Monday 29 March 2021

The Embalmer by Alison Belsham

The Embalmer: A gripping new thriller from the international bestseller (Mullins & Sullivan 3)The Embalmer: A gripping new thriller from the international bestseller by Alison Belsham
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 416

Publisher - Orion Trapeze

Source - Netgalley

Blurb from Goodreads

Has the ancient Egyptian cult of immortality resurfaced in Brighton?

When a freshly-mummified body is discovered at the Brighton Museum of Natural History, Detective Francis Sullivan is at a loss to identify the desiccated woman. But as Egyptian burial jars of body parts with cryptic messages attached start appearing, he realises he has a serial killer on his hands. Revenge, obsession and an ancient religion form a potent mix, unleashing a wave of terror throughout the city. Caught in a race against time while battling his own demons, Francis must fight to uncover the true identity of the Embalmer before it's too late...

My Review

Guys this is not for the faint hearted, from the opening chapters it is graphic, brutal, we know what embalming is and we get an insight into what the killer does to his victims. He isn't called the embalmer for nothing and soon a body, mummified, turns up and the police investigate, hello Detective Francis Sullivan. If you have read the previous books in the series you will be familiar with Francis and Marnie - it is totally complicated.

Marnie, poor Marnie cannot catch a break. Every book she ends up involved in what is happening she also has a bit of a history with our Francis so there is tons of threads to the story, if you haven't read the previous you can get away with this one but I would go back.

The bad guy is icky, brutal - in what he does to his victims and his disregard for them, Belsham doesn't hold back in describing what happens so not for the faint hearted. With mummification there is nods and links to Egyptian mythology which I found really interesting as I do like that kind of stuff yet never seem to get round to reading it. Police investigation, gruesome murders, friction between Francis, his colleagues, Marnie, his family. There is a lot going on but you can follow it easily enough, nothing distracts away from the threads and you are pulled in quite quickly. I have read the previous books and very much look forward to the next in the series, maybe not be eating noodles next time just incase, boke, 4/5 for me this time.

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Tuesday 23 March 2021

I Survived by Victoria Cilliers

I Survived: A True StoryI Survived: A True Story by Victoria Cilliers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 288

Publisher - Pan

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

A chilling, eye-opening story of marriage and attempted murder, revealing the truth about a case that made headlines around the world.

On Easter Sunday 2015, experienced skydiver Victoria Cilliers undertook a parachute jump, a gift from her husband, British army sergeant Emile Cilliers. Her parachutes failed to open and she plummeted 4,000 feet to the ground, sustaining life-threatening injuries. Miraculously, she survived. Then the police arrived at her door. Someone had tampered with her parachute and they suspected Emile.

In I Survived Victoria describes how she fell for Emile, and how the charming man she thought she knew gradually revealed a darker side, chipping away at her self-worth until she found it impossible to sift truth from lies. Can she really believe that her husband – the father of their two young children – tried to kill her? As more shocking revelations come to light, and she has to face his trial and relentless media scrutiny, she struggles to come to terms with the past. Even a guilty verdict does not free her because Emile is not ready to let her go . . .

Powerful and honest, I Survived is the story of a woman who was put through hell and yet found the strength to forge a new life for herself and her children.

My review

I remember seeing this in the news, a husband tried to kill his wife by a rather unusual means AND for her to survive. This is Victoria's story, her life, career choices, her relationship before she met Emile and after the attempted murder.

The book will be very hard going for some readers, the gaslighting is absolutely shocking and even after the attempt it continues and his hole over her. It made for tough going, to see how he controlled, manipulated and hurt her (non physical before the attempt). I got so mad at some of her choices and allowance of behaviours. That said I understand it was because of the control, depending on your background you will experience a range of emotions and reactions to her choices/decisions.

It makes for an interesting and shocking read, survival, abuse, hope, personal journey, 4/5 for me this time.

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Sunday 21 March 2021

An Evil Mind by Chris Carter

An Evil MindAn Evil Mind by Chris Carter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 483

Publisher - Simon & Schuster

Source - Gift

Blurb from Goodreads

A freak accident in rural Wyoming leads the Sheriff's Department to arrest a man for a possible double homicide, but further investigations suggest a much more horrifying discovery - a serial killer who has been kidnapping, torturing and mutilating victims all over the United States for at least twenty-five years. The suspect claims he is a pawn in a huge labyrinth of lies and deception - can he be believed?

The case is immediately handed over to the FBI, but this time they're forced to ask for outside help. Ex-criminal behaviour psychologist and lead Detective with the Ultra Violent Crime Unit of the LAPD, Robert Hunter, is asked to run a series of interviews with the apprehended man. These interviews begin to reveal terrifying secrets that no one could've foreseen, including the real identity of a killer so elusive that no one, not even the FBI, had any idea he existed ... until now.

My Review

So I am playing catchup with the Hunter books and now reading them in order, this is book six in the series. Absolutely can read as a standalone but the previous are so good I would advise going back and reading them first. When an accident uncovers a brutal serial killer the police didn't even know was operating, the FBI have their hands full. The suspect claims he is innocent, a guy played in a bigger game and he will only talk to one person, Robert Hunter. As Hunter does what he does best he gets the guy to talk, a guy who isn't a stranger to Hunter and a can of worms, heartache and shocking discoveries will rock the FBI, smash open the case and Hunter.

So this book is a bit different from the others, the killer is a shocking controlled methodical sicko! We see the book go back and forth from present day to the past and we learn more about Hunter and his person life, things that have impacted on who he is now and how he interacts with others.

Absolutely a page turner, brutal, shocking and one of the most controlled and cunning bad guys, echoes of Hannibal Lector for me. I felt so much for Hunter this book, no idea what the future Carter books will hold but I have a few on my tbrm waiting, 4.5/5 for me this time.

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Thursday 18 March 2021

The Trusted by Michelle Medhat Blog Tour

Today is my stop on the blogtour, please check out the other stops as we all have different content.

About the author -

Author bio:

USA Today Best-Selling Author, Michelle Medhat (known as Mish to her friends) writes fast-moving, ruthless political spy thrillers blended with thought-provoking sci-fi. Readers and fans call her addictive The Trusted Thriller Series “007 on acid with aliens” or “Bond meets The X-Files”. Her books are loaded with incredible technologies, but in every case, they’re grounded in real science. Mish’s passion is taking technologies of today and thinking about what they could be tomorrow. She enjoys pushing the envelope on the art of the possible, and turning the maybe into potential reality. And it’s not just creative speculation either…because, for 28 years of Mish’s life, she’s lived and breathed science, engineering and technology, including programming chips for different bleeding edge applications, established and run technology software companies, developed programmes to bring sci-tech closer to the public, and was heavily involved in the early 90’s in bringing to the UK the first notion of technologies we now take for granted, such as film-on-demand (hello Netflix and Prime Video!), pause and rewinding live tv, virtual reality and sensor applications (now known as the Internet of Things). Despite all this sci-tech focus, Mish actually read Business Finance and Law at University, but her love of technology shone through, after she landed a marketing role to support an electronics design business within a University. Love being the operative word, as she met during that interview, her future husband Professor Sam Medhat, who has been her inspiration throughout all of her books. Mish has lived and worked in many places across the world, including Dubai, where she along with her husband, were the co-founders of Dubai University. She currently resides in the UK, and she is Director of Operations and Strategic Development at the UK’s professional body for Innovation – the Institute of Innovation and Knowledge Exchange (IKE), which she co-founded with her husband where she helps government, business and industry and academia improve their innovation capabilities. Over the years, the Institute’s Foundation has donated millions of pounds to the science, engineering and technology education sector, and has helped to improve the lives of over 700,000 people by providing educational opportunities. In her spare time (which is a laugh as Mish has none!) - so apart from trying to invent a time machine which could her some more hours - Mish also enjoys writing, reading (thrillers and adventures novels from all genres), painting and singing.

For my stop I have my review, enjoy.

The Trusted (The Trusted Thriller Series)The Trusted by Michelle Medhat
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 293

Publisher - Mindblowing books ltd

Source - Review copy

Blurb from the back cover

Sam Noor keeps his double lives seperate with expert precision. But whe the MI6 agent's wife discovers the life, he fears that both his worlds may shatter. Distraught and conflicted, Noor concentrates on his latest mission and discovers a weapon that could cause a global catastrophe..

Drawn into the fight against a sinister terrorist group with powerful connections, Noor must uncover the faction's secrets by any means necessary. Even if it puts the woman he lives in the line of fire.

But Noor has no way of knowing a supernatural war rages within his nation. And the winner could take charge of humanity's very soul.

Against forces that defy his reality, can Noor protect millions of innocents from a bloody end?

My Review

Ellie and Sam are very much in love, despite being married for many years, Ellie is looking forward to spending time with Sam. When Sam's job spills over into his personal life the gig is up - Sam is MI6 Ellie can't believe everything about their life is a lie. Whilst Sam tries to juggle his personal life things are work are becoming tense. The biggest terrorist group in the world is becoming more dangerous, the government are struggling to keep up and there may be other things at work than the humans anticipated.

Think James Bond with echoes of Marvel with a pinch of X files. We have nanotechnology, super smart terrorists, secret agents, relationships, friendships, missions and extraterrestrial God like beings outside our universe.

It is a page turner - I had no idea where the plot was going and really wanted to know. An action packed book despite being under 300 pages, oodles of geekery which will will delight many readers. Certainly different from any books I have read in a while. Whilst it will appeal to sci-fi/fantasy lovers I think it will also appeal to fans of spy/thrillers because it covers so much ground. Book one of a series - I look forward to seeing where the story goes and what is next for the characters!

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Monday 15 March 2021

Make of Break by Catherine Bennetto

Make or BreakMake or Break by Catherine Bennetto
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 496

Publisher - Simon & Schuster

Source - Gifted/comp

Blurb from Goodreads

Jess, a 29-year-old Londoner with a Kate Beckett fringe and a tendency for dramatics, gets taken on a surprise trip by her long-term boyfriend, Pete, to attend her best friend’s last-minute wedding in South Africa. Jess imagines sun, sand, wine and safaris. And returning to London with an ethically mined diamond on her left hand...

But this holiday isn’t set to be quite the fairy tale Jess has planned... Suddenly she finds her world tilting on its axis, and things are only set to get worse when Jess returns home…

When the truth comes out, will it be... Make or Break?

My Review

Finally a holiday for Jess & Pete - her whole life revolves around her job and helping out her sister and kids. Could this be the holiday he finally proposes then everything will be great, her job (music industry) is fab, her sisters kids are the nucleus of the family, what could possibly go wrong? Well the holiday (Cape Town, South Africa) is beautiful but things don't go great early on - they are there for their friends wedding and that is the only thing they really have scheduled together. Soon is seems they aren't spending much time together and drama galore unfolds.

There is a lot of banter, jokes, crassness/vulgarity (there's a word), she has so much anxiety I think will wind some readers up yet others will find her super relatable to. Family orientated but an absolute riot at times we go on a bit of a rollercoaster with her. Friendship, relationships, family, choas - Cape Town sounds lovely, It isn't a location I have ever thought of but after reading this I would like to see it.

Some of the book made me laugh out loud, some gave me the boke, I cringed, I was mortified, I was annoyed by Jess, I wanted to slap her, I wanted to hug her. This was my first time reading Bennetto, I would read her again. Poolside reading although it touches on a fair few issues and as long as bad language and sex themes doesn't bother you I think you will get a kick out of this, 3/5 for me.

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Thursday 11 March 2021

Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer

Midnight Sun (Twilight, #5)Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 756

Publisher - ATOM

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

When Edward Cullen and Bella Swan met in Twilight, an iconic love story was born. But until now, fans have heard only Bella's side of the story. At last, readers can experience Edward's version in the long-awaited companion novel, Midnight Sun.

This unforgettable tale as told through Edward's eyes takes on a new and decidedly dark twist. Meeting Bella is both the most unnerving and intriguing event he has experienced in all his years as a vampire. As we learn more fascinating details about Edward's past and the complexity of his inner thoughts, we understand why this is the defining struggle of his life. How can he justify following his heart if it means leading Bella into danger?

My Review

Guys this is absolutely a marmite book, I have seen such split reviews at very opposite ends of the spectrum. Also, despite being a chonky almost 800 pages this book ONLY covers book ONE from Edwards point of view. Everything we read in book one was from Bella's point of view this is all Edward. We have a lot of his thoughts and feelings around what is happening at any given time which was a bug bear with some but I really liked that.

The book also offers some information into some of the other characters and I genuinely hope if she brings out the other books to match the originals she keeps this vein where we learn more about the other characters. Meyers gives us in Edward what E L James didn't with Christian, he is very focused on her, her safety and of course he loves her.

I loved these books when they first came out and they are about a "teen" couple so there is angst but the original books had that too. I was surprised how little Jacob was mentioned, I think over 200 pages has passed before we hear him mentioned and not much after that. As I said the book is very marmite, I happened to really enjoy it and hope she does the rest of them. If I hadn't been feeling so crap I could have sank this in one sitting, 4/5 for me this time.

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Wednesday 10 March 2021

999 My Life on the Frontline of the ambulance service by Dan Farnworth

999 - My Life on the Frontline of the Ambulance Service999 - My Life on the Frontline of the Ambulance Service by Dan Farnworth
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 304

Publisher - Simon and Schuster

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

Dan Farnworth brings vividly to life his astonishing experiences as a medic working on the frontline of the UK Ambulance Service. When the 999 call goes out, he has little idea what he will find - and how he will cope with the challenges he faces when he gets there.

Having worked in the emergency services for more than fifteen years, Dan Farnworth has seen it all. There was the time he was called to take away a dead body - only for the 'corpse' to jolt back into life and demand to know what he was doing in her house. Earlier in his career, he unwittingly disturbed a crime scene as he shared the sad news of the victim's death with her son. Along with the 18,000 other paramedics in the UK who serve us day and night, Dan constantly finds himself pushed into extraordinary circumstances where he not only has to deal with those he has been sent to help, but also their worried families and friends - and even with irate drivers who object to his ambulance getting in their way as he desperately works to save someone's life.

My Review

I always think Joe Public should read these kind of true stories type books, have a bit of appreciation for the service and what the workers go through. This is Dan's story or rather stories, a paramedic who takes us through his career from starting out, during, to present day.

Emotive, shocking, horrific, sad. Farnworth takes us on a few of the callouts he has attended, some heartbreaking and how it impacted on him. How the job takes a toll on his personal life, his mental health and what he did as a result of that.

I would say this book has a more personal look, the actual affects on Farnworth himself, his personal life and a fair bit about him. Some of these books focus purely on the job and things they encounter, this has a bit more laid bare approach and a lot about the author himself. 4/5 for me this time, I do like reading true stories about other professionals, makes you appreciative to the services out there and the people who keep them going.

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Tuesday 9 March 2021

Lover At Last by J R Ward

Lover at Last (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #11)Lover at Last by J.R. Ward
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time take to read - 1 day

Pages - 608

Publisher - Piatkus

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

Qhuinn, son of no one, is used to being on his own. Disavowed from his bloodline, shunned by the aristocracy, he has finally found an identity as one of the most brutal fighters in the war against the Lessening Society. But his life is not complete. Even as the prospect of having a family of his own seems to be within reach, he is empty on the inside, his heart given to another....

Blay, after years of unrequited love, has moved on from his feelings for Qhuinn. And it’s about time: it seems Qhuinn has found his perfect match in a Chosen female, and they are going to have a young. It’s hard for Blay to see the new couple together, but building your life around a pipe dream is just a heartbreak waiting to happen. And Qhuinn needs to come to terms with some dark things before he can move forward…

Fate seems to have taken these vampire soldiers in different directions... but as the battle over the race’s throne intensifies, and new players on the scene in Caldwell create mortal danger for the Brotherhood, Qhuinn finally learns the true definition of courage, and two hearts who are meant to be together... finally become one.

My Review

If you haven't read the previous books I would suggest doing so before reading this as there are so many things relevant to that which has passed you really need the back story. Ward usually focuses on a particular couple or love story in the books which threads to a few other story lines. If you have read the previous you will know the back story with the guys Qhuinn and Blay, unrequited love but really good friends, feeling being denied/ignored/hurt. This book has a huge focus around the two as well as the back nods to XCOR and Layla. Layla and Qhuinn, Trez & IAm and Assail and Marisol (Marisol being a new introduction).

As with the previous books lots of graphic sex scenes, body fluids - a bit more fighting in this book although I noticed a huge absence in some of the characters as we are looking at different stories and characters so not a lot of the main Brotherhood. They are in it of course just not featured much as we focus on the duos mentioned above.

Some sad themes in this one, touching on loss, rejection, pregnancy & personal growth and acceptance as homosexuality features a wee bit more in this one. 3.5 for me this time, I have I think another six or seven on my tbrm and looking forward to seeing what is in store for the brotherhood and extended characters.

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Thursday 4 March 2021

While Paris Slept by Ruth Druart

While Paris Slept: A NovelWhile Paris Slept: A Novel by Ruth Druart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 512

Publisher - Headline

Source - Vine

Blurb from Amazon

Paris 1944
A young woman's future is torn away in a heartbeat. Herded on to a train bound for Auschwitz, in an act of desperation she entrusts her most precious possession to a stranger. All she has left now is hope.

Santa Cruz 1953
Jean-Luc thought he had left it all behind. The scar on his face a small price to pay for surviving the horrors of Nazi Occupation. Now, he has a new life in California, a family. He never expected the past to come knocking on his door.

On a darkened platform, two destinies become entangled. Their choice will change the future in ways neither could have imagined...

My Review

Duo timeline, multiple characters - we open in 1953 with Jean-Luc and Charlotte, alternating chapters. Happily settled in America with their son, recovering from the horrors of the war things are going relatively well. Until the past comes knocking and turns their world upside down - everything they love and cherish will be threatened because you can never forget or outrun your past.

Flipping to Paris, 1945, the war is in full grip and Jean-Luc is doing what he has to to survive, working on the railways near a camp where Jewish people are being held. Charlotte is helping out at a German hospital, each facing inner turmoil or judgement being so close to the German's and bearing witness to some of their evil and cruelty.

This is an emotive story, from reading different narratives and characters we see what it was like to live through the war, different perspectives. The worker, the carer, those trying to escape the Germans and the effect it had on them all in years to come. The struggles each faced, the love, loss, sacrifices, risks, danger and how it was in Paris with the German rule. I can't believe this is a debut, it is so well written, captures the reader early on and I wasn't expect to be swept along or have an attack of the emotions. Historical fiction isn't normally a genre I pull toward but I have been finding in recent years I am and enjoying although that seems the wrong choice of word because of the content. 4.5/5 for me this time, I will be looking forward to the next offering by this author.

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