Book reviews, Domestic noir, Family drama

Unprotected by Sophie Jonas-Hill – Book Review

A1010439-66D7-49EC-A253-3D661E9D9642
PUBLISHERS BLURB 

She’s fighting to save everyone else, but will she have anything left to save herself?

Witty, sharp and sarcastic tattoo artist Lydia’s life is imploding. Her long-term relationship has broken down after several miscarriages and she’s hiding from her hurt in loss and rage. After a big night out she wakes beside a much younger man who brings complications she could really do without. 

As her grief about her lost babies and failed relationships spirals out of control, she obsesses about rescuing a wayward teenage girl she watches from her window and gets more involved than she should with her charming but unstable young lover.

Unprotected is a raw and punchy story of love, family and accepting yourself for who you really are.

FCACED19-252C-469E-B7D8-272FDE93C99B

MY REVIEW 

Well, when the publishers say this is raw and punchy they are not kidding. Lydia and Max have been trying for a baby, but after 5 miscarriages their relationship is troubled. When Max moves out, Lydia is a mess and she’s angry, hurt and when friend Cassie invites her out, she goes all out, drink, drugs and wakes up with a much younger man in her bed.

But, Martin is as troubled as she is.

Lydia also sees a young girl in trouble and tries to help.

When her sister gets pregnant, all sorts of family secrets come out.

Lydia, a tattooed tattooist tries to help everyone, but it’s her that needs the help really. 

This is an incredibly emotional tale, the heartbreak and trauma of miscarriage, the secrets in families and some gritty truths around neglected, abused and abandoned children. Not always an easy read, but there is also hope and love. A remarkable, thoughtful and utterly engrossing 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.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

D810786A-1805-4A16-89D3-43FC4756FEC9

Sophie has had what might be politely described as a varied career, which has seen her be a black-smith, silver-smith, jewellery designer, pattern-cutter and wedding dress designer, home help, teacher, extreme knitter, burlesque performer, artist and various combinations of the above. Her one abiding passion alongside drawing has always been writing, from her early work in year four producing hand bound novellas mostly written in crayon, to the inevitable fantasy epic which pushed 500 pages and, thank goodness, has never seen the light of day. She began focusing on her writing after the birth of her first child, and has been working on it ever since, losing hands down to the publishing industry’s gatekeepers and Gorgons, until she met fellow traveller Amanda Saint, who as the name suggests, was something of a shining light on the path. 

She is currently studying an MA in illustration and discovering how much she hates academic writing, and what a wise move it was to give someone else the task of designing the cover for her first book with Retreat West, Unprotected. She lives in Kent with her long suffering husband, two children and a very handsome cat. 

Book reviews, Domestic noir, Science fiction, Thriller

17 Church Row by James Carol – Book Review

0D5D6EC4-A9D6-4F83-82B6-02E7B34C6B00
PUBLISHERS BLURB 

For fans of J. P. Delaney’s The Girl Before comes a thriller that makes us question our relationship with technology and the lengths we would go to, to keep our family safe.

Three years ago, Ethan and Nikki Rhodes suffered a devastating loss. Their four-year-old daughter Grace was tragically killed when she ran from their garden into the path of a car. Ethan, a radio personality, escapes into work, while Nikki quits her job to care for their remaining child, Grace’s twin sister, Bella, who hasn’t spoken since that night.

Trying to give the family a fresh start, Ethan moves them to a revolutionary house designed by the world-famous architect, Catriona Fisher. For the Rhodes’, this is a life-changing move because a key feature of the house is the state of the art security system that allows them to be completely safe from the outside world within their own home.

But what if what they fear most is actually inside the house? What if 17 Church Row isn’t the safe haven that they think it is?

F631AF7D-10A0-446F-B82C-B03A10B6BF69

MY REVIEW 

Nikki and Ethan had twin girls, but after a tragic accident, little Grace died. Bella who saw the accident has been mute ever since. Nikki has anxiety and doesn’t really feel safe among the memories in their home, so Ethan thinks they should move home for a fresh start for them all.

They find a fantastic house with state of the art security and an AI system that really makes life easy. Bella loves the house and so they move in…..but someone is watching. Is Bella safe? Are any of them?

Oh my, this is a marvellous mix of a family drama, thriller and Sci-fi that has moments of heart pounding tension and Oh the tears too…..a clever plot, which I can’t say much about for fear of spoiling it…….but if you like a claustrophobic thriller, this is a must read. 

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 Carol was born in Scotland in 1969, where he spent his early years. He moved to England in the eighties and has lived there ever since. At various times he has worked as a guitarist, sound engineer, guitar tutor, journalist, and a horse riding instructor.

The character of Jefferson Winter came about because he wanted to write a series of books that gave him as much freedom as possible. He figured that the more interesting he kept things for himself, the more interesting it would be for the reader.

Although the novels are written as a series, James approaches each book as a stand-alone. Each story is set in a different location, and has a different cast of characters. The beauty of this approach is that the novels can be read out of order.

Broken Dolls, the first Jefferson Winter thriller, will be published in January 2014. This will be followed in the Spring by Presumed Guilty, the first in a series of eBooks set during Winter’s FBI days. Watch Me, the second Jefferson Winter thriller, is scheduled for publication in September 2014.

When he’s not writing, James spends his time training horses and riders. An accomplished guitarist, he relaxes by writing and recording music. He lives in Hertfordshire with his wife and two children.

 

Book reviews, Domestic noir, Family drama, Thriller

Bad Seed by Jessica Eames – Book Review

23ADAD78-6193-4CAD-9B39-5205F28AF7F6
PUBLISHERS BLURB 

A tragic death. A dark family secret. A past you can’t escape. How well do you really know those closest to you? 

Sarah’s world has descended into a nightmare. Her only hope of moving on is to find out the truth of what happened, and make sure the guilty are brought to justice. She is haunted by her dad’s death, consumed by her grief and the memories of a cruel day that changed her life forever… she doesn’t even know who she is anymore. But the future holds some hope for Sarah, as she tries to move forward.

Nicola’s future is not looking so hopeful. Since her husband died, the secret she’s been keeping from her family – especially her daughter, Sarah – is eating away at her. The past is catching up with her, and the consequences will be devastating. 

Inspired by the news that more people are having DNA tests to discover their heritage, BAD SEED subverts the tropes of the domestic thriller by exploring the closest relationship of all: that between parent and child. Clare Mackintosh’s I LET YOU GO meets FRIEND REQUEST, this is a story about family, and of obsession, revenge and identity.

9C97A7BB-AFFF-44E8-A3A4-F96529D9B80D

MY REVIEW 

Nicola, a widow, has a secret….but someone else knows.

Her husband Charlie died and left her with money issues, so she moves into brother-in-law, Ben’s annex. 

Feeling unwell, her boyfriend insists she visit a GP, but due to her being a woman in her 50’s, she is told it’s probably the menopause…..but is it?

She’s convinced something else is happening as she receives a menacing note and her possessions are being moved. Is it all in her mind?

I can’t say too much for fear of spoiling the story, but this is one of the twistiest domestic noir thrillers I’ve read in a long time.

Told from the perspectives of Nicola,  her daughter Sarah and Fion her sister-in-law, this brooding thriller tells of family secrets, lies and ultimately revenge. 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.

 

 

Book reviews, Comedy, Domestic noir

The Introvert Confounds Innocence by Michael Paul Michaud – Book Review. @MichaelPMichaud @BOTBSPublicity #TheIntrovertConfoundsInnocence

449D72D6-D3F5-49E4-B780-6EBEA2063887
PUBLISHERS BLURB 

THE INTROVERT CONFOUNDS INNOCENCE continues the story of the eponymous anti-hero introduced in THE INTROVERT.

With his life disrupted by an unscrupulous work colleague and a bully at his son Toby’s school, things go from bad to worse when his neighbor’s abusive boyfriend goes missing, plunging the introvert into the center of a murder investigation.

Increasingly hounded by a meddlesome detective, and with his thoughts continually urging him to make people “red and open” and to “achieve it” with his girlfriend Donna, what follows is a sometimes brutal, oftentimes hilarious, and absurdist account of the life of one very anti-social and unexpected anti-hero.
10D1D57E-7C1D-43DC-B9CD-FE0D1B3A2100

MY REVIEW 

The Introvert, our unnamed protagonist is now living with Donna and his 4 year old son, Toby and of course his dog Molly. 

He’s got a subscription to a child psychology magazine that is helping him to try and make sense of children’s minds, but he also uses it when thinking of people and how they behave, or how he thinks they behave. The introvert, thinks a lot!

He and Donna have a neighbour, Hayley who has a dog called Mr Muggles. When he sees her being rough with the dog, his thoughts turn dark…..he really is strong on animal rights.

When Hayley’s boyfriend abuses her, and comes to the introverts home to wait for her to come home….there is an altercation and some cleaning up to do….

When Josh is reported missing, an English detective begins investigating, with an odd accent and way of speaking, confusing the introvert at times. Is he under suspicion?

With young Toby being bullied at school, the introverts thoughts begin to get dark ….but can he resist making Timmy red and open? 

This is a dark, bizarre and humorous tale,  that will make you cringe but laugh at the same time….totally unique and I can’t wait to find out what happens next….

Thank you to Sarah at Book On The Bright Side 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.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

423C301F-3CFB-40CC-AF87-22318E779B92

I am an American-Canadian citizen, a criminal prosecutor, and author of BILLY TABBS (& THE GLORIOUS DARROW) (bitingduckpress) and THE INTROVERT series (Black Opal Books). I have a B.A. in English from McMaster University, an Honors B.A. in Political Science (summa cum laude) from McMaster University, a J.D. from The University of Western Ontario (with an international exchange completed at Washington & Lee). I have won awards for both my community service and my work as a criminal prosecutor. I am a member of Crime Writers of Canada and International Thriller Writers. I also strive to maintain a strong social media author presence, including at facebook.com/michaelpaulmichaud, and have made regular appearances on SiriusXM’s Canada Talks. I am an unabashed and unapologetic zealot of Twin Peaks. Literary influences are primarily Orwell, Dickens, Vonnegut, Dostoevsky.

 

I was inspired to write The Introvert after reading Crime and Punishment (Dostoevsky) and The Stranger (Camus). It has been likened to Dexter and American Psycho meeting Office Space and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. I also consider it the most unorthodox of animals rights books. Every dog lover should read them.

 

Facebook author page https://www.facebook.com/MichaelPaulMichaud/

The Introvert Book Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/TheIntrovertBook/

The Introvert Confounds Innocence Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/TheIntrovertBook2

Twitter: MichaelPMichaud

Instagram: MichaelPMichaud

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-michaud-04439311/

Goodreads page for The Introvert:https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32808811-the-introvert

Goodreads page for The Introvert Confounds Innocence: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44490433-the-introvert-confounds-innocence 

Book reviews, Domestic noir, Police procedural

Hands Up by Stephen Clark – Book Review. @StephCWrites #HandsUp

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Officer Ryan Quinn, a rookie raised in a family of cops, is on the fast track to detective until he shoots an unarmed black male. Now, with his career, reputation and freedom on the line, he embarks on a quest for redemption that forces him to confront his fears and biases and choose between conscience or silence.

Jade Wakefield is an emotionally damaged college student living in one of Philadelphia’s worst neighborhoods. She knows the chances of getting an indictment against the cop who killed her brother are slim. When she learns there’s more to the story than the official police account, Jade is determined, even desperate, to find out what really happened. She plans to get revenge by any means necessary.

Kelly Randolph, who returns to Philadelphia broke and broken after abandoning his family ten years earlier, seeks forgiveness while mourning the death of his son. But after he’s thrust into the spotlight as the face of the protest movement, his disavowed criminal past resurfaces and threatens to derail the family’s pursuit of justice.

Ryan, Jade, and Kelly–three people from different worlds—are on a collision course after the shooting, as their lives interconnect and then spiral into chaos.

F72B6E35-5D71-48FD-9C7B-B0DB910769E1

MY REVIEW 

I’m not sure what category this fits into, it’s a social commentary, a police procedural, and a domestic drama. But it doesn’t matter really, what does matter is that it’s rather brilliant.

Ryan is a cop, he’s only been in the job a year and he’s partnered with Greg a long standing, experience cop. Oh and he’s abhorrently racist.

One day, Greg decides to pull over a young black guy, just because he wants to. Tyrell is unarmed, but Greg causes an altercation and as a result, Ryan shoots and kills Tyrell. Together they create a story, that Tyrell assaulted Greg, that Ryan believed he had managed to get Greg’s gun and so was left with no choice but to shoot.

Jade is Tyrell’s sister, and cannot believe he would ever have hit a cop. She has her own issues with self harm.

Kelly, is Jade and Tyrell’s estranged dad, he left when they were young and he’s now back and wants to help.

The story is told from Ryan, Kelly and Jade’s perspectives, it tells of their emotions and thoughts and how they can come to terms with this killing….or not!

Ryan is plagued with guilt, has panic attacks and wants to do the right thing, but he’s scared.

Jade is a mess, she wants the truth.

Kelly, he’s a homeless, ex gang member who’s now straight, but he’s angry.

This is a very topical tale of young black men being shot by police in America arbitrarily. I cannot imagine the intense emotions and fear this must cause. It highlights too, the #BlackLivesMatter movement and how high emotions run as people see the injustices happening in everyday life.

Here in the UK our cops do not routinely carry guns, so while it would be incredibly naive of me to say racism does not exist in the UK police, they do not kill young men on the streets, a daily occurrence in the US it seems. Just today, there has been a police chase, with 4 young people…I can’t say why, but armed police were there, however, not one of these young people were hurt…..It’s hard to imagine a similar situation in the US ending the same way and this is tragic and scary and so, so wrong.

Hands Up is a powerful and gripping tale, full of emotions, great realistic characters and a story with heartbreak, love and a twist or two. I can thoroughly recommend it.

Thank you to Stephen Clark for the opportunity to read this for free. This is my honest and unbiased review. 

 

You can can buy a copy here 

 

Book reviews, Domestic noir

In The Absence Of Miracles by Michael J Malone – Book Review

B3F0B513-7D27-4B2A-9B3E-A4470440E2EA

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

In this powerful new thriller, Michael J Malone returns to A Suitable Lie territory, movingly and perceptively addressing a shocking social issue. Chilling, perceptive and heartbreakingly emotive, In the Absence of Miracles is domestic noir at its most powerful, and a sensitively wrought portrait of a family whose shameful lies hide the very darkest of secrets.

John Docherty’s mother has just been taken into a nursing home. Following a massive stroke, she’s unlikely to be able to live independently again. With no other option than to sell the family home, John sets about packing up everything in the house. In sifting through the detritus of his family’s past he’s forced to revisit, and revise his childhood.

In a box, in the attic, he finds undeniable truth that he had a brother who disappeared when he himself was only a toddler. A brother no one ever mentioned. A brother he knew absolutely nothing about. A discovery that sets John on a journey from which he may never recover. For sometimes in that space where memory should reside there is nothing but silence, smoke and ash.

And in the absence of truth, in the absence of a miracle, we turn to prayer. And to violence…
5B7FC98D-3017-4DFE-82BE-202F165DC501

MY REVIEW 

John is visiting his mum in a care home, she’s had a major stroke and is no longer independent. I felt sorry for her at this point………!

Due to costs, he is going to sell her home to pay for her continuing care, so visits his old home to start clearing it ready for sale….while in the loft he finds a picture of himself with a younger child….but has no memory of it…..

When his younger brother, Chris arrives he shows him the picture and they realise, John is the younger child, so who is the older boy? And so the mystery begins….

But, John is a mess, he’s drinking too much, missing work days and his long suffering girlfriend, Angela, has had enough. He becomes a little obsessed with finding out more about the unknown boy, but what he finds out changes his life forever….

I have been lucky to read some stunning books this year, but this has to be the most heartbreaking. It tells of the horrors of child abuse, the damage this causes physically and mentally to these young victims…..it’s a tough read at times but so utterly compelling with every page so full of emotion….it left me speechless. Magnificently immersive writing that grabs your attention from start to finish. In this darkest domestic noir thriller.. A definite must read….

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

 

Buy a copy here

https://amzn.to/2OjH7ZT

 

AUTHOR BIO

A7B803A3-9906-46D0-929B-65F6E5D39906

Michael Malone is a prize-winning poet and author who was born and brought up in the heart of Burns’ country. He has published over 200 poems in literary magazines throughout the UK, including New Writing Scotland, Poetry Scotland and Markings. Blood Tears, his bestselling debut novel won the Pitlochry Prize from the Scottish Association of Writers. Other published work includes Carnegie’s Call; A Taste for Malice; The Guillotine Choice; Beyond the Rage; The Bad Samaritan and Dog Fight. His psychological thriller, A Suitable Lie, was a number-one bestseller, and the critically acclaimed House of Spines and After He Died soon followed suit. A former Regional Sales Manager (Faber & Faber) he has also worked as an IFA and a bookseller. Michael lives in Ayr.

 ‘Vivid, visceral and compulsive’ Ian Rankin ‘Michael J Malone is a massive talent’ Luca Veste