Sunday, 31 January 2016

The Widow by Fiona Barton

Blurb - When the police started asking questions, Jean Taylor turned into a different woman. One who enabled her and her husband to carry on, when more bad things began to happen...

But that woman’s husband died last week. And Jean doesn’t have to be her anymore.

There’s a lot Jean hasn’t said over the years about the crime her husband was suspected of committing. She was too busy being the perfect wife, standing by her man while living with the accusing glares and the anonymous harassment.

Now there’s no reason to stay quiet. There are people who want to hear her story. They want to know what it was like living with that man. She can tell them that there were secrets. There always are in a marriage.

The truth—that’s all anyone wants. But the one lesson Jean has learned in the last few years is that she can make people believe anything… 

Publish Date ~ January 14th 2016
Published by ~ Bantam Press
* Copy provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

My thoughts - Another great psychological thriller, The Widow had me gripped from page one and I couldn't put it down. I have to admit I was a bit reluctant to read this as there are so many books out about child abduction and murder but I'm really pleased I did read this. It's quite different.

The story centres around Jeanie the widow, her late husband Glen who was accused of abducting a young girl, a reporter and detective determined to find out the truth. Each character is well detailed and it doesn't take long to get to know them or so you think.

This isn't a fast paced book but there's enough there to keep you intrigued. I liked how it was told from different perspectives and also jumped from past to present time which kept me gripped.

I've seen so many reviews lately and a lot of them go into great detail about the book and give quite a few spoilers I feel now after reading the book so I'm not going to do that. I'll just say this is a compelling, unputdownable dark story and a must read if you're a fan of thrillers.

The Girls from See Saw Lane by Sandy Taylor

Blurb - Brighton 1963. Mary Pickles and I walked along the street with our arms linked, looking in shop windows. We were best friends and together we were invincible.

Dottie and Mary forged a friendship over a bag of penny sweets when they were eight years old. They’ve shared everything together since then – the highs and lows of school, family dramas, hopes and dreams and now, at seventeen, they’re both shop girls, working at Woolworths.

As they go out in the world in pursuit of love and happiness, the simplicity of their childhood dissolves as life becomes more complicated. The heady excitement of first love will consume them both, but the pain of unintentional betrayal will test their friendship in ways neither of them could ever imagine…

A charming, heart breaking and ultimately uplifting novel which brings a bygone era vividly to life. Fans of Nadine Dorries, Mary Gibson and Pam Weaver will love The Girls from See Saw Lane. Counting Chimneys coming soon

Publish Date ~ December 4th 2015
Published by ~ Bookouture
* Copy provided by Netgalley and Bookouture in exchange for an honest review*

My thoughts -  Oh my goodness what a cracker of a story this is.

The Girls from See Saw Lane is a wonderful tale of friendship, growing up, love, betrayal and forgiveness. Set in the 1960's, Mary and Dottie have a beautiful friendship growing up, sharing dreams and even working in the same shop when they leave school.

I loved both characters so much, Sandy's descriptions all the way through the book made me feel like I was walking along side Mary and Dottie. I felt the happiness, pain, anxieties, sadness and excitement both the girls felt as they went through all the trials and tribulations of being a teenager.

This is one of those books that leaves a big impact on you, it will stay with me for a long time and I feel it's a book I could go back to and read again and again. A massive well done to Sandy Taylor on an amazing story and I can't wait for the next.

The Girl in the Ice by Robert Bryndza

Blurb - Her eyes are wide open. Her lips parted as if to speak. Her dead body frozen in the ice…She is not the only one.

When a young boy discovers the body of a woman beneath a thick sheet of ice in a South London park, Detective Erika Foster is called in to lead the murder investigation.

The victim, a beautiful young socialite, appeared to have the perfect life. Yet when Erika begins to dig deeper, she starts to connect the dots between the murder and the killings of three prostitutes, all found strangled, hands bound and dumped in water around London.

What dark secrets is the girl in the ice hiding?

As Erika inches closer to uncovering the truth, the killer is closing in on Erika.

The last investigation Erika led went badly wrong… resulting in the death of her husband. With her career hanging by a thread, Erika must now battle her own personal demons as well as a killer more deadly than any she’s faced before. But will she get to him before he strikes again?

Publish Date ~ 12th February 2016
Published by ~ Bookouture

My thoughts - Bookouture are really pumping these fabulous books out. The Girl in the Ice is another fantastic read that has you gripped from page one and it's another "just one more chapter" book.

The Girl in the Ice introduces DCI Erika Foster who is new to Manchester after being on bereavement leave and is thrown right into the case. Erika is a ballsy character who is flawed but very determined and committed and I'm really looking forward to reading more about her.

Robert has done a fantastic job with this book. It's fast, thrilling and has twists and turns that keep the pages turning. I didn't have a clue what the final out come would be and I love a book that keeps you guessing right to the end.

All He Asks Episodes 1~3 by Felicity Sparrow

Blurb -
Episode One
Christine is more than your average author’s assistant. She’s the unappreciated literary genius who’s been secretly ghostwriting Sylvia Stone’s worldwide bestsellers for the last five years, and Sylvia wants Christine to keep writing for her…forever.

But Erik Duke, bestselling horror author, thinks Christine can do better than ghostwriting women’s fiction. He’s been secretly tutoring her as she works as his assistant, and Christine’s talent is flourishing. He sees a big career ahead for Christine. More than that, he sees a partnership between himself and Christine that goes beyond the written word to somewhere much more intimate…

The intensity of Erik’s obsession with Christine frightens her, yet she can’t resist digging into the secrets this broken, tortured man is harboring. What is Erik hiding behind the mask of his emotions? What’s in his basement? And why is he so bent on controlling Christine’s career?

Episode Two
Christine has made a mistake becoming tangled in Erik Duke’s life. As an assistant to bestselling authors, it’s a professional problem to get physically involved with her world-famous client. Worse than that, it might be dangerous. Erik’s life is a web of secrets she can’t begin to unravel.

But now that he has her, Erik won’t let her leave. He’s sneaking around, making demands at the publishing company in her favor, and watching her every move. She’s afraid…but entranced.

Raoul Chance, lead editor, wants a piece of Christine too. She’s wanted him since they were children. Yet there’s a wall between them—a wall that he’s desperately trying to breach even as Christine falls tighter into Erik’s grip…

Episode Three
Erik Duke, a reclusive and mysterious author, has finally come out of hiding to make his demands known. He’s furious that the publishing company has defied him. And he plans to get his revenge.

Christine Durand longs for the safety of Raoul Chance’s arms, but she can’t seem to tear her heart away from Erik. He holds a piece of her that nobody else can touch. His darkness is sweet seduction--even when politics at Durand-Price turn deadly…

Publish Date ~ 1st May 2015
Published by ~ Felicity Sparrow

My thoughts -  This is the first three episodes brought together with the fourth being available separately.
Loosely based on The Phantom of the Opera, Felicity Sparrow has done a wonderful job of writing this story. The characters are well formed and the story flows well.
I read this fairly quick as I was really looking forward to finding out what happens next. It kept me interested all the way through out and i'm really looking forward to finding out what happens next in episode four.

Thank you to Netgalley for the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review.

A Secret Muse by Mandy Jackson- Beverly

Blurb - UCLA art professor Coco Rhodes knows little about her family’s association with the ancient clandestine organization The Allegiance and wants to keep it that way. She dislikes secrets—they’re a painful reminder of her childhood experiences that were erased as a result of her parents’ tragic deaths when she was four years old.

After a brutal attempt on her life, and the arrival of a birthday letter from her dead mother, Coco demands explanations from her brother, Christopher, a high-powered D.C. lawyer and member of the Allegiance.

Christopher guides Coco to her birthplace, Italy, insisting she’ll find her answers there. Enter the enigmatic Gabriel, a powerful warlock with a vampire father, and the ethereal Prudence, keeper of the Allegiance.

When a close friend is murdered, Coco’s life takes a dark turn. With only a faded portrait torn from a lost sketchbook, and one of her mother’s unfinished paintings, Coco unravels clues from her past, in the hope of saving those she loves.

Publish Date ~ 1st October 2015
Published by ~ Cricket Publishing

My thoughts - First off I'd like to say a huge thank you to the author and TBC on FB for sending me a copy of this book to read.

I really enjoyed A Secret Muse, the settings and writing were just perfect. The story had me gripped from page one and I loved how the characters developed throughout the book. At first I was a bit concerned as there are a lot of characters to get your head around but Mandy has written it so well and it doesn't take long to get know them.

The descriptions of settings throughout the book just took me away and It felt like I was watching a movie in my mind.

A fantastic read and I'm really looking forward to the next book

Saturday, 23 January 2016

The Theseus Paradox by David Videcette

Blurb -

"I can't tell you the truth, but I can tell you a story..."

How much is real and how much is fiction, only YOU can decide!

July 2005: in the midst of Operation Theseus, the largest police investigation that the UK has ever known, Detective Inspector Jake Flannagan begins to ask difficult questions that lead to the mysterious disappearance of his girlfriend and his sudden suspension from the Metropolitan Police.

  • Who masterminded London's summer of terror?

  • Why can’t Flannagan make headway in the sprawling investigation?

  • Is Jake’s absent girlfriend really who she claims to be?
While hunting for the answers to the most complex case in British history, one man will uncover the greatest criminal deception of our time.

Publish Date ~ 12th November 2015
Published by ~ Videcette Limited

My thoughts - When I read the blurb for this book I knew I was going to enjoy it straight away, I bought the kindle edition and got myself ready to get stuck in and I was gripped from page one, sadly real life got in the way and I didn't get it read as quickly as I wanted to. I was desperate to read on so while cooking the dinner I had my kindle in my hand and when picking my son up from school my kindle came along too.

DI Jake Flannagan is a fab character, he's determined and passionate about his job but he's also a man under a lot of pressure who turns to drink and women to try and forget. He's a bit of a bad lad which actually made him more likeable.

Everyone will remember the 7/7 bombing's, it was huge and all over the news. Terrorists attack London, but what if it wasn't how the news and media made it out. The Theseus Paradox get's you thinking and I was totally drawn in hook line and sinker.

David Videcette has written a very powerful story, each chapter is headlined with the date and location which takes you along on the journey. I had goose bumps and found myself holding my breath at some parts. With David's background of twenty years police experience, including counter-terror operations and organised crime, he was also a detective in the Anti-Terrorist Branch during the 7/7 London bombings in July 2005 I was really trying my hardest to figure out what was fact and what was fiction as it's so well written.

I'm really looking forward to reading more about Jake and maybe finding out a bit more about him soon.

This is a must read for any crime thriller fans but just make sure you have peace to read it because you really wont want to put it down.

Shtum by Jem Lester

Blurb - Powerful, darkly funny and heart-breaking, Shtum is a story about fathers and sons, autism, and dysfunctional relationships.

Ben Jewell has hit breaking point. His ten-year-old son Jonah has severe autism and Ben and his wife, Emma, are struggling to cope.

When Ben and Emma fake a separation - a strategic decision to further Jonah's case in an upcoming tribunal - Ben and Jonah move in with Georg, Ben's elderly father. In a small house in North London, three generations of men - one who can't talk; two who won't - are thrown together.

A powerful, emotional, but above all enjoyable read, perfect for fans of THE SHOCK OF THE FALL and THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME.

Publish Date ~ April 7th 2016
Published by ~ Orion

My thoughts - Even though Shtum is not released until April this year the reviews have been flying in and it clearly sounds like it's going to be the book of 2016 so I knew I had to read it but I really wasn't sure if it would be for me. I have to say though as soon as I started reading it I couldn't put it down and read it in two sittings.

It was a thought provoking read and stirred up so many emotions through the book, I found myself laughing, nearly crying, angry and sometimes I was so irritated I just wanted to pull Ben out and give him a good shake, Emma a slap and Jonah a huge big cuddle.

The story is written so well, you just seem to get absorbed into it and I was left at the end feeling like I knew this family, like I had lived through it all with them. The only criticism I would have is the end of the book, I really enjoyed it but felt like this could have gone on to be a separate story.

All in all a fantastic read and one I will be recommending to all my friends.

Thank you to Netgalley and Orion for letting me read this in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

The TBC 2016 Book Challenge

I'm a member of a fab virtual book club over on Facebook called The Book Club (TBC) which was set up by the wonderful Tracy Fenton. I've been a member for about 11 months and over this time I've read some absolutely fantastic books that I probably would never have heard of before, whether it be through freebie books, review requests or just speaking to some of the wonderful authors that are members of TBC ( over 600 ) and buying their books. I've read genres I wouldn't have even thought about before and it's really opened my eyes up to what magical books there are.

So The Book Club decided it would be a good idea to do a reading challenge for 2016. Of course as soon as I saw the word challenge I was on it, ready to get going. Basically there are 20 different categories and each book has to be written by an author member of the group. I have downloaded so many books over the 11 months from author members I thought this was great opportunity to add these into the challenge and finally get round to reading them.

It wasn't quite as easy as I thought it would be though and it took me a couple of days to fill up my list. I wanted to make sure each book I chose was perfect for the category and I wanted to try and find different books that the other members hadn't picked but looking back I think a lot of us have the same and that's because they just seem perfect for the category.  

I've read four books so far and enjoying this so much.

Here's the challenge and the books I've chosen ~

1 ~ A Book with a colour in the title
      Blackwood - SJI Holiday
2 ~ A Book with a season in the title (summer/winter/spring/autumn)
      Autumns Blood - Marrisa Farrer
3 ~ A Book written by a TBC author you haven’t read yet
      Pohutukawa Highway - Tammy Robinson
4 ~ A Book with a one word title
      Shtum - Jem Lester
5 ~ A Book with a number in the title
      Three Sisters - Helen Smith
6 ~ A Book written by an author with the same first initial as you
      Fosgates Game - David C Cassidy
7 ~ A Book with Christmas in the title
      Christmas at Gingerbread Café - Rebecca Raisin
8 ~ A Book set in a country you would like to visit
      The Travellers Daughter - Michelle Vernal
9 ~ A Book written by a Scottish Author or based in Scotland
      Blood Tears - Michael J Malone
10 ~ A Book based purely on the cover
        From The Cradle - Mark Edwards & Louise Voss 
11 ~ A Book written in a genre you have never read...
        Carpet Diem - Justin Anderson
12 ~ A Book based purely on the In My Pants game
        Hard to Feel Whole (imp) - Mandy Thomas
13 ~ A Book written by the first author who likes or comments on one of your posts on TBC
        Web of Deceit - Mel Comley & Tara Lyons
14 ~ A Book that costs less than £1.00
        CXVI - Angie Smith
15 ~ A Book written by one of the authors scheduled to do a Q&A in 2016
         No Hiding Place - Mel Comley
16 ~ A Book written by one of the authors who did a Q&A in 2015
         Perfect Daughter - Amanda Prowse
17 ~ A Book which was voted #1 in the Arthur Awards 2015 – any category
        I Let You Go Clare Mackintosh
18 ~ A book with the word “Girl” or “Dead” in the title
        Where the Dead Walk - John Bowen
19 ~ A book published in 2015
         Blood Moon - Alexandra Sokoloff
20 ~ A MABS Freebie Book
        The child Taker & Slow Burn - Conrad Jones

24 Hours by Claire Seeber

Blurb - Here today. Dead tomorrow?
My best friend, Emily, is dead – killed last night in a hotel fire.
But it was meant to be me.
Now I have 24 hours to find my daughter.
Before he finds out I’m still alive.

Publish Date ~ 6th October 2015
Publisher ~ Bookouture

My thoughts - 24 Hours is a fast paced psychological thriller that is hard to put down. It has twists and turns and the more I read the harder it was to figure out who killed Laurie's friend Emily and who is after Laurie as everyone could have done it. I thrive on trying to guess "the who done it" in all books but this kept me guessing and totally engrossed all the way through and even wondering at one point if there really was someone after her.

The story opens with Laurie in hospital with smoke inhalation after the fire and the book is very cleverly spread out telling the story before and the 24 hours after the fire. Some books I've read where time jumps it has been a bit confusing but Claire seems to do this seamlessly and the 24 hour time frame parts are so intense I was reading it like I was being chased and had to get it finished.

24 Hours is a heart racing, adrenaline pumping, can't put down read. I'm really looking forward to reading more from Claire soon.

Thanks to Bookouture and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Stirred with Love by Marcie Steele

Blurb -
Sometimes the best friends can be found where you least expect them …
Still grieving after the loss of her beloved husband, Lily Mortimer is determined to do something with the time she has left.
After the end of her fairy tale marriage, thirty-something Kate is trying hard to mend her broken heart.
Chloe, a young woman with the world at her feet, is struggling to know what to do with her life.
When Lily embarks on a new venture in the picturesque town of Somerley
, the three women come together to open The Coffee Stop, the most charming café for miles around.
But opening a coffee shop is never as simple as it seems, especially when you add neighbouring competition, local heart throbs and heartbreak to the mix.
When tragedy strikes, can the three women pull together to make the new business fly, or will Lily’s last chance disappear down the drain along with yesterday’s coffee grinds?

Publish Date ~ 2nd September 2015
Publisher ~ Bookouture

My thoughts -
Stirred with Love was a joy to read. I'd just finished a gritty thriller and needed something easy to read and this was just perfect.
It's written in a way you just dissolve into the story and it had me completely hooked.

We meet Kate, Chloe and Lily, all different ages, all different characters who all have different issues but are brought together through Lily (the oldest) and her dream of opening a café and they bond and form a friendship that warms the heart. All three characters are endearing and I felt like I could relate to each of them in different ways.

Stirred with Love is funny, it's sad (it will bring a tear to your eye) and it is also totally heart warming. Marcie Steele/ Mel Sherratt has proved with this book that's she's not just fab at writing crime thrillers and psychological suspense but also Romantic comedy/chick lit too.

I received this copy through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Lost Girls by Angela Marsons

Blurb - Two girls go missing. Only one will return.
The couple that offers the highest amount will see their daughter again. The losing couple will not. Make no mistake. One child will die.

When nine-year-old best friends Charlie and Amy disappear, two families are plunged into a living nightmare. A text message confirms the unthinkable; that the girls are the victims of a terrifying kidnapping.

And when a second text message pits the two families against each other for the life of their children, the clock starts ticking for D.I. Kim Stone and the squad.

Seemingly outwitted at every turn, as they uncover a trail of bodies, Stone realises that these ruthless killers might be the most deadly she has ever faced. And that their chances of bringing the girls home alive, are getting smaller by the hour…

Untangling a dark web of secrets from the families’ past might hold the key to solving this case. But can Kim stay alive long enough to do so? Or will someone’s child pay the ultimate price?

Publish Date - 6th November 2015
Publisher - Bookouture

My thoughts -
What can I say, Angela Marsons has done it again.
Lost Girls see's the return of Kim Stone the determined, head strong and committed detective.

In this book Kim and her team have a very disturbing case to try and solve, involving two nine year old girls who have been abducted with a ransom and the threat only one will return.
This book isn't one for the faint hearted and with all it's twists and turns had me gripped from the very first page.

Kim's a brilliant character and I love how we get to know a bit more about her in each book.

I loved Silent Scream and Evil Games and I'm glad I read them before this one although this can be read as a stand alone book but I'd highly recommend reading all three as they are just fantastic.

Thanks to Bookouture and Netgalley for the copy to review. Can't wait to read more from Angie soon.

Monday, 11 January 2016

Pohutukawa Highway by Tammy Robinson

Blurb - It’s January, the height of a New Zealand summer and the Gilbert family have gathered at the campground they’ve been coming to since the seventies to scatter the ashes of youngest son Jeffrey into the sea.

For Jess, the campground holds bittersweet memories. It’s where she passed a childhood of carefree summers, but it’s also the scene of her first heartbreak at the hands of Hunter Aarden. The summer she turned seventeen he promised her he’d love her for always, then he drove out of camp never to be heard from again.

Until now.

After almost two decades, Jess is finally about to find out why.

Both romantic and humorous, Pohutukawa Highway is a story that reminds us about the importance of family, and the magic of second chances.

My thoughts - I'd like to thank Tammy and TBC on FB for giving me the chance to read this book.

I have to be honest and say this is the first book I've read by Tammy and what a cracker it is.

Pohutukawa Highway is a lovely feel good story, full of childhood memories, romance and a touch of sadness.
It's one of those books you don't want to put down or for it to end. It's full of warmth and some real laugh out loud moments.
I'm really looking forward to reading more from Tammy.

Wrong Place by M.A. Comley

      Blurb - DI Sally Parker has a serial killer on her patch. One thing that sets this killer apart from the others she's hunted before: his willingness to leave DNA at each of the crime scenes. It's up to Sally and her partner DS Jack Blackman to find out why before the body count rises to double figures.

While Sally is engrossed in the investigation, her ex-husband, Darryl, pays a surprise visit to her new home. His actions not only threaten Sally's new-found confidence, but they also force the DCI to give Sally an ultimatum concerning the case.

Can Sally overcome all the obstacles fate has placed in her path and arrest the brazen killer?

Publish Date - 26th June 2012
Published by - Jeamel Publishing Limited

My thoughts - I'd had this book on my kindle for a little while and it just kept jumping out at me saying "read me now". So I did and I read it in one sitting. I just couldn't put it down.
It had me gripped from page 1 and kept me hooked right the way to the end.
Sally Parker is a fab character and it was really nice to see that she is human and has her own personal problems and not a machine. I really seemed to connect with her.
I love the chemistry between Sally and her partner DS Jack Blackman, there's a real bond and friendship.
Wrong Place is a brilliant read that has twists and turns that really keep you on the edge of your seat. I'm not going to say any more as I don't want to give anything away, but I can guarantee you will enjoy.