Thursday, 31 January 2019

The Boy at the Door by Alex Dahl Blog Tour

Today is my stop on the blog tour for "The Boy at the Door by Alex Dahl" this is a #LoveBooksGroupTours.




Look at the book cover!




And here is the blurb incase you haven't read it yet

THE BOY AT THE DOOR:

Everyone
has secrets. Even those who seem to be perfect...

On a rainy October evening, Cecilia Wilborg – loving wife, devoted mother, tennis club regular – is waiting for her kids to finish their swimming lesson. It's been a long day. She can almost taste the crisp, cold glass of Chablis she'll pour for herself once the girls are tucked up in bed.

But what Cecilia doesn't know, is that this is the last time life will feel normal. Tonight she'll be asked to drop a little boy home, a simple favour that will threaten to expose her deepest, darkest secret...


About the author




Alex Dahl was born in Oslo and is the critically acclaimed author of The Boy at the Door. She graduated with a B.A. in Russian and German linguistics with international studies and went on to complete an M.A. in creative writing at Bath Spa University, followed by an M.S. in business management at Bath University. Alex has published short stories in the U.K. and the U.S. and is a serious Francophile. You can read more and sign up for the newsletter HERE.

You can find Alex on Facebook and give her page a wee like, click HERE. And or you can find her on Twitter, click HERE. Other relevant Twitter bits (hashtags) Twitter Handles
@HoZ_Books
#BoyattheDoor
#LoveBooksGroup





You can buy the book from Amazon by clicking HERE.


And here is my excerpt, enjoy.


Here in Sandefjord we have everything. Or, rather, we don’t – and that is my point exactly. We don’t have any of the undesirable components that make life so unpalatable in many other places: pollution, poverty, property crises, excessive crime, immigration issues – I could go on and on. This is not the kind of place where little boys turn up out of the blue, with empty eyes, no parents and nothing but a plastic bag containing a pair of Batman swimming trunks and a frayed baby-blue towel. Sandefjord isn’t that kind of place. Wasn’t.

Sandefjord is the kind of place people want to live. Postcard-pretty, snug and sheltered at the top of its fjord, Sandefjord is the kind of place less attractive places bad-mouth. Can’t blame them, of course – it’s not everybody’s privilege to be able to live somewhere like this. Here, everybody has a nice home that they own, a new car in the garage, a well-paid job, numerous foreign holidays a year and a mountain cabin, too. Everyone I know, at least.

The call came at lunchtime. I’d only just begun to relax after the events of the last twenty-four hours and though I’d only been at the office for an hour, I decided to take an early lunch break so I could get my eyelash extensions done – Johan likes them. Walking from my office in Kilen, past the fish shop and the boats pulled up for winter, and the steel-gray water of the inner harbor, it occurred to me that the whole town resembled how I felt; cold and drained from all the rain. I checked my phone a couple of times as I walked along; I’m not sure why, really. And then, when I lay atop the table and the young girl was working painstakingly on my new, feathered lashes, I heard my phone vibrate from where it lay in my bag. Again and again. It couldn’t be work – nothing I do is urgent enough to merit repeated missed calls. The eyelash girl stopped for a moment and asked if I wanted to pick up. ‘Nope,’ I said, trying to fight off waves of annoyance. Did I, on some level, know then what I know now?

‘Cecilia Wilborg?’ said a smooth, female voice when I picked up on the sixth attempt, walking back out of the salon into the bleak day.

‘Yes?’

‘Hi. This is Vera Jensrud calling from Østerøyparken School. I’m glad I’ve got hold of you. Finding your number wasn’t exactly easy. Presumably you know why I’m calling?’

‘I’m afraid I don’t. I’m… uh, actually in the middle of something here,’ I lied, picking at my cuticles. ‘How can I help you?’

‘Is it correct that you dropped off a little boy here at the school this morning?’

‘Yes. Yes, it is.’

‘May I ask what your relationship to the child is, Mrs Wilborg?’

‘None. None whatsoever. Now, I’m afraid I’ll have to…’

Vera Jensrud interrupted me. ‘But Tobias lives with you and your family, is that correct?’

I burst out laughing, an exaggerated, outraged squawk. ‘Excuse me?’

‘Look. This boy does not attend this school.’

‘So which school does he attend?’

‘We don’t know. He refuses to say. You can only imagine how upsetting this is for everyone, most of all, of course, this little child. Now, we need to immediately establish who he is and where he belongs, and the only thing we have been able to get out of him is that he lives with you.’

I glanced briefly up at my office building, trying to stop myself from screaming. ‘He most certainly doesn’t live with me! I don’t know this child!’

‘But you dropped him off here this morning?’

‘Well, yes, but I met him for the first time last night.’ ‘Right.’ Vera Jensrud sounded uncertain, as though she didn’t quite know whether to believe the half-mute eight-year-old or me. ‘Wait. You say you met him last night? But he stayed at your house?’

I hesitated. Fear seeped into me, ugly and cool, like poison through the pores of my skin. The wind ripped at my jacket and I ran the short distance back to the office. ‘Yes. Look, it was a very strange situation. He told me he attends your school, so I figured it would just be best to drop him off there.’

‘Presumably you spoke with his parents last night before taking him back to your house? That’s why I’m calling, really, to see whether you’d be aware of some way of getting in touch with them.’

‘I… uh... The lady at the pool tried calling them several times and they didn’t pick up the phone.’

‘What about when you tried, later, from home?’

‘I… I didn’t. Tobias asked me explicitly not to.’

‘Mrs Wilborg, this is a boy no more than eight years old. Did it not occur to you to call the parents before taking in a small child overnight?’

‘I’m sorry I wasn’t able to help you. I’m afraid I’m going to have to go now…’ I stuttered, and hung up the phone. It began ringing again before the screen had even gone dark, and when I realized I was being watched by the guys in the office across from mine, I picked up. I pushed my chest out but turned my face away from them so they wouldn’t notice my intense annoyance.

‘What? I’ve said I can’t help you!’

‘Mrs Wilborg, this is Police Inspector Thor Ellefsen. I’m sitting here with Vera Jensrud, the social environment teacher at Østerøyparken School, as well as a representative from social services. We really need you to come down here as soon as you can so that we can discuss this situation.’

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

The Rat Stone Serenade by Denzil Meyrick

The Rat Stone Serenade (DCI Daley, #4)The Rat Stone Serenade by Denzil Meyrick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out over 3 days

Pages - 384

Publisher - Polygon

Source - Waterstones buy

Blurb from Goodreads

It’s December, and the Shannon family are returning home to their clifftop mansion near Kinloch for their annual AGM. Shannon International is one of the world’s biggest private companies, with tendrils reaching around the globe in computing, banking and mineral resourcing, and it has brought untold wealth and privilege to the family. However, a century ago Archibald Shannon stole the land upon which he built their home - and his descendants have been cursed ever since.

When heavy snow cuts off Kintyre, DCI Jim Daley and DS Brian Scott are assigned to protect their illustrious visitors. As an ancient society emerges from the blizzards, and its creation, the Rat Stone, reveals grisly secrets, ghosts of the past come to haunt the Shannons. As the curse decrees, death is coming - but for whom and from what?


My Review

DCI Jim Daley has had enough and winding down the last days of his career in the police. He is focused on his wife and the baby, leaving the force leaves behind his ex lover DC Dunn. Another case will push Daley and the team to the limits, a family curse, ghosts of the past and ritualistic/supernatural goings on, will Daley get out alive?

The beauty of these books, in my opinion, is you always get a good case going on. A kid went missing years ago, from the cursed family and now a child's bones have turned up. Gorey slayings, a rich spoiled family at the heart of it all and poor Daley and team need to pull through the lies, skulduggery and an old curse ooft, fabulous.

Among that we have the team and their personal issues, Jim recovering from an affair and his wee family getting through it. DS Scott he really brings life and heart to the team, struggling with PTSD and alcoholism battling through his own demons to deal with flesh and blood ones. Daley and Dunn trying hard to work with each other despite the growing difficulty of their very intimate past.

It is crammed full, police procedure, curses, murder, death, Scottish banter, relationships, love, survival, sacrifice and that is just the start of it! If you haven't read the previous books please check them out so you can appreciate more of the characters backgrounds and why they are the way the are. 4/5 for me this time, I have the rest on my tbrm and cannot wait to read them!

View all my reviews

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

The Puppet Show by M W Craven Blog Tour




Today is my stop on the blog tour for The Puppet Show by M W Craven, please check out the other stops as we all offer different content and it is a belter of a book!


The Puppet Show (Washington Poe, #1)The Puppet Show by M.W. Craven
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1.5 days

Pages - 352

Publisher - Constable

Source -Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

A serial killer is burning people alive in the Lake District's prehistoric stone circles. He leaves no clues and the police are helpless.

When his name is found carved into the charred remains of the third victim, disgraced detective Washington Poe is brought back from suspension and into an investigation he wants no part of.

Reluctantly partnered with the brilliant but socially awkward civilian analyst, Tilly Bradshaw, the mismatched pair uncover a trail that only he is meant to see. The elusive killer has a plan and for some reason Poe is part of it.

As the body count rises, Poe discovers he has far more invested in the case than he could have possibly imagined. And in a shocking finale that will shatter everything he's ever believed about himself, Poe will learn that there are things far worse than being burned alive...


My Review

Poe is a cop who gets things done, no matter how many toes he needs to step on. If "The truth is out there" had a human representative, Poe would be it (non supernatural). Pulled from suspension after special focus from a killer, Poe is on the case. A serial killer who is burning his victims alive and leaving them on display, un linked and with no idea who is next the team need all the help they can get. Meet Tilly Bradshaw, genius, socially innocent, one of the best analysts the force has and a misfit. Two total opposites come together to try and find the killer before they can strike again.

Guys, I hope this is one of the series that goes on for a long long time. I LOVE Tilly, she is a genius but total innocent, speaking the truth as she finds it with no thought for social reaction she is both refreshing and hillarious whilst being totally unaware. Poe is a man of the world, he knows exactly what kind of vile creatures are out there, polar opposite and I can't think of a better duo to bounce off each other. You know how kids tend to have no filter and say things in pure innocent that adults can baulk at, that is Tilly but she is off the charts smart. I loved her and could have read about her all day. Poe is a wee bit rogue but quick to stand up for the underdog or anyone being treated badly, again who doesn't love that, two good guys but in non conventional style.

The murders themselves are brutal and the reader is taken along with the police to try and figure out the who and why, why are these victims selected. Why is the bad guy so smart and seemingly miles ahead of the police. Office politics, police procedure, bullying, justice, banter and some laugh out loud moments are only some of the things this book has to offer.

It is busy, it has action, moral character and a few scenes that make you a bit uncomfortable, I hate anyone bullying folk and Tilly is such an easy target. We see her go on a wee journey, actual journey and a wee self discovery, I was whooping and cheering along the way, Poe is pretty epic too, under the gruffness he has a heart of gold.

This was my first time reading this author, I will check out his other books and wait with baited breath for book two. Super stoked to see what is in store for the characters, if I hadn't had stuff to do I would have sank this in one sitting, 5/5 for me. Pacy, gritty, funny, horrific, enthralling and a page turner pretty much through and through, when a book makes you air punch you KNOW you have found an epic read!



View all my reviews

Monday, 28 January 2019

Lover Awakened by J R Ward

Lover Awakened (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #3)Lover Awakened by J.R. Ward
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 448

Publisher - Signet

Source - Bought online (I think)

Blurb from Goodreads

In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there’s a deadly war raging between vampires and their slayers. And there exists a secret band of brothers like no other - six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Of these, Zsadist is the most terrifying member of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.

A former blood slave, the vampire Zsadist still bears the scars from a past filled with suffering and humiliation. Renowned for his unquenchable fury and sinister deeds, he is a savage feared by humans and vampires alike. Anger is his only companion, and terror is his only passion—until he rescues a beautiful aristocrat from the evil Lessening Society.

Bella is instantly entranced by the seething power Zsadist possesses. But even as their desire for one another begins to overtake them both, Zsadist’s thirst for vengeance against Bella’s tormentors drives him to the brink of madness. Now, Bella must help her lover overcome the wounds of his tortured past, and find a future with her…



My Review

If you haven't read the previous books they are worth checking out for back stories and to avoid spoilers so stop reading here! Ok so if you have kept going and haven't read the previous books The Brotherhood are fierce vampire warriors and fight for their lives against the Lessers who are trying to wipe the vampires out. We ended book two with Bella being kidnapped and if she wasn't dead she would be soon. Bella was intrigued by Zsadist, the most feared and deadly of the brothers, vile to women, scarred, survivor being a blood slave and ruined inside and out. Now that Bella is gone the Brotherhood and Zsadist are in a desperate race against time to find and save Bella before she suffers the fate of so many vampires before her.

Right so, if you haven't read the books, the previous two focus mostly on one of the brothers although everyone gets a bit of a mention. This book is Zsadist, in the previous book he used women, was aggressive, rude, violent, ruthless and we know he had suffered in the past. This book lets the reader get into Zsadists past and start to understand why he is the way he is. We see a softer side as he struggles with how he treated Bella, how he is feeling now she is gone and how helpless he is to find her.

As with the previous books there is sex - graphic in parts, violence, murder, a bit more information on the Lesser society and how they operate. If you like the previous books you will like this one, I hated Zsadist in the last book, he was brutal, pushing the limits to be honest on consent and made a bit for uncomfortable reading . This book sees him go on a personal journey, confront demons and learn some painful life lessons. 4/5 for me this time, I have quite a few on my tbrm and look forward to learning more about the brothers and what comes next.

View all my reviews

Saturday, 26 January 2019

The 13th Witch by Mark Hayden Blog Tour

Today is my turn on the blog tour, arranged by Random Things Tours, please check out the other stops as we all offer different content.






The 13th Witch by Mark Hayden




* Paperback: 200 pages

* Publisher: Paw Press (25 Aug. 2018)

* Language: English

* ISBN-10: 1999821211

* ISBN-13: 978-1999821210

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/13th-Witch-Kings-Watch-Book/dp/1999821211/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1544458871&sr=1-1

BLURB: Did you know that the gods can use mobile phones? They can, and Odin has a message for Conrad…Conrad Clarke, former RAF pilot and alleged gangster gets a text – and a visit – from The Allfather.Odin has a challenge for Conrad: sign up to protect England from wild magick and get a commission in the King’s Watch.All he has to do is find a missing witch. Simple.Conrad never could resist a challenge. Before you can say “Ragnarok”, he’s plunged into a world of gods, mages, witches, dwarves and one very aggressive giant mole.But the witch doesn’t want to be found, and powerful mages will kill to keep her hidden. Going back isn’t an option. Going forward looks a lot like death.Armed with nothing but a sense of humour and a willingness to cheat, Conrad has to find the Witch and save his life.Treat yourself to a copy now and experience a whole new universe of magick. And moles…





ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mark Hayden is the pen name of Adrian Attwood. He lives in Westmorland with his wife, Anne. He has had a varied career: working for a brewery, teaching English and being the Town Clerk in Carnforth. He is now a part-time writer and part-time house-husband. You can find Mark on Goodreads and on the Paw Press website.

Facebook Author Page

The 13th Witch (The King's Watch, #1)The 13th Witch by Mark Hayden
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out over 2 days

Pages - 253

Publisher - Paw Press

Source - Review Copy

Blurb from Goodreads

Ever had a text from a deity?
Conrad Clarke did.

Someone has plans for Conrad, and those plans don’t involve an easy life.

Conrad Clarke, former RAF pilot and alleged gangster is dragged out of his comfort zone by a visit from The Allfather.

Norse gods in twenty-first century England?
Don’t be silly. Load of nonsense.

Before you can say “Ragnarok”, Conrad is plunged into a world of gods, Mages, Witches, Dwarves and one rather aggressive giant mole.

But he has next to no magick of his own.

Armed with nothing but a sense of humour and a willingness to cheat, Conrad has to save the Witch – and his life.



My review

Welcome to a new magical series! Meet Conrad, former RAF man going about his business when he gets contact from "The AllFather" nothing like a text from God to knock the stuffing out of you. Trying to keep the peace at home and getting his head round contact from God Conrad thinks his leg is being pulled. Sure enough he is soon signing up for a mission that takes him from our world into one with legends of Norse mythology, magic, dwarves as we have never seen them and a gigantic talking mole. No one has succeeded before Conrad and they had magic in their bag, all he has is his wits, humour and air force training, will that be enough?

Guys if you read the blurb you KNOW what you are getting with this book, magic, legends, a mission and humour. Think Harry Potter meets Lord of the Rings meets an action movie and you have a flavour of what to expect. Conrad is a good guy, loyal, smart and funny, after reading this I learned he is in non magic books so I think I will need to check them out as I do like him as a character.

Along the way we meet some of the legends from Norse mythology, some jovial references to Harry Potter and some terms that along the way I had to flip back to see what they meant again. I think a glossary or appendix in the book with the terms and what they mean and all the "whose who" of the characters would help also as I got a wee bit muddled at times. After having read a sourcery book recently I remembered how much I enjoyed books with a bit of magic, another world within ours and this book was perfect for reading with that in mind.

We have family dramas, relationships, the main character trying to stay alive in a mystical world that offers so much danger the odds are ever against him. Particularly when no one is giving him much of any information that might actually help him for what he needs to do. The reader has to wait with Conrad to try and find out what is expected, how he is meant to do it and stay ahead of the game. Danger is constantly looming and not much faith is being put in Conrad yet he is a trooper, goes from task to task and keeps not only his humour but, and for me this was a big thing, his word. He seems an honorable guy and I don't think we get that such much in a lot of the stories - for me that is a thumbs up and I hope he keeps that throughout these books and the previous ones.

I found myself rooting for him along the way and even liking some of the mystical creatures, not sure that was the authors intend but there are a lot to like in this. This is book one in the series and a good foundation book for getting a feel for what is to come. Not only was I vested in Conrad but I would love to hear more about some of the other characters too and see what is coming next for them. I would have liked a bit more backstory on some of the characters and I am hoping as the series progresses we will get that. This book for for part of a blog tour and one I may have bi passed, I am so glad this came my way and I have ordered book two already. If you are looking for something a wee bit different, action packed, a mix of magic and non magic folk with some cross over and Norse legends then stop looking and get clicking. 3.5/5 for me I cannot wait to read book two and think they will go strength to strength, rooting for Conrad!



View all my reviews

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

New Voices 2019 Headline Event




So last night I finally made it to a blogger/author/publicist event, it has only took me nearly eight years!




The venue was stunning, lit beautifully with candles, book display of our authors #newvoices2019 food, drink and the actual authors and fabulous folk from Headline, it was just perfect. Everyone was so welcoming, I know a lot of bloggers can find meet ups, especially with established bloggers, authors and people in the business, really frightening. Certainly not the case for Headline, the staff made sure no one was left alone and folk who were nervous and didn't know how to approach anyone found themselves being welcomed, chatted to and having the authors pointed out to them.




A wee programme was available, giving information on each author, a wee piccy of them and their book, gutted mine got lost on route home!





It was very laid back, a wee drink on arrive, hot food provided, bar easy accessible and then the lovely Becky took to the mic and gave some info on what the night entailed, the authors, their books and who they were. It is really nice when you know exactly what is going on and then everyone was just free to mingle and chat.




Headline very generously provided copies of the authors of the evenings books except Rhik's whose wasn't ready as yet but we got a print out with a bit about the book, when it is due and it sounds brilliant, "I Never Said I Loved You" out in August.





The authors were so friendly, happy to chat, sign the books and mingled with everyone, it was a really good turnout.




I met not only some of the lovely publicists and people behind the amazing books and book pr but also some other bloggers, some I have chatted to online for a while and some brand new. I never fail to be amazed just how lovely and friendly some people are. Kelly from LOVEBOOKSGROUP and Joanne from Portobello Blog have been so supportive especially when I have went to events. Kelly met me at the station this time and both ladies always help put you at ease, I am a gab and pretty loud/out going but in situations like these I am a bit off my game and I can't say shy as my pals would faint, lmao but I do withdraw a wee bit. They made sure I was introduced, include and helped me to relax and just be me, loud, chatty, gabby - it really makes a difference and they did the same with others, book people are really the best! I saw Joanne get a piccy by the candles and thought oooh that looks lovely so I have to too.




The books are:
Blood Orange by Harriet Twice

The six Loves of Billy Binns by Richard Lumsden

The Girl in the Letter by Emily Gunnis

The Last Ones Left Alive by Sarah David-Goff

Past Life by Dominic Nolan

I Never Said I Loved You by Rhik Samadder





A brighter piccy so you can see the covers, of course Princess Trixie has to wake up as I am taking a piccy, never one to miss a moment, all about the cat!. You can find the authors on Twitter:
Rhik Samadder
Harriet Tyce
Dominic Nolan
Sarah Davis-Goff
Emily Gunnis
Richard Lumsden

Tonight the event is in Liverpool and tomorrow Bath, if you have been invited absolutely head along, these people are fabulous, friendly, professional and very welcoming. If like me you are a bit nervous you will honestly be put at ease, such a lovely bunch and it is an event you won't want to miss. Remember when taking pictures or if you are covering the event to use the #NewVoices2019 so we can share the experience/event with you all. Thanks again so much to the Headline folks for inviting me, the authors/publicists and fellow bloggers for making it such a great night, y'all rock <3 Now I am off to bed for a wee pre nightshift nap, hope you all have a lovely day. xxx




Monday, 21 January 2019

Dead to Me by Lesley Pearse

Dead to MeDead to Me by Lesley Pearse
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - < 1 day

Pages - 544

Publisher - Michael Joseoh

Source - Bookstore

Blurb from Amazon

Dead to Me is a story about loyalty, love and the strength of friendship in the face of adversity, from international number one bestselling author Lesley Pearse.

Spring 1935.
On London's Hampstead Heath two girls meet by chance: well-mannered and smartly dressed Verity and dishevelled and grubby Ruby. Yet the mismatched pair form an instant friendship strong enough to survive their parent's disapproval.

When war engulfs the country - sending Ruby to Devon while Verity struggles to find a new beginning under a shadow from her past - the girls are convinced they will always be there for each other.

Until the day one breaks the other's heart . . .

Can Verity and Ruby find a way back to each other before it's too late?


My Review

Ruby survives by whit, fast thinking and doing what she can to eat. Verity has never known hardship, she has the best of clothes, education, food, yet not a spoiled child. A chance meeting sees the two girls cross paths and become fast friends. Ruby educates Verity on the harsher side of life, Verity to Ruby how to be more ladylike, educated, speak properly. When their roles are reversed and the girls separated the girls managed to find each other once again and their friendship tested, can they survive what life has to throw at them?

Oh I do enjoy Pearse's stories although there is so much darkness from some of the horrible sides of humanity it seems wrong to say enjoy. The book spans across the 1930s and what a rollercoaster it is. Pearse has never shied away from writing about some of the cruelty of humans but she also brings to life some of the very best and better aspects of humanity. There are elements of abuse in this and issues faced by desperate young women of that time but nothing is gratuitous.

A few chapters turned into 330 pages for me, whether you love or hate the characters (and there are some of both for me) you can't help but want to know what next for them. Some of the characters had me in a rage, some "awwww" you know you are going on a bit of an emotive trek when you pick up one of her books. 4.5/5 for me this time, still got a few of this authors to read and will be getting to them as soon as I can. If you haven't read her yet you NEED to, something for everyone!

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Saturday, 19 January 2019

10-33 Assist PC by author Desmond P Ryan - Blog Tour

Today is my stop and closing the tour for Bakers Blog Tours and Promotions. I am re posting as my post went live earlier than it should have. So if you missed it you can now read my Q&A with author Desmond P Ryan. Please check out the previous stops on the blog tour!





Where can you find Desmond? Facebook Twitter and his website you can read more about him and purchase his books.





What sparked the idea for the book?

10-33 Assist PC was originally written as a prequel to Death Before Coffee (which is now the second novel in the series, available on February 8). When my wife was reading and editing Death Before Coffee, she suggested that there was a huge backstory that had to be told. She thought a short novella would suffice, but, once I got started, the characters just kind of ran off on me.


Do the characters come from real life people or completely made up?

All of the characters in 10-33 Assist PC are composites of the women and men that I have come across over my twenty-eight years in policing. One of the great things about writing from experience is that there are no shortages of characters to draw from!


The seed eating partner, the shells getting everywhere, was this drawn from personal experience as it rang very true?

THAT is absolutely and one hundred percent true! Back in the day, everyone, it seemed, chewed those damned sunflower seeds. And spit them EVERYWHERE! I’ve had readers tell me about guys they play hockey with now who spit the seeds all over the changerooms, so it’s not just a cop thing. And it still happens, apparently.
Scout car floormats covered with sunflower seed shells and old hubcaps used as ashtrays in the Criminal Investigation Bureau offices overflowing with cigarette butts are visions that are burned in my brain.


There is A LOT of swearing in the book, particularly from one character, do you think it would have worked with less. What makes that character more sweary than the others?

The swearing. Yes. I know. My mother commented about that, too. But there was a reason for it. Swearing is the language of the streets and anyone working on the streets picks it up pretty quickly. As a result, it is very much, in my experience, part of the police culture. I think to have censored the language would have taken away from the authenticity of the dialogue (sorry, Mom).

With regards to that one particular character—he’s pretty immature and struggles to express himself and/or assert his masculinity. As a result, he falls back on foul language to try to prove himself. The other characters express themselves (and their struggles) differently. Julia Vendramini, for example, is known for not swearing (although I suspect she drops a few loaded phrases under her breath in Italian).


There is a part of the book that is very brutal and graphic, without spoilers, if able, what made you decide to put such a scene in the book?

That scene was very difficult to write, both in terms of describing what was happening, and delivering the emotional impact it had on the characters. I found it very emotionally challenging to write because of my own experiences. Having so said, I felt it was important to include the scene and write it as such to give the reader as realistic an experience as possible. I don’t think it was gratuitous in terms of the graphic nature of it. I wanted the reader to experience what actually happens in those situations. I think we are so desensitized to violence in general because it has been glossed over and/or glorified and I didn’t want to do that. I wanted the reader to feel, smell, taste what violence is by writing it the way it actually looks and feels. Many readers responded strongly to that scene and, as a result, I ended up writing a novella, The Funeral, that was very difficult to write, but has been exceptionally well-received.


The book has a few layers to it, between the cops relationships, working aspect, criminals, PTSD – was this your aim from the start or did some of it surprise you?

One of the great things about crime fiction is that it provides an easy platform to discuss social issues. When I began 10-33 Assist PC, I had a fairly clear idea of the topics I wanted to tackle and how those would have to be layered. For example, I wanted to discuss the challenges women in policing have, which is why I specifically wrote D/C Amanda Black the way I did (NOT-SO-SPOILER ALERT: Amanda Black becomes a very significant character as the series continues). PTSD is another big issue that I had to discuss. It is pretty much a side-note in 10-33 Assist PC but, just as in real life, gets bigger as the characters progress through their careers. I also wanted to give the characters depth. They are (not really) more than just words on a page. They are multi-dimensional, and, like us, have a lot to them. And, as you’ve suggested, some of the layers did kind of surprise me as the characters began developing on their own. Mary-Margaret O’Shea, Mike’s mother, for example, became much more than I had intended. In fact, in The Funeral, she begins to steal some thunder. In Death Before Coffee, she steals quite a bit of thunder and, by the time we see her again in Man At The Door (available October 2019), she is practically running away with the novel. As a result, I’ve had to give her her own cozy series that will be available in 2020 just to keep on track with the Mike O’Shea series. THAT was a surprise!


This is a good foundation book, do you envision this as a long series?

Thank you. I’m glad you enjoyed 10-33 Assist PC. And yes, this is the foundation for the Mike O’Shea Crime Fiction series. I am anticipating it to be a six-book series, although I’ve mucked that up already by writing The Funeral (although I’m cutting myself some slack on that one by saying it’s just a novella!).
I’ve got the next two books set to go, with the fourth in draft and the fifth and sixth in a stack of cue-cards in my drawer. I don’t know that I‘d want to stretch the series out beyond that. I think readers might get bored with it. Or I might. And that’s not a good way to end anything.
Instead, I’ve got two spin-offs with a possible third series in the works.


What are you currently working on?

Right now, I’m madly doing final edits for Death Before Coffee (which will be available in a couple of weeks) and Man At The Door (available in October). From there, I’m going to jump right into the fourth book (title pending) and get the first two Mary Margaret Cozy Series books off to my editor.

If 10-33 was made into a movie, who would you see playing the main characters?

You know, I find that question so difficult because I don’t want to take away from the reader experience of how they see the characters by giving my vision of what those characters may look like. Actually, if you don’t mind, I’m going to pass on answering this one.

What is next for Desmond?

Well, as I’ve mentioned, I’ve got a few more books in the Mike O’Shea Crime Fiction series in the works, as well as the Mary-Margaret Cozy Series, the latter of which I’m quite looking forward to watching develop.
I’m also interested in turning the Mike O’Shea Crime Fiction series into audiobooks. I don’t know about you, but I love audiobooks. Commuting takes up so much time here in Toronto that the only way to make it doable (in my opinion) is by listening to a book while you sit in traffic. I’m very curious to see how to make that happen in the next few months for 10-33 Assist PC.
I’ve also got an idea for a noir series based on Detective Sergeant Robby Williams. In Death Before Coffee, the next book in the Mike O’Shea Crime Fiction series, we see Robby again. Given that Death Before Coffee takes place more than a decade after 10-33 Assist PC, Robby has had a lot of time to unravel, and a very dark series devoted to that experience might be kind of fun. I’ve got the first draft of the first book done for it, so it’s just a matter of going from there.
My editor also suggested that I might like to do a series based on Amanda Black, but we shall see. In the meantime, I’ve got a dozen or so appearances on author panels and at crime conferences scheduled for the first half of 2019 and am really looking forward to seeing what other opportunities present themselves as the year unfolds.





The book is out to buy just now, ebook and treebook format, CLICK HERE to go to Amazon.


Friday, 18 January 2019

Perfect Death by Helen Fields

Perfect Death (D.I. Callanach, #3)Perfect Death by Helen Sarah Fields
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out over 2 days

Pages - 448

Publisher - Avon

Source - Gifted from a fellow bookworm

Blurb from Goodreads

There’s no easy way to die…

Unknown to DI Luc Callanach and the newly promoted DCI Ava Turner, a serial killer has Edinburgh firmly in his grip. The killer is taking his victims in the coldest, most calculating way possible – engineering slow and painful deaths by poison, with his victims entirely unaware of the drugs flooding their bloodstream until it’s too late.

But how do you catch a killer who hides in the shadows? A killer whose pleasure comes from watching pain from afar? Faced with their most difficult case yet, Callanach and Turner soon realise they face a seemingly impossible task…


My Review

How do you catch a killer when you aren't even sure there is a murder? That is the problem faced by Luc Callanach and newly promoted Ava Turner. Throw into the mix a former respected colleague has been found dead, by his own hand, the team are thrown for six. When it becomes apparent they have a serial killer loose, Callanach is on the case, Turner is under pressure from her boss who isn't convinced they have a serial killer and distracted and on the case of her former boss's death Turner is pulled in many directions and making very risky decisions.

Ooooh a serial killer, stalking his victims and they have no idea they are in any danger. A killer in plain sight, the most dangerous - looks benign, calculating, cold and everything for their own gratification. There is so so much going on in this book, Turner and Callanach's relationship is under strain, she has been promoted so has to deal with things differently, she now has more bureaucratic nonsense to deal with. The shock and loss of someone she loved and respected so much, there is no way he would take his own life is there? Torn and focused on that she ends up in some very difficult and dangerous situations, made worse by not wanting to risk anyone else.

The killer himself is one that makes the hair on the back of your neck stand because of how easily he infiltrates lives, the impacts he has and how easily he can take life. Not knowing what drives him either but how he manages to flit in and out without causing alarm ooft, one of the best and freakiest killers brought to life from the pages I think. The "normality" he can portray, so non threatening I think it was the coldness and predatory behaviours that actually made my blood run cold rather than the acts he committed. I know how bad that sounds, murder is heinous and one of the worst offenses we can do to another living being but when you read the book you will know what I mean. Absolute evil, Fields is genius in her creation in this one and if all that isn't enough for you we also have the interaction and relationships with the officers, work force, families - it has so much going on but all relevant and had life not got in the way (you know socialising, talking to people, not locking oneself away in a room to read) I would have read this most likely in one sitting. I look forward to the next in the series 4.5/5 for me this time.

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Thursday, 17 January 2019

Staying On by C M Taylor

Staying OnStaying On by C.M. Taylor
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out over 2 days

Pages - 304

Publisher - Duckworth Overlook

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

Staying On is a geriatric coming-of-age story and a comedy-drama about an expat family played out between a working patriarch and his charming, self-possessed daughter-in-law. Tony Metcalfe, a seventy-year-old Yorkshireman and his wife Laney run Viva Espagne, a bar in a small village in the mountains beyond the Costa Blanca. Set amongst the bawdy working class expats of Spain - the por favors as the Spanish call them - the monoglot, post-war babies who retired early on good pensions, flocking to the dream of wine and rest and sun around the pool. But now their retirement paradise is shadowed by Brexit: the pound has fallen, pensions are frozen and the property crash happened long ago. Tony dreams of moving back to enjoy the remainder of his life in his childhood home, but Laney wants to stay in the happy valley and forget about England and the dark, unresolved feelings it provokes in their marriage. Tony loves his wife and keeps his dreams to himself along with the fact that Viva is losing money. He couldn't go home even if he tried - nobody would buy an ailing bar in a recession. Tony's only chance of getting home lies in puncturing the silence and blame in his marriage, and turning his bar to profit to sell. This looks impossible for passive, amiable Tony until his only son Nick arrives for an unexpectedly long stay, bringing his young wife Jo and son Fred in tow. Their arrival signals a new chapter in Tony's life, but will it be one in which his dreams are finally realised?



My Review

Meet Tony and Laney Metcalfe, they moved to Spain after retiring and got themselves a wee bar, sun, friends, company - a good life. When Brexit affects the financials Tony sees many of his expat pals moving home, as a Yorkshire man in his seventies he wants to join them. Laney will never agree to it, Tony wants her happy and is keeping their financial woes hidden from her. When his son finally comes to visit with his wife and grandson he may finally have the help needed to save the bar. However Nick never visits, his wife is the driving force with an agenda and soon the Metcalfe will have to face reality, their past and deal with the fallout.

This book has been on my review list for a wee while and I wish I had picked it up sooner. Different from the genres I have been reading the past wee while. I thought this book was going to be deep on politics (Brexit) and I think that is why I put it off a bit longer but actually the Brexit thing comes up very little. The heart of the story is relationships, family, things we avoid or hide from within our family and the impact and consequences it has. From early on there is something that has affected the family, we know this but not exactly what. Laney and Tony's relationship is like many I am sure we can all recognise, he just wants her to be happy and as a consequence often at the expense of his own wants.

I enjoyed the glimpse into life as a retiree abroad, how many folk thing uck just head over, get a bar, drink what I want and mingle with the locals, many am sure. Taylor allows us this but also the flip side of showing just how hard it can actually be and the lengths one may go to to hide that to protect his family. We see love, sacrifice, family secrets, cause and effect, marital difficulties and how important it is to deal with loss/love. There is also banter in the book, I chuckled a few times at some parts. The characters are very true to life, flawed, selfish, loving, sweet, troubled, lazy, hard working, a good mixed bunch and I think that always goes down well as readers like to be able to identify with situations or character traits. The book is a wee bit emotive but filled with so much more, characters annoy you, make you smile, laugh, shake your head and I love when a book does that to you, especially when you aren't expecting it. This was my first dance with this author, I would absolutely read him again, 3.5/5 for me this time.



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The Taking of Annie Thorne by C J Tudor

The Taking of Annie ThorneThe Taking of Annie Thorne by C.J. Tudor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out over two days

Pages - 432

Publisher - Michael Joseph

Source - Netgalley

Blurb from Goodreads

The thrilling second novel from the author of The Chalk Man, about a teacher with a hidden agenda who returns to settle scores at a school he once attended, only to uncover a darker secret than he could have imagined.

Joe never wanted to come back to Arnhill. After the way things ended with his old gang--the betrayal, the suicide, the murder--and after what happened when his sister went missing, the last thing he wanted to do was return to his hometown. But Joe doesn't have a choice. Because judging by what was done to that poor Morton kid, what happened all those years ago to Joe's sister is happening again. And only Joe knows who is really at fault.

Lying his way into a teaching job at his former high school is the easy part. Facing off with former friends who are none too happy to have him back in town--while avoiding the enemies he's made in the years since--is tougher. But the hardest part of all will be returning to that abandoned mine where it all went wrong and his life changed forever, and finally confronting the shocking, horrifying truth about Arnhill, his sister, and himself. Because for Joe, the worst moment of his life wasn't the day his sister went missing. It was the day she came back.



My Review

Meet Joe Thorne, our main character, heading back to the town he grew up in after lying in order to get a job. Lying about a job is the very least of Joe's problems, both what he is running from and what he is running to! Joe has issues from his past and present, both he must face and both are pretty horrific.

This is a thriller meets horror/supernatural to be honest and you can tell the author is a fan of master King, I hear echos of him in both this book and her last. The book splits really into two, what happened in his past and the now, why the town folk aren't happy to see him, what he is running from and the strange eerie happenings in his house.

Joe isn't a particularly likeable guy in my opinion, as a kid he wanted to be liked so bad he did some questionable things, with repercussions, that impacts his choices and decisions as an adult. The small town have a horrible attitude to outsiders yet Joe really isn't he is a returner. There is a horrific murder/suicide at the start of the book in the house Joe comes to live in on his return. As the book progresses we get a more in depth look at the house happenings, deaths and what bearing if any it has on Joe's past and present.

The throwback to when he was a child and some of the scenes in the house will have the hair on the back of your neck standing. Tudor has the knack of pulling in creepy alongside a seemingly normal tale and creeping you out whilst drawing you in. I enjoyed her last book and I liked this one too, I think Tudor is one for watching and look forward for her next offering which I hope she is penning now, 4/5 for me this time.



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Wednesday, 16 January 2019

10-33 Assist PC by Desmond P Ryan Blog Tour




Today is my stop and closing the tour for Bakers Blog Tours and Promotions, I have a Q&A with author Desmond P Ryan of book 10-33 Assist PC. Please check out the other stops on the blog tour!




What sparked the idea for the book?

10-33 Assist PC was originally written as a prequel to Death Before Coffee (which is now the second novel in the series, available on February 8). When my wife was reading and editing Death Before Coffee, she suggested that there was a huge backstory that had to be told. She thought a short novella would suffice, but, once I got started, the characters just kind of ran off on me.


Do the characters come from real life people or completely made up?

All of the characters in 10-33 Assist PC are composites of the women and men that I have come across over my twenty-eight years in policing. One of the great things about writing from experience is that there are no shortages of characters to draw from!


The seed eating partner, the shells getting everywhere, was this drawn from personal experience as it rang very true?

THAT is absolutely and one hundred percent true! Back in the day, everyone, it seemed, chewed those damned sunflower seeds. And spit them EVERYWHERE! I’ve had readers tell me about guys they play hockey with now who spit the seeds all over the changerooms, so it’s not just a cop thing. And it still happens, apparently.
Scout car floormats covered with sunflower seed shells and old hubcaps used as ashtrays in the Criminal Investigation Bureau offices overflowing with cigarette butts are visions that are burned in my brain.


There is A LOT of swearing in the book, particularly from one character, do you think it would have worked with less. What makes that character more sweary than the others?

The swearing. Yes. I know. My mother commented about that, too. But there was a reason for it. Swearing is the language of the streets and anyone working on the streets picks it up pretty quickly. As a result, it is very much, in my experience, part of the police culture. I think to have censored the language would have taken away from the authenticity of the dialogue (sorry, Mom).

With regards to that one particular character—he’s pretty immature and struggles to express himself and/or assert his masculinity. As a result, he falls back on foul language to try to prove himself. The other characters express themselves (and their struggles) differently. Julia Vendramini, for example, is known for not swearing (although I suspect she drops a few loaded phrases under her breath in Italian).


There is a part of the book that is very brutal and graphic, without spoilers, if able, what made you decide to put such a scene in the book?

That scene was very difficult to write, both in terms of describing what was happening, and delivering the emotional impact it had on the characters. I found it very emotionally challenging to write because of my own experiences. Having so said, I felt it was important to include the scene and write it as such to give the reader as realistic an experience as possible. I don’t think it was gratuitous in terms of the graphic nature of it. I wanted the reader to experience what actually happens in those situations. I think we are so desensitized to violence in general because it has been glossed over and/or glorified and I didn’t want to do that. I wanted the reader to feel, smell, taste what violence is by writing it the way it actually looks and feels. Many readers responded strongly to that scene and, as a result, I ended up writing a novella, The Funeral, that was very difficult to write, but has been exceptionally well-received.


The book has a few layers to it, between the cops relationships, working aspect, criminals, PTSD – was this your aim from the start or did some of it surprise you?

One of the great things about crime fiction is that it provides an easy platform to discuss social issues. When I began 10-33 Assist PC, I had a fairly clear idea of the topics I wanted to tackle and how those would have to be layered. For example, I wanted to discuss the challenges women in policing have, which is why I specifically wrote D/C Amanda Black the way I did (NOT-SO-SPOILER ALERT: Amanda Black becomes a very significant character as the series continues). PTSD is another big issue that I had to discuss. It is pretty much a side-note in 10-33 Assist PC but, just as in real life, gets bigger as the characters progress through their careers. I also wanted to give the characters depth. They are (not really) more than just words on a page. They are multi-dimensional, and, like us, have a lot to them. And, as you’ve suggested, some of the layers did kind of surprise me as the characters began developing on their own. Mary-Margaret O’Shea, Mike’s mother, for example, became much more than I had intended. In fact, in The Funeral, she begins to steal some thunder. In Death Before Coffee, she steals quite a bit of thunder and, by the time we see her again in Man At The Door (available October 2019), she is practically running away with the novel. As a result, I’ve had to give her her own cozy series that will be available in 2020 just to keep on track with the Mike O’Shea series. THAT was a surprise!


This is a good foundation book, do you envision this as a long series?

Thank you. I’m glad you enjoyed 10-33 Assist PC. And yes, this is the foundation for the Mike O’Shea Crime Fiction series. I am anticipating it to be a six-book series, although I’ve mucked that up already by writing The Funeral (although I’m cutting myself some slack on that one by saying it’s just a novella!).
I’ve got the next two books set to go, with the fourth in draft and the fifth and sixth in a stack of cue-cards in my drawer. I don’t know that I‘d want to stretch the series out beyond that. I think readers might get bored with it. Or I might. And that’s not a good way to end anything.
Instead, I’ve got two spin-offs with a possible third series in the works.


What are you currently working on?

Right now, I’m madly doing final edits for Death Before Coffee (which will be available in a couple of weeks) and Man At The Door (available in October). From there, I’m going to jump right into the fourth book (title pending) and get the first two Mary Margaret Cozy Series books off to my editor.

If 10-33 was made into a movie, who would you see playing the main characters?

You know, I find that question so difficult because I don’t want to take away from the reader experience of how they see the characters by giving my vision of what those characters may look like. Actually, if you don’t mind, I’m going to pass on answering this one.

What is next for Desmond?

Well, as I’ve mentioned, I’ve got a few more books in the Mike O’Shea Crime Fiction series in the works, as well as the Mary-Margaret Cozy Series, the latter of which I’m quite looking forward to watching develop.
I’m also interested in turning the Mike O’Shea Crime Fiction series into audiobooks. I don’t know about you, but I love audiobooks. Commuting takes up so much time here in Toronto that the only way to make it doable (in my opinion) is by listening to a book while you sit in traffic. I’m very curious to see how to make that happen in the next few months for 10-33 Assist PC.
I’ve also got an idea for a noir series based on Detective Sergeant Robby Williams. In Death Before Coffee, the next book in the Mike O’Shea Crime Fiction series, we see Robby again. Given that Death Before Coffee takes place more than a decade after 10-33 Assist PC, Robby has had a lot of time to unravel, and a very dark series devoted to that experience might be kind of fun. I’ve got the first draft of the first book done for it, so it’s just a matter of going from there.
My editor also suggested that I might like to do a series based on Amanda Black, but we shall see. In the meantime, I’ve got a dozen or so appearances on author panels and at crime conferences scheduled for the first half of 2019 and am really looking forward to seeing what other opportunities present themselves as the year unfolds.





The book is out to buy just now, ebook and treebook format, CLICK HERE to go to Amazon.


Fatal by Jacqui Rose Blog Tour

Today is my turn on the blog tour for Fatal by Jacqui Rose, please check out the other stops as we all offer different content and if you haven't checked out this author and enjoy crime, get clicking.






Fatal: Be gripped in the new year by the latest crime thriller from the best selling authorFatal: Be gripped in the new year by the latest crime thriller from the best selling author by Jacqui Rose
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out over 2 days

Pages - 384

Publisher - Avon

Source - ARC

Blurb from Goodreads


An eye for an eye.
Cabhan Morton wants to leave the Russo crime family for good and live in peace with his daughter, Alice Rose. But the Russos won’t let him walk away without a fight.


A tooth for a tooth.
Franny Doyle would do anything for Cabhan and Alice, but helping them escape the vindictive Russo brothers won’t be easy. The only place they’ll be safe is back in Essex with Alfie Jennings.


A daughter for a daughter…
Franny knows she won’t be welcomed by Alfie with open arms – but she doesn’t have a choice. The Russos are out for blood and they won’t stop until Alice is dead…


My Review

The Russo's are a bad lot and not people you want to cross, Cabhan Doyle was warned to stay but Cabhan went to work for them anyway. Now the warning has proven true and not only is Cabhan in trouble, his precious and innocent daughter Alice Rose is caught up in it all and the Russo's will stop at nothing and let no one get in the way of revenge!

I have read Rose before but this is the first time I have came across these characters, we open with a horrendous insight into the brutality of the Russo brothers, violence, rape, aggression. Now Cabhan finds himself on the wrong side of the brothers and their wrath is deadly. After a freak accident and a lose lose choice Cabhan needs to reach out to save not only himself but his daughter.

It is a fast paced book, we open with a brutal scene and it kicks off from there and keeps pace, you wonder why anyone would mix with these guys. Alice Rose is a sweet character and it is nice to have a bit of innocence in the mix of so much badness, violence and terror. I did find some of her choices very frustrating but also that of many of the characters, the old WHY?!?!?! and Nooooo don't do that oh for god-sake but even being frustrated at parts it pulls you right into the story and investing in where it is going next, what is going to happen. A lot of not very nice characters in this one and some you feel heart sorry for and rooting for them along the way. Not sure if this is going to have more coming but I would like to hear about more of these characters and see what is in store for them. I do enjoy this authors writing, think I have read two previous books and after reading this one I will be looking to see which I have missed from the back catalogue, 3.5/5 for me this time!



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Tuesday, 15 January 2019

And the Swans Began to Sing by Thora Karitas Arnadottir

Bookstagram tour alert




I have this on my Instagram for a #bookstagram blogtour but sharing on here also as not everyone does Insta.

Blurb

The swans on the lake began to sing. It was singing so loud they were almost screaming as if they were encouraging me to release what I had been keeping inside for so long.

Gudbjorg Thorisdottir has been hiding from the ghost of an ugly secret for most of her life. When she finally faces the truth of what happened in her childhood, the ghost floats away. Painting an evocative picture of life in Iceland, this is the story of a little girl who didn’t know how unnatural it was to experience both heaven and hell in the same house.




Thora Karitas Arnadottir studied drama in the UK and has worked as an actress for most of her life, appearing on stage, in films and on television. And the Swans Began to Sing is the English translation of her creative nonfiction Mörk – saga mömmu, which was nominated for the Icelandic Woman´s Literary prize in 2016. Thora is currently working on her first novel, which will be released in Iceland in 2019


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Sunday, 13 January 2019

My Name is Anna by Lizzy Barber Blog Tour




Today is my turn on the blog tour and closing it for My Name is Anna, debut novel by author Lizzy Barber, please check out the other stops if you haven't already.



You can find Lizzy on Twitter and her website





My Name is AnnaMy Name is Anna by Lizzy Barber
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - < 1 day

Pages - 400

Publisher - Century

Source - ARC

Blurb from Goodreads

Two women – desperate to unlock the truth.
How far will they go to lay the past to rest?

ANNA has been taught that virtue is the path to God. But on her eighteenth birthday she defies her Mamma’s rules and visits Florida’s biggest theme park.
She has never been allowed to go – so why, when she arrives, does everything seem so familiar? And is there a connection to the mysterious letter she receives on the same day?
ROSIE has grown up in the shadow of the missing sister she barely remembers, her family fractured by years of searching without leads.Now, on the fifteenth anniversary of her sister’s disappearance, the media circus resumes in full flow, and Rosie vows to uncover the truth.
But will she find the answer before it tears her family apart?


My Review

Anna has just reached her eighteenth year, instead of celebrating like a normal eighteen year old she is inspecting her skin for dirt/dust. Anna's mother has taught her about God and they both know cleanliness is next to Godliness, birthday or not she mustn't forget what is important. But Anna is troubled, she is having recurrent dreams/memories/thoughts of another time, another person? But who or what and why is it becoming more and more insistent. When she disobeys her mother and goes off on a jaunt with her boyfriend Anna may get more answers than she could have bargained for. Meet Rosie, plagued by her sisters disappearance, constant whispers, media interest always the other sister, Rosie just wants normality. Now on the anniversary of her sisters disappearance this is the last push for someone to come forward and Rosie is more driven this year than ever to find out what happened.

The chapters alternate between the two girls, poor Anna, living with her mother has echos of Carrie (Stephen King). Religious, OCD, minimalism it is clear Anna's mother is a bit of a complex character and this has impacted on poor Anna. Rosie is equally complex, having lived in her missing sister's shadow, watched the strain on her parents her own mental health has suffered. Self harm in many ways Rosie has tried to power through every single day of life figuring out who she is, other than the other sister.

The book tackles a few issues, some of which I can't comment on without spoiling and I never do spoilers. Mental and emotional health, survival, adapting to stunted social growth, family, secrets, lies, abuse, death, betrayal are just some of the themes. The reader knows early on the jist of what has transpired and now, fifteen years on how everyone is getting on. Despite this the book has many surprised and when you think you know everything Barber throws another curve ball.

I think the real hold in this story is just how believable it all is, I am sure if you trawl the news you will find many cases like this. It is the impact each of these happenings have on the characters, the ripple effect how one event impacts on another and on and on. It took me a wee bit to get into the character jumping but once I did I didn't want to leave either as I so wanted to know what happened next. Hooks you from early on, turning page after page to find out what happens next! A strong debut that has this reader excited to see what she will bring to the table next, one to watch for for sure, 4/5 for me this time!

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