#BookReview The Couple Next Door by @sharilapena

Title: The Couple next door by Shari Lapena

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Synopsis:

You never know what’s happening on the other side of the wall.

Your neighbour told you that she didn’t want your six-month-old daughter at the dinner party. Nothing personal, she just couldn’t stand her crying.

Your husband said it would be fine. After all, you only live next door. You’ll have the baby monitor and you’ll take it in turns to go back every half hour.

Your daughter was sleeping when you checked on her last. But now, as you race up the stairs in your deathly quiet house, your worst fears are realized. She’s gone.

You’ve never had to call the police before. But now they’re in your home, and who knows what they’ll find there.

What would you be capable of, when pushed past your limit?

 

Review:

So I got given this book as a present for my birthday and I started reading it because I’ve been reading so many ARC’s and ebooks that I haven’t read a physical book in about a month!

It’s a mother and father’s worst nightmare, your baby going missing in the middle of the night and as a mother myself the thought terrifies me (my son is nearly a teenager but the thought of him going missing…it doesn’t bear thinking about).

Anyway the story is told from three perspectives, the mother Anne, the father Marco and Detective Rasbach. It’s so seamless the way it moves from one view to another but each character was so well thought out I never found myself wondering who’s viewpoint it was.

My favourite character had to be Anne. She is on the edge, both physically and mentally, she has a condition where she blacks out and can’t remember what she’s done. Did she murder her own baby? Did her husband cover it up?

The only thing I would say, that on occasions it was quite painful to read her downward spiral mentally.

I have mentioned this before and I will mention it again, I don’t do spoilers, which makes it quite hard to review a book like this. All I can say is when I thought it was going in one direction or getting a little predictable, there’d be a twist to made me want to carry on reading it.

As for the ending, it was a typical happy ever after kind of thing, it was a bit ambiguous really, but I loved it. All I can say was the bad guys get what they deserve!

Rating: 5/5

Contact:  Facebook   Instagram   Twitter   Goodreads

#BlogTour #BookReview Locked up by @GailBWilliams

Title: Locked up by GB Williams

Publisher:  Bloodhound books

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Synopsis:

A prison officer and a convicted killer must work together to solve a brutal murder and expose conspiracy inside a prison.

Ariadne Teddington is surrounded by people who lie but that is to be expected when you work in prison where every man claims to be innocent.

Charlie Bell, an ex Detective, now finds himself in that prison serving time for murder after having taken the law into his own hands.

When a fellow inmate is killed Charlie is asked to investigate the case from the inside. Soon Charlie finds himself working with Ariadne but she is a guard, he is an inmate and some lines should never be crossed…

Can two people on different sides of the law come together to solve the case?

And do the answers lie closer to home than anyone ever imagined?

Review:

I want to thank Bloodhound books for my advanced copy of this fantastic book.

It had hooked me from the first page. It was full of action and intrigue that I just couldn’t put it down.

I have to say I’ve never wanted a fictional character to not be guilty of a crime as much as I did with ex-detective Charlie Bell (he unfortunately was, having killed a man he was unable to convict through the normal channels). He was such an interesting character, he’d spent so many years in prison yet it hadn’t changed him, underneath the brooding grumpy exterior was a good man. Then there was prison guard Ariadne Teddington, also with a little bit of a chequered past but with a sense of justice for the murdered Tommy Walters. I loved the two of them together.

I also never expected this book to take me on such a roller coaster ride of emotions! Certain parts of the book, I can’t really tell you why because I don’t want to give away spoilers, almost had me in tears.

I can’t wait to read more from this author.

Rating: 5/5

Author bio:

After being made redundant in 2012, GB started taking her life-long passion for writing more seriously and looking to sell her work. Specialising in complex, fast-paced crime novels, sheGail Wiliams started writing the Locked Series in 2014, and has been working to polish and perfect since – not to mention – sell.

GB was shortlisted for the 2014 CWA Margery Allingham Short Story Competition with the story Last Shakes, now available in Last Cut Casebook. She is also a feature writer and comic book reviewer on www.warpedfactor.com. Crime novels are her stock in trade, but she has had success with short stories in various genres including steampunk, horror, erotica and general fiction.

With bills to pay, she’s back working as a systems architect by day, a freelance fiction editor and keen writer of an evening and weekend. GB really needs to learn to sleep.

Originally from Kent, GB moved to South Wales as a supposed first step on a year around the world. Then she met a guy.  Kept the guy, kissed the travel goodbye. Knowing that the best way to travel is by book anyway, she has always read, always written. GB now has two grown-up children, the world’s most imperious cat, a house full of books and a hard drive full of manuscripts (though some will never be allowed out of a locked basement).

 

Links:

Twitter: @GailBWilliams

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Gail-Williams/261748000603425

Blog: https://thewriteroute.wordpress.com/

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

Email: info@gailbwilliams.co.uk

BLOG TOUR (1)

Contact Me: Twitter     Facebook     Instagram     Goodreads

 

#BookReview Her Book Boyfriend by @Krgrace10

Yes I know I’m doing an extra post this week but September is turning out to be a very busy reviewing month for me!

Title:  Her Book Boyfriend by K.R. Grace

Genre: New Adult.  Romance.

Synopsis:

She believes the secret to love is in the tropes of her favourite romance novels. He’s the best friend prepared to prove her wrong.
Then comes the bet.
If she can’t land a boyfriend for prom by recreating the ten popular tropes in her favo
urite romance author’s books, she has to go to the prom with her.
The glitch?
They’ve been close their entire lives. He’s the rock god and school legend, while she’s the brainy sidekick who does all his dirty breakups. Thus, finding a guy who doesn’t think they’re already an item is going to be a lot harder than she thinks.
Will she land the book boyfriend of her dreams? Or will she be forced to go to prom with her best friend.
The truth is in the pages.

Review:

Macey is super smart or a ‘hot nerd’ (her words not mine) who happens to be best friend with Cam the rocker bad boy but she’s sick of only being known as ‘Cam’s friend’. She wants to find the boy of her dreams to take her to prom using all the tropes from romance fiction.

This novella is not going to be for everyone. It’s cliché after cliché after cliché but I have to say I enjoyed it. It’s a sweet and a little sappy and frankly I’ve been reading quite a few dark crime thrillers lately it came as a nice break.

If I’m being honest though, the plot was a little sloppy and rushed in places and I found some of the characters a bit redundant like the foreign exchange student Wen Li who doesn’t talk for most of the book. Also I would have liked the main character to have been a little more original, to sort of stand out from all the rest of the cliches.

I know this is just one of a series and I wonder what the author is going to do next.

Rating 3/5  

I received an advanced copy of this via NetGalley. 

Contact Me:  |     Twitter      |     Instagram     |

                       |     Facebook   |     Goodreads    |

#BlogTour #BookReview The Case of the Missing Bride by @CarmenRadtke1 @BloodhoundBook

Title: The Case of the Missing Bride by Carmen Radtke

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Publisher: Bloodhound Books

Synopsis:

When a girl goes missing on board of an ocean liner, only one person is convinced that the disappearance is no accident. Alyssa has found herself with a group of impoverished girls who are embarking from Australia to Canada in the hope of marriage. As the daughter of a senior official, Alyssa doesn’t share this goal. She hopes to return to England via Canada and sees the trip as her only way to secure any passage on a ship. But the girls all share one problem. Their presence on the ship is not known to many of its passengers but their worlds collide when one of the gentlemen discovers the girls. Then Emma, one of the intended brides, goes missing. Alyssa is convinced the disappearance is no accident, and she will risk her own life to search for the killer. What happened to Emma? Is there a murderer on board the ship? Alyssa is about to discover that there is more to her voyage into the unknown than she bargained for.

Review:

First off I would like to thank Bloodhound Books for my advanced copy of this book.

This book is set in the late nineteenth century when girls, especially orphaned, ones had little or no prospects in Australia. They’re only choice was to set sail to Canada in hopes of finding a husband.

Alyssa Chambers is not like the other girls. She was raised in relative luxury, until her father, a high ranking official, spoke out against the treatment of prisoners in Port Philips prison and then her mother died leaving her alone. Boarding the ship she hopes to get to Canada then back to England to find her long lost relatives.

She is put in charge of a small group of girls whom she grows fond of then one the girls, goes missing.

With the help of Dr Bryson and first mate Mr Kendrick she must find the killer before he strikes again.

I loved this Agatha Christie style mystery. There wasn’t a lot of action but it didn’t need it, the mystery kept me interested all the way through. The setting on the boat helped a lot, the author really got that feel of isolation across and terror of being trapped in the middle of nowhere with a murderer.

Alyssa was a fantastic character too, with a tendency to speak her mind and defend herself, which was not a good trait in a woman back in those days.

There was also a little bit of a love triangle going between Alyssa, Dr Bryson and Mr Kendrick which I enjoyed immensely.

My only complaint was it was quite a short book and I wanted to read more!

I will definitely be on the lookout for more books by this author.

Rating 5/5

Author Bio:

Carmen has spent most of her life with ink on her fingers and a dangerously high pile of books and newspapers by her side.Carmen11

She has worked as a newspaper reporter on two continents and always dreamt of becoming a novelist and screenwriter.

When she found herself crouched under her dining table, typing away on a novel between two earthquakes in Christchurch, New Zealand, she realised she was hooked for life.

The shaken but stirring novel made it to the longlist of the Mslexia competition, and her next book and first mystery, The Case Of The Missing Bride, was a finalist in the Malice Domestic competition in a year without a winner.

Carmen was born in Hamburg, Germany, but had planned on emigrating since she was five years old. She first moved to New Zealand and now lives in York, UK, with her daughter, cat, and sometimes her seafaring husband comes home.

Links:

https://scribbler25.wixsite.com/mysite

www.facebook.com/Carmen-Radtke-1958399947738868/

Twitter:@CarmenRadtke1

Carmenradtke01@gmail.com

BLOG TOUR (4) (1)

Contact:  |     Twitter      |      Instagram      |

|    Facebook   |     Goodreads      |

#BlogTour #BookReview The Blood of Kings by @angelaS969 @bombshellpub #histfic

Title: The Blood of Kings by Angela King 

Genre: Historical Fiction

Publisher: Bombshell Books

Synopsis:

1559. A girl arrives in London to search for her brother. Aalia, an awkward, arrogant teenager plans to bring William to his senses, until she discovers that both their lives are based on a lie. Aalia must unravel a web of secrets but has the weight of her past to contend with. Courageous and undisciplined, Aalia gradually comes to terms with the truth that William, her brother, has royal blood. Deciding to undermine the men who want to use him as a pawn, Aalia must negotiate a world where secrecy arms the powerful. But unwilling to ask for anyone’s help she is forced into making a fateful decision. Who can she trust when everyone around her is plotting? Is the truth really something worth dying for?

This epic story of secrets and betrayal paints a vivid picture of Elizabethan England and asks questions that span beyond the test of time.


Review:

Now I haven’t read much historical fiction bar a few cozy mysteries set in the Victorian times, so this was completely new ground for me.

It’s set in Elizabethan England at the beginning of Elizabeth I’s reign just after Mary Queen of Scots has died. If, like me, your only knowledge of Tudor times is some vague memory from Primary school then you might have a bit of trouble getting to grips with this setting like I did.

It also has quite a large cast of characters too which I found a little hard to keep track of and the language was a little difficult to read so I often had to go back and re-read passages. I think it could have also benefited from a glossary.

But I absolutely loved the headstrong and fearless Aalia, she was definitely all you want in a heroine. Also some of the action scenes were fantastic, my favourite being when Aalia saves the young Queen Elizabeth from a church collapsing on her.

Overall I think this is the kind of book you have to sit down, concentrate, while you are transported back in time to another era.

Rating 3/5

Author Bio:

I’ve always loved words, those little black squiggles dancing around the page lead inside a secret world – the world of imagination.Angela Pic 1

I’ve always loved writing – diaries, stories, letters – I’m a compulsive writer. My favourite task is pinning the imagined world into words – it’s also the most exciting but I’d rarely let anyone read my work.

I was born in Wimbledon but my first memories are of Clapham Common, where I lived until I was six years old. Next I moved to Kent, to an ancient village on the fringes of the Thames Estuary. I loved books and dreamed of becoming a writer – my English teacher was really encouraging – but I come from a long line of practical dreamers who need first to earn a living.

After school I went to Medway College of Art in Rochester, to study design. The course was meant to teach design techniques that could be ‘geared’ to any medium but it failed, most students dropped out before the first term ended. I ‘geared’ towards costume and embroidery and during college holidays worked at ‘Bermans and Nathans’, a company who provided costumes for film, television and theatre.

My first ‘proper’ job was working as assistant designer to the most amazing man, Bruno Stern (there’s a book waiting to be written). The company was based in Dover Street and made beautiful clothes for the rich and famous. It was a surreal place to work but after problems getting home during a year of unplanned rail strikes, I decided to find employment nearer home.

By this time I’d married – Michael King. He was working as a goldsmith in Essex and we were living in the village of Paglesham when I got a job with a local theatrical costume company. I loved my job and started writing children’s books with an illustrator friend. Together we produced two little books – ‘Olly the Octopus’ and ‘The Squeaky Knight’. In 1980 I began working on my first novel when we had a season of disasters – Michael was involved in a terrible car crash, the company where he worked went bankrupt, my old dog died and our beautiful, grade 2 listed cottage, burned down. Feeling it was time for change we moved to Cumbria.

We started our own jewellery company in 1984, working from home. We had two small children and no income. Michael manufactured while I went out selling his work at craft fairs. We struggled at first – finding customers, building a reputation. We moved to bigger premises in 2002 and now employ four jewellers and two design consultants.

While my children were growing up I studied with the Open University. I also worked for a small company which made docu-history films for museums and wrote articles for magazines and specialist publications. Then, in 2008, two very close friends died, kicking me into action – if I didn’t write my novel soon it might never be written. I joined a couple of local creative writing groups and finally allowed my imagination to run free.

In 2016 I had short stories published in three different anthologies: Dark Minds (Bloodhound Books), Happily Never After (C & P Writers) and Dot, Dot, Dot, (Wiza Words).

My first novel – The Blood of Kings – is due to be published by Bombshell Books later this year.

Links:

Blog: https://anna.king969.wordpress.com

Twitter: A.S.King@angelaS969

Email anna.king969@hotmail.co.uk

BLOG TOUR (6)

Contact:  |      Twitter     |       Instagram     |      Facebook       |      Goodreads      |

#BookReview Manipulated Lives by @HALeuschel

Title: Manipulated Lives by Helene Leuschel

Genre: Literary & General Fiction, Novellas, Suspense

Audience: Adults

Three words to describe the book: Psychological, manipulation, narcissism

Publisher: Self-published

Page count: 274

Publication Date: 8th June 2016

Description:

Five stories – Five Lives.

 
Have you ever felt confused or at a loss for words in front of a spouse, colleague or parent, to the extent that you have felt inadequate or, worse, a failure? Do you ever wonder why someone close to you seems to endure humiliation without resistance?
Manipulators are everywhere. At first these devious and calculating people can be hard to spot, because that is their way. They are often masters of disguise: witty, disarming, even charming in public – tricks to snare their prey – but then they revert to their true self of being controlling and angry in private. Their main aim: to dominate and use others to satisfy their needs, with a complete lack of compassion and empathy for their victim.
In this collection of short novellas, you meet people like you and me, intent on living happy lives, yet each of them, in one way or another, is caught up and damaged by a manipulative individual. First you meet Tess, whose past is haunted by a wrong decision, then young, successful and well balanced Sophie, who is drawn into the life of a little boy and his troubled father. Next, there is teenage Holly, who is intent on making a better life for herself, followed by a manipulator himself, trying to make sense of his irreversible incarceration. Lastly, there is Lisa, who has to face a parent’s biggest regret. All stories highlight to what extent abusive manipulation can distort lives and threaten our very feeling of self-worth.

 

Review:

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review by the author herself.

Manipulated Lives is a collection of five short stories, Tess and tattoos, The spell, Runaway girl, The narcissist and My perfect child, all based around the theme of manipulation.

Tess And Tattoos is about eighty two year old, Tess, the survivor of domestic abuse who meets the kind hearted Sandra who forge an unlikely friendship which helps Tess come to terms with her past.

The Spell is about Sophie who befriend a young boy named Leo and enters into a relationship with his father. She is happy to spend time with Leo and sees him like her own son. Their happiness is short lived as a woman begins stalking them on behalf of Leo’s mother.

Runaway Girl is about fifteen year old Holly, who wants freedom from her alcoholic mother and out of the small flat that she shares with her family. But she catches the eye of Luke, the hottest boy in school with a bad reputation. She’s never really had a boyfriend before and is soon caught in Luke’s web.

The Narcissist is about a life long con artist who can’t see the error of his ways even though he’s now dying.

My Perfect Child is about Lisa who thinks she has the perfect son whom she spoils with attention and constantly makes excuses for. As the story progresses she realises that he has been manipulating her and everyone around him.

The Spell was by far my favourite and well worth buying this book for. It had a very psychological thriller feel to it. It really drew me into Sophie’s world, sharing her fears and feeling her protectiveness over Leo.

But I have to be honest the other stories didn’t quite live up to The Spell. I felt there was a lot of telling the reader what was happening rather than showing. Like for instance in Tess and Tattoos we’re told about the awkward guilt filled telephone calls that Tess has with her son, who lives in Australia. I felt it would have been better maybe to have shown one these calls within the dialogue. Also at times, especially in The Runaway Girl, the dialogue was little awkward too.

But overall I think Helene did an amazing job handling such a sensitive subject as manipulation/abuse and I can tell there was a lot of painstaking research was done on this subject throughout the stories.

These stories won’t be to everyone’s taste, and I even found it a little hard myself sometimes to read, but I’d recommend you give them a try.

Rating: 3/5

Author bio:

Photo - Helene editedHelene Andrea Leuschel grew up in Belgium where she gained a Licentiate in Journalism and Communication, which led to a career in radio and television in Brussels, London and Edinburgh.

She now lives with her husband and two children in Portugal and recently acquired a Master of Philosophy with the OU, deepening her passion for the study of the mind. When she is not writing, Helene works as a freelance journalist and teaches Yoga.

For more about Helene Leuschel check out the links below:

Website: www.heleneleuschel.com

Twitter: www.twitter.com/HALeuschel

Facebook: www.facebook/HALeuschel
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15337013.H_A_Leuschel

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Manipulated-Lives-H-Leuschel/dp/1534708979/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1478786755&sr=8-1&keywords=manipulated+lives

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Manipulated-Lives-H-Leuschel-ebook/dp/B01GU27Y1E/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&q

 

Follow me on:

Twitter                                              Facebook

Instagram                                         Goodreads

#BlogTour Untainted Blood by @LizCrimeWarp @Bloodhoundbook

Untainted Blood by Liz Mistry

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Description:

In a city that is already volatile, tensions mount after a Tory MP in Bradford Central is discredited leaving the door open for the extreme right-wing candidate, Graeme Weston, to stand in the resultant by-election.

However, Graeme Weston is not what he appears to be and with secrets jeopardising his political career, he must tread very carefully.

Meanwhile, a serial killer targets Asian men who lead alternatives lifestyles and metes out his own form of torture.

As DI Gus McGuire’s team close in, the deranged killer begins to unravel and in an unexpected twist the stakes are raised for Gus.

Are the murders linked to the political scandals or is there another motive behind them?

DI Gus McGuire and his team are back and this might be their toughest case yet.

Review:

First off I would like to thank Bloodhound books for my advanced copy of this book and Sarah Hardy for arranging this blog tour.

As I write this review racism is at the forefront of my mind, with the attack in Charlottesville and a fellow bookstagrammer (If you’ve never heard of it, it basically someone who take pictures of books and posts them on Instagram) was subject to some vile abuse for speaking out against racists. I makes me sick that in this day and age that it still is going. (I shall climb down from my soapbox now and carry on with this review).

Set in a post Brexit Bradford racism is definitely the main theme of this book. Asian/black men are being kidnapped and tortured, the Nazi insignia (I couldn’t remember what it was called and I’m certainly not googling it), tattooed on them. Hate group and wannabe political party Albion First, headed up by Graeme Weston and his manager Michael Hogg, are prime suspects.

This is my first introduction to DI Angus ‘Gus’ McGuire (with his team) and his pathologist dad Dr Fergus McGuire. I have not read the first two books, Unquiet Souls and Uncoiled lies but I don’t think it’s really necessary to enjoy this book (although I may be adding them to my tbr pile after reading this book!). 

Liz Mistry created some absolutely vile, but exceptionally believable, characters, Graeme Weston and Michael Hogg, that made Nigel Farage and UKIP look like fluffy bunnies. I have genuinely never wanted to see fictional characters strung up from the nearest lamppost so much!

I will also applaud Liz for the array of diverse characters from in her book that I feel reflects modern Britain.  

At the beginning of the book you’re dropped right into the story, with two murders having already taken place and a third happening in quick succession. I did feel like I’d missed something at first but as the book went along it really pulled me into the action.  I feel like I’m not doing the complexity of the plot justice, but I don’t want to give away any spoilers.

What slightly put me off this book was racist language, mainly from the killer’s perspective.  I found it a little hard to read.  I also figured out the killer by about half way through but there was lots of misdirection that at times I did doubt myself.

But overall a really good book, which although the story started a little slow, it really hooked me by the end and I could put it down!

Rating: 3/5

Author Bio:

As well as writing crime fiction, Liz is co-founder of and main contributor to The Crime Warp blog, which reviews all areas of crime fiction, interviews crime authors and participates in blog1 (2) tours. She is the main publicist for the blog, using social media to promote their presence.

Liz is an ex teacher who has taught in inner city Bradford schools for over twenty years. Her husband of nearly 30 years is Indian and they have three children. They live in inner city Bradford and Liz likes to use the rich tapestry of her life in Bradford, combined with her Scottish heritage, in her writing.

In Sept 2017 she is starting a PHD In Creative Writing, researching crime fiction and social media.

Liz also teaches creative writing, specifically within the crime fiction genre.

Links:

Twitter : @LizCrimeWarp

FB @LizMistrybooks

email: lizmistryauthor@yahoo.co.uk

Blog: The Crime Warp

Website : liz mistry crime writer
 

Catch the rest of the tour here:

BLOG TOUR (5) (1)

Book Review: Murder is the Word by Anthony Horowitz

I know my blog posts are a day early this week but I promise to be back to my regular Tuesday and Friday posts next week!

Genre:  Mystery/Thriller

Description:

A wealthy woman strangled six hours after she’s arranged her own funeral.
A very private detective uncovering secrets but hiding his own.
A reluctant author drawn into a story he can’t control.
What do they have in common?

Review:

That synopsis doesn’t give you much information does it? I think that’s why, when I first started reading this book, I got so confused. Is it fiction? Is it true crime? You see the writer, Mr Anthony Horowitz himself, is in the book, narrating the whole thing in the first person. The only time I’ve ever come across that before was in an autobiography.

The best way I’ve come to see it is this: it was like he wrote a piece of Sherlock fanfiction but replaced Doctor Watson with himself and renamed Sherlock Holmes, Daniel Hawthorne.

If that’s confused you more then I’m sorry.

The reason I compare it to Sherlock Holmes, apart from the fact I know the author has written two Holmes novels, is Hawthorne and Mr Horowitz have a very Sherlock/Watson relationship .i.e. Hawthorne is always making him feel stupid. There is also a Lestrade type character in a Detective Inspector Meadows.

In fairness he did change a few aspects of the detectives personality, making Hawthorne not particularly likeable. He smokes like a chimney, is homophobic (two things I despise in real people never mind fictional ones!) and is fairly smug.  The only thing that saved me from disliking him completely was the air of mystery that surrounds him, like he was a puzzle that I wanted to crack.

In the end I did find the story quite enthralling and I didn’t manage to figure out the killer, which is always a bonus for crime fiction!

This story really stuck in my head, after I’d finished it, giving me a terrible book hangover (for those who don’t know what that is, it a state of not being able to pick up another book because you’re still hung up on the last one).

Also if you are reading the book keep your eyes peeled for cameo’s from Stephen Spielberg and Peter Jackson!

Rating: 4/5

I want to thank NetGalley and Random House for my advance copy of this book.

Connect with me via:

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook