Saturday 23 September 2023

Bad Apples by Will Dean

Bad Apples (Tuva Moodyson Mystery, #4)Bad Apples by Will Dean
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read -

Pages -

Publisher - Point Blank

Source - Netgalley

Blurb from Goodreads

It only takes one...

A murder

A resident of small-town Visberg is found decapitated

A festival

A cultish hilltop community ‘celebrates’ Pan Night after the apple harvest

A race against time

As Visberg closes ranks to keep its deadly secrets, there could not be a worse time for Tuva Moodyson to arrive as deputy editor of the local newspaper. Powerful forces are at play and no one dares speak out. But Tuva senses the story of her career, unaware that perhaps she is the story…

My Review

If you haven't read the previous books, I would. There is a lot of history and backstory on some of the characters so I think to get this one properly I would read the previous books. Tuva has landed the job of deputy editor for the local newspaper. As usual Tuva is an outsider even though we come across people who she has known in previous books/adventures. A resident is murdered, decapitated and a festival that isn't spoken of aloud is coming, Tuva isn't prepared for the dangers ahead nor the debauchery but she needs to investigate the story and get the residents to open up.

So if you don't know Tuva she is feisty, quite fearless, is hearing impaired and a new relationship with Noora. whilst this isn't a firm favourite for me there is no denying Dean writes and creates fantastic tension, fear, creepy, eerie atmospheres and scenes.

It is a busy book, lots going on, not for the faint hearted nor easily offended. The book has quite a few dark scenes and I think anyone would be hard pressed to guess where the stories are going. Kept on your toes and tense breath holding (at points) and you should have the next book on stand by at the ready, 3.5/5 for me.

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Tuesday 19 September 2023

House of Hunger by Alexis Henderson

House of HungerHouse of Hunger by Alexis Henderson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 320

Publisher - Bantam books

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

WANTED - Bloodmaid of exceptional taste. Must have a keen proclivity for life's finer pleasures. Girls of weak will need not apply.

A young woman is drawn into the upper echelons of a society where blood is power, in this dark and enthralling gothic novel from the author of The Year of the Witching.

Marion Shaw has been raised in the slums, where want and deprivation is all she knows. Despite longing to leave the city and its miseries, she has no real hope of escape until the day she spots a peculiar listing in the newspaper, seeking a bloodmaid.

Though she knows little about the far north--where wealthy nobles live in luxury and drink the blood of those in their service--Marion applies to the position. In a matter of days, she finds herself the newest bloodmaid at the notorious House of Hunger. There, Marion is swept into a world of dark debauchery--and at the center of it all is her.

Countess Lisavet, who presides over this hedonistic court, is loved and feared in equal measure. She takes a special interest in Marion. Lisavet is magnetic, and Marion is eager to please her new mistress. But when her fellow bloodmaids begin to go missing in the night, Marion is thrust into a vicious game of cat and mouse. She'll need to learn the rules of her new home--and fast--or its halls will soon become her grave.

My Review

Meet Marion, working for a pittance, scrubbing floors, keeping her addict brother and herself barely making ends meet. When she sees and and advert for a "bloodmaid". The money and conditions is beyond any luxury Marion could dream of but the shame and stigma of such an "occupation". Marion goes for it and is thrust into a world of temptation, debauchery, competitiveness and the letting of blood of course. There is so much to learn, so many dangers and things Marion could not even guess at.

Well this was my first time reading Henderson and I have to say she does write really well and draws you into the atmospheric creepy world inhabited by the rich. Countess Lisavet is rich, beautiful, admired, feared, loved, has her loyal followers and also those who will use and exploit who and what they can.

I felt echos of Caligula/hints of historical figures, the Countess is in need of the maids because of her health issues and we see sparks as we meet the maids and as Marion finds her feet. Gothic, horror veins, spooky, creepy and absolutely not for the easily offended. When a bloodmaid goes missing Marion can't help but poke about, she is smart, inquisitive and we fall down a dark and dangerous rabbit hole with Marion as she questions/explores.

I think this was a good start/introduction to this author, I will check out her other works, 3.5/5 for me this time.

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Friday 15 September 2023

This Much is True by Miriam Margolyes

This Much is TrueThis Much is True by Miriam Margolyes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 427

Publisher -

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

BAFTA-winning actor, voice of everything from Monkey to the Cadbury's Caramel Rabbit, creator of a myriad of unforgettable characters from Lady Whiteadder to Professor Sprout, Miriam Margolyes, OBE, is the nation's favourite (and naughtiest) treasure. Find out how being conceived in an air-raid gave her curly hair; what pranks led to her being known as the naughtiest girl Oxford High School ever had; how she ended up posing nude for Augustus John as a teenager; why Bob Monkhouse was the best (male) kiss she's ever had; and what happened next after Warren Beatty asked 'Do you fuck?'

From declaring her love to Vanessa Redgrave to being told to be quiet by the Queen, this book is packed with hilarious stories. With a cast list stretching from Scorsese to Streisand, a cross-dressing Leonardo di Caprio to Isaiah Berlin, This Much Is True is as full of life and surprises, as its inimitable author.

My Review

I think some of us as a certain age know Margoyles as Professor Sprout from Harry Potter or maybe caught one of her interviews on a talk show. I seen her on Graham Norton and telling a rather shocking/riskeeey stories about one of her exploits. She is very open and honest about her pleasuring individuals and how some of those stories come about is jaw dropping.

If you are easily offended it isn't the book for you, she covers her upbringing, her experiments and encounters with partners or passing episodes and how she was well known for her pleasuring skills. She has lead a very lively life, she is outspoken, some would use the word vulgar but she is unapologetically herself.

I read the book in her voice, she has very distinctive tones so when the book covers and discusses the different jobs she has had, one I had to Youtube because I remember it very well but would never have put the voice to her.

She is quite a character, lively, crude, sweary, funny and very very honest and open about her experiences and some of those with some very well known names. I just seen an advert yesterday there is another book so I will be getting that too, 4/5 for me.

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Thursday 7 September 2023

A Rogue's Rules for Seduction by Eva Leigh

A Rogue's Rules for Seduction (Last Chance Scoundrels, #3)A Rogue's Rules for Seduction by Eva Leigh
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 349

Publisher - Mills and Boon

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

In USA Today bestselling author Eva Leigh’s final Last Chance Scoundrels novel, a young lady and her former betrothed get a second chance at love when they’re stranded at a remote country house…

After Dominic Kilburn left Lady Willa Ransom at the altar, she vowed never to reveal how badly she was hurt. Following a year abroad, Willa wants to move on with her life, so she accepts an invitation to a house party. She’s determined to leave her humiliation behind, as well as the scorching attraction she still feels for the man who jilted her.

When dark secrets from his past surfaced right before his wedding, Dom knew he didn’t deserve Willa. So, he bolted. But he still burns for the only woman who ever claimed his heart. To escape the memories of all he lost, Dom heads to a friend’s estate on an isolated Scottish isle. Yet one of the other guests is the very woman who haunts his every thought and makes him wish for the impossible.

Thrown together by well-meaning family and friends, Willa and Dom try to resist the fiery pull between them. Soon the line between love and loathing begins to blur, and their attraction explodes. But Dom’s past lurks on the edge of their rekindled passion and Willa fears she’ll be devastated all over again. Can these star-crossed lovers find their happily ever after, or will everything detonate a second time?

My Review

Willa and Dom have a past, they broke up badly and haven't seen each other since. They have a linked group of friends/family and now find themselves thrust together on a deserted island for an event. Willa and Dom are in a world hurt, Willa after being jilted at the alter, Dom by causing her so much pain and leaving her as he did. Now there isn't anywhere to run and both are confronted with the fact that underneath the anger (her) and shame (him) they both still are very attracted to each other and have unresolved feelings.

I am a bit conflicted, I really liked the writing and scene setting but some things I liked and thought worked well and somethings really ripped my knitting. Willa absolutely reacted how one would expect after being left at the alter. I struggled with her brothers and her response to them in everything, I would absolutely have done my nut! Her anger/humiliation I think anyone can empathise with but Leigh gives us a bit more of Dom and despite the terrible thing he done he seems like a genuinely nice guy, if you can get past leaving the love of your life at the alter. The build up, scenes, interactions, I think Mills and Boon have certainly branched out over the years and this book gives a bit more bite with the story.

As with the other books, not for the easily offended, there is sex scenes, smut, dirty talk and the C word, I have to admit I cringed a wee bit at some of their scenes/smut dialogue but I know others will love it, 3/5.

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Tuesday 5 September 2023

The darkest Lullaby by Jonathan Janz

The Darkest Lullaby (Fiction Without Frontiers)The Darkest Lullaby by Jonathan Janz
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 4 days

Pages - 304

Publisher - Flame Tree Press

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

Ellie Crane doesn't believe in demons or vampires, but she still hates the idea of moving into a creepy old house. But when her husband's aunt bequeaths them a sprawling forest estate, Ellie finds herself stuck in a setting straight out of a horror movie. Then the real horror begins.

After a gruesome accident on the night of their arrival, Ellie awakens to find something lapping at her wounds. Her husband Chris undergoes a radical change--and not for the better. The darkness dissipates, however, when Ellie learns that after three years of trying, she and Chris have finally conceived.

But Ellie and her unborn child are in terrible danger. For fifty years Chris's Aunt Lillith lived a secret life of demon worship, vampirism, and violent eroticism. She and her lover believed they'd have to undergo death and resurrection to continue their reign of terror.

Now Chris, who has been enchanted by a mysterious woman in the woods, is determined to help them. Ellie will have to overcome her husband's madness, her personal demons, the supernatural creatures whose powers are growing--even the very forest, which has grown sentient and malevolent--if she is to save her baby and herself.

But the reach of Lillith's power is unimaginable. And she needs innocent blood to make her resurrection complete.

My Review

Guys this is a dark read, haunted house, satanic worshipers, ghosts (or rather demons with vampireyness tones). Ellie & Chris are moving to Chris's aunts old huge house, small town, quite isolated & financial necessity than want. Ellie was never a fan of the aunt, Chris was the apple of the aunt's eye and death isn't always the end especially if you are into the dark/evil arts.

I liked the creepy haunted house style parts, you know evil forces at at work but you really have no idea what all is going on. I had echoes of The Amityville (the changes in Chris and effect the house had), I felt I was reminded of a few old horror movies in parts as I went along, not rip offs but absolute echoes/influences of them.

I disliked the animal harm and at the opening chapter you know what is going to happen with the innocent wee baby. There is gaslighting, manipulation, the dog stuff - animals is always a hard no for me.

I think the book really gives a suspenseful eerie horrible creepy foreboding atmosphere and you know a book with have dark/ugly sides of humanity/evil when satanicism is involved. Haunted house meets dark spirits with some twisted obsessive/adult themes. It is a bit of a mixed bag, 3/5 for me.

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