Killer Instinct by Zoe Sharp #20booksofsummer #crime #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review of Killer Instinct by Zoe Sharp. I have had this book in my tbr for a year or more, I had seen some reviews and decided rather than buy the latest book (at the time) I would start at the beginning. I decided it had lingered long enough and this is why this book was one of my picks for #20booksofsummer #readingchallenge

Synopsis…

‘Susie Hollins may have been no great shakes as a karaoke singer, but I didn’t think that was enough reason for anyone to want to kill her.’

Charlie Fox makes a living teaching self-defence to women in a quiet northern English city. It makes best use of the deadly skills she picked up after being kicked out of army Special Forces training for reasons she prefers not to go into. So, when Susie Hollins is found dead hours after she foolishly takes on Charlie at the New Adelphi Club, Charlie knows it’s only a matter of time before the police come calling. What they don’t tell her is that Hollins is the latest victim of a homicidal rapist stalking the local area.

Charlie finds herself drawn closer to the crime when the New Adelphi’s enigmatic owner, Marc Quinn, offers her a job working security at the club. Viewed as an outsider by the existing all-male team, her suspicion that there’s a link between the club and a serial killer doesn’t exactly endear her to anyone. Charlie has always taught her students that it’s better to run than to stand and fight, But, when the killer starts taking a very personal interest, it’s clear he isn’t going to give her that option . . .

Purchase links from Amazon (these are affiliate links) KindlePaperbackHardbackAudio CD

My Review…

This is the first book in the Charlies Fox series by Zoe Sharp. This is also the first time I have read a book by this author and I have to say Charlie is a fabulous character.

Charlie Fox is a no-nonsense woman who teaches self-defence to women. She is confident and comes across as a very sure person. There is a good amount of mystery behind her and some of it has been included in this, story, but I feel there is more her than I have seen so far.

The plot involves Charlie as another body is discovered at a nightclub that she has just been to with her friend and involves an altercation. This is the start of a very twisted road that the author takes not only her main character but also her reader upon.

The further the story progressed the more I got to see of Charlie, what makes her tick, her friendships and there is also a sense of vulnerability that comes with being let down in the past. It makes her a very interesting character that has a sense of loneliness about her at times.

A fabulous first book and one that is intriguing and with a character that I really like the sound of. The plot is a good fast-paced one with Charlie string to join all the dots to discover who is behind the crimes. She is in some ways a one-woman sleuth, but she is no Miss Marple, she is tough, can be dangerous but has a level head on her shoulders. Yeah, a little on the moody side, but then who doesn’t have a moment like that.

AS I mentioned this is the first book and there are quite a few more in this series that I am definitely looking forward to reading. If you like an excellent good fast-paced crime with a strong female lead that has full-throttle action then you really do need to have a look at this series. I would definitely recommend it.

About the Author…

Photo and Bio taken from the Authors Amazon Page

Zoë Sharp opted out of mainstream education at the age of twelve and wrote her first novel at fifteen. (Which, thankfully, still sits in a box in her attic, despite her father’s suggestion that she should sell it on eBay.) She became a freelance photojournalist in 1988 and wrote the first of her highly acclaimed Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Fox crime thrillers after receiving death-threats in the course of her work.

It was at this point she took a keen interest in learning various forms of self-defence. She had also been a competition rifle shooter, both of which skills have come in very handy for her ex-Special Forces turned bodyguard heroine.

“I loved thrillers, but wanted to read about female characters who were just as self-reliant, and just as skilled as the guys. When I couldn’t find any that fitted the bill, I decided I was simply going to have to write my own.”

She has won a Lovey Award for Best Series and been nominated (often more than once) for Edgar, Anthony, Barry, Benjamin Franklin and Macavity Awards in the United States, as well as the CWA Dagger Award. Her work has been used in a Danish school textbook, turned into a short film, and optioned for TV and film.

Zoë is a regular blogger on her own website — http://www.ZoeSharp.com — on the group site MurderIsEverywhere, as well as wittering on Twitter (@AuthorZoeSharp) and fooling about on Facebook (@AuthorZoeSharp).

Check out all of Zoe’s books on her Amazon Author Page

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

The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty #20booksofsummer #fantasyfiction #bookreview

Catching up with the reviews for the books I chose for the #20booksofsummer #readingchallenge I have for you The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty and it is an amazing book.

SYNOPSIS

Step into The City of Brass, the spellbinding debut from S. A. Chakraborty—an imaginative alchemy of The Golem and the Jinni, The Grace of Kings, and One Thousand and One Nights, in which the future of a magical Middle Eastern kingdom rests in the hands of a clever and defiant young con artist with miraculous healing gifts

Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles. 

But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass, a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound. 

In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences. 

After all, there is a reason they say be careful what you wish for . . . 

Purchase from Amazon UK – KindlePaperbackHardbackAudio ( these are affiliate links)

My Review

Wow what and adventure this was as I was transported across deserts into a magical land/ A land full of danger, lies, deceit and revenge. The synopsis gives a very good indication as to what this book is about and I thought it was brilliant.

The author had me hooked within a few pages of this book and kept me captivated till the end. It is the first book in the trilogy and as such there is some scene setting, and getting to know the characters, the history and the like bit it was done in such an interesting way and not once did I feel that I was bogged down.

There are a few characters to get to know, these are introduced gradually and so it was easier to remember who was who. As for what part each of the characters holds or their viewpoint, well that is another thing entirely. This is a story where control and power is at the heart of the decisions made by those higher up the ladder. Keeping people under control and therefore more compliant is easier than a riotous mob.

There are some characters that have a prominent position, such as Nahri, she is responsible for summoning a warrior, Dara, he is her bodyguard and it is he that is responsible for starting to explain about a world she was not aware of.

This is a cracking read and one that I adored. It has a whole load of good stuff in it and if you like speculative fiction and fantasy then you need to have a look at this. Warriors, old rivalries. secrets, magic, mistrust, deception are just the tip of the iceberg in this story and it is one I would definitely recommend.

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

The Village Shop for Lonely Hearts by Alison Sherlock @AlisonSherlock @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources #romance #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review for The Village Shop for Lonely Hearts by Alison Sherlock. This was such a wonderful book to read and my huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and for my e-copy of the book. Let me show you more about the book…

A feel-good story of new beginnings set in a gorgeous country village, perfect for fans of Katie Fforde and Milly Johnson.


After losing her job in New York, Amber Green isn’t looking forward to visiting her godmother in the sleepy village of Cranbridge. With its empty lanes and rundown shops, it’s hardly a place to mend her lonely heart.

But when Amber discovers that Cranbridge Stores, owned by her godmother Cathy and son Josh, is under threat of financial ruin, she realises that her skills as a window dresser might just be able to help save the struggling shop.

When disaster strikes, Amber and Josh must unite to save both the shop and the village from flooding.

Can Cranbridge Stores become the heart of the village once more?

Purchase Link – Amazon UK (this is an affiliate link)

This is one of those heartwarming books that leaves you with a nice cosy feeling, it is also the first book in the Riverside Lane series and has left me wanting to read more.

Amber Green is visiting her godmother who also happens to be her mums best friend. Amber has vague recollections about the village of Cranbrook, but on her arrival, she finds a village that is past its sell-by date, it looks run down, neglected and not welcoming. The local shop looks no better and is a shop with everything but nothing that anyone wants.

Be3ing given an unexpected chance to get stuck into helping bring some order to the overstocked shop means she will be working with Josh. He had put his life on hold to help look after his mum and Gran and is stuck in a rut. Working together the two find a happy working relationship.

I liked the way the author showed how it is not only in larger towns and cities that loneliness occurs, it also happens in smaller communities. What was once a thriving community has long since gone, but there is a need for somewhere central, could the shop be just the place.

This was such a heartwarming story and one that had me willing the locals on, and especially willing Amber and Josh to make the shop a hub. There are some wonderful characters and I am hoping that I will see some of them in future books.

This was a wonderful way to pass a Sunday afternoon as I found myself captured by the village and residents of Cranbrook. A lovely read and one that readers of contemporary fiction and romance will really enjoy and it is one I would definitely recommend.

Alison Sherlock is the author of the bestselling Willow Tree Hall books. Alison enjoyed reading and writing stories from an early age and gave up office life to follow her dream. Her new series for Boldwood is set in a fictional Cotswold Village and the first title will be published in July 2020.

Social Media Links – TwitterFacebookBookbub

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The Cornish Connection by Amanda James @amandajames61 #mystery #Bookreview

I am absolutely delighted to share my review for The Cornish Connection by Amanda James. Regular visitors to my Blog will know that Mandy is an author who regularly features whenever she has a new book out, she is one of the authors who I will automatically read with out reading any synopsis. Yes she is that good!

So, let me show you what The Cornish Connection is all about…

Where extraordinary things happen…you’ll find Nancy Cornish

Nancy and Charlie Cornish are happily married and live in Padstow, Cornwall. Nancy works in the Whistling Kettle Cafe and Charlie is a DS in the Truro police. Charlie’s a down to earth Cornishman, while Nancy, seemingly an ordinary member of her community, has an extraordinary gift. She is able to make psychic connections with those who have passed, and objects belonging to those still living. 

Charlie mostly tries to ignore that aspect of his wife’s personality, he can’t abide all that ‘mumbo jumbo’ as he calls it. Then, out of the blue, Nancy leaves her job and decides her mission in life is to use her gift to help others. This is not what Charlie signed up for, and he lets Nancy know about his feelings in no uncertain terms. That is, until he realises she might be a very useful detective…

Helping Charlie find a missing teenager boost Nancy’s confidence, and makes her determined to continue her work. People come to see her because they want her to find a long-lost friend or relative, an object that is dear to them, or a pet who’s gone missing. Helping people find happiness is Nancy’s main aim. Charlie, however, wants her to help him solve crimes.
Will the couple find some common ground? Or will their connection be broken? 

The Cornish Connection – a beautifully told, thought-provoking and uplifting story. The perfect feel-good summer read!

Buy your copy HERE

What a wonderful read this was. This is a cosy mystery that has a psychic twist, now before you roll you eyes and go “this isn’t really my thing” let me tell you that even though it may not be “your thing”, it is however definitely worth making it “your thing” as this adds such a great twist to this highly addictive mystery read.

What this author has created is a story that is heartwarming as Nancy Cornish uses her psychic abilities to help people. Nancy is such a wonderful character and I loved that her husband is a sceptical copper. These two characters have been so well developed and I like that Nancy does seem to wrap him around her little finger just a little bit.

Nancy takes the plunge and opens her own business as a PI – Psychic Investigator, and she has some interesting success. There are a couple of cases that do have a more serious element and these have been done well. The cases that Nancy deals with are definitely human interest, well no they are more heartwarming as she delves into the mysteries that are laid out before her. They come in a variety of different guises and test her abilities.

The author uses the stunning Cornish scenery to great effect and I have said this before about her writing, and that is that the scenery she describes always transports me, yes I do have the advantage that I live in Cornwall but I haven’t been to all the places that are mentioned. I do however get a great sense of being able to see them and hear the sounds that she uses in her vivid and wonderful choice of words.

This is a stunning read and I think I have just read my favourite Mandy James book, I love the character of Nancy Cornish and just the whole feel of the book. There is a cosy mystery feel to the story but also a wonderfully heartwarming aspect, a touch of humour, basically all the right ingredients that make for a scrumptious read, oh and while I seem to have strayed into food, make sure you have plenty of cake close by as Nancy is also a fabulous baker and cakes are mentioned often!

The Cornish Connection is a book I would definitely recommend. And it gets better as this is the first book in a planned series 😍

Amanda James has written since she was a child, but never imagined that her words would be published. Then in 2010, after many twists and turns, the dream of becoming a writer came true.

Amanda has written many short stories and has ten novels currently published. Her time travelling debut – A Stitch in Time was published in April of 2013 and has met with great success.

Amanda lives in Cornwall and is inspired every day by the beautiful coastline near her home. Five suspense/mystery novels are set there, Somewhere Beyond the Sea, Summer in Tintagel and the Behind the Lie – April 2017 pub – HQUK ( HarperCollins) 2018 Another Mother, and Rip Current – Bloodhound Books. The Calico Cat – family drama/coming-of-age out now with Bombshell/Bloodhound.

Amanda can usually be found playing on the beach with her family, or walking the cliff paths planning her next book.

Follow Mandy on TwitterBlog

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Missing by A.D. Hay @writeradhay @BOTBSPublicity #BOTBSPubliscity #Mystery #Bookreview

I am delighted to share my review for Missing by A.D.Hay. This is a novella and the first book in the James Lalonde series. My thanks to Sarah at Book On The Bright Side Publicity 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…

Excalibur is missing, a killer is on the loose, and his career is on the line…

James has a nose for trouble. But that’s nothing new.

This time, things are different…

…his life is on the line.

James is the chief editor of a small newspaper. It’s hardly captivating work. He’s bored. But all of that is about to change.

Late one evening, he returns home to discover his long-time girlfriend and journalist, Valentine has left. Early the next morning, James fails to reallocate her assigned story. To avoid blank space in the culture section, and loosing his job, he decides to write the story on the local museums latest acquisition, Excalibur.

But, there’s one thing he didn’t count on…

….Excalibur is missing, and a dead body is at the crime scene.

As his investigations commence, James unravels a tangled web of betrayal, kidnapping, and murder. But, his fact-finding hasn’t gone unrecognised. The wrong people have started to notice. And there will be consequences…dire consequences.

You’ll love this gripping cloak and dagger mystery because of the twists, turns, and ending you’ll never guess.

Missing is the first book in a reporter crime thriller series. Get it now.

This is a quick one sitting read, well it was for me, it is also quick in the pacing of the story. James Lalonde is the Chief Editor of a small newspaper. He takes over an interview about the discovery of Excalibar, but is caught up in a crime scene.

This has all the hallmarks of a whodunnit style of cosy mystery, and in fact if you removed some of the modern items it could easily be set a few decades ago. The story is one that is quite captivating and my curiosity kept me hooked to the story. It has plenty of intrigue and characters that I quickly got to know, some I liked some I didn’t. Given the quick nature of this novella, the balance of characters was appropriate.

AS I mentioned the pace of the story is quick, in fact there were times it felt just a tad too quick. By this I mean some of the leaps between clues or the way things were thought out by the characters happened a little too conveniently and with only the slightest hint of a link. But you know what, it didn’t bother me that much, it just caught me out a couple of times.

An interesting and intriguing novella that was a quick one-sitting read and one that I think would appeal to cosy mystery readers and one I would recommend.

A.D. Hay is a passionate bibliophile and can usually be found reading a book, and that book will most likely be a thriller. She is the author of Missing, the first book in a thriller series. When not absorbed in a gripping page-turner or writing, she loves to travel, drink tea, rosé, and eat pizza. 

Follow A.D.Hay on TwitterFacebookWebsite and Blog

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The Book of Koli by M.R. Carey @michaelcarey191 @orbitbooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n #dystopian #Bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Book of Koli by M.R. Carey. This is an author who amazed me when I read The Girl With All The Gifts, so when I saw there was to be a Blog Tour for his lteast book I immediately jumped on board.

Let me show you what The Book of Koli is all about…

The Book of Koli begins a breathtakingly original new trilogy set in a strange and deadly world of our own making.

Beyond the walls of the small village of Mythen Rood lies an unrecognisable landscape. A place where overgrown forests are filled with choker trees and deadly seeds that will kill you where you stand. And if they don’t get you, the Shunned men will.

Koli has lived in Mythen Rood his entire life. He believes the first rule of survival is that you don’t venture too far beyond the walls.

He’s wrong.

This is the first book in a trilogy by this author and The Book of Koli got off to a great start. Set in a future earth where small defended settlements are the norm, strangers seldom seen and where the vegetation is just as vicious and wild as the animals.

Technology is the commodity of power and status, being able to use it sets you apart from the general population. It is this desire to own and wield a piece of tech from the old world that sets Koli on his future path.

I like the character of Koli, he is inquisitive and it at an age in life where he wants to know more. The author spends a good deal of time in the first half of the book giving background information, well as much as is possible as the story is told from the perspective of Koli, so the world as it is is through the eyes of Koli.

Koli is the teller of his own story, and it is a format I really liked as after all he is the main focus of the book. I got to know his daily routines, his friends and family as well as his wanting to know more. As well as this the author fills in more about the surrounding area and this I liked a lot. Using some place names that had been twisted over time so that they are still recognised but not quite right, sort of like Chinese whispers, gave a dimension to the story that added to the reading.

For me this does have the hallmarks of being the first book in a series, there are background details, some histories and explanations that are needed to be put in place to make what follows flow in a more understandable and coherent way. There are some good descriptions of plants, scenery, dangers and also how the community works as a whole.

The second half of the book gradually picks up the pace, still not a fast break neck pace, but one that worked for me especially as the pace of life is more walking and running speed. Everything about this book worked well and I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish.

This is the story is of a boy who wants more and goes the wrong way about it, this gives it a coming of age feel but in a very dangerous world. The world that the author has created is so well done, descriptions of the unusual flora plants have been done so well. An edginess and nervous place where danger lurks, under, behind and above. A world that sounds okay within the walls of a community, but not outside them.

I do like a good dystopian read and this for me ticked the boxes. Having read and been amazed by The Girl With All The Gifts a few years ago I was glad to get back to this author, and I am aware that I do have other book of his still to read!

This is a book that I liked a whole lot, it was a little slower as there is a lot of groundwork that has been laid down. As a reader this works for me when I know there are more books to follow, and it suits the lifestyle of the people who live here. The book does finish at a good place but has definitely left me eager to read on with the other two books in the series.

The Book of Koli is a good read and one that I really enjoyed. It is a story that captivated me and one I would definitely recommend.

I also have the next book, The Trials of Koli, on pre-order and have to wait until September before it is released!

Image taken from Amazon UK

M. R. Carey has been making up stories for most of his life. His novel The Girl With All the Gifts was a word-of-mouth bestseller and is now a major motion picture based on his own screenplay. Under the name Mike Carey he has written for both DC and Marvel, including critically acclaimed runs on Lucifer, Hellblazer and X-Men. His creator-owned series The Unwritten appeared regularly in the New York Times graphic fiction bestseller list. He also has several previous novels, games, radio plays, and TV and movie screenplays to his credit.

Purchase your copy from Amazon UK

At the time of writing this post up one of Michael’s other books is on offer on Kindle – The Boy on the Bridge is 99phere is the link

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The Wheelwrights Daughter by Eleanor Porter @elporterauthor @rararesources #histfic #bookreview

I am so delighted to share my review for The Wheelwrights Daughter by Eleanor Porter. My huge thanks to Rachel for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this fabulous book.

Let me show you what it’s about…

Can she save herself from a witch’s fate?

Martha is a feisty and articulate young woman, the daughter of a wheelwright, living in a Herefordshire village in Elizabethan England. With no mother Martha’s life is spent running her father’s meagre household and helping out at the local school whilst longing to escape the confines and small-mindedness of a community driven by religious bigotry and poverty.

As she is able to read and is well-versed in herbal remedies she is suspected of being a witch. When a landslip occurs – opening up a huge chasm in the centre of the village – she is blamed for it and pursued remorselessly by the villagers.

But can her own wits and the love of local stablehand Jacob save her from a witch’s persecution and death…

A brilliant and accomplished novel that perfectly captures the febrile atmosphere of Elizabethan village life in an age when suspicion and superstition were rife. Perfect for fans of Tracy Chevalier.

This is a wonderful historical fiction story that is set in latter half of the 1500’s during Queen Elizabeth’s reign. This is an era of history that is rife with witchcraft accusations and the deaths of people who are seen to be practising the devil’s work.

The author has created a tale around Martha, the daughter of a village wheelwright in Herefordshire. Her mother is dead and there are rumours around surrounding her and also of her death. Martha is a young woman who is a Christian and she also makes up poultices and uses plants for their natural healing properties. While things are good then she is of use, but when things start happening suddenly the tables turn and fingers point leaving Martha to become the villagers scapegoat.

The finger of blame is supported by a hellfire and brimstone vicar, he is supposedly a man of faith but he really is an odious character. While he preaches the word of God he is also using faith as a game of politics to curry favour with those higher up the ladder than himself.

This is a wonderfully written story and I loved the way the author worked it. The contrasts of opinions and how they are formed without being based on facts are good, essentially if a person takes offence at a comment or a look then accusations can be made.

This has some good research behind it and it has all the right feels to it. The only problem… there is a bit of a cliffhanger…arrgghhhh I want need to know what happens next, so I will be keeping my beady eye out for the next book.

This is a good read and it has a slower pace that fits the time, there is a good amount of drama and I love the dynamics between the characters and the over-riding fear that comes out in their blaming and suspicions. A book I would recommend to readers who like historical fiction novels.

Ellie grew up in Herefordshire and now lives near the Malvern Hills. She’s taught in Hong Kong, London and Birmingham and published poetry and short fiction. Her forthcoming novel THE WHEELWRIGHT’S DAUGHTER grew out of walks on Marcle Ridge where a 1571 landslip is still visible and marked on the map as The Wonder. The book tells the story of a world torn by division, where new beliefs jostle with tradition, where to be different can cost you your life. It introduces Martha Dynely, who refuses to be crushed, even when the horizon crumbles and buries her.

Follow Eleanor on Twitter or visit her Amazon Author Page

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Season of Darkness by Cora Harrison #histfic #historicalmystery #Bookreview

I am delighted to share my review for Season of Darkness by Cora Harrison, this is the first book in The Gaslight Series, as it has taken me a while to get to and read this book the second has also been published.

Let me show you what it is all about…

Introducing Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins as an unusual detective duo in the first of a brand-new Victorian mystery series.

When Inspector Field shows his friend Charles Dickens the body of a young woman dragged from the River Thames, he cannot have foreseen that the famous author would immediately recognize the victim as Isabella Gordon, a housemaid he had tried to help through his charity. Nor that Dickens and his fellow writer Wilkie Collins would determine to find out who killed her. 

Who was Isabella blackmailing, and why? Led on by fragments of a journal discovered by Isabella’s friend Sesina, the two men track the murdered girl’s journeys from Greenwich to Snow Hill, from Smithfield Market to St Bartholomews, and put their wits to work on uncovering her past.

I liked how the author used two Classic authors as for this story. The combination of Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins as sleuths for this murder mystery worked well for me. There was a good atmospheric air to the story that gave a good vibe as I read.

Using these figures as sleuths gave me a feeling of a Holmes and Watson style mystery read. Dickens came across as aloof and reminded very much of Holmes, while Collins was more approachable and tries to work things on his own at times and is similar to Watson.

The murder of a maid has links to a Girls School that Dickens is heavily involved in as she was one of his pupils. Collins is a friend of Dickens and together they try to piece together the various clues that they find. They also have the assistance of another maid and together the three of them work their way through the mystery as to why the girl was killed and by whom.

This is a good story that I found quite addictive, it has some good twists and yes I did work some of them out but it didn’t take away from the enjoyment of reading. It is a book I think readers of the whodunit style of mysteries would like and it is one I would recommend. This is the first book in The Gaslight Series and I am looking forward to reading the next one.

The Woman Who Spoke To Spirits by Alys Clare #HistoricalMystery #BookReview

I am delighted to share my review for the first book in A World’s End Bureau Victorian Mystery Series, this first book is The Woman Who Spoke To Spirits by Alys Clare. This is the first time I have read a book by this author and I was delighted to see that there is a whole host of books by Alys for me to buy and read.

Let me show you what it is all about…

Introducing private investigators Lily Raynor and Felix Wilbraham in the first of the brand-new World’s End Bureau Victorian mystery series.

London, 1880. “I’m dreadfully afraid someone is threatening to kill my wife …” When accounts clerk Ernest Stibbins approaches the World’s End investigation bureau with wild claims that his wife Albertina has been warned by her spirit guides that someone is out to harm her, the bureau’s owner Lily Raynor and her new employee Felix Wilbraham are initially sceptical. How are the two private enquiry agents supposed to investigate threats from beyond the grave?

But after she attends a séance at the Stibbins family home, Lily comes to realize that Albertina is in terrible danger. And very soon so too is Lily herself …

This is the first book in A World’s End Bureau – Victorian Mystery series. The World’s End Bureau is owned and run by Lily Raynor in London in the 1880s. She has had some success with her business and is now finding it difficult to keep up with the admin side. She employs Felix Wilbraham to help on the clerical aspects, but soon he proves his worth and helps Lily in a series of investigations.

One such investigation comes by way of Ernest Stibbins who is concerned as to his wife’s safety. She is a medium and it soon becomes apparent to Lily that Albertina is indeed in danger. Along with this investigation, there is another that concerns a young man and an actress. While the cases are very different they both lead Lily and Felix on a route that takes them and the reader into various areas of Victorian London.

Being as this is the first in the series, it was good to get to know the two main characters as they got to know each other. I liked how there is mutual respect between them, especially as Felix is working for a female and this is an unusual thing at this time and for this profession.

The author has done a good job of creating an atmospheric read and delves into some unsavoury sides of the era. The murkiness and the ominous feelings at times provide an eeriness to the story. this is particularly good for the investigation into the Stibbins’s.

I did find the pacing of the story fluctuated, at the time it felt a little slow, but on the whole, it worked well. There was a good deal of intrigue and I was so very curious as to how the author would conclude the mysteries.

This was an enjoyable read and one that kept me intrigued throughout. I am looking forward to reading the next in the series to see how the author proceeds with not only Lily and Felix but also to see if she incorporates a couple of other characters that I think would make good additions to future investigations.

A good start to a series for mystery readers and a good atmospheric read and one I would definitely recommend.

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

Killing Pretties by Rob Ashman @RobAshmanAuthor #HighlyRecommended #CrimeThriller #BookReview

I am so excited to share my review for Killing Pretties by Rob Ashman. This is an amazing read and I cannot wait to read the next one that will be called – Twinkle, Twinkle.

Let me show you what it is all about…

Detective Sergeant Khenan Malice is a rubbish ex-husband, a crap father but a damned good detective. It’s a shame he spoils his only redeeming quality by being a bent copper.

Detective Kelly Pietersen joins the team to help find a missing woman. But Kelly has a secret…Damien Kaplan is a leading criminal barrister and a keen amateur potter. He also happens to be a serial killer with a chilling approach to creating his art. He’s married to Elsa, though she considers him more of a possession than a husband. She controls those around her using sex and procures men and women for her husband to play with but only after she’s finished with them first. Killing Pretties is his passion, having sex with them is hers. It is difficult to say which one is worse.

The missing woman brings all four crashing together – an incendiary mix that doesn’t end well.

This is one of those books that make you go “Wow!”, I say wow because there were several times I actually said more than just Wow and it is about the only word that wasn’t a swear word!!! 😉😱

Where to start… well… this is a police procedural that is so well written. This author knows how to write a baddie that’s for sure!

There are several key characters in this book, DS Malice (what an excellent name I might add), is not exactly a by the book copper, he is good but also not that squeaky clean as all is made clear in the story. He is joined by DC Kelly Pieterson, another good copper who has great gut instincts. These two are caught up in a missing person case and also the death of a local drug dealer.

The husband and wife team of Damien and Elsa Kaplan are great, but as the synopsis tells you, this is not the normal sort of husband and wife team.

At this point I know that I am re-hashing the synopsis , but, I am still try to get my head around trying to write a review that does this book the justice it deserves…

This is a crime thriller that does have a good psychological aspect to it, the Kaplan’s are very different and definitely add a macabre twist to the story. In some ways the synopsis is quite detailed in what you are going to get, but this is a story that is very much about the journey.

There is some details in the story that made me curl my toes, I do think this is one for a reader that likes a more hardcore crime thriller read, the details are relevant if a bit twisted.

The story fills in details of the past for the Kaplan’s and this is a great way of getting to know this couple and there vices. I like the team of Malice and Pieterson, they make a good combination and they seem to suit each other as far as being a team goes.

An absolutely, amazingly brilliant read that I found totally addictive, a must for hard-boiled crime thriller readers and the start of a new series , I cannot wait for more. Killing Pretties is a twisted read that I would Highly Recommend and you really need to go and yourself a copy ASAP!

Rob is married to Karen with two grown up daughters. He is originally from South Wales and after moving around with work settled in North Lincolnshire.

Like all good welsh valley boys Rob worked for the National Coal Board after leaving school at sixteen and went to University at the tender age of twenty-three when the pit closures began to bite. Since then he’s worked in a variety of manufacturing and consulting roles both in the UK and abroad.

It took Rob twenty-four years to write his first book. He only became serious about writing it when his dad got cancer. It was an aggressive illness and Rob gave up work for three months to look after him and his mum. Writing Those That Remain became his coping mechanism. After he wrote the book his family encouraged him to continue, so not being one for half measures, Rob got himself made redundant, went self-employed so he could devote more time to writing and four years later the Mechanic Trilogy was the result. 

Rob published Those That Remain, In Your Name and Pay the Penance with Bloodhound Books and has since written the DI Rosalind Kray series. These are Faceless, This Little Piggy, Suspended Retribution and Jaded which are also published by Bloodhound.

His latest work sees the introduction of a new set of characters – DS Khenan Malice and DC Kelly Pietersen. The first book in the series is titled Killing Pretties and the second is Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Lies. Both books will be published this year.

When he is not writing, Rob is a frustrated chef with a liking for beer and prosecco, and is known for occasional outbreaks of dancing.

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