Our new home was supposed to be a chance to leave our past behind. But was moving here the worst mistake of our lives?
All our friends and family were gathered, glasses raised to toast our fresh start. It should have been a night for happiness and celebration. Zac and I had worked so hard for this: our first home together, just minutes from the sea. But the dream quickly turned into a nightmare…
We’d invited our neighbours too. I wanted to make a good impression – to show them we’re exactly the sort of people they want living on their street.
I hadn’t thought about who they might be, the strangers I was letting in.
It was going so well. There was laughter in the air and the wine was flowing. But then I noticed the narrowed eyes, the whispers.
And then the lights went out.
As my heart thumped in my chest, all the little things that had been going wrong since we moved here flashed through my mind: the food poisoning, the arguments, the flood of nasty reviews shaking my business.
Am I going crazy? Or is someone trying to destroy us?
From the USA Today bestselling author Shalini Boland comes an absolutely heart-thumping psychological thriller with a twist you won’t see coming. Perfect for fans of The Girl on the Train, Gone Girl and The Wife Between Us.
I want to thank Bookouture for my copy of The Couple Upstairs in exchange for an honest review.
It’s been a while since I’ve sat down with one of Shalini Boland’s psychological thrillers, so I was very much looking forward to getting stuck into The Couple Upstairs.
Nina and Zac move into a new flat together. It’s meant to be the start of something great for them, especially with Nina’s new business, but everything starts to go wrong for them and pushes them to a breaking point.
The Couple Upstairs starts off gently, with little things that may be accidents or mishaps, but slowly becomes more and more tense as the author amps up the stakes.
Nina was a well-drawn character. She seemed to be just trying her best, under so much pressure, which made me like her. I’m being honest, Zac kind of annoyed me through most of the story. I can’t go into specifics in case of spoilers, but boy could he have done with a smack sometimes.
I felt this was more of a whydunnit than whodunnit, but finding out the motive, the why of it all, kept me hooked until the end. Also, it wasn’t too dark or disturbing, so perfect if you want a psychological thriller that isn’t too heavy.
The Couple Upstairs is a fast-paced thriller that was intriguing from beginning to end.
About the Author:
Shalini lives in Dorset, England with her husband, two children and Jess, their cheeky terrier cross. Before kids, she was signed to Universal Music Publishing as a singer songwriter, but now she spends her days writing suspense thrillers (in between school runs and hanging out endless baskets of laundry).
Welcome to the book tour for Cenotaphs by Rich Marcello! Read on for details and a chance to win a fantastic giveaway!
Title: Cenotaphs by Rich Marcello
Publication Date: 26th July 2021
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
AFTER A CHANCE MEETING, AN OLD MAN AND A MIDDLE-AGED WOMAN CHART AN UNCONVENTIONAL PATH FORWARD.
When Ben Sanna, a contemplative retiree with a penchant for helping people, and Samantha Beckett, a secretive New York City hedge fund manager, meet by chance in a small Vermont town, they enter into a tenuous relationship. Over several weeks, Samantha and Ben open their pasts inch by inch, sift through their futures consciously, and come to terms with the strength and depth of their bond. A meditation on redemption told in alternating chapters of musings and scenes, Cenotaphs is about platonic love; the ways we close ourselves off in reaction to pain and what happens when we open ourselves up again; and the deep, painful legacy of loss.
The parts recur––the son, the lover, the husband, the father, the friend, the citizen. They come in whispers and fragments, in the unwinding of memory. They come in your smile, in the laughter of our children, in nightmares, in bursts of violence against once precious objects. How do you gauge the parts of a life? Did I perform any of them well? How do you summon them into an unfettered whole?
I am old now. I’d hoped I would’ve figured out a few answers by this point, but the truth is I spend more time each day watching the Red Sox than thinking about such things. In the summer and fall, the games are on every day, often twice a day, and watching them gives Zeke and me something to do. Something zen exists about the game, something appealing to me as I age, something about the stillness, the waiting, the bursts of energy, all mimicking the best and worst times in life. And I like the red, blue, and gray uniforms. They remind me of a more structured time.
Zeke, a big black, brown, and white mutt I rescued about ten years ago, keeps me company in our cabin. When I first got him, he liked digging holes in my yard, searching deep and dirty, with only a rare unearthing. His record: twenty-two holes. Twenty-two! In one of them, he found an empty wine bottle, message-less. Now, Zeke mostly sleeps in the same worn spot on the living room rug. I’m not sure which one of us will die first.
Rich is the author of five novels, The Color of Home, The Big Wide Calm, The Beauty of the Fall, The Latecomers, and Cenotaphs, and the poetry collection, The Long Body That Connects Us All. He also teaches creative writing at Seven Bridges’ Writer Collaborative. Previously, he enjoyed a successful career as a technology executive, managing several multi-billion dollar businesses for Fortune 500 companies.
As anyone who has read Rich’s work can tell you, his books deal with life’s big questions: love, loss, creativity, community, self-discovery and forgiveness. His novels are rich with characters and ideas, crafted by a natural storyteller, with the eye and the ear of a poet. For Rich, writing and art making is about connection, or as he says, about making a difference to at least one other person in the world, something he has clearly achieved many times over, both as an artist, a mentor, and a teacher.
Rich lives in Massachusetts with his wife and Newfoundland Shaman. He is currently working on his sixth and seventh novels, The Means of Keeping and In the Seat of the Eddas, a follow-on to The Latecomers.
Hello lovelies! Today I have a cover reveal courtesy of Red Dog Press for Always The Dead by Stephen J. Golds. First a little about the book:
Los Angeles, California. 1949.
Scott Kelly is a World War Two Marine veteran and mob hitman confined to a Tuberculosis sanatorium suffering from consumption, flashbacks and nightmares from his experiences in The Battle of Okinawa and a botched hit for Bugsy Siegel.
When his movie actress girlfriend disappears, he bribes his way out of the sanatorium to search for her.
What follows is a frantic search, a manic murder spree, stolen contraband, and a briefcase full of cash.
A story that stretches from the war torn beaches of Okinawa, all the way to the playground of the rich and famous, Palm Springs, California.
An exploration into the depths of L.A crime, PTSD and twisted love, this is a semi-fictional novel based around the disappearance of Jean Spangler.
Wishing Chris Merritt a happy publication day for his new book The New Home!
Title: The New Home by Chris Merritt
Date Published: 7th September 2021
Genre: Psychological Thriller
You never know what’s happening behind closed doors…
Freya loves her new home on a quiet suburban street. And her beautiful neighbour Emily is everything she’s ever wanted in a best friend. Finally, she has somebody to share her secrets with over a glass of wine. But as Freya watches her new friend setting the table for dinner one evening, she sees something shocking that makes her think that Emily’s life might not be as perfect as it seems. Days later, Emily and her daughter vanish…
When you meet Emily’s husband, you will think you know what he’s hiding.
You will ask yourself whether Emily and Freya really did meet by chance.
You will think you know what happened to Emily and her little girl the night they went missing.
But when you discover the truth, it will shake you to your core and you will lie awake at night wondering if you can ever really trust the people in the house next door…
Fans of Claire McGowan, Shalini Boland and Lisa Jewell will love the gripping tension and unexpected twists of The New Home. Once you start reading, you’ll be hooked!
I want to thank Bookouture for providing me with a copy of The New Home in exchange for an honest review.
I’ve read a couple of Chris Merritt’s crime thrillers before, so when I heard he had a psychological thriller coming out, I was interested to see what he’d come up with.
I always know that whenever I read a Chris Merritt novel, his protagonist is going to go on a hell of a bumpy ride and Freya is no different.
Freya thinks she’s found the perfect home to live in with her fiance Jack. It’s a fixer upper but with time on her hands she thinks they can make it work, especially as her career as a documentary filmmaker has stalled. She makes friends with her new glamorous neighbour, Emily, who seems to have the perfect life. Things turn sour after Emily and daughter Thea disappear. Thinking the police are doing nothing, she looks into their disappearance, quickly becoming obsessed. The more she digs, her life spirals out of control and she can no longer be sure who to trust.
The story is told mostly from Freya’s POV, which means we get inside her head and see her thoughts up close and personal. There’s also an unknown narrator whose perspective was a bit creepy and unsettling.
Freya’s emotions are put across in such a realistic manner that it sometimes was a little hard to read. I’ll be honest, I had to put the novel down a couple of times because I felt like her paranoia was rubbing off on me a little!
The New Home is a realistic thriller peppered with raw emotions, compelling character and sinister moments.
About The Author:
Chris Merritt is a British author whose crime thrillers combine psychology, suspense, and characters you care about.
All his novels are set in London, where he lives. He began writing fiction in 2014, after previous careers as a diplomat, based in Iraq and Jerusalem, and later as a psychologist working with victims and perpetrators of crime. He specialised in treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which sparked his interest in telling stories about how people cope when faced with extreme adversity.
Now, he spends most of his time writing novels and drinking coffee while *thinking* about writing novels. When he’s not writing, he loves climbing and playing basketball.
Title: Black Reed Bay (Detective Casey Wray 1) by Rod Reynolds
Date Published: 28th May 2021
Publisher: Orenda Books
Genre: Police Procedural
When a young woman vanishes from an exclusive oceanfront community in the middle of the night, Detective Casey Wray’s takes on a case that leads her in chilling, unexpected directions … A twisty, breath-taking police procedural. First in a heart-pounding new series.
Don’t trust ANYONE…
When a young woman makes a distressing middle-of-the-night call to 911, apparently running for her life in a quiet, exclusive beachside neighbourhood, miles from her home, everything suggests a domestic incident.
Except no one has seen her since, and something doesn’t sit right with the officers at Hampstead County PD. With multiple suspects and witnesses throwing up startling inconsistencies, and interference from the top threatening the integrity of the investigation, lead detective Casey Wray is thrust into an increasingly puzzling case that looks like it’s going to have only one ending…
And then the first body appears…
For fans of Susie Steiner, Peter Swanson, M J Arlidge, James Lee Burke and Tana French.
I want to thank the TBC reviewer group and Orenda books for providing me with a copy of Black Reed Bay in exchange for an honest review.
Rod Reynolds has been on my radar for a while now, but this is actually the first book I’ve read by him, but it certainly won’t be the last!
A young woman makes a 911 call and seems to vanish. The people of the wealthy neighbourhood that she went missing from claim to have no clue where she went or why she was so distressed. Casey Wray is put on the case and is the only person intent on finding her. Then a body turns up and Casey realises there’s something more sinister going on than she first thought.
Black Reed Bay was one of those books that really kept me on my toes throughout, with plenty of twists and shocks along the way.
I loved Rod Reynolds’ writing style. Descriptive and evocative without bogging you down with too much detail. Added to that, a cleverly concocted mystery and realistic characters, making it a really entertaining read.
Casey Wray is a fantastic character that I really rooted for. An older officer, she’s worked hard to become a detective and still at times struggles with it all. It’s her sheer determination and need for justice that seems to drive her on.
Black Reed Bay is a tense and atmospheric police procedural that kept me gripped throughout. I will be eagerly awaiting the next in the series.
About The Author:
Rod Reynolds is the author of five novels, including the Charlie Yates series, the standalone Blood Red City and the forthcoming Black Reed Bay.
His 2015 debut, The Dark Inside, was longlisted for the CWA New Blood Dagger, and was followed by Black Night Falling (2016) and Cold Desert Sky (2018); the Guardian have called the books ‘Pitch-perfect American noir.’ A lifelong Londoner, in 2020 Orenda Books published his first novel set in his hometown, Blood Red City, which was a Summer 2020 pick in the FT. In 2021, he again turns to the US, this time to present-day Long Island, with Black Reed Bay.
Rod previously worked in advertising as a media buyer, and holds an MA in Novel Writing from City University London. Rod lives with his wife and children and spends most of his time trying to keep up with them.
To Be Enlightened is a cosmic love story that follows Professor of Philosophy Abe Levy as he grapples with what it means to love both his wife, Sarah, and the ocean of silence within. It is also an intellectual exploration of the most intimate of subjects: our consciousness.
Abe Levy’s long tenure as a philosophy professor has motivated thousands of students to ponder age-old questions in light of New Age ideas. Though Abe is passionate about his teaching, he is obsessed with a powerful childhood dream of heaven. To return to that heaven, he must reach enlightenment in his lifetime. Day after day, Abe settles into deep meditation, reaching the very cusp of his goal but unable to cross the threshold. Desperately, he commits to doing whatever it takes, even if it means abandoning his wife for a more ascetic life-a decision that sets off a cascade of consequences for Abe, Sarah, and those he loves the most.
Vedic wisdom holds that during the forty-eight minutes prior to sunrise, which is called the Brahma Muhurta, a wave of purity and balance sweeps through the world, gently waking it up, along with the birds and other animals. I sip my coffee, enjoying the silence and morning calm. About fifteen minutes before sunrise, the birds start singing praises, enlivening and infusing the atmosphere with optimism for the approaching day. The transition rarely fails to uplift me.
A high-pitched fluttering followed by a distinctive buzzing draws my attention. I look up to see a large, shiny purple hummingbird hovering about a foot above the center of the table, looking at me as if wanting to speak. It flits its beak up, down, and sideways, and—zip! It’s gone. I don’t remember ever seeing a hummingbird so close. I sit for a moment. I know that hummingbird! I’ve seen her many times before in my dream. But she was always a bee.
I do asanas and pranayama and then walk toward our bedroom for my morning meditation. The hummingbird gets me thinking about omens. If there really are omens, does it mean that God communicates with us only at specific, special times? Or is it that at certain times we become still enough to precipitate an omen? Maybe there are always omens and we aren’t aware enough to appreciate them? I bet it’s even more complex than that. I adjust my pillows for meditation. In a half lotus, my eyes close.
Mantra, mantra, maaaantra, mmmannntraaaa, maaa…mantra emerges from shimmering pool, drop of water in reverse. Mantra, mantra, mmmmaa…the place on surface of pool where mantra will emerge begins to move, vibrate…I am observing and hearing the mantra’s emergence from my consciousness. It is separate from the real Me, the observer…The school’s administrative board has asked me to head the search committee for a new chief of campus security. I don’t know anything about security. I’m not going…I observe that thought, and this thought, arise in the same way the Mantra emerges.So interesting…Mantra, mantra, mantraaaaa, maaaantra…surface of pool, no ripples, no thoughts, no feelings coming from body or mind, endless…one side, silent awareness; other side, activity. Mantra, maantraa, mmmmm…mantra barely tickles my expansive surface…Bliss surges through body, mind. Bliss is caused by awareness of subtle disturbance at junction between…Mantra, mantra, mantraaaaa, mmmmmmaaaaaaa…flowing outward, all directions; I am a boundless, luminous mirror between my self and my Self… Mmmaaaa…mmmm…maaaaa…I am the surface of the ocean, impossibly still, deafeningly silent…needing to let go…ready to let go…fearing loss…Mmmmmmmm…decision made, must go forward, will go forward…surrendering all I thought I was for what I am…individuality dissolves: raindrop, ocean…
I am—the vast, unbounded ocean of consciousness. I am—unmoving wholeness. I was never that body or that mind. I have been observing Abe Levy since the moment he was born, and much, much longer than that. I am—at peace. I am—now awake. I was sleeping before. I can see the sun and the planets clearly. They are so dear to have nurtured Mother Earth, allowing her to birth humanity. I notice distantly that my body is glowing. Time is immaterial and has lost its grip on me…
* * *
Back in my body, I look over at my bedside alarm clock. More than an hour has gone by. I lie down to rest and a deep sleep envelops my body and mind, though I am awake, aware, and witnessing.
I get up and put on my robe. Something is very, very different. It’s as if I am still meditating even though my body and I are active in the world. I am in two places at the same time—the unbounded ocean of consciousness and the bounded world of activity and senses. I have never, ever, felt so good and so focused. I walk to the kitchen, but I don’t seem to be moving.
It happened. The thought comes that I should be jumping with joy, but I’m past that. A more pressing, evolving issue appears to be whether my body can contain my joy. I close my eyes and watch as thin, sparkling beams of Bliss increasingly poke their way through the shell that is my old body, shining out from my new one in a myriad of luminous, waving threads of various lengths and hues. The brightest and most numerous ones are congregated around my solar plexus and the top of my head. The weirdest part of all is that I’m not surprised or concerned by this in the least.
I make oatmeal with whole milk, dried cherries, roasted almond slivers, cinnamon, cardamom, and a hint of nutmeg. I notice something is gone. I am not, in general, an anxious or fearful man, but I now realize I had significant anxiety and fear all my life. I know this because, for the first time, I am completely without those constant companions. Along with my anxieties and fears, my worries about leaving Sarah to go to Fairfield have evaporated. I don’t have to go anywhere now. I am where I have always wanted to be. I’m Here. The weight of responsibility that I had shouldered in guiding Sarah around her triggers has lifted. I think that I can now lovingly support her without feeling bogged down or burdened.
I shower, shave, dress for class, and it all seems to happen automatically, as if I’m uninvolved in the process. I was somewhat intellectually prepared for this, but even after over fifty years of meditation, I’m not prepared experientially. This will take some getting used to.
Walking to my office, the world is delicious. The singing birds are part of me, thrilling me thoroughly from the inside with our perfect twittering. My heart sings with them. My body hums with a hymn as my feet beat the rhythm into the sidewalk.
Alan J. Steinberg, MD is board-certified in Internal Medicine and practices with the Cedars-Sinai Medical Group in Beverly Hills, California. He also serves as one of the attending physicians for the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers. He grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada, where he learned Transcendental Meditation (TM) in 1975. Earning his undergraduate philosophy degree at Pomona and Pitzer Colleges in Claremont, California, he went on to attend the University of Nevada School of Medicine, receiving an MD degree in 1984. His first book was a non-fiction consumer’s guide, The Insider’s Guide to HMOs (Plume/Penguin), which garnered favorable reviews in the Los Angeles Times and other publications as well as appearances on The Today Show, 20/20 and C-Span. The book helped sway the direction that healthcare was heading in the late 1990s. His debut novel, To Be Enlightened(Adelaide Books, 2021), is a work of visionary fiction, inspired by some of his own experiences as a lifelong practitioner of TM. Dr. Steinberg lives with his wife of over thirty-five years in Los Angeles, California. They are the proud parents of three young adults.
Title: Murder in the Village (Belinda Penshurst 1) by Lisa Cutts
Date Published: 21st August 2021
Genre: Cozy mystery
Meet Belinda Penshurst. Castle owner, dog lover… crime solver?
Belinda Penshurst loves her home village Little Challham, with its shady lanes, two pubs and weekly market, and she’s determined to keep it peaceful. She may live in Challham Castle but she knows almost everything that goes on under her nose. So when irritable pub landlord Tipper is found dead in his cellar, she’s perfectly placed to investigate.
Retired detective Harry Powell moved to Little Challham for a quiet life. He didn’t expect to be dragged into a murder investigation. But the police don’t seem half as enthusiastic as Belinda about the case, and there are strange things happening in the village. Particularly the number of dogs that have disappeared lately…
Is there a dognapper snaffling schnauzers and luring away Labradors? Is Belinda barking mad to be worried that her brother Marcus was arguing with Tipper on the day he died? Belinda and Harry track down the suspects: the rival landlord, the outraged barmaid, the mysterious man in the black car following dogwalkers around. But are the dogged detectives running out of time to sniff out the killer, before he starts hounding them?
A charming cozy mystery full of laughs and eccentric characters. Fans of M.C. Beaton, H.Y. Hanna and Emily Organ will love the first novel in the Belinda Penshurst series!
I want to thank Bookouture for providing me with a copy of Murder in the Village in exchange for an honest review.
I’m a bit of a sucker for a cozy mystery, so I jumped at the chance to read Murder in the village.
I know Lisa Cutts has written other books before this one but this is actually the first I’ve read of hers, but it certainly won’t be the last!
Two cases run side by side in this novel. First off, the dog owners of Little Challam are being targeted by mysterious dognappers. The second mystery involves the murder of pub landlord Tipper, a man with no shortage of enemies, but who would want to kill him? Belinda joins forces with retired detective Harry Powell to solve both cases.
Murder in the village has all the ingredients of a good cozy mystery, an idyllic sounding setting, a cast of interesting characters and a couple of determined amateur sleuths intent on getting to the bottom of the case.
Belinda and Harry made a fun pair together. Belinda is fairly bossy and stubborn, not afraid to say what she thinks, while Harry is a little more reserved and thoughtful. I enjoyed the back and forth between Belinda and Harry. I feel there’s some good potential between the pair and look forward to seeing what they get up to next.
At times, I found Belinda a tad annoying, but she grew on me as the story went along.
Both mysteries kept me guessing with plenty of suspects and red herrings along the way.
Murder in the village is a solid cozy mystery and a must for fans of this genre!
About The Author:
Lisa Cutts is a full-time detective constable investigating murders for a living. When off duty she writes a fictitious version of her day job. She lives and works within the county of Kent with her husband and Labrador.
She is the author of the DC Nina Foster books, Never Forget and Remember, Remember. Never Forgot was longlisted for the Waverton Good Read Award 2013 and the winner of the Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Award 2014 for Best Thriller. She has also written four books in the East Rise Incident Room series, Mercy Killing, Buried Secrets, Lost Lives and Don’t Trust Him. All four centre around DI Harry Powell and his Major Crime Team battling to solve the latest murders within the county. Currently she is writing the Little Challham mysteries, cosy mysteries set in a fictional village in Kent.
She writes a monthly column, Behind the Tape, for Writing Magazine answering police procedural questions from other writers. In early 2016, she was honoured to become the Patron of Rochester Literature Festival and help establish Murderous Medway, an annual crime fiction festival packed full of amazing author panels. As well as being on BBC Radio 4’s Open Book, Lisa has twice appeared on This Morning to chat about TV crime dramas Broadchurch and Line of Duty.
From the discovery of a human foot in a park, to the missing daughter of Jenny’s violent ex-husband… the stakes have never been higher for the Skelf family
Keeping on top of the family funeral directors’ and private investigation businesses is no easy task for the Skelf women, and when matriarch Dorothy discovers a human foot while walking the dog, a perplexing case presents itself.
Daughter Jenny and grand-daughter Hannah have their hands full too: the mysterious circumstances of a dying woman have led them into an unexpected family drama, Hannah’s new astrophysicist colleague claims he’s receiving messages from outer space, and the Skelfs’ teenaged lodger has a devastating experience.
Nothing is clear as the women are immersed ever deeper in their most challenging cases yet. But when the daughter of Jenny’s violent and fugitive ex-husband goes missing without trace and a wild animal is spotted roaming Edinburgh’s parks, real danger presents itself, and all three Skelfs are in peril.
Taut, dark, warmly funny and unafraid to ask big questions – of us all – The Great Silence is the much-anticipated third instalment in the addictive, unforgettable Skelfs series.
‘Compelling, compassionate … just brilliant. This series gets better with every book. I cannot get enough of the Skelfs’
Mark Billingham on The Big Chill
I want to thank Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me on this book tour and Orenda books for providing me with a copy of The Great Silence.in exchange for an honest review.
Ah, it’s lovely to be back with the Skelfs again, it’s a bit like visiting old friends. Dysfunctional old friends, mind you, but highly entertaining at the same time.
This is the third book in the series and I would highly recommend reading the previous books to get a better understanding of the characters and they just happen to be fantastic too!
You know when you read a book and think, where does the author come up with these amazing ideas from? That’s exactly how I felt while reading The Great Silence.
As usual, there are several investigations going at once during the novel. Dorothy discovers a dismembered foot while out walking her dog Einstein. Jenny is busy looking for her ex-husband, who escaped police custody. Hannah is investigating a case where her colleague thinks he’s getting messages from outer space. This is all while running their funeral directing business and dealing with their usual family dramas along the way.
Like the previous books, the storylines are expertly woven together, grabbing you from the outset and making you want to read to the very last page.
Of course, like the other books in the series, there’s some dark themes, i.e. abuse and suicide, but they’re handled with sensitivity by the author.
I heard this might be the last we see of the Skelfs, which I hope is not the case! If it is, then I will say it was a satisfying ending for the trilogy, but I’m crossing my fingers for more stories featuring Dorothy, Jenny and Hannah.
The Great Silence is a captivating and original read that I honestly couldn’t get enough of.
About The Author:
Doug Johnstone is the author of twelve previous novels, most recently The Big Chill (2020). Several of his books have been bestsellers and three, A Dark Matter (2020), Breakers (2019) and The Jump (2015), were shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year.
He’s taught creative writing and been writer in residence at various institutions over the last decade – including at a funeral parlour ahead of writing A Dark Matter – and has been an arts journalist for over twenty years.
Doug is a songwriter and musician with five albums and three solo EPs released, and he plays drums for the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, a band of crime writers. He’s also player-manager of the Scotland Writers Football Club. He lives in Edinburgh.
Follow Doug on Twitter @doug_johnstone and visit his website: dougjohnstone.com
I want to thank Zoé at Zooloos Book Tours for inviting me on his tour and for providing me with a copy of her debut novel Ouija in exchange for an honest review.
This is the second in the QMP young adult horror series, but you don’t have to worry, each story is self-contained and can be read in any order you feel like.
I absolutely love stories that have spirits or evil entities in them, so Ouija, I knew as soon as I read the description, it was going to be right up my street.
Ouija is Zoé-Lee O’Farrell’s debut novel and what a debut it is!
The story follows six friends who decide to go to an abandoned school, the scene of a tragedy a year earlier, to hold a seance with a Ouija board. It’s clear from the outset that there is something wrong in the school, but this doesn’t stop them. During the seance something goes wrong and they summon something they really shouldn’t have. Something that’s determined to see them dead.
Ouija was such an enjoyable ride of a story, packed with plenty of creepy goings on, tension and plenty of teen angst along the way.
Like the previous novel in the series, there’s that air of nostalgia for me, because it really reminded me of the Point Horror books I grew up reading back in the nineties.
I felt there were a few things that weren’t quite explained fully, but that didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the novel overall.
Ouija is a short and spooky read that had me gripped from start to finish.
About The Author:
Zoé O’Farrell grew up in Watford but left the town life to live by the sea down at the White Cliffs of Dover.
She spends her days working with numbers before escaping in the evening to the world of words and movies. Her go-to relaxation is watching a scary movie or reading a terrifying book!
She is a book blogger and tour organiser just to keep her extra busy. When she is not reading or writing, you can usually find her watching Watford FC or at a gig. Failing that she can be found rolling her eyes at her husband as he acts the same age as her spitfire of a Mini-Me whilst separating her two cats.
The place had a gruesome past that nobody wanted to talk about…
Camp Deathe is now a great place to spend the summer. Ritchie soon finds a group of outsiders like himself. Teenagers who ignore the organised activities, and bunk off in the old abandoned cabins deep in the woods. The cabins that have a history.
The campfire monster stories were meant to just scare them. Nobody expected them to come true. Then one of the teenagers disappears in the middle of the night.
Something is watching them. It hides in the woods and hunts at night.
Ritchie will have to uncover the secrets of the camp and understand his own problems in order to survive.
Camp Death is Book 1 in a new series brought to you by Question Mark Horror. For fans of Point Horror, Christopher Pike & Nicholas Pine.
I want to thank Zoé at Zooloos Book Tours for inviting me on his tour and for providing me with a copy of Camp Death in exchange for an honest review.
I’ve read and enjoyed a couple of Jim Ody’s books now, so I was definitely interested when I found out that he’d written a point horror type novel, I loved those when I was younger!
The story follows Ritchie, a troubled teen, who is forced to go on to a summer camp by his parents. From the off there’s something not right about the place, rumours of deaths and disappearances are rife. Ritchie is talked into going to the old abandoned part of the camp, but he finds out too late what a mistake that was.
Camp Death really grabbed me from that first chapter, with a pulse pounding start along with a sprinkling of intrigue in there too.
Ritchie is a realistic and well-drawn character, full of teen angst and hormones. Not always likeable, but then again, what sixteen-year-old is? I say that as the mother of a sixteen-year-old myself.
Even though it was set in the present day, the book had a bit of an eighties/nineties vibe to it, which I really enjoyed.
As always with Jim’s books, there’s a bit of mystery wrapped up in the horror making sure you don’t see the full picture until the very end.
I would say the pace wasn’t quite as snappy as Jim’s usual books, but that was just a minor issue.
Camp Death is a quick and creepy read that made me feel nostalgic while I was reading it.
About The Author:
Jim writes dark psychological/thrillers, Horror and YA books that have endings you won’t see coming, and favours stories packed with wit. He has written over a dozen novels and many more short-stories spanning many genres.
Jim has a very strange sense of humour and is often considered a little odd. When not writing he will be found playing the drums, watching football and eating chocolate. He lives with his long-suffering wife, three beautiful children and two indignant cats in Swindon, Wiltshire UK.