Wednesday 30 March 2016

Find Her by Lisa Gardner

Find HerFind Her by Lisa Gardner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 384

Blurb from Goodreads

AN ESCAPED KIDNAPPING VICTIM BECOMES AN AVENGER OF INNOCENTS. CAN SHE ESCAPE WHEN SHE'S TARGETED AGAIN? The eighth novel in Sunday Times bestseller Lisa Gardner's Detective D. D. Warren series. Harlan Coben says FIND HER is 'taut psychological suspense' which 'should not be missed'.


My name is Flora Dane and I was kidnapped from a beach on spring break. I spent 472 days with my captor before I was found.


I spent the last five years trying to reacquaint myself with the rhythms of my life. But everything is different. I've had to learn how to protect myself in this dangerous new world.


There are other predators out there and I'll do anything to stop them. Am I a victim or a vigilante? Detective D. D. Warren doesn't know. Sometimes neither do I.

When another girl disappears, I know I have to FIND HER, whatever it takes, even if it means putting myself in danger...

Escaped kidnap victim Flora Dane has once again disappeared. Has the self-proclaimed vigilante become a victim? Or is something far more sinister at play? D.D. will have to race against the clock if she is going to Find Her.

My Review

Flora Dane is our main character, kidnapped for 472 days but she survived. Now a vigilante she seeks out predators, needs to find girls who may have went through a similar ordeal. Flora is on a mission, the police don't know what to make of her. Sergeant Detective D. D. Warren is on the case, FBI victim specialist Samuel Keynes has turned up and D. D. is not impressed, with Flora or him. Trouble Flora certainly is but has she finally bitten off more than she can chew this time in her pursuit of predators?

Oh this story really grabs you from the opening chapter, in italics we are transported back to when Flora was kidnapped and the start of her 472 day ordeal. We then flip to present day and Flora is on a mission, target acquired, she knows them when she sees them and presents them with prey they can't resist. The chapters then flip to the investigating officer, Flora present day and back to Flora's time in captivity, always in italics so you know the timeline has shifted.

The time line shifts and characters switching in each chapter actually works really well and has been written so it flows perfectly. Sometimes with timeline jumps and switching between character scenes you can get confused, not so with this book.

The writing is so vivid at parts, you can feel the claustrophobic pull, your heart kicks up a few beats as you live through the experience with Flora in her captivity scenes. A girl who was normal and happy, turned into what she is now to survive getting through each day. You find yourself rooting for her and really vested in the story and outcome. As I said you are pulled in from the first chapter, the book keeps you on your toes and surprises you along the way, well it did me. 4/5 for me this time, I think I will go back and buy the first seven books in this series as I enjoyed this one so much. Thanks to the publisher for sending me a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Blood Ties by Julie Shaw

Blood TiesBlood Ties by Julie Shaw
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 5 days on and off

Publisher - Element

Pages - 336

Blurb from Goodreads

Family is not always a place of safety.

Kathleen was just eight years old when her mother was tragically killed in a car accident. And when her father remarries it is to the bitter and resentful Irene who has two children of her own and no space in her heart for another. Irene goes out of her way to make Kathleen's life as miserable as possible and will stop at nothing to get her out of their lives…

When Kathleen is sixteen, a shocking incident rocks the family, and life takes a darker turn.

Among this darkness, Kathleen finds a glimmer of hope in an older man, but Irene is ruthless in her mission to destroy her.

Can Kathleen find happiness or is she destined for tragedy?

My Review

Kathleen is our main character, sixteen years old and treated like the family skivvy. Her step mother hates her, her step brother is a gambler but treats her nice, her step sister is just like her mother and dad is a nice guy but basically a door mat. When something happens to rock the family Kathleen finds love in an unlikely place and one that causes scandal in the family. Will Kathleen ever find her happy ever after, especially when Irene, her step mother, is hell bent of making her life miserable.

This book is not what I was expecting, I was pitched it as if I like Martina Cole, Kimberley Chambers I would enjoy this. Whilst the book is a good read, it is nothing like the two mentioned authors. By comparing them to those gritty crime writers it leads you to believe there will be murder, scandal, drugs, gangs etc. This is a tale of a Cinderella style family, Kathleen is young, sweet, hard working and her step mother and sister are horrors. She is worked to the bone and verbally abused, her dad just wants peace to allows it to happen. She wants love and acceptance but so much seems to be against her, the reader sees her go on a journey of personal growth and discovery.

The timeline is set in the mid 60s so the choices made by Kathleen at that time would be quite scandalous. She is however a sweet girl looking for acceptance and love, coming from a home where she has very little of it. Things go from bad to worse when Irene receives a devastating blow and Kathleen discovers just how much hate one woman can have for her.

The story goes along at a steady pace, whilst there is nothing that puts you on the edge of your seat, the writing is well done and engages the reader. This is my first time reading this author, I would read her again. 3/5 for me this time and I would suggest readers read her with a blank slate and take it for what it is rather than go in thinking she is like x,y,z other authors, I think you will enjoy the book much more! Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Monday 28 March 2016

Never Somewhere Else by Alex Gray

Never Somewhere ElseNever Somewhere Else by Alex Gray
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 3 days

Publisher - Sphere

Pages - 308

Blurb from Goodreads

When a series of young women are discovered strangled and mutilated in a Glasgow park, it is up to DCI Lorimer to find their killer. He enlists the services of Dr Solomon Brightman, a psychologist and criminal profiler.

My review

A young woman's body is found mutilated and strangled in a Glasgow park, she isn't the first and the police know they need to find and stop the killer before another woman is killed. DCI Lorimer is in charge and enlists the help of Solomon Brightman, a profiler and psychologist. The two work together and with the help of a witness they uncover significant information on how the killer is operating. Before long, it appears no one is safe, young women or people involved in the investigation!

It has been a while since I read Alex Gray, it is always good to read a story set in or around places you know, well I think so anyway. The chapters are relatively short which I generally enjoy in books, especially when you are working and can't spare long periods to read some days. The prologue kicks off with a murder so your attention is grasped immediately, the characters however took me a bit longer to warm up to.

There is plenty to keep your interest peaked, the police investigation goes along at an acceptable pace and Dr Solomon does some digging at the same time. Clues pop up, some twists and turns and overall it was a good read. I would read this author again if I came across her, I won't be rushing out to buy up the whole series though, 3/5 for me this time.

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Q & A with Alan Jones and 1 paperback copy of Blue Wicked up for grabs

Welcoming Alan Jones to the blog for a wee Q&A

1. What made you start writing and why were you drawn to that genre?
I always loved reading, and I had writing at the back of my mind for a long while, but it wasn't until I was in my forties that I started to seriously think of plots, and start putting ideas down on paper. I wasn't originally drawn to the crime genre; I just sort of gravitated to it, but I've read a fair bit of crime from all over the world, and I've really enjoyed writing crime stories.

2. Blue Wicked is your second book, how does it compare to your first?
The first book wasn't really written as a crime story. It's as much about the relationship between the cabinetmaker of the title, and the young policeman who investigates his son's murder. It was put into the crime bracket when I first published it and it was probably too much of a slow burner, so although it was well received, a lot of reviewers commented that some parts seemed to drag a bit. When I started Blue Wicked, I was writing it as an out and out crime novel, so I tried to keep the pace much more consistent, while still allowing for the character development that I love.

3. Is any of the characters based on people you know?
Eddie has aspects of a few people I have known through work, and some of the others may have little bits of people I have met as well. I have come across people who would do such despicable things to animals, so some of the bad stuff in the book will have come from that.

4. Why did you choose the location for your book(s)?
The Cabinetmaker was set in the West End of Glasgow because I knew it so well. I wasn't just so familiar with the South side of Glasgow , but I wanted to stay in the city for the story so I did a bit of research and came up with the locations that suited it perfectly. The language and humour of Glasgow is just fantastic for writing crime, so it was an easy choice to make.

5. What is next for Alan Jones?
I've just finished my third book, Bloq, released 1st April 2016. It's a departure for me, with most of the action taking place in London. A Glasgow man's daughter goes missing in the Capital, and the story documents his desperate search to find out what has happened to her. I have plots lined up for my next few books but they might not all be crime stories…

6. Do you have any book events planned?
I've applied for slots at a couple of crime festivals but I write under a pseudonym to keep my identity secret, so I might have to go in disguise! We did a couple of street cabinetmaking events, including one at last year's Bloody Scotland, to publicise my first book, and we may do one more if an audiobook ever gets released. I'd love to do a few small book club events in central Scotland, so if there are any local book clubs who would like a reading or a Q&A session, they can contact me on Facebook, Twitter or via my website.

7. Are you reading anything just now and if not, what if your favourite genre to read?
I love reading a variety of genres. I've just finished Blood Tears by Michael J Malone and really enjoyed it. I'm struggling to find reading time at the moment with all the writing and promoting stuff that's going on, but I have a week's holiday in the sun coming up, and I have a selection of books on my kindle which I hope to make inroads into. I also want to read the latest book from Irvine Welsh, who is one of my favourite authors.

Where can fans find you? Links: Twitter @alanjonesbooks Facebook Alan Jones Website

Thanks to Alan for taking time out to answer some questions. You can read my review of Blue Wicked here, and up for grabs is one signed paperback copy. As always, we use the Rafflecopter widget, you can enter by selecting options below. Good luck and thank you for stopping by.

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Wednesday 23 March 2016

Blue wicked by Alan Jones

Blue WickedBlue Wicked by Alan Jones
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1.5 days

Publisher - Ailsa Publishing

pages - 302

Blurb from Goodreads

'Blue Wicked' is a Gritty thriller set in the south side of Glasgow. Eddie Henderson finds himself as the unlikely investigator with information that there's a serial killer targeting the substance dependent underclass who inhabit the notorious Glasgow housing estates. The police force ignore his warnings but one young detective believes him and she helps him search for the truth, despite putting her own career at risk. Their desperate search for the truth on their own proves Eddie right and sparks off a massive manhunt, with Eddie and Catherine, the young detective, at the forefront of the investigation. The book contains a fair bit of strong language and Glasgow dialect, and has some very violent passages.

My Review

The prologue sets the scene for the horrors to come, we open with a rather gorey scene of animal torture. Introducing Eddie, a veterinarian who helps out the SSPCA with cases such as this as he specializes in animal abuse and poisoning. Eddie crosses paths with DC Catherine Douglas looking into the abuse cases and soon pair up as the killer branches out from animals to humans. An up hill battle commences to get the police to head Eddie and take notice of his findings to catch a sadistic killer before they can strike again.

You all know I have major issues with animal cruelty, I was forewarned before reading this and therefore I am giving you all a heads up. Sadly, because of the way many killers work it is a necessity to the tale and gives the story realism. The chapters are not too long which is always a good thing in my opinion, it allows the reader to nip in and out, especially if working or don't have time to read in one sitting. As the book is set in Glasgow some of the characters speak in Glaswegian slang, glossary and translations can be found at the back. Some of the language may be very offensive to some readers, the language is explicit and swear words are frequent with some of the characters, the C word being just one of them.

The scenes are pretty gorey, I have read many horrors, crime and thrillers but some moments in this really had my stomach going. The method of killing I found quite unique, the choice of victims fairly smart on the part of the killer. As much as the reader is horrified, you are compelled to go from page to page for the next horrific crime and hope the killer will be brought to justice before they can strike again. The glossary at the back of the book is really helpful however I think it would be better at the front as I didn't find it until after I had finished. Glasgow slang is fine for me however for many readers not familiar with it, this would be beneficial at the beginning of the book. A really good read, also featuring quite a bit of Glasgow which is an additional plus for readers who enjoy reading about other cities. If you like your crimes gritty and your murders cruel you will love this book! This is my first time reading this author & certainly one worth keeping an eye out for, I would certainly read him again just maybe not when eating! 4/5 for me this time, thanks so much to the author for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Monday 21 March 2016

Harry Potter And The Chamber of Secrets by J K Rowling

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter, #2)Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 341

Blurb from Goodreads

All Harry Potter wants is to get away from the Dursleys and go back to Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. But just as he's packing his bags, Harry receives a warning from a strange, impish creature named Dobby - who says that if Harry Potter returns to Hogwarts, disaster will strike.

And strike it does. For in Harry's second year at Hogwarts, fresh torments and horrors arise, including an outrageously stuck-up new professor, Gilderoy Lockheart, a spirit named Moaning Myrtle who haunts the girls' bathroom, and the unwanted attentions of Ron Weasley's younger sister, Ginny.

But each of these seem minor annoyances when the real trouble begins, and someone--or something--starts turning Hogwarts students to stone. Could it be Draco Malfoy, a more poisonous rival than ever? Could it possibly be Hagrid, whose mysterious past is finally told? Or could it be the one everyone at Hogwarts most suspects... Harry Potter himself.

My Review

This is the second book in the series, I would recommend reading the first, whilst you can pick this up and read it by itself, you would enjoy it more knowing the 1st story. Harry can't wait to get back to Hogwarts, the Dursley's are being their usual horrible selves & a wee house Elf warns Harry he can't go back to Hogwart's. Lots of things seem to go wrong as Dobby predicted, Snape seems to really hate Harry, their new Defense Against The Dark Arts teacher is fame loving nightmare and something horrendous is loose in Hogwarts. A monster that was once loose before & a student died is back, suspicion falls on Hagrid and Harry needs to find out who or what is responsible.

This year we also meet Ginny, Ron's little sister and her first year at Hogwart's, Malfoy's father features a bit more and we see where young Draco gets his attitude from. Another tale of friendship, boundaries, secrets, love & bravery as the youngsters try to piece together more of the history and happenings at the school.

I love these books, this is a re read for me, if I could shut off the adult world for a week I would read these back to back. If you haven't read Potter before I would certainly recommend, if you have I would tell you to re read it. A great story with ups and downs, as much for the mature reader as the young adult, 5/5 for me this time!

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Sunday 13 March 2016

Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone by J K Rowling

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (Harry Potter, #1)Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 310

Publisher - Scholastic

Blurb from Goodreads

Harry Potter thinks he is an ordinary boy. He lives with his Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia and cousin Dudley, who are mean to him and make him sleep in a cupboard under the stairs. (Dudley, however, has two bedrooms, one to sleep in and one for all his toys and games.) Then Harry starts receiving mysterious letters and his life is changed forever. He is whisked away by a beetle-eyed giant of a man and enrolled at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The reason: Harry Potter is a wizard! The first book in the "Harry Potter" series makes the perfect introduction to the world of Hogwarts.

My review

I have read this book about three times and cannot believe this is the first time I have reviewed it! Harry Potter lives with his aunt, uncle and cousin, the Dursleys, Harry has been an unwelcome guest since he was put upon the Dursleys after his parents died. Harry is unliked, unwelcome and above all just an ordinary boy or so the Dursleys would have him think. But as Harry's birthday approaches, he gets letters informing him he has been enrolled in Hogwarts School for witches and wizards. Life as Harry knew it is about to change, secrets about his family, who he is and learning just how dangerous being Harry Potter can be.

Oh I love this book, a tale of friendship, love, family, honour, secrets and magic, whats not to love. The book introduces us to poor Harry, a lovely boy who is treated so poorly by his family, they make him sleep in a cupboard under the stairs and have never gave him any kind of love or even respect as a human. Harry is then taken to a world where he is famous, a world full of magic and mayhem where he meets friends and finds out all about the magical world of wizardry.

This book is loved by kids and adults alike, I am currently re reading the whole series, Rowling has created some fabulous loveable and equally horrid and loathable characters. 5/5 for me, this book is a keeper for me and I will return again to it in the future.

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Wednesday 9 March 2016

Behind Closed Doors by B A Paris

Behind Closed DoorsBehind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 4 hours

Pages - 320

Publisher - MIRA

Blurb from Goodreads

Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace.

He has looks and wealth, she has charm and elegance. You might not want to like them, but you do. Though, you’d like to get to know Grace better.

But it’s difficult, because you realise Jack and Grace are never apart.

Some might call this true love. Others might ask why Grace never answers the phone. Or how she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn’t work. How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim. And why there are bars on one of the bedroom windows.

Sometimes, the perfect marriage is the perfect lie.

My Review

We open in the present, Grace is entertaining Jacks friends with a dinner party at their home. The opening chapter is very discreet, we are told of Jack and Grace's perfect meeting, how long they have been married & everything seems wonderful. The reader picks up Grace is very nervous but no obvious in your face reasoning why, my spidey senses where up though. We are told of Millie, Grace's seventeen year old sister, who has Down's Syndrome and who Jack has agreed to her coming to live with them once she is eighteen, everything is perfect. We flip between the present and past, Grace meeting Jack, perfect Jack, polite, attentive and accepting of Millie. As we flit between the two time lines it becomes apparent life isn't quite as perfect as it first seems and Jack and Grace are hiding a horrendous deadly secret.

I found this book hard to put down, I think depending on your background the more you will be drawn into Grace's world. I knew very quickly something was wrong and when it became apparent what was happening, how I loathed at least one of the main characters and became frustrated by others. You are desperate to find out what is truly going on and then enraged to be kept waiting for the outcome, what is going to happen, will there be an outing of it all.

I think Paris has done fabulously well to draw in the reader, engage them and handle some very tricky subject matter. So many people have loved this book, some not so much and you can appreciate how it can differ for so many. I was completely engaged, I couldn't put the book down, I went through a roller coaster of emotions and found the end came far too quickly for me. The author does what any good author should, leaves the reader wanting more, very impressive and packing quite a punch for their debut. 4/5 for me this time, I would absolutely read this author again, B A Paris is one to watch out for. Thanks so much to NetGalley and the publishers for giving me a copy of this in exchange for an honest review!

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A Siege Of Bitterns by Steve Burrows

A Siege of Bitterns: A Birder Murder MysteryA Siege of Bitterns: A Birder Murder Mystery by Steve Burrows
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 4 days (on and off)

Pages - 352

Publisher - Oneworld Publishers

Blurb from Goodreads

Newly appointed police inspector Domenic Jejeune doesn’t mind ruffling a few feathers to flush out suspects in the brutal murder of a renowned ecological activist.

Inspector Domenic Jejeune’s success has made him a poster boy for the U.K. police service. The problem is Jejeune doesn’t really want to be a detective at all; he much prefers watching birds.

Recently reassigned to the small Norfolk town of Saltmarsh, located in the heart of Britain’s premier birding country, Jejeune’s two worlds collide when he investigates the grisly murder of a prominent ecological activist. His ambitious police superintendent foresees a blaze of welcome publicity, but she begins to have her doubts when Jejeune’s most promising theory involves a feud over birdwatching lists. A second murder only complicates matters.

To unravel this mystery, Jejeune must deal with unwelcome public acclaim, the mistrust of colleagues, and his own insecurities. In the case of the Saltmarsh birder murders, the victims may not be the only casualties.

My Review

First off, I need to say this is not a book I would normally be drawn to or pick up myself. I am so so glad RealReaders sent me a copy of this, otherwise I would have missed a great into to a new author (for me) and a new series. I loved birds as a child and enjoy viewing them as an adult but generally wouldn't pick up a book that features them so much.

Inspector Domenic Jejeune is relatively new to the small English town of Saltmarsh and finding his feet among the people. When an ecological activist is murdered, Jejeune needs to get to the bottom of it, but small towns have their secrets and not everyone wants to tell all to our officer. As the investigation progresses Jejeune gets to indulge in his love of birds and try and piece together possible motives and suspects for the murder.

I really enjoyed reading the bird aspect of the novel, so much so afterwards I read up a bit on the kind of activities of the spotters mentioned in the story. The murder itself was well written as was the show of how the inspectors mindset was focusing. One of the things I didn't like was how sometimes the characters would be called by their first name, other times by their surnames. I personally found this quite confusing at times and for the first while had to kept checking which character it was I was reading about.

I didn't see the twists coming which is always a good thing although I was a bit surprised at how quick it wrapped up and how it all played out. An impressive new way of going about crime, certainly for me. 3/5 for me this time, thanks so much to RealReaders for sending me a copy to review in exchange for an honest review. I hadn't read this author before but I certainly would read him again and more in this series.

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Tuesday 8 March 2016

Hola - I am home

Hell lovely people. Apologies for lack of updates/reviews. We were on holiday to Tenerife and the wifi wasn't great.

The weather was lovely, I took more than a few books, below is just some of the ones I took :D

We picked up a few from the lovely we shop upstairs, they had a swap shelf so I got a few from there and left lots of mine. As a result I now have lots to of reviews to catch up on. I also have over 1000 emails to get through, if you have contacted via any of my email accounts I will reply, it just might take a while.

Last night I made the mistake or re starting the first Harry Potter, I have a ton of review books to still get through, two cases full of washing not to mention work stuff and house work. We also got Princess Trixie back today, looking a tad orange around the paws, she is spending the day singing me the song of her people!

Hope you are all well, the winner for February comp has been announced and contacted. I will try and get the March comp up as soon as I can.

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