Wednesday 29 November 2017

Unbroken: One Woman's Journey to Rebuild a Life Shattered by Violence. A True Story of Survival and Hope by Madeleine Black

Unbroken: One Woman's Journey to Rebuild a Life Shattered by Violence. A True Story of Survival and HopeUnbroken: One Woman's Journey to Rebuild a Life Shattered by Violence. A True Story of Survival and Hope by Madeleine Black
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - read in one sitting

Pages - 288

Publisher - John Blake

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

"For many years after that night, my memories of what happened after he held the blade to my throat and threatened my life were fragmented . . . difficult to piece together. It was too extreme, too violent for me to understand."

Living in a state of shock and self-loathing, it took her years of struggle to confront the buried memories of that first attack and begin to undo the damage it wrought, as men continued to take advantage of her fragility in the worst possible way. Yet, after growing up with a burden no teenager should ever have to shoulder, she found the heart to carry out the best revenge plan of all: leading a fulfilling and happy life. But the road to piecing her life back together was long and painful. For Madeleine, forgiveness was the key. True forgiveness takes genuine effort. It takes a real desire to understand those who have done us so much harm. It is the ultimate act of courage. In Unbroken, Madeleine tells her deeply moving and empowering story, as she discovers that life is about how a person chooses to recover from adversity.

My Review

Madeleine was brutally raped at a very young age, changing her life and everything she knew or felt about herself. Madeleine went on to be attacked again and again, and struggled behind a wall of silence and self loathing. As Madeleine got older she followed many paths that eventually led her to a path of self discover, personal growth, understanding, love and amazingly of all - forgiveness.

I need to warn all readers that this is a brutally honest book and accounts of horrendous sexual and violent abuse are discussed in graphic detail. It makes for hard and very emotive reading, I think any reader will be move to tears, anger and rage for the innocent child that was failed by so many.

The book follows Madeleine on a journey of a downward spiral into some very dark episodes to eventually turning it around and dealing with the traumas, abuse and uses it to help others. It takes a very brave person to survive what she did, to then use it to help others is truly an inspiring and amazing act. I think this book will speak to so many individuals and maybe bring comfort to other survivors, knowing they are not alone. There is a spiritual aspect of the book that I am going to further look into, I found it really interesting and want to know more about it. I think anything that helps to bring inner peace/coping mechanisms will be beneficial to many readers, if they are interested in it and how it can positively impact your life. Despite being harrowing in places the book is also very uplifting when you see the whole journey. I picked this up to read one chapter before bed, I stayed up to 5am until I finished it, 5/5 for me this time. I would love to hug the author, for what she survived, for putting herself out there and for offering hope and a voice to so many, a brave and inspiring human, thank you!

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Tuesday 28 November 2017

Blood Games by Richard Laymon

Blood GamesBlood Games by Richard Laymon
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 467

Publisher - Headline Feature

Source - Bought online

Blurb from Goodreads

Laymon's restored version of his 1992 horror novel that tells of a group of former college friends who hold a reunion at a deserted resort lodge only to find they're sharing it with a maniac. — They meet for one week every year, five young women, best friends since college, in search of fun and thrills. Each year they choose a different place for their reunion. This year it's Helen's choice, and she chose the Totem Pole Lodge. Bad choice. The Totem Pole Lodge is a deserted resort hotel deep in the woods with a gory, shocking past Helen has a macabre streak and she can't wait to tell her friends all about what happened at the lodge and why it's now abandoned. But Helen and the others are in for a nasty surprise. The resort isn't quite as deserted as they think. And not all the gruesome events at the Totem Pole Lodge are in its past. The worst are still to come....

My Review

Five friends from college meet up every year, each year one picks what the groups does and they all go, no questions asked. This year is Helen's turn, Helen loves horror and what better choice than an abandoned lodge that was the site of a massacre. The girls arrive and after a while they realise they aren't alone and soon fighting for their lives.

Helen, Cora, Vivian, Finley and Abilene explore the lodge and go over some of their past exploits, including how they met and bonded in college. With each throwback the reader is given a potential suspect of who may want to get even with them. Or is there something more evil lurking at the lodge? The suspense and eerie atmosphere it present almost from the beginning, you can feel the hair standing up on the back of your neck as you get deeper into the story. The split timeline is easy to follow as the chapters are well earmarked.

There are a fair few themes in the book, mystery, horror, murder, sexual encounters, friendship, revenge and pushing the limits. I found some of the sex stuff wasn't really required although I suppose when the group got together it brought back when they were carefree and a bit more risky. There are plenty of creepy moments in the book , I have always loved checking out old abandoned buildings, after this I may reconsider that.

I forgot how much I enjoyed Laymon's writing, he creates characters and places that just draw you in, almost from the first chapter. 3.5 out of 5 for me this time, I need to buy up more of his books and reacquaint. Perfect for a night wrapped up in the blanket with some candles and just freak yourself right out.

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Saturday 25 November 2017

Lets Talk Reviews and Bloggers

I love social media, there is so much good on it but lets face it, there is also a lot of negative stuff out there too. Lately there has been a lot of negativity surrounding bloggers, blogger bashing has been rife and the old chestnut of SPOILER REVIEWS! So lets talk about it a bit, strap in guys this could get long!

So, why so much hate for bloggers? The thing I hear over and over is "I want to hear from REAL READERS, not bloggers!" So I will address this first and why it causes upset. We ARE REAL READERS, we are real people, we have lives, families, jobs, pets, obsessions but when anyone is called fake, and repeatedly so, it does get upsetting as we are human beings. I think the problem is some people confuse book bloggers with say life style bloggers, beauty bloggers and the like who DO GET PAID to do reviews, book bloggers do not. There are a handful of book bloggers out there who charge, and some do so underhandedly which is always wrong. If you are paid to review something, you need to declare it. Some authors are still getting caught out with this, over at Book Connectors (a group for authors and trusted bloggers), one of our members, the lovely Amanda from Go Book Yourself created a logo (see on the left hand side). We do what we do because we love books, reviews are honest and FREE, please do not pay for reviews. I think maybe the confusion is they think we get paid so we must be lying, or they only see the books we love so assume it must be a lie? Trying to engage people about this is frustrating because certainly on Facebook the most vocal wouldn't engage in the why. As BT used to say, it is good to chat and the best way to get to the root of a problem is to gab, communicate, talk, some of my fav things!

So what is a Book Blogger? A book blogger is a real reader, a person who loves reading but where some readers would read a book and move on or tell a friend over a cuppa, a book blogger will write about it, shout about it on their blog, tweet etc. Now here is where we differ a wee bit, some book bloggers only post about the books they love on their blogs, I tend to do all of mine. A lot of book bloggers got into blogging for different reasons, for some it is a hobby, some to keep tags on what they read, some it has helped with social/health issues. We all blog for different reasons and that is ok, some will only blog the books they loved and again for different reasons. Yes they read books they didn't like and some may still rate them on Goodreads, some will just delete them from their shelves. Some feel that an author has spent so long writing a book they have loved they can't bring themselves to say anything if they can't say anything positive and that is ok too.

Me and mine is a wee bit different. I try to review all the books I read and if it is a review copy I feel I owe it to the author, if I DNF (did not finish) I now private message publisher or author instead of reviewing a book I didn't complete. I used to review absolutely everything, even DNF books however after many debates, chats, discussions I no longer do. I once was party to a chat with authors who said they gave out over 300 copies (downloads) of their books out to readers for honest reviews and got a handful of feedback, reviews and the silence was the worst. Had folk hated the books? Downloaded but not got to yet? (review piles easily get into the hundreds) Was it not for them? Silence they can't work with and I personally think all reviews have their place, excluding trolls, author bashing and spoiler reviews (I will come back to them!). If you are constructive, most authors are happy to have feedback, something didn't work for you, why? It is ok to not all love the same thing, we never will, even classics, well known authors, masterpieces have critics and low ratings because even if you are Picasso you will never please everyone, ever! However, it doesn't hurt to be polite, I do reviews from 1-5 star ratings, I make sure authors read my review policy before asking for a review. I will always be honest in my reviews and what doesn't work for me can be hugely popular for others. But I would never bash an author, no one should, you are not what you eat and an author is not what they write. Whilst I think everyone should be allowed to review a book how they feel slagging an author and questioning their morality because they write horror or graphic scenes/books is unacceptable. Be honest not rude.

And now, the SPOILER REVIEWS! Oh guys it doesn't matter if you are "just a reader" or "just a blogger", we are as well to just burn the books to be honest if we are dropping spoilers.

I cannot imagine why anyone who loves books (or movies) would do this. Speaking to an author this morning and someone left them a review saying they had seen a spoiler for their book and as a result won't be reading ANY of their books! How horrible is that, for the reader having a whole series or author ruined for them, for the author, having all those weeks/months/years of work ruined because someone decided to giveaway the plot.

Read your books, if you review please think about what you write, low or high ratings just please do not include spoilers, only a handful of people will go on to read a book that has been ruined for them. Don't be that person. If you don't know about bloggers, ask, but in short, we are readers who just geek a wee bit more by being more vocal. Support your authors, buy their books, if finances are hard (we have all been there) use your libraries. We are still supporting our authors and keeping libraries alive. Book Bloggers are people, we love chatting books, if you want to ask them something just do it, we love books and most of us love gabbing. I love meeting fellow bookworms and met so many great folk through virtual book clubs, book events (LOVE THEM) are great, get involved. But above all, just do what you do, enjoy reading, we are all book lovers and book worms whether we blog/review or not and spread the love for the printed word xxx

Friday 24 November 2017

Chasing the Traveller by Alex Kane

Chasing the TravellerChasing the Traveller by Alex Kane
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 222

Publisher - Indie

Source - ARC (author)

Blurb from Goodreads

Kat is trapped in a world where she has never belonged. As a traveller, she has always felt lost, especially since the death of her parents in a fire when she was fourteen years old. Having been taken on by the Denton family as their own, Kat falls in love with their son, tearaway Jimmy. His charm soon wears off and Kat finds herself married to a controlling and violent thug.

Sixteen years later, Kat decides enough is enough and begins plotting her escape from a lifetime of abuse.

Stripped of her personality, Kat has no idea how to start again but she finds an unlikely ally in her sister-in-law Ellie who shows Kat that she is not alone.

Kat and Ellie Denton begin their venture into a new world, where they meet new people and build new lives. But Kat still wants to know more about her parents’ past and when she seeks the location of an address on the back of a family photograph, Kat begins to uncover more than she expected including a revelation that will lead Kat back to the traveller site she had been so desperate to escape from.

Will she find the answers she is looking for, or will she fall prey to the violent Jimmy Denton once more?

My Review

Kat Denton is battered, abused, treated like an animal and has nowhere to turn to in her travelling community. Finding herself in a situation that changes everything and forms an unlikely alliance with Ellie, her sister in law, Kat takes the plunge and runs from her abusive husband. This is their story, by escaping Kat and Ellie find themselves on a journey of self discovery, healing, hope and that you cannot outrun your past.

I have bought a few of this authors work when writing under Emma Clapperton but had yet to read them. This is a genre switch and my first dance with this author, the story is both very dark and filled with hope. The start of the story sees Kat being horrifically abused by her husband, violence, rape, emotional abuse and manipulation which makes for hard reading at parts. It is very real to life in parts and I think anyone who has experienced such trauma(s) may find a very emotive response. Passages like this in fiction is really a testament to the authors writing skills and much of the book is not like this, however I feel it needed comment on.

I thought the story was going to be lots of violence and suspense, in actual fact a lot of the focus was about rebuilding a life, acceptance, self discover, survival and recovery. Trust and learning how to assess, accept and recover from emotional manipulation, we follow Kat's very personal journey. It also has danger looming on the edges as Kat and Ellie are on the run from Kat's husband who we know could appear anywhere. The book is a very different read than what I expected and depending on the readers background and life experiences I think it will strike very emotive responses.

Human beings are amazing in what they can endure, survive and cope and whilst this is a work of fiction I think many will be able to relate to it from very real experiences. The book tackles relationships, roles, abuse, family, friendship, love, actions and consequences it also has a sense of danger, survival and the old you cannot run from your past. It is a busy wee book and had time permitted I would have read it in one sitting. 4/5 for me, at time of posting the ebook is available for pre order for 99p. I think I will need to bump the authors other works up my TBRM mountain, this may have been my first dance with this author, it won't be my last!

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Thursday 23 November 2017

We are home & November comp

Waves - so we went a wee road trip, you will have followed our progress if you follow the Instagram account, if not click here for a wee nosey.

Despite it being really cold and feeling miserable I did manage to get a few books read so catching up on reviews. We also had a nice walk, sea view is just lovely the pictures don't do it justice and there are a fair few abandoned buildings I kept thinking a few of my fave authors would get a great story out of some of them.

So, to the giveaway. I had put a poll up on Twitter to see if folk would prefer a Harry Potter themed giveaway or just a normal bookish one, Harry P won hands down. I had initially wanted to do something with one item from each house, however it is the 23rd of November and some items have failed to show. So the giveaway is now as follows, one golden snitch chain, the middle flips open to reveal a clock. One pair of slippers, from Primark, size 6-8, these are super soft, I bought a wee pair for myself and love them (featured on my insta) the soles read Harry Potter. And one beanie style hat that had the Gryffindor logo, all as pictured below.

To enter, as always, just use the Rafflecopter below, open worldwide. For each entry you claim please ensure you have completed it. Good luck to all, feel free to share and if you have a blog feel free to drop the link with your comment below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday 17 November 2017

Alive by Piers Paul Read

Alive: The True Story of the Andes SurvivorsAlive: The True Story of the Andes Survivors by Piers Paul Read
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - on and off over 4 days

Pages - 320

Publisher - Arrow

Source - Amazon

In 1972, a Fairchild plane carrying forty-five passengers, including the Uruguayan rugby team, crashed in the Andes mountains. The thirty-two survivors were hopelessly lost in one of the most remote places on earth.

After eight days of heavy snowfall, the rescue attempt was abandoned. Even if the plane could be found, the likelihood of the forty-five passengers and crew being discovered alive was remote. Yet ten weeks later two emaciated men fell to their knees at the sight of a Chilean peasant tending his cattle in a remote Andean valley. After finally persuading the incredulous authorities that they really were passengers from the missing plane, the two men led a rescue team to the site of the crash, the remaining fourteen survivors and a tale of horrific bravery.

Putting to rest the rumours and criticism the survivors suffered, Alive exposes the inescapable truth and stark courageousness of how they lived to tell their story. Weakened by starvation, extreme cold, and by the awful knowledge that the search had been called off, the survivors had to face the torturous reality of their situation: to live, they must eat the flesh of their dead companions...

My Review

The book opens with a brief acknowledgement from the author to the folk who helped him with his writing and the honest feedback from the survivors after reading it. The book is about the true story of the survivors of the plane that crashed in the Andes mountains in 1972. We open with a wee bit of background on the country, the passengers and then follow them on their journey before boarding, during flight and after the crash. The is the true story of what the survivors endured, what happened to everyone on board and how they survived to have their story told.

I had seen the movie years ago but I had never read the book. I think whilst it is safe to say the movie itself is emotional it doesn't pack half the punch of the tale within the book. Friendship, terror, starvation, survival, situations most of us cannot conceive of, these people lived through it. I could have read the book in one sitting but for the fact it was so horrific, knowing these poor souls went through it, actually lived through it and the suffering of those who did not, heartbreaking.This edition of the book has photographs in two sections, none are graphic or show remains, it is photographs of the team before take off and on the plane, afterwards some of the survivors, rescue and the grave on the mountain.

It is not a book for the faint hearted, some decisions you just cannot imagine ever having to make, cannibalism, life and death and through it all, friendship, faith and religion. You just cannot imagine it and I had to keep putting the book down to process my thoughts and feelings and that was just me reading of their experience. I would have liked to have known more about the survivors, the book does look briefly at the immediate after but in contrast to the before and during it was very little. I hope wherever they are they have found peace, this is a book that will stay with me long after the last page was turned, 4/5 for me.

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Wednesday 15 November 2017

Lost Solace by Karl Drinkwater

Lost SolaceLost Solace by Karl Drinkwater
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 273

Publisher - Organic Apocalypse

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

Sometimes spaceships disappear with everyone on board – the Lost Ships. But sometimes they come back, strangely altered, derelict, and rumoured to be full of horrors.

Opal is on a mission. She’s been seeking something her whole life. Something she is willing to die for. And she thinks it might be on a Lost Ship.

Opal has stolen Clarissa, an experimental AI-controlled spaceship, from the military. Together they have tracked down a Lost Ship, in a lonely nebula far from colonised space.

The Lost Ship is falling into the gravity well of a neutron star, and will soon be truly lost … forever. Legends say the ships harbour death, but there’s no time for indecision.

Opal gears up to board it. She’s just one woman, entering an alien and lethal environment. But perhaps with the aid of Clarissa’s intelligence – and an armoured spacesuit – Opal may stand a chance.

Can she face her demons and survive?

My Review

Opal is a woman on a mission, she has stolen a ship and took off looking for one of the Lost Ships, many have gone missing and rumours of horror on those that come back altered, Opal is driven to find one specific ship. With an experimental artifical intelligence (AI) built in, that she calls Clarissa, Opal puts her very life at risk both from the military and what lies waiting in the Lost Ship.

Oooh think Event Horizon with a bit of "Mother" from the Alien movies and that was the overall feel when I first started this book. The AI is a brilliant character add as just one human in space would take a lot of work to make engaging. The story breaks down into a fair few parts, the journey to find the Lost Ship, the understanding and development of the AI as the story unfolds. The bad guys who are chasing her, what lies within the ship awaiting and everything that transpires after.

The action on the ship is creepy and you are left with questions, well I was and sought out the author to find out if there will be another visit to this story. Thankfully there will be as I hate being left with unanswered questions and we are going to get another two books woohoo!

Opal is a fantastic character, complex, a history we learn a bit more about as we read on, she is heroic, loyal, strong and long long overdue in fiction. I loved the AI too and the relationship that formed between the two, the balsy choices and bravery through frightening encounters and life and death situations.

Whilst the build up was slow in the very beginning it created a tense, claustrophic and eerie atmosphere, perfect for space and kept me flying through page after page. Where was it going, could I trust X,Y,Z or rather could Opal, her choices, was that right, what would happen! I love when a book keeps you on your toes and I think sci-fi is such a tough genre as fans can be hyper critical. I thought this was a great opening to new characters and definitely a foundation book, the origins are done now I can't wait for the meat of it all, the where, why, what are they, what is next! 4/5 for me this time, I have read this author before but not this particular genre from them, I very much look forward to the next installment and will be rooting on my fav character(s).

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Friday 10 November 2017

Written in Blood by Layton Green

Written in BloodWritten in Blood by Layton Green
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - on and off over 4 days

Publisher - Seventh Street Books

Pages - 320

Source - Review copy, author

Blurb from Goodreads

Detective Joe "Preach" Everson, a prison chaplain turned police officer, is coming home. After a decade tracking down killers in Atlanta, and with a reputation as one of the finest homicide detectives in the city, his career derailed when he suffered a mental breakdown during the investigation of a serial killer who was targeting children.

No sooner does Preach arrive at home in Creekville, North Carolina--a bohemian community near Chapel Hill--than a local bookstore owner is brutally killed, the first murder in a decade. The only officer with homicide experience, Preach is assigned to the case and makes a shocking discovery: the bookstore owner has been murdered in exactly the same manner as the pawnbroker in Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment.

With the help of Ariana Hale, a law student and bibliophile who knew the victim, Preach investigates the local writer's community. As their questions increase, a second body is found, this time eerily resembling the crime scene in a famous Edgar Allan Poe novella. Preach and Ariana realize that their adversary is an intelligent, literate killer with a mind as devious as it is disturbed--and one or both of them may be his next target.

My Review

Preach is back in his hometown, with quite an impressive past behind him he is now a cop and a crime needs solved. Preach has to deal with his past, leaving his people and problems, being a priest and now returned a police officer. The killer is smart ^ the crime scene mirrors that of a famous book, what is the message and why did they kill that particular person? With the help of Ariana who works in the bookstore, the bookstore where the murder happened, together they have to piece it together.

This is a very mixed bag to be honest, I loved the authors turns of phrase, I find because I read so much I see and hear a lot of the same terms. I loved the crime scenes that brought about other famous works and authors, in fact I went off and bought one after reading some of the stuff mentioned in the book. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, for your information, only 49p on Amazon kindle at time of posting. The crimes are clever as are the references and there is subtle humour throughout the book. There are also kickbacks to Preach's past, his breakdown and the case that caused it, the strained family history and the conflicting feelings he has whilst working the case.

It is a busy wee book and I felt it could have been so much longer and gave more scope and depth to Preach, his past and the decisions that followed rather than small reflections. I guess it is a testament to the authors writing that he has left the reader absolutely wanting more. I hope he does a throwback book and takes us back to Preach, the case that near broke him and his journey through Priesthood until going into being a man of the law. I think that would work really well and probably give more scope for enjoyment with this book. I found I just had a fair few questions I would have liked answered in relation to Preach's past and what made him who he is now.

The pace is good although I felt the end came far too quickly, I absolutely wanted more. This was my first time reading this author although I see he has written quite a lot prior to this, I will be seeking out more of his work. 3.5 stars for me for this one, thanks to the author for introducing me to his work, it will not be our last dance. Written in Blood is out to buy now in ebook and treebook format.

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Tuesday 7 November 2017

Blog tour - The Good Samaritan by John Marrs

Today is my turn on the blog tour for John Marrs new book, The Good Samaritan, you can read my review HERE. Also featuring today on the tour is the lovely Emma R from Screen Wipe, TV, MOVIE and BOOK review blog, stop by for a visit here! You can see the rest of the blog tour below, be sure to have a nosey as everyone will be sharing different content/reviews/features.

John very kindly took time out of his vacation to answer some questions for us, much appreciated and I hope the rest of the holiday was fabulous.

Wow, the character Laura, just wow. How hard or easy did you find writing her?

She was so complex, one minute I hated her and the next I felt sympathetic towards her. I loved writing her bitchy comments and having listened to the audiobook recently and seeing how well they worked, I wish I’d made her a little funnier. But her dark side gave me sleepless nights. And making her an unreliable narrator enabled me to wrong foot the reader more than once. She is the most complex character I’ve written since Simon in When You Disappeared.

The book is very dark, for many reasons, did you find this more difficult than your previous books?

Yes. It took it out for me for a few reasons. It was the first book I wrote under contract and to a deadline, and writing in first person is always tougher than third person. I felt there was a lot of pressure on me but most of that came from myself. Then there’s the subject matter. Getting into the head of someone so alien to me, like Laura, was hard. And then trying to imagine how I’d feel if I lost a loved one to suicide was difficult. But I wanted both perspectives - to understand what drives people to do it and how those who are left behind try and deal with the aftermath. It is awful for all concerned and my heart goes out to anyone in that situation.

How much research did you have to undertake for the book? Did you enjoy it?

I interviewed my friend’s partner quite extensively about his volunteer work for a helpline charity and the dos and donts when speaking to someone. I also researched depression and having had friends that have suffered badly from it, they gave me an insight into their thinking. I also looked at websites dedicated to informing people how to end their lives. I found that the most shocking, it had never dawned on me that such places existed. So no, I didn’t enjoy the research process.

Now the book is complete, does any of it or the characters stay with you?

No, once I’m done with a book, it’s over for me. I tend to start thinking about the next one. I have to be careful not to take any character’s characteristics over to my next story though. I don’t want to keep repeating myself in each book.

I found the book kept me on my toes with so much unexpected turns, how hard is it to keep a story fresh and surprising?

It just happens when I’m writing. I’ll have a basic plot and storyline in mind but once I get started it can veer all over the place. When I read a book, I want to be kept on my toes. And I like to try and do that with the books I write. It’s a fine line though between keeping things a surprise and not making them sound unbelievable.

Some authors say they start with an ending and work from there, some know the whole story, how do you write?

I generally go in all directions with a story. I never write methodically. I do chapters here, there and everywhere, back to front and front to back. Then I’ll tie it all together. The thought of writing 110,000 words in order horrifies me.

For anyone who doesn’t know who she is lol, tell us about the woman behind your character “the masculine looking” Tracy Fenton

Ha! Tracy is a well-known reviewer and founder of THE book club on Facebook which has more than 7000 avid reader members. She messaged me on Goodreads after my first book came out and was key in introducing me to a whole new audience. Since then, we have become friends and she has popped up in my books as a lawyer and a talent show host. She’s like Where’s Wally? in my books now.

Do you think there will be another book revisiting any of the characters from this book?

I don’t have any plans to write a sequel. There are characters from all of my books that can dip in and out of future stories as guest appearances. But I’ve put so much effort into a book that once the last draft is over, that is generally it for me.

What are you working on now?

I am working on a story about two British detective is on the hunt for a killer in London. While it is not necessarily crime procedural, there are prime procedural elements to it. It’s the first time I’ve attempted a story like this. It won’t be out until next autumn.

11. Where do you prefer chatting with your fans?

Twitter @johnmarrs1
Instagram @johnmarrsauthor
Website John Marrs

Sunday 5 November 2017

Hellbound by David McCaffrey

HellboundHellbound by David McCaffrey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 300

Publisher - Britains Next Bestseller

Source - Amazon (ebook) & Print copy from the author

Blurb from Goodreads

His crimes - unforgivable. His death - inevitable. His suffering - just beginning.

Obadiah Stark aka The Tally Man, is executed at ADX Absolom, his death sentence watched by the world's media, victim relatives and one investigative reporter, Joe O Connell. Penning an account of Stark's personal history and subsequent crimes in the hope of determining what elements make the sociopathic mind tick, Joe discovers clues and inconsistencies which cause him to investigate Stark's execution.

While this is happening in the real world, Obadiah Stark awakens to an afterlife where he has a wife and daughter bound to his childhood hometown. Following his natural predatory instinct, Obadiah proceeds to torment the town, committing multiple murders before being gunned down by the police. He awakens to find that everything has reset, with no one recalling his murderous spree a reality which offers no escape. As the scenes repeat, he is forced to submit to emotions he has never experienced before... and with it, a poisonous dose of morality.

My Review

Obadiah Stark is a killing machine, no morals, no care for any human and no remorse even when he is about to die, by the hand of the state. Joe O'Connell has been wrapped up in his job, a journalist covering Obadiah's murder and destruction, now Obadiah is dead he can focus on his book. However not all as it seems, after a tip off Joe starts digging into Stark's life and death taking him down a path there is no way back from. For Stark, he expects to finally find peace, only to awaken back in his hometown with loved ones around him making him question his sanity and existence.

The story is really split threefold, that of Stark just before and following the execution, Joe just before the execution and what happens after and the profiling of Stark and his crimes dottered throughout the book. I have to say Stark was the most riveting, whilst reading the profiling was also gripping it had a very different feel and pace to that of Stark and it made for a bit of distraction. Absolutely interesting in its own offering and insights, adding a different voice to the story. Whereas Joe brought a humane feel to the book as with the reader, he tries to understand Stark's impact on the families, those left behind in his path of destruction and who the killer actually was.

Obadiah, post execution was the real gripper for me. You, like him, have no actual idea of what has happened and we get to see the killing machine unleashed without boundaries. As with everything there are no actions without consequences and watching the penny drop for Obadiah and how he reacts was something I haven't read in fiction so far. An interesting and fresh premise from McCaffrey and made for a great page turner to see what was in store next for the characters. I think I need to re read In Extremis now before heading onto the newest offering "Nameless", 4/5 for me this time.

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Saturday 4 November 2017

Gothic night at Waterstones

So on a pretty cold October night we headed down to Waterstones for a wee gothic night. Three authors, one I had heard of, who hasn't heard of the fabulous Michael J Malone :D Anthony O'Neill and Charles McGarry.

Not my best photograph but some of these I had taken with my mobile. The books all had a wee reading from each author.

Anthony O'Neill read from Dr Jekyll and Mr Seek.

Charles McGarry read from his book "The Ghost of Helen Addison".

And Michael J Malone reading from his book "House of Spines".

All of our authors were interviewed by the lovely Sharon B from Chapter In My Life, if you aren't familiar with her blog please check it out.

There were drinks provided free of charge, wine, water and soft drinks, we partook in a wee orange juice, I was working the next evening and never have a tipple of any kind if on the next day.

For the event I wore my Christopher Lee Dracula T shirt I picked up when I was at Liverpool horrorcon & my wee chain I got from one of the stalls, do you recognise which movie she is from?

When I was leaving these fabulous bookmarks caught my eye, I didn't buy them that night but went back for them a few days later. Stainless steel British Writers, Charlotte Bronte, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen and William Shakespeare. You know I love a bookmark so couldn't resist.

Thursday 2 November 2017

Messenger of Fear by Michael Grant

Messenger of Fear (Messenger of Fear #1)Messenger of Fear by Michael Grant
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - on and off over 3 days

Pages - 416

Publisher - Electric Monkey

Source - Book shop

Blurn from Goodreads

I remembered my name – Mara. But, standing in that ghostly place, faced with the solemn young man in the black coat with silver skulls for buttons, I could recall nothing else about myself.

And then the games began.

The Messenger sees the darkness in young hearts, and the damage it inflicts upon the world. If they go unpunished, he offers the wicked a game. Win, and they can go free. Lose, and they will live out their greatest fear.

But what does any of this have to do with Mara? She is about to find out . . .

My Review

She wakes up surround by mist, unsure of who she is, drawn to a chapel where a young girl lies in a coffin, dead by her own hand. Here she meets a boy in black, Messenger, who takes her on a horrific journey, watching humans make some horrible choices and giving them a chance to pay for it. The girl Mara, along with the reader, has no idea why she is having to endure and be party to this, as the pages turn the story unfolds as character and reader discover together.

Firstly let me just say whilst I have never read this author it was the pull of the cover and more importantly the page ridges where all in black. The cover jumps out in a blast of colour with Red, black and white, an amputated arm with play or pay across it in scrolls. Covers never used to be a thing but in the past year or two I have been drawn more to good ones, the coloured page ridges get me every time.

It took me a wee bit to get my head around what was happening as you are taken on the journey with Mara. We some some horrible aspects of humanity and the consequences that follows, warning there is harm to an animal in the tale that readers may find distressing. The book is definitely a foundation book setting the stage for the next one and introducing who I imagine to be big players in the following book. Interesting premise for the book, good and bad, actions and consequences of those actions and repentance. Possibly a wee bit preachy some may find but overall interesting and different. I am interested to see where the rest of the series goes, I am sure I will buy them as I come across them, 3/5 for me this time.

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