Sunday 31 March 2024

Lost Solace by Karl Drinkwater blog tour Rachels Random Resources

Today is my stop on the blog tour for "Lost Solace" by Karl Drinkwater, for my stop I have my review, this is a Rachel's Random resources tour.

About the author:

Karl Drinkwater is an author with a silly name and a thousand-mile stare. He writes dystopian space opera, dark suspense and diverse social fiction. If you want compelling stories and characters worth caring about, then you’re in the right place. Welcome!

Karl lives in Scotland and owns two kilts. He has degrees in librarianship, literature and classics, but also studied astronomy and philosophy. Dolly the cat helps him finish books by sleeping on his lap so he can’t leave the desk. When he isn’t writing he loves music, nature, games and vegan cake.

Go to to view all his books grouped by genre.

As well as crafting his own fictional worlds, Karl has supported other writers for years with his creative writing workshops, editorial services, articles on writing and publishing, and mentoring of new authors. He’s also judged writing competitions such as the international Bram Stoker Awards, which act as a snapshot of quality contemporary fiction.

Enter your email at to be notified about his new books. Fans mean a lot to him, and replies to the newsletter go straight to his inbox, where every email is read. There is also an option for paid subscribers to support his work: in exchange you receive additional posts and complimentary books.

Social Media Links – Newsletter (and Substack) Goodreads

Purchase Links for Lost Solace, piccy from our Instagram

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

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 273

Publisher - Organic Apocalypse

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

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

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

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

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

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

Can she face her demons and survive?

My Review

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

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

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

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

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

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Thursday 28 March 2024

My Wife Jodie by V A Rudys

My Wife JodieMy Wife Jodie by V.A. Rudys
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 384

Publisher - Blinkenlight

Source - Vine

Blurb from Goodreads

Ethan Page had it all: a respectable job, loving friends, and a beautiful apartment - the envy of all his friends. He was madly in love with his wife, Jodie - until he discovered the power she possessed beyond all comprehension, and the price she demanded for engineering his perfect life.

My Review

Ethan and Jodie have been married a long time, no kids but everything in their life is great. When Jodie has a breakdown and rushes off, telling their friends lies Ethan is puzzled, what happened? As Ethan tries to track down his wife he starts to uncover things that makes him question what he really knows about Jodie and their life. Then another bombshells drops, Jodie has a power and once Ethan learns of it he starts to question even more. When you open the closet and skeletons fall out you cannot reclose that door and now life as Ethan and Jodie know it will never be the same.

Oooh guys, the cover pulled me in, with the blurb, it looks good/freaky/eerie and I wasn't sure where the book was going to go. Once, along with Ethan, you discover Jodie's secrets/power everything changes, like Ethan you question what you would do, what has been done, what could be done.

The book actually gives a really good look at what can happen if you have everything you want, how being good or good intentions do/can indeed pave the pathway to hell,. It cleverly weaves in moral questions whilst looking at relationships, friendships, infidelity, love, lies, death, loss and the old actions and consequences.

It is a very different kind of book, not what I was expecting at all and it took me a wee bit to settle to. The chapters jumped a wee bit and at one point I was like what how in the? Is this a printing error but as you read on things become clear.

It is actually pretty clever in parts and well done, domestic, relationships with a stab of what if with a sprinkle of chaos/power/ability. If you are looking for something a bit different, look no further, I will be keeping a wee eye out for Rudy's next offering, 4/5 for me this time.

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Tuesday 26 March 2024

The Botanist by M W Craven

The Botanist (Washington Poe, #5)The Botanist by M.W. Craven
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 3 days

Pages - 448

Publisher - Constable

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

'I swear I'm one bad mood away from calling it black magic and going home . . .'

Detective Sergeant Washington Poe can count on one hand the number of friends he has. And he'd still have his thumb left. There's the insanely brilliant, guilelessly innocent civilian analyst, Tilly Bradshaw of course. He's known his beleaguered boss, Detective Inspector Stephanie Flynn for years as he has his nearest neighbour, full-time shepherd/part-time dog sitter, Victoria.

And then there's Estelle Doyle. It's true the caustic pathologist has never walked down the sunny side of the street but this time has she gone too far? Shot twice in the head, her father's murder appears to be an open and shut case. Estelle has firearms discharge residue on her hands, and, in a house surrounded by fresh snow, hers are the only footprints going in. Since her arrest she's only said three words: 'Tell Washington Poe.'

Meanwhile, a poisoner the press have dubbed the Botanist is sending high profile celebrities poems and pressed flowers. The killer seems to be able to walk through walls and, despite the advance notice he gives his victims, and regardless of the security measures the police take, he seems to be able to kill with impunity.

For a man who hates locked room mysteries, this is going to be the longest week of Washington Poe's life . . .

My Review

Hello Tilly and Poe, if you haven't read the previous four books, go do it, seriously they are fab and you need the backstory so you love/appreciate the dynamic duo. Someone is murdering people, poisoning them and doing it with "flare" and the whole world watching. Their targets are high profile/celebrity style individuals who are bad/horrible people, so bad that normal folk would be rooting for the bad guy and Tilly and Poe have to help try and crack the case. Where do you even start when you have no idea how they are doing it or who will be next unless the baddy tells you?

As in true Craven fashion we don't just get one thread to follow/focus on, this time we have another case, the quirky/unique pathologist, Estelle, friend of Poe, is accused of murder. Not only accused but the case is looking pretty water tight. Poe is up to his eyes with this high profile poisoner but no way is he going to leave a friend going down. Regardless of how much evidence or how strong the case may be, nor his commitments, Poe isn't going to leave his friend hanging.

Engaging, grabs you pretty much from the opening - the Tilly and Poe books are a big fave in here. We have shady bad guys and I am not talking about the killer, like the folk chosen to die/be targeted are some of society's absolute horror bags. Racism, sexist, folk who think they are above the law, people who say just about anything, the more offensive and sick (for them) the better because it gives them more attention/profile/views. Ugh I got really annoyed at some of them & the flower/poems sent one might say poetic justice? Ooft. I can normally read these books in one sitting/day, I just took a bit of time with stuff going on. Tilly remains Tilly, socially awkward at times, no filter but with a heart of gold and Poe, Poe gets under many folks skin and sometimes treads the line of the law but always from a good place and he is a good/loyal guy. Banter, funnies, shocking, murder, vile people, good people, a whole mixed bag and as per, a page turner, very much looking forward to the next installment, 4/5.

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Saturday 23 March 2024

In The Blink Of An Eye by Jo Callaghan

In the Blink of An Eye (Kat and Lock #1)In the Blink of An Eye by Jo Callaghan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 416

Publisher - Simon & Schuster

Source - gifted (I think)

Blurb from Goodreads

In the UK, someone is reported missing every 90 seconds.
Just gone. Vanished. In the blink of an eye.

DCS Kat Frank knows all about loss. A widowed single mother, Kat is a cop who trusts her instincts. Picked to lead a pilot programme that has her paired with AIDE (Artificially Intelligent Detective Entity) Lock, Kat's instincts come up against Lock's logic. But when the two missing person's cold cases they are reviewing suddenly become active, Lock is the only one who can help Kat when the case gets personal.

AI versus human experience.
Logic versus instinct.
With lives on the line can the pair work together before someone else becomes another statistic?

In the Blink of an Eye is a dazzling debut from an exciting new voice and asks us what we think it means to be human.

My Review

Debut novel and a pretty new fresh idea/spin on police investigation. DCS Kat Frank is just back at work after being off, she has had a lot to deal with and now windowed and mum to a teenage boy. Work is rolling out a new AIDE (Artificially Intelligent Detective Entity) - trialling an AI "detective" Locke (he is a programme that generates a learning interactive hologram that can be present or removed and interacting via a wrist strap). Locke can process and access hundred of thousands, millions even, items of information in a fraction of the time human detectives can. So what could go wrong? Well Locke may be learning as it/he goes but he interacts in real time so makes a few faux pas with the human side of interaction. Kat being so angry at the reliance upon machines makes her the perfect person to pair/pilot this system with. They are looking at cold cases which may not be quite as cold as you think, dun dun dun.

So for Locke, think a bit like Sheldon Cooper of the big bang theory, he misses certain social ques and assesses everything clinically, I mean he is a machine. However because of his uniqueness he processes and learns as he goes so that is pretty interested to read as it develops. The fact that Kat is so against/distrustful gives a great contrast especially with how Locke reacts to her compared to the team.

Missing youngsters, interviews with families, suspicion of self harm/termination is considered and the interviews with the parents of those from the cold cases is a tad emotional. I smirked a little at bits and laughed out loud at others, some of Locke's behaviour/commentary, ooft - but I also felt for those in the book and Kat as we learn more about her and her adjusting after a period off work.

The book is fresh, different, dark in areas but also laced with humour, I am absolutely looking forward to book two and seeing where the story heads next. I am hoping this is going to be a series because I think this has great potential and breathing a breath of fresh air into - book two is out this month and we absolutely will be buying it, 4/5.

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Saturday 16 March 2024

The Marriage Mender by Linda Green

The Marriage MenderThe Marriage Mender by Linda Green
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 3 days

Pages - 491

Publisher - Quercus

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

The only relationship she can't save is her own . . .
Alison is a marriage counsellor. Her job is to help couples who fear they have reached the end of the line. But the trouble with spending your time sorting out other people's problems is that you tend to take your eye off your own. Even when her husband's ex Lydia arrives on the doorstep demanding to see her son, Alison thinks she can handle it. But what Alison doesn't realise is that Lydia is the one person who has the ability to destroy their perfect family. And sometimes the cracks can run so deep that even a marriage mender can't repair them . . .

My Review

Meet Alison, a marriage counsellor, someone who helps mend your marriage but what happens when the counsellors marriage and family are the ones needing help? Chris's older son was a baby when his mum Lydia bailed, Alison came along when he was young and became the only mum he knew and gave him a little sister. So when Lydia rocks up looking fabulous, full of stories, intrigue, edgy Josh can't help but be drawn to his biological mother. Chris has never really spoke about her, Alison is doing her best to keep everyone happy and Lydia is just a wrecking ball in their tranquility.

Ooft we all have an ex partner we would rather stayed in the past but when kids are involved what can you do. Lydia has been MIA for pretty much eighteen years and now she is back. Stunning, rubbing shoulders with people in the music industry, how do you compete with that? Well Alison isn't the kind of person who does, she is such a good person to the point I was like OH COME ON ALISON put your foot down. She tries to put out fires between Chris and Josh, explaining to her own wee girl who this stranger is and the more outrageous Lydia is the more withdrawn and angry Chris seems to be. It is very much family dramas with unresolved issues, the past coming back to bit them and wreck their perfect little bubble. We also get to see/hear confessions/snippets from the counselling room, some uncomfortable and some of Alison's patients going through some dark themes, coercion, abuse of different kids, hardships and secrets from the past.

I think this is my first book by Green and it took me a little to settle to it but I soon got pulled into the dramas and see where it was going next, 4/5 from me, I would absolutely read this author again and will check out her other books.

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Wednesday 13 March 2024

A Thousand Boy Kisses by Tillie Cole

A Thousand Boy Kisses (A Thousand Boy Kisses, #1)A Thousand Boy Kisses by Tillie Cole
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 316

Publisher - Penguin

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

One kiss lasts a moment. But a thousand kisses can last a lifetime. One boy. One girl. A bond that is forged in an instant and cherished for a decade. A bond that neither time nor distance can break. A bond that will last forever. Or so they believe.

When seventeen-year-old Rune Kristiansen returns from his native Norway to the sleepy town of Blossom Grove, Georgia, where he befriended Poppy Litchfield as a child, he has just one thing on his mind. Why did the girl who was one half of his soul, who promised to wait faithfully for his return, cut him off without a word of explanation? Rune's heart was broken two years ago when Poppy fell silent. When he discovers the truth, he finds that the greatest heartache is yet to come.

A stand-alone young adult tearjerker romance, recommended for ages fourteen and up.

My Review

I kept seeing everyone talking about this and how it ripped their heart out, I don't cry much so figured I would check it out, absolute FOMO. Well the problem is, from the blurb you don't really know why folk had the emotionals and I wasn't expecting it, even from the first chapter we get a sad emotive slap in the kisser. The book takes us through Poppy and Rune meeting as kids, their friendship and relationship blossoming and then as teenagers after a sudden and brutal period of them being cut off for two years, the awkward reunion because Rune isn't the boy Poppy remembers.

Young love guys, you remember being a teen and having that wild emotions, first love, hormones so it has all that but takes a deeper level. It is hard to review why the book is so emotive without giving spoilers and we don't do that here.

Lets just say depending on your lived experiences I think it packs a harder punch and it was a bit close to home for me, I wasn't expecting it so a bit of a throat punch. A few parts of it I was reading with that painful lump in my throat & did end up with wet eyes once or twice (we don't cry here).

Young love, relationships, heartache, health issues, bad boy behaviours, family, friendship and a sweet romantic gestures but also some questionable behaviours. One thing I will say, after reading this book I will never look at a Cherry Blossom tree the same way again and without thinking about this book, 4/5.

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Thursday 7 March 2024

Inside The Mind of the Yorkshire Ripper by Chris Clark and Tim Hicks

Inside the Mind of the YorkshireInside the Mind of the Yorkshire by Chris Clark
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 3 days

Pages - 345

Publisher - Ad Lib Publishers

Source - Netgalley

Blurb from Goodreads

The account of the crimes of Peter Sutcliffe, the Yorkshire Ripper, including those he was not charged with and has never previously been connected to.

The police believed that Sutcliffe attacked women only in Manchester and West Yorkshire, travelling in his car. The authors show that, in fact, he attacked his victims across the UK and sometimes even overseas, while driving his employer’s lorry.

Now that Sutcliffe is dead the full extent of his crimes cannot be known, but authors Chris Clark and Tim Hicks have meticulously researched his life and, in this definitive investigation, they reveal many previously unknown victims for the first time. The book includes a number of first-hand accounts from women and children who narrowly escaped death at Sutcliffe’s hand.

The police failed to deliver justice for the victims’ families – both in the original investigation and in subsequent cold-case reviews – and the media has failed to hold them to account for this failure. The authors hope that by revealing all Sutcliffe’s attacks and telling the victims’ stories they can help to bring closure for friends and relatives of his victims, both those who are known and those who have remained unacknowledged – until now.

My Review

So I have seen many documentaries and or programmes over the years about the Yorkshire Ripper including articles and discussions on true crime groups. I had no idea just how horrific his MO was, I think every one knew about the hammer(s) but this book gives graphic details and insight into just how depraved he really was.

There is a lot of data in the book as well as maps giving locations and routes, potentials too as there are many more victims attributed to him that those commonly posted/discussed. I never knew he was suspected of male victims too and different attack styles to throw the police off. Add into that how he tried (effectively in many ways) to put the police off his track.

The book also discusses those well knows tapes and letters from the alleged ripper and how the police blindly clung to them and just how many times Sutcliffe slipped through their fingers as a result.

The book is shocking in many aspects, the bungled investigations, time after time, how some officers were dissuaded from linking cases that they knew was the ripper. The underhanded behaviours, criminal at times, in some of the actions of lack of actions in handling victims, witnesses, statements. It is amazing he was caught and you cannot help but think how many lives may well have been saved had they not missed or ignored so many tings.

I think another jaw dropper is that despite knowing all they did wrong, when they were reached out to in more recent times they still refuse to release information or acknowledge certain similarities/cases/victims. One of the authors of this book is an ex police officer so it adds more weight and shock to some of the things you read and what was ignored. Truly shocking in so many areas and I think a lot of information in this book will raise more than a few eyebrows, like I say I had been familiar with the case, who isn't but so much information, victims, falsely accused is discussed in this book, it is actually quite scary how badly it was overall (the case handling not the book). For people who love true crime I think this is a must read as there is so much new (well for me anyway) information, it is wild how much he got away with and how many still have no closure/justice, 4/5.

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Wednesday 6 March 2024

The Christmas she married the playboy & The Greek Secret she carries

The Christmas She Married The Playboy / The Greek Secret She Carries: The Christmas She Married the Playboy (Christmas with a Billionaire) / The Greek ... Diamond Inheritance) (Mills & Boon Modern)The Christmas She Married The Playboy / The Greek Secret She Carries: The Christmas She Married the Playboy (Christmas with a Billionaire) / The Greek ... Diamond Inheritance) by Louise Fuller
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 3 days

Pages - 384

Publisher - Mills & Boon

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

Their convenient winter wedding!

To save her pristine image from scandal, Santina must marry notorious playboy Louis. But after a past betrayal, it’s not gossip she fears…it’s the burning attraction that will make resisting her convenient husband impossible.

One scandalous Greek night…

Months after their passionate fling, rumours bring enigmatic Theron to Summer’s doorstep – to discover a pregnancy as obvious as the still-sizzling desire between them! He will give their child the family unit he lost. But Summer’s trust isn’t so easily won…

My Review

Mills and Boon if you have read them you know exactly what you are getting. This book is a two in one. Book one, meet Santina, pristine image and trying to make it in the professional world of ice skating. She has zero interest in the opposite sex especially after having her heart broken and crushed by her ex. Meet Louis, money galore, bad boy reputation, womaniser and often in the press for his antics, so much so it is impacting his work life. When a chance encounter brings them together and the press catch a juicy story the two have to work together to try and salvage both their images.

Story two sees Summer, naive going from university and a mostly sheltered life to trying to find her real father and helping her sick mother. She has a passionate tryst with Theron ending in disaster. He shows up again in her life trying to make amends for his behaviour and assumptions but is it too late.

The first story I did like better and it was very reminiscing of what I remember Mills and Boon to be but with a modern day theme to it. Good girl, bad boy, money, reputation, hard exterior (for both) and absolute attraction they both try to deny and it goes from there.

Book two, I think the whole Greek man and behaviours, for me, didn't work. Instead of passion and sense of wanting to do the right thing as is expected of him I found him to be controlling and really negative behaviours. Summer also came across weak and annoying rather than damsel in distress but also doing the right thing by her family. Maybe if I had read the the other way around I may have taken to it more? Both good stories but I really wasn't a fan of either of the main characters in the second book therefor overall it is 3/5 for me.

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Saturday 2 March 2024

March giveaway is now live

Happy March people, up for grabs is x1 £5 Amazon voucher, UK only guys as Amazon doesn't allow me to gift outside my own country.

As usual, entries via Rafflecopter below, comp runs til the end of the month.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Claimed by J R Ward

Claimed (Lair of the Wolven, #1)Claimed by J.R. Ward
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 509

Publisher - Piatkus

Source - Bought

Blurb from Goodreads

A heart-pounding new series set in the Black Dagger Brotherhood world, with a scientist fighting to save the timber wolves—and getting caught in a deadly trap herself...

Lydia Susi is passionate about protecting wolves in their natural habitat. When a hotel chain develops a tract of land next to the preserve, Lydia is one of the most vocal opponents of the project—and becomes a target.

One night, a shadowy figure threatens Lydia’s life in the forest, and a new hire at the Wolf Study Project comes from out of nowhere to save her. Daniel Joseph is both mysterious, and someone she intrinsically wants to trust. But is he hiding something?

As the stakes get higher, and one of Lydia’s colleagues is murdered, she must decide how far she will go to protect the wolves. Then a shocking revelation about Daniel challenges Lydia’s reality in ways she could never have predicted. Some fates demand courage, others require even more, with no guarantees. Is she destined to have true love... or will a soul-shattering loss ruin her forever?

My Review

This is book one of a trilogy, Lydia is all about protecting the wolves in their natural environment and a new hotel/chain is putting everything at risk. Daniel, a drifter appears at the perfect time looking for a job. Someone has poisoned a wolf, money at the facility is low and Lydia will do just about anything for the wolves safety. Both Lydia and Daniel are mysterious and or aloof in their own way and it isn't long before sparks fly between the two and their attraction has more pull that what they are hiding.

So the book is from the Lair of the Wolven series and we have snippets of chapters going to the Blackdagger Brotherhood characters, specifically Xhex, dreams and freaking out, then back to Lydia with no seeming reason or cross over, I am hoping with book two we will have more clarity and info (I have book two and three at the ready).

There is murder, intrigue, dodgy behaviour, skulduggery, stalking and wolves of course. I would say it is a slow burner at times but when you get to the end it all comes together and absolutely needs book two to be read asap.

There is some spice, intrigue, wolfy interactions, secrets, danger and all is not what it seems, like even the folk Lydia has worked with and it being a small town there are secrets and reveals to be had. I am very much looking forward to book two and seeing what is next in store, a good foundation book setting up for the rest, 4/5.

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