Thursday 29 April 2021

Deadly Cry by Angela Marsons

Deadly Cry (DI Kim Stone #13)Deadly Cry by Angela Marsons
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 3 days

Pages - 373

Publisher - Bookouture

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

You have to stop me from hurting anyone else. I don’t want to do these horrible things. Help me before I’m forced to do it again. And I will do it again because I have no choice. I’ve never had a choice.

In a busy shopping centre, a little girl clutches a teddy bear, clinging to it in the absence of her mother, Katrina. Hours later, Katrina’s body is discovered in an abandoned building. For Detective Kim Stone, it looks like a quick, functional murder. But Kim’s instincts tell her there’s more to this senseless murder than meets the eye. What was the motive for killing a young mother out shopping with her child?

Days later, a second victim is found in a local park, her neck broken just like Katrina’s and her six-year-old son missing.

But with her colleague, Detective Stacey Wood, working on another unsolved crime and a member of the team grieving the loss of a close relative, Kim is struggling to make inroads on what is fast becoming a complex case. And when a handwritten letter from the killer lands on Kim’s desk addressed to her, and pleading for help, she knows time is running out to bring the little boy home alive.

My Review

A little girl left abandoned in a shop, hours later her mother is found dead, no signs of torture or sexual components so why would someone kill her? Soon another victim is found and Stone knows this is someone who won't stop until they stop them. Fling in a rape case Stacey is looking into and things start to get hairy, when a case is closed noone appreciates an officer digging into them.

If you have read the previous books you know your characters, Stone is one of my faves, she isn't loveable, she is rough around the edges, standoffish but she is fantastic, loyal and her relationship with her dog/team, I just love it.

The book is a good pace, as with all the predecessors, there are a fair things going in, the murders, the rape cases. Also one of the team trying to get through grief and look out for his brother who is struggling with the recent bereavement. A bit of everything and Marson's has yet to let us down, fresh, emotive and characters you can empathize with or at least invest in. 4/5 for me this time, got the next one waiting to be read!

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Sunday 25 April 2021

A Special Place in Hell by Christopher Berry-Dee

A Special Place in Hell: The World's Most Depraved Serial KillersA Special Place in Hell: The World's Most Depraved Serial Killers by Christopher Berry-Dee
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 240

Publisher - Ad Lib

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

Christopher Berry-Dee is the man who talks to serial killers. A world-renowned investigative criminologist, he has gained the trust of murderers across the world, entered their high security prisons, and discussed in detail their shocking crimes. The killers' pursuit of horror and violence is described through the unique audiotape and videotape interviews which Berry-Dee conducted, deep inside the bowels of some of the world's toughest prisons. Christopher Berry-Dee has collated these interviews into this astounding, disturbing book. Not only does he describe his meetings with some of the world's most evil men and women, he also reproduces, verbatim, their very words as they describe their crimes, allowing the reader a glimpse into the inner workings of the people who have committed the worst crime possible—to mercilessly take the life of another human being.

My Review

If you have read Berry-Dee before then you know what you are in for, this is his 2nd or 3rd book I have read. He refers back to his previous published works throughout so if you do enjoy it you won't need to go to FantasticFiction to get more titles. There is no denying he has had some interesting encounters and researched some of the most shocking individuals in true crime history.

This book covers a fair few killers, some of the absolute worst, across the decades. Some of the killers you will know, notorious, a few I hadn't heard of.

Not for the faint hearted, we genuinely have had some horrific killers in our world and the book doesn't shy away from some of the worse details. The author also has some commentary and opinions that some readers may find offensive. Otherwise, for true crime buffs I think you will "enjoy" the book for what it is and potentially find one or two new ones, 3/5 for me this time.

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Tuesday 20 April 2021

The Other Emily by Dean Koontz

The Other EmilyThe Other Emily by Dean Koontz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - in and out over 3 days

Pages - 352

Publisher - Thomas & Mercer

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

A decade ago, Emily Carlino vanished after her car broke down on a California highway. She was presumed to be one of serial killer Ronny Lee Jessup’s victims whose remains were never found.

Writer David Thorne still hasn’t recovered from losing the love of his life, or from the guilt of not being there to save her. Since then, he’s sought closure any way he can. He even visits regularly with Jessup in prison, desperate for answers about Emily’s final hours so he may finally lay her body to rest. Then David meets Maddison Sutton, beguiling, playful, and keenly aware of all David has lost. But what really takes his breath away is that everything about Maddison, down to her kisses, is just like Emily. As the fantastic becomes credible, David’s obsession grows, Maddison’s mysterious past deepens—and terror escalates.

Is she Emily? Or an irresistible dead ringer? Either way, the ultimate question is the same: What game is she playing? Whatever the risk in finding out, David’s willing to take it for this precious second chance. It’s been ten years since he’s felt this inspired, this hopeful, this much in love…and he’s afraid.

My Review

Author David Thorne has never gotten over the love, Emily, of his life disappearing. He returns to the same place to write his novels & visit a killer who he believes knows what happened to Emily. When he meets the beautiful and mysterious Maddison he can't believe his eyes, she is just like Emily. the more time he spends with her the more she seems like and reminds him of her but Emily would be ten years old and Maddison is like she was back then. What is going on? How can Maddison be so like Emily and can the serial killer Jessop give him any answers?

This book has a bit of everything in it, it is weird, there are doppelgangers, romance, relationships, chats with a serial killer.....David needs to know the truth but he is also loving Maddison being there, it is like having Emily back.

This book is a bit of a genre mash up we have fantasy mixed in with the usual suspects, some creepiness, violence and a bit of a love story. The reader goes on a journey with David desperate to find out what happened, despite having a chance of happiness - some questions just need to be answered. The serial killer is a wee bit different too from some of those we see in books, the guy is in jail, guilty but still has a bargaining chip & feeds on emotions of others. I would like to read more about him actually I would have liked to have . I think this will be a marmite book, I liked that it was different and a mesh of genres, I would have loved it to be thicker. More history on the characters, more backstory and I hope we see David in another story, 4/5 for me.

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Saturday 17 April 2021

Missing Pieces by Tim Weaver blog tour

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Missing Pieces by Tim Weaver, just out, click HERE to order from Amazon.

Missing PiecesMissing Pieces by Tim Weaver
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 512

Publisher - Michael Joseph

Source - ARC

Blurb from Goodreads

Rebekah Murphy has been missing for five months. Why is no one looking for her?

Rebekah Murphy knows too much . . .

She knows she's alone on an abandoned island with a killer on her trail.
She knows that to get home, she must live to understand why this is happening.
She knows someone tried to kill her for a secret.

What she doesn't know is what that secret is . . .

Detective Frank Travis doesn't know enough . . .

He doesn't know where to find Louise Mason.
He doesn't know how and why she vanished into thin air three months ago.
He doesn't know the identity of the man last seen talking to her.

What he does know is that he retires in one week - and if he doesn't find out where Louise went, no one will . . .

What neither Rebekah nor Detective Travis realize is that each holds a missing piece from the same puzzle - and it will cost them everything to finally solve it . . .

My Review

Rebekah is running, running for her life, she is hurt - she is desperate and other than that we don't really know what is going on, that is the opening chapter. We flip to the before and learn about Rebekah, her life and what takes her eventually to the Island, where she is now present day. The chapters flip between Rebekah trying to survive and then, the past as we run up to the present. Someone wants Rebekah dead, she is stranded on an Island alone and can't imagine why anyone would want to hurt her let alone kill her. Rebekah wasn't alone when she arrived so where is her brother and where is the person she is running from?

The then lets us know Rebekah's current relationship, stressors, family life, the now is her trying to survive on a deserted island, harsh elements, loneliness. There are twists, timeline jumps, little nuggets *missing pieces* of information as you delve further into the story.

There is a whole ton of mystery, different paces depending on if you are past or present & add into that we have Detective Frank Travis who is due to retire soon. Frank is looking into the disappearance of a missing artist who has a link to Rebekah's brother and is desperate to finish the case before he goes. Could Rebekah's family have had anything to do with her current predicament? I found myself flipping back and forth on theories and unwilling to put the book down because I wanted to know, just like Rebekah who, why and is she going to get out of it. 4/5 for me, this was my first time reading this author, I would read him again!

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Saturday 10 April 2021

The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey

The Echo WifeThe Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 256

Publisher - Hodder & Stoughton

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Amazon (as Goodreads blurb is has spoilers!)

A dark and suspenseful novel of lies, betrayal, and identity - perfect for fans of Big Little Lies and Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror.

It was meant to be an evening to honour and celebrate Evelyn Caldwell's award-winning, career-making scientific research - but Evelyn has things on her mind.

Things like Nathan, her husband, who has left her for a younger, better, newer woman. A woman who is now pregnant - but shouldn't be - and is strikingly familiar. Too familiar to be a coincidence.

A woman who shouldn't exist.

The Echo Wife is a propulsive new novel from an international rising star about identity, murder, and the choices society forces women to make.

My Review

DO NOT READ THE BLURB ON GOODREADS - it has spoiler info (imo). Evelyn is a scientist, making huge strides and there is even an event in her honour. Everyone is asking where her husband is, Evelyn keeps her face on but does let it slip he is likely at home with his new fiance. So for me I thought oh my God, a book about a powerful woman who has been left by her husband for a younger model. However that is just scratching the surface, my God the book has so much more to come and it is explosive.

Evelyn is a bit of a coldfish, professionally brilliant but emotionally stilted however when you start to get into what she actually does as a job, her background, her family life you start to understand it a wee bit better. Evelyn works with cloning, she is making breakthroughs and succeeding in her field, nothing will get in her way. When something comes to light that could threaten it, Evelyn will let nothing get in her way, no matter the cost!

Oooft, so much involved in this one, science, relationships, betrayal, infidelity, ethics - oh the ethics - the things that are done in the name of research and selfish shocking behaviour. Morals are in some serious questioning and just utterly shocking at some points in the story. Really hard to go into without spoiling it (although if you read Goodreads blurb you will get the jist because - spoilers!). I just thought it was so clever, I was thinking it was going to be a relationship cheating/replacement with a younger model story but it is so so much more, would love this to be a movie! ​I read it in a day, this was my first dance with this author, it won't be my last, 4.5/5 for me this time.

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Wednesday 7 April 2021

April Giveaway

Happy Easter/April.

Up for grabs is a x4 packet of Dairy Milk Caramel & x1 yellow bunny resin bookmark, as pictured.

And the chocolates

Open to all, use the Rafflecopter to enter. Good luck.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday 6 April 2021

Coming Up for Air by Sarah Leipciger

Coming Up for AirComing Up for Air by Sarah Leipciger
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 3 days

Pages - 320

Publisher - Double day

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

Three extraordinary lives intertwine across oceans and centuries.

On the banks of the River Seine in 1899, a heartbroken young woman takes her final breath before plunging into the icy water. Although she does not know it, her decision will set in motion an astonishing chain of events. It will lead to 1950s Norway, where a grieving toymaker is on the cusp of a transformative invention, all the way to present-day Canada, where a journalist battling a terrible disease, drowning in her own lungs, risks everything for one last chance to live.

Moving effortlessly across time and space and taking inspiration from an incredible true story, Coming Up for Air is a bold, richly imagined novel about love, loss, and the immeasurable impact of every human life.

My review

We open in 1899, the narrator is about to commit suicide by taking herself a plunge into the river Seine. We hit the 1950s where a toymaker is about to make a huge breakthrough/invention and then our third character, present day in Canada has cystic fibrosis, struggles to breath and is about to embark on a life changing decision.

This book is loved by so many and whilst some of it is very emotive it is also quite stark, dark and i struggles to follow the three different stories/narratives/jumps. I would get into first person's story and start to settle then jump to the toy maker or the kid with the bad lungs who we also visit in present day.

There was a few scenes of animal cruelty that I really really struggled with and one I really don't think it brought anything or relevance to the story. I read horror/crime and all manners of books but I really struggle with animal stuff and when it pops up and seems (to me anyway) to have nothing to add to the story it really impacts how I get on with the rest of it. The mice thing ok I can see a link to what happened, the deer just no, unless it was to highlight the way the man/woman take control of X situation, well she does - he doesn't. Still I really really struggled with it.

That said other parts of the story are really engaging and or shocking/emotive but again so so much of it goes quite dark (it does open with a suicide) so I went back and forth on a 2.5 or 3 star rating. In the end I went with 3, I didn't find it easy reading for most of it but it does engage and I had no idea where it was going. I am absolutely in the minority, so many people loved this book so I totally recommend it but caution to prep yourself for two graphic animal abuse scenes and some really macabre themes. I love gabbing about books that make you feel like this or think about them, I think it would be a belter of a book for a book club discussion/debate so if you have read it please let me know what you thought!

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Sunday 4 April 2021

Ariadne by Jennifer Saint

AriadneAriadne by Jennifer Saint
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 386

Publisher - Wildfire books

Source - Vine

Blurb from Goodreads

A mesmerising retelling of the ancient Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur. Perfect for fans of CIRCE, A SONG OF ACHILLES, and THE SILENCE OF THE GIRLS.

As Princesses of Crete and daughters of the fearsome King Minos, Ariadne and her sister Phaedra grow up hearing the hoofbeats and bellows of the Minotaur echo from the Labyrinth beneath the palace. The Minotaur - Minos's greatest shame and Ariadne's brother - demands blood every year.

When Theseus, Prince of Athens, arrives in Crete as a sacrifice to the beast, Ariadne falls in love with him. But helping Theseus kill the monster means betraying her family and country, and Ariadne knows only too well that in a world ruled by mercurial gods - drawing their attention can cost you everything.

In a world where women are nothing more than the pawns of powerful men, will Ariadne's decision to betray Crete for Theseus ensure her happy ending? Or will she find herself sacrificed for her lover's ambition?

Ariadne gives a voice to the forgotten women of one of the most famous Greek myths, and speaks to their strength in the face of angry, petulant Gods. Beautifully written and completely immersive, this is an exceptional debut novel.

My Review

I don't think I have read any retellings or if I have it has been one and a long time ago. Ariadne and Phaedra are princesses in Crete, their father King Minos and this is the retelling of Theseus and the Minotaur. I remember the Minotaur story and the labyrinth maze as a kid but didn't know its origins. The book looks at so much more than just King Minos and the Minotaur there are other Gods and legends mentioned, their stories and how they link or relate(d) to each other.

A running theme within the stories of females suffering because of the choices of men (Gods) and the after effects and ripples of that. Absolutely relevant (in some aspects) even in our modern day real life the parallels, greed, infidelity, power, lust, fascination, sex, obsession, wrath of Gods, death, blood lust, parenthood - the list goes on and on.

Ariadne is the main character, we follow through her innocence growing up then exposed to sex, abhorrence with things she bears witness to and experiences. Family ties, cause/effect, there is a level of this that some readers may find hits an emotive spot in them, depending on your life experiences identifying with some of the characters, stories and themes.

This doesn't read like a debut and it has renewed my want for reading myths and legends, some of the stories I hadn't heard since I was a kid and even then only snippets. I LOVED have a character we could walk through these with and quite a few I hadn't heard of at all. Retellings seem to be popular at the moment and I can't wait to grab some more, 4/5 for me this time. I will be keeping an active eye out for Saint's future works!

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Friday 2 April 2021

Your Turn to Suffer by Tim Waggoner Blog Tour

Today is my turn on the blog tour, for my stop I have my review (as always non spoiler), enjoy.

Tim Waggoner
Publication date: Mar 2021
“His ability to weave the surreal with the hyper-real is his greatest talent.” — Signal Horizon. Lorelei Palumbo is harassed byasinister group calling themselves The Cabal. They accuse her of having committed unspeakable crimes in the past, and now she must pay. The Cabal begins taking her life apart one piece ata time – her job, her health, the people she loves – and she must try to figure out what The Cabal thinks she’s done if she’s to have any hope of answering theircharges and salvaging her life.

Out to BUY in ebook, treebook and hardback from AMAZON or the Publisher website FLAMETREEPUBLISHING now.

Bram Stoker Award-winning author Tim Waggoner writes both original and mediatie-in fiction,and he has published over forty novels and four short story collections. He teaches creative writing at Sinclair College in Dayton, Ohio.

Your Turn to SufferYour Turn to Suffer by Tim Waggoner
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 256

Publisher - Flame Tree Press

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

“His ability to weave the surreal with the hyper-real is his greatest talent.” — Signal Horizon.

Lorelai Palumbo is harassed by a sinister group calling themselves The Cabal. They accuse her of having committed unspeakable crimes in the past, and now she must pay. The Cabal begins taking her life apart one piece at a time – her job, her health, the people she loves – and she must try to figure out what The Cabal thinks she’s done if she’s to have any hope of answering their charges and salvaging her life.

My Review

Weird eyes and a weird message "Confess and atone--or suffer." Lorelai thinks it is just a strange encounter with a woman with freaky eyes. Things however start to go wrong quickly, freaky happenings, people she knows behaving strange and things just get worse and worse, darker, more threatening until Lorelai realises this thing is bigger than her and if she doesn't "confess and atone" she will indeed suffer and she won't be the only one!

The thing about Flame Tree Press is the books are always dark, freaky and have dodgy happenings, Your Turn to Suffer is right at home. Some of the scenes are really dark, uncomfortable, brutal - things you often come to expect in horror books. Animal brutality, human brutality and duo world, ours and another you will go to with Lorelai to "help" her appreciate her predicament and work on her atonement/confession.

Super dark, gore fest at times but it has more than that to offer, some scenes are emotive, hard, shocking, echoes of a cult but like none we have ever seen. One for horror fans and if you go through a lot of horror, this will maybe offer you something different, fresh, 4/5 for me this time!

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