The Taken Girls by G. D. Sanders @AvonBooksUK #netgalley #review

I am delighted to be sharing my review today for The Taken Girls by G. D. Sanders. I wish to thank Avon Books UK for inviting me to read and review this book via NetGalley.

So how about a look and see what this book is all about…

Someone is watching them…

When a missing teenage girl reappears unharmed but pregnant, the case falls to DI Edina Ogborne, the newest recruit of Canterbury Police. But Ed’s already got her hands full with a team who don’t want her, an ex who won’t quit, and terrible guilt over a secret from her past.

As Ed investigates the case, she discovers Canterbury has seen this crime not once, but several times before. And when Ed and her detectives encounter missing historic police files, falsified school records, and Ed’s new lover as a prime suspect, it becomes clear that the system has been corrupted.

Can Ed find the kidnapper behind these depraved crimes before he strikes again? Or has time already run out?

The Taken Girls is a very good debut crime novel and is the first in the DI Edina Ogborne series.

Ed (Edina) is transferred from The MET to Canterbury, reasons for her transfer are explained as the story unfolds. For Ed, this means a new team , a new area and a case of a missing girl as she begins her new posting.

Ed is a character that I didn’t really warm to, but then I don’t expect to like every character I come across, and it really didn’t take anything from my impression of the story., she came across as a loner but her team do gradually take to her. She is hesitant and respectful and her apprehension is shown as she gets to know her new colleagues and vice versa. I could feel the way the team started to gel as they began to work together.

The case is an unusual one for a couple of reasons. The missing girl was abducted and then returned unharmed. Then there is the what happened after the return of the girl. I know I am being vague and I really mean to be as I don’t want to let slip any of the important details. The part after the girl is returned is definitely thought provoking and also gives different perspectives into a very personal choice subject.

This is a good paced novel and it did not take me long before I found myself caught up within it. There are a couple of perspectives that that the story is told by, and for one of the characters it gives a slightly sinister feeling.

The plot itself is told in quick chapters as Ed and the team get to grips with this case. It leads to further discoveries of an older case and turns up some very interesting leads. I didn’t know who the culprit was until the author started to lace the pieces of the puzzle in order and things started to slot into place.

I thought this was an enjoyable read, it does have the feel of the first in a series and I enjoyed getting to know Ed, even though I didn’t really warm to her that much. There are a few cast members that I would like to see in the next book. This is an ideal read for those who like a police procedural crime read.

It’s one I would recommend.


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

The Afghan by Andrew Turpin #review

I am delighted to be sharing my review for The Afghan by Andrew Turpin. I have been a fan of this Author’s Joe Johnson series and this latest instalment takes the reader back to where it all began for Joe.

Such a fabulous and eye-catching cover!

Let’s see what the book is all about…

A Cold War attack by Soviet helicopters on an Afghan village. A knife-edge CIA operation that goes wrong. And a vengeful mujahideen tribesman, armed with Stinger missiles. 
When CIA officer Joe Johnson is handed the tough task by his boss of capturing a Soviet helicopter and forging better contacts among the mujahideen, he unknowingly finds himself up against a sinister KGB rival who wants him dead.
But after coming under fire, Johnson comes to suspect that his difficulties stem not just from the Soviets—but from a traitor on his own side.
To extricate himself from the web of deceit in which he finds himself, Johnson comes to rely on a female colleague from Britain’s MI6, Jayne Robinson, to whom he grows unexpectedly close.
As pressure mounts on Johnson from CIA headquarters at Langley and politicians in Washington, DC, the story reaches a climax during a life-or-death shootout in Jalalabad.
The Afghan, set in 1988, is a thriller that forms a compelling prequel to the Joe Johnson series as a whole. It also creates the backdrop for book four in the series, Stalin’s Final Sting, set in Afghanistan, New York City, and Moscow in the present day.

Having read the three previous books by this author, and enjoying them all, I have to say it was nice to have a slightly different feel to the latest book. It took me on a journey back in time to the days when Joe worked for the CIA. It is a prequel to the series, also an intro to the 4th book Stalin’s Final Sting, and yep I have that one as well.

So, Joe is caught in the conflict between Russia and Afghanistan 1988 in a complex plot that pulls in a myriad of elements and deceptions. To be honest I expect deception and mistrust when the CIA is involved in anything!

The story see’s the meeting of Joe and MI6 agent Jayne Robinson. This aspect of the story I really enjoyed as the two form a friendship that extends into the future, so it was good to see how they first met.

One thing that I have come to expect from this author is the meticulous attention to detail. This is a large part of his books and they are brilliantly wrapped into each story in such a way that keeps each story flowing and not getting bogged down with an overload of facts and info. This story is no exception.

The action for this is relentless and Joe finds himself in a minefield of political pressure, a country in turmoil, arms deals, KGB, CIA and undercover double crossing. With all this going on, it creates a fast paced and intense flow to the story. It keeps the tension and the suspense building.

As always there is a fabulous section after the story ends, in this section the author presents his research and bibliography.

If you are after a gritty action packed read then you will find it in this authors books. The Afghan is the perfect place to start for a series that I highly recommend.

P.S…The Afghan is FREE on Andrew’s Website !

Andrew is a former journalist who has always had a love of writing and a passion for reading good thrillers. Now he has finally put the two interests together.

His first book, The Last Nazi, was published in August 2017, and the second, The Old Bridge, in January 2018. The third, Bandit Country, followed in February 2018. In January 2019 the fourth, Stalin’s Final Sting, was published along with a prequel to the series, entitled The Afghan.

The themes behind these thrillers also pull together some of Andrew’s other interests, particularly history, world news, and travel. They explore the ways in which events and human behaviors deep into the past continue to impact on modern society, politics and business. 

All of Andrew’s books draw strongly on these themes. They feature Joe Johnson, an ex-CIA officer and former U.S. Nazi hunter with the Office of Special Investigations, part of the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.
Johnson has a passion for justice and a drive to investigate unsolved war crimes in different parts of the world.

Andrew studied history at Loughborough University and worked for many years as a business and financial journalist before becoming a corporate and financial communications adviser with several large energy companies.

He originally came from Grantham, Lincolnshire, and lives with his family in St. Albans in Hertfordshire, U.K.


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

The Puppet Show by M. W. Craven #review

I am delighted to be sharing my review today with you all for The Puppet Show by M.W. Craven.

You see those author quotes on the front cover … Yep they are all true!!!

So let’s have a look and see what this fabulous book is all about…

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… 

I had read so many great reviews about this book from fellow Book Bloggers that I had to get myself a copy.

My verdict… WOW!!!!!! I should have read it as soon as I had bought it!

If you have read the synopsis then you will realise that this is dark. It is also so brilliantly written right from the very first page to the very last page. You will get to meet to fabulous characters in Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw.

I love Poe and Bradshaw, they are so different and the dynamic between the two of them is an absolute pleasure to read. Their contrasting personalities soon becomes obvious as you get to know them. I loved how Poe tones himself down when he is around Bradshaw, and how she is picking up some of Poe’s confidence.

The plot is an absolute dream to read, it is deliciously dark, devious, sinister and deceptively twisted. It has procedural elements but is based around Crime Analysis and the National Crime Agency. I have to say this route gives a different investigative approach than the usual police procedural ones and it has been worked really well by the author.

I liked that Poe is unused to the terminology used by Bradshaw so needs it to be put in basic terms for him to understand, it made it easy for me to understand as well 🙂

Now the other thing I really enjoyed about this story was the extra character …Cumbria… the Cumbrian landscape played such a wonderful part in creating the atmospherics and added such a sense of drama to the story.

I am so looking forward to getting to know more about Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw and can’t wait to read more.

This is a dark, crime thriller story with a fabulous plot, characters and flow. It gets a Highly Recommended from me.

M.W. Craven
Image taken from the Author’s Goodreads Page.

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 . . .

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 usually be found at punk gigs and writing festivals up and down the country.


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

My Week In Books w/e 17th March

So last week I managed to read 6 books. A good week for reading and a good week for reducing my NetGalley shelf to 14 now. Talking of NetGalley, I had a good peruse through and discovered that they send a weekly update for whats on my shelf. How had I missed this!!, it’s very handy because it lets you know if you have any books to download, how many are on your shelf to be read and also if a book on your shelf has been published.

I am also on Annual leave this coming week, and very pleased about that as well.

Wohoo GIF

I have not got anything planned on the blog, and I may not be as active on social media either. So taking time out and a chance to do a bit of long over-due Blogmin 😦

So let’s have a look at what I read shall we…

The Darkness by Ragnar Jonasson – I bought this one and read it straight away, normally I buy a book and it sits on my tbr for a while. The reason I read this as soon as it arrived through my letterbox was because I had a very nice email from Michael Joseph books inviting me to read the 2nd book via NetGalley.

I loved The Darkness, loved its main protagonist Hulda and you can read my full review HERE


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The Island by Ragnar Jonasson – Is the second in the Hidden Iceland Trilogy, and it is different in some ways to the first but still has the same wonderful descriptive, atmospheric details that I am coming to expect from this author. Again this is another one that I absolutely loved and now I have to wait till 2020 until the final book is released… I have it on pre-order


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The Rumour by Lesley Kara – I have had this on my TBR since it was first published and I bought the hardback while doing my weekly shopping. I quickly got caught up in the story, a simple rumour that turns this story head over heels. I completely got caught up in this very clever story that had turns I didn’t expect and when I got to the end well… Holy Shit Bags!!!!


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A View To A Kilt by Wendy Holden – I received this one via NG, I really liked the idea of the story and it looked like a fun read. While I did enjoy this story and the humour, it didn’t quite hit my expectations, but I still read it and enjoyed it.


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The Little Vintage Carousel by the Sea by Jaimie Admans – Oh just look at that cover, if that doesn’t cheer you up on a miserable march day then I dont know what will. The story inside is just as stunning as the cover, it had me smiling and smirking on many occasions, some fabulous facts that compliment a not so straight forward romance story.


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The Afghan by Andrew Turpin – I have been a fan of this author and his main protagonist Joe Johnson for a while now. I have read the previous books in the series and now there is a prequel, so if you have not come across this author then this is the ideal place to start. It is a prequel to the first 3 books and is a link to the 4th book ‘Stalin’s Final Sting’ Reviews for both books will be on their way soon.


Well that’s it for another week.

Happy Reading Folks ! 😉 xx

The Darkness by Ragnar Jonasson #HiddenIceland #TheDarkness #review

Today I m delighted to be sharing my review for The Darkness by Ragnar Jonasson. This is a book from my own TBR and it is the first in the Hidden Iceland trilogy. Keep an eye out as I have also read the 2nd book, The Island and my review for that will be ready soon.

Anyway, how about we have a look at this very unusual set out trilogy, starting with The Darkness…

At sixty-four, Detective Inspector Hulda Hermannsdottir of the Reykjavik Police is about to take on her last case before she retires: A young woman, an asylum seeker from Russia, found murdered on the seaweed covered rocks of the Vatnsleysuströnd in Iceland.

When Hulda starts to ask questions it isn’t long before she realizes that no one can be trusted, and that no one is telling the whole truth. Spanning Reykjavik, the Icelandic highlands and the cold, isolated fjords, The Darkness is a thrilling new crime thriller from one of the biggest new names in Scandi noir.

This was such a great book and I was easily drawn into it. The story revolves around Hulda Hermannsdottir, she has a year to go before she retires from her job as a Detective Inspector with the Reykjavik Police.

Oh my god… what a slap in the face for Hulda, the treatment she received was so unfair and unjust and even now it makes my blood boil. Her decision to take on a cold case gave her so much more than she bargained for. I think I should explain this is going to be a bit of a random and vague-ish review beacause I don’t want to give anything away and spoil it for other readers…

This was such a fabulous read and one that appealed to me so much as I got to know Hulda. She is a bit of a loner, workaholic and I really warmed to her character. Her treatment by the police department is one of those that play on the “boys clique” within the workplace. Even though it made me angry it also worked to Hulda’s advantage… to a point… as it gave her a great case to look into. It is not however straight forward and she makes several waves.

During her investigations I got to learn about Hulda, her life, her family and what made her who she is. I got to know her story and discovered a lot more than meets the eye. She is tenacious and doesn’t like to leave loose ends.

The plot and the story for this book is absolutely brilliant. Told over three days and therefore in three sections, with quick and snappy sub chapters that keep the story moving along at a wonderful pace. The descriptions are atmospheric and add an eerie presence to the stark landscape. It has in someways a resemblance to Hulda’s character, cold, lonely and unforgiving. By the time I got to the end of the story I was stunned… well… wow…never saw that one…OMFG…

This is a brilliant book that I just absolutely adored. Atmospheric, chilling, tense and very addictive reading and a must for those who love Icelandic Noir, murder, mystery, crime, suspense… yeah just buy the book, the  2nd book, ‘The Island’ is just as awesome. As for the 3rd one ‘The Mist’ gotto wait until March 2020… I already have that on pre-order 🙂

And just in case you wanted to know if I would recommend it…. I Abos-flamin-lute-ly and most definitely would I recommend this book 🙂

Purchase link – Amazon UK

Image taken from Goodreads

Ragnar Jonasson is author of the award winning and international bestselling Dark Iceland series.

His debut Snowblind, first in the Dark Iceland series, went to number one in the Amazon Kindle charts shortly after publication. The book was also a no. 1 Amazon Kindle bestseller in Australia. Snowblind has been a paperback bestseller in France. 

Nightblind won the Dead Good Reader Award 2016 for Most Captivating Crime in Translation.

Snowblind was called a “classically crafted whodunit” by THE NEW YORK TIMES, and it was selected by The Independent as one of the best crime novels of 2015 in the UK.

Rights to the Dark Iceland series have been sold to UK, USA, France, Germany, Italy, Canada, Australia, Poland, Turkey, South Korea, Japan, Morocco, Portugal, Croatia, Armenia and Iceland.

Ragnar was born in Reykjavik, Iceland, where he works as a writer and a lawyer. He also teaches copyright law at Reykjavik University and has previously worked on radio and television, including as a TV-news reporter for the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service.

He is also the co-founder of the Reykjavik international crime writing festival Iceland Noir.

From the age of 17, Ragnar translated 14 Agatha Christie novels into Icelandic.

Ragnar has also had short stories published internationally, including in the distinguished Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine in the US, the first stories by an Icelandic author in that magazine.

He has appeared on festival panels worldwide, and lives in Reykjavik.

Visit Ragnar on – Twitter Website

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

Sleeper by J D Fennell #review

Today I am delighted to be sharing Sleeper by J D Fennell. This is the first in the Sleeper series and I am looking forward to reading the next one Sleeper – The Red Storm.

So let’s have a look at the synopsis…

Sixteen-year-old Will Starling is pulled from the sea with no memory of his past. In his blazer is a strange notebook with a bullet lodged inside: a bullet meant for him. As London prepares for the Blitz, Will soon finds himself pursued by vicious agents and a ruthless killer known as the Pastor. All of them want Will’s notebook and will do anything to get it. As Will’s memory starts to return, he realises he is no ordinary sixteen-year old. He has skills that make him a match for any assassin. But there is something else. At his core is a deep-rooted rage that he cannot explain. Where is his family and why has no one reported him missing?Fighting for survival with the help of Mi5 agent-in-training, Anna Wilder, Will follows leads across London in a race against time to find the Stones of Fire before the next air raid makes a direct hit and destroys London forever.

Will Starling is on a mission when something makes him disobey orders. The result is him fleeing for his life and guarding what he has discovered in his search for truth.

Set in 1940’s London, this book definitely falls into the “fast-paced” category. Will has a specific skill set, though these skills do catch him unawares as he tries to remember who he is, who he should trust. It was great to learn about Will as he remembered things about himself, a great way to put the reader on an even keel with a character.

Now the plot, it’s just great full of deception and twists that kept me on my toes every step of the way. A race against the bad guys to keep an artifact from falling into the wrong hands gave a wonderful cat and mouse, ducking and diving chase across London.

This has the feel of a younger verion of Jason Bourne or Jack Reacher feel to it and I will say a hint of Indiana Jones. It has elements that I like in all the above and I thoroughly enjoyed this quick, fast paced, action packed book.

A brilliantly paced teen spy, thriller with a great plot. It’s one I would absolutely recommend.

J. D. Fennell
Photo and Bio taken
from Author’s Amazon Page

J.D. was born in Belfast at the start of the Troubles, and began writing stories at a young age to help understand the madness unfolding around him. A lover of reading, he devoured a diverse range of books – his early influences include Fleming, Tolkien, Shakespeare and the Brontës.

He left Belfast at the age of nineteen and worked as a chef, bartender, waiter and later began a career in writing for the software industry.

These days he divides his time between Brighton and London, where he lives with his partner and their two dogs.

Facebook: JDFennellAuthor
Twitter: jd_fennell
Instagram: jdfennellauthor

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

Tempests And Slaughter by Tamora Pierce #MeAndMyBooks #NetGalley #review

Today I have my review for Tempests And Slaughter by Tamora Pierce. My thanks go to Harper Collins UK for accepting my review request for this e-book that I received via NetGalley.

Arram. Varice. Ozorne. In the first book in the Numair Chronicles, three student mages are bound by fate . . . fated for trouble.

Arram Draper is a boy on the path to becoming one of the realm’s most powerful mages. The youngest student in his class at the Imperial University of Carthak, he has a Gift with unlimited potential for greatness–and for attracting danger. At his side are his two best friends: Varice, a clever girl with an often-overlooked talent, and Ozorne, the “leftover prince” with secret ambitions. Together, these three friends forge a bond that will one day shape kingdoms. And as Ozorne gets closer to the throne and Varice gets closer to Arram’s heart, Arram begins to realize that one day soon he will have to decide where his loyalties truly lie. 

In the Numair Chronicles, readers will be rewarded with the never-before-told story of how Numair Salmalín came to Tortall. Newcomers will discover an unforgettable fantasy adventure where a kingdom’s future rests on the shoulders of a talented young man with a knack for making vicious enemies.

Act fast! The first printing of the hardcover includes a collector’s edition poster!

This is the 8th book in the Tortall series, but book 1 in the Numair Chronicles. This book, as it happens, turned out to be the right choice for me as I had not read anything in the series or by this author before.

In the Imperial University of Carthak there are three students who are ahead of others in their age group and also those older in terms of their abilities. They are Varice, often referred to as the “kitchen witch”. Prince Orzone was known as the “left-over Prince” and then the youngest Arram Draper. It is Arram’s story that is experienced in this book. The three students form a friendship that is needed, singly they would probably stand out more and be loners, open to bullying, insult, and attack. Together they are strong.

The story follows their progress through their studies. It focuses mainly on Arram and how he and his fellow students’ magical gifts are developing. Arram’s magic stands out more as it seems to be more natural, wild and if not careful, uncontrollable. Yes, this is a story about magical abilities but it has so much more to it than that. At times it has a historical fiction feel to it with mentions of Emperors, Royalty, Slavery, Gladitorial battles, and traitors.

The three friends have very different backgrounds and ideas, they have different subjects that will help them in their respective futures, whatever their futures may be…

This is a fair paced story and I found it really easy to get into, the characters were very quick to become memorable as I read. Mixed in amongst the learning, magic and daily life are mentions of various gods. Some make themselves known and in their respective forms, and if I were to meet one I wouldn’t hang around. The story has a very nice flow to it, I guess what I mean is that it is very easy to involved in, relate to some of the dilemmas of the students and just to be able to follow the story and enjoy.

As I said earlier, this is the first time of reading anything by this author and I can definitely say it will not be the last, I am looking forward to reading further books in this series and then I am eager to reading the follow on series. It does have the feel of a new series to it, groundwork, history, all the building blocks are being laid down, as many first in a series books do. It is a series I am very interested in and will continue with. I think this is one that readers who don’t often read fantasy would get on very well with, yes there is magic, but there are other things as well. Ideal for fantasy readers and I think general fiction readers as well, and one I would definitely recommend.

Image and Bio from the Author’s Page on Amazon UK

Tamora Pierce was born in South Connellsville, Pennsylvania and her parents were originally going to call her Tamara, but the nurse who filled out her birth certificate had never heard of that name before and accidentally misspelled it. However, Tamora likes her name and in case you’re wondering how to pronounce it, it sounds just like a camera. She was a passionate reader from an early age, devouring encyclopedias, Dr. Seuss books, and J.R.R. Tolkien. Writing helped Tamora get through her parents’ divorce and in her junior year at college she sold her first story and went on to publish The Song of the Lioness, originally with adult readers in mind, but found success when she turned it into a quartet for teenagers. The rest, as they say, is history! Tamora lives in New York with her husband.

Author Links – Amazon Author Page

Purchase Link – Amazon UKTwitterWebsite

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

A Brush With Death by Ali Carter #MeAndMyBooks #NetGalley #review

Today I have my review of A Brush With Death by Ali Carter. This book has been on my TBR for a little while now. I would like to thank Oneworld Publications for approving my request to read this ebook via NetGalley.

Agatha Christie meets Downton Abbey in this delightful new series introducing pet portraitist and amateur super-sleuth, Susie Mahl

In the village of Spire, murder is afoot. Rich landowner Alexander, 9th Earl of Greengrass is caught with his trousers down in the village graveyard before meeting a gruesome end.

Luckily Susie Mahl happens to be on hand. With her artist’s eye for detail and her curious nature she is soon on the scent of the murderer…

Susie Mahl paints portraits of peoples pets. Her latest commission is of a Deerhound called Situp…I love this as a name for a dog. During a weekend stay at pet owners home in the village of Spire, one of Sophie’s friends is murdered.

This is a cosy mystery and the first in the Susie Mahl Mystery series. From the very outset, was quickly engaged as I discovered the main characters. It was found numerous mentions and references to art, painting and the processes and while I did find them interesting I felt it slowed the telling of the main story down a bit. Once the painting sections started to diminish the story itself started to come to the forefront again and the pace quickened. Susie was able to embark on her own truth-finding mission.

While reading I found myself surprised when mentions of mobile phones, internet etc were mentioned. I think this is due to having comparisons with Downton Abbey and Agatha Christie who I associate with 1920’s/30’s. I think this is my own assumption, but as there were only the occasional technology mentions it didn’t really matter that much.

Susie paints for those who have money and status, they are Lords, Ladies, Earls and Countesses. She stays for weekends to get to know the pet she is going to paint, it gives her a chance to explore and try to discover various truths. The plot itself is nicely laid out as Susie’s investigations are being delved into. It has a gentle pace rather than a full pelt race to the end.

If you like cosy mysteries then I think this is one readers of the genre will enjoy. I am looking forward to reading more about Susie in this series and will be buying more as they are available. This is one I would recommend.

Image from the Author Page on Amazon UK

Ali Carter was born in Scotland and read art history at St Andrews. There followed an eclectic career in investment management, retail and technology; then in 2011 she had a catastrophic bicycling accident. After major brain surgery and a long recovery, Ali set herself a challenge to walk alone from Canterbury to Rome, a three-month pilgrimage she wrote about in her book, An Accidental Jubilee by Alice Warrender. From then she decided to follow her passion and become a fine artist, specialising in oil paintings from life with an emphasis on colour. Ali works from her studio in East Sussex and also draws pet portraits to commission. A Brush with Death is her first novel.

Visit Ali on her Amazon Author Page

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

The 13th Witch by Mark Hayden #MeAndMyBooks #review

Today I am sharing my review for The 13th Witch by Mark Hayden, and this is the first book in The King’s Watch Series. This book came to my attention during a recent Blog Tour organised by Anne at Random Things Tours.

Did you know that the gods can use mobile phones?
They can, and Odin has a message for Conrad

Conrad Clarke, former RAF pilot and alleged gangster gets a text – and a visit – from The Allfather.
Odin has a challenge for Conrad: sign up to protect England from wild magick and get a commission in the King’s Watch.
All he has to do is find a missing witch. Simple.
Conrad never could resist a challenge. Before you can say “Ragnarok”, he’s plunged into a world of gods, mages, witches, dwarves and one very aggressive giant mole.
But the witch doesn’t want to be found, and powerful mages will kill to keep her hidden. Going back isn’t an option. Going forward looks a lot like death.
Armed with nothing but a sense of humour and a willingness to cheat, Conrad has to find the Witch and save his life.
Treat yourself to a copy now and experience a whole new universe of magick. And moles…

The synopsis gives a very good idea as to what this book is about. It definitely caught my eye enough to go and buy a copy. What I discovered was a book with an eclectic mix of characters from old legend and folklore with a modern setting.

Conrad seems to take these random mythological characters in his stride, not phased by them at all. He decides to accept the mission to find a missing witch and so enters a world of magik. The mission itself appears straight forward but I felt it turned into a mission of trying to work out who to trust.

As this is the first book in the series it does have the feeling of getting to know the characters to it. There are backstories for the main characters and some of the facts about magik. It is like setting down the base for following books in the series.

As well as magik based characters there are also humans as well. These are just as interesting and I am curious to see where the story goes with them. It does have a slower pace to it, but I would expect this to a certain extent with this being the first, but it does start to pick pace in the second half of this story.

I found this to be an interesting and enjoyable read, I do have the 2nd book in the series on its way. I would say this is more of a light fantasy read and it is a really good introduction into what I think will be a good series to follow, and one I would recommend.

Image taken from Mark’s Author Page on Amazon UK

Mark Hayden is the pen name of Adrian Attwood. He lives in Westmorland with his wife, Anne.

He has had a varied career: working for a brewery, teaching English and being the Town Clerk in Carnforth. He is now a part-time writer and part-time house-husband.

You can find Mark on Goodreads and on the Paw Press website.

Purchase Link Amazon UK

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

Dark Pines by Will Dean #MeAndMyBooks #bookreview

Today I have my review for Dark Pines by Will Dean. I have had this book on my TBR for quite a while now and with the release of Red Snow, that I also have on my TBR I thought it was about time I delved into the Swedish Forests with Tuva Moodyson.

Let’s see what the book is all about…

An isolated Swedish town. A deaf reporter terrified of nature. A dense spruce forest overdue for harvest. A pair of eyeless hunters found murdered in the woods.

It’s week one of the Swedish elk hunt and the sound of gunfire is everywhere. When Tuva Moodyson investigates the story that could make her career she stumbles on a web of secrets that knit Gavrik town together. Are the latest murders connected to the Medusa killings twenty years ago? Is someone following her? Why take the eyes? Tuva must face her demons and venture deep into the woods to stop the killer and write the story. And then get the hell out of Gavrik.

This is the first in the Tuva Moodyson Mystery Series and it was a chance to meet Tuva. She has moved back to Sweden to be closer to her mother. Gavrik is a forest village in the isolated Swedish forest filled with bugs, bogs and lots of pine trees, Oh and a 20-year-old unsolved murder. Tuva works on the local paper and so her interest in not only the old murders but the new one gives her a chance to meet up with residents.

Doesn’t it sound like a fabulous place to live…lol

I can see why this book has favourable reviews and now I have read it I am eager to get into the new one. Tuva is a fabulous character and I loved that she is a little unexpected. She has the dogged determination that I kind of expect in a reporter, but she is also wary and comes across in a nervy way. By the end of the book, I did realise that she is quite determined and tenacious as she uncovers the truth.

The truth and the discovering the suspect is one of the main focuses of the story. Tuva gets to meets some…let’s call them “interesting” characters. A line from the book that summed up, some, of the personalities was said by one of Tuva’s friends as she described the residents of the remote village as being “the creme da la fucking creme of Gavrik’s rednecks and perverts” I have to say I did nod in agreement with this line.

As for discovering the truth, well I had no idea and I was glad that Tuva did all the legwork. There were so many possibilities as to who could have done it and why. The author did a fabulous job of throwing red herrings right left and center, but this was done in such a subtle way, he sowed seeds of doubt into the characters so, in the end, I had no idea who to trust.

Trying to discover the perpetrator of the crime takes Tuva into some very creepy and lonesome areas. The possible suspects are not the sort of people I would want to visit, this builds up the tension and suspense as she follows her trail of clues.

While Tuva is investigating she is also trying to visit her mother. Mentions of both Tuva’s mother and father give a bit of an insight into Tuva herself. The importance of truth and writing the truth is something that is in the core of who she is. The truth is something that Tuva has to tread very carefully with as she risks alienating the local community if she gets it wrong.

There is another thing that stood out for me in this book, apart from the plot and cast, and that was the wonderful descriptions. This author has a real way with the words for sights, sounds, and smells, they are definitely atmospheric and at times appear to have a sense foreboding to them. The vivid imagery that this brought to the story was this readers dream. Admittedly some of them left me screwing my face up and feeling yuck.

Tuva is a character I really liked and I am really looking forward to getting to know her a little better and meeting her again in Red Snow.

If you like atmospheric mystery reads with a female lead then have a read of Dark Pines. It is a crime, mystery and thriller read that I would recommend.

Will Dean grew up in the East Midlands, living in nine different villages before the age of eighteen. He was a bookish, daydreaming kid who found comfort in stories and nature (and he still does). After studying Law at the LSE, and working in London, he settled in rural Sweden. He built a wooden house in a boggy clearing at the center of a vast elk forest, and it’s from this base that he compulsively reads and writes. He is the author of Dark Pines.

Visit Will on Twitter

The books in The Tuva Moodyson Mystery Series.

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