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.

63882A27-9DB0-4C23-871C-A19DF4E1DE81

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) 

Book reviews, Crime thriller, Psychlogical thriller

What She Saw Last Night by MJ Cross – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

A killer premise combined with page-turning, pulse-pounding suspense – this brilliant psychological thriller is a real must read! – Stephanie Marland 

A taut, emotional thriller that rolls along at speed before derailing you several times – this is gut-punchingly good. – SJI Holliday 

Jenny Bowen is going home. Boarding the Caledonian Sleeper, all she wants to do is forget about her upcoming divorce and relax on the ten-hour journey through the night.

In her search for her cabin, Jenny helps a panicked woman with a young girl she assumes to be her daughter. Then she finds her compartment and falls straight to sleep. 

Waking in the night, Jenny discovers the woman dead in her cabin … but there’s no sign of the little girl. The train company have no record of a child being booked on the train, and CCTV shows the dead woman boarding alone.

The police don’t believe Jenny, and soon she tries to put the incident out of her head and tells herself that everyone else is right: she must have imagined the little girl.

But deep down, she knows that isn’t the truth.

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MY REVIEW 

Jenny is travelling to her childhood home in Scotland, her marriage has broken up after husband, Eric, was cheating on her, and her father has died after a stroke. So she’s taken the sleeper train to have some quiet time before she has to deal with her life.

She sees a woman struggling with a suitcase and glimpses a little girl, but the next morning the woman is found dead and no sign of the little girl.

The British Transport Police arrive and the DI believes it to be an easy case of a junkie OD and feels Jenny was seeing things as no girl found on the train and not on the passenger manifest.

But, DS Mike Fletcher is uneasy and feels something is off. Jenny gets a little obsessed and does her own investigation and finds some surprising information, that puts her, her soon to be ex husband Eric and Mike in danger…..

Was there a little girl on the train? If there was, where is she?

I really enjoyed this fast paced thriller, I felt Jenny’s frustration at being dismissed as a grieving woman who imagined a child!!! (Reminded me a little of the old film, Bunny Lake is Missing)….And the tension builds making this a real nail biter of a thriller. Brilliant.

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.

 

You can buy a copy here:

 

https://amzn.to/34uag9R

 

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

MJ Cross was born in Glasgow in 1979. He studied English at the University of Stirling and currently works in the voluntary sector. He has written a number of short stories, including ‘A Living’, which was shortlisted for the Quick Reads ‘Get Britain Reading’ Award. He lives in Glasgow with his wife and three children.

Book reviews, Police procedural, Psychlogical thriller

The Sound Of Her Voice by Nathan Blackwell – Book Review

081928C7-8229-4105-BE3C-CCA7DE9F93BE
PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Some murder cases you can’t forget. 

No matter how hard you try.

The body of a woman has been found on a pristine New Zealand beach – over a decade after she was murdered.

Detective Matt Buchanan of the Auckland Police is certain it carries all the hallmarks of an unsolved crime he investigated 12 years ago: when Samantha Coates walked out one day and never came home.

Re-opening the case, Buchanan begins to piece the terrible crimes together, setting into motion a chain of events that will force him to the darkest corners of society – and back into his deepest obsession…
9BDB6E35-5B57-4C7C-AB2D-442D67C8D11F

MY REVIEW 

In 1995, rookie cop, Matt Buchanan sees his colleague, Gabby, die after being shot.

Jumping to 2011, Matt is now an experienced detective investigating a murder after a young woman’s remains are found. It brings back memories of a case he worked on many years before of a missing young woman, Sam, but it’s not her,

This is the story of Matt’s experiences, the horrific crimes he’s investigated, rape, child abuse, murder and many more violent crimes against women. The courts seem to be ineffectual at putting those responsible behind bars and he wonders if it’s all worth the effort, he feels useless and depressed. He puts on a positive front for his daughter’s sake, but he’s a mess.

As this continues, Matt starts to believe some of these cases could be linked and something truly evil is going on. 

Can Matt finally solve these crimes? Will he be able to recover?

This is a unique read. A story of the effects of seeing traumatic, violent events on those who deal with them day in and day out. It’s dark, brutal and haunting, one that is going to stay with me for a long time. 

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.

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

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Nathan Blackwell was raised on Auckland’s North Shore and attended Westlake Boys’ High School before commencing a ten-year career in the New Zealand Police. Seven of those years were spent as a Detective in the Criminal Investigation Branch, where he was exposed to human nature at its strongest and bravest, but also at its most depraved and horrific. He investigated a wide range of cases including drug manufacture, child abuse, corruption, serious violence, rape and murder. Because some of his work was conducted covertly, Nathan chooses to hide his true identity 

Book reviews, Psychlogical thriller, Thriller

The Pact by Amy Heydenrych – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

When your dream job turns into a nightmare, who can you turn to? A gripping and chilling suspense novel about the deadly intentions of office life, for fans of The Rumour and Michelle Frances’ The Temp.

What if a prank leads to murder?

When Freya arrives at her dream job with the city’s hottest start-up, she can’t wait to begin a new and exciting life, including dating her new colleague Jay. However, Nicole, Jay’s ex and fellow employee, seems intent on making her life a misery.

After a big deadline, where Nicole continually picks on her, Freya snaps and tells Jay about the bullying and together they concoct a revenge prank. The next morning, Nicole is found dead in her apartment . . .

Is this just a prank gone wrong? Or does Freya know someone who is capable of murder – and could she be next?
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MY REVIEW 

Freya starts a new job in a fast paced tech company as a data scientist, a coder. She quickly excels at her job, finds romance with a colleague, Jay, but then Nicole, another colleague starts picking fault with her work, her appearance and everything in between. 

She reports the bullying to her boss, But nothing seems to be done. After a drunken evening Jay suggests a prank on Nicole, but when Nicole’s body is found in her flat, they wonder if things went too far. Now Freya is receiving upsetting text messages, someone is watching her……is it Nicole’s killler?

Told in chapters set in the past and present, and from Freya’s and the journalist’s, Isla’s perspectives, showing how events built and how Freya’s health suffered due to the constant stress at work and the investigation into Nicole’s death. A tale of bullying and sexual harassment in the workplace. Tense, twisty and with some real surprises in this gripping psychological thriller.

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.

 

You can buy a copy here

 

https://amzn.to/2OnZNXL

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Amy Heydenrych is a writer and book blogger based in South Africa. She has been shortlisted twice for the acclaimed Miles Morland African Writing Scholarship. Her short stories and poems have been published in multiple anthologies including Brittle Paper, The Kalahari Review and the Short Sharp Stories anthologies. When she is not writing her own fiction, she ghost-writes books and columns for global tech and financial companies.

  

Book reviews, Thriller

Law And Addiction by Mike Papantonio – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

MIKE PAPANTONIO PULLS BACK THE CURTAIN ON AMERICA’S DEADLY OPIOID EPIDEMIC IN THIS SPELLBINDING THRILLER ABOUT GREED, CORRUPTION AND THE POWER OF PERSONAL CONVICTION. 

One week before his law school graduation, Jake Rutledge is shattered. His fraternal twin, Blake, has died of a drug overdose. When Jake returns to his hometown of Oakley, West Virginia, he discovers that his brother was not the only person hooked on opioid painkillers. The entire region has been ravaged by an epidemic insidiously planned and carried out by one of America’s most powerful pharmaceutical companies. 

Still wet behind the ears, Jake is determined to seek justice for all the victims of Big Pharma’s greed. He soon learns that the drug companies’ tentacles reach far and deep. His only hope is to get Nicholas “Deke” Deketomis to help. A partner at one of the country’s most powerful law firms, Deke’s “as tough as a two-dollar steak” and well-known for his winning tactics against corporate wrongdoers. With just enough persistence, Jake coaxes Deke to see Oakley’s devastation firsthand. Overwhelmed, Deke agrees to join forces with Jake. 

And that’s when the real heat begins. Death threats, bribes, unlawful property seizure schemes – all are connected to the massive distribution of both legal and illegal drugs. Everyone is impacted, from the highest levels of corporate America to corrupt local officials to their lackeys and hapless victims. The complexity of the schemes is overwhelming. 

Working tirelessly, the lawyers begin to uncover the truth. Along the way, Jake falls in love with Anna Fowler, a former homecoming queen who has succumbed to the power of opioids. With his support, she weans herself off the drugs. Hope begins to bloom — when suddenly, Jake disappears. As Deke undertakes a desperate search to find him, questions swirl. Has Jake abandoned Anna and his crusade? Can the case against the evildoers move forward without him? Will Oakley and its residents survive? Law and Addiction is real-life drama at its finest — a book that clears away the darkness page by page, spotlighting a profound truth about our society through expert storytelling. 

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MY REVIEW

I have to say the publishers blurb really says it all so that makes it a bit difficult to review.

However, here goes……Jake is a lawyer who’s brother was addicted to opioid medication and dies as a result. Jake decides to sue two pharma companies who market the drugs to highlight the extent of the problem ravaging the country.

Obviously they are not happy with this and do everything they can to ‘persuade’ him to drop the case.

This is a truly chilling legal thriller due to its subject matter, the opioid crisis is not going away…..so who should be brought to account?. This is a tale of greed, corruption and heartbreak. Gripping and scary in its reality.

Thank you to Michelle at FSB Associates for the opportunity to read this for free. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mike Papantonio is a truth-teller, a crusader who uses fiction to entertain and inform his readers about some of the most pressing issues of our time. In each of his thrillers, from Law And Disorder to Law And Vengeance, and now Law And Addiction, he lays bare the conspiracies and white-collar crimes that hurt ordinary Americans — and that are rarely covered by the national media. 

A senior partner of Levin Papantonio, one of the country’s largest plaintiffs’ law firms, Papantonio uses his own cases as springboards for his novels. He has aggressively taken on Big Pharma, tobacco, weapon manufacturer, and the automobile industry, among other bastions of corporate greed. 

One of the youngest inductees into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame, Papantonio is also a well- known media presence as host of America’s Lawyer on the RT America television network and co-host of the syndicated radio show Ring of Fire. A skilled musician and athlete, he is based in Pensacola,