Book reviews, Crime thriller

The Blood Acre by RJ Mitchell – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Fresh from his exploits in The Shift, Constable Angus Thoroughgood finds himself assigned to Community Policing in the crime-ridden Briarknock area of Glasgow – an area known for its horrific drugs problem, violent petty crime, and unemployment. It’s also home to The Creepers, a notorious team of housebreakers whose reign of terror must come to an end. However, it’s not just The Creepers that Thoroughgood must contend with. Working with his partner Harry Currie, the Scottish detective must battle corruption within the force and work to stop a plot that would destroy cities across the North of England, discovering a fabled piece of Glasgow criminal folklore along the way – the Blood Acre.

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MY REVIEW

The Blood Acre is a crime thriller featuring Angus Thoroughgood. He’s now a Community Constable and newly partnered with an older constable, Harry Currie, who is close to retiring.

Together they are assigned to the Briarknock area of Glasgow, an area rife with petty crime, drugs and a home breaking gang, The Creepers. Can they make a difference? or does someone want it left exactly as it is?

This is Gritty, violent, gruesome and utterly gripping. It’s twisty plot and great well developed characters make this a compelling thriller.

Thank you to Damppebbles Blog Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review. 

 

 

About RJ Mitchell:

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Pictured Author RJ Mitchell , crime writer , former Herald & Evening Times sports writer and ex cop. He is pictured at the old firing range within the the former Strathclyde Police college in Oxford Street ,next to the Sheriff Court. He has just announced that he has signed a four book deal with McNidder & Grace . His next crime novel The Shift is due out in the spring. It is based on his experiences as a rookie cop in Glasgow. As a cop he had spent many hours in this building over 20 years ago. It was the kind permission of Alistair Brand of Stallan-Brand architects who took over the building earlier this year and found out about the authors history with the place. Photograph by Martin Shields Tel 07572 457000 http://www.martinshields.com FEE PAYABLE FOR REPRO USE NB -This image is not to be distributed without the prior consent of the copyright holder. in using this image you agree to abide by terms and conditions as stated in this caption. All monies payable to Martin Shields (PLEASE DO NOT REMOVE THIS CAPTION) This image is intended for Editorial use (e.g. news). Any commercial or promotional use requires additional clearance. Copyright 2015 All rights protected. first use only.

Robert James Mitchell was brought up in Stirling. Mitchell was initially detailed beat duties out of the former Blackhill Police Office and then Baird Street Police Office in the former ‘D’ Division, or the North, as it was known to all the men who served in the division. In January, 2007, while recovering from an appendicitis, Mitchell decided to write the first draft of ‘Parallel Lines: The Glasgow Supremacy‘, drawing heavily on his own experiences and featuring the characters of Detective Sergeant Gus Thoroughgood and DC Kenny Hardie.

 

 

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/spitfiremedia

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rjmitchellcrimewriter/

Website: https://rjmitchellauthor.co.uk/

 

 

Purchase Links:

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Blood-Acre-RJ-Mitchell/dp/1910265950/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=the+blood+acre&qid=1575550473&sr=8-1

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Blood-Acre-DS-Thoroughgood-Thriller-ebook/dp/B07XF9DJT4/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?keywords=the+blood+acer+r+mitchell&qid=1575552092&sr=8-1-fkmr0

Matthew James Publishing: https://www.matthewjamespublishing.com/products/matthew-james-publishing/the-blood-acre

Waterstones: https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-blood-acre/rj-mitchell/9781910265956

WHSmith: https://www.whsmith.co.uk/products/the-blood-acre/rj-mitchell/paperback/9781910265956.html

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Book reviews, Poetry

Poetry For Christmas And Other Beginnings chosen by Orna Ross – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB  

 The mid-winter holiday provides the perfect space to indulge the pleasure of poetry and in this pamphlet, you’ll find a poem for each of the twelve days of that holiday season. All these Christmas poems circle around the story we’ve been telling for 2000 years about what happened in Bethlehem on a certain 25th December. 

Some of them reassert that story, some challenge it, some see it as purely symbolic — but all are engaged with the deeper questions that underwrite it. 

The poets included in this slim volume are: WH Auden, John Betjeman, TS Eliot, Thomas Hardy, Dan Holloway, Patrick Kavanagh, Mary Oliver, Anne Porter, Adrienne Rich, Anne Sexton, Christopher Smart, WB Yeats — and there’s a “bonus” poem from Orna Ross. A perfect stocking filler — or gift to self. Indulge and enjoy.
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MY REVIEW

This is a collection of just 12 poems, so it’s short but inspiring.

There are poems about Birth, blessings, Faith, Christmas and hope.

From a personal point of view I found the poem First Flush very moving. My daughter, born 30 years ago has just given birth to her own daughter and so it felt it was meant for me. 

A lovely, emotional collection, something to treasure.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free ecopy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

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ORNA ROSS is an award-winning writer, an advocate for independent authors and other creative entrepreneurs, and “one of the 100 most influential people in publishing” [The Bookseller]. She writes novels, poems and nonfiction guides for creatives, and is Founder-Director of two popular online communities, the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) and The Creativist Club. She lives in London and writes, publishes and teaches around the globe. When not writing, you’ll probably find her reading.

 

Website : http://www.ornaross.com/

Twitter : @ornaross

Author Page on Facebook

Instagram @ornaross

 

Poetry for Christmas : And Other Beginnings by Orna Ross

  • Paperback: 54 pages
  • Publisher: Font Publications (4 Dec. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0957341288
  • ISBN-13: 978-0957341289

 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Poetry-Christmas-Twelve-Inspirational-Holiday/dp/0957341288

 

Book reviews, Police procedural, Thriller

Deathly Affair by Leigh Russell – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Four dead bodies.

But who is guilty in this deadly web of secrecy and lies?

When a homeless man is murdered, Detective Sergeant Geraldine Steel is disturbed by the coldblooded nature of the crime. With the discovery of a second victim, the police hunt for a killer whose motive is as elusive as he is dangerous.

In an investigation plagued by police scepticism, Geraldine is relentless in her pursuit of the truth. Drawn into the lives of three people caught in a toxic web of love and deceit, Geraldine learns there is more to this case than she had imagined..

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MY REVIEW 

#13 In the Geraldine Steel series and can easily be read as a stand-alone. 

Geraldine is a Detective Sergeant in York and is investigating the death of a homeless man. At first the general consensus is why bother, it’s just a homeless man, but she is determined to treat this the same as any case. It’s a relevant topic, as in people’s attitudes to the many homeless on the streets these days and sometimes empathy seems a long forgotten thing.

However, when a second homeless man is found dead this becomes a serious case.

I can’t say any more about the plot as I would hate to spoil it, but I can say I think this is the best in the series so far. There’s a real sense of wrong in the chapters from a killers perspective, the unease is palpable. So well plotted, with strong female characters and Geraldine with her instinct for the truth and her dogged determination is a favourite. Twisty, dark and compelling. I can thoroughly recommend it.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

You can buy a copy here:   https://amzn.to/2RIUapq

 

PRAISE FOR LEIGH RUSSELL 

‘Brilliant and chilling, Leigh Russell delivers a cracker of a read!’ -Martina Cole ‘Unmissable’ – Lee Child

‘A brilliant talent in the thriller field… you’re just plain going to love DI Geraldine Steel’ – Jeffery Deaver

‘Taut and compelling’- Peter James

‘Leigh Russell has become one of the most impressively dependable purveyors of the English police procedural’ – Times

‘A million readers can’t be wrong!’ – Howard Linskey

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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Leigh Russellis the author of the Ian Peterson series (Cold Sacrifice, Race to DeathandBlood Axe) and the internationally bestselling Geraldine Steel series:Cut Short, Road Closed, Dead End, Death Bed, Stop Dead, Fatal Act, Killer Plan, Murder Ring, Deadly Alibi,Class Murder, Death RopeandRogue Killer.The series has sold over a million copies worldwide.Cut Shortwas shortlisted for the Crime Writers Association (CWA), John Creasey New Blood Dagger Award, and Leigh has been longlisted for the CWA Dagger in the Library Award. Her books have been #1 on Amazon Kindle and iTunes withStop DeadandMurder Ringselected as finalists for The People’s Book Prize. Leigh is chair of the CWA’s Debut Dagger Award judging panel and is a Royal Literary Fellow. Leigh studied at the University of Kent, gaining a Masters degree in English and American Literature. She is married with two daughters and a granddaughter, and lives in London.

Cosy mystery

Murder At The Dolphin Hotel by Helena Dixon – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB  

A room with a view… to murder

June 1933. Independent young Kitty Underhay has been left in charge of her family’s hotel, The Dolphin, on the tranquil English coast. She’s expecting her days at the bustling resort to be filled with comfortable chatter with chambermaids as they polish the mahogany desk and glittering candelabras of the elegant foyer. Everything must be perfect for the arrival of a glamourous jazz singer from Chicago and a masked ball that will be the cultural highlight of the season.

But when several rooms are broken into and searched, including Kitty’s own, she quickly realises that something out of the ordinary is afoot at the hotel. Soon rumours are flying in the cozy town that someone is on the hunt for a stolen ruby. A ruby that Kitty’s mother may well have possessed when she herself went missing during the Great War. And when the break-ins are followed by a series of attacks and murders, including of the town’s former mayoress, it seems the perpetrator will stop at nothing to find it.

Aided by ex-army captain Matthew Bryant, the Dolphin’s new security officer, Kitty is determined to decipher this mystery and preserve not only the reputation of her hotel, but also the lives of her guests. Is there a cold-blooded killer under her own roof? And what connects the missing jewel to the mystery from Kitty’s own past?

A classic page-turning murder mystery! Fans of Agatha Christie, Elizabeth Edmondson and T.E. Kinsey will love this unputdownable whodunnit.

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MY REVIEW 

#1 In the Miss Underhay mystery series, set in 1933 Dartmouth.

Kitty Underlay’s grandmother own The Dolphin Hotel in Dartmouth. When a relative has a fall, her grandmother leaves to look after her in Scotland, leaving Kitty in charge.

But, she employs a security officer, ex-Captain Matt Bryant, to keep an eye on Kitty and the hotel as she is concerned about recent events locally.

Kitty is looking forward to her Jazz event she has organised, she even has a jazz singer from Chicago taking part. 

Then there’s breaking in the hotel, some rooms broken into…..but why? Were they looking for something in particular? The local Inspector begins an investigation and Kitty and Matt help too. There are deaths and things turn more sinister.

This is a beautifully written cosy mystery whodunnit in the vein of Agatha Christie and Josephine Tey. Charming, atmospheric and thoroughly entertaining. 

Thank you to Bookouture for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour, for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook.  This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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Nell Dixon was born and continues to live in the Black Country. Married to the same man for over thirty-five years she has three daughters, a cactus called Spike, a crazy cockapoo and a tank of tropical fish. She is allergic to adhesives, apples, tinsel and housework. Her addictions of choice are coffee and reality TV. She was winner of The Romance Prize in 2007 with her book Marrying Max, and winner of Love Story of the Year 2010 with her book, Animal Instincts. She also writes historical 1930’s set cozy crime as Helena Dixon.

 

Author Social Media Links:

Website: http://www.nelldixon.com

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/nell.dixon

Twitter:      https://twitter.com/NellDixon

 

Buy Links: https://geni.us/B07XLM3SM6Social

  

Book reviews, Non fiction

You Can Change The World by Margaret Rooke – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

**Joint Gold Winner of the Moonbeam Multicultural Non-Fiction Award 2019**

This inspirational book tells the stories of more than 50 of today’s teenagers who’ve dared to change the world they live in. It’s been written to show other teens they can do the same. Bestselling author Margaret Rooke asks teens about their experiences of being volunteers, social entrepreneurs and campaigners, online and beyond. They explain how they have survived in a world often obsessed by celebrity, social media and appearance, by refusing to conform to other’s expectations.

If you want to achieve against the odds and create genuine impact, this book may be the encouragement you need. The interviews cover race, sexuality, violence, grief, neurodiversity, bullying and other issues central to life today.

Read about teens from around the world including:

– Trisha, 18, who has invented a way of preventing bullying online

– Dillon, 18, who takes damaged and donated clothing and upcycles it for the homeless

– Guro, 13, who persuaded a pop band to portray women differently in its video

– ‘Happy D’, 19, who learned to read at 14 and found ways to build his confidence

– Heraa, 19, who fights Islamophobia online.

– Ruben, 18, bullied because of Down’s Syndrome, now a successful actor

– Lucy who, at 14, walked into Tesco head office and persuaded them not to sell eggs from caged hens.

– Cameron, 17, who has cerebral palsy and was side-lined by soccer teams who set up his own team ‘Adversity United’

– Alex, 18, who broke his back on his 15th birthday and says his injury has taught him to care for others

– Amika, 18, who fights ‘Period Poverty’

– Jesse, 15, who’s seven feet tall and embraces his stature

– Billy, 18, who wore full make up every day at high school

A fantastic book that captures the work of young changemakers. Powerful and inspiring, a catalogue of real role models. It will make you want to chase your passion. After all what better cause is there?

Matteo Bergamini, CEO & Founder, Shout Out UK

 

 

MY REVIEW 

This is a book full of truly amazing young people. It has 50 interviews with young people from around the world.   

Each of these people have a passion, a determination to make this world a better, kinder place through helping and supporting each other. 

It covers many subjects, including Cyberbullying, animal rights, environmental issues, 

Period poverty, health, disability and welfare issues, mental health, bereavement and grief and more. How these young people have brought their thoughts, their lives and plans to change things. They are determined, eloquent and a power to be reckoned with, underestimate the commitment of the young at your peril.

It also has a simple toolkit at the end, to give some pointers and ideas to help anyone who has something they feel strongly about and how to develop this into something more. Truly an inspiring read, perfect for any teenager and should be in every school library. 

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

You can buy a copy here: https://amzn.to/2Yx2iue

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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Margaret is an author and writer with a special interest in listening to people’s memories and getting them down on paper. Her latest book Creative, Successful, Dyslexic includes interviews with Darcey Bussell, David Bailey, Lord Richard Rogers, Zoe Wanamaker and others about their childhoods and beyond. She interviewed countless interesting personalities during her many years of magazine writing and believes everyone has a story to tell. Margaret is especially keen to preserve people’s memories for their children and grandchildren to value and enjoy.

Website : http://www.margaretrooke.com/

Twitter : @MargsRooke

Instagram : @margsrooke

 

Paperback: 320 pages

  • Publisher: Jessica Kingsley Publishers (21 Jun. 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1785925024
  • ISBN-13: 978-1785925023

 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/You-Can-Change-World-Difference/dp/1785925024

 

Book reviews, Thriller

Shadow by James Swallow – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

From the Sunday Times bestselling author of NOMAD and EXILE, things are about to go viral for Marc Dane in his most dangerous adventure yet . . .

Marc Dane is Britain’s answer to Jason Bourne, and it is about to go viral in his most thrilling and dangerous adventure yet. . .

Marc and his partner – former US Delta Force sniper Lucy Keyes – are pitted against their most terrifying challenge yet, when a genius bio-researcher with the ability to create a deadly biological weapon is kidnapped by a ruthless terrorist. 

Their desperate search for the missing scientist takes them across the world, from the desolate wilderness of Iceland to the slums of the Near East and the dark underbelly of a fracturing Europe, where they will discover a shocking atrocity in the making. 

Backed by shadowy interests, a cadre of hardline ultra-right-wing extremists plan to unleash a lethal virus among the population of a major European city. 

Only Marc Dane can prevent this devastating attack from taking place – before a whole continent is plunged into terror…

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MY REVIEW 

#4 in the Mark Dane series but can easily be read as a stand-alone.

Mark Dane, ex-British intelligence and now working for a secretive organisation, Rubicon with his partner, Lucy.

When a Rubicon employee goes missing Dane is tasked with investigating and so the adventure begins.

There’s a terrorist they must find and stop with lots of action and intrigue.

Dane is a real action hero, but there is more to the tale than that. A clever and compelling plot, which feels all too plausible and makes this a real page turner. Thoroughly entertaining.

Thank you to Tracy and Compulsive Readers for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

James Swallow is a New York Times, Sunday Times and Amazon #1 bestselling author and scriptwriter, a BAFTA nominee, a former journalist and the award-winning writer of over fifty books, along with scripts for video games, comics, radio and television. 

His writing includes the Marc Dane action thrillers, the Sundowners steampunk Westerns and fiction from the worlds of Star Trek, Warhammer 40000, Doctor Who, 24, Deus Ex, Stargate, 2000AD and more. 

SHADOW, the 4th Marc Dane novel, is out now from Bonnier, and the 2nd book in the series – EXILE – is published in the USA by Tor/Forge. 

Book reviews, Psychlogical thriller

Gone by Leona Deakin – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Four strangers are missing. Left at their last-known locations are birthday cards that read:

YOUR GIFT IS THE GAME DARE TO PLAY?

The police aren’t worried – it’s just a game. But the families are frantic, and psychologist and private detective Dr Augusta Bloom is persuaded to investigate. As she delves into the lives of the missing people, she finds something that binds them all.

And that something makes them very dangerous indeed.

As more disappearances are reported and new birthday cards uncovered, Dr Bloom races to unravel the mystery and find the puppeteer. But is she playing into their hands?

An addictive debut thriller with an ingenious hook that turns the missing person plot on its head – what if the missing people are the dangerous ones?
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MY REVIEW 

Dr Augusta Bloom is a psychologist, she studies people and what makes them tick, with a special interest in psychopaths.

When her colleague Marcus’ friend, Lana goes missing, he asks for her help. The only clue is a birthday card Lana received with the message….

 

YOUR GIFT IS THE GAME DARE TO PLAY?

 

As they investigate they find more people missing, all of whom had received the same card and message…..are they part of the game? What links them all?

Will they find those missing people? And at what cost?

I really enjoyed this unique thriller, with its insights into what makes a psychopath and a gripping, twisty plot. Great characters and I loved the relationship between friends Augusta and Marcus too….with lots of suspense to keep you on tenterhooks throughout. An incredible debut thriller from Leona Deakin and I can thoroughly recommend it.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

You can buy a copy here: https://amzn.to/2rpXF9l

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Leona draws inspiration for her writing from her own experiences having started her career as a psychologist with the West Yorkshire Police and her successful work in psychology since. She is now an occupational psychologist and lives with her family in Leeds.

This is her debut thriller.

 

Book reviews, Historical fiction

Pax by John Harvey – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

When artist Stephen Bloodsmith creates a series of images inspired by Rubens’ trip to London in 1629, he enters a historical world of suspicion and intrigue. But will the manipulations he portrays in art spill over into the real world? When he practises deception inside his own marriage, falling in love with his model even as the romance of his wife Robyn unravels, the corrosive parallels between Bloodsmith’s and Rubens’ lives – the discovery of intimate secrets, the pain caused by desire and jealousy, the consequences of power and conflict – become hard to live with and impossible to ignore. 

Rubens believed he could make peace between the warring powers of Europe. To succeed he must win over Charles I of England, while in Paris ‘the Cardinal’ is working to frustrate him. Will nation cheat nation as people deceive one another in their personal lives? 

At once an intimate portrait of sexual pain in two centuries and a gripping depiction of international deal-making, Pax is a rich, compelling study of desire, power, art – and the search for private and public peace.

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MY REVIEW

Set over two timelines, that of Rubens in 1629 and Stephen Bloodsmith in the present day.

Bloodsmith is an artist who is inspired by Rubens art and researches his life and a trip he made to London. 

Bloodsmith has a wife and daughter, but becomes obsessed with his model, Mae.

This is the story of desire, not just sexual desire but the desire for power. There’s art, politics and lots of intrigue. Beautifully written, almost poetic and a marvellous piece of historical fiction.

However, I do have to mention the sex in this novel, unfortunately the language used lets this marvellous read down a little…..’marks of the lust-beast’ really? But don’t let that put you off, this really is an engrossing read for anyone who loves historical fiction.

Thank you to Robert at Holland House Books for the opportunity to read this for free. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

John Harvey (born 21 December 1938 in London) is a British author of crime fiction most famous for his series of jazz-influenced Charlie Resnick novels, based in the City of Nottingham. Harvey has also published over 90 books under various names, and has worked on scripts for TV and radio. He also ran Slow Dancer Press from 1977 to 1999 publishing poetry. The first Resnick novel, Lonely Hearts, was published in 1989, and was named by The Times as one of the 100 Greatest Crime Novels of the Century. Harvey brought the series to an end in 1998 with Last Rites, though Resnick has since made peripheral appearances in Harvey’s new Frank Elder series. The protagonist Elder is a retired detective who now lives, as Harvey briefly did, in Cornwall. The first novel in this series, Flesh and Blood, won Harvey the Crime Writers’ Association Silver Dagger in 2004, an accolade many crime fiction critics thought long overdue. In 2007 he was awarded the Diamond Dagger for a Lifetime’s Contribution to the genre. On 14th July 2009 he received an honorary degree (Doctor of Letters) from the University of Nottingham in recognition of his literary eminence and his associations with both the University and Nottingham (particularly in the Charlie Resnick novels). He is also a big Notts County fan. (Courtesy of Goodreads)

 

Book reviews, Psychlogical thriller

Dark Hollows by Steve Frech – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS  BLURB 

Your past is catching up with you.

Jacob Reese enjoys the quiet life, running a coffee shop and renting out his cottage in The Hollows, Vermont.

But the calm is shattered when a woman who looks eerily similar to his ex-girlfriend Laura turns up to stay in the cottage, and leaves a mysterious note in the guest book.

Now Jacob’s seeing Laura everywhere—a glimpse of her face across the street, her music box left outside his house, a gift he gave her years before hanging from the trees.

But it can’t be Laura. Because Laura’s dead.

A gripping, twisted and haunting thriller. Fans of Gillian Flynn, Gregg Olsen and Mark Edwards will love Steve Frech.

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MY REVIEW

Set in New England and after the death of his parents, Jacob used his inheritance to buy a home in The Hollows, it also has a cottage which he lets out as holiday lets. He also owns a local coffee shop.

He lets out the cottage to a woman who doesn’t fit his usual letting criteria, but it’s only for a short let. When she arrives, she seems a bit familiar and he realises she looks very much like his ex, Laura. But he knows that Laura is dead.

Jacob starts to find out more and as he does, the secrets of his past life and his relationship with Laura come to light. 

Soon, odd things keep happening that start to mess with his idyllic life….who is doing this and why?

Beautifully descriptive writing with a clever and at times, creep plot. I enjoyed the gradually building story as you find more about Jacob and his past and how that has lead to where he is now. Oh and the lovely, Murphy is a star…. A thoroughly gripping thriller.

Thank you to Jess at HQ for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour, for the promotional material and a free ecopy of the book. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Steve grew up in… You know what? I hate writing stuff in the third person, so here it is:

I was born in East Chicago, Indiana. I grew up in the small town of Troy, OH.

I attended Miami University of Ohio and received a BFA in Theater. I moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting and writing but quickly discovered that I don’t like actors… Just kidding. I have a ton of actor friends and I love you all. 

In addition to writing, I’m the producer and host of the award nominated ‘What Do You Know?’, an improv-comedy quiz show that gives more points for being funny than for being right. The show has been hosted at Upright Citizens Brigade, Nerdist, iO West, and the Improv. You can see more at http://www.whatdoyouknowshow.com

My debut novel, ‘Requiem’, is available in paperback and digital download from Amazon. 

I’m currently working on my second novel, ‘The Crossing’, a thriller set in the Arizona desert, and it will be available in February of 2014.

 

Book reviews, Fantasy, Horror

The Devils Apprentice by Kenneth B. Andersen – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Philip is a good boy, a really good boy, who accidentally gets sent to Hell to become the Devil’s heir. The Devil, Lucifer, is dying and desperately in need of a successor, but there’s been a mistake and Philip is the wrong boy. Philip is terrible at being bad, but Lucifer has no other choice than to begin the difficult task of training him in the ways of evil. Philip gets both friends and enemies in this odd, gloomy underworld—but who can he trust, when he discovers an evil-minded plot against the dark throne?

The Devil’s Apprentice is volume 1 in The Great Devil War-series.

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MY REVIEW 

Philip is 13 years old, he’s a good young man, he’s also the victim of the school bully Sam. Hiding in the school basement, he is rescued from Sam by the janitor, but Sam says he’ll get him another time.

On his way home, he rescues a cat….who he is sure said Thankyou! 

The Sam pushes him into the road and Philip wakes up in Hell. It must be a mistake, a demon agrees, but Satan decides he needs an heir and Philip is it.

Can Philip learn to be bad? 

A clever fantasy tale of good and evil….it also makes you think what is Evil? From a while lie to murder, is it just degrees of evil? Do we need evil so that we can be the opposite? A fun, entertaining read.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Kenneth B. Andersen (1976) is an award-winning Danish writer. He has published more than forty books for children and young adults, including both fantasy, horror, and science fiction. 

His books have been translated into more than 15 languages and his hit-series about the superhero Antboy has been turned into three movies. A musical adaptation of The Devil’s Apprentice, the first book in The Great Devil War series, opened in the fall 2018 and film rights for the series have been optioned.

Kenneth lives in Copenhagen with his wife, two boys, a dog named Milo, and spiders in the basement.

Website http://www.kennethbandersen.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/WriterKennethBAndersen/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kenneth_b_andersen/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/K_B_Andersen

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/kenneth-b-andersen

Book reviews, Romance

Out With The Ex, In With The New by Sophie Ranald – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Gemma didn’t expect her life to look like this. She’s still living with her mother, who steals her leggings and tells her off for leaving crumbs in the butter. After twenty failed interviews she thought she’d got her dream job as a journalist – except it turns out to be writing articles about cats that look like George Clooney. Luckily she has her wonderful boyfriend, Jack, to help her forget just how awful things are.

Then Jack dumps her out of the blue. With nothing but her childhood teddy bear, Stanley, and a whole heap of heartbreak, Gemma resolves to turn things around. She throws herself into her new job and soon she’s hanging out with cheeky, golden-haired hunk Charlie, eating in swanky restaurants and sipping trendy cocktails – and her old life seems like a distant memory.

But it’s not long until her shiny new world starts to lose its sparkle – and Gemma misses the days of wearing battered pink converse and eating peanut butter on toast in bed. Then Jack turns up, backpack in tow, and things start to go wrong with Charlie. ‘Out with the old, in with the new’, the saying goes. But what happens if neither one is quite right?

This laugh-out-loud romantic comedy is for anyone who’s ever cried their eyes out to love songs after a break-up or accidentally drunk-texted their ex. Fans of Sophie Kinsella and Lindsey Kelk will love this unmissable read which is all about falling in love with the most important person: yourself!

This book was previously published as the Truth About Gemma Grey.

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MY REVIEW 

Gemma and Jack have been together for 4 years when Jack says he wants to travel the world with his best friend. So while they initially discuss a long distance relationship, they break up.

So, Gemma takes to YouTube to vent her emotions and goes viral. As a result she becomes an influencer…..! She finds romance with another YouTube star……living the dream right? But is she?

Jack eventually returns from his travels. Will Gemma take him back or decide to make her own life in the real world?

A romantic comedy with a few tough moments and touches on the difficult subject of domestic violence but it’s overall a light, heartwarming tale. 

Thank you to Bookouture for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour, for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review. 

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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Sophie Ranald is the youngest of five sisters. She was born in Zimbabwe and lived in South Africa until an acute case of itchy feet brought her to London in her mid-20s. As an editor for a customer publishing agency, Sophie developed her fiction-writing skills describing holidays to places she’d never visited. In 2011, she decided to disregard all the good advice given to aspiring novelists and attempt to write full-time. After one false start, It Would Be Wrong to Steal My Sister’s Boyfriend (Wouldn’t It?) seemed to write itself. Her second, third and fourth novels followed. Sophie also writes for magazines and online about food, fashion, finance and running. She lives in south-east London with her amazing partner Hopi and Purrs, their adorable little cat. 

 

To find out about Sophie’s forthcoming releases and get access to free books and special offers, sign up to her newsletter at sophieranald.com or

 

 

Author Social Media Links:

Website: sophieranald.com

 

Twitter: @SophieRanald

 https://twitter.com/SophieRanald

 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/SophieRanald.

 

Amazon: https://geni.us/B07XY63YRTSocial

Apple Books: https://apple.co/2kzkp3m

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2kzf24f

Googleplay: http://bit.ly/2mwHgx7 

Audiobook, Book reviews, Romance

We Met In December by Rosie Curtis – Audiobook Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Following a year in the life of a twenty-something American woman who falls hard for her London flat mate, this clever, fun, and unforgettable romantic comedy is the perfect feel-good holiday read.

Two people. One house. A year that changes everything.  

Twenty-nine-year-old Jess is following her dream and moving to London. It’s December, and she’s taking a room in a crumbling, but grand, Notting Hill house-share with four virtual strangers. On her first night, Jess meets Alex, the guy sharing her floor, at a Christmas dinner hosted by her landlord. They don’t kiss, but as far as Jess is concerned the connection is clear. She starts planning how they will knock down the wall between them to spend more time together.

But when Jess returns from a two-week Christmas holiday, she finds Chris has started dating someone else—beautiful Emma, who lives on the floor above them. Now Jess faces a year of bumping into (hell, sharing a bathroom with) the man of her dreams…and the woman of his.
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MY REVIEW 

This is the story of Jess and Alex and is set in London.

Jess’ friend Becky invites her to live in her house as a flatmate. Also living there is Alex, a student nurse, after a change of career and recovering from a recent relationship breakup.

Jess is quite smitten by him as soon as she sees him, but keeps her feelings to herself….and so does Alex!

The story covers a year in their lives as they get to know each other, they grow closer but still keep their true feelings to themselves………

I love the narration, both readers, Jessica Preddy and Finlay Robertson really fit the characters and bring them to life.

It’s a warm snuggle of a tale and the absolutely perfect antidote to the problems of the real world. A beautifully written, kind and gentle romance with great narrators. I love it.

Thank you to Sanjana at Avon Books for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour, for the promotional material and a free copy of the Audiobook. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

Book reviews, Non fiction

The Unlikeliest Backpacker by Kathryn Barnes – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

You reach a certain age. You have a lifestyle many would envy. Still, something doesn’t feel right. Life’s become routine. You sense there’s more out there to experience and explore. There’s an urge gnawing away inside you to do something different. But what?

Before Kathryn Barnes knew it, plans had snowballed – she’d quit her city job and flown to America to begin living life in the wild, walking hundreds of miles along the Pacific Crest Trail.

The Unlikeliest Backpacker chronicles Kathryn and her husband Conrad’s life-changing journey as aspiring long-distance hikers. With Canada eye-wateringly far away, they had to learn to backpack while surviving everything the famous trail threw at them – mosquitoes, mountains, malnutrition, and many, many, miles. How hard could it be?

Very hard, as it turns out! But also deeply rewarding. Kathryn’s entertaining memoir proves that you don’t have to be special, or an experienced adventure junkie to disconnect from the modern world and play out the journey of a lifetime

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MY REVIEW 

Kathryn and her husband Conrad are on a beach holiday when Kathryn suggests they should hike the Pacific Crest Trail in the US. But, Kathryn, a Londoner, hates camping and no experience of hiking……so obviously they decide to do it….

This is the honest tale of their adventures and misadventures, how they risk their health, lives and marriage. A tense, exciting adventure meeting some great and not so great characters along the way. Thoroughly entertaining.

Thank you to Kelly at Love Books Group for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour, the promotional material and a free copy of the book. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Aspiring writer, entrepreneur… adult. The one vocation Kathryn has successfully nailed so far is Daydreamer. Her varied ambitions and overall life trajectory has taken a bit of a turn of late. A born-and-bred Londoner, Kathryn is discovering there is more to life than the corporate rat race. It began with a six-month trip through South America whetting her travelling wanderlust, which led to the decision to quit her job as a management consultant. 

More recently she upped the adventure ante, swapping city life for the wilderness,  on an ambitious walk hundreds of miles along America’s Pacific Crest Trail. The plan raised eyebrows from all who knew her – an uncharacteristic leap for a girl who refuses to sleep on the floor. The results were both brutal and awe-inspiring.

Kathryn has never been an ‘outdoorsy’ person. But the simple, reflective, time spent in the natural environment left a deep imprint. She still (reluctantly) resides in London, but the mountains are calling. She may even camp again. Someday.

For the latest information about Kathryn visit:

http://www.ALifeToWander.com

http://www.instagram.com/a_life_to_wander/

Book reviews, Crime thriller

Gumshoe Blues by Paul D. Brazill – Book Review


PUBLISHERS BLURB 

The adventures of this PI feel like they rolled out of a Tom Waits song — crime with the feel of a shaggy dog story” — K A Laity.

“An original homebrew with a kick. Well worth sampling.” — Mark Ramsden.

Following the breakdown of his marriage, in a booze-addled flash of inspiration, Peter Ord decides to become a private investigator. Dark farce and tragicomedy soon ensue. Peter must tackle many challenging cases, and when he comes under the radar of a local crime lord, he may have bitten off more than he can chew. With sidekicks, like boozy hack, Bryn Laden, failure is not an option – it’s compulsory

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MY REVIEW 

This starts with Peter Ord, Private Investigator waking up after a heavy New Years Eve, has a wake up Stella, diazepam and codeine chaser and ready for the day ahead…..grim.

But, this is full of dark humour as Ord takes various cases, drinks constantly and has numerous capers along with an assortment of misfits and na’er do wells…..oh and there’s a dead kangaroo too!!!

Utter madness, with intense imagery, music references and so darkly funny. Thoroughly entertaining.

Thank you to Blackthorn Tours for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour and for a free ecopy of the book. This is my honest and unbiased review.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Paul D. Brazill is the author of A Case Of Noir, Guns Of Brixton & Roman Dalton- Werewolf PI. He was born in England and lives in Poland. 

He is an International Thriller Writers Inc member whose writing has been translated into Italian, Polish and Slovene. 

He has had writing published in various magazines and anthologies, including The Mammoth Books of Best British Crime 8,10 and 11, alongside the likes of Ian Rankin, Neil Gaiman and Lee Child. 

He edited the best- selling anthology True Brit Grit – with Luca Veste

Book reviews, Non fiction, War fiction

A Young Gunner’s Story by Mark Spencer – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

“A humorous memoir depicting the trials and tribulations of a gunner serving in the Royal Army during the Cold War, the voices of which are often hidden . . . this is a real and bold view of Artillery life during the seventies and eighties” 

– Joseph Cartwright, ex-army writer and journalist 

When Mark Spencer began training for a career in the Royal Artillery he had no idea how much a life in the British Army would cost him. Having served several years as a gunner, he has experienced love, laughter, friendship, and loss on the front-line.

This is his story.

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MY REVIEW 

This starts with young Mark setting off to join The Royal Artillery. 

It tells his tale through basic training, learning how to polish books, make beds, lots of PT and training too, at the hands of the loud Sergeant to NATO exercises.. 

There’s a lot of humour and shocks like peeing on an electric fence!!!!!!!ouch.

There are some photos too which really adds to the story.

This is just the beginning of his life as a young gunner in the Royal Artillery in the 80’s. It’s an interesting inside look at the life of a new recruit and a very engaging read.

Thank you to Caroline Vincent and CazVin Books for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook in exchange for my honest, unbiased review.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Mark Spencer served as a gunner in the Royal Artillery for the British Army, before settling down for a civilian life with his family somewhere in the UK.

Mark’s inspiration for A Young Gunner’s Story

I have been asked so many times by so many people, what it was like in the army having joined up at 16 as a junior leader, but more so when a TV programme was aired some years ago. People friends and family were interested in learning about my experiences. Recently that same unnamed programme was aired, and the lives of young recruits were once again put to the forefront of viewers minds. So I decided to put pen to paper and write about my time in the Royal Artillery. I also wanted to lay some myths to rest that are often depicted on TV and in film.

I wrote a close to fact book based on my first day of training until I qualified as a soldier, serving on the front line for a number of years, starting during the cold war. I wanted to give readers an insider’s view of army life; the camaraderie, the fear, the fun. Alongside the constant threat to life, the feeling you were sitting on a coiled spring, always prepared to jump into conflict.

I learned skills that will never leave me and met people I never saw again. Others I’ve remained in contact with, attending reunions and funerals. The regiment set me in good stead, the BOAR made me a man, the memories and skills were lifelong.

 

Amazon Author Page: author.to/MarkSpencer

 

Book info:

Pages: ​​144

Published: ​​Dec 1st (Dunraven Books)

ISBN (paperback):​9781693609008

ASIN (ebook):​​B07XYDPF3T

 

Buying links:

Paperback: ​​https://amzn.to/2qGA2sW

Ebook: ​​https://amzn.to/2sorOWV 

Book reviews, Psychlogical thriller

Woman On The Edge by Samantha M Bailey – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

A moment on the platform changes two lives for ever. But nothing is as it seems…

‘Take my baby.’

In a split second, Morgan’s life changes for ever. A stranger hands her a baby, then jumps in front of a train.

Morgan has never seen the woman before and she can’t understand what would cause a person to give away her child and take her own life.

When the police question Morgan, she discovers none of the witnesses can corroborate her version of events. And when they learn Morgan longs for a baby of her own, she becomes a suspect.

To prove her innocence, Morgan frantically tries to retrace the last days of the woman’s life. She begins to understand that Nicole Markham believed she and her baby were in danger. Now Morgan might be in danger, too.

Was Nicole a new mother struggling with paranoia?

Or is something much darker going on?

Pulse-pounding, heartrending, shocking, thrilling. This is one book you won’t be able to stop thinking about.

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MY REVIEW 

Morgan, still coming to terms with the death of her embezzling husband and the scandal he caused, is confronted by a bedraggled woman on a railway station. She thrusts a baby in her arms and tells her to look after her…….then the woman jumps in front of an oncoming train.

Why would she do this and how did she know Morgan’s name?

The story is told in chapters from both Morgan and Nicole’s perspectives, in the present day and the weeks leading up to the event at the station. Does she have postpartum depression or is the memory of events 19 years ago affecting Nicole more than she realises?

This really is an incredibly tense read, it really brings alive the panic and disorientation of Nicole and will leave you breathless. Emotional, fast paced and with some brilliantly twisty moments. 

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour,  for the promotional materials and a free ecopy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Samantha M. Bailey is a Toronto-based novelist, freelance editor, and journalist who has written extensively for Now Magazine, Oxford University Press, and many other publications. She is the co-founder of “BookBuzz,” a promotional and interactive author event held in New York City and Toronto. She holds a Master of Education in Applied Linguistics and credits that degree with her writing career because she wrote her first (unpublished) novel after taking a course on imagination. Now her imagination leads her to create dark and twisty stories, and her debut psychological thriller, WOMAN ON THE EDGE, will be published by Simon and Schuster Canada and Headline UK, and translated into seven languages. She loves reading as much as writing, so when not tapping away on her computer, she’s probably curled up with a really good book.

Book reviews, Psychlogical thriller

I Know You by Erik Therme – Book Review


PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Sisters Bree and Alissa Walker share a special bond. Neglected by their parents, they have always looked out for one another. But one day, sixteen-year-old Alissa goes missing. When Bree discovers her green backpack with all her belongings, abandoned on the steps of their run-down trailer, she knows that something bad has happened …

Then she receives a chilling text message. Someone has Alissa. But Bree will have to give up something very precious in exchange.

Desperate to save Alissa, Bree looks at everyone close to their family. She’s sure that Alissa’s best friend is keeping something back about her little sister and a boy at school, and why has their estranged uncle, who they’ve not seen in years, been hanging around again?

It soon becomes clear that the person behind the message knows a lot about the dark truths within the Walker family and will go to any lengths to get revenge. And as the search for Alissa continues, Bree discovers something about her brother Tyler that she wishes she hadn’t, a dangerous secret, which is also the key to bringing her little sister back home.

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MY REVIEW 

Bree is the strong one in the Walker family….

The Walker family live on a trailer park, Cassie, the mother works two jobs to keep them. Jack, the father is a violent, unpredictable drunk who can’t keep a job for long. Bree is the eldest daughter and she and her brother Tyler look out for younger sister Alissa.

As usual, Cassie has kicked out Jack, Bree works at a grocery store to help bring money home, Tyler has moved out and Alissa is a hormonal teenager…..but then Alissa doesn’t come home….and Bree receives anonymous text messages…If you tell anyone she dies!!!

Bree is frantic and the abductor says she must find Tyler to swap for Alissa….

What follows is a tense and frantic search for Tyler and Alissa…..why has Alissa been taken? What has Tyler done to cause this? Just who will come out of this alive?……

This is a relatively short novel, but it packs a punch…..it’s non stop panic and you can feel the tension seeping off the pages….

Ultimately, this is about family and the lengths we would go to protect them….just how far would you go? …..if you like a fast, gripping thriller, this is for you. I really enjoyed it and read it in one sitting.

Thank you to the Author, Erik Therme for the opportunity to read a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review.

You can buy a copy here (only £1.99 for kindle at the moment too) : https://amzn.to/2XZ5gHQ

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Erik Therme has thrashed in garage bands, inadvertently harbored runaways, and met Darth Vader. When he’s not at his computer, he can be found cheering on his youngest daughter’s volleyball team, or watching horror movies with his oldest. He currently resides in Iowa City, Iowa—one of only twenty-eight places in the world that UNESCO has certified as a City of Literature. Join Erik’s mailing list to be notified of new releases and author giveaways: http://eepurl.com/cD1F8L (Courtesy of Goodreads)