Saturday, 30 May 2020

Perfect Kill by Helen Fields

Perfect Kill (D.I. Callanach, #6)Perfect Kill by Helen Sarah Fields
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Publisher - Avon

Pages - 416

Source - Netgalley

Blurb from Goodreads

He had never heard himself scream before. It was terrifying.
Alone, trapped in the darkness and with no way out, Bart Campbell knows that his chances of being found alive are slim.

Drugged and kidnapped, the realisation soon dawns that he’s been locked inside a shipping container far from his Edinburgh home. But what Bart doesn’t yet know is that he’s now heading for France where his unspeakable fate is already sealed…

DCI Ava Turner and DI Luc Callanach are working on separate cases that soon collide as it becomes clear that the men and women being shipped to France are being traded for women trafficked into Scotland.

With so many lives at stake, they face an impossible task – but there’s no option of failure when Bart and so many others will soon be dead…

Get ready for a rollercoaster ride like no other, with the next gripping thriller from the number one bestselling crime author, Helen Fields. The perfect read for fans of M. J. Arlidge and Karin Slaughter.


My Review

Bart has gone missing, his mum knows something bad has happened because Bart is a good boy and wouldn't just disappear. Ava and Luc are soon working on different cases, in different cities not dealing with the elephant in the room. The cases take a dark turn, human lives at risk, big money and people who will kill everyone before giving up what they perceive to be theirs.

This isn't an easy book to read in that it is so dark, the very worst of humanity, people using human beings for their own gratification. Murder, death, rape, trafficking is only the beginning, it is not for the faint hearted. Graphic, violent, shocking, dark, brutal - Fields has a way of dragging you in and keeping you gripped from the get go. If you have been with the books since the beginning you also have the added sideline story of Ava and Luc.

Quite a bit of emotive moments in the book too I found, when you are reading about characters going through so many horrific things, situations, experiences you can't help get a bit caught up in it all. I have read the previous books in the series and I cannot wait for the next, 4.5/5 for me this time.

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Saturday, 23 May 2020

The Weighing of the Heart by Paul Tudor Owen

The Weighing of the HeartThe Weighing of the Heart by Paul Tudor Owen
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 150

Publisher - Obliterati Press

Source - Review book

Blurb from Goodreads

Following a sudden break-up, Englishman in New York Nick Braeburn takes a room with the elderly Peacock sisters in their lavish Upper East Side apartment, and finds himself increasingly drawn to the priceless piece of Egyptian art on their study wall - and to Lydia, the beautiful Portuguese artist who lives across the roof garden.

But as Nick draws Lydia into a crime he hopes will bring them together, they both begin to unravel, and each find that the other is not quite who they seem.


My Review

Nick Braeburn has broken up with his partner and finds himself moving into an apartment with two quirky older ladies. They have some rarities but it is the Egyptian art piece he is drawn to, that and his artist neighbour Lydia. Before long Nick finds the temptation too much, all round and him and Lydia commit a crime that has long lasting consequences for both.

The book covers a lot of ground, some Egyptian/art stuff that I actually found interesting and looking up. We look at the human psyche, in a subtle way then becoming more prominent, behind the main story of what is happening. Relationships, trust, honesty, lies, betrayal, jealousy to name but a few. For such a short book it packs in quite a bit with unexpected tones and layers nodding to mental health.

Nick is from England but the story centers in New York so a wee bit of trip fiction in there for you but for me it was the Egyptian tie in, the dreams and how that interlinked with what Nick was doing, thinking, feeling. A book with many layers, I think would make for a brilliant book club discussion because so many will take different impressions and points from it. 3.5 for me this time, I look forward to seeing what else Owen has to offer and certainly want to look more into Egyptian legends/mythology.


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Tuesday, 19 May 2020

Meet Me at the Museum by Anne Youngson Blog Tour

Today is my turn on the Random Things Tours, blog tour, for "Meet Me at the Museum" by Anne Youngson.





We all have different content/reviews so please do check out the other stops for this wee book.




About the book:




Out to buy now, tree and ebook format, AMAZON UK

Sometimes it takes a stranger to really know who you are When Tina Hopgood writes a letter of regret to a man she has never met, she doesn’t expect a reply. When Anders Larsen, a lonely museum curator, answers it, nor does he. They’re both searching for something, they just don’t know it yet. Anders has lost his wife, along with his hopes and dreams for the future. Tina is trapped in a marriage she doesn’t remember choosing. Slowly their correspondence blossoms as they bare their souls to each other with stories of joy, anguish and discovery. But then Tina’s letters suddenly cease, and Anders is thrown into despair. Can their unexpected friendship survive?

About the author:




ANNE YOUNGSON worked for many years in senior management in the car industry before embarking on a creative career as a writer. She has supported many charities in governance roles, including Chair of the Writers in Prison Network, which provided residencies in prisons for writers. She lives in Oxfordshire and is married with two children and three grandchildren to date. MEET ME AT THE MUSEUM is her debut novel, which is due to be published around the world.

For my stop I have my review, enjoy.

When Tina sends a letter to the museum in Denmark regarding one of it's exhibits she doesn't expect a reply. When Professor Kristian Larsen replies he doesn't expect a reply, what follows is a personal journey of exploration and friendship for both. Told completely in epistolary format (letters) we are introduced to both their lives, issues they have and watch a friendship form as they deal with issues they hadn't even realised needing addressed.

This is a lovely wee debut, I don't know what I was expecting to be honest but it wasn't what it turned out to be. The letters start off really formal then less so as they open up to each other in ways they can't to those around them or even themselves. It is a tale of friendship, love, loss, acceptance and personal growth. In among that we learn about "the Tollund Man" found in a Danish bog in the 1950s, well preserved and a bit about the history surrounding the Tollund Man's lifetime. I do enjoy learning history although I don't read as much as I really would like to. I find with snippets like this I then go off and read up on them, an unexpected happy point from reading this wee story.

It is a slow burner but worth sticking with, it has many depths, both characters examining parts of themselves they have hidden or refused to look it. I think many will find this a special and touching read. I don't often do books that are written completely as letters however I did enjoy the change in format and think it was well executed. I will look out for more from this author. If you want something heart warming, personal, raw and emotional I can't think of two characters who go on a journey experience it more, together, than these two.

Thursday, 14 May 2020

The Curator by M W Craven

The Curator (Washington Poe, #3)The Curator by M.W. Craven
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 384

Publisher - Constable

Source - Netgalley

Blurb from Goodreads

It's Christmas and a serial killer is leaving displayed body parts all over Cumbria. A strange message is left at each scene: #BSC6. Called in to investigate, the National Crime Agency's Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw are faced with a case that makes no sense. Why were some victims anaesthetized, while others died in appalling agony? Why is their only suspect denying what they can irrefutably prove but admitting to things they weren't even aware of? And why did the victims all take the same two weeks off work three years earlier?

And when a disgraced FBI agent gets in touch things take an even darker turn. Because she doesn't think Poe is dealing with a serial killer at all; she thinks he's dealing with someone far, far worse - a man who calls himself the Curator.

And nothing will ever be the same again...



My Review

You guys know I LOVE Tilly and Poe so I couldn't wait to get my hands on this one, if you haven't read them before The Puppet Master is book one, go back and start there. You can pick up from here as a standalone but you miss so so much so do yourself a favour and go read one and two first. Heads up - the books are graphic and have horrific dodgy killers so not for the faint hearted.

A killer who seems to be taunting the police, fingers left in very prominent places, one body easily found, others hidden. Not gender specific, drugs found in the system - no what, how or why. Poe and Tilly get on the case and soon hear rumours of "The Curator" a killer so difficult to find purely by their modus operandis and equally hard to identify how victims are chosen. Teamwork, danger and getting into the heart of it, as per, the team may be facing their biggest most threatening challenge.

You can't help but be drawn into Craven's stories (must be something in the name eh!) I love the team, the bad guys are always horrific and give you the absolute boak, graphic, deadly, dangerous and you are left with no illusions of exactly what has transpired. Always gruesome and boggin, fans of dark crime will love it and if you have read Craven before, you know what is coming and you won't be disappointed, 4.5/5 for me this time.



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Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Gemma's Not Sure by Gill Stewart Blog Tour

Today is my turn on the blog tour for Gemma's Not Sure by author Gill Stewart.








Buy link for the book, from Amazon.

About the book Gemma's not sure if she's brave enough to go to her audition, or if she even wants to study music at all. She's definitely not sure forming a band with Lily's hot ex-boyfriend is a good idea.

Jamie's university life isn't like he thought it would be, and he doesn't know what to do about it. One thing he does know is that he wants a reason to bump into Gemma Anderson again.

The Galloway Girls are back! With exams coming up and major life choices in progress, everything is about to change.




Contact links

Twitter: @SweetCherryPub
@GillStewart2

Instagram: @sweetcherrypublishing
@gillwritesnow

Facebook: /SweetCherryPublishing
/GillStewartAuthor

For my stop I have an exclusive extract from the book, enjoy.

GEMMA

‘I’m not sure I can do this.’ I mean to say it inside my head. ‘Of course you can!’ Lily turns her gaze from my computer screen. ‘You’re the best singer in the school, and you’re amazing at piano. You’re bound to get–’ I wave my hand to shut her up, which works, surprisingly. Maybe she’s noticed I’m on the verge of tears. I mean, everyone seems to think I should do this. Go to uni, study Music, make a career out of it … They’d said it couldn't hurt to apply, could it? As it happens, yes, actually. Because now the Conservatoire has sent me details of the audition and just reading them makes me feel so sick I think I might need to run to the toilets. (This is saying something given the state of the ones at Galloway Academy.) I take a deep breath and close the window. ‘No need to think about it now,’ I say, as brightly as I can.

‘Of course not. Take your time. Although, the audition is in November, so you do need to decide fairly soon …’ I pretend to rummage in my bag. Lily accepted her audition to study Drama straight away. No nerves at all. Me, I love singing at home, or in a choir – but on my own in public? My stomach lurches. And why did I even choose voice as a secondary instrument when I could have done just piano? Although, I’m not comfortable playing that in public, either. Basically I’m pathetic. Lily is being very patient, for her. She doesn’t mention the audition again for at least two hours. Then, as we walk back to her house after school, she says, ‘You know, they do a music-teaching course at the Conservatoire. Maybe you could consider that? It isn’t so much about performing in front of people.’ ‘No, it’s about performing in front of a class of kids every day of the year.’ ‘Only in term time.’ ‘Lily, I’m never going to be a teacher.’ She doesn’t give up. ‘You were really good when you led the choir in the pantomime last year. That was basically teaching. And you’re a prefect. That shows you know how to use your authority.’ Lily’s all about those ‘transferable skills’. But, again, ‘No, it shows I organise the prefect rota so I’m always on with you, and you can be the one to “use your authority”.

‘Oh.’ She looks surprised. Then she frowns. ‘I thought it was because you enjoyed my company.’ ‘And that,’ I add, in the unlikely event that I’ve hurt her feelings. And I do enjoy Lily’s company. She’s been my friend for forever. And I’m usually good at tuning out her overenthusiasm. As we turn to go up the steps to her front door I say, ‘Anyway, why isn’t Tom with us?’ ‘Tom and I don’t spend our lives in each other’s pockets, you know. We’re both independent human beings.’ ‘But where is he?’ ‘Taking Sarah to her hospital appointment.’ ‘Ah.’ That should put my worries about the Conservatoire into perspective. Tom’s younger sister doesn’t even get to go to school, so who knows if she’ll ever be well enough for university? And yet … What am I going to do about the audition? Mrs Guthrie, my singing teacher, and Mrs Marshall, my piano teacher, will probably have something to say about it. I know Mum and Dad will just tell me to do what makes me happy, but that’s the problem: I’m not sure what that is.


JAMIE

Uni life is amazing! Freedom. No one looking over my shoulder all the time. No one planning what I should do every second. This is what I’ve been waiting for! I’m not exactly smashing the academic side of things, but we’re only a few weeks in. The social side will probably calm down soon – not that I want it to. Innis, one of the guys in my flat, is on the same course as me and just as keen on making the most of student life. ‘You coming over to the Union?’ he says, as I drop my gym bag and reach for some juice from the fridge. ‘Aye, why not?’ I was going to look at my Accounting notes, but I’ve just put in a good training session. I deserve a break. ‘Give me ten minutes for a shower.’ My phone rings as I head into my room. Mum, of course. I could just ignore it, but then she’ll try again and again until she gets through. ‘I’m in a bit of a hurry,’ I answer.

‘I won’t keep you,’ she lies cheerily. ‘Just a couple of things. Your dad is in Glasgow tomorrow so he can take you out for dinner. That’d be nice, wouldn’t it? And I wondered if you’ve got your marks back yet from your latest assignment? Are you refereeing this weekend? It’d be lovely if you could come home sometime soon but I know how busy you are–’ ‘Mum, that’s already more than two things.’ ‘–and what I’m really phoning about is that Mrs Marshall has said she’ll fit you in a for a long piano lesson before you take your exam. That’s good of her, isn’t it? If you let me know when you’re coming home, I’ll arrange it with her. Then we can discuss whether you want to go on and do the diploma.’ Shit. I’d forgotten I let Mum enter me for the Grade Eight piano exam. Grade Eight! Why she even thinks it’s a good idea I have no clue. I’ve told her I have absolutely no desire to take my music further. ‘Actually, Mum, I haven’t been practising much – lack of access to a piano, you know – so maybe we should delay–’ ‘You can’t do that! I’ve paid the entrance fee. Anyway, you need to pass this to count towards your Gold Duke of Edinburgh.’ Ah yes, that’s why I’m still learning piano. ‘I’ve got a lot on just now …’ ‘I know you have, darling. So I won’t keep you. Just message me a couple of dates and I’ll arrange it all for you. Love you. Bye.’

That’s another thing Mum’s good at: ending conversations just when I’m about to get a word in. Oh well. No point worrying about that now. I’ve got an evening’s drinking to look forward to. Tomorrow is another day and all that. The Finance lecture first thing the next morning turns out to be a group presentation. Which I knew about. Probably. At least before the evening in the Student Union, which turned out to be pretty good. Cheap beer, lots of laughs – what’s not to like? Aside from the headache as we saunter into the lecture room. This guy Kris says, ‘You okay to do the speaking, Jamie? You said you would if we put the slides together.’ ‘Yeah, fine.’ I might have agreed to that. I’m too hungover to remember. ‘You have looked over them, haven’t you?’ ‘Of course.’ I flash my most confident grin. ‘Just having a final look now.’ I flick my laptop open and pull up the slides. I see someone was working on them at midnight last night, so I’m not sure when I was supposed to have had a chance to go over them. I was way too drunk by then anyway. When it’s our turn I straighten my shirt, check my reflection in a side window, and head to the front of the room. I’ve got this. If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s standing in front of an audience and acting like I know what I’m talking about. Dad says I get it from him. Lily, my ex, said it was an unfair advantage. Whatever. We smash it. Looking confident really is half the battle. The lecturer nods throughout, and preens when I use some of his own phrases back at him. We even get a smattering of applause from the rest of the class, who pretty much slept through the other presentations. Sometimes I have my doubts about this course. I mean, who actually enjoys Accounting and Business Studies? But right now, I’m on a high. The guys slap me on the back as we sit down. I repeat: life is good.

Tuesday, 12 May 2020

Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard

Distress SignalsDistress Signals by Catherine Ryan Howard
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 3 days

Pages - 368

Publisher - Corvus

Source - Competition win I think

Blurb from Goodreads

The day Adam Dunne's girlfriend, Sarah, fails to return from a Barcelona business trip, his perfect life begins to fall apart. Days later, the arrival of her passport and a note that reads "I'm sorry--S" sets off real alarm bells. He vows to do whatever it takes to find her.

Adam is puzzled when he connects Sarah to a cruise ship called the Celebrate--and to a woman, Estelle, who disappeared from the same ship in eerily similar circumstances almost exactly a year before.

To get answers, Adam must confront some difficult truths about his relationship with Sarah. He must do things of which he never thought himself capable. And he must try to outwit a predator who seems to have found the perfect hunting ground ...



My Review

Sarah is giving Adam time to work on his script, the biggest break of his career and it has been a long slog. Sarah is away on a business trip and keeping contact to a minimum, until that is no contact and her passport appears home with a very brief note. Adam starts looking into his girlfriends disappearance until he is consumed with it, Sarah loved him, she wouldn't leave him would she?

The storyline jumps about a wee bit characters, Adam, Romain (a child who death and bad luck seems to follow) and Corrine a maid aboard the beautiful and luxurious cruise ship. All seemingly unconnected, layers unraveling as the reader is pulled in. Tense, not knowing where the stories are going and from the get go wanting to know what has happened to Sarah and just how much do you know about your partner. What would you do and how far would you go to find the person you love, even if you discovered secrets about them along the way. 3.5/5 for me this time, this was my first dance with this author, I look forward to reading more by her!



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Saturday, 9 May 2020

The Retreat by Sherri Smith

The RetreatThe Retreat by Sherri Smith
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out over 4 days

Pages - 352

Publisher - Titan

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

Sherri Smith illuminates the dark side of the self-care and wellness industry in a thrilling ride of revenge perfect for fans of Liane Moriarty's Nine Perfect Strangers. The Retreat is a twisting, bone-chilling suspense that asks: how well do you really know your friends?

Four women.
Four secrets.
A weekend that will change them forever...if they survive.

Katie Manning was a beloved child star until her mid-teens when her manager attacked and permanently scarred her face, effectively ending her career and sending her on a path of all-too-familiar post-Hollywood self-destruction.

Now twenty-seven, Katie wants a better answer to those clickbait "Where Are They Now?" articles that float around online. An answer she hopes to find when her brother's too-good-to-be-true fianc�e invites her to a wellness retreat upstate. Together with Katie's two best friends--one struggling with crippling debt and family obligations, one running away from a failed job and relationship--Katie will try to find the inner peace promised at the tranquil retreat. But finding oneself just might drudge up more memories than Katie is prepared to deal with.

Each woman has come to the retreat for different reasons. Each has her secrets to hide. And at the end of this weekend, only one will be left standing.


My Review

We open with the killer, we know from the first few pages deaths have occurred at the retreat, the killer is a woman and now is her time. All of the women have their problems/secrets, all looking to benefit from this weekend away but one has a deadly plan and doesn't care who she has to put down to succeed, she is emerging victorious.

The chapters give each of the women their voice, perspectives and hints or shows their issues, leaving the reader with constant speculation to who is the killer. Katie is the group leader, the glue, that orchestrates everything. Ellie is her sister in law to be, they couldn't be more different, Katie is a famous child star now struggling has been adult but still has money and clout. Ellie is all natural, a bit uppity but will try for the sake of her betrothed. Carmen is broke, looking after her family, siblings, ill parent and all her dreams are dust because they come first. Ariel is friendly but very insecure and desperate to be liked and popular just like Katie always has been. Ariel and Carmen have been friends with Katie for years but life gets in the way so the retreat is an offer too good to pass up and off they all go.

The retreat is a bit dodgy, very lovely, harmonious and ran by a husband and wife, he is good looking and knows it. The place is expensive to attend and offers the ultimate experience for everyone, limited outside contact, reliance on others, a drug led ceremony - really a killers dream.

I really liked it, the characters are quite shallow and not very nice people to be honest but it makes you want to read more and more. I suspected everyone, questioned everything and had the killer pegged and changed every few chapters, well once I got into it). This was my first time reading this author, I did like it so I will have a look out for her other books 3.5/5 for me this time.



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