizing, lecturing, and writing about the possibility that Meg still feeds at the deepest levels of the sea. But it takes an old friend in need to get him to return to the water, and a hotshot female submarine pilot to dare him back into a high-tech miniature sub. Diving deeper than he ever has before, Taylor will face terror like he's never imagined. MEG is about to surface. When she does, nothing and no one is going to be safe, and Jonas must face his greatest fear once again.

My Review

This is a re read for me guys, prep for the upcoming movie (which I went and saw and loved and want to see in 4D). Let me say, for those who don't know, I LOVE sharks, shark books, shark movies so when something shark related comes along I tend to be over the top excited anyways.

Meg is about the long extinct Megalodon shark and our main character Jonas Taylor. Jonas used to go deep, he went to the Marina Trench seven years ago where something happened to change him. He is thee expert on Megs and once was very respected in his field, now his career is flailing, his marriage is in trouble and Jonas is still plagued by past events. When things come to pass that force Jonas to face his past and mans most terrifying adversary the question can only be who will survive?

EEEEEEK I love this, I love that we have some real facts in there and you learn stuff as you are scared out of your wits. The opening chapter just made me think of Jurassic park, the same feels and a sneaky peek into something we will never see in our live times.

Jonas is a great character, I think, can't say I loved a whole lot of the others but even the characters you hate/dislike bring something to the book. Meg herself is just a magnificent creation, Carcharodon megalodon with a bite sized estimated to be 10 feet, 10 feet!!! The ultimate killing machine, I could read about them all day long. The book has a lot of research put into it and any book that you learn stuff as you go gets thumbs up from me, then add in a shark, a HUGE shark and you just have a book that blows right out the water (see what I did there, the jokes never get better!).

This is the first in the series, the movie is currently in the pictures, I absolutely recommend this to shark fans, Jurassic park fans, fans who like a bit of horror/suspense I mean come on she is the ultimate killing machine! It has humanity, feeling, suspense, terror and one of those I couldn't read with my feet hanging over the edge of the couch, yes I am one of those! 5/5 for me this time, I have the next four on my keep shelf and the newest one is on order.

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My second day at the Edinburgh Book Festival

Just to be clear, this isn't day two of the festival, I just haven't been able to go every day, my second day (Thursday 16th) is actually day 6 of the festival. So lets start with the journey there, it was chucking down I tried to take a photo, it sucked lol, potentially my worst picture ever.

I went to three shows, the first was Nick Harkaway and William Sutcliffe - not normally books I would go for to be honest but I wanted to go to things that aren't normally what I pull to. "We See Everything" by William Sutcliffe released in 2017, Drones initially for helping now more weaponised, has a duo narrative the watcher and the watchee. Gnomon by Nick Harkaway released also in 2017, a detective goes into a murdered persons memories to help solve the crime and finds four intact identities. Both have moral dilemmas, alternate universes well where the world is controlled by systems, both in different ways.

It was in the Spiegeltent, first time I have been in there, it is stunning. The ceiling is like velvet and both a lovely material and colour.

It has side seats as well as the rows I was sitting in and if that isn't enough for you, it has a bar!!

Both the authors talked about what the journey creating the books was, research they had came across and to be honest some of it was pretty eye opening and a wee bit scary. I would absolutely not have gave their books a second glance as the topic isn't something that would grab me, however after listening to them I am more inclined to buy and try (despite Gnomon being 750 odd pages).

Next up was Alexander McCall Smith, yes again, I enjoyed his chat the first time I wanted to go and see him again.

I was in the wrong queue and almost late for the event, I was so involved in reading my book I just went into the biggest queue without checking, disaster avoided though I got sorted in time.

The hall was mobed again and it really isn't surprising, he is such a wee love and his laugh/chuckle, if you could bottle and sell it I would be minted and everyone would be happy.

We had the boys playing music as the hall was filling and again mid way through, lovely!

So, some of the topics had been covered in the first nights chat and some was new. This event was chaired by Jamie Jauncey and they discussed the beginning of Sandy's books. Now sold 30 million, translated into 48 languages, he discussed starting out - how he created the book cover himself on Photoshop and giving out the original books to friends (not family), he pointed out whilst editors and he missed typos..............those reviewers didn't lol. Talking of reviews, he said Walter Scott reviewed his own book which Sandy thought was terribly efficient. He is such a wee chop and even when poking fun he is so nice.

Last but not least was Val McDermid chaired by Liam McIlvanney, Val has 32 novels translated to 41 languages, she has sold 50 million copies, wow!.

Can I just say I LOVED that Liam said, before starting, to please TURN OFF YOUR PHONE OR TURN IT ONTO SILENT. Now this may not seem like a big deal, however, this was my 6th event this week and every single one a phone has went off, minimally once. I just find this incredibly rude, it takes two seconds to turn off your phone, you are seeing an author, it is silent barring them speaking. So please, for the love of all and my twitchy eyeball, PLEASE turn off your mobiles.

Val discussed plotting creativity, how she used to use index cards, different colours and that system worked great for her, until it didn't. Invariably it stopped half way through a book and she had to find another way of working. That saw her head off to Italy, not in the runaway way Agatha Christie did (Val's family knew where she was) but she had no wifi, no internet, no phone and managed to bang out 65,000 in 9 days.

To a packed room she discussed her new novel which whilst not out to buy until next week, those at the festival could purchase it there, a whole week early. Val said she can overhear a comment, something in the news and files it away. Eventually something emerges, it can develop in her head for years before it is ready to be written. She said "Like a giant compost heap different things rotting away and hopefully something will be left over."

Val chatted about the beauty of fiction, you can write about a place people recognise and readers will go with it but also relatable for those who don't know it but can identify it to X location. You have to know where it is credible to put say a fake nightclub as you aren't going to use a real location where drug deals are going down. She also discussed the band The Fun Lovin Crime Writers and how Chris Brookmyre got himself in the band. Also you know you are a "rockstar" when you are recognised by a "fan" shouting on you, whilst they are urinating in the street singing "only one Val McDermid." There was a lot of banter, Val is so funny, easy to listen to and I could have listened to her all night.

Val has a fair few things named after her, a football stand, a mortuary and under grad bar! Liam was a good interviewer and what I really loved was small touches, for example he filled her glass of water before his own. Small touch but what a gentleman. They discussed genre snobbery, Val breaking discussing vernacular and using what she grew up with and knows. They opened it up to the floor and with starting a little late they let it run on to make up the time.

How lovely is Edinburgh!

Oh and I forgot to share the piccy of the wee ducks that are outside the press pod! How cute, eh? So that is my first week at Edinburgh Book Festival. I have came away with new books, food for thought and very much looking forward to next week!

Friday, 17 August 2018

The Canary Girls by Rosie Archer

The Canary Girls (The Bomb Girls #2)The Canary Girls by Rosie Archer
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out over 2 days

Pages - 446

Publisher - Quercus

Source - gift

Blurb from Goodreads

In love and war, who can you trust?

1944, Hampshire.

Her face still bearing the scars from the explosion at the factory, Rita Brown is nonetheless back on her feet. She's caught the eye of local wide boy Blackie Bristow, who's sweeping her around the country in a life of shady glamour.

But there's a war on, and life is not all fun and games. Some of the local men are taking advantage of the topsy-turvy world to break more than just hearts, and standing up to them comes with its own costs.

Rita keeps calm and carries on with a little help from her friends at the factory. But then she discovers someone there has been leaking secrets to the Germans. With D-Day on the horizon, Rita must work out who she can rely on - and fast.

My Review

This is book two in the series, the book focuses mostly on Rita who wasn't a main character in book one but she played her part. Whilst you could technically read this as a standalone as it does refer back to some incidents and parts of the back story of book one, I think it has a much bigger emotional impact if you read book one first. You get a better feel for the characters, what they have already endured, survived and things that brought them together impacting on their relationship roles in this book.

Rita is dating Blackie, a man who can shower her with just about everything she needs or could want, materialistically that is. The war is still going, rationing is still a thing but Rita doesn't feel the pinch quite as much as the others. She knows Blackie deals in the black market, or strongly suspects, however it sis what it is. When an event forces Rita to reassess her life she makes decisions that impacts on many aspects of her life. We also catch up with Pixie, Lizzie, Em and Gladys.

The book is a bit darker than I remember the first being, violence, abuse, consequences of war, rape, abortion, it is really quite dark and horrific in parts. Family and friendship still play a huge part, world war two is still ongoing and many of the originals still find themselves in the factory working for the war effort. If you liked the first I think you will like this one, just be prepared for some horrific scenes. Some of the book took me by surprise, you know when you gasp out loud you are onto a book that will stay with you. 5/5 for me this time, I have the third book in the series and can't wait to see what is in store next for the characters, hopefully some joy!

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Thursday, 16 August 2018

Creature by Hunter Shea Blog Tour

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Creature by author Hunter Shea, please check out the other stops on the tour as we all offer different content.

CreatureCreature by Hunter Shea
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out over 2 days

Pages - 256

Publisher - Flame Tree Press

Source - ARC

Blurb from Goodreads

The monsters live inside of Kate Woodson. Chronic pain and a host of autoimmune diseases have robbed her of a normal, happy life. Her husband Andrew’s surprise of their dream Maine lake cottage for the summer is the gift of a lifetime. It’s beautiful, remote, idyllic, a place to heal. But they are not alone. Something is in the woods, screeching in the darkness, banging on the house, leaving animals for dead. Just like her body, Kate’s cottage becomes her prison. She and Andrew must fight to survive the creature that lurks in the dead of night.

My Review

Kate Woodson is struggling, she has health conditions that cause her unimaginable pain and impact on her day to day life, relationships, sleep, mood, you name it it impacts it all. Andrew, her husband, is hard working but sorts a getaway for them both inbetween treatments. The perfect retreat, she can recharge her batteries, recover and just the three of them, him, her and their dog Buttons.

The first part of the book deals in depth with Kate's struggles and really gives insight into how difficult life can be living with these chronic conditions. When you read the afterword it packs an additional punch, adding weight to what you have already read, I think anyone with these or similar health conditions will readily identify. Then we start to have an atmospheric buildup of events that prickle the hairs on the back of your neck before descending into chaos and horror. The later part of the book is spooky, creepy, freaky, brutal and gets the old heart racing.

I think before you pick this book up you need to be aware that it is almost split in two, the first half being very much about the wife's condition. It is absolutely required, it lets us understand so much about them as a couple, Kate herself as a character and everything that follows. I picked this up thinking it was going to be a horror right off the bat, it isn't but for me it really worked. I do enjoy a book that goes into health conditions anyway so it ticked boxes for me anyway. Then it flows into something else, creepy atmospheric scenes that if you have watched as many horrors as I have you get spooked by envisioning the scene vividly. Abandoned in the middle of nowhere, limited or no mobile service and you hear a noise, ooft, hairs standing up already on my arms. I love stuff like that, it isn't immediately in your face, the blatant horror comes but it has a build up. It doesn't always work for me, in this book it did. Please read the afterword and the my copy had a Q&A which gives a great insight into what the author experienced and went through bringing this book into print. This was my first dance with this author, it won't be my last, 4.5 for me this time, I think it could be a marmite book for some but if you go into it aware of the pace I think you will love it.

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Spaghetti Head by Sarah Tyley Blog Tour

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Spaghetti Head, please check out the other stops on the tour and everyone offers different content.

Spaghetti Head by Sarah Tyley

Paperback: 324 pages

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (4 May 2018)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 1986751864

ISBN-13: 978-1986751865

Buy from Amazon UK

BLURB: Journalist Nell Greene is intelligent, beautiful and quirky – but a failure at relationships, thanks to her untrusting and disruptive inner voice. She has received The Award, and refusing to help repopulate the earth can seriously complicate your life: it is time for Nell to change. In a world where greed, war, and an environmental disaster have massively reduced the population, survivors have introduced a new system of governance - led by women but delivered by robots, and designed to promote peace and remove opportunities for abuse of power. Or at least that was the intention… Will Nell overcome the challenges of life in a post-apocalyptic world to find happiness, or will the System win? Spaghetti Head is Sarah Tyley's debut novel that addresses issues of modern womanhood, environmental devastation and the impact of technological advances on our freedom, relationships and mental health.


Learning to manage, control and direct the resources of your mind
is the greatest challenge you will ever face.

Dr Shad Helmstetter


“How many times, Alice, have I showered out here, hoping for a blinding flash of enlightenment?”
“Maybe I’m not breathing deeply enough,” I said, staring at the candle resting on her back.
“Well you’d better hurry it – you’re four minutes over your water allowance.”
I closed the tap and held my arms out to the side – no need for a towel in this heat.
“What do you want enlightenment about, anyway, Nell?” Alice said, her black metallic nose shining up at me in the moonlight.
“About why I’m still a single. About why I can’t tell Mum and Dad I love them. About whether I should listen to my head, or my heart.”
Always listen to me, Nell – here in your head.
“SID’s telling me to listen to him.”
“Well, SID would! Listen to your heart, Nell – it’s where you’ll find the truth. Whatever you do, do not listen to SID – how has he ever helped you? He’s probably the entire reason you still are a single.”
“You think so?”
“Well what other reason is there?”
You’re terrified of commitment?
“Talking of being a single, I’d better get dressed, I’m meeting Youssan in an hour.” I crouched down to blow out the candle and tickle Alice’s ear. “Do you think it’s a good idea?”
“Meeting Youssan for dinner.”
She hasn’t even met the man!
“But I was only chatting to him for a couple of hours last night – what if he only invited me because he’d been drinking?”
Strong possibility.
“Well, there’s only one way to find out, Nell. It’s only dinner, for goodness sake. Lighten up!”


Ankle-level solars lined the sandy track. They line every walking track. I should be used to how pretty they are by now, sparkling through the darkness, yet still they always make me want to spin.
What, and arrive covered in sweat!
The solars are installed to help us feel happy. And safe. And thankful. You can tell the planet’s governed by women – would men bother with such detail? None of those I know would.
I arrived at the twinkling circle-junction and took the left path towards Fanta’s, who serves the best chicken and chips in the zone. There are five zones in West Africa: Frangipani, Arachide, Tamarind, Baobab, and ours, Cassava. They’re all part of a massive agricultural project – Feed the Soil, Feed the People – designed to improve crop yields. Mum and Agnes Gondwe, oversee the plant nursery, and Dad manages irrigation. We have year-round sunshine, low rainfall (which is why I installed an open-air shower), but decent reserves of underground water. Combining soil improvement techniques and using drought-resistant plants, the project is finally, after thirty years, starting to see an increase in yields.
My stomach flipped – a string of coloured lights shone out from the restaurant’s thatched veranda. Youssan would be able to see me approaching.
What if he’s not here?
I took out a tissue and blotted my forehead.
Hot. Go away.
“Nell!” Youssan called from a round table over to my left, under a ceiling fan.
Tall. Broad. Shaven head. Pink linen shirt – which looked amazing against his dark skin. He was as attractive as I’d remembered from last night.
He stood up, kissed me on the cheek and pulled a chair out for me. His hazel eyes were dotted with dark specks, reminding me of a tree pipit’s egg, only shiny. They sparkled into mine, prompting a smile over which I had no control.
Oh God, here we go.
“Thanks for coming,” he said, smiling back.
“Thanks for inviting me.”
We sat down appreciating the fan. “Would you be okay if my sister joins us?” he asked.
No. You want him all to yourself.
“Of course,” I replied, my palms sweating.
A slim, dark beauty walked confidently along the veranda towards us. Youssan stood up, hugged her and pulled out another chair.
“Yolandé,” she said, smiling, as she shook my hand.
“Nell,” I replied, admiring her symmetrical smile.
How do you know that’s his sister?
Who else would it be?
His wife.
You’re demented.
“I’ve read some of your articles, Nell. I love them,” Yolandé said.
“Me too!” Youssan said. “I thought the piece about the manager of the wind farm tying himself to the blades to check for cracks as they turned was brilliant,” he said.
“My favourite is the one about the effects of blowflies on cattle in Venezuela. I read the bit about them burrowing their heads into rotting flesh to Youssan at breakfast – do you remember?” Yolandé said, laughing in Youssan’s direction.
So they’re together at breakfast as well?
“How could I forget!” he said, rolling his eyes.
We ordered: three times chicken and chips.
“So,” I said, “What do we all think!”
“About which?” Youssan said, “Compulsory mindercising, or the 2117 election announcement?”
“The mindercising!”
“I feel a bit insulted,” Yolandé said. “I’m healthy as it is, thanks.”
She certainly looks fit.
“Outwardly healthy, yes, Yol, but mentally?”
Hope he doesn’t ask you that question.
“Are you joshing? We’re practically born with therapy implanted into our brains. An hour a day during ed years, surely set us up for positive mental health, so why the need to re-name it ‘mindercising’ and make it compulsory, I’ve no idea. I don’t get it.”
“I’m always out walking anyway,” I said, “that’s my meditation.”
“Me too,” Youss replied.
“Fantastic. I know some lovely circular walks, if you ever fancy joining me.”
“Love to.”
The food arrived. “Shall we say the Words before eating?” Youssan said.
We sat up straight, cleared our throats and joined hands.
‘We shall never forget those who perished. Our gratitude to them for who they were. Our gratitude to Yellowstone for who we have become.’
We released one another and picked up our cutlery.
“So, which ‘mindercise’ did you register?” Yolandé asked.
“Yogic walking,” I said.
“Counting ants,” Youssan said.
“Balancing on one leg,” Yolandé said.
I started to feel rather normal.
Boring more like.
“Balancing on one leg was an option?” Youssan said.
“Granma will love telling her friends what you’ve registered,” I said.
“You’ve still got a grandparent?”
“Yep. Two weeks ago she became one hundred and six years living.”
“Wow! So she remembers humans governing, before the Disaster.”
“She does.”
“What did you do for her birthday?” Youssan asked.
“Nothing special.”
“Nothing special!” he said, pulling a face. “When did you last see her then?”
“Last week.”
“You were in Australia?”
“No. I saw her on-screen. We chat every week. I haven’t seen her in the flesh for twenty-one years.”
“Yizer! Twenty-one years!” Yolandé said. “What does she think of the election announcement?”
“She’s glad she probably won’t live much longer.”
She’ll ashing live forever!
“But why have you only seen her on-screen?”
“She’s a chronic claustrophobic and can’t travel.”
“Anything to do with being shut underground for all those years after the Disaster?”
“Enough to give anyone claustrophobia.”
“How come you’ve never gone to see her?”
“She says Australia’s too far, too much hassle – especially with one flight a month. The moment I finished ed she told me to concentrate on my career, and not waste time going to stay with her for a month. I see so much of her on-screen, I’ve never insisted on visiting.”
“Would it really be too much hassle?” Yolandé asked.
“From here to the airport in Timbuktu is 26 hours by sunbus,” Youssan said. “Then there’s the flight to Oz…”
“And then no flight back for a month,” I said.
You’re too selfish to take the time off work.
“You should go, Nell, whilst she’s still alive,” Yolandé said. “What did she do in the survival parks?”
“She managed insect storage. Granpa managed birds.”
I watched Youssan as he picked a chip up, dipped it in the chilli-mayonnaise and slid it past his barely open lips. I couldn’t make out when he was chewing, or swallowing – I’d never seen a man eat so elegantly.
Give it six months and you’ll hate the way he eats.
“So how do you both know my mum then?” I asked.
“I’ve just joined the composting team, so I met her at my welcoming event.”
Youssan could be perfect – he likes walking, eats beautifully, cares for the environment, and he’s a great dancer.
Lots of women must like him.
“Apparently your Mum’s got a bit of a reputation for throwing a good party, so we were excited to get an invite. Little did I know there’d be the extra bonus of finally meeting Nell Greene, with her flared cotton trousers and wild red hair,” he said, smiling.
Smooth talker.
Perfect teeth.
“Well, I’ll give it to you Youss,” Yolandé said. “You certainly know how to make a woman blush.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: I grew up on a dairy farm in Somerset and had a lovely childhood running around outside, spending alot of time surrounded by cows. I would have to be biased towards Friesians, but really any cow will do - I love them all.

I have written a diary since I was twelve, and some years ago I thought to myself ‘hey, that must mean I’m a writer’ – and so I embarked on short stories. I never quite got the hang of those so moved on to trying a novel.

I currently live in France splitting my time between my gardening business, writing, and playing tennis. I love Roger Federer almost as much as I love cows


Author Page on Facebook

Twitter @sarah_tyley

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Author events - my first day at the book festival

So yesterday saw me going to my first ever book festival, if you have considered going but held back as you don't know what to expect, cost etc and haven't already, check out my post covering it. Todays post is about the three events I went to see.

First up was Sarah Moss & Fiona Mozley. Fiona's debut novel is "Elmet" it took her three years to write the book, her PHD is currently on hold and she works in a book store. Sarah is Glasgow born, has a few books under her belt, currently teaches and is considering her next book which may be non fiction. Both books use teenage protagonsists, Fiona's characters claimed land and see nothing wrong with using it to live on, one father and two children, personal limits and family loyalty. Elmet was described as Hansel and Gretel meets the Godfather, now if that isn't an inviting description I don't know what is. Sarah's her lead male is obsessed with the iron age, he is a cruel and vicious man who loves his wife. Sarah also didn't want to write a book that had objectification/titillation however shows a monster of a man who is capable of love whilst having horrendous and violent tendancies toward his wife, we see it through the daughters eyes I believe. I think the main thing I certainly felt I picked up was that we have so much violence and it is easy to have a serial, cold callous evil but what is more scary is one who is very much capable of love AND so much violence. I haven't read any of these but I do intend on checking them out, both authors are new to me.

Up next was Muriel Spark's London. James Campbell and Rosemary Goring, chaired by Alan Taylor. I hadn't heard of any of these people, nor Muriel Sparks but I liked the description and wanted to check this event out. The trio worked well together, jovial, informative and some unoffensive jibes at both Glasgow and Edinburgh. The event was held in the Baillie Gillford Main theatre, comfy seats, large capacity and roving mics for when it was opened out to the audience. Despite Spark's writing various locations the stories are more about the telling than the setting.

I can't believe I hadn't heard of her before. They spoke of things she did, some of her well known stories, her autobiography and I will be buying a few myself. I think particularly those set during the war, I am enjoying reading about those types of stories at the minute. Alan Taylor reading did have some great banter and I think I would absolutely sit in another event chaired by him, all three speakers actually were very good.

My third event of the day was also in the Baillie Gifford Main Theatre but so popular the queue went around the whole circle of the venue! Author Alexander McCall Smith, author of many novels and I actually have heard of him, I have one of his books on my tbrm but haven't read him yet. Affectionately called Sandy, the event was chaired by James Naughtie and both these gents were hillarious. If who he is as a person is channelled into his writing, I can totally understand why he has so many books and fans, I could have listened to both of them chat all evening.

The focus of the event was supposed to be on the new book "A Gathering" - title chosen by the publisher, McCall jokingly said he is happy to take the credit. The book is poems from many of his favourites and he did a reading of one, as did James and another gentleman from the states, invited by Alexander himself up to the stage however I failed to catch his name, my bad, he did chat about the new book but gave us some chat on current work and opened it up to questions from the audience. He has a huge love for Scotland and at one point said "It does break the heart" that sounds negative but it was meant in a beautiful way. You can understand why the place was packed

He has a new series coming out, scandi crime I believe it is called and it sounds absolutely hillarious. The lead character, a detective has a dog that is deaf so lip reads but only in Swedish. Both the detective and the dog are in therapy at one point and he had such fun writing it he penned it in two months. We also got a reading of a chapter he had written that morning, exclusive if you please! Soft spoken, very humble, pleasant and just seems like such a good guy, I will be digging my book out to read soon and waiting for this new series as it sounds brilliant. I will also check out the other series he has written, not like I need new authors to read but after listening to him I absolutely HAVE to read him! He is also on another night, the 23rd of August I believe, check online and if you only see one show I absolutely recommend him guys, bloody marvelous!

And just to finish off, I came home with an I <3 Edinburgh totebag, there was a wee Scotsman stall selling newspapers with a goody bag just outside the entrance to the festival. Sometimes you just HAVE to be a tourist in your own country, miss paws seems impressed by yet another totebag, lmao. If you are going to anything please let me know, if I am there on that day I would love to meet up!

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

First ever book festival - Edinburgh book fest

If, like me, you have tons of reader, blogger and author friends/people you follow on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram you always see when book events come up. Lots of people go, have fun, meet amazing authors, bloggers connect, book pals have liquid lunches and generally a blast! I see them all the time and want to go, but have never went, until today that is!

So, why haven't I made it to any? Firstly I didn't really know what it was about, is it free to enter, if you need to pay how much, what happens. The Edinburgh Book Festival is FREE, free to enter guys. There have a ton of events on and the events you do pay for. You can go on your first day, pick up a programme (also free) which gives you a day by day run down of what is on, how much it costs and you can buy online or call. There are wee parts you can buy food and drink, not masses of choice but enough to keep you happy or you can nip outside as it is bang in the centre so you can get food you fancy. There are wee book shops inside you can browse and buy, there is also bars, places you can buy drinks and sit and chill with your book, people watch (I loved I saw so many folks with books, reading or gabbing books).

Getting around from event to event, now I get really anxious about this is I have never been before and don't know layouts (an issue many of us have. Well right in the middle is the whole lay out on a big board and honestly, even with my recovering foot it was no issue at all. The walk from the train station to the festival was a wee bit of a trek (under a mile and flat pavements, maybe 0.7 miles) but there are loads of taxis and bus stops so you can get there no issue.

Whilst it is outdoors with tents, the top over the walkway is covered so even with weather like today where it was chucking it down, once you got inside you were grand.

The toilets are really good, I was worried it was going to be those portaloos you get at concerts and gigs *twitch* I really hate them. Nope and they have ramps as well as two stairs so caters to all. Also available are water stations dottered about.

As well as having issues going to somewhere huge like that I hadn't been to before, the train journey had me a bit twitchy too. However, the train terminates at Waverley station so if like me you fret you will go past your stop you are grand as it is the last stop (from where I travelled from, just check with one of the train staff who are lovely and helpful).

Edinburgh is so beautiful and on route to the festival are some stunning buildings and lots of shops so you have plenty to look at as you go. One thing that helped me was meeting friends there, some first time in person, some I had met before, the lovely Kelly from LOVE BOOKS GROUP Mary from Live and Deadly Joanne from Portobello blog and Katherine from Bibliomanic UK. and author Jane Simpson Anderson joined us for lunch, I owe that lady a drink! If you are a blogger or reader, just reach out, there is always someone going to these things and when you have someone to meet you it takes so much stress/pressure off you. One thing I can say, hand on heart, book folk are some of the best humans out there. I know I will be back at more of the festival, was meant to be tomorrow but I didn't manage to get tickets for the things I wanted to see and I hurt my foot trying to ensure I didn't miss my train. However, I could go otherwise much less stressy because these lovely ladies took me under their wing and showed me what it is all about.

I loved my first day at the Edinburgh book festival, I will do another post about the three events I went to but I cannot recommend it enough. If you are a book lover, get yourself out there, you will love it. Hope you had a great day, I sure did!

My side kick has blagged my press pass :P

Cross by James Patterson

Cross (Alex Cross, #12)Cross by James Patterson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 393

Publisher - Little Brown and Company

Source - Poundshop

Blurb from Goodreads

Alex Cross was a rising star in the Washington, DC, Police Department when an unknown shooter gunned down his wife, Maria, in front of him. The killer was never found, and the case turned cold, filed among the unsolved drive-bys in D.C.'s rough neighborhoods.

Years later, still haunted by his wife's death, Cross is making a bold move in his life. Now a free agent from the police and the FBI, he's set up practice as a psychologist once again. His life with Nana Mama, Damon, Jannie, and little Alex is finally getting in order. He even has a chance at a new love.

Then Cross's former partner, John Sampson, calls in a favor. He is tracking a serial rapist in Georgetown, one whose brutal modus operandi recalls a case Sampson and Cross worked together years earlier. When the case reveals a connection to Maria's death, Cross latches on for the most urgent and terrifying ride of his life.

My Review

I love Alex Cross, I read the series as I come across them and not in order which results in spoilers, I really need to stop. Anyway, here we see Alex revist when his wife died, back to present day when he has a chance to finally leave the force and set up his own business. However we all know Alex can't be kept from his true calling and not when a carrot is dangling, could he actually find out about what happened all those years ago when his wife was brutally snatched from him?

We get a police care, Cross doing what he does best, an investigation, a bit of the past and Alex's family life. I love Nana, she is nobody's fool and the glue that keeps the Cross family together, we don't see her often but when we do it is usually ruling the roost with her wit and tongue!

If you like the previous books I don't see why you wouldn't enjoy this, book 12 in the series, short chapters we have come to know and love, well I do. I think I would have loved it had I had more on the back story, Alex's. We have a lot of focus on the investigation, the bad guy is brutal, he abuses women, rape, control, violence, murder and mutilation. Rotten to the core, very skilled in his madness and feart of no one. Good, page turner but whilst I liked it I didn't love it, 3/5 for me this time.

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Monday, 13 August 2018

Working Stiff by Judy Melinek and T J Mitchell

Working Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical ExaminerWorking Stiff: Two Years, 262 Bodies, and the Making of a Medical Examiner by Judy Melinek
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 258

Publisher - Scribner

Source - Amazon

Blurb from Goodreads

The fearless memoir of a young forensic pathologist's rookie season as a NYC medical examiner, and the cases, hair-raising and heartbreaking and impossibly complex, that shaped her as both a physician and a mother.

Just two months before the September 11 terrorist attacks, Dr. Judy Melinek began her training as a New York City forensic pathologist. With her husband T.J. and their toddler Daniel holding down the home front, Judy threw herself into the fascinating world of death investigation, performing autopsies, investigating death scenes, counseling grieving relatives. Working Stiff chronicles Judy's two years of training, taking readers behind the police tape of some of the most harrowing deaths in the Big Apple, including a firsthand account of the events of September 11, the subsequent anthrax bio-terrorism attack, and the disastrous crash of American Airlines flight 587.

Lively, action-packed, and loaded with mordant wit, Working Stiff offers a firsthand account of daily life in one of America's most arduous professions, and the unexpected challenges of shuttling between the domains of the living and the dead. The body never lies, and through the murders, accidents, and suicides that land on her table, Dr. Melinek lays bare the truth behind the glamorized depictions of autopsy work on shows like CSI and Law and Order to reveal the secret story of the real morgue.

My Review

Books like this I do enjoy reading, if enjoy is the correct word, you learn things about the human body usually picking up terms, diseases and conditions which I then go off and read up on. This isn't heavily packed with that kind of stuff but there are dotterings throughout. You learn about their job but for the most part you get the chunk of what rolls through the mortuary doors.

Some of the book may be quite emotive for some as she examines many different types of deaths, September 11th is also covered and whilst I am UK I remember how I felt/feel reading that so just a headsup. It is gorey and gruesome in parts, heartbreaking, sad and if you have lost someone to suicide you will either agree with her thoughts of be absolutely livid, again just a heads up.

It is an interesting book I could have read this in one sitting had things not got in the way. Easily enough to follow, gripping and grueling accounts of truth deaths so it is sad in parts but really interesting. Some parts may shock you as you know this is real life and not conjured up in the authors brain. This was my first read by this author, I will certainly be checking to see if she has written anything else, books or other publications. 4/5 for me this time, I wouldn't read it just before or after a meal though!

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Sunday, 12 August 2018

Faceless by Rob Ashman

Faceless (DI Rosalind Kray, #1)Faceless by Rob Ashman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - less than 1 day

Pages - 296

Publisher - Bloodhound Books

Source - Fellow book worm

Blurb from Goodreads

After surviving a vicious knife attack, which left her husband dead, DI Rosalind Kray returns to work and is handed a serial killer investigation.

This killer is different, he doesn’t just want to take the lives of his victims, he wants to obliterate their very existence. The murders appear random but the killer selects his quarry with meticulous care.

While fighting her superiors Kray must conquer her own demons, which are tearing her apart.

Kray has the ability to think like a killer and her skills lead to a series of horrifying revelations that turn the case on its head. She believes she is getting close, then her world comes crashing down with devastating consequences.

Will Kray find the murderer and escape with her own life in tact?

The truth is closer than she could have ever imagined…

My Review

DI Kray has just came back to work after almost losing her her own life in a vicious attack, one that killed her husband. Her first proper case is a serial killer and this is a killer unlike any they have came up against so far. Murdering people in a horrific fashion but the violation does not end there and this killer is smart, has a plan and no one is getting in their way.

Ooft guys, this is my first dance with this author. The scenes are really graphic so absolutely not for the faint hearted. You can here the noise in the room (in one particular scene), feel the vibrations, taste the acrid smell and it is a talented writer that can carry you into a scene like that. The killer is really smart and meticulous in the details, choices and planning that goes into everything they do.

The chapters are short and you know, if you follow my reviews, that I love that. We have first and third person narration, first person is when we hear from the killer and it also gives us insight into a tormented soul who has decided on the direction their live will take. Things from their part that shaped the person they have become and the why behind the horror they create. Third person is when we are with the investigation and everyone else.

Kray is a great character, obviously dealing with a horrendous recent past and bereavement, returning to her job and taking on a mammoth task. Not only that, some of her colleagues are actual muppets, vile, pathetic and you want to slap them. She is skilled in catching bad guys and her skills are pushed to the limit, no one is safe and the killer is fearless. Absolutely a page turner, whilst it is my first dance with this author it won't be my last, 4.5/5 for me this time. I have the next book on my tbrm, I will need to bump it up!

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