Tuesday 27 June 2017

Nailing Jess by Triona Scully - Blog Tour

Welcome to my stop on the Blog Tour for Nailing Jess by Triona Scully, her debut novel. Welcome Triona and thanks so much for taking the time to do a wee Q&A with me. Guys you can read my review for Nailing Jess by clicking HERE.

Before we get into it, if you haven't already seen it, this is the cover for Nailing Jess. I am not normally one to comment on covers but it does strike you doesn't it? If I was walking by it in a bookshop I would absolutely be drawn to pick this up!

1. What was the idea behind the book?

- Nailing Jess is a perfectly functional serial killer novel. It is also a satire on perfectly functional serial killer novels, and the raw deal women often get in this genre. Rather than victimised, women are the perpetrators of sexual and violent crime. The results ain’t pretty, but at least they are, in the main, still alive.

2. Feminism is a huge theme in the book what made you want to go this route?

I’m a feminist Lainy, so it seemed like the obvious route. I OD’d on feminist writers after a gruesome break up, a long time ago. On the one hand, it’s was a powerful thing to do, providing me with the language and science to explain what all women instinctively know – they get a raw deal. On the other hand, it was mind-blowingly dis-empowering ‘coz I came out the other side, with all this knowledge that I can’t unlearn, and the world remains indifferent. Everything I write these days is from a feminist perspective, because it is what I now know.

3. There is swearing galore, you chose “suck” and “sucking” in place of “f*ck” why?

F*** is a male verb, for a male act. At the core of heterosexual mating rituals, men are the active participant, women the passive receiver. Suck is the verb we might use, if women defined the sex act, as something they initiated.

4. I found that really hard to read because I am so familiar with the F word in those exchanges, do you think it was a bold move changing it up like that?

I don’t know if I thought it was bold, but I was certain in had to be done. As a society, we wantonly use the word ‘F***’ to define some of our most intimate actions and some of our most violent ones. The same word - to say ‘I love you’ and ‘I want to cause you harm’. That’s f***ed!

5. Even the mention of Hansel and Gretel the names where changed for the female listing first, what made you do that?

Because that’s how inequality is created and maintained. Through the little things like men (Hansel) always being put first. And the big things, like domestic homicide being downplayed to a ‘family tragedy’, in terms of how the media portray it, and how the courts sanction it, and ultimately, how society perceives it.

6. I picked up the book expecting the crimes to be the main focus, reading the book the strong female theme was, for me, the main focus. Even the males wardrobe choices are very different! Was this your intent/goal?

It was fifty-fifty. Having a core story to tell, with a start, middle, end, and a shedload of bodies was really important to me. I’m a huge crime fan, and I’ve always wanted to write a crime novel. I’m intrigued how thrillers like ‘Gone Girl’ are perceived as feminist, because whilst that book undoubtedly has a strong female lead, it also perpetrates many tired, old stereotypes about how untrustworthy and unhinged women are. I wanted my crime novel to be unambiguously feminist.

7. The main character is different from any I have read, even her name, what was your vision when you created her?

Absolutely! I wanted to create a woman, like no other. I wanted the reader to focus on what she says and what she does, not how she looks, and I think I’ve achieved that with Wayne.

8. With all the swearing, sexism and questionable behaviour from our DCI and overall theme I think this will be a marmite book. How do you feel about your debut being a marmite read?

It’s impossible to describe how surreal it is, to put something out there, and then read reactions to it. I have had to very quickly come to terms with the fact that my work is done, give or take the never-ending marketing drive. There is nothing I can do or say to alter how people perceive the Nailing Jess. Do I want everyone to love it? Absolutely. Is that likely to happen? It would appear not. So, I will settle for the next best thing. As many people as possible to love it.

9. I think this would make for a great reading group book as there is so much to debate/discuss. Which aspect of the book would you like to see most argued over?

I would feel so honoured to have any people debate any of the number of issues it raises from misogyny and violent crime, to drug use, to the lot of single mothers, to everyday sexism.

10. What is next for Triona Scully?

I could tell you, but I’d have to kill you! I never talk about unfinished work. I’ve written a play called ‘The Contact Killer’ and I’m looking to produce it in the next year. So, if you know any wealthy art enthusiasts…

And if we aren't spoiling you enough with a Q&A I am also offering up my copy as a giveaway, UK only this time guys sorry. Please keep in mind this is an ARC so any errors (I can't say I noticed any) are because this was an advanced copy. To be in with a chance just enter by using the Rafflecopter below. Open until the end of the month. You can buy your own copy now and the e book is only 99p at time of posting.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday 20 June 2017

The Escape by C L Taylor

The EscapeThe Escape by C.L. Taylor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - over the course of 1 day

Pages - 433

Publisher - Avon

Blurb from Goodreads

The new psychological thriller from the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Accident, The Lie and The Missing.

"Look after your daughter's things. And your daughter…"
When a stranger asks Jo Blackmore for a lift she says yes, then swiftly wishes she hadn't.

The stranger knows Jo's name, she knows her husband Max and she's got a glove belonging to Jo's two year old daughter Elise.

What begins with a subtle threat swiftly turns into a nightmare as the police, social services and even Jo's own husband turn against her.

No one believes that Elise is in danger. But Jo knows there's only one way to keep her child safe – RUN.

My Review

Jo Blackmore has a lot going on, she has a condition that controls most aspects of her life, her daughter is her pride and joy. When Jo is approached by a stranger and her daughter is threatened it kick starts a change of events that will change Jo's life and everything she thought she knew.

The book kicks off with an unpleasant encounter for Jo, a request for a lift turns to a threat on her daughter. Jo is in an utter panic and speeds off to rescue her child, her husband listens to her claims but lets face it, Jo has priors for over reacting and Max is trying to be a good husband but Jo is being increasingly erratic. The book was multi dimensional for me, it tackles mental health, consequences of choices and actions, marriage, family, love, loss, violence and stalking. One mothers harrowing journey of trying to protect her family, keep her sanity and be mistrusted and questioned by those closest to her.

The vibe of fear and claustrophobic atmosphere is evident from practically page one, drawing the reader in to the story from the get go. At parts I was frustrated by some of Jo's choices however it echos, for me, the realistic fears and limitations of living with a condition that dictates almost every aspect of your life. Add to that a hefty dose of fear for your child's life, an inability to trust your own self and to be questioned by the one person who should have your back whilst trying to battle just going out and about. Taylor does well to create an every day family then pour on every parent's worse nightmare, a cat and mouse game and the breakdown of relationships all because of one incident.

I have read all of Taylor's books so far, I enjoy her writing style and had I not had lots of things getting in the way I would have read this in one sitting. Tense, atmospheric and leading the reader down a path where you trust no one, suspect everything and turn into a Jessica Fletcher desperately trying to solve the mystery before it is revealed to you. 4/5 for me this time, available to buy from all good retails in treebook and ebook, this is a standalone so you can grab it and jump right in.

View all my reviews

Monday 19 June 2017

Nothing Lasts Forever by Roderick Thorp

Nothing Lasts ForeverNothing Lasts Forever by Roderick Thorp
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 245

Publisher - Graymalkin Media

Blurb from Goodreads

High atop a Los Angeles skyscraper, an office Christmas party turns into a deadly cage-match between a lone New York City cop and a gang of international terrorists. Every action fan knows it could only be the explosive big-screen blockbuster Die Hard. But before Bruce Willis blew away audiences as unstoppable hero John McClane, author Roderick Thorp knocked out thriller readers with the bestseller that started it all.

A dozen heavily armed terrorists have taken hostages, issued demands, and promised bloodshed all according to plan. But they haven't counted on a death-defying, one-man cavalry with no shoes, no backup, and no intention of going down easily. As hot-headed cops swarm outside, and cold-blooded killers wield machine guns and rocket launchers inside, the stage is set for the ultimate showdown between anti-hero and uber-villains. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good fight to the death. Ho ho ho!

My Review

A Christmas party in a LA skyscraper, terrorists armed & dangerous with a mission to be completed and no qualms about killing their hostages. One man, an ex cop now anti terrorist consultant, visiting one of his family at the party ends up taking on the killers by himself with no shoes and his quick wit and at times banter to get him through.

Sound familiar? Instead of John McClane in Die Hard we have Joe Leland, instead of visiting his wife he is visiting his grown daughter. Otherwise the story paved the way and became Die Hard, Leland is less gun-hoe than McClane we see a much softer side and some of his quips mirror one of our all time favourite characters Bruce Willis brought to life on the screen.

The book brings a more human side and lets us get inside the head of Joe, what he is thinking and how the killings of the terrorists affects him, something that is missing in the movie. The pace and tension is very much evident and draws the reader in quickly. Joe, whilst a force to be reckoned with is also very human, flawed and I think that may make the character real because he suffers so much but powers through. The movie took the heart of this book and enhanced and blew it up to a well loved film. It isn't very often I prefer the movie to the book and for its time this story packs a punch and keeps the reader engaged but if you have seen the movie I think the book does pale in comparison. If you haven't seen Die Hard read this book first as you will absolutely love it, then check out the movie. This is the second book in a series, I haven't read the first and don't feel I have missed anything out by reading this but I think I may go back and pick up the first. Murder, mayhem, survival, terrorism, family, love, a smart mouth and fast action is the best way to highlight the main topics of this story.

This has been my longest waiting review book, actually years on my tbr purely because it was my first approval Netgalley book. Back then I had no idea how it worked and by the time I got it the book had been archived and I couldn't access or download it. I bought it as I really wanted to read this, I ploughed through it in one day and had to watch the movie immediately after. I would put this as 3/5 stars, I liked it and I think for its time it has been fabulously done. However seeing the movie prior to reading it and actually loving the changes for the film I debated between a 3.5 and a 4 star rating. If you like action and a story with violence, survival whilst looking at the human aspect of it then you can't go far wrong with this. This was my first time reading this author, I will certainly be checking out his other work. Thanks to Netgalley for highlighting this author and initially providing me with a review copy, I wanted to read it so much I ended up buying it and can finally remove it from my NG shelve.

View all my reviews

Sunday 18 June 2017

The Pharaoh's Cat by Maria Luisa Lang

The Pharaoh's CatThe Pharaoh's Cat by Maria Luisa Lang
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 182

Publisher - Self published

Blurb from Goodreads

The Pharaoh’s Cat, a tragicomic fantasy narrated in the present tense by the cat himself, tells of a free-spirited, wise-cracking stray in ancient Egypt who suddenly acquires human powers and immediately captivates the young Pharaoh, making him laugh for the first time since his parents’ death.

The cat becomes the Pharaoh’s constant companion and, at the royal palace and on a tour of Egypt, participates in the festivities, developing an insatiable appetite for good food, wine, and gossip. Gradually, he renews the Pharaoh’s ability to enjoy life and inspires him to become a stronger leader. The bond of selfless love they share will change Egypt’s destiny.

The cat has a good friend in the High Priest of the god Amun-Ra and seeks his help in solving the mystery of his human powers and the supernatural manifestations that plague him. He has a mortal enemy in the Vizier—the second most powerful man in Egypt--who hates him for his close relationship with the Pharaoh. The Vizier’s persecution of the cat ultimately results in his fleeing with the High Priest to present-day New York City, where they find an ally in an Egyptologist’s daughter.

My Review

A wee stray cat in Egypt suddenly finds himself able to talk and stand upright, saved from a horrible fate by the Pharaoh whilst making an enemy. Wrappa-Hamen (the cat) is the protagonist, whilst meeting the Pharaoh changes his life he in turn enriches the Pharaoh's waking him from his grief and embracing life and his role. The Vizier, the second most powerful man next to the Pharaoh is not pleased with Wrappa-Hamen's influence and his arrival kick starts a deadly change of events.

I have had this on my review tbr for a long time, I wish I had read it sooner, the cat would steal the show even if he wasn't the main character. He is sassy, funny, witty and brings joy and chaos to the realm stirring everything up. The Vizier is not a nice man, he had the Pharaoh where he wanted him, almost like a puppet, with the arrival of Wrappa-Hamen everything changes and the Pharaoh comes into his own. The book is about actions, choices, consequences and lives lessons without being done in a preachy manner. There is also a lot about Egyptian history, I have always been interested in it but never really gotten around to reading much, I did find myself putting the book down to google some things & will read further hopefully soon.

A heart warming story that covers a lot of ground, snippets of history, magic, relationships, lies, love, friendship, persecution and even some time travel. This book won't be loved by all however I thought it was really well done. A sweet tale with some moral lessons and the kitty is a cheeky wee thing with some flare, I found myself laughing at some of his quips! 4/5 for me this time, there is another book with this character that I will bump up my list, not too sure how it will go with how well rounded this one was was but I look forward to reading it. Thanks so much to the author for bringing this to my attention it is a wee gem of a book particularly if you like cats and something a bit different.

View all my reviews

Saturday 17 June 2017

A Dark So Deadly by Stuart MacBride

A Dark So DeadlyA Dark So Deadly by Stuart MacBride
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - dipped in and out over 3 days

Pages - 608

Publisher - HarperCollins

Blurb from Goodreads

Welcome to the Misfit Mob…

It’s where Police Scotland dumps the officers it can’t get rid of, but wants to: the outcasts, the troublemakers, the compromised. Officers like DC Callum MacGregor, lumbered with all the boring go-nowhere cases. So when an ancient mummy turns up at the Oldcastle tip, it’s his job to find out which museum it’s been stolen from.

But then Callum uncovers links between his ancient corpse and three missing young men, and life starts to get a lot more interesting. O Division’s Major Investigation Teams already have more cases than they can cope with, so, against everyone’s better judgement, the Misfit Mob are just going to have to manage this one on their own.

No one expects them to succeed, but right now they’re the only thing standing between the killer’s victims and a slow, lingering death. The question is, can they prove everyone wrong before he strikes again?

My Review

A cop no one trusts, they think he took a bribe. A cop moved to the team for violence and two with health issues, they are the "Misfit Mob". DC Callum MacGregor is our main character, distrust is rife among his colleagues, rumored to have taken a bribe. Callum just wants a decent crack of the whip, when they get called to a dumped mummified corpse the team think this is another dead beat case. It slowly transpires there is a killer on the loose and the Misfit Mob must come together to solve it whilst trying to survive the force politics as well as their own person issues.

Oooooh I do hope this is the start of a new series and not just a one off standalone. The characters are flawed and very human in some of their questionable choices and damaged personalities. Poor Callum must be one of the most unlucky humans in the world! A sad childhood story, colleagues that don't trust him, a baby on the way and just when you think things can't get worse for him another strike of bad luck hits. As he struggles to juggle personal blows amidst a case that throws curve ball after curve ball you can't help but be drawn into the dark world MacBride has created.

We glimpse snippets of the killers world, the team interaction, the domestic side of DC MacGregor as well as the integration of the teams newest officer. If you have read MacBride before you can expect his usual humor and swearing from his Scottish characters. It is well paced and ties up earlier memories of MacGregors which initially I found a wee bit out of sync with the previous chapter however as the stories progresses it all takes shape perfectly. With twists and turns, swearing, violence, murder and mayhem this newest offering has all of MacBrides trademark writing but with fresh new characters and a chilling killer. 4/5 for me this time, thanks to Netgalley and HarperCollins for providing me with a review copy. A Dark So Deadly is out now to buy in hardback and e book.

View all my reviews

Monday 12 June 2017

For The Love Of Shakespeare by Beth Miller

For the Love of ShakespeareFor the Love of Shakespeare by Beth Miller
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - Dipped in and out from March

Pages - 282

Publisher - Summersdale

Blurb from Goodreads

A treasure-trove of wit, imagination and emotion, his plays and poems continue to surprise, inspire, console and delight us. Whether you're a life-long lover of the Bard or a curious newcomer to his world, this companion will lift the curtain on the unforgettable characters and stories of Britain's greatest dramatist.

My Review

This book on the inside is called A Companion, that is perfect for what this wee book is. Miller takes us on a journey through who Shakespeare was, an insight into his work with commentary and laced with some humour. Interviews with different people to how they fell in love with Shakespeare, his works, his influences and even a conspiracy theory. Finished off with some reading that influenced the work that went into the book and online resources which I will be checking out myself.

I have always wanted to read Shakespeare, we did one play in school, each person reading different parts and I loved it. Reading the plays in books though I always found a chore, the language and way it has been put down on the pages was tough going. So when I had the opportunity for reviewing this I jumped at it. A book that goes over the stories but in simplistic English and with Millers humour and own voice it was easy to loose yourself in.

Normally when I take a week or more to read a book it is because I am struggling with it, this is the opposite with this book. I enjoyed it so much and learned so much about both Shakespeare himself and his work I would often put the book aside to go and google and read more about the chapter/story I had just learned about. So many of the work was brand new to me and I had no idea how many adaptations, books and literature was out there about him and his creations. That is why it has taken so long to get to the end of the book I kept going off and reading more on what Miller had written.

The passion for her subject is abundantly clear pretty much from the get go and you can't help but be swept away with it yourself. From providing quotable lines, little Did You Know tables and bite sized info such as phrases coined by Shakespeare you could easily loose yourself in this book in one sitting. I had to go in and out as such much was new to me and I wanted to read up on more about that particular sonnet or poem as it was mostly fresh information. I started this book with trepidation there is nothing worse than agreeing to review a book and fearing you might get bored or lose interest. Unwarranted fear in this case, this book is now a keeper for me and certainly one I will go back to again and again. I am also going to buy a copy for my friend who loves Shakespeare and unlike me could read him in any presentation so she will love this, 5/5 for me this time. I would absolutely recommend this book, whether you are curious about the man himself or well versed in his works I think everyone can enjoy something from this read!

View all my reviews

Betrayal by Martina Cole

BetrayalBetrayal by Martina Cole
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - on and off over 4 days

Pages - 480

Publisher - Headline

Blurb from Goodreads

It's all down to who you trust. Aiden O'Hara has been head of the family since he was kid, and he's going to keep it that way. Jade Dixon is the one who watches his back. Mother of his son. The one who makes him invincible. But Jade's been in the game a lot longer than Aiden. She knows no one's indestructible. And when you're at the top, that's when you've got to watch the hardest. Especially the ones closest to you ...

My Review

Aiden O'Hara has always looked out for his family, ever since he was a wee laddie. His mother has something of a reputation and many children to different fathers. Aiden is fiercely protective and soon makes himself a name with the local face. Drugs, prostitution and murder are all things Aiden finds himself caught up in but it pays the bills and keeps his family safe. However as Aiden's reputation grows his arrogance and unpredictability grows with it turning Aiden from protector to a possible danger to his family and business.

I took ages getting to this book as it has taken a fair amount of slating on many book clubs, for a while fans have commented on Cole's book just not being a shadow of her former works. I still enjoyed this one, it starts pretty much from the first chapter, each chapter is relatively short in length making perfect for dipping in and out of. It has elements of her previous books although I agree that with fierce competition from writers such as Chambers & Mitchell there does seem to be a spark missing. You have loyalty, violence, family, relationships, sex, swearing, murder, drugs, prostitution and warning, even child abuse within this one. Not for the easily offended and if you haven't read Cole before I would recommending starting with her earlier work.

If you like gritty estate gangster style books you will like this one, it has a bit of just about everything in it. I didn't like how interchangeable some of the characters became, they start off with strict principles but fast forward X amount of time later and they have a complete switch. Yes people change especially with circumstances but in a few instances I felt it was more about moving the story than fitting to the actual character. 3/5 for me this time, read Cole before and I would read her again. Whilst I think the later stories have something less than her original books I still think many Cole's fans will enjoy this offering.

View all my reviews

Sunday 11 June 2017

June competition is here

I always like to do a giveaway every month, unless I am super busy we do manage it. Sometimes if I am doing a Q&A or have really enjoyed a book that isn't huge (postage costs do limit a lot) I like to do pre-loved giveaways. This month I am doing a wee miscellaneous competition.

So we have a wee mixed lot. A minions lipbalm, who doesn't love minions and it is summer so we need to keep those lips from drying out. A wee cat in a box, I bought this one night after a wee drink or two, not sure what it really is meant to be/do but I liked it so have included it. A wee crown pen, note it is a blue writer and the one for the competition is in it's original wrapper I used my one for the picture so you can see it better. And lastly, the ever popular retro magnetic cassette bookmark. For anyone who isn't familiar with these, the "tape" hangs down or you can loop it up as shown in the photo below, or let it hang down the page. The cassette part you clamp onto the page as it has a magnetic bit on both sides. Please not Odd Thomas is NOT part of the competition, only for showing how the bookmark looks.

This competition is open worldwide, you just need to fill in the Rafflecopter below to be entered, the more entries you complete the more times your name is entered. Good luck and thank you so much to everyone who comments, visits, emails and interacts with the blog either here, Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday 9 June 2017

Honey I'm home

If you follow the blog on Fb, Instagram and or Twitter you will know we have been away on vacation, we took a trip across some of America, I love America! We started heading to Manchester by train, then flew to San Francisco, drove to Santa Barbara & then drove to our last destination Las Vegas.

We visited Alcatraz and despite not having my camera, I managed to get some great photos. I spotted the bookstore before the boat even docked, I bought two wee thin booklets with some of the prisons history.

There was so many birds and wildlife on Alcatraz, I got a wee video of these beauties, posted to Instagram @always_reading

We stayed in a great hotel in San Francisco, it had sea life style throughout all the floors and I am a sucker for themes. IT was also right next to the beach front and they gave us a wee anniversary card, gotta love the little touches.

This was right next to reception on the wall, they had a huge bird made from metal nuts and bolts and chairs from large signs, I took over 900 photos in total and can't post them all here.

As we drove across two locations we saw some stunning scenery, I honestly love America, from the sights to the food! I also bought some books along the way, surprise surprise.

Every where else had been my first visits, Las Vegas was either 5th or 6th time, I do love it. From the shows, to the super friendly people, the food & drink and just all the shops & bright lights I love love love it. I also got a new bookmark hurrah, between books and bookmarks you really cannot have too many. I will say, the huge change in cost since we first went is huge, you used to get so much and realtively cheap. Now a lot of the things are cheaper to buy at home and take over.

We generally stay at what I call the top end of the strip and take a walk down, o/h was unwell so between pushing him in a chair & the heat we didn't make it far the first few days.

The city that never actually sleeps!

The laugh factor has different locations, if you like comedy and haven't been you should check them out. We saw the Whose Line Is It Anyway folk live, one of my fav shows to date. We also went to Michael Jackson One, Fantasy and down to the old strip where they have zip slides and free concerts on the street.

And after three weeks with no camera, no laptop, no email access, very limited internet I am home, jetlagged, tons of post to sort, parcels to send out (I haven't forgotten) and reviews to catch up on. But first, Princess demands attention! I hope everyone is well and I will be stopping by and catching up properly in the next few days.

Book Soulmates

Well from I first started reviewing

Get your own free Blogoversary button!

More Competitions available at

Blog Archive