Falling by T.J Newman @T_J_Newman @simonschusterUK @RandomTTours #debutauthor #thriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Falling by T.J Newman. My thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging for my copy of this book from the publisher Simon and Schuster.

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You just boarded a flight to New York.

There are one hundred and forty-three other passengers onboard.

What you don’t know is that thirty minutes before the flight your pilot’s family was kidnapped.

For his family to live, everyone on your plane must die.

The only way the family will survive is if the pilot follows his orders and crashes the plane.

Enjoy the flight.

My Review…

When I saw the synopsis for this book I knew it was one that I wanted to read. I was so right about this book as I got a brilliant and adrenalin-fuelled psychological read from start to finish.

The first line of this book did it for me, what an opening line that was. That was the prologue, by the way.

the story is of Capt. Bill Hoffman, pilot of Coastal Airways flight from Los Angeles to New York. Not a scheduled flight for Bill, but an extra and one that his wife isn’t happy about him taking on. He should have been home, maybe if he was then the nightmare that ensues would not have happened.

When the plane is hijacked, it is Bill who is the only one on board that is aware of it. His wife and two children are not able to help as they have been kidnapped. His instructions are simple. Crash the plane or your family will die.

Once I started this book really couldn’t put it down. After the dramatic opening, the chapters that followed drew me further in. The author built an image of a family man who is loyal to his employers, who has a sense of duty and who has a sense of right and wrong. When his family are taken he has a choice, what his decision will be I will leave you to read and discover.

It is not only Bill but also Jo, Kellie and Big Daddy who have a part to play. They are flight attendants, Jo does have the larger role of the three. There is also a couple of key on the ground characters as well.
This gives a good around view of the event as it unfolds and gives differing perspectives as events unfold. Obviously, there is Bill in the cockpit, Jo and the crew with the passengers, the family, the kidnapper and also the FBI. While it may seem as there are many characters, they are introduced in such a way as they become memorable quickly.

The author, who by the way was a Flight Attendant brings her experience in the air to this book. There are little things that cropped up as I read that I didn’t realise. To be honest, I have never flown so it’s not like I am an expert, but there were times where I came across something that I was never aware of.

There are plenty of surprises along the way and several twists that I didn’t see coming. I did briefly give a passing thought about one person but then brushed that off! I do like how the author has used this scenario to try and exert pressure on the pilot. I mean, he is in the air but he can still control what happens to his family. But, what about the passengers on his flight, they are also his responsibility! Talk about a vicious circle!

I thoroughly enjoyed this adrenalin-packed roller coaster of a ride, or should I say flight! I am quite glad I like keeping my feet firmly on the ground after reading this book! It’s a fabulous debut that had me hooked and I think would be ideal for readers who enjoy a fast-ish-paced, psychological thriller. I would definitely recommend it.

About the Author…

T. J. Newman, a former bookseller turned flight attendant, worked for Virgin America and Alaska Airlines from 2011 to 2021. She wrote much of Falling on cross-country red-eye flights while her passengers were asleep. She lives in Phoenix, Arizona. Falling is her first novel.

Check out the other stops on the tour…

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂

Threadneedle by Cari Thomas @Cari_Threads #Threadneedle @RandomTTours @HarperVoyagerUK #urbanfantasy #NetGalley #debutauthor #bookreview

I am absolutely delighted to share my review today for Threadneedle by Cari Thomas. I adored this book so much and I would like to thank Anne at Random Things Tours and Harper Voyager UK for my spot on the tour and for my e-copy of this gorgeous book.

Anna’s aunt has always warned her of the dangers of magic. Its twists. Its knots. Its deadly consequences.
Now Anna counts down the days to the ceremony that will bind her magic forever.


Until she meets Effie and Attis.


They open her eyes to a London she never knew existed. A shop that sells memories. A secret library where the librarian feeds off words. A club where revellers lose themselves in a haze of spells.


But as she is swept deeper into this world, Anna begins to wonder if her aunt was right all along.
Is her magic a gift…or a curse?


Told through spells created with knots and threads, this is a story that is both innovative and
based in traditional witchcraft.

My Review…

Wow-what an amazing book this was. I had such high hopes for this book as I was really in the mood for a witchy fantasy type story and this is what I got and so much more.

Anna has been warned about the dangers of magic and its use. Rather than risking the danger, it would be better if Anna had her magic bound, in other words, has it blocked so she cannot use it. Anna sort of goes along with this until she discovers that she is not alone in this magical world. That others have powers and that they do use them. They are not all of the same opinions as Anna’s guardian and Aunt. I have to say, thank goodness they don’t share her opinion.

Mysterious deaths are reported in the paper, with a range of far-fetched sounding rumours. I mean there are no switches, it is a myth, right? Well, as far as the author, Anna and her friends are concerned there are witches, they are not myths, they are just good at hiding themselves.

I adored everything about this book apart from one thing… it ended and I have to wait for more! This was such an easy book to get caught up in, the story of Anna and her Aunt is at times brutal. The author really does have a great way of expressing the term “tough love”, there is more to this than first meets the eye though. Safety, fear and danger have a large part to play.

I do like how the author brings a group of misfits together and how she uses them to good effect to deal with being a teen and the problems that come with it. In some respect, this is a story about a group of teens who are dealing with life, school and the whole rebel thing but this group has a little more up their sleeves than your average teen.

I also like how the way the author gave various traits and characteristics to the group but then challenges their characters. I am not revealing how this occurs, while it isn’t exactly a major part of the story it does show the progress that the group makes as a whole.

This is a coming of age story, it is about learning lessons in life and that actions have consequences. Yes, it is a young adult read that I do think that age group of readers would love, but also the older readers. I did at times feel a hint of A Discovery of Witches, as Anna learns more about the magic and (I love that series of books btw).

This is a wonderful fantasy book that mixes magic with a world of today. It is simply a brilliant book and as I read it over a couple of days I was hooked, addicted and didn’t want it to end. It really didn’t feel like a book over 500 pages long. It is one I would definitely recommend and I am eager to see more in this exciting new series. 

About the Author…

Cari Thomas has always loved magic, inspired by her upbringing among the woods and myths of Wales’
Wye Valley. She studied English and Creative Writing at Warwick University and Magazine Journalism at
The Cardiff School of Journalism. Her first job was at teen Sugar magazine where she ran the book club and
quickly realized she wanted to be the one writing the books instead. She went on to work at a creative
agency, spending her spare time researching magic and accumulating an unusual collection of occult books.
She wrote her debut novel Threadneedle while living in London, wandering the city and weaving it with
all the magic she wished it contained. She now lives in Bristol with her husband and son, who bears the
appropriately Celtic name of Taliesin.

A Note from the Author…

I remember the old family stories about my Great Aunt Mary. A fiercely independent, enigmatic woman who was said to be a witch. Perhaps it was these early stories seeping into my subconscious, perhaps it was devouring The Worst Witch, or growing up in rural Wales surrounded by myth and fairy tales, or maybe it was just me, but from a young age I developed a fascination for all things witches and magic.
But let’s not forget that the witch’s hut always sits outside of the village for a reason. In my research, I became just as obsessed with magic’s opposite forces – repression, fear, suspicion and prejudice. After all, if my Great Aunt Mary had been alive a few centuries earlier she may well have been burnt at the stake.
Witch hunts became an area of fascination for me and the more I read the more outraged I became – how powerful, outspoken women and men, or people of the pagan faith, or simply outsiders, have time and time again been suppressed, silenced and extinguished from society. How the power structure of the day meant that it was near impossible for them to have a voice and to defend themselves.
Why was it such people terrified those in power? Why were we not taught more about this dark period
of history? Why did the themes feel like they still resonated so strongly today?
I explore these tensions in Threadneedle- the freedoms of magic set against a fear of witches and feminine
power; schoolgirls forced to take on the injustices of the world one spell at a time.
The sheer joy of writing the book came in bringing these tensions into the modern world and particularly
into the London setting we think we know. Ultimately, this is where the heart of the story lies: in feminine power and sisterhood, bringing together
an unlikely set of outsiders, who together must navigate their way through the light and dark of being
a young woman in today’s world. A world that is more complex than ever and yet still plagued by many
of the same issues that my Great Aunt Mary would have faced, and all the witches who came before her.

Check out the other stops on the tour…

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

Last Seen by Joy Kluver @Bookouture #NetGalley #debut #crime #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Last Seen by Joy Kluver. I read this one at the end of March this year and it is a debut and so start the Detective Bernadette Noel series.

My thanks to Bookouture for my e-copy that I read via NetGalley.

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I can see her, shouting with laughter as she swings as high as she can, her beautiful blonde curls flying out behind her. I can feel her tiny hot hand in mine, and my heart aches. My little girl. If only I’d listened to my gut. Then maybe she’d be safe here with me…

When five-year-old Molly Reynolds is snatched from the park in the small village of Otterfield, Detective Bernadette ‘Bernie’ Noel throws herself into the search, sick with worry for the quiet, sensitive little girl and her distraught mother.

Wasting no time, Bernie finds a small green cardigan under a bush in the park. It still has the smiley face sticker Molly won that week at school. It’s the first in a chain of clues – and Bernie can’t shake the feeling that it was left deliberately, as a message.

But Bernie encounters a wall of silence. Otterfield is a close-knit community, yet no one in the village seems to care that Molly is missing at all. Why?

And then Bernie makes a chilling discovery: twenty-five years ago, another little girl went missing from the area. Her name was Sophie, and all they ever found of her was her teddy bear, hidden under a bush. Now Bernie knows she’s in a race against time to save Molly’s life.

Bernie’s team work round the clock to find a connection between the two girls, and just when they think they’re making progress a devastating tragedy strikes at the heart of the case. Molly’s family have been hiding a secret, and now their little girl is in greater danger than ever.

Can Bernie outwit the most warped criminal she has ever faced and bring Molly home safe, or will another innocent life be lost?

A completely addictive crime thriller with mind-blowing twists that will have you reading late into the night. If you like Val McDermid, D.S. Butler or Angela Marsons, you’ll love Joy Kluver.

My Review…

I have to say that I am delighted to see that this is the first book in a planned series because I thought this book was brilliant.

The author has woven a story that had me hooked from the first few pages, if I hadn’t had to go to work it would have easily been a one-sitting read. When a child goes missing from a park you would expect locals to go out of their way to help. Why then does it take longer for them to gradually rouse themselves?

This along with some other clues is the start of a mystery thriller that introduces Detective Bernadette (Bernie) Noel and her team racing to make the links to find the girl. Time is of the essence in a missing person case and trying to drag information and help is a real waste of time but is also an integral part of this storyline.

I do like a story that has a sense of distrust and that hints at past events. This story has those and not just for the local community. The author weaves various threads of her tale and I really enjoyed it as they were gradually drawn together.

This debut, this is a fabulous read and one that had me eagerly turning the pages as I not only wanted to know more about the crime but also about the investigating team. They are a definite mix of characters and each has specialities. Although as I have alluded to, there is something about some of them that hints at things being amiss.

I adored this story and it is a series I am looking forward to and discovering more about some key characters. A story that takes a dark turn, has several surprises and kept me on my toes. One for crime, thriller and mystery readers and one I would definitely recommend.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

Lost in Christmas Wonderland by Annabelle John-Ligali @AnneJohnLigali #PublicationDay #Giveaway (UK only) #festivefiction #debutauthor #youngwriters #youngreaders

I am delighted to share a promotional post today for a young author. Lost in Christmas Wonderland is the work of Annabelle John-Ligali. When Anne got in touch to ask if I would be interested in helping out with her daughters book I obviously jumped at the chance.

I also want to wish Annabelle a Happy Publication Day xxx

Annabelle is the daughter of Author Anne John-Ligali and I have had the pleasure of reading and reviewing a couple of Anne’s books.

Having read the synopsis, I have to say this sounds a wonderful read. So let me show you the details of Annabelle’s book…

Synopsis…

When ten-year-old Bella Matthews and her mum, Isabel, visit Granny Sylta in the snowy village of Lakersfield for Christmas, it turns out there is more in store than just Christmas cake and a ton of presents. 

 When she arrives, she meets her cousin Rita and a boy called Tommy for the first time, and catches up with her friend Iris again too. Together they discover an exciting attraction is in town: A giant Christmas Wonderland Theme Park. They are dazzled by hundreds of decorated Christmas trees, a Musical Nativity, a Santa Parade, an Upside Down House, and many more attractions. 

But Bella ends up having an unexpected adventure of her own as she dances with pot-bellied Santas, discovers a palace made entirely out of glass, wanders into an intriguing puzzle room, and treks for miles to find shelter on a snowy night.

Can Bella find her way back to Granny Sylta’s house in time for Christmas dinner?

Lost in Christmas Wonderland is a story about courage, kindness, friendship, the importance of family, and the magic of Christmas.

Purchase from Amazon UK or Amazon US

About the Author…

Annabelle is nine years old and lives in London. The inspiration for her book came after she visited Winter Wonderland in London’s Hyde Park in November 2019 with her mum, dad, little brother Andre, and Granny Sylta.

It was here she first saw an Upside Down House and had heaps of fun filming and visiting all of the rooms. Annabelle was so fascinated that she decided to vlog about it on her Youtube channel. Click here to watch the video.

Shortly after her visit, she thought how fun it would be to write a story about a girl who visits a Christmas theme park with some friends and goes on a little adventure.

Outside of school, Annabelle enjoys playing with her brother, vlogging about books she’s read, and places she’s visited. She also likes making up dance routines to songs that are trending on Tiktok. When she wants to have a giggle, she plays Guess Who with her mum.

Her favourite authors are Alesha Dixon, Trish Cooke, David Walliams, and Ben Miller. She also likes reading magazines like First News For Kids and Cocoa Girl. This is Annabelle’s first book, and she hopes you like it.

LINKS

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Instagram @annabellepresents

Youtube: Annabelle Presents

Website: www.annabellejohnligali.com


GIVEAWAY…

LOST IN CHRISTMAS WONDERLAND PUBLICATION DAY GIVEAWAY!

To celebrate the release of Lost in Christmas Wonderland, Annabelle is giving away a marshmallow cake. In her book, the family makes a huge fuss over granny’s Christmas marshmallow cake that she makes every year. In one chapter, granny Sylta asks Rita to buy a bag of marshmallows at the Christmas Wonderland theme park, and throughout the book there’s always a mention of this delightful cake. Annabelle has decided to give one person the chance to win a marshmallow cake to enjoy!

There’s also a second prize, you can win a box of candy canes.

Here’s what you need to do to enter.


1) Follow Annabelle on her Instagram page at @annabellepresents

2) Find this picture of the marshmallow cake and leave a comment. Tell her what your favourite theme park ride is, or used to be, or just anything you enjoy about visiting a theme park, and that’s it.

The giveaway closes on the 8th of December at midnight. Winners announced at random on Annabelle’s Instagram page @annabellepresents

This competition is open to UK residents only.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

Before I Die by Jackie Morrissey #BeforeIDie #JackieMorrissey #InkubatorBooks @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Before I Die by Jackle Morrissey. THis was such a compelling read and I would like to thatnk Emma at damppebbles Blog Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this book.

Let me show you what it is all about..

She’ll care for you. Until you’re dead.

Maureen might be getting on in years but she’s fiercely independent and smart as a whip.

But when she falls and injures her ankle, her daughter Alva is convinced Maureen can no longer take care of herself and is determined to get her some help – which comes in the shape of local caregiver, Dolores.

Maureen tries to say no, she’s fine on her own, but it’s not so easy to get rid of Dolores. She seems to be everywhere, poking her nose into every corner of Maureen’s life, implying to Alva that her mother is getting senile and will soon need constant care.

Maureen feels as if she’s under siege 24/7. And she knows in her heart that there’s something not right about Dolores…  But no one will listen.

Then one of Dolores’s other charges dies in mysterious circumstances and Maureen realises she may be fighting for a lot more than her independence.

Because once Dolores has you in her care, death may seem like a sweet release.

The stunning psychological thriller, perfect for fans of K. L. Slater, Teresa Driscoll, and Andrew Hart.

Buy your copy from – Amazon UKUS

The synopsis does a fabulous job of setting the scene for this book and it indicates that not all is as it should be. Maureen is a character I immediately liked, the is all there with no loose marbles. She is independent but does seem to be avoiding Delores who seems bossy, a bit of a bully and, according to most people, never stops talking.

Now I found that the main premise for the story was one that intrigued me, it has a relevance to events in the news as elderly and vulnerable people are taken advantage of. I found the way the author tackled the subject of getting older and therefore becoming forgetful to be very relevant and it played to the stereotype of the older members of society no coping and in need of more support.

Delores was a well drawn out character, she is sneaky and devious and knows how to push the right buttons. Unfortunately she doesn’t take into account Maureen’s tenacity, and that is fortunate for Maureen. WHile Maureen knows what is going on, her daughter doesn’t and she believes what the wonderful carer Delores tells her. Setting seeds of doubt and then following them up as they develop.

The story takes some surprising turns, and I soon discovered how well the author had this story plotted out. Events from earlier in the book suddenly become obvious later on as things start to draw to their conclusion. There are sneaky and deceitful characters, as well as those that mean well. But when certain things connect then watch out!

I really enjoyed this story, the characters were well developed and they played their parts wonderfully. The sad thing about this book is that even though it is fiction, this manipulation and praying on the vulnerable does happen in real life. I think this is why this book worked so well for me. Before I Die was a slower thriller, but full of suspense and I would definitely recommend it.

Jackie Morrissey lives in County Dublin and worked for many years in adult education. Her job took her into colleges and prisons all around Ireland, and introduced her to a range of interesting people. She loved the buzz of teaching, but came to hate the tyranny of correcting assignments. She has written throughout her adult life and has had many short stories published, one of which won the Molly Keane Short Story award. She has also been a regular contributor of short pieces for the Irish radio program Sunday Miscellany. About four years ago, she took the decision to write full time.  The psychological thriller Before I Die is her first published novel.

BEFORE I DIE is Jackie’s debut novel and her first published with Inkubator Books.

Jackie has no Social Media Links to follow.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

Woman on the Edge by Samantha M. Bailey #Bookreview

This is my final book from last years reading that I wanted to share with you. I have now caught up with last years books! Today I am have my thoughts on Woman On The Edge by Samantha M. Bailey.

Let me show you what it is all about…

A moment on the platform changes two lives forever. But nothing is as it seems…

‘Take my baby.’

In a split second, Morgan’s life changes forever. A stranger hands her a baby, then jumps in front of a train.

Morgan has never seen the woman before and she can’t understand what would cause a person to give away her child and take her own life.

When the police question Morgan, she discovers none of the witnesses can corroborate her version of events. And when they learn Morgan longs for a baby of her own, she becomes a suspect.

To prove her innocence, Morgan frantically tries to retrace the last days of the woman’s life. She begins to understand that Nicole Markham believed she and her baby were in danger. Now Morgan might be in danger, too.

Was Nicole a new mother struggling with paranoia?

Or was something much darker going on?

Pulse-pounding, heartrending, shocking, thrilling. This is one book you won’t be able to stop thinking about.

When I see a book with taglines that this one has got then I know I want to read it. The lines “She gave you her baby… and then she jumped” I mean that is something that makes you stop.

I had a feeling this was going to be a tough read, and indeed the first chapter was. The story starts with the suicide of the mother. The story then flits back and forth between two characters. The stories are of the two main characters of the book, Nicole is the mother, while Morgan is the woman who Nicole handed her baby to.

Nicole’s story goes back in time and gradually works its way forward to the time of her suicide. This was a great way of laying out her story and it was also quite emotional. Nicole is a strong and tough businesswoman. To look back at how she spiralled was so interesting and was a story I was not expecting.

Morgan’s story is told in the present tense and is how she is looked at by the police investigating the case. Why would a complete stranger just hand you a baby, did Morgan have something to do with Nicole’s suicide or was she innocent. Morgan has a past that has some implications in this case and because of this, it adds an extra dimension to her role.

The author has done such a wonderful job with this story and touches various issues such as new motherhood, mental health, being a witness and a few others as well. Given the nature of the story, I think she has dealt with these very well.

The alternating chapters help with the pace of the book and are quite quick to read. It isn’t a long book 273 pages, but it does contain a lot of emotions and is a real roller coaster of a read. There are quite a few turns within the story and it definitely kept this reader on her toes and also addictively turning the pages.

This is a debut book by this author and I am eager to see what she writes next. It is a wonderful thriller with a superb story and great delivery. It is one I definitely recommend.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

The Tear Collector by Shawn Burgess @ShawnBinJax @BOTBSPublicity #BookReview

I am delighted to share my thoughts on The Tear Collector by Shawn Burgess. This is a fabulous book for those that like spine-tingling reads. My huge thanks to Sarah at BOTBSPubicity for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this terrific book.

Now, lt me show you what it is all about…

The misdeeds of our ancestors are debts passed from generation to generation. They lurk, hidden in the shadows, waiting for the right time to be collected. For the residents of Harper Pass—their debt is due.

* * *

MISSING PERSON:
Have you seen Margo Combs?
Contact Detective Holt (918) 555-0155
You may choose to remain anonymous.

* * *

When a young autistic girl goes missing from a small Appalachian community, the residents of Harper Pass descend into chaos. Brooks Raker and his friends stumble across the police investigation, and as they dig deeper into the mysterious events, the boys realize the fate of their missing classmate pales in comparison with the evil lurking in the shadows of the quiet little town.

With four boys who believe something sinister is at work, and an ambitious reporter breathing down his neck, Detective Holt of the Harper Pass Police Department must confront his doubts and follow the evidence. A chain of disappearances and suspicious deaths, leads Holt to the doorstep of the mysterious and reclusive Professor Wadlow who may know exactly what has come to collect in Harper Pass.

Can the detective and the boys work together to unravel the dark secrets of Harper Pass before those secrets devour them all?

It has been a while since I picked up a horror story to read and The Tear Collector was such a great read. It has a wonderful supernatural air to it and it has been wonderfully mixed in with a crime thriller vibe. The book reminded me of a blend of Stephen King’s book, It and the film Stand by Me.

The story is of a community that is in the midst of some supernatural phenomenon that only a small group are becoming aware of. What this phenomenon actually is, is slowly revealed further in the book. A group of boys start to put things together and gradually start to work things out and they discover that they are not alone in realising something is wrong, but the adults seem to be unaware of events and come up with more rational ideas and theories.

It is when the boys start to experience strange dreams and discuss within their group that links are made, it adds a great coming of age feel to the story as friendships are brought closer and they stick by their motto of never leaving one of their group behind.

The community that the story is set in has the feel of a town holding on, by this I mean that people work hard and often have more than one job. But when a girl goes missing they pull together, on the flip side however, it is a community that is full of gossip and when suspicion.

The author has done such a fabulous job of creating a story that has a spine-tingling and ominous presence as I read it. There was a definite feeling of something malevolent looming and I really enjoyed the journey to get to the root cause of the mystery.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and it was such an atmospheric and sinister feel to it, a well written story that had me hooked from those very first paragraphs right through till the end. A mystery with a good horror feel that I would definitely recommend.

Shawn Burgess has a BA in English from the University of Florida, and he focused on literature for his postgraduate studies at the University of North Florida. His travels have taken him to most parts of the country, where he often drew inspiration for his stories through meeting interesting people and experiencing unique places. Beware! If you find yourself behaving curiously within the crosshairs of his vision you might end up on one of his pages. In his spare time, Shawn enjoys travelling, attending concerts, reading, and playing golf. He typically makes year-round preparations for Halloween by building props and elaborate sets. Shawn claims Jacksonville, Florida as his home, but he has lived all over the southeastern United States. Many of his stories are set in those towns he once called home, or in fictional places inspired by them. He says, “I enjoy building upon the natural mysteries surrounding those areas I’ve personally experienced.” The Tear Collector is Shawn’s debut novel, but he’s currently working on a YA Fantasy novel, as well as The Tear Collector’s sequel. He is active on social media, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Facebook: shawnburgessauthor

Twitter: ShawnBinJax

Instagram: ShawnBinJax

Goodreads Author Page: Shawn Burgess

Website: http://www.shawnburgessauthor.com

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Gone by Leona Deakin @LeonaDeakin1 @annecater #RandomThingsTours #Bookreview

I am so delighted to be sharing my thoughts on this Gone by Leona Deakin, this was a fabulous psychological thriller that I thoroughly enjoyed. Many thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and also for organising my review copy.

Let me show you what Gone is all about…

Four strangers are missing. Left at their last-known locations are birthday cards that read:

YOUR GIFT IS THE GAME.
DARE TO PLAY?

The police aren’t worried – it’s just a game. But the families are frantic. As psychologist and private detective Dr Augusta Bloom delves into the lives of the missing people, she finds something that binds them all.

And that something makes them very dangerous indeed.

As more disappearances are reported and new birthday cards uncovered, Dr Bloom races to unravel the mystery and find the missing people.

But what if, this time, they are the ones she should fear?

Well there are two words that really sum this book up “psychological thriller”! If you are a fan of crime fiction reads that have a strong psychological aspect, then you are going to get on really well with this book. I read it in one sitting and it had me hooked.

The tag lines for this story are intriguing to say the least and the story opens in quite a brutal and also unsettling way. The main character is Dr Augusta Bloom and her work within the field of psychology.

It did take me a few chapters to get into as I got used to the characters, there were a few to get my head around. Then as I started to get a grip with who was who, I was able to enjoy the story more. I say story, but actually there are two stories, they seem totally unconnected. One is of a young girl that Bloom is helping, the other is the main focus of the story and is that of the game of dare. The participants of the game had gone missing, but they had gone missing on their own choice. A missing person case with a big twist if you like.

The game is eerily creepy and held a good amount of intrigue and to a certain extent some excitement. The people invited to play the game just walk away from their lives with no explanation. It is Bloom and her colleague Jameson an ex secret service man, who start to fit the pieces of this puzzle together.

The author incorporates a good amount of psychological explanation into the story and for the most part it is part of the story, I did occasionally feel a little too much was given, but at the same time it was still important to be there, so for me it hit the right balance with the odd wobble.

As the story progressed the tension and intrigue definitely increased and I was desperate to discover where the story would lead. There were some unsettling revelations regarding social media games and also big brother knowing and seeing all, this just added to the thrill of the story.

For the most part, I had no idea about who could be the mastermind, then suddenly I had one of those epiphany moments. From that point on I started to doubt myself, and then I was along for the ride. Working out the who, didn’t spoil the story at all.Instead I got to discover all the why’s and this held some interesting and clever twists.

This was a really good read, I liked the inclusion of various psychological aspects and also the unusual crime fighting duo. I would like to think there will be another book featuring Boom and Jameson. If you like a twisted and psychological based crime thriller then you really want to have a look at this book. it is one I would definitely recommend.

Leona draws inspiration for her writing from her own experiences having started her career as a psychologist with the West Yorkshire Police and her successful work in psychology since. She is now an occupational psychologist and lives with her family in Leeds.

This is her debut thriller.

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The Secret Santa by Trish Harteniaux @TrishHarnetiaux @rachel90kennedy #Bookreview

I am delighted to share my thoughts today on The Secret Santa by Trish Harteniaux. My thanks to Rachel at Penguin Random House for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of the book.

THIS YEAR YOU’LL GET WHAT YOU DESERVE…

When an international pop starlet rolls into town looking to buy the most expensive house on the market, struggling real estate agents and husband and wife duo Claudine and Henry think their terrible luck has finally turned.

The mysterious mansion has hidden secrets, and Claudine and Henry’s survival depends on no one finding out the truth about what really happened there. In a desperate move to secure the sale, Claudine decides to bury the house’s dark past and show it at its best – by inviting the singer to a lavish holiday party hosted inside the majestic mountainside mansion.

But when a murder weapon turns up as part of the party’s game of Secret Santa, Claudine’s carefully curated lie and the lives of all the party goers is threatened as they race to find the killer before they can strike again.

How far will Claudine go to protect her secrets? Is she prepared to kill to make a killing, or will she fall prey herself?

The synopsis does a good job of letting you know a little bit about this murder mystery story. A of seeing a stunning property means a change of location for Henry and Claudine’s staff Christmas do. The party will be moved to the remote property so that it can be shown off at its best for a potential buyer. Part of the party is the Secret Santa, a game of exchanging presents has been something that has increased over the years and everyone tries to out-do each other, however this year one of the gifts has a catch!

This is a murder mystery read that is about revenge for something that was done in the past. The truth is not revealed until far later in the story and it is where all the answers are suddenly revealed.

The story is told in quick chapters from the perspective of different characters, Claudine, Henry and Zara as well as a mystery italicised chapters! I like this style as it gave me a chance to get inside the heads of various people, see their thoughts and some of what they really think.

The story is well paced and definitely kept me guessing, gradually introducing me to everyone involved and also drawing me further into the story. The setting is good though not overwhelming, there are several good mentions about it and it does sound idyllic, isolated, remote and scenic. The focus is more on the people.

This is a murder mystery that has drama and suspense rather than blood and guts. Its not a thriller or police procedural and would suit cosy mystery readers. It is one I would recommend.

The Secret Santa is Trish Harnetiaux’s debut novel. She is a Brooklyn-based playwright whose published works includeTin Cat Shoes, How To Get Into Buildings, and If You Can Get To Buffalo
Follow her on Twitter @TrishHarnetiaux #TheSecretSanta

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KULT by Stefan Malmstrom @kpstefan @silvertailbooks #BOTBSPublicity #Bookreview

I am delighted to share my review for Kult by Stefan Malmstrom. My huge thanks to Sarah at Book On The Bright Side Publicity for the invite and for arranging a copy of this fantastic book.

Let me show you what the book is all about…

THE PAST WILL NEVER LET YOU GO…


When a four-year-old girl and her father are found dead in the Swedish city of Karlskrona, the police quickly conclude it was a murder-suicide, a tragedy requiring no further investigation.


But Luke Bergmann, a reformed criminal still haunted by his violent past, believes they are wrong. The dead man, Viktor, was his best friend, and Luke knows he would never commit such a horrific crime.


When more bodies turn up, Luke is certain the same killer has struck again. Alone, he embarks on an investigation which reaches back through decades to his friend’s involvement with a sinister cult and dark secrets are exposed as Luke struggles to keep his own long-buried demons hidden away.


And when Luke finds himself in a killer’s sights, his search for the truth becomes the fight of his life.


Can Luke get justice for Viktor and his daughter and prove his best friend was not a murderer, or will the shadows of the past overwhelm him?


Fans of The Killing, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Jo Nesbø and Will Dean will love this dark and gripping début thriller.


There is an Authors Note that I am also going to share with you…

KULT is a crime thriller but it’s based on a true story. The author, Stefan Malmstrom, was in the Church of Scientology in Sweden for a few years in his early twenties (about thirty years ago now), a relatively short time but which had a profound and damaging effect on his life. Part of the story of KULT is told in flashbacks which are accurate representations of both Stefan’s experiences in Scientology in Sweden (including digging for a spaceship – no joke) and the death of Lisa McPherson in the US in 1995. The present-day plot – the hunt for a serial killer – is entirely fictitious. The book is aimed at a general crime readership (Stieg Larsson and Jo Nesbo fans among others) as well as the many people who read books about Scientology, such as Going Clear by Lawrence Wright and Troublemaker by Leah Remini. You may not know but Silvertail is the only publisher in the UK willing to put out books critical of Scientology – over the years we’ve had serious legal threats, all of which have been seen off with no problems.” KULT is the first time we’ve done a Scientology novel, and hopefully this aspect makes it a little more interesting than if it were pure fiction.

The synopsis and the authors note were the things that really made me stop and take a serious look at this book. It’s not often I read the synopsis immediately prior to reading for a book, I usually wait until I have finished it. but this item, something caught my eye and I read it and the authors note prior to reading the book and I think it gave such an extra element to the reading experience.

So, what to say about the book… WOW! springs to mind. This is such a strong and dark story and knowing that some of it is based on actual events makes it for seriously tense read.

The story is actually 3 strands that the author flits back and forth between, they are seemingly unconnected until the tweaking and pulling together begins. Then suddenly things link and then I started to get an idea of where this was heading, call it the start of seeing the bigger picture if you like. Because of this seemingly randomness to the threads I was unable to really work things out until the author was ready for me to.

The title of the book, KULT, is an indicator as to the content, it is one of the threads and is set in the past and adds insight as the other stories start to merge. The main focus is the death of Viktor and his daughter Agnes, Luke a close friend does not believe it was suicide and begins to dig around for the answers himself. Then the third thread, wow this is evil and dark, it will not appeal to some readers as it deals with a hard to read subject, the author however does not go into details. I am now reading back through this paragraph and I have realised how obscure and random it is. I did think of changing it but, I am not one to let spoilers out so I have decided to leave it obscure!

This is such a fabulous read, it is dark and deals with tough subjects. The author has used his own experiences to create a story that is a mix of actual facts as well as a fictionalised story. I cannot imagine living within a cult, but I could see how manipulative cult members could be as I read this book. Knowing that the author personally knew what the cult was all about and then using that information adds a believably creepy and horrifying element to the story.

This story did take me a few chapters to get into and took me a while to understand and get to grips with the flow. Once I found my feet with the characters and the time changes I found it extremely addictive.

If you like dark, disturbing, chilling, manipulative, creepy and controlling crime thriller reads then this is one that may well appeal. KULT is a book I would definitely recommend and I look forward with interest to see what this author comes up with next.

I also have to mention the absolutely seamless translation from Swedish into English by Suzanne Martin Cheadle, without her work I would have unable to read such a fascinating book.

Stefan Malmström is a former news journalist who has worked for Sveriges Radio and Swedish TV4. Today he works as a consultant, lecturer and author. At a young age, Stefan was manipulated into the Church of Scientology in Hässleholm, a small town in southern Sweden. KULT, his first book, is based on his experiences in the cult. Stefan lives in Karlskrona in Sweden with his family.  

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