Sunday 27 August 2017

Supporting our authors giveaway alert

Because bloggers aren't blaggers! Bloggers support authors in many different ways. Some will only post reviews of the books they loved & contact the publisher with feedback on the ones they didn't. I tend to be one of the bloggers who post all of my reviews, low and high star ratings as I think what one dislikes can be another persons love and snag the sale. I myself have bought a fair few books based on those low star reviews because the things they hated are a huge selling point for me and vice versa. Some will buy a copy or two of most review books they are sent, some buy ones they loved only, some buy finished copies for friends and or themselves, we all do our bit.

Being a blogger means we review books we have read and some of us are lucky and privileged to be sent copies to review and advanced reading copies of books before they are available to buy. I was sent an e copy of Run by the fabulous Mandasue Heller.

So, today I am doing a wee impromptu giveaway of a brand new paperback copy of Run, you can read my review HERE!

Mandasue is a great author, gritty crime and her novels are standalones so you can jump right in with her newest release. Her next book is due out December this year or January 2018, keep your eyes peeled for that one.

You can find Mandasue on Twitter @MandasueHeller or on Facebook, give her page a wee like CLICK HERE.

Here is Princess T posing with the prize. To be in with a chance of winning, as always, just use the Rafflecopter below, as always the more entries you complete the more times your name goes into the draw. Good luck, this comp is open to all.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday 25 August 2017

Villains by Dick Kirby

VillainsVillains by Dick Kirby
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - dipped in and out over 1 week

Pages - 309

Publisher - Constable & Robinson

Blurb from Goodreads

'Villains' introduces the reader to the bad, the mad and the dangerous to know, recounted by those who had intimate dealings with, both criminal and copper, London's underworld.

My Review

Not too sure what I was expecting when I picked this book up, a lot more of the Krays I think because they are on the front cover. There is one story about them and a brief mention of them in another. It is relatively short chapters and stories about real life gangsters and or criminals of that time period and shows how vastly different the police dealt with them compared to now.

Police corruption, some stomach churning acts of punishment from one criminal to others, bank robberies, murder, wheeling and dealing. Most names have been changed and the author talks about this at the beginning and the reason for it. If you are very clued up on your criminals of that era you may be able to work out who the real accounts are about, if like me you are not it still makes for very interesting reading.

True crime in bite sized chapters that you can dip in and out of as life allows. There are more out there by this author and I will read them as I come across them. Interesting if true crime is you thing, 3.5 stars for me this time.

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Tuesday 22 August 2017

Blood Mother by Dreda Say Mitchell

Blood Mother (Flesh and Blood Trilogy #2)Blood Mother by Dreda Say Mitchell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Publisher - Hodder & Stoughton

Pages - 480

Blurb from Goodreads

Book 2 in a trilogy following one family over forty years on an East London estate, BLOOD MOTHER goes back to the 70s to tell the next story in the Flesh and Blood series, perfect for fans of Kimberley Chambers and Mandasue Heller.

Babs had all the world ahead of her, until she got pregnant and the father did a runner. Salvation comes in the form of a man who'll look after her. Or so she thinks. Stan Miller is really the devil in disguise... and over the next twenty years, Babs will have reason to regret she ever met him.

Starting in the 70s, BLOOD MOTHER is the second thrilling installment in the Flesh and Blood series, capturing a London that was very different from today but where some things still hold true: be careful what you wish for, and watch out for who you trust...

My Review

This is book two of a trilogy, book one looks at Bab's two kids growing up and their journey into adult hood. This book takes us back to the 1970s when Babs is just a slip of girl and spans over a few decades bringing us to the early 2000s. Babs is pregnant out of wedlock, if that isn't enough to rock the street, the father will shock and bring more grief for Babs. When she meets Stanley Miller he is the answer to all her prayers but nothing is ever free and Babs finds her actions and decisions have consequences that will haunt her and her children!

Ooooh you guys, this is a fabulous book. If you like skulduggery, lowlife characters, schemes, the grittier side of life you will absolutely love this one. You could get away with starting with this one however I would advise to read the first in the series so you get a better feel for the characters. With murder, prostitution, racism, secrets, lies, betrayal and loss the book covers a host of situations that will make some readers feel uncomfortable. It adds an air of authenticity to the depravity and level some folk find themselves when surrounded by poverty but also shows that even in the darkest of times and situations you have things that money cannot buy, friendship and loyalty.

If you enjoy Chambers and Heller then Mitchell is absolutely an author you need to sink your teeth into. Book three is out this week and I cannot wait to sink my teeth into it, highs and lows, sadness, love, laughter and darkness are just some of the themes that will take you on an emotional roller coaster with this one. 5/5 for me this time, I would have devoured it in a few hours if time had permitted, as it was I sunk it in under a day.

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Wednesday 16 August 2017

Keep Me Safe by Daniela Sacerdoti

Keep Me Safe (Seal Island #1)Keep Me Safe by Daniela Sacerdoti
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 352

Publisher - Headline Review

Blurb from Goodreads

A lost girl shows a mother and her daughter their way home. Keep Me Safe is the much anticipated new novel from the author loved by over a million readers, Daniela Sacerdoti. Perfect for all fans of Nicholas Sparks and Cecelia Ahern. 'Beautifully written... I could almost hear the sea and the wind. A great book' Lesley Pearse

When Anna's partner walks away from their relationship, she is shattered. But it is her little girl Ava who takes it hardest of all. The six year old falls silent for three days. When she does speak, her words are troubling. Ava wants to go home. To a place called Seal. To her other mother.

Anna knows to unravel the mystery she must find Seal and take Ava there. She hopes this tiny island will unlock her daughter's memories. But could it also offer a new life... and unexpected love... for Anna too?

My Review

Anna wants to give her little girl the security and life she never had but when her partner leaves both her six year old Ava their world is turned upside down. Ava withdraws and seems to shut down for three days, when she comes out of it she is asking Anna for her mother. Anna is uneasy and confused, Ava talks about another family and home frequently getting upset. Eventually Anna takes Ava to this place in the hopes of settling the mystery and bringing her daughter some closure. The town is welcoming but Ava knows things, her memories of the place she has never visited are accurate and eerie. Bringing Ava to Seal will help Ava, some of the locals and maybe even bring some closure for Anna too?

This is a different wee book, atmospheric, hints of supernatural, a small close knit town, secrets, hurt, attraction and loss are only some of the themes covered. It is a busy wee book and some of the scenes set in Seal are so vivid you can hear the waves crashes and smell the thick sea air as the author draws you into Anna and Ava's world. A mother will do anything for her child and that is exactly what Anna sets out to do, no matter how outlandish the plan seems. There are a few questionable actions of some of the characters in the book and a few things I saw coming before they happened. Otherwise it is a lovely read with some splashes of sorrow and a few turns of fate to bring one broken family to another to find some answers and closure.

This is the first time I have read this author, I would certainly read more and would like to hear more about the other characters. The supernatural aspects would be great to have some more insight into and see how the characters develop, I will be looking out for book two which I believe is out next year. 3.5 stars for me this time, if you are looking for something with a bit of romance, mystery, intrigue, supernatural and family dramas I think you will greatly enjoy this one.

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Sunday 13 August 2017

IT by Stephen King

ItIt by Stephen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - dipped in and out over 6 days

Pages - 912

Publisher - Hodder & Stoughton

Blurb from Amazon

To the children, the town was their whole world. To the adults, knowing better, Derry Maine was just their home town: familiar, well-ordered for the most part. A good place to live.

It is the children who see - and feel - what makes the small town of Derry so horribly different. In the storm drains, in the sewers, IT lurks, taking on the shape of every nightmare, each one's deepest dread. Sometimes IT reaches up, seizing, tearing, killing . . .

Time passes and the children grow up, move away and forget. Until they are called back, once more to confront IT as IT stirs and coils in the sullen depths of their memories, reaching up again to make their past nightmares a terrible present reality.

My Review

This is a re read for me, I read it as a kid (yes I had no place reading such a book at a young age but it began my love of reading and horror), re read it seven years ago and again in prep for the new movie. There is a killer in Derry Main, supernatural and targeting kids, killing them in vicious and terrifying ways. With the killing of young Georgie it kicks starts something IT (the monster) could never have foreseen. Georgie's brother Bill and his friends go on a journey of terror and with a beautiful childlike innocence to confront IT and make a pact for the future, if IT comes back they will too.

The book is split over two timelines, back in the 50s when it all first happens and in the 80s (present day) where the group are now adults and called upon from their pact they made when kids. The killer takes the form of many, Pennywise the clown being one of the most that we readers and fans of the movie know best. But IT has many forms and has gone unchallenged for a long long time. Bill, Ben, Eddie, Bev, Stan, Mike & Ritchie are brought together in friendship and fear to form the Losers Club, they are uniting against the local thug and unknowingly IT. A tale that covers so so much, yes it is a horror and yes there are some claustrophobic gut churning moments of absolute terror but there is also so much more. Friendship, loyalty, innocence, love, racism, marriage, violence, abuse, supernatural and that is just scratching the surface. I loved this book as a kid although I was caught up in the horror side of it. As an adult the other themes really stand out, the racism is horrific and really strong through a huge portion of the book.

I only got to read this in snippets as I have had work and other things on, but I found myself sitting at 3am not realizing how many hours had passed as you just get absorbed into the story. I know some folk have mixed views on how the book turns and wraps up, I think because this was pretty much one of the first books I ever read it will always have that power for me. Clowns are particularly frightening for so many folk, I never had issues with them but Pennywise is indeed something else. I have this book in hardback and ebook and it is absolutely a keeper for me, master King has long been one of my favourite authors and I still have a few of his I haven't gotten to yet. 5/5 for me this time, absolutely not for the faint hearted of easily offended and it is a huge book at almost 1000 pages, if you like King or horror I think you will love this one!

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Friday 11 August 2017

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

The Couple Next DoorThe Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 304

Publisher - Bantam Press

Blurb from Goodreads

Fast-paced and addictive, THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR announces a major new talent in thriller writing.

You never know what's happening on the other side of the wall.

Your neighbour told you that she didn't want your six-month-old daughter at the dinner party. Nothing personal, she just couldn't stand her crying.

Your husband said it would be fine. After all, you only live next door. You'll have the baby monitor and you'll take it in turns to go back every half hour.

Your daughter was sleeping when you checked on her last. But now, as you race up the stairs in your deathly quiet house, your worst fears are realized. She's gone.

You've never had to call the police before. But now they're in your home, and who knows what they'll find there.

What would you be capable of, when pushed past your limit?

My Review

You are feeling unattractive, tired and your six month old baby is clearly not welcome at your beautiful thin bubbly neighbours dinner invite. Your husband wants to go and talks you into using a monitor and regular checks on the baby, you reluctantly agree. When you get home the door is open, the baby is gone and you have no idea how this could have happened. This is what happens to Anne, Marco her husband is beside himself. Anne is going to be judged, it is almost the McCann's happening in a small neighbourhood. The detective is checking up on everyone and we all have our secrets we want to keep!

Oooh this is a great page turner, we build up an atmosphere between Anne and her husband, her husband and flirty neighbour the beautiful Cynthia. The evening ends quickly and there in begins the real story, the baby is gone, the investigation begins. All of our characters have secrets, who doesn't as the police investigation continues we learn more about each character. I suspected everything and everyone but didn't really see where the story was going. A decent pace, lots of themes that I can't really specify without giving away parts of the story and I never do spoiler reviews.

It is a story that gets you thinking, how well do you know anyone around you, how easy your life can change with one bad decision. This was my first time reading this author, I would absolutely read her again, 4/5 for me this time.

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Wednesday 9 August 2017

Library of the Dead by Glenn Cooper

Library of the Dead (Will Piper, #1)Library of the Dead by Glenn Cooper
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out over 3 days

Pages - 410

Publisher - Arrow

Blurb from Goodreads

The most shocking secret in the history of mankind is about to be revealed...A murderer is on the loose on the streets of New York City: nicknamed the Doomsday Killer, he's claimed six victims in just two weeks, and the city is terrified. Even worse, the police are mystified: the victims have nothing in common, defying all profiling, and all that connects them is that each received a sick postcard in the mail before they died - a postcard that announced their date of death. In desperation, the FBI assigns the case to maverick agent Will Piper, once the most accomplished serial killing expert in the bureau's history, now on a dissolute spiral to retirement. Battling his own demons, Will is soon drawn back into a world he both loves and hates, determined to catch the killer whatever it takes. But his search takes him in a direction he could never have predicted, uncovering a shocking secret that has been closely guarded for centuries. A secret that once lay buried in an underground library beneath an 8th Century monastery, but which has now been unearthed - with deadly consequences. A select few defend the secret of the library with their lives - and as Will closes in on the truth, they are determined to stop him, at any cost...

My Review

We open in 2009 in New York City, someone is killing people and if not for the calling card the murders would not be linked, they are so different in their nature and victimology. Will Piper is called onto the case, a serial killer expert however he is a loose canon himself with many personal issues but he is the best hope the team has. With a timeline that jumps around, visiting a time period approximately 1200 years ago and back and forth to present day.

So a wee heads up, the detective and main character has a bit of an attitude on him and I think some folk may be offended by his interactions and thoughts towards his female partner. There is quite a bit of swearing throughout and one particularly harrowing scene with the brutal death of a baby. This is not a spoiler but I feel, knowing how some folk can't read certain acts of violence toward children or sexual aggression toward adults, a heads up is required as both happen.

The killer sends a postcard with a coffin and date to the victims and within a day or two of or on that date they die. Each in very different circumstances and each equally brutal, the police are baffled as to how the killer is doing this. The investigation begins and Will does his thing no matter who or what gets in his way. We get a look into Will's personal life as well as the police procedures although this isn't the heart of the book.

It is certainly different to any other serial killer books, I believe this is the first of a series and whilst I would read the others that follow I won't be rushing out to track them down. 3/5 for me this time it will be interesting to see what the future has in store next for Will Piper.

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Tuesday 8 August 2017

Monster In The Closet by Karen Rose

Monster in the Closet (Romantic Suspense, #19; Baltimore, #5)Monster in the Closet by Karen Rose
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 448

Publisher - Headline

Blurb from Goodreads

The Sunday Times bestselling author of Every Dark Corner returns with an exclusive novel celebrating ten years of Karen Rose's thrillers in the UK. MONSTER IN THE CLOSET reunites readers with characters from Karen Rose's bestselling Baltimore series.

A mother is dead, and now her killer hunts the child that witnessed the brutal crime...

Private Investigator Clay Maynard locates missing children for clients, but has nearly given up hope of finding his own daughter, cruelly stolen from him by his ex-wife twenty-three years ago.

Equine therapist Taylor Dawson has chosen to intern at Daphne Montgomery-Carter's stables so that she can observe the program's security director - her father, Clay Maynard. Trying to reconcile the wonderful man she's getting to know with the monster her mother always described, Taylor never expects to become the target of a real monster, the man who murdered the mother of the little girls she works with at the stable. Neither does she expect to fall for Ford Elkhart, Daphne's handsome son, who is dealing with his own demons. As family and friends gather for a wedding, Taylor starts to imagine a permanent life in Baltimore.

But not if the real monster gets to her first...

My Review

Taylor Dawson has gotten herself a position at a horse therapist stables where they help to treat children who have been victims. Taylor has ulterior motives, she is checking up on her father, a man she has ran from her whole life and been terrified from. Until, on her death bed, her mother gave her a confession of sorts and Taylor has to find out the truth about her biological father. The clients of the program are often traumatised and or at risk, Taylor meets one such child and finds herself the target of a madman and putting those around her at risk too.

So some of the characters in the book are part of another series and this one is book five, I haven't read all of the previous books and the ones I have haven't been in order. I think you can get away with picking this up and reading it as a standalone as it gives you enough info to get the jist of the background characters. I would advise though if you are reading or planning to read the others I would read them first as there are spoilers in this one.

The book features murder, relationships, secrets, lies and as is Rose's signature there is some lust, petting and sex or sexual thoughts. There is a fair amount of violence also and the pace is fast as we have a brutal murder from the first chapter and it kicks off from there. A cat and mouse game played between one psychotic criminal and those trying to protect an innocent, a budding attraction with a host of emotions, dilemmas, dangerous situations and how a close knit family pull together. I have read Rose before and I will read her again, 4/5 for me with this page turner.

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Sunday 6 August 2017

Happy birthday to me

Today is my birthday, I am just home after gallivanting around - I went to Amsterdam with the girls and then off for two nights with my o/h around Scotland.

The buildings in Amsterdam are beautiful, some squint and tipped forward, apparently this is because they use pulleys to get heavy goods up to the flats and by tilting the buildings they reduce the risk of damage to the building and furniture.

I found a few bookstores there but only one that sold books printed in English, I ended up buying three, I was restricted as I only had hand luggage with me. I bought The Fireman by Joe Hill, The Rivals of Dracula by Nick Rennison and Ghost Road Blues by Jonathan Maberry.

The view from the plane was stunning.

Then driving around Scotland for a wee road trip with the o/h. There was some stunning views, I took my wee TripFiction postcards with us. If you haven't heard of them please check out their website HERE. TripFiction matches up readers to books by locations, it is such a great idea and they have a FB/Twitter account and do giveaways.

This one was in Loch Long

This one was in Amsterdam

We stayed overnight in Oban and I found a Waterstones, they had some great book displays out, the new Rebus book by Ian Rankin with the crime scene tape, small things can be so eye catching. I tweeted the piccy to Rankin, I think authors must miss so much stuff and I love things like that and I am just a reader.

I also bought some wee bits and bobs from Waterstones, I had been given money for my birthday and saw some bookmarks, who can resist. I also found a Star Glider, you remember those Styrofoam aeroplanes from the 80s? If not see the picture, this is a mini one and I thought Princess Trixie (the kitty cat) may enjoy it. Wonderwoman magnetic bookmarks and a wee metal one with my initial. I think I did pretty well not to buy any books, o/h pointed out buying a book would have been cheaper, just no pleasing the non book geeks!

I spent the last night in a deep bubble bath with my book relaxing and then we traveled home today, stopping off at a castle where we found a birds nest with four babies in it, you can find loads of piccys from the trips on my Instagram, click HERE.

So after all that travelling tonight is chill, I am re reading IT by Stephen King and finally got a reason to break out the new bookmark to match it. My book is one of the older ones, 1987 I believe and published by BCA Hodder & Stoughton. I wanted to reacquaint with the book before the movie comes out, I have re watched the old one, love Tim Curry as Pennywise, totally freaks you out. Hope you guys are having a great night and chilled Sunday.

Wednesday 2 August 2017

The Short Second Life Of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella (Twilight, #3.5)The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella by Stephenie Meyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - < 1 day

Pages - 178

Publisher - Little Brown Books

Blurb from Goodreads

Bree Tanner can barely remember life before she had uncannily powerful senses, superhuman reflexes, and unstoppable physical strength. Life before she had a relentless thirst for before she became a vampire.

All Bree knows is that living with her fellow newborns has few certainties and even fewer rules: watch your back, don't draw attention to yourself, and above all, make it home by sunrise or die. What she doesn't know: her time as an immortal is quickly running out.

Then Bree finds an unexpected friend in Diego, a newborn just as curious as Bree about their mysterious creator, whom they only know as her. As they come to realize that the newborns are pawns in a game larger than anything they could have imagined, Bree and Diego must choose sides and decide whom to trust. But when everything you know about vampires is based on a lie, how do you find the truth?

My Review

If you enjoyed the Twilight series you will love this. We get to know a bit more about Bree, we wee vampire who cowered and gave up during the big battle with the Cullens. We didn't know too much about her or how she came to be in the group let by Victoria. This is Bree's story, her existance as a vampire up until the day on the battlefield.

I think, and correct me if I am wrong as it has been a long time since I read Twilight, but we get to know a wee bit more about the actual vampires than from Twilight. Yes we get the Cullens backstory and watch as Bella makes her transition but what of those who didn't choose. How did they come to be, how did they form relationships and come together? We get a bit more of that through the eyes of Bree. I felt for her in the books/movie but more so after reading this, it is indeed her short second life and I wish we had got to see a bit more of it. I am sure I read Meyer was done with these book which is a shame, another character, in this book, Fred, would have been fascinating to catch up with. That and maybe some comeuppance for the Volturi, it has been loved and hated by Twihards, if you have read it let me know what you think. I liked it and enjoyed it for what it was 4/5 stars for me this time.

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