Miss Marley by Vanessa Lafaye with Rebecca Mascull @RebeccaMascull @HQStories #review of #MissMarley

I am absolutely delighted to be sharing my review for Miss Marley by Vanessa Lafaye and Rebecca Mascull. I was over the moon to be sent a copy by Joe Thomas HQ Stories. A wonderful cover for a wonderful book.

Synopsis:

Before A Christmas Carol there was… Miss Marley

A seasonal tale of kindness and goodwill

Orphans Clara and Jacob Marley live by their wits, scavenging for scraps in the poorest alleyways of London, in the shadow of the workhouse. Every night, Jake promises his little sister ‘tomorrow will be better’ and when the chance to escape poverty comes their way, he seizes it despite the terrible price.

And so Jacob Marley is set on a path that leads to his infamous partnership with Ebenezer Scrooge. As Jacob builds a fortress of wealth to keep the world out, only Clara can warn him of the hideous fate that awaits him if he refuses to let love and kindness into his heart…

In Miss Marley, Vanessa Lafaye weaves a spellbinding Dickensian tale of ghosts, goodwill, and hope – a perfect prequel to A Christmas Carol.

My Thoughts:

Have you ever wondered about Jacob Marley, how he became the ghost in A Christmas Carol? What did he do in life to deserve such a penance? I always have. So when the chance to read Miss Marley came along I jumped at it. Set as a prequel to A Christmas Carol, the author has invented a sister for Jacob, Miss Clara Belle Marley. Jacob’s story is told from her perspective.

As a reader I have always associated Christmas with Dickens, A Christmas Carol is one of those books that is synonymous with the festive season and has been the basis for many offshoots in the form of film, musical, and theatre. Miss Marley is a welcome addition and is the perfect book to accompany the Dickens classic. Dickens has some mighty big footsteps and I was a little wary as to how this book would fair. I have to say here and now it faired very well indeed and it complimented those footsteps completely for me.

From the outset I was transported and completely immersed into Dickensian London, slums, rough neighbourhoods, dank sewer lined streets and the notorious poverty. This was here I was introduced to two youngsters, Jacob and Clara. I followed them as they struggled to find food to eat, a roof and warmth to keep themselves healthy and safe. The story tells of a chance event that was to provide the start of a new life. A life that would see them rise from the gutters and to meet Ebenezer Scrooge. 

There are a few references to A Christmas Carol and these were perfect for setting the scene, the feel and introducing characters that follow in Dickens book. By the time I had finished reading Miss Marley, I found my reading appetite definitely whetted and was eager to continue into the book we all know.

You may notice that there are two authors mentioned for this book, I wasn’t really aware of this until I got to the end and read the afterword. The first author is Vanessa Lafaye, she wrote the vast majority of this book. Unfortunately, she lost her battle with cancer before it’s completion. Rebecca Mascull then took on the role of finishing the final few chapters. The friendship, discussions and the love these two authors shared for Dickens really does show and I had no idea where one author left off and the other picked up. It wasn’t until I read the afterword that I discovered this revelation. It was a seamless transition between the two and an ending that I believe Vanessa would approve of (in my opinion). 

This is a novella that is an absolute must-read not only for fans of Dickens and A Christmas Carol but also for those that have not turned the pages of a Dickens before. It would be the perfect introduction to the style and feel of this great author. Everything about this book was absolutely perfect and spot on and it will be one that I will read again for the festive season years to come. This book gets an absolutely highly recommended from me.

About the Authors:

Vanessa Lafaye was born in Florida and studied in North Carolina. She moved to the UK in 1999 (having been deported once). She is the author of two previous novels, her first book Summertime, was chosen for Richard and Judy in 2015 and was shortlisted for the Historical Writers Award. Vanessa passed away in February 2018.

Rebecca Mascull is the author of three historical novels and also writes saga fiction under the pen-name Mollie Walton. Visit her websites for more information: https://molliewalton.co.uk/ & https://rebeccamascull.co.uk/

She is currently hard at work on her next trilogy of historical fiction, with the first novel slated for publication in spring 2019 to be published by Bonnier Zaffre as The Ironbridge Saga. These will be published under the name of Mollie Walton and the first book in the series is set in the dangerous world of the iron industry: THE DAUGHTERS OF IRONBRIDGE.
Her first novel THE VISITORS (2014) tells the story of Adeliza Golding, a deaf-blind child living on her father’s hop farm in Victorian Kent. Her second novel SONG OF THE SEA MAID (2015) is set in the C18th and concerns an orphan girl who becomes a scientist and makes a remarkable discovery. Her third novel, THE WILD AIR (2017) is about a shy Edwardian girl who learns to fly and becomes a celebrated aviatrix but the shadow of war is looming. All are published by Hodder & Stoughton.

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

The Lingering by SJI Holliday @SJIHolliday @OrendaBooks @annecater #BookReview

The Lingering front FINAL

I am delighted to be sharing my review today for The Lingering by SJI Holliday as part of the Blog Tour with Anne at Random Things Tours and also Orenda Books. A huge thank you to Anne for the invite and to Orenda for my copy.

Synopsis:

Married couple Jack and Ali Gardiner move to a self-sufficient commune in the English Fens, desperate for fresh start. The local village is known for the witches who once resided there and Rosalind House, where the commune has been established, is a former psychiatric home, with a disturbing history

When Jack and Ali arrive, a chain of unexpected and unexplained events is set off, and it becomes clear that they are not all that they seem. As the residents become twitchy, and the villagers suspicious, events from the past come back to haunt them, and someone is seeking retribution…

At once an unnerving locked-room mystery, a chilling thriller and a dark and superbly wrought ghost story, The Lingering is an exceptionally plotted, terrifying and tantalisingly twisted novel by one of the most exciting authors in the genre.

Purchase your own copy from Amazon UK

My thoughts:

Ali and Jack arrive at Rosalind House, a former psychiatric facility and now a commune for those wanting a fresh, slower paced, quiet and calmer lifestyle. Things at Rosalind is idyllic sounding until the arrival of the newcomers. In an atmospheric setting with an unsettling past history, this is a story with a good deal of psychological suspense.

I have seen some wonderful reviews for this book and, as you can imagine, I was eager to read this book. Things seem okay as I joined Ali and Jack, there is a sense of their apprehension at leaving their old lives behind. I felt that their hope for their new fresh start was tinged with scepticism as they meet the other residents. I did wonder why two professionals would choose such an isolated and complete change to their lifestyle. By the end of the book, I could completely understand why and my wonderings were definitely laid to rest.

From the start, this book developed into a story with a mystery. This mystery gradually grew and evolved as the suspense and that gnawing, haunting feeling grew. What I didn’t expect was the many “bloody ‘ell” and ” Oh! That’s good” that left my mouth along the way. This is a story that turned my initial perceptions of some of the characters on its head, I love this when an author keeps me on my toes like this.

The story is told from the perspective of mainly Ali and Angela. Angela is a fellow resident along with another chapter contributor Smeaton. Scattered through the book are diary entries, these I absolutely loved as they gave an insight into the House when it was still in use as a psychiatric facility. It gave a chilling glimpse into the treatments and problems from days gone past.

These quick chapters gave me a chance to really get to know the characters, their motives… yes there are motives, there are also disasters and chilling turns of event that made for wonderful and addictive reading.

A story that had such an idyllic and simplistic sounding lifestyle change that turns into something very sinister. A disturbing, haunting, psychological, suspense-filled mystery,

A brilliant read and one I would highly recommend.

About the Author:

Susi author photo.jpg

S.J.I. (Susi) Holliday is a pharmaceutical statistician by day and a crime and horror fan by night. Her short stories have been published in many places and she was shortlisted for the inaugural CWA Margery Allingham prize with her story ‘Home from Home’, which was published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine in spring 2017. She is the bestselling author of the creepy and claustrophobic Banktoun trilogy (Black Wood, Willow Walk and The Damselfly) featuring the much-loved Sergeant Davie Gray, and has dabbled in festive crime with the critically acclaimed The Deaths of December. Her latest psychological thriller is modern gothic with more than a hint of the supernatural, which she loved writing due to her fascination and fear of ghosts. She is proud to be one of The Slice Girls has been described by David Mark as ‘Dark as a smoker’s lung.’ She divides her time between Edinburgh and London and you will find her at crime-fiction events in the UK and abroad.

Follow Susi on Twitter or her Website

See what other Book Bloggers think by following the tour

Lingering blog poster 2018 (1) (1).jpg

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

A Thunder Of War by Steve McHugh @StevejMchugh @annecater #RandomThingsTours #BookReview

A Thunder of War Cover.jpg

As the final stop on the Blog Tour, I am so happy that I finally get my turn to share my review of A Thunder Of War by Steve McHugh on the Blog Tour with Anne at Random Things Tours. My huge thanks to Anne for the invite and also to the author for my signed copy of this fabulous book. It is book number three in The Avalon Chronicles and I absolutely love this series.

Synopsis:

There’s thunder on the horizon, and the lightning of war is about to strike.

After years of struggle, Layla Cassidy has finally mastered the dark powers that threatened to control her and turned them to good. She’s ready to fight, but the next battle will be her greatest test yet.

The forces of Avalon are growing ever stronger, reinforcing their dominance with almighty displays of brutality. When Abaddon comes close to crushing Layla and her friends, it’s clear that the thunder of war is about to give way to lightning—and that they have no chance of surviving it alone.

The final battle against Abaddon is drawing closer. Now Layla and her friends must fight for themselves—and the future of the world. To win, they will need every power and ally they can muster. But even with all their strength, will it be enough to stand against the impending doom?

Purchase link at Amazon UK

My Thoughts:

This is the third in The Avalon Chronicles and yes I would definitely suggest reading these books in order as you get to see the transformation of Layla Cassidy. She is coming to terms with her powers, though not fully accepted all that she can be. The battle against Avalon becomes more brutal as the fighting increases. No one knows if Avalon can be defeated and everything is risked.

With Layla learning more about her powers and her role, she increasing finds herself and her friends in a relentless situation. Avalon forces are desperate to take over the control of the realms. They have won over some and it is a race to prevent more being lost. Layla and Abaddon have history and again they butt heads as Abaddon becomes a more increasing pain in the rear. With Layla still discovering the full extent of her power, it seems that Abaddon beats her at every turn.

This is a fantasy series that mixes and draws on legend, folklore, mythology from various countries and times. The way the author uses the different realms and also keeping its phrasing and language modern still allowing it to mix in different settings is a real treat. By doing this the author can mix in the odd demi-god, the occasional sorcerer, a few dwarves, were beasts and there’s a dragon or two… the dragons made me so happy.

The mix of old and ancient with a modern setting has worked really well for me as I was reading. I often found myself making notes for further reading with regards to some of the more unusual mythology or legendary references. There is such a large scope when it comes to the things that have been included such as; Arthurian legends, Norse Mythology, Roman mythology, and Native American and then there is also mentions of necromancy, elemental magic, and pure magic. These various elements have been well researched and while I wouldn’t necessarily have put such a range of different things like this together, I am so glad the author did as it makes such a wonderful read.

The characters are brilliantly described and their storylines and the way they are entwined is wonderful. There are a lot of characters, and again this is where I would reiterate that reading the series in order would help. The author has dropped some brilliant little one-liners that are delivered by certain cast members, and I have a feeling this may possibly be a little bit of the author’s personality popping by. You will soon build up a list of those characters that you really like because of their various traits, and then there are those you would quite happily take up a sword and personally chop their heads off.

If you are a fan of fantasy, magic, legend, mythology, and folklore then this is a must read. If you also like elves, dwarves, were beasts and don’t forget the dragons, then this is a must read.

A fabulous series, that I think would also work for general fiction readers as well as fantasy, yes it is heavy on the fantasy do to the mix of magic, legend, and mythology but I think it is very accessible with names you can actually pronounce. This is a book and a series I highly recommend.

The Series

Read my reviews for the first two book in the series.

A Glimmer of Hope

A Flicker Of Steel

About the Author:

Steve McHugh Author Pic.jpg

 Steve’s been writing from an early age, his first completed story was done in an English lesson. Unfortunately, after the teacher read it, he had to have a chat with the head of the year about the violent content and bad language. The follow up ‘One boy and his frog’ was less concerning to his teachers and got him an A.

It wasn’t for another decade that he would start work on a full length novel, the result of which is Crimes Against Magic.

He was born in a small village called Mexborough, South Yorkshire, but now lives with his wife and three young daughters in Southampton.

Follow Steve on his Twitter or his Website

See what other Book Bloggers thought by checking out their stops on the tour

A Thunder of War BT Poster - Copy

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

No Time To Cry by James Oswald @SirBenfro @annecater #RandomThingsTours #BookReview

No Time to Cry Cover.jpg

I am absolutely delighted to be sharing my review of No Time To Cry by James Oswald as part of the blog tour with Anne at Random Things Tours. My huge thanks to Anne for the invite, the Author and Wildfire Publishing for my copy.

Synopsis:

Undercover cops are always dangerous, but DC Constance Fairchild never expected things to go this wrong.
Returning to their base of operations, an anonymous office in a shabby neighbourhood, she finds the bloodied body of her boss, and friend, DI Pete Copperthwaite. He’s been executed – a single shot to the head.

In the aftermath, it seems someone in the Met is determined to make sure that blame for the wrecked operation falls squarely on Con’s shoulders. She is cut loose and cast out, angry and alone with her grief… right until the moment someone also tries to put a bullet through her head.

There’s no place to hide, and no time to cry.

PRAISE FOR JAMES

“The new Ian Rankin” Daily Record
“Oswald’s writing is a class above” Express

“Crime fiction’s next big thing” Sunday Telegraph

Purchase No Time to Cry at Amazon UK

My Thoughts:

Con is an undercover Detective Constable and is called in by her boss at their safe house/ rendezvous. She arrives to find him dead. Not a simple death but tortured and then executed. It soon becomes obvious she is being blamed.

Oh my god, what a book! This has been an amazing read from start to finish and has stomped its way into my Top 10 Best Crime, Thriller reads of this year.

The main character is Constance, or as she prefers Con and she is a brilliant character. As I got to know her better I discovered that there is a lot more to her than first meets the eye. Yes, she is tenacious, feisty and is never going to be backed into a corner without coming out again fighting, she has a work ethic that means she is like a dog with a bone in regards to discovering the truth. Con is going to have a huge fight on her hands and several times I wondered how this would pan out.

The plot is so dark and does include a subject that may not appeal to all readers, for me it was enough to get a picture of the facts without being overly graphic with the details. Throughout the story, there was that ever-present feeling that absolutely no-one could be trusted, a way to build up the suspense and have the nerves tingling.

The story is set mainly in London but does take in other locations and the characters that associated with them. As for the other characters, I think you will pretty quickly work out for yourselves the ones you like or don’t.

The other locations give a chance for Con to catch the briefest of breathers with family and friends and even here I had them on the “do I trust them?” list. It left me pondering throughout as to how she would ever get through her own private investigations.#This is an absolute belter of a read with its dark and dangerous twisted paths. A story that had me at its very opening lines as that was where the suspense and intrigue started.

This for me is an absolute must-read for anyone who likes suspense-filled, female-led, crime and thriller books. The start of a new series, and I am really excited about this series and seriously look forward to more. This is a book that gets and absolutely highly recommended from me.

About the Author:

James Oswald.jpg

JAMES OSWALD is the author of the Sunday Times bestselling Inspector McLean series of detective mysteries. The first two of these, NATURAL CAUSES and THE BOOK OF SOULS were both shortlisted for the prestigious CWA Debut Dagger Award. NO TIME TO CRY is the first book in James’s new Constance Fairchild series.
James farms Highland cows and Romney sheep by day, writes disturbing fiction by night.

Follow James on Twitter or visit his Website

See what other Book Blogger think by following the Blog Tour

No Time To Cry Blog Tour Poster

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

Good Samaritans by Will Carver @will_carver @annecater @OrendaBooks #BookReview

GOOD SAMARITANS AW PR1.indd

I am delighted to be sharing my review of Good Samaritans by Will Carver today as part of the Blog Tour with Orenda Books. Huge thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for the invite and to Orenda and Will for my copy of this fabulous book.

Synopsis:

One crossed wire, three dead bodies and six bottles of bleach

Seth Beauman can’t sleep. He stays up late, calling strangers from his
phonebook, hoping to make a connection, while his wife, Maeve, sleeps
upstairs. A crossed wire finds a suicidal Hadley Serf on the phone to
Seth, thinking she is talking to The Samaritans.
But a seemingly harmless, late-night hobby turns into something more
for Seth and for Hadley, and soon their late-night talks are turning into
day-time meet-ups. And then this dysfunctional love story turns into
something altogether darker, when Seth brings Hadley home…
And someone is watching…
Dark, sexy, dangerous and wildly readable, Good Samaritans marks the
scorching return of one of crime fiction’s most exceptional voices.

My Thoughts:

The Samaritans are a group available to people in need. What happens if a phone call goes beyond a phone call. This story takes a dark look into a sinister world that kept me avidly turning the pages.

This is the first book I have read by this author and good god is it creepy, sinister dark and delicious. Full of twists and turns that left me just a bit shocked. Definitely not what I was expecting, and this is meant in a good way. The synopsis did a great job of getting me hooked, the pages of the story had me addicted.

I am not elaborating on the plot at all because I don’t want to give spoilers. I will say it is clever and has a real sense of suspense, there were times I was wondering where this story was going and how it was going to link up. By the end, I was feeling a little stunned as this disturbing story was revealed, Oh and in a really good way.

The way the book is laid out worked really well, in daily chapters and then broken down into quick sub-chapters. These gave a snappiness to the story as it moved along at a good pace. I would suggest that it would be ideal for picking up reading a couple of sections and then carrying on about your day, but this will not happen as once you pick it up you will not want to put it down.

If there were a limit to words I could use to describe this book they would be: twisted, dangerous, disturbing and sick and that is just some of the characters. You will soon work out who to like and then there are the ones that you want to be nowhere near, not in the same postcode, county or for that matter the same country.

I would say this is definitely a book aimed at adults with shall I say a slightly more open mind, there are a few erm… sexy, dirty bits and you know what it actually worked well and was appropriate.

So if you are after a book that has shocks, thrills, creepiness, and suspense then this is a must read. If you like an edginess that has a realistic feel to it then it is a must read and believe me when I say that you will never look at a bottle of bleach in the same way again…

A book that readers of psychological thrillers, domestic noir, crime, suspense and one I would highly recommend.
Purchase link: Amazon UK

About the Author:

Will Carver.jpg

Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January
David series (Arrow). He spent his early years in Germany, but
returned to the UK at age 11, when his sporting career took off. He
turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and
television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful
theatre company.
He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, while
working on his next thriller. He lives in Reading with his two children.

Follow the tour to see what other Book Blogger think

Final Good Samaritans BT Poster .jpg

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

Christmas at The Cafe at the End of the Pier by Helen Rolfe @HJRolfe #BookReview

DSC_0168

I am absolutely over the moon to be sharing Christmas at The Cafe at the End of the Pier by Helen Rolfe with you today. This is the final installment in The Cafe at the End of the Pier series that I have reading through the year. It may come as no surprise to those that read my blog that I absolutely adore this series. I usually read the books within a couple of days of them being released, but I have a couple of reasons for holding back for 11days… yes a whole 11 days until I read this one.

Reason 1… I didn’t want to make a final visit to the cafe for the first time.

Reason 2… I realised I was coming close to reaching my Goodreads target for the year, I couldn’t think of a better book to reach my target with and after reading the book this morning I knew I had made the perfect decision. This is the 200th book I have read this year 🙂

Oh and the Danish pastries were for research purposes only…(she says,gently brushing crumbs off her face)… honestly they were 🙂 🙂

Synopsis:

Looking for love this Christmas? You’ll find it at The Café at the End of the Pier… A feelgood novella and the continuation of the Café at the End of the Pier series.

With her grandparents taking a long-awaited holiday, Jo finds herself completely in charge of the Cafe over the festive season. Salthaven-on-Sea is brimming with Christmas cheer – the pier is decked with tinsel and twinkling with lights, and the Cafe is full of the delicious aromas of Jo’s mulled wine and freshly-baked cinnamon rolls.

Love is in the air, too, and when another mystery postcard arrives, it’s finally Jo’s turn for a blind date… But who will be waiting underneath the mistletoe?

As the whole community is brought together on the sands of Salthaven for a frosty Christmas Day swim, will Jo finally find her own happy ever after?

The perfect feel-good festive read for fans of Cathy Bramley and Holly Hepburn

*******

Readers love The Café at the End of the Pier series:

‘Brings a smile to your face and a tear to your eye’ – Goodreads reviewer

‘Heartwarming and made me smile… I can’t wait to read more’ – Goodreads reviewer

‘Perfectly charming and totally yummy’ – Amazon reviewer

My Thoughts:

From its outset, in February I have followed Jo as she decides to make the trip back to Salthaven. Initially helping her Grandparents running the Cafe at the End of the Pier and then the mammoth task of running it. Over the months Jo has taken everything in and added her own twist while still keeping the essence of what makes the Cafe the place it is.

It is a place for friends, families, visitors, and residents and all are made welcome. One of the twists Jo has is her night of love where she picks two people and invites them to a meal for two. For some it is the start of a relationship, for others, it is a friendship. For Jo it is a way to bring people together, but what about Jo herself? I had a couple of possibles that I would love to see her with but she has never had the time or the nerve to ask. Someone, however, has been playing Jo at her own game, sending her little cards and leaving messages. Finally, the who is revealed and I am not going to lie, I was delighted.

This series is not just romance, though there is that to it as well. It is about a community and discovering who you are. Jo takes a risk in taking on the cafe, she is unsure of herself at first, but with the help of her friends, customers and grandparents she gradually accepts and fits into her role.

The recipes and mentions of cakes, shakes, soups, coffee, and hot chocolate have littered these stories throughout the year, bringing a seasonal deliciousness to the story. If you have not read this series yet you are in for a real taste bud tantalising treat.

This is a book that brings the year to an end and what a year it has been. Each time I pick up a new episode I feel like I am going back to join friends and catch up on the gossip and chit-chat. By the time I got to the end of this book, I had happy tears running down my face as I read the updates from Jo’s friends as they go about their lives and then Jo’s postcard…OMG I was then a sobbing wreck …

A series that is a perfect read for romance, contemporary and general fiction readers. One that I would absolutely, highly and definitely recommend 🙂

About the Author:

Helen J Rolfe writes romantic fiction and contemporary women’s fiction and enjoys weaving stories about family, friendship, secrets, and community. Location is a big part of the adventure in Helen’s books and she enjoys setting stories in different cities and countries around the world. So far, locations have included Melbourne, Sydney, New York, Connecticut, Bath and the Cotswolds.

Helen writes some books in series as listed below, but all can be read as standalone books:

Magnolia Creek Series
1. What Rosie Found Next
2. The Chocolatier’s Secret
3. The Magnolia Girls

New York Ever After Series
1. Christmas at the Little Knitting Box
2. Snowflakes and Mistletoe at the Inglenook Inn
3. Wedding Bells on Madison Avenue
4. Christmas Miracles at the Little Log Cabin – coming December 2018!

Helen J Rolfe also writes for Orion Books under the name Helen Rolfe. Her new series, Cafe at the End of the Pier, is out in 2018 and begins with a free Valentine’s short story. The series can be read in the following order:

Valentine’s Day at the Café at the End of the Pier
Spring at the Café at the End of the Pier
Summer at the Café at the End of the Pier
Autumn at the Café at the End of the Pier
Christmas at the Café at the End of the Pier

The Little Café at the End of the Pier is the bind-up version of all the Café at the End of the Pier stories in one and will be released January 2019.

Born and raised in the UK, Helen graduated from University with a business degree and began working in I.T. This job took her over to Australia and it was there that she studied writing and journalism and began writing for women’s health and fitness magazines. She also volunteered with the PR department of a children’s hospital where she wrote articles and media releases. Helen began writing fiction in 2011 and hasn’t missed the I.T. world one little bit, although the I.T. skills have come in handy of course, especially when it comes to creating and maintaining a website.

After fourteen years of living in Australia, Helen returned to the UK and now lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and their children.

To learn more about Helen and her writing, find her at:

WebsiteFacebook
TwitterInstagram

The Cafe Series, follow the links to buy your own copies and to read my reviews

Amazon UK Links

Valentine’s Day( This novella is FREE on kindle)

Spring

Summer

Autumn

Christmas

Pre-order the book The Little Cafe at the End of the Pier it has all the stories. I have had my copy on pre-order since June… 🙂

51Ahf32q3lL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_
My Reviews

Valentine’s Day at The Cafe at the End of the Pier

Spring at The Cafe at the End of the Pier

Summer at The Cafe at the End of the Pier

Autumn at The Cafe at the End of The Pier

Many thanks for reading my rather long post today,

a like or a share would be magical 🙂 xx

And So It Begins by Rachel Abbott @RachelAbbott #NetGalley #AndSoItBegins #BookReview

510Htx-mWuL._SY346_

I am delighted to be sharing my review of And So It Begins by Rachel Abbott. My thanks to Headline and Wildfire books for my e-copy that I received via NetGalley.

You can buy this in eBook format now, the Hardback is due to be published on November 15th 2018, with the paperback scheduled for August 8th 2019 ( dates correct at time of writing) Buying link for AMAZON UK

Synopsis:

WHO WILL BELIEVE YOUR STORY IF THE ONLY WITNESS IS DEAD?

‘What a storyteller Rachel Abbott is… I was hooked from the start’ CARA HUNTER

‘A truly compelling, twisty, enthralling and satisfying read… Absolutely AMAZING!’ ANGELA MARSONS

Cleo knows she should be happy for her brother Mark. He’s managed to find someone new after the sudden death of his first wife – but something about Evie just doesn’t feel right…

When Evie starts having accidents at home, her friends grow concerned. Could Mark be causing her injuries? Called out to their cliff-top house one night, Sergeant Stephanie King finds two bodies entangled on blood-drenched sheets.

Where does murder begin? When the knife is raised to strike, or before, at the first thought of violence? As the accused stands trial, the jury is forced to consider – is there ever a proper defence for murder?

My Thoughts:

Mark, Evie, and Cleo… Mark is a reclusive photographer whose first wife died suddenly. He is coaxed out by Evie who wants a series of photographs taken. Cleo is Mark’s sister and is very protective of him and doesn’t appreciate Evie spending time in Mark’s life… Evie stands trial as this dark and twisted thriller unravels their stories.

Wow…and Wow… and why have I not read anything by this author before…?

This is such an addictive read that really did have me on the edge of my seat. This author really knows how to keep me guessing from the tantalizing few words of the prologue right through to the very end. She had me second guessing my thoughts, the characters, and the motives. When I thought I had a handle on things she managed to twists things and leaving me wondering what was going to come next.

As the stories of each of the three main characters start to open up I was given the chance to see their roots as it were, a chance to get a glimpse into their childhoods and their upbringings. A chance to get into their thoughts and how they worked, but nothing quite prepared me for what was to come.

The trial part of the story was something I really enjoyed and when combined with the police investigations the truth starts to be revealed. Some of these had me squirming and others had me horrified as abusive treatment details came to light.

This book is so well paced and I found myself not wanting to put my kindle down for a single moment. This is a dark and devious psychological thriller that encompasses a crime, with wonderful of courtroom and police procedural elements. A story that delves into family and relationships. This is a real cracker of a read that kept me guessing and one that I would highly recommend.

About the Author:

61g7tTALYlL._SY200_

Rachel Abbott’s debut thriller, Only the Innocent, was an international bestseller, reaching the number one position in the Amazon charts both in the UK and US. This was followed by the number one bestselling novels The Back Road, Sleep Tight, Stranger Child, Nowhere Child (a short novel based on the characters from Stranger Child), Kill Me Again and The Sixth Window. Her most recent novel, Come a Little Closer, is available from February 2018.

Rachel’s novels have now been translated into over 20 languages and her books have sold over 3 million copies in the English language.

In 2015 Amazon celebrated the first five years of the Kindle in the UK, and announced that Rachel was the #1 bestselling independent author over the five-year period. She was also placed #14 in the chart of all authors. Stranger Child was the most borrowed novel for the Kindle in the first half of 2015.

Rachel splits her time between Alderney – a beautiful island off the coast of France – and the Le Marche region of Italy, where she is able to devote all her time to writing fiction. For more information, see Rachel’s website, or follow her on Twitter.

Rachel’s website can be found at – WebsiteBlogFacebookTwitter

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

#Trap by Lilja Sigurdardottir @lilja1972 trs Quentin Bates #BlogTour #RandomThingsTours @OrendaBook #BookReview

TRAP AW.indd

I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on Trap by Lilja Sigurdardottir today as part of the Blog Tour with Orenda Books and Anne Cater of Random Things Tours. My huge thanks to Anne for the invite and for arranging my e-copy of this book. When I saw the email for this book I jumped at the chance to be part of the tour. I had already bought Snare, the first book in this trilogy and just hadn’t got around to reading it, so the Blog Tour was the perfect chance to make up for that. You can see my review of Snare here.

Buying link for SNARE – AMAZON UK and TRAP at AMAZON UK

Synopsis:

A breathtakingly original thriller by international bestselling Icelandic author Lilja Sigurdardóttir Book 2 in the acclaimed Reykjavik Noir series Film rights sold to Palomar Pictures

Happily settled in Florida, Sonja believes she’s finally escaped the trap set by unscrupulous drug lords. But when her son Tomas is taken, she’s back to square one … and Iceland.

Her lover, Agla, is awaiting sentencing for financial misconduct after the banking crash, and Sonja refuses to see her. And that’s not all … Agla owes money to some extremely powerful men, and they’ll stop at nothing to get it back.

With her former nemesis, customs officer Bragi on her side, Sonja puts her own plan into motion, to bring down the drug barons and her scheming ex-husband, and get Tomas back safely. But things aren’t as straightforward as they seem, and Sonja finds herself caught in the centre of a trap that will put all of their lives at risk…

Set in a Reykjavík still covered in the dust of the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruption, and with a dark, fast-paced and chilling plot and intriguing characters, Trap is an outstandingly original and sexy Nordic crime thriller, from one of the most exciting new names in crime fiction.

My Thoughts:

Things for Sonia seem to go from bad to worse. When she thinks she has finally managed to escape the clutches of those who control her life, she and her son Tomas are taken back to Iceland. The journey into this trilogy contiues with this fabulous follow up to Snare.

I would like to say straight away that if you haven’t read Snare, then you really should. It lays the blocks for a story that Trap continues. It is a seamless progression through Sonia and other characters journey. I for one am so glad I read in order.

I am still a little shocked that one of my favourite characters in this book is a drug smuggler… But the author has created a character and a scenario that is so believable that I cannot help being invested in the dilemma Sonia finds herself caught up in. It places this character in between “the devil and the deep blue sea”. To maintain contact with her son she must continue to do what is required of her. But now she has the help of customs official Bragi to aid her. His story is one that again I can see the reasons behind.

Each time that it looks like there could be a light at the end of the tunnel for her, life takes a twist that is brutally heartbreaking for her. The reasons for her actions are justifiably believable and totally convincing.

Around Sonia’s story, the author continues the threads of the financial crash in Iceland and also Agla’s role in it. Again this is another character I am rooting for, even though her role in the crash falls into a grey area.

True colours are starting to come to light for other characters with many surprises along the way. I am being my usual vague self with this review as anyone who is reading this but hasn’t read the first book doesn’t get any spoilers from me. If you haven’t read Snare or Trap then you really should buy them.

The author does a brilliant job of showing how the conflict of interests and a mothers love hold no bounds and how this love can shape their decisions. She successfully combines several elements that at first glance made me wonder at their connections to each other but as the stories have unfolded I was completely drawn in, and continue to be drawn in deeper. Once again the translator Quentin Bates shows his skill with an amazingly brilliant and seamless translation.

This is another superb read that readers of Noir will really love. The characters, descriptions, and storylines are brilliantly woven to create an amazing story of manipulation, smuggling, money and at its core, a mothers love for her son. An absolute must read for readers of crime, thriller, mystery, Icelandic Noir. This book gets a massive highly recommended from me and I cannot wait for the next book.

About the Author:

Lilja author photo.jpg

Icelandic crime-writer Lilja Sigurdardóttir was born in the town of Akranes in 1972 and raised in Mexico, Sweden, Spain and Iceland. An award-winning playwright, Lilja has written four crime novels, with Snare, the first in a new series, hitting bestseller lists worldwide. The film rights have been bought by Palomar Pictures in California. She lives in Reykjavík with her partner.

Follow Lilja on Twitter or her Website

Follow the Blog Tour and see what other Book Bloggers think

Trap First BT Poster

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

#Snare by Lilja Sigurdardottir Trans by Quentin Blake #OrendaBooks #BookReview

41GWPSUgolL

Today I have a review of Snare by Lilja Sigurdardottir. I have had this book on my TBR since 17th December last year… I wanted to start this first book in the Reykjavik Noir Trilogy as I am taking part in the Blog Tour for Trap tomorrow and really wanted to read in order. I am so glad I did as this is a brilliant book that sets the basic and paves the way for what is to follow.

Buying link: AMAZON UK

Synopsis:

First in the Reykjavik Noir Trilogy

After a messy divorce, attractive young mother Sonia is struggling to provide for herself and keep custody of her son. With her back to the wall, she resorts to smuggling cocaine into Iceland and finds herself caught up in a ruthless criminal world. As she desperately looks for a way out of trouble, she must pit her wits against her nemesis, Bragi, a customs officer, whose years of experience frustrate her new and evermore daring strategies. Things become even more complicated when Sonia embarks on a relationship with a woman, Agla. Once a high-level bank executive, Agla is currently being prosecuted in the aftermath of the Icelandic financial crash.
Set in a Reykjavík still covered in the dust of the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruption, and with a dark, fast-paced and chilling plot and intriguing characters, Snare is an outstandingly original and sexy Nordic crime thriller, from one of the most exciting new names in crime fiction.

My Thoughts:

Sonia is offered help why she is going through a messy divorce and custody battle of her son. A simple errand is all that is required but little did she know that this simple errand would take her into a world of drug trafficking. Once she is in, she is in and she is now finding how difficult it is for her to escape this drug, money, and greed filled world. Sonia is in a relationship with Agla, Agla has her own problems and is under investigation for her role in Iceland’s economic crash.

If I tell you that I spent the afternoon reading this book from start to finish, then it will give you some idea of how addictive it was. There are so many stories that have been brilliantly threaded in and around each other. The cat and mouse game of drug smuggling, an economic crash and ensuing investigation, a broken family, a man looking after his ill wife are just some of the themes.

This author gave me a story that had me rooting for a character that was smuggling drugs!!! This is not something I would do, but the way the author made me believe Sonia’s plight and how I could sympathise with her dilemma show how well the author has written. Another thing about Sonia that goes against the grain for me is her ability to lie. In theory, I should really not like this character at all… but the author has given her a story that has so much to it, that I cannot help rooting for her.

There are various characters in this book and while some have an obvious reason for being there, others seem to have a small part and move on, it is only as I read the second book that their role really comes into play and their motives are being realised. I was never completely sure as to who I could trust, they all have their own motives and what they think is their own priority.

I mentioned cat and mouse earlier, and this is the way Sonia has to use her wits to get through customs while carrying her haul of drugs, the various ways she hides the drugs and also the way she manages to dodge officials was clever. You know what I could go on about this book so much, but I think I would end up giving away spoilers, so I’m leaving it there.

This is a book with a story that is so addictive, believable and really gets under your skin, the descriptions and the slower pace of the book are perfect for this Icelandic noir. At the beginning of the book, there is a very useful guide for the pronunciation of the various names. Yes I did read them and attempt to pronounce them and I think I am still way off saying them right especially Eyjafjallajökull and some others, but a very useful addition all the same. I have to mention Quentin Bates, the translator. He is seamless in his translation and this means I get to read a book that I would never have been able to read.

This is a story that is addictive, the characters are convincing and believable, the writing is wonderful, the translation is brilliant. I loved everything about this book and I’m really looking forward to reading the rest of the trilogy. This is a book I highly recommend.

About the Author:

Icelandic crime-writer Lilja Sigurdardóttir was born in the town of Akranes in 1972 and raised in Mexico, Sweden, Spain, and Iceland. An award-winning playwright, Lilja has written four crime novels, with Snare, the first in a new series, hitting bestseller lists worldwide. The film rights have been bought by Palomar Pictures in California. Lilja has a background in education and has worked in evaluation and quality control for preschools in recent years. She lives in Reykjavík with her partner.
Follow Lilja on Twitter and on her Website

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

Don’t forget to stop by tomorrow and see what I think of the second book; Trap xx

Malignant by Anita Waller #BookReview @Bloodhoundbook

Anita Waller - Malignant_cover_high res.jpg

I am delighted to be one of the Book Blogger opening the Blog Blitz today for Malignant by Anita Waller. This is a fantastic book that I read in one sitting and is one I would highly recommend. It is published by Bloodhound Books.

Synopsis:

What if someone set you limits?

Claudia and Heather have been friends and neighbours for many years and both women decide it is the right time for them to leave their husbands. Together they get a flat but their peace is short lived when Claudia is diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Being a good friend, Heather takes on caring for Claudia but a lethal meeting with James, Claudia’s ex-husband, results in someone dying.

As life for Claudia and Heather begins to unravel, the answer to their problems becomes clear… it’s murder.

My Thoughts:

Claudia and Heather have been friends and neighbours for years. They are each others support system and shoulder to cry on when life with their husbands gets too much. After one particular nasty event, both women decide that they have had enough and come to realise it is time to get out of their relationships. They rent a flat and finally they are free… but at what price…

Straight off I am going to say as much as I loved the crime element to this story, it takes a second place to they story of the women. Their friendship is one that has been their sanity over the years as they have listened and cried with each other. When they finally break away from the abusive husbands they have the chance to start again.

Claudia and Heather I absolutely adored, their tenacity, grit and determination is to be applauded, I am not going to applaud everything they have done, but I can see the reasoning… that’s all I’m saying!

The emotions run high with this book, from an emotional prologue right the way through the story to the moving Author Notes. This for me is where this author really excelled, the tone and feeling felt just right. When a terminal illness diagnosis made its appearance into the story, I was so angry as by this point I cared about the characters, I wanted to them to have a happy life. The author did such an amazing job of creating characters I could empathise with. By the end of the book the term “blown away” springs to mind for the journey that I had been taken on.

I suppose I should say a little something about the crime element of the book… the crimes work well and do feel plausible for those involved and that’s all I’m giving you! It does have a very real presence in this book and one that threw up some unexpected turns of events.

This is a fabulously brilliant book that deals with many emotions in various forms. It is a heartbreaking book in so many ways taking me from elation to despair as the characters take risks, form stronger bonds and deal with betrayal and loss and so many other things. If you are after a book that deals with family, relationships and friendship that takes dark turns and twists that will hook you from the very beginning then you really do need to read this. It is a book that falls into so many categories such as crime, thriller, suspense, family drama, family life, relationships, abuse…Oh and MURDER!!!

This is a book I would highly recommend for so many reasons, and as I read Malignant, the film Thelma and Louise came to mind… two women setting out to make a new start in their lives xx

About the Author:

Anita Waller.jpgAnita Waller was born in Sheffield, South Yorkshire in 1946. She married Dave in 1967 and they have three adult children.
She began writing when she was around 8 years of age, writing ‘compositions’ at junior school that became books with chapters. She wrote several novels in the romance genre and then realised she wanted to add murders to the romances, so she morphed into a psychological thriller author. Beautiful was her first completed novel in this genre.
The manuscript was submitted to Bloodhound Books who, within three days of reading it, offered her a contract. 31 August 2015 it was released as an ebook, to be followed a couple of days later by the paperback version.
Following the outstanding success of Beautiful, she began a sequel on 27 December 2015, finishing it on 19 March 2016. The new novel, Angel, was launched on 7 May 2016.
Her third novel, 34 Days, followed Angel and was launched on 3 October 2016 to outstanding success; at its highest level, it was #26 in Amazon charts. It is selling equally as well in the US and Australia and has sold over 15,000 copies in the first eight weeks following publication.
She then took time out to temporarily change genre; Winterscroft, a supernatural novel, was launched on 7 February 2017. While she was writing Winterscroft it became clear that fans of 34 Days wanted a sequel, and on 10 August 2017, Strategy was launched.
She is now working on her sixth novel, A Legal Issue, once again set in Sheffield, and once again a psychological thriller.
In addition to writing, she also teaches patchwork and quilting – a little reference to this is likely to surface in every book!
She is a lifelong Sheffield Wednesday supporter with blue blood in her veins! More than a little reference to this is likely to surface – see 34 Days!

See what other Book Bloggers think by following the tour

Malignant Blitz Banner

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