Double #Review The Puppet Show & Black Summer by M.W. Craven @MWCravenUK

So I actually reviewed The Puppet Show back in May on Goodreads but I never shared it here, so I thought, why not share both my review for The Puppet Show and Black Summer today!

the puppet showTitle: The Puppet Show by M.W Craven

Publisher: Constable

Date Published: 7th June 2018

Genre: Police Procedural

Description:

A serial killer is burning people alive in the Lake District’s prehistoric stone circles. He leaves no clues and the police are helpless. When his name is found carved into the charred remains of the third victim, disgraced detective Washington Poe is brought back from suspension and into an investigation he wants no part of . . .

Reluctantly partnered with the brilliant, but socially awkward, civilian analyst, Tilly Bradshaw, the mismatched pair uncover a trail that only he is meant to see. The elusive killer has a plan and for some reason Poe is part of it.

As the body count rises, Poe discovers he has far more invested in the case than he could have possibly imagined. And in a shocking finale that will shatter everything he’s ever believed about himself, Poe will learn that there are things far worse than being burned alive ..

Review:

So I saw lots of fantastic reviews for The Puppet Show last year so I decided to pick up a copy for myself.

Washington Poe is disgraced, living the simple life in the middle of Cumbria when he gets a call. A man the press dubbed the ‘immolation man’ (yes I had to google what immolation meant. Its clever name, perhaps a little too clever for the press of this country) has carved his name on the chest of his latest victim.

He’s dragged into the case whether he likes it or not and with the help social awkward Tilly Bradshaw, he needs to stop the killer before the body count rises any more.

This really started with a bang, a violent and bloody bang to be accurate!

Washington Poe, is just one of the best names I’ve come across in fiction for a while and suits his character down to the ground. He’s complex and more than a little grumpy but what I loved about him was the way he stood up to bullies particularly the ones picking on poor Tilly.

I also loved the relationship between Poe and Tilly. He accepts her quirks and bluntness which annoy pretty much everyone around her and she seems to be the voice of reason for him. Doesn’t stop him from aggravating his superiors and going off to do risky things but there’s not as much fun if the characters follow the rules is there?

Another enjoyable aspect of the book was the setting of Crumbria, both beautiful and at times a little bleak, it was almost a character in itself.

I have to be honest it did take me a while to really get into this book, I felt after the violent and gripping start the story meandered a little before really getting juicy with a gripping ending.

I’d recommend this to any one who loves a gritty and gruesome serial killer novel with great characters.

black summerTitle: Black Summer by M.W Craven

Publisher: Constable

Date Published: 20th June 2019

Genre: Police Procedural

Description:

After The Puppet Show, a new storm is coming . . .

Jared Keaton, chef to the stars. Charming. Charismatic. Psychopath . . . He’s currently serving a life sentence for the brutal murder of his daughter, Elizabeth. Her body was never found and Keaton was convicted largely on the testimony of Detective Sergeant Washington Poe.

So when a young woman staggers into a remote police station with irrefutable evidence that she is Elizabeth Keaton, Poe finds himself on the wrong end of an investigation, one that could cost him much more than his career.

Helped by the only person he trusts, the brilliant but socially awkward Tilly Bradshaw, Poe races to answer the only question that matters: how can someone be both dead and alive at the same time?

And then Elizabeth goes missing again – and all paths of investigation lead back to Poe.

Review:

So this is the second in the series but it can be easily read as a stand-alone but I suggest if you’ve got the time, you should read the Puppet show too, because it’s such a good book.

Poe’s past comes back to haunt him as Elizabeth Keaton, a young woman he thought dead, turns up at a local library. Her father Jared Keaton has spent six years in jail for her murder. Jared is complete psychopath, out for revenge and he has Poe in his sights.

Elizabeth goes missing, again, Poe is the one and only suspect. Can he clear his name and solve this puzzling mystery?

It’s nice to be back with Poe and Tilly! I absolutely could not get enough of this dark and disturbing sequel, it really kept me on my toes while I was reading it! Dare I say it’s even better than the first book…

I think this series would make a brilliant TV show. It’s got everything, quirky detectives, great setting and intriguing mysteries…what more could you want?

Poe is the type of character that seems to get into trouble no matter what. He is a brilliant detective but has the ability to rub people up the wrong way, specifically police officers, but just can’t help but warm to him.

Like with the first book, I found the beginning a little slow but it soon picked up the pace and had me gripped.

Black Summer is a dark and thrilling mystery that I couldn’t get enough of. I can’t wait to see what this author does next!

About The Author:

M. W. Craven was born in Carlisle but grew up in Newcastle, running away to join the army at the tender age of sixteen. He spent the next ten years travelling the world having fun, leaving in 1995 to complete a degree in social work with specialisms in criminology and substance misuse. Thirty-one years after leaving Cumbria, he returned to take up a probation officer position in Whitehaven, eventually working his way up to chief officer grade. Sixteen years later he took the plunge, accepted redundancy and became a full-time author. He now has entirely different motivations for trying to get inside the minds of criminals . . .

The Puppet Show, the first in a two-book deal he signed with the Little, Brown imprint, Constable in 2017, was released to critical acclaim in hardback in 2018. It has been sold in numerous foreign territories and the production company Studio Lambert, creators of the award-winning Three Girls, have optioned it for TV. The sequel, Black Summer, follows in June 2019.

M. W. Craven is married and lives in Carlisle with his wife, Joanne. When he isn’t out with his springer spaniel, or talking nonsense in the pub, he can be found at punk gigs and writing festivals up and down the country.

Website: mwcraven.com
Twitter: @MWCravenUK

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#BlogTour #Review The 365-Day Writer’s Block Workbook by Morgen Bailey @morgenwriteruk @BOTBSPublicity

Title: The 365-Day Writer’s Block Workbook by Morgen Bailey

Genre: Non Fiction/Writing

Description:

Over a thousand sentence starts, three per day, with writing tips at the end of each week to motivate and inspire, providing kick-starts to avoid the dreaded ‘writer’s block’. Useful for any writer at any level, whether they have 10 minutes or 10 hours, to start a new project. Also an ideal tool for writing groups.

With a combination of six first-person, six second-person, six third-person and three non-specific point of view starts per week, there are plenty to choose from. Beginning at ‘Day 1’ this book has been designed to be started at any time of the year, and regardless of whether the sentences are used in order or not. With a choice of three per day a writer can select one, two or all and see where it leads them.

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Review:

A huge thank you to Sarah Hardy at Books On The Bright Side Publicity for inviting me on this blog tour and providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

The 365-Day Writer’s Block Workbook is a great book that really gives your creative spark a boost!

As the title suggests there are 365 days worth of writing prompts. You can do an exercise every day if you want to or like me dip in and out when you need that extra bit of assistance.

Each day you’re given three lines, in a different tense or point of view which you can use to start a story. The great thing is you can use as many lines as you want, you can even change the POV or names or tense, mix and match lines from different days, there’s endless possibilities!

When I got my hands on this book I was really suffering from maybe not full blown writer’s block but I’d really hit a wall with my writing. I used a couple of the prompts and while the stories I wrote were not the best, it really helped me get back into writing.

The 365-Day Writer’s Block Workbook is a fab little book that every writer should have in their toolbox.

Author Bio:

Morgen Bailey – Morgen with an E – is a multi-genre author, freelance editor, writing tutor, writing competitions magazine columnist and judge, blogger, and speaker.2 Morgen July 2017

Her website is www.morgenbailey.wordpress.com, email is morgen@morgenbailey.com, she is morgenwriteruk on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Her books can be found at Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com/Morgen-Bailey/e/B007SNIBF8, http://www.amazon.co.uk/Morgen-Bailey/e/B007SNIBF8 etc.),

Smashwords (https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/morgenbailey) and wherever books can be ordered.

 

#BlogTour #Review A Whisker In The Dark by Leighann Dobbs @leighanndobbs @bookouture

Title: A Whisker In The Dark by Leighann Dobbs

Publisher: Bookouture

Date Published: 31st July 2019

Description:

Discovering the 300-year-old skeleton of shipping tycoon Jedediah Biddeford in the ballroom wall is a big old hassle for Josie Waters, owner of the Oyster Cove Guesthouse. Especially when Biddeford’s descendants turn up, certain that a family legend about treasure buried nearby must be true.

Josie is too busy dreaming up the perfect cake for the Oyster Cove’s 250th anniversary celebration to worry about the Biddeford family – plus half the town – digging up her yard… until one of her guests is murdered in the guesthouse garden. 

With worries that her guesthouse will get a reputation for being the kind of place you only leave in a body bag, Josie must put her detective skills to work to find the killer. Lucky for her, Nero and Marlowe and their gang of cat sleuths are also on the case. 

From the old wharf, to the town common, to the guesthouse itself with its many nooks and crannies, the cats are sure to sniff out the killer… but can they help Josie stop the person behind the mysterious murder before they strike again?

A fantastic page-turner from a bestselling author, purrfeect for fans of Agatha Christie, Adele Abbott, cat lovers and everyone in between!

You can buy your copy here: https://geni.us/B07RKCWRPRSocial

A Whisker in the Dark - Blog Tour

Review:

I want to thank Noelle Holten for inviting me on this blog tour and Bookouture for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

It is so nice to be back at the Oyster Bay Guest house with Josie, her mum Rose and her partner in crime solving Millie. Also I mustn’t forget the crime solving cats Nero and Marlowe!

The family of Jedediah Biddeford, the original owner of the Oyster Bay Guest house, are staying at the guest house for the town’s celebrations. To call them dysfunctional is an understatement, they all seem to hate each other.

The renovations to the guest house are going as planned until the bones of Jedediah Biddeford are found in one of the walls! Jedediah’s family believe the family legend that he brought home treasure and set about looking for it, along with the rest of Oyster Bay.

One of the family turns up dead and suspicion falls on Flora, the world’s worst maid, it’s up to Josie, Nero and Marlowe to find the real culprit.

This is the second in the series but can easily be read as a stand-alone without missing feeling like you’ve missed any of the story. I would still recommend reading the first A Twist In The Tail (you can read my review here) just because it’s such an enjoyable book.

I am absolutely loving this cosy mystery series! I’ve been having a bit of a reading slump lately, I can’t tell you how much this cheered me up.

A Whisker In The Dark is a humorous and quirky read which features cat detectives Nero and Marlowe with their little gang of feline helpers. I loved the way that the relationship is developing between them and their human Josie, as she’s starting to understand them a bit more when they’re pointing her in the direction of clues.

I saw a few complaints about the first book saying it wasn’t a believable story line and frankly I think they’ve missed the point of these novels, they’re fun and a great way of escaping reality for a few hours.

A Whisker In The Dark is a fast paced and fun cosy mystery with likeable sleuths with plenty of twists and turns that makes it such great read.

About The Author:

USA Today bestselling author, Leighann Dobbs, discovered her passion for writing after a twenty year career as a software engineer. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband leighann dobbsBruce, their trusty Chihuahua mix Mojo and beautiful rescue cat, Kitty.

Her book “Dead Wrong” won the “Best Mystery Romance” award at the 2014 Indie Romance Convention.

Her book “Ghostly Paws” was the 2015 Chanticleer Mystery & Mayhem First Place category winner in the Animal Mystery category.

Social Media links:

Website: http://www.leighanndobbs.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/leighanndobbs

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

#BlogTour #Review The Escape Room by Megan Goldin @megangoldin @Tr4cyF3nt0n #TheEscapeRoom

Title: The Escape Room by Megan Goldin

Publisher: Trapeze

Date Published: 25th July 2019

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Description:

Welcome to the escape room. Your goal is simple. Get out alive.

In the lucrative world of Wall Street finance, Vincent, Jules, Sylvie and Sam are the ultimate high-flyers. Ruthlessly ambitious, they make billion-dollar deals and live lives of outrageous luxury. Getting rich is all that matters, and they’ll do anything to get ahead.

When the four of them become trapped in an elevator escape room, things start to go horribly wrong. They have to put aside their fierce office rivalries and work together to solve the clues that will release them. But in the confines of the elevator the dark secrets of their team are laid bare. They are made to answer for profiting from a workplace where deception, intimidation and sexual harassment thrive.

Tempers fray and the escape room’s clues turn more and more ominous, leaving the four of them dangling on the precipice of disaster. If they want to survive, they’ll have to solve one more final puzzle: which one of them is a killer?

The Escape Room blog tour

Review:

A huge thank you to Tracy Fenton for inviting me on this blog tour and thank you to Trapeze for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

The Escape Room is two from two perspectives, the people trapped within the lift and a woman named Sara Hall.

Sara is offered a job at a top financial firm on Wall street, after struggling to find a job. At first, it’s tough, long hours and a less than friendly welcome from her new colleagues. But she finds herself with more money than she’s had in a long time.

She ignores the toxic work environment, ingrained sexism and back stabbing workmates until it’s too late.

Meanwhile the people in the lift are sent more and more cryptic clues. Someone is messing with them. Tempers flare and paranoia sets in.

Wow what a fantastically twisted thriller the escape room was! I will freely admit I have a love of locked door mysteries but this is still one of the best I’ve read so far this year.

From the very beginning we know that something bad has happened within the confines of a lift but the who and the why is where this novel really keeps you hooked.

What I also loved was when I thought this novel was going in one direction, the author threw in a twist I didn’t see coming, keeping me guessing all the way through.

Of course most of the characters aren’t particularly likeable, especially the people trapped in the lift but I found it easier to read someone like that being toyed with than someone I actually liked.

The escape room had plenty of gasp out loud twists and turns that really kept me on my toes while I was reading it.

About The Author:

Megan Goldin is the bestselling author of “The Escape Room”, praised by Lee Child as “one ofmegan goldin my favorite books of the year”, as well as “The Girl In Kellers Way”, a critically-acclaimed domestic noir thriller nominated for Australia’s leading crime fiction awards.
Megan worked as a journalist for Reuters, the Australian ABC and Yahoo! News before writing her debut psychological thriller The Girl In Kellers Way.

#BlogTour #Review The Misfit Tribe and The Secret of Mystery Island by BJ Rowling and DG Lloyd @BOTBSPublicity

Title: The Misfit Tribe and The Secret of Mystery Island by BJ Rowling and DG Lloyd

Publisher: Olympia Publishers

Date Published: 25th October 2018

Genre: YA Adventure

Description:

Some secrets are best kept hidden… and some are just too magical not to share.
Teenagers, who unexpectedly acquire a vast collection of magical, mystical powers and abilities, find an ancient map. This map leads them on a quest for buried treasure to a mysterious island filled with hidden secrets, booby traps and a ruthless villain who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. What could possibly go wrong? A lot!

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Review:

I want to thank Sarah Hardy at Books On The Bright Side Publicity for inviting me on this tour.

JJ finds a map in an old family relic which claims to lead to treasure, just what his cash strapped family needs. But, as he find out, along with his friends that this no ordinary map. They must solve clues, avoid booby traps, all with a heartless villain on their tails.

The Misfit Tribe and The Secret of Mystery Island is a nod to classic children’s adventure fiction with a magical twist. In fact this really reminded me of Enid Blyton books I read as a kid.

Misfit certainly describes this group of friends well! Each of the characters are so different it’s funny how they are actually friends! JJ, is determined, Digger is army obsessed, Genius is well a genius. They ended up dragging JJ’s older brother Aaron and Digger’s older sister Karli, along with JJ’s crush Sandra on the adventure. It was enjoyable watching each character grow and change as the story went along.  

My only slight issue was the fact that it’s classed as young adult but it felt a little bit more like a middle grade, especially as the characters are only thirteen and fifteen but of course that just my opinion.

The Misfit Tribe and The Secret of Mystery Island is a rip roaring adventure, full magic, mystery and mayhem!

About The Authors:

B. J. Rowling, a native of England, is an author, screenwriter, producer, actress and cousin of Harry Potter author, J. K. Rowling.B.J Rowling & D. G. Lloyd

D. G. Lloyd is an American-Australian author, screenwriter, producer, actor and script coverage analyst.

https://twitter.com/bjrowling?lang=en

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https://www.facebook.com/BJRowling

https://twitter.com/dglloyd66?lang=en

#BlogTour #Review The Holiday by TM Logan @TMLoganAuthor @Tr4cyF3nt0n

Title: The Holiday by TM Logan

Date Published: 25th July 2019

Publisher: Zaffe Books 

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Description:

Packed with twists and turns, The Holiday is Logan’s most powerful thriller yet…

SEVEN DAYS

THREE FAMILIES

ONE KILLER

It was supposed to be the perfect holiday, dreamed up by Kate as the ideal way to turn 40: four best friends and their husbands and children in a luxurious villa under the blazing sunshine of Province.

But there is trouble in paradise. Kate suspects that her husband is having an affair, and that the other woman is one of her best friends.

One of these women is willing to sacrifice years of friendship and destroy her family. But which one? As Kate closes in on the truth in the stifling Mediterranean heat, she realises too late that the stakes are far higher than she ever imagined.

Because someone in the villa is prepared to kill to keep their secret hidden.

The Holiday Tour Poster

Review:

So I really enjoyed TM Logan’s last book 29 Seconds (you can read my review here) so I jumped at the chance to read The Holiday.

The story opens with the discovery of a body at the bottom of a cliff, we don’t know who or why the body ended up there but it painted a really visceral and realistic picture and set the tension for the whole book.

We go back in time and follow Kate and her friends Rowan, Izzy and Jennifer with their families as they holiday in a Villa for their fortieth birthdays. But all is not right in paradise as Kate finds some messages on her husband Mark’s phone and believes he’s having an affair. Tensions simmer beneath the surface boiling over and resulting in the death of one of the people in the mansion.

The Holiday was a sun soaked thriller that for me was the perfect summer read. It’s full so full of tension that it had me on edge just waiting for the killer reveal.

It’s told mainly from Kate’s first person perspective, which we really get inside her head and I felt really connected to her. There even a scene where she’s standing over her son sleeping, with this irrational need to check he’s still breathing which I found myself going ‘oh my god, I do that sometimes with my own son!’

My only minor issue was I felt like the author kept me waiting for a little too long, not getting to the really juicy stuff until about the last quarter of the novel. Although I can safely say I did not guess the end of this book by a long shot!

Overall The Holiday is a slow burn tension packed thriller that will keep you hooked from beginning to end.

About the Author:

TM Logan was born in Berkshire to an English father and a German mother. He studied at Queen Mary and Cardiff universities before becoming a national newspaper journalist. He currently works in communications, in the field of higher education, and lives in Nottinghamshire with his wife and two children.

His debut thriller LIES was a blockbuster bestseller, one of the top ebooks of 2017, and sold over 300,000 copies.

His second novel 29 Seconds was longlisted for the Specsaver National Book Award.

You can follow TM Logan on Twitter @TMLoganAuthor

#BlogTour #Review The July Girls by Phoebe Locke @phoebe_locke @headlinepg #TheJulyGirls

Title: The July Girls by Phoebe Locke

Date Published: 25th July 2019

Publisher: Wildfire

Genre: Psychological Thriller.

Description:

Every year, on the same night in July, a woman is taken from the streets of London; snatched by a killer who moves through the city like a ghost. Addie has a secret. On the morning of her tenth birthday, four bombs were detonated across the capital. That night her dad came home covered in blood. She thought he was hurt in the attacks – but then her sister Jessie found a missing woman’s purse hidden in his room. Jessie says they mustn’t tell. She says there’s nothing to worry about. But when she takes a job looking after the woman’s baby daughter, Addie starts to realise that her big sister doesn’t always tell her the whole story. And that the secrets they’re keeping may start costing lives…

Praise for Phoebe Locke:

a gripping read and almost impossible to put down’ Jo Jakeman, author of Sticks and Stones on THE JULY GIRLS

Beautifully written, not a word out of place, this deserves to be the summer’s breakout hit’ Fiona Cummins, author of Rattle on THE JULY GIRLS

An extraordinary novel that gets under your skin from the very first page. Shocking, yet subtle, the menace drips off every page, making it an almost unbearably good read. Such an intricate, absorbing story that more than delivers on its knock-out premise (and boy, is it a knock-out!)’ Caz Frear, author of Sweet Little Lies on THE JULY GIRLS

I have just ripped through The July Girls in less than twenty-four hours – what an absolute *corker* of a novel!’ Lisa Hall, author of Tell Me No Lies on THE JULY GIRLS

Phoebe Locke has knocked it out of the park once again with THE JULY GIRLS. Atmospheric and beautifully written, it really is stunningly good.’ Cass Green, author of In A Cottage In A Wood on THE JULY GIRLS

Loved it as much as THE TALL MAN. Chilling, gripping and unputdownable, with a wonderful protagonist. A must-read this summer’ Karen Hamilton, author of The Perfect Girlfriend on THE JULY GIRLS

‘An original take on the serial thriller killer that grips and disturbs, filled with characters who will linger long after “The End”. As a reader I’m so excited that I’ve discovered Phoebe Locke’ Catherine Ryan Howard, author of Distress Signals on THE JULY GIRLS

The July Girls is a page-turning, atmospheric thriller about a serial killer, but at the same time a sensitively written coming of age story with a wonderful central character.’ Jenny Quintana, author of The Missing Girl on THE JULY GIRLS

Stayed up late last night to finish THE JULY GIRLS, a beautifully written, expertly crafted thriller packed with genuine surprises. I also loved the contemporary London setting and how the book showed the coming of age of the heroine, and the city itself’ Amy Heydenrych, author of Shame on You on THE JULY GIRLS

Thrilling, poignant and unpredictable, Phoebe Locke takes this serial killer chiller to a whole new level. I loved the Tall Man, The July Girls is even better.’ Chris Whitaker, author of All The Wicked Girls on THE JULY GIRLS

One of the most atmospheric and original thrillers I’ve ever read, THE JULY GIRLS is full of twists and turns, and memorable, realistic characters. I didn’t want it to end. It’s a book I’ll be thinking about for a long time. I can’t wait to read what Phoebe writes next’ Charlotte Duckworth, author of The Rival on THE JULY GIRLS

The July Girls BT Poster

Review:

I want to thank Anne Cater for inviting me on this blog tour and Wildfire for providing with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

I’ve heard lots of good things about Phoebe Locke and after reading this I can’t wait to get stuck into her first thriller The Tall Man.

It is difficult to do The July Girls justice in my review but I’ll try my best!

We follow Addie starting around her tenth birthday, getting to know her sister Jessie and her dad who always seems to be working leaving Jessie to look after her little sister. On the night of Addie’s birthday, 7th July 2005, terrorists attack the city of London. Her father comes home covered in blood.

Unable to leave it alone Addison digs and finding out that women have been disappearing every year on the 7th July. Could her dad be the serial killer they nicknamed Magpie?

The novel is told through Addison’s point of view, with snippets from a ‘true crime’ book and interspersed with little insights into the killers mind.

The July Girls starts off as quite a slow burn novel but it was Addison’s narration that kept me absorbed from the start. She was such a compelling character, her voice really comes off the pages making her feel almost real.

Also using the events going on in 2005 and the subsequent years it really adds to the novels authenticity and atmosphere.

I will say this is probably leaning towards domestic drama rather than psychological thriller but it is still a great read and my goodness it was one of the best endings I’ve read in a while.

The July Girls is a complex and emotional tale with realistic characters and settings that will keep you enthralled until the end.

About The Author:

PHOEBE LOCKE is the pseudonym of full-time writer Nicci Cloke. She previously worked at thePhoebe Locke Author Pic Faber Academy, and hosted London literary salon Speakeasy. Nicci has had two literary novels published by Fourth Estate and Cape, and also writes YA for Hot Key Books. She lives and writes in Cambridgeshire. THE JULY GIRLS follows Phoebe Locke’s debut thriller THE TALL MAN.

Find Phoebe on Twitter on @phoebe_locke