Friday 27 March 2015

You Belong to Me by Samantha Hayes

You Belong To MeYou Belong To Me by Samantha Hayes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 3 days

Publisher - Century

Pages - 496

Blurb from Goodreads

The compelling new psychological suspense novel featuring DI Lorraine Fisher, from the author of Until You’re Mine and Before You Die.

Isabel left England to escape her past. For the first time in months, she's beginning to feel safe. But then a letter shatters her world once more as she learns of her parents' death in a car crash. Reluctantly she returns home, unable to shake off the feeling she's being watched but determined not to let fear rule her life any more.

DI Lorraine Fisher is in the middle of a big murder case -- a serial killer is preying on young women. And it seems they had all complained of being stalked. She too is convinced she's being watched.

Are both women victims of their own imagination or is someone out there watching and waiting? And will one of them be next?

My Review

The book opens with in February, with someone breaking free from her fear and going for a night out, it has been a month since she last her "from you" and she is going to have some fun. The prologue draws to a chilling end and the story starts. The first chapter opens in the first person point of view, another lady who is hiding out in India as a maid, 6 months has passed without incident. However a letter finds her from home that sees her facing her fears and heading back to the life she has ran away from, Mees Eezee, Isabel - Izzy for short or as he called her Belle. chapter 2 opens again in first person point of view, this time it is DI Lorraine Fisher, attending the GP, she isnt eating, isn't sleeping and is having palpitations, she has a big case to sort, a family to try and keep happy and things are spiraling. The chapters all come in on first person point of view and it isn't until your a page or two in you can work out who is speaking, Isabel, Lorraine or the man behind the ladies fears. Events unravel that link them all and Lorraine is going against the clock and her superiors to try and solve the case.

The story, told in this format, took a bit of getting used to, even if the chapters were highlighted at the top by who was speaking may have helped although it could have detracted from the story which is maybe why Hayes did it this way. It was a bit frustrating however, once you get used to it you settle right in and getting gripped down a dark path. He has a type and Isabel fits it perfectly, as the story continues we hear more about why Isabel fled and the person she has escaped from. Other ladies have been on his radar, same hair type, same build and now there is a body, so close in feature to Isabel could it be linked?

This is a dark tale about stalking, control, possessive relationships, how a victim can be left helpless and manipulated. There is more to the story than the murders, stalking and targeted ladies, DI Lorraine Fishers story is quite strong throughout as we see her trying to fight her own personal demons and keep on top of the job. Had life not got in the way I could have read this in one setting, I have read one of her earlier books and she is fast becoming a name I look out for when choosing my next read. 4/5 for me this time, thanks to Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this in exchange for an honest review. I believe there are others in this series but this can be picked up as a stand alone although I wonder if I had read the others I would maybe understand more what was happening with DI Fisher.

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The Lie by C L Taylor

The LieThe Lie by C.L. Taylor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Publisher - Avon

Pages - 368

Blurb from Goodreads

This was no accident…

Haunting, compelling, this psychological thriller will have you hooked. Perfect for fans of Gone Girl and Daughter.

Best friends are there for each other through thick and thin. You trust them with your life. At least that’s what Emma, Daisy, Leanne and Al think. But all that changes when they embark on a trip of a lifetime together. When they return home, only two of them are left alive and the group has been torn apart by lies and deception.

Many years later, when the dust has settled and life has moved on, one girl receives a threatening letter. Someone knows the truth about what happened on that holiday and will stop at nothing to expose it …

My Review

The story splits between 2 time periods, present day with Jane Hughes and 5 years ago, when Jane was Emma Woolfe, preparing to go on holiday with her friends before their lives would change. Emma has changed her identity in order to escape the horror and scandal that happened back on what should have been the holiday of a life time. However, someone knows "Janes" secret and wants her to pay. The opening chapter sees her receiving a letter with one line "I know your name's not really Jane Hughes" at her work. This of course sends Jane into a spin and things start to happen that makes Jane fear for her safety. The story goes smoothly between the two time periods and the girls preparing for their holiday and then the events that transpire, leading up to present day.

This is a great story, it delves into how friendships can deteriorate and how things can go from a dream holiday with friends to terror, suspicion and murder. The author spins a tale that draws you in and leaves you unable to put the book down. When your reading present day you don't want it to jump back in time, when your reading the past you don't want to come back to the present.

The end came too quickly for me and I felt the past reveal which had a fantastic build up but seemed just a wee bit rushed for me, I wanted more which I suppose always shows how good an author is. Always leave a reader wanting more and Taylor did that for me this time, the present day finale was well done though. This author is for a watching, if you haven't read her debut you should grab a copy, completely unrelated to this tale but fabulous non the less. 4/5 for me this time, thanks so much to Avon for sending me an ARC of this, you can get your own copy out on the 23rd of April, 2015!

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Sunday 22 March 2015

Review - Long Way Home by Eva Dolan

Long Way HomeLong Way Home by Eva Dolan
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Time take to read - 3 days

Publisher - Vintage

Pages - 400

Blurb from Goodreads

A man is burnt alive in a shed.

No witnesses, no fingerprints - only a positive ID of the victim as an immigrant with a long list of enemies.

Detectives Zigic and Ferreira are called in from the Hate Crimes Unit to track the killer, and are met with silence in a Fenland community ruled by slum racketeers, people-trafficking gangs and fear.

Tensions rise.

The clock is ticking.

But nobody wants to talk.

My Review

Detective Zigic is our main character, along with Detective Ferreira, both work in the Hate Crimes Unit and have a killer to catch. The victim has been set on fire, there are no witnesses and no finger prints. Once they identify the victim as an immigrant, they find people are reluctant to talk and the more digging the detectives do the more corruption they uncover.

I really found this book hard to get into, although the prologue gives a gripping start to the story, an unnamed individual is being hunted by men with guns and then we go to four days before the incident at the beginning of the book. A body is found, locked in a shed and burned to death, Zigic and Ferreira investigate and soon the book uncovers human trafficking, abuse, racism, slum racketeers and danger for the detectives as this kind of business is big bucks and the law won't get in the way.

Despite having a good start and drawing you in, I felt it focused on far too many mundane things, certain police procedures and a lot of it was drawn on and at parts boring. However, other parts are really engaging and even brutal in how little disregard there is for human life. The end came around quite suddenly and was ok but for me, it was just a bit too little too late. That said, I am in the minority, it seems most people who read this loved it, I just didn't warm to any of the characters, well none of the main ones anyway. 2/5 for me this time, thanks to Dead Good books for sending me a copy, I would maybe try this author again but on another series, this just wasn't for me.

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Wednesday 11 March 2015

Disboey by Jacqui Rose

DisobeyDisobey by Jacqui Rose
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Publisher - Avon

Pages - 368

Blurb from Goodreads

Bad things are going down in Soho. Someone’s going to have to pay the price…

Alfie Jenkins breaks a lot of rules. When he sets up an illegal casino in Soho there’s bad will all round and soon Alfie and those closest to him become embroiled in an all-out war with a dangerous gang.

Unfortunately this gang is a deadly enemy to have. When Alfie’s teenage niece Chloe is kidnapped and there are rumours she’s been enslaved in a sex gang it becomes a terrifying race against time to save her. Will Alfie be able to right wrongs, build bridges and protect his family, whatever the cost?

My Review

There are a few main characters within this tale to be honest, Alfie Jenkins is just one of them and the catalyst to all the terror that follows. Alfie has been known to break the rules, behave selfishly and care about number one only, this time his actions will touch everyone he cares about. When he disobeys the rules he brings down the rein of terror of the Chinese Triads and soon the people of Soho and those closest to Alfie will pay.

This is a dark and gritty story of how one person can break a respected pact between "The Faces" of Soho and the Triads. A girl looking for acceptance and love after being rejected for years by her family, comes to her last hope, her uncle Alfie looking for acceptance. However Chloe-Jane tends to have trouble follow her and soon gets herself caught up in her own problems as well as uncle Alfies. The bond between family and friendships will be pushed to the limit, can Alfie redeem himself or will he prove to the selfish, lying and dangerous individual he has proven to be thus far.

A story filled with bad language, treachery, friendship, prostitution, violence, anger, murder and mayhem to name but a few of the issues covered in this book. There is a lot of testosterone, name calling and questionable actions of some of the key players in this story. Despite that it is an engaging and gritty story that draws you in and leaves each chapter hard to put down as you want to know what happens next to each of the characters. Whilst there are many dark elements to it, there is also some light and happiness, that even in the midst of hardship and horror, bravery and good can still be found. 3/5 for me this time, thanks to Netgalley for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review. I have read this author before and met some of the characters, I would advise reading those before picking this one up. You can read this as a stand alone however I think knowing the background of some of the characters will add to your enjoyment.

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A wee additional giveaway

So we know its Mothers day this month, couldn't miss is as its everywhere really. I know how hard this occasion can be either for those who have never been a mother, who have lost their mother or due to other reasons. So I have decided to have a wee giveaway, a small mystery package to one lady who has found her way here.

The package will no doubt have a wee book something related within it, tis required really :P and a few wee bits and bobs. As you know I love Random Acts of Kindness and think this may put a smile on someones face who finds this particular month a bit hard to get through.

All you need to do to be eligible is fill in the rafflecopter below, leave your details as indicated so I can post the parcel out. As it is only a small thing I will open this up to all ladies outside the UK too. I will run this competition for 1 week, that will take us past actual mothers day but it gives me a bit of time to get it prepared. If you have never done a random act of kindness, try and make this your month do try one. Leave a random book somewhere, hold open a door for someone, even a smile at a stranger, all small acts can be massive to the receiver, lets share some love people <3 - Have a great day x.

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Monday 9 March 2015

Normal by Graeme Cameron

NormalNormal by Graeme Cameron
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 304

Publisher - MIRA

Blurb from Goodreads

He lives in your community, in a nice house with a well-tended garden. He shops in your grocery store, bumping shoulders with you as you pass him and apologizing with a smile. He drives beside you on the highway, politely waving to let you into the lane ahead of him.

What you don't know is that he has an elaborate cage built into a secret basement under his garage. And the food that he's carefully shopping for is to feed a young woman he's holding there against her will--one in a string of many, unaware of the fate that awaits her.

This is how it's been for a long time. It's normal...and it works. Perfectly.

Then he meets the checkout girl from the 24-hour grocery. And now the plan, the hunts, the room...the others. He doesn't need any of them anymore. He needs only her. One small problem--he still has someone trapped in his garage.

Discovering his humanity couldn't have come at a worse time.

My Review

Our main character is just your average chap, living within your community, in a nice house and looks after his garden. He is polite but not intrusive, you don't feel threatened by him at all he is so nondescript. However, you should be threatened, within that lovely normal house and well tended garden is a concealed cage, underneath the garage. Those who see it will never get to tell as our main character is a controlled mix somewhere between a psychopath and a sociopath. He is the perfect predator, he acts as he needs to, blends in to the normal, giving off an nonthreatening vibe and then he pounces! This is his normal, he hunts, he kills, he blends in and is aloof, his life is all about the hunt and kill. Until he comes across a girl in a supermarket checkout, something about her stops him in his tracks and suddenly he wants to be in her company & not to kill or eat her. As he starts to get to know Rachel and discover his humanity, he finds himself becoming "normal" however, his previous captive, Erica, is still alive in his basement and causing him to ask almost as many questions of himself as Rachel is.

This is a bizarre, freaky, chilling tale. We know virtually nothing about our main character except he is something between Hannibal Lecture and Dexter Morgan. I think this works well because he could be just about anyone, we have no actual name or description so the reader could picture him to be literally anyone. This works well in one way however it also leaves so many questions, if he has no job how does he afford everything, where is your usual nosy neighbour who spots this single chap with no job or set schedule. He kills for pleasure, his life evolves around the selection, hunt and murder. He is focused and never left any traces for the police, however, since kidnapping Erica, everything has changed. He doesn't bump her off immediately like so many before her, he goes home with a girl called Annie and strikes up a "friendship" with her, Rachel enthralls him and all this knocks him off his game. He comes under the notice of the police, he is questioning everything and his life is completely turned on its head. As a cold blooded killed, sometimes cannibal everything goes well, however once he starts to normalize thats when things start to go pear shaped for him.

I think the idea is fresh and it is interesting to get behind the mind of a killer, to see him transform from a single focused individual with only one objective, to becoming one who starts to see humans as more than sport. You need to suspend belief as some of it is a tad out there and I had a lot of questions left, however its a well written book that will draw you in. I most certainly would read this author again and maybe he will write more on the characters from this tale in their own right. 3/5 for me this time, thanks so much to Netgalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review and introducing me to a new author. You can get your hands on a copy of this from 31st of March, 2015 onwards from all good retailers.

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Friday 6 March 2015

Torn Apart by M A Comley

Torn Apart (Hero, #1)Torn Apart by M.A. Comley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 198

Blurb from Goodreads

Everyone understands about the no-go districts--areas of the city so overrun with gang violence even the police stay away. In this book, the first in a new series, DI Hero Nelson sets out to combat the issue. When Saskia Hartley and her nine-year-old son are run down outside a restaurant, DI Nelson knows it is no ordinary hit-and-run incident. He's looking at a homicide case... and the evidence points to the brutal Krull Gang. When two prostitutes are murdered, but little interest is given to the women on the Krull's payroll, Nelson connects the dots. DI Nelson has to decide whether he's dealing with a turf war or something far more sinister.

My Review

This is my first dance with this author. The opening scene is pretty traumatic, there is a gang running wild in Manchester and the opening scene shows just how tight their grasp is. They commit a horrific crime, rape and murder and are without fear of punishment or capture. As the tale develops we are given a glimpse into why they have this no fear attitude. DI Hero is our main character with his sidekick Julie, they investigate the crime and murders that follow. After a woman and her child are brutally murdered it seems we have a vigilante on the scene and the police need to clue up to catch them.

This book has a strong, yet uncomfortable and brutal start, you are drawn into a dark culture that the DI is trying to break through despite meeting opposition. However, as the book progresses and we are exposed to the main characters the plot weakens, I knew really quickly who the killer was and mostly the why. The detective isn't a particularly likable character although as the story develops he does get better, well his attitude to his family. His investigative techniques reminded me of a mix between Inspector Clouseau of the pink panther and Columbo without the wit.

Despite the negatives, the story itself was engaging, dark, horrific and if the dialog between the detective had ran more smoothly with a bit more input about why the higher up authorities were loathe to go into the estate, I would have ranked this book higher. I like to have my I's dotted and my T's crossed and for a good pat of this book I was left questioning behaviors, attitudes, discussions and actions on a few of the characters however the theme of the story was good and from reading other reviews, I should head back and read the other series by this author. I plan to do this and see how I get on from there, a fair 3/5 for me this time. If you have read this author I would love to hear your thoughts on this one and your recommendations on where to start next. Thanks to #TBConFB for introducing me to a new author and giving me this book to review in exchange for an honest review.

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The Wronged by Kimberley Chambers

The WrongedThe Wronged by Kimberley Chambers
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - < 1 day

Pages - 468

Publisher - HarperCollins

Blurb from Goodreads

Vinny Butler has used his time in prison well: to plan the downfall of all who’ve wronged him.

As always with the Butlers, family comes first: Vinny’s brother Michael may think he’s the top dog running the family business, but it won’t last when Vinny finds out how good his brother’s got it.

Meanwhile, Vinny is incensed when he finds out that Joanna had a baby in secret while he was in prison – but that’s nothing compared to his anger when he finds out who the father is.

In the background, Little Vinny thinks he’s one step ahead of his dad as always, and playing a dangerous game: he’s still keeping a secret he’ll take to his grave – even if that means that he sends more people to theirs first…

The Butlers are at war, and they’re taking everyone down with them – it’s all going to end in flames…

My Review

Can we just start with one word please, SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEL! I have eagerly awaited this since I got an ARC of the second installment and stayed up til 4am reading it! I had this one for a few days before picking it up, why? Because when you have two awesome books in a series you do worry, just how good can the third one be? Well, I shouldn't have bothered holding off, ooft Chambers brings it forward and blows it out of the water!

We left off book two with some shocking revelations, I won't say what however if you haven't read the first two, do so now as your doing yourself and the story a disservice! We open up on Christmas Eve, 1985 with Queenie, the head of the family, & Vivian her sister getting a blessing from a priest after all the deaths. Then we promptly flick back to 1980, at the funeral from the last death in book two (am I teasing you? Good you need to go read the previous ones!), and pick up almost immediately where we left off in the last book. The family are trying to come to terms with all that has transpired and more mayhem, murder, secrets and lies follow.

Little Vinnie is growing up, Ahmed is still hell bent on his plan, Michael has room to be his own man and put his plans into place and Vinnie senior is still as dangerous as he was and hangs in the shadows for no man or woman. As the story progresses, even more secrets are exposed, scandals are revealed and shocks, twists and turns are at the ready to send the reader into a tizzy! Honestly I can't recommend this series enough, a new member of the family appears by the name of Fred which if you follow Chambers Facebook you will be delighted by this "familiar" face. The book will keep you on the edge of your seat and leave you frustrated and wanting more, which is what a good author is meant to do, 5/5 for me this time. Will I be reading this author again? Hell yeah, she is fast becoming one of my favourites and I cannot wait for the next installment!

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Thursday 5 March 2015

Review - The Murderer's Daughter by R S Meyers

The Murderer's DaughtersThe Murderer's Daughters by Randy Susan Meyers
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 8 days

Pages - 368

Publisher - Sphere

Blurb from Goodreads

Sisters Lulu and Merry share a terrible past. When Lulu was only a child, she let her drunken father into the family home and watched him kill her mother and then turn on six-year-old Merry. Years later, clinging to the wreckage of their childhood, the sisters try to make sense of what happened.

My Review

The book starts fairly quickly, it is 1971 and the first line of the book captures you immediately with the opening line "I wasn't surprised when Mama asked me to save her life". This is from Lulu, the older sister and she describes what happens on that fateful day that changed life for her and her sister Merry. For the first few chapters Lulu tells us what happened and where their life went after their father killed their mother. Then we hear from Merry and the chapters there on after are title by the speaker and what year it is. The girls stick together and cling to each other to get through and survive being in care and all the way through adulthood. Each sister deals with it differently, one avoids all contact or mention of her father whilst the other goes in a compleely different direction. The book follows their choices in life, the impact their mothers murder has had on them and ultimatelty what it is like, living as The Murderer's Daughters.

When I first starts this book I thought it packed quite a punch, it was a terrible and brutal event, fuelled by alcohol abuse, distrust and family dysfunction. It concentrates on how two girls, scarred by violence try to cope and how they turn out as adults and adapt to and face life without their parents. The judgement of others, being rejected by family, experience life in care and then make their own way in the world.

I felt the story tapered off after the first quarter or maybe even first half. It was interesting to read how the girls tried to cope and deal with life however I found it started to lose my interest and was really let down by how the whole thing ended. That said, a lot of people really liked this book and found it quite deep on a few levels. For me though it is a 2/5, give it a go for yourself though and see what you think.

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Sunday 1 March 2015

Book Launch & Giveaway - The Exit by Helen Fitzgerald

Well this is a tad later than I had planned, the launch was on the 12th of February at Waterstones Argyll Street.

However, as often is the way, time slipped past and at least now I have had time to do my review and can launch this as the March competition. If you haven't heard Helen Fitzgerald speak or made it to one of her launches, your missing out guys. This was the second I have been to, she brought some of her family with her and her sister, whose name escapes me, made the beautiful bite sized cakes (I'm always about the food!). I am so so fussy but you couldn't say no as they are so good and it just adds a lovely personal touch.

Fitzgerald is hilarious, down to earth, mingles with us mere mortals :P and invited everyone out for a few drinks after the launch. Her family and husband are just such a nice crowd and on top of all that, she provided wine (both red and white), soft drinks and water which may not sound like a lot guys but I have been to a fair few book events and launches were you don't have water available to buy.

You can read my review here

It was a great night and yours truly got a brand new copy of this wee book and got it signed so now have one copy to give away. I have been keeping book giveaways to the UK, just because costs are going up and I am skint however I will open this one up to everyone. As per, fill in the rafflecopter at the bottom of this post, the more entries you fill in the more chances you have.

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