Sunday 29 April 2018

Serial Killers by Brian Innes

Serial KillersSerial Killers by Brian Innes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - Over 8 days (but I left it in work and dipped in and out)

Pages - 272

Publisher - Quercus Editions Ltd

Source - Can't remember, bought from The Works or Amazon I think

Blurb from Goodreads

The terrifying story of the most monstrous serial killers through history.

Serial Killers are the most notorious and disturbing of all criminals, representing the very darkest side of humanity. Yet they endlessy fascinate and continue to capture the public's attention with their strange charisma and deadly deeds. From Jack the Ripper to Ted Bundy and the Moors Murderers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, these killers transfix us with their ability to commit utterly savage acts of cruelty and depravity.

Only with modern police detection methods and psychological profiling, have these figures that have existed throughout human history finally been identified in the deadliest category: serial killers. These methods, the killers' characters and their crimes are described here in fascinating and terrifyingly gripping detail.

The whole history of serial killers is brought to life in 50 chapters, including:

Herman Webster Mudget, Devil in the White City
John Christie, 10 Rillington Place murders
Zodiac Killer
Ian Brady and Myra Hindley, The Moors Murderers
Ted Bundy
Fred and Rosemary West
Jeffrey Dahmer
Aileen Wuornos
Harold Shipman, Dr Death

My Review

A collection of true crime on some of the worst atrocities to have happened to life. I knew some of the more famous case and some I hadn't heard of. Each case/killer gets a few pages with a very brief overview of their crimes and some of their upbringing and what happened to them in the end. There is minimal information on profiling, there is some detail of the crimes which is absolutely not for the faint hearted.

I think if you want to learn more about crime history then it is a good starting point, there is no in depth analysis of behavioural patterns, it is this is who they were and what they did. I don't think I could read this one one sitting, yes it is a relatively small read and the chapters are only a few pages long however it is so dark and depressing the things humans have done to one another.

A morbid history of some of the worst acts committed, short chapters so you can dip in and out as required. Well written, engaging and gives disturbing details without going into the very nitty gritty as some of the books of this type. This is my first time reading this author, I would look out for anything else he has written, 4/5 for me this time.

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Friday 27 April 2018

Mixed Doubles by Jill Mansell

Mixed DoublesMixed Doubles by Jill Mansell
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 416

Publisher - Headline Review

Source - pound shop

Blurb from Goodreads

Love is always just around the corner in a Jill Mansell novel - with a few surprises and a lot of humour on the way to happiness

New Year is looming and best friends Liza, Dulcie and Pru are making their resolutions. Liza wants to get married - she's never had any trouble hooking a man. The trouble is, she can never stay interested once she's got him. Dulcie thinks marriage sucks. Her husband, Patrick, may be gorgeous and charming, but the impulsive Dulcie needs more excitement in her life. She wants a divorce. Pru loves her roving husband, and she secretly enjoys the periods when he's making up for his outrageous behaviour. All she wants is to stay married. Liza, Dulcie and Pru have no idea what the New Year has in store - but Fate has some sneaky plans up her sleeve...

My Review

In their thirties, new year is coming and with it New Year resolutions for friends Liza, Dulcie, and Pru. Liza would like to get married but gets bored after five minutes, Dulcie wants a divorce as her hubster is more into his work than her and Pru, sweet loyal Pru just wants to stay married to love of her life Phil. Life has a way of throwing curveballs and sometimes that what we wish for doesn't always turn out to be what we wanted.

Pru is so sweet but essentially a doormat, her husband ugh I hated him, philandering, gambling, self obsessed and rude! Liza, a food critic and always looking for love but gets bored or like Chandler from friends, always finds something daft that breaks the relationship up. And Dulcie, she was on par with Pru's husband. Rich, spoiled, self involved and no thought to her actions and their consequences, she really got my goat! However, even the annoying characters brought something essential to the story and as you read page after page, irritation building it helps to really get into what then follows for each of these characters.

Family and friendship dramas, personal growth, some really cringe situations. Dulcie, whilst being a spoilt diva she also gave me a twitchy eye going through her "second stage" I was mortified for her. I think because sadly I have seen people jump through the same hoops and make such horrendous decisions such as hers, knowing where it will all end. I think when you carve characters like that, much as we can hate them, it stays true to life so you can immerse completely in the story. Some things really annoyed me, some made me smile and chuckle, overall a good read, 3.5 out of 5 for me this time. I can't remember if I have read Mansell before but I will absolutely read her again.

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Wednesday 25 April 2018

What Milo Saw by Virginia MacGregor

What Milo SawWhat Milo Saw by Virginia Macgregor
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 3 days

Pages - 400

Publisher - Sphere

Source - The Works

Blurb from Goodreads

Nine-year-old Milo suffers from retinitis pigmentosa: his eyes are slowly failing, and he will eventually go blind. But for now, he sees the world through a pin hole and notices things other people don't. When Milo's beloved 92-year-old gran succumbs to dementia and moves into a nursing home, Milo begins to notice things amiss at the home. The grown-ups won't listen when he tries to tell them something's wrong so with just Tripi, the nursing home's cook, and Hamlet, his pet pig, to help, Milo sets out on a mission to expose the nursing home and the sinister Nurse Thornhill.

My Review

Told from the point of view of Milo, nine years old, owner of Hamlet his pet pig, carer of his 90+ year old gran and has a condition called retinitis pigmentosa. When Milo's gran has one incident too many his mum decides enough is enough and off she goes to a care home. Milo is distraught and soon discovers the care home isn't what it first appeared to be. It isn't easy being nine, trying to get adults to listen when something isn't right and gathering proof against the charge nurse Thornhill. Milo will stop at nothing to try and get his gran home, making friends along the way and with the trusty Hamlet at his side what can go wrong.

We learn a little about the condition retinitis pigmentosa and I will look more into the condition however I would have liked to have had a bit more in depth in the book. As well as Milo's grans dementia we have family issues, infidelity, abuse, relationships, friendship, the struggles of a refugee and flashes of a war torn country.

It is a busy wee book, emotive at times, humorous, sad, Milo is such a sweet wee boy and I loved his relationship with both his grandma and his pet pig. Such an innocent lad with a big heart, very pure in a situation that is horrific in parts. I think some of the choices made by Milo's mother will rile some readers for different reasons, she made my eyebrows raised & crossed on a few occasions. Easy enough to settle into, I did enjoy it if enjoy is the correct word, this is my first dance with this author, I would read her again 3.5 out of 5 for me.

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Tuesday 24 April 2018

Fearless by Jessie Keane - Blog Tour

Eeeek today is my turn on the blog tour for the newest offering from Jessie Keane, if you haven't seen it already, check out this book cover.

Fearless is a standalone, Keane has a few standalones as well as her two series, check them out HERE at Fantastic Fiction. That is my go to site, if you haven't used it, favourite it. It gives you the authors chronological works, years released and a bit about the author, I always check it when book buying. If you are an author and not familiar with the site or listed on it, seriously message them, I always advise any authors to get on there.

Please check out the other stops on the blog tour, the bloggers all host different content.

FearlessFearless by Jessie Keane
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - < 1 day

Pages - 574

Publisher - Pan Macmillan

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Amazon

Play dirty, play to win.

Josh Flynn is the king of the bare-knuckle gypsy fighters. His reputation is un-blemished; his fist a deadly weapon.

Claire Milo has always loved Josh, they were destined to be together from the day they met. Two gypsy lovers with their whole lives ahead of them. If only Josh would find a different way of earning a living instead of knocking the living daylights out of another man in the boxing ring. One day, she knew something really bad was going to happen. She could feel it . . .

Shauna Everett always wanted what she couldn’t have, and nobody, especially Claire Milo was going to stand in her way. She’s had her eye on Josh Flynn for years and she knew just how to get him. If it meant playing dirty, then so be it. What had she got to lose?

In a world ruled by violence, crime and backstreet brawls, only one woman will win in Jessie Keane's Fearless, but how low is she prepared to go to achieve that goal?

My Review

Josh Flynn and Claire Milo have been together since they were kids, now they are going to get married. On the night of Josh's big fight Claire realises this isn't for her and her old adversary Shauna spots her moment. She hates Claire with a passion because Claire has what she wants, Josh, and when Shauna wants something she will stop at nothing to get it.

Oooft sometimes you read a book and find a character you hate and no one will surpass it, then you meet Shauna Everett. Absolute evil and zero morals, we are very quickly introduced to the darker side that resides in Shauna. The story spans over years, from the night everything goes wrong for Claire, the immediate aftermath and then follows them into adulthood, they are teenagers when the story kicks off.

The story is really brutal at times and not for the faint hearted, crude sexual scenes, depravity, violence, abuse, murder and that is just for starters. Gritty crime at its best, I was reading one chapter before bed and ended up still awake at 4am, 400 pages in. Keane creates a dark world you can't help but be pulled into and wanting to see what happens next. The kids are from the gypsy world, Josh is a fighter, no rules just brutality. Shauna has always had higher aspirations that what the gypsy world can offer and really has no qualms doing what it takes and stepping on whoever to make it happen. Claire, well all she ever wanted was a quiet life with the man she loved, she embraced the life she grew up with but with one night changing everything she does what she needs to to survive. Shauna is one of those characters who will stay with you long after you put the book down, an absolute horror of a woman!

Fearless is a story that will make your skin crawl in places, wince, boak, enthral, enrage, cheer, captivate and keep you turning page after page. I have read Keane before and will absolutely read her again, I need to check her back catalogue and see what ones I have missed, 4/5 for me this time.

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Monday 23 April 2018

Happy World Book Night

Happy World Book Night you guys. Sadly I missed the boat to sign up this year so I am going to give away one of the books from my own mountains. But firstly, for anyone who doesn't know about World Book Night you can read about it HERE and get involved if you wish. Otherwise this is what it is about, lifted from the website, more info available on the website.

World Book Night is a national celebration of reading and books which takes place on 23 April every year. Books are given out across the UK with a focus on reaching those who don’t regularly read, and are gifted through organisations including prisons, libraries, colleges, hospitals, care homes and homeless shelters, as well as by passionate individuals who give out their own books within their communities.

World Book Night is run by The Reading Agency, a national charity that inspires people to become confident and enthusiastic readers.

I am offering up a brand new copy of the first in a series, Silent Scream by author Angela Marsons. I have bought this book three times, yes three, the paperback after rave reviews in The Crime Book Club on Facebook, the ebook because it was only 99p and then another paperback copy because it was also on offer. Angela Marsons is in the Crime Book Club also and it is always nice to support our club authors. I hopefully will get to start the series soon but have heard so much positive about it I have bought four of the books already!

I will leave the comp open for two days only, just so folk in different time zones get the opportunity to enter. As always, use Rafflecopter to enter. Have a great day no matter what you are up to but I hope you enjoy something book related and maybe bump into a World Book Night giver or give away one of your own! Share the love. The competition is open worldwide.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday 22 April 2018

This House Is Haunted by John Boyne

This House is HauntedThis House is Haunted by John Boyne
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 304

Publisher - Doubleday

Source - Gift from SS in a book group

Blurb from Goodreads

1867. Eliza Caine arrives in Norfolk to take up her position as governess at Gaudlin Hall on a dark and chilling night. As she makes her way across the station platform, a pair of invisible hands push her from behind into the path of an approaching train. She is only saved by the vigilance of a passing doctor.

When she finally arrives, shaken, at the hall she is greeted by the two children in her care, Isabella and Eustace. There are no parents, no adults at all, and no one to represent her mysterious employer. The children offer no explanation. Later that night in her room, a second terrifying experience further reinforces the sense that something is very wrong.

From the moment she rises the following morning, her every step seems dogged by a malign presence which lives within Gaudlin’s walls. Eliza realises that if she and the children are to survive its violent attentions, she must first uncover the hall’s long-buried secrets and confront the demons of its past…

My Review

Eliza takes a job as a child carer in Norfolk, she has an unsettling encounter almost from the moment she reaches the place. As she gets to the house things get weirder and more unsettling, the children are a delight so why can they not keep a nanny? Her first night she has a terrifying encounter and as the days progress there are more bumps in the night. With a wall of silence to her questions, strange reactions from the villagers and fearing for her safety, Eliza decides she will find out, one way or another, exactly what happened to those before her and what is terrifying her at her new home.

A bit of a slow build with this one, we know quickly things aren't right and there is a bit of spookiness going on. Some of the scenes are really well done however some of Eliza's behaviour and choices irritated me. I loved the children and as we get the reveal of that which has passed things start to make sense. Some took a while to come to fruition however I did enjoy the book and got a wee bit creeped with some of the scenes.

I do enjoy Boyne's work and whilst I liked this, I didn't love it. Enjoyable and put me in the mood for reading more of the same. I will read this author again as after reading his newest book I loved it so much I bought a few from his back catalogue. 3/5 for me this time.

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Thursday 19 April 2018

The Man I Think I Know by Mike Gayle

The Man I Think I KnowThe Man I Think I Know by Mike Gayle
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1.5 days as time allowed

Pages - 310

Publisher - Hodder & Stoughton

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

Whatever happens to those kids at school who are always being tipped to be stars in adult life?

It's a question all of us find ourselves asking at some time and Mike Gayle's powerful, poignant novel answers it with regard to Danny Morgan and James McManus - rivals for top honours in everything throughout their school years in Birmingham.

Whatever their friends and teachers might have expected, neither Danny nor James is currently running the country.

Depressed and unemployed, Danny is facing an ultimatum from his girlfriend Maya: if he doesn't get out and get a job, she's leaving.

It was an accident that changed James's life and now he is looked after affectionately by his parents. But his sister Martha believes that the role of full-time carers is destroying their lives - and infantilising her brother.

She suggests that James should go into a respite home while her parents take a break.

The respite home, as it turns out, where Danny has just got a job.

What is the path that has brought these two people to this unexpected place, and where will it take them next?

This is the story of Danny and James, but also of the families who love them and of the women they love. It is a story of many surprising twists, by turns funny and sad, painful and uplifting, and marks a brilliant new stage in the writing career of one of Britain's favourite novelists.

My Review

Danny is a bit of a lay about, his girlfriend is getting sick of him not having a job, no life direction and now his benefits are being stopped. James was on the path to success, becoming an MP, a beautiful girl and the world was his oyster.............before "the incident". Fate bring these two together, connecting a past and a future bringing life changes that neither could have foreseen nor will be the same again.

I genuinely didn't know what to expect from this book, I have never read the author and by the time the book arrived I forgot what the book was about. Personal growth, friendships, family, life, love, loyalty, learning to recover, moving on, self belief and so so much more. The chapters alternate between Danny and James, two very different men who have so much to offer, to learn and being brought together they discover so much about themselves. You know something has happened to change their lives pretty quickly but it takes a bit before anything is revealed.

There is a lot of emotion, humour and some sadness - it is quite an emotive read in parts and takes you on a roller coaster, even after I have read a few other books I am still thinking about it. It provokes you to think, just how much a life and life path can be changed by one single event, an act of kindness, bravery and the long lasting affects they can have. It shows the importance of human interactions, the strength of relationships and just how much of an impact one human being can have on another. I feel like I am not doing this book justice, it is hard to emphasise just how fabulous it is without giving away spoilers. Needless to say it warms the soul, gives you something to chew on and I think depending on your life experiences it will impact on different levels with readers. 4/5 for me this time, whilst this is my first dance with this author it absolutely won't be my last, a great read! You can buy your own copy from the 19th of April 2018, ebook and treebooks available from Amazon.

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Tuesday 17 April 2018

Sweetpea by C J Skuse

SweetpeaSweetpea by C.J. Skuse
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 384

Publisher - HQ

Source - Gift from O/H

Blurb from Goodreads

The last person who called me ‘Sweetpea’ ended up dead…

I haven’t killed anyone for three years and I thought that when it happened again I’d feel bad. Like an alcoholic taking a sip of whisky. But no. Nothing. I had a blissful night’s sleep. Didn’t wake up at all. And for once, no bad dream either. This morning I feel balanced. Almost sane, for once.

Rhiannon is your average girl next door, settled with her boyfriend and little dog…but she’s got a killer secret.

Although her childhood was haunted by a famous crime, Rhinannon’s life is normal now that her celebrity has dwindled. By day her job as an editorial assistant is demeaning and unsatisfying. By evening she dutifully listens to her friend’s plans for marriage and babies whilst secretly making a list.

A kill list.

From the man on the Lidl checkout who always mishandles her apples, to the driver who cuts her off on her way to work, to the people who have got it coming, Rhiannon’s ready to get her revenge.

Because the girl everyone overlooks might be able to get away with murder…

My review

Rhiannon is working as an editorial assistant for a newspaper, once Rhiannon was the news, front page now she can't get a chance to write something proper. But Rhiannon has bigger issues than bitchy colleagues and a crappy set of stories to write. Rhiannon is a killer, brutal but always in control, well almost always. Every day she has a list of people she could kill, if an opportunity presents itself she takes it all whilst juggling her own problems. A boyfriend who is playing away, work colleagues who either don't value her or can see through her mask, Rhiannon needs to up her game. Especially when some of her "activities" have started to make the news themselves.

You know from the offset who the killer is, sure it tells you in the blurb. We hear from Rhiannon in first person narrative so we know her thoughts/feelings/insights which some will love some will hate, I enjoyed it. The warnings, if you are easily offended this is not the book for you. Graphic sexual references, crude, dirty ooft she has a mouth on her that would make a sailor blush. Brutal killings, infidelity, sex, violence, unpc humour, she is hilarious at points but it is one of those you laugh and think oh I shouldn't. I will check out more by this author, if bad language, brutal gutter mouth and unpc humour makes you uncomfortable then this isn't the book for you. If you don't mind a book that pushes it, rude, crude, funny, brutal then this one ticks the boxes for you. 4/5 for me this time!

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Monday 16 April 2018

The Maid's Room by Fiona Mitchell Blog Tour

Today is my stop on the blog tour for debut novel, The Maid's Room by author Fiona Mitchell. I had a great day chilling in the bath with this one and the cover matched my bath bomb from lush. Please check out the other stops on the tour as each offers different content.

The Maid's RoomThe Maid's Room by Fiona Mitchell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 308

Publisher - Hodder & Stoughton

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

Set in the blistering heat of Singapore, The Maid's Room follows the lives of two Filipina maids - sisters Dolly and Tala who are working hard to send money back home, and British ex-pat Jules who has left her job as a midwife to move to Singapore with husband David.

Told with humour, heart-breaking detail about daily life as a maid, and with an exhilarating spirit that is ultimately uplifting, this book will resonate with anyone who has struggled to have their voice heard.

Perfect for fans of The Help and The Invention of Wings.

My Review

Two sisters Dolly & Tala living and working in Singapore as maids, earning money to support their families back home in the Philippines. This is their story, we see into their routines, how they are treated, spied on, disrespected, abused and how their strength of character, spirit and fight gets them through the days. Dolly is the quieter of the two, more in keeping in line, Tala takes risk, fights for the girls and is a strong woman who doesn't think twice of putting herself in the firing line. Blog posts make an appearance in this which I actually really liked, we have the blog from Vanda "Life as the Employer of a Foreign Domestic Helper" a poison pen employer who could be talking about items rather than human beings. She enraged me and also Tala who starts her own blog in response which soon takes off gives the maids a voice.

There is so much going on in this book, not just the maids, we get an insight into the families they look after, people they clean for and it leaves you worried for how vile some employers are. These woman are disrespected, abused, used and it really got me up in arms. Whilst this is a fiction book it is representative of the actual struggles going on for these maids, I was horrified and want to be educated more about it. An emotive book that commands the readers attention and made me want to do something to actually help these woman, a link at the back for something like that would be awesome. Working to support your family, leaving your own to care for others is not something I could ever do and only imagine the heartache. To then be treated as subhuman it makes you fear for humanity, vindictive and spiteful yet they trusting them to look after their precious children whilst starving them, abusing them ugh!

I loved the "retaliation" blog, I love Tala as a character, she is quietly fierce and of such strong moral fibre she is a fantastic character, I would have loved the book to be longer, seen more of the other maids and a bit more justice for the women. Then, real life isn't always like that and I think the book stayed true to what all transpired. 4/5 for me this time, a fantastic debut novel and I will be watching for more from Mitchell.

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Monday 9 April 2018

Allison Hewitt is Trapped by Madeleine Roux

Allison Hewitt Is Trapped (Zombie, #1)Allison Hewitt Is Trapped by Madeleine Roux
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 3 days on and off

Pages - 340

Publisher - St. Martin's Griffin

Source - Amazon

Blurb from Goodreads

One woman's story as she blogs - and fights back - the zombie apocalypse"

Allison Hewitt and her five colleagues at the Brooks and Peabody Bookstore are trapped together when the zombie outbreak hits. Allison reaches out for help through her blog, writing on her laptop and utilizing the military's emergency wireless network (SNET). It may also be her only chance to reach her mother. But as the reality of their situation sinks in, Allison's blog becomes a harrowing account of her edge-of-the-seat adventures (with some witty sarcasm thrown in) as she and her companions fight their way through ravenous zombies and sometimes even more dangerous humans.

My Review

Azombie apocalypse with internet and blog entries capturing Allison Hewitt's struggle to survive and all the issues she faces. Working in a bookstore you are very limited in your options when a zombie apocalypse kicks off, that is what happens to Allison. However we follow her journey, with a handful of other survivors as they slowly adapt and try to stay alive. As living conditions worsening, time is dragging on, it is clear they need to move on to stay alive.

I really liked the kick off for this, the blog aspect was new for me, as you know have read more than a few zombie books. We go through many avenues of emotional reactions, meltdowns, personal growth and all updated with her blog and some comments from other survivors and their plights. We see how different folk react, the dangerous interactions with not just the zombies but other survivors. Love, loss, bravery, humanity both the good and bad and the strength of humans to prevail and keep going.

Whilst I did enjoy this I didn't like the abruptness of the end. As I was nearing the last few chapters I got a bit nervy of how it would wrap up. I am sure some loved it but I felt it should have been a good bit longer and more closure. There is another book after this one, I don't think it is any of the same characters though. I will buy it because I do love a zombie book and I did enjoy the authors writing style plus blog entries and a new spin on this genre, for me anyway. I just wish there had been more, sure they say a good author always leaves their audience wanting more, I would have just liked more closure, 3.5 stars out of 5 for me this time.

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Saturday 7 April 2018

Happy Saturday

Hello lovely people, I hope you are having a great Saturday, I am catching up with review/blog stuff before going to meet up with friends. Some I haven't seen this year and may or may not have a wee tipple, well hello there blue Wicked!

I also plan on digging out the old selfie stick which I can never see one or use without thinking of the selfie queen, Miss Shell Baker from Chellesbookreviews blog, if you don't know her um where have you been lol. Seriously check out her blog though she is great crack and does so much for authors.

So, I have a wee giveaway going just now for a voucher to buy the ebook of Can't Get You Out Of My Head by Sue Shepherd, you just need to comment on the post to be included, ebook and UK only, click here.

And a wee unexpected fabulousness yesterday. I saw the voting was open for the Annual Blogger Bash Awards so I went on and voted for my pals and noticed a blog with the same name as mine was nominated. Chatting on Facebook and someone messaged me to say it was actually my wee blog, how awesome is that! Seven years of blogging and I have never been nommed for anything so I just want to thank the person who put my wee part of the internet up for nomination. I am so chuffed and you really cheered my day up yesterday, I wish I knew who it was to say thank you. Anyways, click HERE for the link to the nominees, you can vote for one blog per category, I am in the "Hidden Gem" category and have voted for all the blogs I like. Good luck to everyone, thanks to those who are and have voted for me and for everyone not nominated I think you rock anyway. Each blog does it different and each blogger is unique in their own way. Sure I don't use big fancy words, I make up words as I go, use daft phrases and have typos all over the shop. But it is our differences and uniqueness that makes us us.

And lastly but by no means least, an update on Trixie. She has found her voice in the last four days, kept me up most of the night but is eating and drinking well. I certainly think she is winding down but as long as she is comfy and happy we will take each day as we find it. To some she is just a cat, here she is part of the family and the amount of love, messages, wishes sent online on various formats has been touching. Oh and thee Karen Rose commented on her cuteness, what more could you ask for :D I hope you all have a great weekend and keep your eyes peeled for another giveaway coming up soon!

Friday 6 April 2018

Too Close To Breathe by Olivia Kiernan - Blog Tour

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Too Close To Breathe by Olivia Kiernan, can we just take a wee minute to look at that book cover!

Too Close to BreatheToo Close to Breathe by Olivia Kiernan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - < 1 day

Pages - 352

Publisher - Riverrun

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads


Polished. Professional. Perfect. Dead. Respected scientist Dr Eleanor Costello is found hanging in her immaculate home: the scene the very picture of a suicide.


DCS Frankie Sheehan is handed the case, and almost immediately spots foul play. Sheehan, a trained profiler, is seeking a murderer with a talent for death.


As Frankie strives to paint a picture of the killer, and their victim, she starts to sense they are part of a larger, darker canvas, on which the lines between the two blur.

Olivia Kiernan's debut is a bold, brilliant thriller that will keep you guessing and leave you breathless.

My Review

DCS Frankie Sheehan is back on the job after a horrifying attack, we don't know what exactly happened, the information is teased out as the story develops. An apparent suicide, Sheehan sees it for what it is, she is a hot shot profiler don't you know and calls it murder. As the investigation goes underway the clues lead them toward the dark web, dangerous fantasies and reluctant or missing witnesses. A high profile case is hard enough, fling into the mix personal demons, secrets and lies plus all the usual stresses in a police team you find yourself quickly hooked!

I can honestly say picking this up you wouldn't think it was a debut and I would actually like to see the author pen a prequel. Whilst we get a lot of answers by the end of the story I think it would be nice to get a fuller picture of Sheehan, damaged cops are a recurrent theme in many books although Sheehan is feisty and on point, a look at her back story would be great.

There is a lot of swearing, death, dark themes, suspense and the author keeps you guessing as to the who and why. Some of the dialogue between the characters was fantastic and witty, the pace keeps you gripped from the opening page. It is a busy book, focus on police procedure as they tackle the case but not so much that it affects the pace. We have threads of Sheehan dealing with her recent past, being back on the team, the suspects and witnesses interwoven through the investigation. I think Kiernan has carved out a great beginning for what I hope will turn into a series and look forward to hearing more about Sheehan. 4/5 for me this time, thanks to the publisher and Anne for sending me a copy.

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Please check out the other stops on the blog tour, each blogger features different content and always worth checking out.

Thursday 5 April 2018

Psychosis by Roger Bray - Blog Tour

Today is my stop on the blog tour for the the book Psychosis by Roger Bray, welcome to So Many Books, So Little Time and thank you for taking the time to join us for some questions.

Hi Roger and thanks for taking time out to chat to us.

For those not familiar with yourself or your work, tell us a bit about you and the books you write?

Books tend to be, in some way, autobiographical. If not in actual events then in experiences. I served in the Royal Navy for ten years before coming to Australia and I spent seventeen years as a police officer before being seriously injured arresting a domestic violence offender. My experiences of people, and how they react to different situations, is mirrored in my writing. My books are about ordinary people who find themselves in difficult or extraordinary situations and deal with them the best way they can.

What was the inspiration for Psychosis?

A little difficult to answer without spoilers, but two things I find abhorrent are mindless violence and injustice. I don't care for the myriad excuses often used to forgive such transgressions. I believe in a just society where people can live without fear of either of those things being visited on them. The inspiration for Psychosis was two news reports exploring such events and the writer’s inevitable moment of ‘what if?’.

Do you think you will ever revisit any of the characters in the book?

No, my books are stand alone novels about ordinary characters who are faced with extraordinary circumstances. I think that having suffered the slings and arrows of the outrageous fortune I have slung at them they deserves to go back to their ordinary lives.

Who are your writing inspirations?

Robert Harris, Bernard Cornwall, Tom Sharpe, Le Carré, John Birmingham and many others. I have an eclectic taste in books and movies so my inspiration comes from many sources.

If you could have written one book already published what book would you have chosen and why?

I always find this question a little pretentious. Who am I to pretend that I could write or rewrite a classic novel. Even so, in keeping with the question, I would have to say 1984. Not write it so much a rewrite, bring it up to date. I think there are things happening today that Orwell would scarcely believe. CCTV cameras everywhere, people not worried about being on camera but scared that they won’t be. I think Orwell would little believe the amount of personal freedoms we have willingly given away and the whole concept of 1984 would need to be reset. Orwell wrote a warning, we are using it as an instruction manual.

How did you get into writing?

I have always enjoyed writing for my own enjoyment but what pushed me into developing a novel was an idea. Or rather I was standing outside having a cup of coffee on an overcast day when a beam of sunlight came down into the garden. Clearly defined, exactly like a spotlight. I really didn’t think too much about it at the time but over the next days and weeks I started thinking of how to use that moment to develop a story. I had the first chapter and a lot of the rest of the novel mapped out in my mind before I actually started writing anything down

Do you have any rituals, must haves or do’s when starting, during and finishing writing a book?

No really, my only must do’s is to write. I give myself a date as a goal to get at least a first draft ready, or to finish ‘up to chapter x’ and sometimes I even stick to it

What is next for Roger?

I am working on a new novel at the moment, also set in Oregon, which I hope to finish in mid 2018. Once finished it the process of getting it ready for publication begins. Which, I have found, is harder than the writing.

Where can fans find you?

I have a website - through which I can be contacted and I am also on Facebook and Twitter. Please get in touch. Anything you would like to add that I have forgotten to ask?

Nothings springs to mind except to say thanks for the opportunity to chat.

I read this book in prep for the blog tour, this was my first time reading this author, I will be seeking out his other books, you can check out my non spoiler review for Psychosis here.

Edge of Darkness by Karen Rose

Edge of Darkness (Romantic Suspense, #20; Cincinnati, #4)Edge of Darkness by Karen Rose
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2.5 days

Pages - 608

Publisher - Headline

Source - Bookbridgr

Blurb from Goodreads

The fourth and final book in Karen Rose's nail-biting Cincinnati Series revisits your favourite characters battling crime in the city's dark underbelly.

Homicide detective Adam Kimble is no stranger to battling demons. But Meredith Fallon is a different kind of weakness: one that could actually be good for him, if only he would let himself depend on her. Meredith has loved Adam for a year, and seeing how hard he's worked to deal with his PTSD makes her feelings only stronger, but she respects his needs. Her work keeps her busy anyway: she counsels sexually abused women like Mallory Martin to help them reintegrate into the world.

But someone doesn't want Meredith helping women like Mallory, and Meredith finds herself in the crosshairs of a very determined killer. Adam would risk anything for her, but they'll soon find out she isn't the only target...

My Review

I have read some of these books and not always in order, I think to get the most out of these books you should really read in order, says she who doesn't. I recognise a lot of the characters mentioned and their past struggles but there was some I didn't know and whilst you can keep up with the characters I think the book packs more punch with knowing all the back stories.

This is really Meredith and Adam's story with some of Mallory (character from previous books and young girl rescued from a horrific sex trafficking). Meredith and Adam had one night a year ago, Adam has kept himself away since, Meredith doesn't know exactly why but she still loves him. Adam has kept his family at a distance too whilst trying to recover and keep on the job. Whilst trying to stay away and sort himself Meredith is attacked and Adam needs to be part of the investigation. The two try to deal with their feelings inbetween trying to work out who is after Meredith and why. Working with abused kids anyone could be the perp, as the killer closes in and ups his game the police have to pull closer and find it isn't just Meredith who is in danger.

Crime and sex doesn't always work and Rose always has ill fated or doomed relationships from the beginning. The characters have so much danger to face, people to protect that you have action almost non stop. She manages to work in the love interest angle really well and it doesn't take from the main story, in my opinion. Family is a huge theme and there are so many of them, most either cops or helping victims of crime so they are always targets of one type or another. What I love about this is whilst many of the back stories have been left open we find a fair bit of closure in this book. Despite being a chunky 600 plus pages I could easily have had more, the characters are a plenty and there are so many strands to the stories.

Actions, violence, sexual deviants, killers, families, love, loss, personal growth and that is just scratching the surface. Rose carves out characters you can't help but be drawn to and leaves you wanting more. 4/5 for me this time, if you have enjoyed her previous books you will love this, if you haven't read her before, go back to the start!

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Tuesday 3 April 2018

Can't Get You Out Of My Head by Sue Shepherd - Q&A

Happy publication day to Sue Shepherd for her book "Can't Get You Out Of My Head" you can get your hands on the ebook for only 99p, click here

I was lucky to get an advance copy of this book, you can read my review HERE.

Welcome Sue and thanks so much for stopping by for a wee Q&A with me.

1. What was the inspiration for the story?

I’ve always wanted to write about twins, they fascinate me. I don’t plan or plot my stories in advance. I like to place my characters into a situation and wait to see who will join them, and where they’ll go. I began writing about a set of twins and put them in a memory from my own past. I was born in August 1966, meaning my 10th birthday took place during what became known as ‘the long hot summer of ’76.’ My dad made a home-made paddling pool that summer. There was a hose pipe ban, and, my dad, being much like the twin’s dad, was far too considerate to fill the pool more than a few inches. I still have vivid memories of the green, flowery swimsuit I wore, and how it felt to jump into the cold, shallow water. So, I started with a similar incident, and waited to see what would happen. The only difference being that the twins are younger than me, their 10th birthday party took place long after ’76. Things are not as they first appear in the book, and, once I realised the twist, the story took off from there.

2. What research did you do for the book?

It always amazes me the things that an author needs to check as she or he writes a novel. It’s difficult for me to list all the things I had to look at on Google without giving away the secrets from the book. But I’ll try to give you a few rather random examples - What motorway runs closest to Bolton? At what stage in a pregnancy does the foetus develop arms and legs? Is alcohol banned from Bondi beach on Christmas Day? When were chip and pin cards first used? There was also a bit of medical research, which I can’t divulge for fear of spoilers. Lastly, you may remember, Lainy – once it became clear to me that Beth and Lisa’s paternal grandfather was Scottish, there were a few messages back and forth with yourself to confirm some Scottish dialogue. Thank you once again for that.

3. I found myself liking and disliking both Beth and Lisa at different times, was this deliberate?

I think all our friends and family have traits that we like, and often a side to them that we are not so keen on. In a way, I’m rather pleased to hear that you liked the twins some of the time and disliked them at others. I would agree with you. Sometimes, Lisa’s sarcasm and lack of support for her sister made me very angry with her. But anyone who’s read the book will know that Lisa doesn’t have it easy, and there were often times when I felt immensely sorry for her predicament and I totally understood her frustrations. Equally, Beth was a warm, kind person, but she allowed guilt to drag her down, and on occasion she was just too weak, and I wanted to shake her. I think the book is a real journey for her, and I hope that by the end of it, you joined me in feeling that she’d gained a bit of gumption. But, did I deliberately set out to make you like and dislike them in turn? No. The story just grew organically, and, as sometimes happens in real life, our feelings for people simply ebb and flow.

4. Relationships is a strong and constant theme throughout the book, how important was relationships to you when penning it?

Hugely important. As I see it, relationships are what makes the world go around. In all three of my novels, the most important element has been relationships. Between family, between lovers, and between friends. For me, even more important than where my characters find themselves or the things that they achieve, is the way they relate to each other, and the sacrifices they’re prepared to make for the people they care about.

5. Location, location, location especially Australia did you draw from personal experience or was this research?

The parts of the story that are set in Australia are loosely based on my own travels. When I was young, free and single I spent a year backpacking around Australia, New Zealand and America. It was an amazing overseas experience. I look back in awe, at the brave person I was, and at the bold things I did :- bungee jumping, white water rafting, sleeping under the stars, to name just a few. Some of the things that happened to the twins in Australia did actually happen to me – but I can’t say which!

6. Are any of your characters based on people you know?

Like all authors, I think I draw my inspiration from a number of people. My characters are perhaps an amalgamation of friends and strangers, a hair flick from one, a way of speaking from another. But one character who is very much based on a real person, is that of Beth and Lisa’s Nanna. She definitely bears more than a passing resemblance to my mother-in-law. Just like Nanna, my mother-in-law is feisty and petite. The fact that Nanna played out with the neighbourhood kids was also based on her. When my two sons were small, she used to play football with them in the garden. They even used to make her go in goal!

7. Who are your author crushes and what is your all time favourite read?

Let me have a little think about the authors who’ve influenced me and who made me want to be a writer in the first place. Well, in my twenties, I read Jackie Collins and Jilly Cooper. I say I read them, I think ‘devoured’ is a more appropriate term. I loved them. Later, I read Marian Keyes and I adored how she could make me laugh and cry, all on the same page. A few years ago, I took creative writing classes with the author, Sophie King, and I really enjoyed her books. It was her writing that showed me how flexible and how interesting it can be to write from several character’s points of view. I must also mention Kate Atkinson’s - Life after Life. I found that book captivating. It taught me that it’s OK to be brave and mix a fantasy element with romance. But the book that I’ve returned to more times than any other is ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’ by Audrey Niffenegger. The first time that Clare meets Henry is not the first time that Henry meets Clare. How mind-bending is that?

8. What is next for Sue Shepherd?

I’m currently writing my fourth novel. I found that the thing I liked most about writing was all the twists and turns and the revelations from the character’s pasts. So, this time around, I’m trying something a little different. It’s more of a psychological thriller. It does feel odd not including humour and romance, but I’m enjoying the challenge. Who knows though, it could still morph into a Sue Shepherd Romcom!

9. Where can fans find you?

If anyone wants to hear more from me, they can find me on my website or on Twitter, where I go by the name of @thatsueshepherd, or on my Facebook page

10. Anything you want to answer that I forgot to ask?

I really would like to thank Ian at Corazon Books. He’s not only my publisher, but my editor too. We’ve worked together on three books now, and I honestly can’t imagine the whole process without his support and input. He manages to tell me when things need to be changed, without offending my sensitive creative side. The publication of Can’t Get You Out of My Head is as much a celebration for him, as it is for me. Thank you, Lainy, for having me on your blog today. I’ve really enjoyed these questions. Thanks also for your continuing support.

Monday 2 April 2018

The Perfectly Imperfect Woman by Milly Johnson

The Perfectly Imperfect WomanThe Perfectly Imperfect Woman by Milly Johnson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1.5 days

Pages - 464

Publisher - Simon and Schuster

Source - Waterstones store

Blurb from Goodreads

Marnie Salt has made so many mistakes in her life that she fears she will never get on the right track. But when she ‘meets’ an old lady on a baking chatroom and begins confiding in her, little does she know how her life will change.

Arranging to see each other for lunch, Marnie finds discovers that Lilian is every bit as mad and delightful as she’d hoped – and that she owns a whole village in the Yorkshire Dales, which has been passed down through generations. And when Marnie needs a refuge after a crisis, she ups sticks and heads for Wychwell – a temporary measure, so she thinks.

But soon Marnie finds that Wychwell has claimed her as its own and she is duty bound not to leave. Even if what she has to do makes her as unpopular as a force 12 gale in a confetti factory! But everyone has imperfections, as Marnie comes to realise, and that is not such a bad thing – after all, your flaws are perfect for the heart that is meant to love you.

The Perfectly Imperfect Woman is the heart-warming and hilarious new novel from the queen of feel-good fiction – a novel of family, secrets, love and redemption … and broken hearts mended and made all the stronger for it.

My Review

Marnie has had a hard time with her family, it impacts on most aspects of her life. When things come crashing down around her, a chance internet encounter gives her the opportunity to not only flee but make big life changes. Wychwell is a small village that has much it can offer Marnie but not everyone is as welcoming and soon Marnie is questioning if she has made the right decision.

Oh I do love Johnson's stories and it has been a wee while since I last picked one up. There are many layers to this one, Marnie's story then we have the village history which we read snippets of as Marnie makes her way through the book. Her past and family relationship, her current life before she needs to flee to the village and everything that transpires from her arrival, her friendships and interactions with the village people. There are many secrets, relationships are a key theme throughout the book. I found myself absolutely raging at some of the treatment Marnie has at the hands of her family and how this impacts on her as a person. The behaviour of some of the villagers is beautiful, heartwarming and from others rage inducing and even giving one a twitchy eyeball. I loved the family history and would have read a book on that by itself, I hope it is something Johnson toys with! Other themes that crop up are infidelity, food - oh my I so wanted to eat cheesecake and I don't even eat cheesecake really, cheating, friendships, family, love, office politics, back stabbing, bitchiness, loss, grief, lies and loyalty. It is a busy wee book but very well done and flows nicely, if I hadn't had work I would have read it in one sitting!

Another thing to highlight, the book has a lovely coloured map of the village with the houses and everything labelled so you can follow everything as Marnie experiences the village for the first time. I just think wee extras like that in a book are lovely and get a thumbs up for me, I am a gimmick geek and I love things like that. 4.5 stars for me, I need to look at what books I have missed from the back catalogue and snap them up!

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