Thursday, 20 April 2017

Old Cross Cottage (Psychic Surveys #4) by Shani Struthers

Synopsis:

In a quiet Dorset Village, Old Cross Cottage has stood for centuries, overlooking the place where four roads meet. Marred by tragedy, it’s had a series of residents, none of whom have stayed for long. Pink and pretty, with a thatched roof, it should be an ideal retreat, but as new owners Rachel and Mark Bell discover, it’s anything but. 

Ruby Davis hasn’t quite told her partner the truth. She’s promised Cash a holiday in the country but she’s also promised the Bells that she’ll investigate the unrest that haunts this ancient dwelling. Hoping to combine work and pleasure, she soon realises this is a far more complex case than she had ever imagined.

As events take a sinister turn, lives are in jeopardy. If the terrible secrets of Old Cross Cottage are ever to be unearthed, an entire village must dig up its past.

My review:

I am so happy to be able to review another one of Shani’s books and on its publication days too. This is a fourth book the in Psychic Surveys series, but a first one for me and it read well as a standalone novel.

As always I was not disappointed. Although this book hasn’t spooked me as much as the others, the story went along well and kept you guessing till the end. The village and the cottage itself were described so well I could really picture it in my head (plus I love the cover!).

When Ruby told her boyfriend Cash that she found a lovely Dorset cottage for week’s holiday, she holds back on the fact that the cottage is riddled with unsettled spirits and she was actually contacted by the owners to see if she could move them on.

Things start going wrong right from the start and it’s not long before both Ruby and Cash feel the presence of more than one spirit. As they start to unravel the history of the cottage they soon realise that this case might not be as easy to solve and that the whole village is somehow involved.

Fabulous spooky book from Shani Struthers and I can’t wait to read the others. I have book one and three and my kindle and will now read them as soon as I can. For anyone who likes to be kept on the edge of their seat with the unknown at the grasp of their fingers, these books are perfect.

Thank you to the author for spooking me once again and #TBConFB for access to this book in return for this honest review.

My rating: 5/5

Author’s website: www.shanistruthers.com

Available to purchase from:

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

As You Lay Sleeping by Katlyn Duncan

Synopsis:

I did it all for you…

Cara’s boyfriend is dead. When fingers start pointing at her, she knows she’s in more trouble than she originally thought. Because Cara can see that something isn’t right.

As her carefully constructed life begins to crumble, Cara isn’t sure who she is anymore.

But maybe that’s exactly what someone wants her to think…

My review:

When seventeen year old Cara finally answers the phone to her unwanted boyfriend she is relieved to hear that he wants to end their relationship. All she has to do is to go and see him for the last time. Unfortunately things don’t go to plan and Cara finds Joe dead.

When a detective starts digging into Joe’s death and an old friend Ryan turns up in town, Cara finds herself in the middle of her own investigation into the strange circumstances surrounding that awful night.

This is a YA crime novel and I found it written in a really good style that kept me interested throughout the book. Cara was a typical teenager trying to better herself, mixing with the high society. Ryan is a down to earth kid that somehow reminds Cara of who she really is and what is important in life.

The only thing slightly disappointing about this book is that I found the last few chapters quite rushed. I felt they were missing the attention to details that was so great in the rest of the novel.

Overall this is a great book, proper page turner and hugely recommended to all who like a bit of mystery and crime. It has some good elements of the upper classes and their abuse of power, money and drugs and on the other side the working class family, doing their best by their children.

Thank you to the author and #TBConFB for access to this book in return for this honest review.

My rating: 4/5

Author’s website: www.katlynduncan.com

Available to purchase from:

Friday, 7 April 2017

After Anna by Alex Lake

Synopsis:

A bone-chilling psychological thriller that will suit fans of Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, Daughter by Jane Shemilt, and The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. 

A girl is missing. Five years old, taken from outside her school. She has vanished, traceless. The police are at a loss; her parents are beyond grief. Their daughter is lost forever, perhaps dead, perhaps enslaved. But the biggest mystery is yet to come: one week after she was abducted, their daughter is returned. She has no memory of where she has been. And this, for her mother, is just the beginning of the nightmare.

My review:

Once in a while I still like to get to my printed books. I have over three hundred at home and there are some real crackers amongst them. This was most certainly one of them. I bought this book because I liked the cover - impulse buy, some might call it, but I also read the blurb and thought it sounded good. My son is five so it felt quite close to home.

It’s fabulous. It reminds me of Little House by Philippa Gregory - the overbearing mother-in-law, the mummy’s boy husband, the strange goings on.

The novel is written in two ways with some short chapters written in first person that is kind of supporting the perpetrator and eggs him on. The rest is written in third person and it seems to work very well as you get know a lot about the main characters Julia and her husband Bryan and of course the strained dynamic of their relationship, but you are also somehow allowed a first seat row in the mind of the kidnapper.

It’s clever, with good little twists. I kind of guessed what was going on about third of the way through, however I still enjoyed the book till its last page. And I had to finish the last 100 pages in one sitting meaning much less sleep last night. But it was worth it.

If you like clever psychological thrillers than this is for you. I can highly recommend this book and it will be one to stay with me.

My rating: 5/5

Author’s Twitter: @Alexlakeauthor

Available to purchase from:

Monday, 3 April 2017

My Daddy The Serial Killer by Cindy Kovacik

Synopsis:

Katelyn Deason was young, naive, and innocent at six years old.

That is, until she made the mistake of descending those cellar steps and viewing the first of many horrors down below.

You see, her father wasn't who she thought he was. He wasn't the loving and "normal" daddy that all the other kids had. He was very different.

She soon realizes how different as the years pass and unspeakable things begin to happen.

Will Katelyn be able to cling to her sanity after witnessing all of Daddy's horrors?


My review:

I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from this novel and I must admit I wasn’t expecting it to be so evolved. It follows Katelyn from six years old when she first sees a woman tied to a chair ready for to be tortured by Katelyn’s father.

From then on the book follows Katelyn’s live and her adaption to the life her daddy serves up never having any friends until she’s a full grown teenager; then quickly following a life of drugs, sex and self-distraction.

What is intriguing is the complicated psychology of the relationship between a damaged child and her murderous father. They continue to play a game of cat and mouse throughout the book with Katelyn losing at nearly every corner.

This is certainly a book that will stay on my mind. It is very cleverly written with a real insight into a child’s mind.

A massive thanks you goes to the author for giving me access to this.

My rating: 4/5

Available to purchase from:

Friday, 31 March 2017

The Trophy Taker by Sarah Flint (DC Charlotte Stafford #2)

Synopsis:

He keeps each one floating in formaldehyde to stop them from rotting. Each finger denotes a victim, tortured and butchered, their heart ripped out and discarded, replaced instead by symbols of their treachery. He sits alone admiring his trophies weekly; each and every one of them guilty in his eyes. And now more must pay.

But who or what links the victims?

DC 'Charlie' Stafford is already investigating a series of escalating racist attacks and it now seems she has a vicious serial killer on her patch. With no leads and time running out, the team at Lambeth are at near breaking point.

Something has to give... and all the while he's watching, waiting... and counting.

My review:

The Trophy Taker is a second book in the DC Charlie Stafford series and it certainly lives up to its first instalment. It’s clever, fast pacing and keeps you guessing until the end.

Charlie has been through the mill in the first book and seems somehow a little more mature in this novel.  When the call comes in about a mutilated body of a woman found displayed in a local graveyard, Charlie is already handling a case close to her heart, a case of a local racist junkie attacking residents of any colour different to his own skin. She gets herself involved deep into each case she handles and makes it her own personal job to deliver justice for the victims.

As Charlie and her team face this new case where nothing seems to link together, they once again prove that team work gets things done. We get little glimpses and notes of their personal lives and the author cleverly hints at the developing relationship between Charlie and Ben whom we have met in the first book.

Sarah Flint has a 35 years’ experience working as a Police Constable for the Metropolitan Police and it shows throughout her books. From the forensic evidence to all the members of the team and their behaviour, you can tell that this is written with an insider’s knowledge.

I cannot wait to see what is waiting for Charlie next. I really enjoyed both of the books and just wish someone would pick it up for TV adaptations. It would make a brilliant crime drama for those long winter nights.

A massive thank you goes to the author, publisher and NetGalley for giving me access to this.

My rating: 5/5

Available to purchase from:

Friday, 10 March 2017

Is It Just Me? by Miranda Hart

Synopsis:

Well hello to you dear browser. Now I have your attention it would be rude if I didn't tell you a little about my literary feast. So, here is the thing: is it just me or does anyone else find that adulthood offers no refuge from the unexpected horrors, peculiar lack of physical coordination and sometimes unexplained nudity, that accompanied childhood and adolescence? 

Does everybody struggle with the hazards that accompany, say, sitting elegantly on a bar stool; using chopsticks; pretending to understand the bank crisis; pedicures - surely it's plain wrong for a stranger to fondle your feet? Or is it just me? 

I am proud to say I have a wealth of awkward experiences - from school days to life as an office temp - and here I offer my 18-year-old self (and I hope you too dear reader) some much needed caution and guidance on how to navigate life's rocky path. 

Because frankly where is the manual? The much needed manual to life. Well, fret not, for this is my attempt at one and let's call it, because it's fun, a Miran-ual. I thank you.

My review:

Miranda Hart has managed to put a much needed smile on my face and actually made me laugh out loud in public.

I am a big fan of her comedy sketch show ‘Miranda’ and I do miss it terribly. She has a very natural sense of humour that appeals to all sorts of different walks of life.

In this book, Miranda picks on various subjects from everyday live including dating, weddings, diets etc. She also talks to her 18 year old self and illustrates really well how differently we feel at that age and how different reality looks when we grow up and have responsibilities.

I must admit that I enjoyed the first half of the book much more than the second half. As I was reading I could see Miranda and hear the words in my head being said in her voice. Then the book just kind of slowed down for me, hence the three stars.

I still enjoyed it though. It’s a brilliant holiday read, or something you pick up when you need a lift after a bad day at work, just to make sure that there really are people with the same trouble as you.

My rating: 3/5

Author’s website: http://mirandahart.com/

Available to purchase from:

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Paris for One (and other stories) by Jojo Moyes

Synopsis:

Bestselling author Jojo Moyes brings us a charming and heart-warming short story in association with Quick Reads.

Nell is twenty-six and has never been to Paris. She has never even been on a weekend away with her boyfriend. Everyone knows she is just not the adventurous type.

But, when her boyfriend doesn't turn up for their romantic mini-break, Nell has the chance to prove everyone wrong.

Alone in Paris, Nell meets the mysterious moped-riding Fabien and his group of carefree friends. Could this turn out to be the most adventurous weekend of her life?

My review:

I have always been a big fan of Jojo Moyes and I can honestly say she is one of my favourite authors so I was excited to be reading her newest book.

I needed to read something light and easy and this hit just the right spot. The main story ‘Paris for One’ is a heart-warming one, following Nell to Paris for a romantic getaway with her boyfriend. Only Nell actually finds herself alone, in a big city, knowing nothing of the language, customs or cuisine. And then she meets Fabian, the heartbroken writer-to-be.

I won’t spoil the rest of the story but it’s lovely and the characters are likable just like the main characters we know and love from any other of Jojo’s books.

The other short stories are easy to read and identify yourself with some of their characters and some have more surprising conclusions than others.

3 stars might seem harsh, but all they mean is that I enjoyed this book but feel that it is not as complex as Jojo’s other works. It is an uncomplicated novel asking to be read on holidays and spare time to cheer yourself up.

I am most grateful to the author, publisher and NetGalley for access to this book in return for this honest opinion.

My rating: 3/5

Author’s website: www.jojomoyes.com

Available to purchase from:

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Queen of the Pine Curtain (The Seeker Series #1) by Barb Robertson

Synopsis:

Claire’s peculiar grandmother warned her of the family curse but that’s when she was a child and believed in magic, Seventh tribes and Petal people. Not anymore.

Claire is a grown woman with adult problems. At twenty five, she’s devastated by a divorce that leaves her feeling unloved and used up. To top it off, she’s mentally unstable and forced to move in with her parents, which proves to be a disaster.

Memories start to surface which sets off a series of events both harrowing, heart-warming and disturbing. Magic, mayhem and madness collide when Claire faces the demons of her past, her hidden self and the family curse that may or may not exist.

This dark and magical novel delivers a portrait of southern life with wisecracking, moving characters and the discovery of faith in unexpected places. It provides a raw and revealing portrait of mental illness, its creative genius, and its destructive tentacles. Queen of the Pine Curtain is a psychological page turner chock full of family secrets, southern maladies and haunting redemption.

My review:

Firstly I would like to thank the author for contacting me with the request to review this book. 

This novel was most definitely a journey for me. All throughout Part 1 I felt confused and wasn’t sure I actually liked the book. It was clear that Claire had mental health issues and was trying to get help, but as she was going through her mind, her inner house and memories, she was making my head spin. I felt as disjointed from reality as she was.

Then Part 2 hit me like a storm. As Claire starts to understand herself, her inner being starts to reveal forgotten incidents from the past that shaped Claire into who she became. Uncomfortable memories come to the surface and explain the majority of issues Claire experiences as a growing child and adult.

In the end I found myself rooting for Claire. Anyone with experience of mental health issues would have a good understanding of what was happening to her, but you don’t have to be a specialist to understand her journey. Even though she would disagree - Claire is a fighter.

The author has transformed Claire’s messed up mind into a moving collection of rooms in an inner house, with child Claire taking the adult Claire on a journey of remembrance and rediscovery. All characters were well placed and even the minor ones had a definitive place in the story.

This novel took me longer than usual to read due to its complexity and really, the heaviness of the subject. But it was so worth reading. I feel like I need a holiday now, but I certainly won’t forget about this book in a hurry.

My rating: 5/5

Author’s website: http://barbrobertson.net/

Available to purchase from:

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Ledston Luck by Andrew Barrett (Eddie Collins #4) #blogtour


First of all a huge thank you to Andrew Barrett and Caroline for giving me a chance to be part of this blog tour and read Andrew's brilliant novel.  


Synopsis:

They say you can always trust a copper. They’re lying.

They lied thirty years ago and they’re still lying today.

A booby-trapped body in a long-abandoned chapel. A scene examination that goes horribly wrong. CSI Eddie Collins and DI Benson are injured and one of the team killed. Eddie is heartbroken and guilt-ridden. And angry.

To find out who the killer is, they must discover the motive. Their breakthrough comes when two young burglars disappear in the village of Ledston Luck. Eddie picks a fight with the wrong man, and is suspended from duty. But he can’t let go of the investigation. He finds the secrets behind a thirty-year-old murder and comes face to face with the killer – on the wrong end of a shotgun.

My review:

I have read a few crime books now and thoroughly enjoyed them, but it is just so exciting to be reading a novel written by someone with true, real live experience, someone who has the expertise to be able to write in detail and correct context.

Andrew Barrett has the best insider knowledge of protocols, rules and the day to day live of Crime Scene Investigators (CSIs) as he has been on the job for over 30 years; so it hasn’t come to me as too big of a surprise that this book was so good.

But ‘good’ doesn’t do it justice. It’s brilliant, clever and keeps you guessing all the way through. This book is a work of genius and experience. It can be read as a standalone novel; however I will now purchase the first three books in the series, because I feel like I have missed out on something here.

Eddie Collins is not your typical likeable character. Actually, he’s an irritating, rude and an arrogant ass. But he has his reasons and is respected for his abilities and instincts working as a CSI in West Yorkshire Police. When his colleague dies on a job and Eddie gets injured, he makes it his priority to catch whoever is behind the growing number of bodies lying in the mortuary. He is ruthless, rule-breaking and anger driven individual, but with all the right reasons.

He has to unravel decades of crime and secrets to stop the serial killer and it costs his friends, his job and nearly his life.

One character in the book I must not forget is Eddie’s father Charles. He is sort of in the background but on more than one occasion he manages to open his son’s eyes to possibilities around these crime, that Eddie might have not seen himself. They have a proper love-hate relationship, but underneath all their arguments and harsh words, they really do care about each other.

As you can hopefully tell from my review I thoroughly enjoyed the book and will definitely look out for the author again.

Thank you so much to the author for including me in this blog tour and for allowing me the access to this book in return for an honest review.

My rating: 5/5

About the author:

Andrew Barrett is a Best-selling Author and Senior CSI based in Yorkshire. He brings all his knowledge and expertise from his years in Forensics into his writing.

Andrew Barrett has been writing best-selling thrillers since the mid 1990s, all set in northern England. He's also written several short stories, and co-written a number of television scripts and despite all that is still reasonably sane.

Andrew's novels focus on the world of Crime Scene Investigators (CSIs). He offers a unique insight into this dark landscape, making good use of his expertise as a Senior CSI to envelop the reader in exciting yet realistic stories.

Included in each story are elements of dark humour (he'd be totally insane without the humour), and severe emotional highs and lows. So be prepared.

Author’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/AndrewBarrett.author
Author’s website: http://andrew-barrett.co.uk

Available to purchase from:

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

#BlogTour Announcement - Ledston Luck by Andrew Barrett

I am very happy to announce the release of the brilliant new thriller by Andrew Barrett called Ledston Luck. About a month ago I was contacted by Andrew and asked to take part in a blog tour and as soon I read the synopsis I was hooked. And I was not disappointed. 

The tour is on, so please take a look at the poster below and visit my fellow bloggers to see what they thought of this book. My stop is tomorrow 19 January 2017 and I can't wait to share my opinion on one of the best crime book I've ever read.



Ledston Luck which is being launched on the 20th January 2017 continues the story of CSI Eddie Collins. It begins with a booby-trapped body in a long-abandoned chapel. 

A scene examination that goes horribly wrong. CSI Eddie Collins and DI Benson are injured and one of the team killed. Eddie is heartbroken and guilt-ridden. And angry.

To find out who the killer is, they must first discover the motive. And their breakthrough comes when two young burglars disappear in the village of Ledston Luck. Eddie picks a fight with the wrong man, and is suspended from duty. But he cant let go of the investigation. He finds the secrets behind a thirty-year-old murder and comes face to face with the killer – on the wrong end of a shotgun.

They say you can always trust a copper. Theyre lying.They lied thirty years ago and theyre still lying today.

The novel is based on the real village of Ledston Luck in Yorkshire.

Author’s Facebook page: www.facebook.com/AndrewBarrett.author
Author’s website: http://andrew-barrett.co.uk

Available to purchase from:

Friday, 13 January 2017

The Old Man and the Princess by Sean-Paul Thomas

Synopsis from Goodreads:

An eccentric old Irish man, who claims to be 'not of this Earth,' kidnaps Sersha, a young, headstrong, Irish girl, from the streets of Galway and tries to convince her that her life's destiny is tied to a mystical cave in the Scottish highlands.

But with half of the Irish criminal underworld violently on their trail, Sersha, struggles back and forth with the old man's real identity and far-fetched intentions to whether he truly is genuine in his wild and fantastical beliefs. Or is he really just a mad, demented, old fool, having some kind of mental breakdown in his twilight years. 

My review:

When I was contacted by the author to review this book and I read the synopsis for this book, I wasn’t really too sure what to expect, but it really turned out to be a little gem of a book, with a story that kept popping along very nicely and good characters you grow to like. The story has also kept its authenticity by using local dialects and not too vast description of the Irish and Scottish scenery.

Derek did worry me at first. Let’s be honest, when the main character of an old man kidnaps a fifteen year old girl and keeps her in the back of a van in the middle of a forest, you don’t necessarily warm to him straight away. But Derek is a surprisingly strong headed, good natured man with a goal in mind, knowing he would do literary anything to keep Sersha safe and to get them both to their final destination.

Sersha on the other hand is a typical angry teenager. Growing up in foster care left her with trust issues, but also wanting more out of life and hope that their might be something better, which I think is why she starts to side with Derek so quickly.

Whether you believe the whole sci-fi story Derek portraits to Sersha is, in my opinion, quite irrelevant. To me, this book was more about the relationship that so beautifully develops between these two. It’s a relationship based on crazy theory of other worlds, palaces and princesses, but one that grows into a lovely friendship.

This is a shorter novel for anyone who likes to dip into something a little bit different. There are a few nice twists in the story and all is not as it seems. Good, witty humour helps the story along too with a few laugh-out-loud moments.

And I must also admit that I absolutely love the cover!

Thank you to the author for giving me access to this book in return for an honest review.

My rating: 4/5


Available to purchase from:

Friday, 6 January 2017

Tempting Jo by Nancee Cain

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Forbidden love is hell...

Confident and quirky, Jo Sanford thinks her boss is God's gift to women--and she couldn't be further from the truth. Devilishly handsome, Luc DeVille will stop at nothing to lure his administrative assistant right into his arms--and bed.

Over Rafe Goodman's dead body...

Rafe, Jo's best friend, refuses to sit by and watch as Luc tries to win the heart of the woman he's always protected. After all, Rafe is her guardian angel. Suddenly, Jo's caught in the middle of a battle between good and evil. But the closer she gets to the fire, the hotter it burns. Now, Jo's going to learn that when love battles lust, Heaven and Hell collide.

My review:

I must admit that I am struggling with this one a little. I have thought a lot about it and I finally realised that if I read this book about twelve years ago I would have enjoyed it much more. It’s a sort of book to I think suited me in my early twenties before my reading horizon widened so much. So if I am really honest, back in the day I would have given the book 4 maybe 4.5 stars. But even now it gets a solid 3*.

Overall I think the story was good and I especially warmed to Rafe’s character. Rafe is your typical good guy, torn between duty for the greater good and love for the woman he’s been guarding for years. I even had a soft spot for Luc; your typical bad boy with ‘devilish’ good looks and attitude to match. Good and evil was well represented here and the story reiterated that one cannot exist without the other.

The one character I could not get on with was Jolene. And I think that’s why I struggled with the novel. I find it hard to read a book when I dislike the main character – it sort of throws me out of sync. She was supposedly intelligent, beautiful, amazing creature, but to me she was just this na├»ve, silly little girl that everyone had to take care off. And she really got on my nerves using the ‘words of the day’ in the wrong context. I wanted to shake her to wake her up!

To summarise I would recommend this novel as maybe a holiday read. It was a relaxing book and one that I would take up in between something meatier perhaps. The story line was there and the concept was good if like to believe in higher powers.

Thank you to TBConFB and the author for giving me access to this book in return for an honest review.

My rating: 3/5

Available to purchase from: