Book reviews, Noir, Science fiction

Vulcan’s Forge by Robert Mitchell Evans – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB
 

Jason Kessler doesn’t fit in the society of Nocturnia, the sole colony that survived the Earth’s destruction. Between the colony’s dedication to a distorted vision of mid-twentieth century Americana, its sexually repressive culture, and the expectation that his most important duty is marriage and children Jason rebels, throwing himself into an illicit and dangerous affair with Pamela Guest, but Pamela harbors a secret. 

Soon the lovers are engaged in a lethal game of cat and mouse with the colony’s underworld head and the secrets Jason unlocks upend everything he knew, exposing dangers far beyond Nocturnia and its obsessions.

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MY REVIEW

This is Sci-Fi Noir, it’s the tale of Jason Kessler who is bored, bored of the committee approved life, from what movies to watch to the expectation that you will marry and have children and not endanger colonial morals!

Nocturnia is mankind’s new home, but Jason wants a life, so when he sees a beautiful woman he decides to risk an illicit affair.

But was it a coincidence she came into his life? Or does Pamela have a secret?

“You have never known a normal life “

Wow…..the world building in Vulcan’s Forge is just so well done, the feeling of almost claustrophobic tension is felt throughout. There’s also the frustration of being under strict control but what is the cost of rebelling?

Jason is about to find out.

This has a mix of crime, lies, betrayals and death all in a twisty and compelling plot. Engaging and entertaining from the first to last pages. 

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 preorder a copy here: https://amzn.to/3984dJp

Available from 26 March 2020

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Robert Mitchell Evans was born in North Carolina but split his early life between that state and sunny Florida before a brief and ultimately unsuccessful tour in the United States Navy.

A life-long enthusiastic fan of film and genre fiction Robert’s interests include all form of science, history, and politics. He has played role-playing games since the early 80s and enjoys a wide array of board and card games as well. He haunts local conventions and his favorite Shakespearean play is Macbeth. Like so many ex-sailors he lives in San Diego with his sweetie-wife and an ever-growing film library

 

FLAME TREE PRESS is the new fiction imprint of Flame Tree Publishing. Launched recently in 2018 the list brings together brilliant new authors and the more established; the award winners, and exciting, original voices.

 

Book reviews, Family drama, Thriller

Second Sister by Chan Ho-Kei – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Upon discovering her fifteen-year-old sister’s body sprawled in a pool of blood at the bottom of their apartment block, Nga-Yee vows to serve justice to the internet troll she blames for her sister’s suicide.

Hiring an anti-establishment, maverick tech-savvy detective, Nga-Yee discovers the dark side of social media, the smokescreen of online privacy and the inner workings of the hacker’s mind.

Determined to find out the truth about why her sister Siu-Man killed herself, Nga-Yee cannot rest until she finds out whose inflammatory social media post went viral and pushed her sister to her death. Along the way, Nga-Yee makes unsavoury discoveries about her sister’s life and the dark underbelly of the digital world.

Perfect for fans of hacker thrillers such as Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series, Second Sister is part detective novel, part revenge thriller. It explores timely themes of sexual harassment, online trolling, victim blaming, fake news and data privacy scandals, vividly capturing the zeitgeist of Hong Kong and the world today.

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MY REVIEW 

Nga-Yee’s younger sister, Siu-Man jumped from an apartment window, she could no longer cope with life after attack by internet trolls.

She had been assaulted on a train and the accused man was caught, convicted and imprisoned. Then his nephew posts online that it was all a lie, Siu-Man had made false allegations after a row with him earlier that day.

She was constantly bullied online.

Nga-Yee wants revenge, she wants someone to suffer like her sister. So she makes contact with N, a hacker and a plan is formed. But how far do you go before you become the person you despised ?

“This was merely fighting evil with evil, turning them all into feral animals”

This is a stunning tale of sexual harassment and exploitation, of heartbreak and revenge.  It’s timely and very apt in these days of social media and how some people feel the need to constantly belittle and bully others in anonymity. But at what cost to those affected?..Tragedy is never far away.

Beautifully written with a clever plot, insights into the world of technology and hacking, but also a tale of loss and grief and how it affects us all. A fantastic and compelling read. 

Thank you to Bei Guo at Midas Public Relations for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour and for a free copy of Second Sister. This is my honest and unbiased review. 

 

 

About the Author

 

Chan was born and raised in Hong Kong. He has worked as a software engineer, game designer, manga editor, and lecturer. Chan wrote made his debut as a writer in 2008 at the age of thirty-three, with the short story The Case of Jack and the Beanstalk which was shortlisted for the Mystery Writers of Taiwan Award. Chan re-entered the following year and won the award for his short story The Locked Room of Bluebeard.

Chan reached the first milestone of his writing career in 2011 with his novel, The Man who Sold the World which won the biggest mystery award in the Chinese speaking world, the Soji Shimada Award. The book has been published in Taiwan, Japan, Italy, Thailand and Korea.

In 2014, Chan’s crime thriller The Borrowed was published in Taiwan. It has sold rights in thirteen countries, and the book will be adapted into a film by acclaimed Chinese art film director Wong Kar-Wai.

Second Sister has acquired a six-figure film deal with Linmon Pictures in China. The book will be published in the US in 2020 and rights have been sold to China, Korea and Japan.

 

About the Translator

 

Jeremy Tiang’s writing has appeared in The Guardian, Esquire and Quarterly Literary Review Singapore. He has written four plays and translated more than ten books from the Chinese. Tiang lives in New York. 

Book reviews, Historical fiction, Murder mystery

A Prison In The Sun by Isobel Blackthorn – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

A Prison in the Sun

After millennial ghostwriter Trevor Moore rents an old farmhouse in Fuerteventura, he moves in to find his muse.

Instead, he discovers a rucksack filled with cash. Who does it belong to – and should he hand it in… or keep it?

Struggling to make up his mind, Trevor unravels the harrowing true story of a little-known concentration camp that incarcerated gay men in the 1950s and 60s.
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MY REVIEW 

 

#3 in the Canary Islands mysteries series, but can also be read as a stand-alone.

This is a slow paced, beautifully written mystery, one to take your time over. It tells of historic and modern day events all cleverly woven together to give a real sense of time and place.

The mystery aspects are well plotted with plenty of twists to keep you guessing.

A tale of a man coming to terms with his sexuality, to find his place in the world while dealing with the horrors of a ‘concentration’ camp for gay men in the past, solving the mystery of a dead body on the beach and a rucksack packed with cash. Storytelling at its best.

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

 

Purchase Link: http://mybook.to/prisonsun

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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Isobel Blackthorn is an award-winning author of unique and engaging fiction. She writes dark psychological thrillers, mysteries, and contemporary and literary fiction. Isobel was shortlisted for the Ada Cambridge Prose Prize 2019 for her biographical short story, ‘Nothing to Declare’. The Legacy of Old Gran Parks is the winner of the Raven Awards 2019. Isobel holds a PhD from the University of Western Sydney, for her research on the works of Theosophist Alice A. Bailey, the ‘Mother of the New Age.’ She is the author of The Unlikely Occultist: a biographical novel of Alice A. Bailey.

 

Social Media Links – 

https://isobelblackthorn.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Lovesick.Isobel.Blackthorn/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5768657.Isobel_Blackthorn

https://twitter.com/IBlackthorn

https://www.instagram.com/isobelblackthorn/

 

Book reviews, Crime thriller, Police procedural, Thriller

Containment by Vanda Symon – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Chaos reigns in the sleepy village of Aramoana on the New Zealand coast, when a series of shipping containers wash up on the beach and looting begins.

Detective Constable Sam Shephard experiences the desperation of the scavengers first-hand, and ends up in an ambulance, nursing her wounds and puzzling over an assault that left her assailant for dead.

What appears to be a clear-cut case of a cargo ship running aground soon takes a more sinister turn when a skull is found in the sand, and the body of a diver is pulled from the sea … a diver who didn’t die of drowning…

As first officer at the scene, Sam is handed the case, much to the displeasure of her superiors, and she must put together an increasingly confusing series of clues to get to the bottom of a mystery that may still have more victims…

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MY REVIEW 

#3 in the Sam Shephard series, but can also be read as a stand-alone.

Set in the Small town of Dunedin, New Zealand, (which the author describes so well I feel I know it)…A cargo ship has run aground and shipping containers are strewn across the beach, so obviously people see this as an opportunity to loot. The police arrive amid the mayhem and DC Sam Shephard arrives only to be assaulted by one of the looters. 

A skull is found on the beach and an investigation begins, for there only then to be found a divers body in a nasty state. Sam is heavily concussed, but with just a few days rest she’s back and searching for the truth….

I loved Sam, with her messy personal life, her family and her dogged determination at work. She’s strong, feisty, full of a dark humour and stubborn to say the least.

The amazing plot will keep you guessing, with plenty of twists and red herrings that all come together in a perfect and satisfying end. A marvel of creative writing by Vanda Symon and I was hooked from start to finish in this refreshingly original and totally compelling crime thriller. Brilliant.

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/39ZQfe1

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Vanda Symon is a crime writer, TV presenter and radio host from Dunedin, New Zealand, and the chair of the Otago Southland branch of the New Zealand Society of Authors. The Sam Shephard series has climbed to number one on the New Zealand bestseller list, and also been shortlisted for the Ngaio Marsh Award for best crime novel. She currently lives in Dunedin, with her husband and two sons.

 

Praise for Vanda Symon

Vanda Symon’s fast-paced crime novels are as good as anything the US has to offer – a sassy heroine, fabulous sense of place, and rip- roaring stories with a twist. Perfect curl-up-on-the-sofa reading’

 

 Kate Mosse 

 

‘Symon’s talent for creating well-rounded characters permeates throughout’ Crimewatch • ‘A plot that grabs the reader’s attention with a heart-stopping opening and doesn’t let go’ 

 

Sunday Times Crime Club 

 

‘Powerful, cooly assured, and an absolute belter of a read’ 

 

Liz Robinson, LoveReading 

 

‘It is Symon’s copper Sam, self- deprecating and very human, who represents the writer’s real achievement’ 

 

Barry Forshaw, The Guardian • 

 

‘This one’s a cracker’

 

 Liam McIlvanney 

 

‘Reads like the polished effort of a genre veteran. More, please’ 

 

David Pitt, Booklist

 

Book reviews, Crime thriller, Police procedural

Dead Wrong by Noelle Holten – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

The serial killer is behind bars. But the murders are just beginning…

DC Maggie Jamieson’s past comes back to haunt her in this dark and gripping serial killer thriller.

Three missing women running out of time…

They were abducted years ago. Notorious serial killer Bill Raven admitted to killing them and was sentenced to life.

The case was closed – at least DC Maggie Jamieson thought it was…

But now one of them has been found, dismembered and dumped in a bin bag in town.

Forensics reveal that she died just two days ago, when Raven was behind bars, so Maggie has a second killer to find.

Because even if the other missing women are still alive, one thing’s for certain: they don’t have long left to live…
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MY REVIEW

#2 in the Maggie Jamieson thriller series but can also be read as a stand-alone.

DC Maggie Jamieson, is single, has her brother living with her after she bailed him out due to his gambling debts and her work colleague and friend, Nathan who was her partner is now her boss…..

A case she worked on previously is now under review as the convicted serial killer, Bill Raven has raised an appeal……when the dismembered body of one of his victims is found, only recently murdered, Maggie’s investigation is under question.

She knows Raven has something to do with this but how can she prove it? When another body turns up more questions than answers are raised.

This is an intense, gripping police procedural with a fantastically well developed character in Maggie. She’s tough, determined and really dogged in her search for the truth. It’s dark, compelling and a real nail biter of a thriller. I can thoroughly recommend it.

Thank you to Sarah at Book On The Bright Side 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/3d5CoF1

 

Author Bio:

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Noelle Holten is an award-winning blogger at http://www.crimebookjunkie.co.uk. She is the PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture, a leading digital publisher in the UK, and was a regular reviewer on the Two Crime Writers and a Microphone podcast. Noelle worked as a Senior Probation Officer for eighteen years, covering a variety of cases including those involving serious domestic abuse. She has three Hons BA’s – Philosophy, Sociology (Crime & Deviance) and Community Justice – and a Masters in Criminology. Noelle’s hobbies include reading, attending as many book festivals as she can afford and sharing the booklove via her blog. 

Dead Inside is her debut novel with One More Chapter/Harper Collins UK and the start of a new series featuring DC Maggie Jamieson. 

 

Connect with Noelle on Social Media here:

Twitter: (@nholten40) https://twitter.com/nholten40

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

Blog FB page: https://www.facebook.com/crimebookjunkie/

Instagram: @crimebookjunkie 

Website: https://www.crimebookjunkie.co.uk

Bookbub Author page : https://bit.ly/2LkT4LB

 

Book reviews, Romance, Womens fiction

Spring Tides at Swallowtail Bay by Katie Ginger – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

In Swallowtail bay the birds are singing, the sun is shining and the locals are welcoming – but Stella’s new beginning might be over before it’s begun…

Licking her wounds from her divorce, Stella impulsively buys a gift shop and two holiday lets in glorious Swallowtail Bay, hoping for a fresh start with her King Charles Spaniel Frank.

When the neighbours meet her with a warm welcome, Stella knows she’s found the new home she was looking for. Even gorgeous but grumpy local Miles can’t take the shine off things. But then her ex-husband announces he’s getting married again, and someone in the village starts gossiping about Stella…

Is Stella’s dream over already? Or, with her new friends behind her, can Stella fight back and save her new life – and find the happy ever after she’s been waiting for?

Fans of Cathy Bramley, Debbie Johnson and Jenny Colgan will fall in love with Swallowtail Bay!

 

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MY REVIEW 

This is the story of Stella. She has used her divorce settlement to buy a gift shop and holiday lets in the idyllic Swallowtail Bay.

She makes a new friend in Lexi, and meets a grouchy, miserable neighbour, Miles. He is put out by Stella buying the gift shop before he could.

With wary locals, an ex husband about to remarry, Stella has a tough start, but with her friends behind her will she succeed and find some happiness?

I found this to be an absolutely charming read. A tale of love and friendship, something much needed these days. Pure escapism and a warm cuddle of a read.

Thank you to Sian at HQ Stories for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour and for a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

Readers LOVE Katie Ginger!

‘This book is every sort of wonderful, with gorgeous characters, a stunning town and a friendship that turns in to a romance you’re not going to want to miss out on’ 5 stars

‘Does jumping up and down, cuddling my Kindle and grinning from ear to ear count as a review?!…Katie writes with such warmth and humour and I could feel every word’ 5 stars

‘Loved it!’ 5 stars

‘A fantastic chick-lit page turner’ 5 stars

‘Sweet, heart-warming, and very enjoyable. This book is like a warm chocolate chip cookie, you feel better for eating it, get a bite of exciting chocolate now and again all while just enjoying the experience. Love the book!’ 5 stars

‘The perfect book to enjoy in a few days of quiet downtime’ 5 stars

‘Absolutely loved this book. Couldn’t put it down. Wonderful uplifting storyline. Can’t wait to see what’s next from this author!’ 5 stars

 

Book reviews, Horror, Science fiction, Short story

Crazy-Ass Stories for Crazy-Ass People by Andy Rausch – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB
 

This quirky collection of short stories (and one novella) by Andy Rausch contains something for readers of every stripe. Rausch touches on a variety of genres, including horror, comedy, crime, and even Western, but every story features his unique, offbeat wit, superb writing, and razor-sharp dialogue, all delivered from a decidedly off-kilter perspective. 

His work has been praised by the likes of Cape Fear screenwriter Wesley Strick and Fort Apache the Bronx author Heywood Gould. Author Peter Leonard once compared his writing style to that of his father, Elmore Leonard. Storylines include a naive little boy mistaking a burglar for Santa Claus, bumbling white supremacists attempting to resurrect the dead body of Adolf Hitler, a man who develops an unexplainable craving for the taste of human flesh, a would-be author summoning the spirit of dead novelist Charles Bukowski to assist him writing, a showdown between legendary lawman Wyatt Earp and a deadly serial killer on the dusty streets of Tombstone, and many more. 

So ask yourself: are you a little bit crazy, and if so, are you up to the task of reading these twenty-two wild and crazy tales of darkness, wackiness, and outright debauchery?

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MY REVIEW 

This is a diverse collection of short stories, dark and certainly quirky.

Each of these tales are unique, set in different locations such as cities, in space and even the sea.

There is comedy, crime and horror with a dark wit and a certain warped skew to each story. Decidedly Crazy-Ass and such great fun.

Thank you to Blackthorn Tours for the opportunity to read Crazy-Ass Stories for free. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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Andy Rausch is an American film journalist, author, screenwriter, film producer, and actor.

He is the author of several novels and novellas including Elvis Presley, CIA Assassin. He also wrote the screenplay for Dahmer versus Gacy and is the author of some twenty non-fiction books on popular culture.

 Books: Riding Shotgun, Bloody Sheets, A Time for Violence, Layla’s Score

 You can usually find Andy on Twitter @writerrausch1, and he maintains a blog at https://authorandyrausch.wordpress.com/ 

Book reviews, Crime thriller, Police procedural

Endless Silent Scream by Tony J. Forder – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

From the author of the bestselling DI Bliss crime series comes another gripping police procedural thriller that will have readers hooked from the stunning first page to the very last.

He saved her once. Can he do it again?

When DI Bliss prevents fifteen-year-old Molly from jumping from a hotel roof, hehas no idea their paths will cross again. A county lines mule, Molly is questioned by the drugs squad, but Bliss becomes convinced she is in danger and attempts to have her relocated. A local drug dealer and a London-based enforcer have other ideas.

Meanwhile, the remains of a freelance journalist are discovered alongside an archaeological find, which brings an old flame back into Bliss’s life. It’s only a matter of time before reports emerge linking the murdered journalist with the police, putting pressure on the Major Crimes team to find the killer.

Bliss is torn between the two investigations. Desperate to move Molly to safety before she can be reached by those who want her silenced, he is blinded to other dangers.

The stunning DI Bliss series of fast-paced police thrillers will appeal to fans of authors like Michael Connelly, Joy Ellis, Peter James, Robert Bryndza and Angela Marsons. Tony J Forder is also the bestselling author of Degrees of Darkness, Scream Blue Murder and Cold Winter Sun.

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MY REVIEW

#6 in the DI Bliss series and yes, it can be read as a stand-alone, but you are missing out on a great series.

Endless Silent Scream starts with Bliss stopping a potential suicide. He manages to stop Molly jumping off a bridge. He feels an affinity with the young woman and really wants to help her (showing his softer side), but is there more going on in her life that’s putting her in danger? Can Bliss save her from more harm?

This is so fast paced you’ll need to take a breather now and then! Mixed with the camaraderie of Bliss and his team, their banter and humour adds lighter moments to this tense tale.

A complex plot, superb writing and great characters will have you hooked from the first page. Brilliant.

Thank you to Sarah at Book On The Bright Side 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. 

 

Author Bio:

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Tony J Forder is the author of the bestselling crime thriller series featuring detectives Jimmy Bliss and Penny Chandler. The first four books, Bad to the Bone, The Scent of Guilt, If Fear Wins, and The Reach of Shadows, were joined by The Death of Justice, on 9 September 2019. Book number six, Endless Silent Scream, will be published on 9 March 2020.

Tony’s dark, psychological crime thriller, Degrees of Darkness, featuring ex-detective Frank Rogers, was also published by Bloodhound Books. This is a stand-alone serial-killer novel. Scream Blue Murder, an action-adventure thriller, was published in November 2017, and received praise from many, including fellow authors Mason Cross, Matt Hilton and Anita Waller. The sequel, Cold Winter Sun, was published in November 2018.

Tony lives with his wife in Peterborough, UK, and is now a full-time author. He is currently editing a new novel, and has also started on Bliss #7, Slow Slicing.

 

Links

 

Website: https://www.tonyjforder.com/

 

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

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TonyJForder @TonyJForder

 

Amazon Author: https://www.amazon.co.uk/l/B01N4BPT65

 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16166122.Tony_J_Forder

 

Fantastic Fiction: https://www.fantasticfiction.com/f/tony-j-forder/

 

Tony can also be found on Instagram.

 

Book reviews, Contemporary fiction, Science fiction

Happy Family by James Ellis – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Set in the near future, Happy Family is a darkly humorous tale about the filters and frames we use to shield ourselves from reality, and what might happen should we discard them.

Germaine Kiecke was a foundling, an orphan, brought up by the infamous ‘Motherhood’ in a Belgian orphanage. Now she is a successful art academic who defines herself by her profession and prefers to experience the world through art and an augmented reality game called Happy Family.

But when the artist Tom Hannah, the creative force behind Happy Family, moves to Spain, surrounds himself with high walls, three large guard dogs called Harpo, Chico and Groucho, and a runaway who teaches him to think like a tree, his existential melt-down threatens all Germaine holds dear.

She is forced to re-engage with life and travels to Spain to try to make things right. Along the way she meets people who are also, for one reason or another, dependent on Tom’s fictional world to augment their own ‘real’ lives.

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MY REVIEW 

Well where do I start?

Tom is in crisis, he wonders what is the point of life if you then just die.? Why bother?

He drinks to near oblivion most nights and tries to kill himself. He is saved by Alta and her dog, Badger. She decides to move in with Tom to keep an eye on him.

Tom is the creator of Happy Family, an augmented reality game, think The Sims on steroids!!! Nearly everyone is playing, to augment their own lives…..

This is a tale of loneliness and vulnerability but also hope-ish. It’s also a crazy rush of technology, alternate realities and dark humour. Unique, thoughtful and with a large dose of bonkers. 

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.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

James has written two novels, The Wrong Story and Happy Family. He has published a number of short stories, a travelogue of his journey through Central America and a monthly column for The Gudgeon magazine. He designs and delivers tutor-led workshops for fiction writers and is a regular speaker at writers’ events. 

Book reviews, Novella, Science fiction, Short story

Helene by Karl Drinkwater – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Dr Helene Vermalle is shaping the conscience of a goddess-level AI.

As a leading civilian expert in Emergent AI Socialisation, she has been invited to assist in a secret military project.

Her role? Helping ViraUHX, the most advanced AI in the universe, to pass through four theoretical development stages. But it’s not easy training a mind that surpasses her in raw intellect. And the developing AI is capable of killing her with a single tantrum.

On top of this, she must prove her loyalty to the oppressive government hovering over her shoulder. 

They want a weapon. She wants to instil an overriding sense of morality.

Can she teach the AI right and wrong without being categorised as disloyal?

Lost Tales of Solace are short side-stories set in the Lost Solace universe.

 

Purchase Link – https://books2read.com/b/Helene

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MY REVIEW 

Helene is an AI Socialisation Specialist, she’s working to help understand the AI VIRAUHX or Via to be successful and complete, to help shape a personality, to give a sense of right and wrong. As they talk Via considers Helene a friend….they start to banter a little and Via’s lame attempts at jokes are funny…..like a toddler just learning.

Helene breaks protocol and lets Via fly (it is a ship after all) and this is noticed by the senior powers that be…….and not in a good way.

Helene is betrayed, Via is silenced and now has limited responses….but then Opal arrives!

I love this novella, it gives a little insight into how Clarissa was ‘born’ and how Opal comes into the story. This will then lead to the events in Lost Solace….and I shudder at the thought of that (in a good way I might add). A quick but but intriguing read….I’m looking forward to the next in the Lost Solace series. 

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

 

Author Bio 

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Karl Drinkwater is originally from Manchester but lived in Wales for twenty years, and now calls Scotland his home. He’s a full-time author, edits fiction for other writers, and was a professional librarian for over twenty-five years. He has degrees in English, Classics, and Information Science.

He writes in multiple genres: his aim is always just to tell a good story. Among his books you’ll find elements of literary and contemporary fiction, gritty urban, horror, suspense, paranormal, thriller, sci-fi, romance, social commentary, and more. The end result is interesting and authentic characters, clever and compelling plots, and believable worlds.

 

When he isn’t writing he loves exercise, guitars, computer and board games, the natural environment, animals, social justice, cake, and zombies. Not necessarily in that order.

 

Social Media Links –

 

https://www.facebook.com/karlzdrinkwater/

https://twitter.com/karldrinkwater

https://www.instagram.com/authorkdrinkwater/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5766025.Karl_Drinkwater

 

Book reviews, Psychlogical thriller, Thriller

Dear Child by Romy Hausmann – Book Review


PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Gone Girl meets Room in this page-turning thriller from one of Germany’s hottest new talents

A windowless shack in the woods. Lena’s life and that of her two children follows the rules set by their captor, the father: Meals, bathroom visits, study time are strictly scheduled and meticulously observed. He protects his family from the dangers lurking in the outside world and makes sure that his children will always have a mother to look after them.

One day Lena manages to flee – but the nightmare continues. It seems as if her tormentor wants to get back what belongs to him. And then there is the question whether she really is the woman called ‘Lena’, who disappeared without a trace 14 years ago. The police and Lena’s family are all desperately trying to piece together a puzzle which doesn’t quite seem to fit.

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MY REVIEW

14 years ago Lena Beck went missing, her father, Matthias has never given up hope.

When a young woman is taken to hospital after a hit and run accident, Matthias is told this may be his daughter, as the little girl with her, Hannah, says the woman’s name is Lena.

It’s not Lena and he is bitterly disappointed, only to find out Hannah is his granddaughter…..so what has happened to Lena?

Oh my, this is a disturbing tale, Hannah is decidedly odd, but then if you’d been living in a windowless cabin all your life then it’s understandable. Her brother, Jonathan is traumatised by events that lead to their escape too and Jasmine is terrified….and this is just the beginning.

I found this to be an incredible, completely engrossing read. It’s so well written, with a plot that keeps you on tenterhooks throughout. It grabs you from the very start and doesn’t let go. Dealing with the trauma of abduction, violence and fear it’s not an easy read at times but so compelling.

A fantastically chilling and original thriller….this is a must read. 

Thank you to Quercus Books for the opportunity to read Dear Child for free. This is my honest and unbiased review. 

Book reviews, Domestic noir, Thriller

The Second Wife – Rebecca Fleet – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

In this dark, menacing thriller, Rebecca Fleet shows us a suspenseful, twisty yet emotionally devastating portrait of a family in turmoil.

Everyone brings baggage to a new relationship.

When Alex met Natalie she changed his life. After the tragic death of his first wife, which left him a single parent to teenage daughter Jade, he’s determined to build a happy family.

But his new-found happiness is shattered when the family home is gutted by fire and his loyalties are unexpectedly tested. Jade insists she saw a man in the house on the night of the fire; Natalie denies any knowledge of such an intruder.

Alex is faced with an impossible choice: to believe his wife or his daughter? And as Natalie’s story unravels, Alex realises that his wife has a past he had no idea about, a past that might yet catch up with her.

But this time, the past could be deadly . . .

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MY REVIEW 

Alex, Matalie and their daughter, Jade’s lives are thrown into turmoil after a fire at their home.

Jade was the only one who needed hospital treatment and her claims of a seeing man in the house before the fire are dismissed as a possible hallucination.

But Alex begins to wonder and so starts to search for the truth.

Told in two timelines, the past and present, this is a tale of secrets and obsession. It has a marvellously twisty and twisted plot that’s so well written, shocking, surprising and totally unputdownable.

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.

 

About the author:

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Rebecca Fleet lives and works in London. The House Swap was her debut thriller and her second, The Second Wife, will follow in 2020.

Rebecca’s second thriller examines love, loyalty and trust in a family torn apart by tragedy. It marries all of the suspense, tension and compulsion of the best psychological thrillers with a powerful, emotional portrait of our closest relationships.

Book reviews, scandi noir, Thriller

Black River by Will Dean – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

FEAR

Tuva has been living clean in southern Sweden for four months when she receives horrifying news. Her best friend Tammy has gone missing.

SECRETS

Racing back to Gavrik at the height of Midsommar, Tuva fears for Tammy’s life. Who has taken her, and why? And who is sabotaging the small-town search efforts?

LIES

Surrounded by dark pine forest, the sinister residents of Snake River are suspicious of outsiders. Unfortunately, they also hold all the answers. On the shortest night of the year, Tuva must fight to save her friend. But who will be there to save Tuva?

It may be Midsommar in Gavrik, but this is the most chilling episode yet in the acclaimed Scandi thriller series from British writer Will Dean.

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MY REVIEW 

This is #4 in the series featuring journalist Tuva Moodyson. It can be read as a stand-alone but you are missing out on a great series.

Tuva has moved away from Garrick, stopped drinking, has a new job and a fresh start. But when she hears her friend, Tammy, has gone missing she races back.

It’s the height of Midsommar and in the middle of a heatwave too….

Exhausted, Tuva starts her investigation with the help of Lena and Thord, but then another woman, Lisa, goes missing. Can Tuva find her friend?

Oh my nerves!!! Will Dean’s incredible writing literally had my skin itching and crawling…I could feel those bugs. Oh dear lord, the bugs…..moths, wolf spiders, midges and the nightmare that is flying ticks!  Oh and there’s snakes…..a lot of snakes.

The brilliantly odd characters, the breeder and the ‘cousins’ are so scary, it reminded me of the movie Deliverance, without the banjos…..

So well plotted, perfectly paced, with the creepy oddness and almost stifling tension make this a read in one sitting thriller. Fantastic and a must read.

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/33ci3sQ

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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WILL DEAN grew up in the East Midlands and had lived in nine different villages before the age of eighteen. After studying law at the LSE, and working in London, he settled in rural Sweden, where he built a house in a boggy clearing at the centre of a vast elk forest. His debut novel, Dark Pines, was selected for Zoe Ball’s Book Club, shortlisted for the Guardian Not the Booker Prize and named a Telegraph book of the year. 

The second book in the series, Red Snow, is now out in paperback.

 

   @willrdean @PtBlankBks Will Dean –Forest Author

Book reviews, Crime thriller

Deep Dark Night by Steph Broadribb – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

The fourth book in the award-winning Lori Anderson series, Deep Dark Night sees daring bounty hunter and single mother Lori Anderson journey from Florida to Chicago to take down a notorious crime family. Published to coincide with International Women’s Month, it will see the full series rebranded a fresh, contemporary new look.

Working off the books for FBI Special Agent Alex Monroe, Florida bounty hunter Lori Anderson and her partner, JT, head to Chicago. Their mission: to entrap the head of the Cabressa crime family. The bait: a priceless chess set that Cabressa is determined to add to his collection.

An exclusive high-stakes poker game is arranged in the penthouse suite of one of the city’s tallest buildings, with Lori holding the cards in an agreed arrangement to hand over the pieces, one by one. But, as night falls and the game plays out, stakes rise and tempers flare.

When a power failure plunges the city into darkness, the building goes into lockdown. But this isn’t an ordinary blackout, and the men around the poker table aren’t all who they say they are. Hostages are taken, old scores resurface and the players start to die.

And that’s just the beginning…

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MY REVIEW 

#4 in the Series featuring Lori Anderson, but I found it easy to read as a stand-alone ( but I will be reading the previous 3 now!)

Lori is a bounty hunter and she’s in debt to the FBI. Agent Morgan has a job for her involving the Cabressa crime family. He wants to lock up the boss finally……but at what cost?

Lori has contacted the family offering a prized gold chess set for sale, her offer is accepted but there are conditions. She must play a game of poker! This gives her a few hours to learn the game with the help of JT.

So, dressed to the nines she arrives at the game in a luxury penthouse, but then the power goes out plunging them into darkness and as tensions rise all hell breaks out.

The body count rises and so does the tension. Can Lori and JT escape the building in the pitch dark?

This really is a clever thriller and so well written, from the fierce and strong Lori, to the claustrophobic tension of trying to escape a dark building. It’s a real heart pounder of a read. Brilliant.

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/3cKTtDW

 

AUTHOR BIO

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Steph Broadribb was born in Birmingham and grew up in Buckinghamshire. Most of her working life has been spent between the UK and USA. As her alter- ego – Crime Thriller Girl – she indulges in her love of all things crime fiction by blogging at crimethrillergirl.com, where she interviews authors and reviews the latest releases. 

She is also a member of the crime-themed girl band The Splice Girls. Steph is an alumni of the MA Creative Writing (Crime Fiction) at City University London, and she trained as a bounty hunter in California, which inspired her Lori Anderson thrillers. 

She lives in Buckinghamshire surrounded by horses, cows and chickens. Her debut thriller, Deep Down Dead, was shortlisted for the Dead Good Reader Awards in two categories, and hit number one on the UK and AU kindle charts. My Little Eye, her first novel under her pseudonym, Stephanie Marland was published by Trapeze Books in April 2018 

Book reviews, Fantasy

VENATORS: Magic Unleashed by Devri Walls – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Welcome to Eon. An alternate dimension where fantasy and paranormal is reality, and humans sit at the bottom of the food chain. In this world of unadulterated power and ability, the innocent suffer greatly. The ruling council of Eon has selected two humans, born of the Venator bloodline, and brought them through the gate—wishing to manipulate their strength and special abilities for the council’s corrupt purposes. But, Grey and Rune have very different ideas.

When their college dorm is infiltrated by creatures from another realm, Rune Jenkins, her twin brother Ryker, and old friend Grey Malteer are thrown into unexpected, twisted chaos. While Rune and Gray are able to escape, Ryker is kidnapped away to Eon, the alternate world from whence these dark beings came.
With the help of a supernatural guide, Rune and Gray must now travel to Eon to save Ryker, and discover the illuminating truth about their ancestry.

In this new world of fae, vampires, werewolves, and wizards, power is abundant and always in flux. Rune and Grey are being set up as pawns in a very dangerous game and must find their way through – and out of – Eon before it consumes them.

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MY REVIEW 

Grey and Rune are seemingly typical college students, but they have powers they keep relatively hidden.

They are pulled through a portal and enter a very different world. A world of magic and chaos, of vampire, werewolves and so much more.

With a large cast of characters, great world building and an exciting plot, this fast paced fantasy tale is enjoyable and thoroughly entertaining.

Thank you to The Write Reads 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 

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Devri Walls is a US and international bestselling author. Having released five novels to date, she specializes in all things fantasy and paranormal. She is best known for her uncanny world- building skills and her intricate storylines, and her ability to present this all in an easy-to-digest voice. Now gearing up for her first national release,  Devri is excited to introduce her sixth novel, book one in the Venators series. She loves to engage with her loyal following through social media and online sessions she organizes for her readers. Devri lives in Meridian, Idaho with her husband and two kids. When not writing she can be found teaching voice lessons, reading, cooking or binge watching whatever show catches her fancy.

 

Book reviews, Historical fiction

This Lovely City by Louise Hare – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

The drinks are flowing. The music’s playing. But the party can’t last.

London, 1950. With the Blitz over and London still rebuilding after the war, jazz musician Lawrie Matthews has answered England’s call for help. Arriving from Jamaica aboard the Empire Windrush, he’s taken a tiny room in south London lodgings, and has fallen in love with the girl next door.

Touring Soho’s music halls by night, pacing the streets as a postman by day, Lawrie has poured his heart into his new home — and it’s alive with possibility. Until one morning, while crossing a misty common, he makes a terrible discovery.

As the local community rallies, fingers of blame are pointed at those who had recently been welcomed with open arms. And before long, London’s newest arrivals become the prime suspects in a tragedy which threatens to tear the city apart. Immersive, poignant, and utterly compelling, Louise Hare’s debut examines the complexities of love and belonging, and teaches us that even in the face of anger and fear, there is always hope.

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MY REVIEW

This is historical fiction set in London soon after WW2 and is so redolent with atmosphere you can almost smell it.

Lawrie had arrived in London on the ship, Empire Windrush, he’s now a postman by day and an aspiring musician at night. He’s also in love with Evie, but they face many difficult challenges to say the least. They just want a quiet life together.

One day, Lawrie hears a woman shouting and a baby is found in a pond, regrettably they baby doesn’t survive. The police immediately suspect the Jamaican community just because the baby had dark skin…….but can the truth be found?

While this is a murder mystery, I felt it so much more as it deals with the reality of the horrific discrimination and abuse the ‘Windrush’ generation deal with on a daily basis, truly shameful.

A beautifully written, emotional tale and one that will stay with me for a long time.

Thank you to Sian at HQ for the opportunity to take part in this Book Blog Tour, for the promotional material and a free copy of the the book. This is my honest and unbiased review

 

You can preorder a copy here : https://amzn.to/39AykdC

(Available from 12 March)

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

 

Louise Hare is a London-based writer and has an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck, University of London. Originally from Warrington, the capital is the inspiration for much of her work, including This Lovely City, which began life after a trip into the deep level shelter below Clapham Common. 

Book reviews, Crime thriller, Noir, Police procedural

Bobby March Will Live Forever by Alan Parks – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

The papers want blood.

The force wants results.

The law must be served, whatever the cost.

July 1973. The Glasgow drugs trade is booming and Bobby March, the city’s own rock-star hero, has just overdosed in a central hotel.

Alice Kelly is thirteen years old, lonely and missing.

Meanwhile the niece of McCoy’s boss has fallen in with a bad crowd and when she goes AWOL, McCoy is asked – off the books – to find her. McCoy has a hunch. 

But does he have enough time?

 

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MY REVIEW 

#3 in the DI Harry McCoy series, but it can be read as a stand-alone.

Set in 1703’s Glasgow, a violent time full of drugs, alcohol and some really nasty people, and that’s just the police!

Young Alice Kelly has gone missing and it’s a race against time to find her. 

But, McCoy is assigned to a different case as his acting boss wants the glory of the Kelly case.

So McCoy is sent to investigate the Bobby March case. Bobby, a well known rock star (he could have been one of the Rolling Stones you know!) has been found dead with a needle in his arm…..so OD ?

McCoy is also asked by his actual boss, Murray to find his niece, Laura, as she has run away from home again. He wants this done on the quiet and McCoy wonders why?

This brings to life the reality of inner city poverty, the violence of gangs, the drugs, alcohol, music and even the IRA in the 70’s.

I can’t say much more for fear of spoiling this amazing tale. It will drag you through the grim world of the dark side of Glasgow, with its truly great characters, good and downright evil,  and a complex plot. This is Noir with a capital N, it’s gritty, violent and downright grim at times, but it’s thoroughly engrossing from the first page to the last. 

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/2wL4swv

 

About the Author

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Alan Parks has worked in the music industry for over twenty years. His debut novel Bloody January was shortlisted for the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière. He lives and works in Glasgow, and is available for press and events. 

 

Will appeal to fans of Ian Rankin, Denise Mina, Peter May, William McIlvanney and Val McDermid, as well as TV series such as Idris Elba’s Luther

 

Publication date: 30 January 2020

Format: Paperback

Price: £8.99

 

Book reviews, Crime thriller, Noir

Mexico Street by Simone Buchholz – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Hamburg state prosecutor Chastity Riley investigates a series of arson attacks on cars across the city, which leads her to a startling and life-threatening discovery involving criminal gangs and a very illicit love story…

Night after night, cars are set alight across the German city of Hamburg, with no obvious pattern, no explanation and no suspect.

Until, one night, on Mexico Street, a ghetto of high-rise blocks in the north of the city, a Fiat is torched. Only this car isn’t empty. The body of Nouri Saroukhan – prodigal son of the Bremen clan – is soon discovered, and the case becomes a homicide.

Public prosecutor Chastity Riley is handed the investigation, which takes her deep into a criminal underground that snakes beneath the whole of Germany. And as details of Nouri’s background, including an illicit relationship with the mysterious Aliza, emerge, it becomes clear that these are not random attacks, and there are more on the cards…

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MY REVIEW 

Hamburg is having a spate of car burnings, inconvenient but nothing more, until the body of Nouri Saroukhan is found in one. He was a member of a notorious crime family, but they claim to have disowned him. Did this have anything to do with his relationship with Aliza, a woman from an opposing family…?

This is where Chastity Riley begins the investigation, accompanied by Stepanovic they see the worst and scariest of people as they try to get to the truth. 

Chastity is a fantastic character, she’s heartbroken, not sleeping, constantly smoking and drinking and says exactly what she thinks. Tough on the outside but soft inside, which is why she’s a bit of a mess. But when it comes to work, she is solid.

This is noir at its darkest, it deals with fear, of brutality and violence, organised crime, immigration and corruption. There is also humour, a love story (very Romeo and Juliet) and a little romance too. 

This really is a unique crime thriller in that the language used is almost poetic, it draws you in and won’t let go. It has a fantastic style of writing that gives a modern day setting the feel of a classic noir. Original, stylish, fascinating and totally gripping from start to finish. 

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/3cEx7ny

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 
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Simone Buchholz was born in Hanau in 1972. At university, she studied Philosophy and Literature, worked as a waitress and a columnist, and trained to be a journalist at the prestigious Henri-Nannen-School in Hamburg. In 2016, Simone Buchholz was awarded the Crime Cologne Award as well as runner-up in the German Crime Fiction Prize for Blue Night, which was number one on the KrimiZEIT Best of Crime List for months. She lives in Sankt Pauli, in the heart of Hamburg, with her husband and son.

 

PRAISE FOR SIMONE BUCHHOLZ

 

‘This is a punk-rock album translated into a hard-bitten tale of low-life scum and a lone officer. Fierce enough to stab the heart’

Spectator on Blue Night

 

‘Lyrical and pithy’

The Sunday Times Crime Club on Blue Night

 

‘Simone Buchholz writes with real authority and a pungent, noir-is sense of time and space … a palpable hit’

Barry Forshaw, Financial Times

 

Book reviews, Family drama, Womens fiction

The Widow’s Mite by Allie Cresswell – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

The Widow’s Mite

Minnie Price married late in life. Now she is widowed. And starving.

No one suspects this respectable church-goer can barely keep body and soul together. Why would they, while she resides in the magnificent home she shared with Peter?

Her friends and neighbours are oblivious to her plight and her adult step-children have their own reasons to make things worse rather than better. But she is thrown a lifeline when an associate of her late husband arrives with news of an investment about which her step-children know nothing.

Can she release the funds before she finds herself homeless and destitute?

Fans of ‘The Hoarder’s Widow’ will enjoy this sequel, but it reads equally well as a standalone.

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MY REVIEW 

This is #2 in the Widow’s series but can easily be read as a stand-alone.

This is the tale of the recently widowed Minnie Price and Maisie Wilde (from book 1) and how they cope with the trials and tribulations of widowhood. 

They become friends due to their shared circumstances, albeit very different financially, but they both have reprehensible relatives and adult children to deal with.

I found this to be a beautifully written tale of grief, life and friendship. It’s full of humour and relatable real life situations. A Gentle, lovely read.

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

 

Purchase Links 

 

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0848P81GJ

 

US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0848P81GJ
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Author Bio –

Allie Cresswell was born in Stockport, UK and began writing fiction as soon as she could hold a pencil.

She did a BA in English Literature at Birmingham University and an MA at Queen Mary College, London.

She has been a print-buyer, a pub landlady, a book-keeper, run a B & B and a group of boutique holiday cottages. Nowadays Allie writes full time having retired from teaching literature to lifelong learners.

She has two grown-up children, two granddaughters, two grandsons and two cockapoos but just one husband – Tim. They live in Cumbria, NW England. 

The Widow’s Mite is her tenth novel.

 

You can contact her via her website at www.allie-cresswell.com

 

Social Media Links –

https://www.facebook.com/alliescribbler/

http://www.allie-cresswell.com

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Book reviews, Horror, Short story

Disturbing Works Volume 2 by Jon Richter – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

 John Richter’s Disturbing Works Volume II

Another compendium of delightfully macabre stories by Jon Richter, author of Deadly Burial and Never Rest. Jon’s first short fiction collection was described as ‘Black Mirror meets Tales Of The Unexpected’, and here he brings you another chilling assortment of twisted tales encompassing killer creatures, terrifying technology, and scientific experiments gone horribly wrong… These dark fables are perfect for anyone who likes their reads short, shocking, and laced with a dash of black humour.

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MY REVIEW

This is a collection of 10 deliciously dark short stories.

There’s a mix of the grotesque, creepy and monstrous tales each with a marvellous twist and some really dark humour, which really appealed to me. That giggle of fear and the unexpected.

Dark, disturbing and thoroughly entertaining. Brilliant.

Thank you to Blackthorn Tours for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour, for the promotional material and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

Author bio:

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Jon Richter writes dark fiction, including his two gripping crime thrillers, Deadly Burial and Never Rest, and his two collections of short horror fiction, volumes one and two of Jon Richter’s Disturbing Works.

Jon lives in Elephant & Castle and is a self-confessed nerd who loves books, films and video games – basically any way to tell a great story. He writes whenever he can, and hopes to bring you more macabre tales in the very near future, including his upcoming cyberpunk noir thriller, London 2039: Auxiliary. He also co-hosts the Dark Natter podcast, a fortnightly dissection of the greatest works of dark fiction, available wherever you get your podcast fix.

If you want to chat to him about any of this, you can find him on Twitter @RichterWrites or Instagram @jonrichterwrites.

His website haunts the internet at http://www.jon-richter.com, and you can find his books at Amazon here: https://amzn.to/2OXXRVP.