After He Died by Michael J Malone @MichaelJMalone @OrendaBooks @annecater #BookReview

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I am absolutely delighted to be sharing my thoughts on After He Died by Michael J Malone as part of the blog tour for Orenda Books. I would like to thank Anne Cater for my invite onto the tour for this fabulous book and also Orenda for my copy. You can get your own copy from AMAZON UK

Synopsis:

You need to know who your husband really was…

When Paula Gadd’s husband of almost thirty years dies, just days away from the seventh anniversary of their son, Christopher’s death, her world falls apart. Grieving and bereft, she is stunned when a young woman approaches her at the funeral service, and slips something into her pocket. A note suggesting that Paula’s husband was not all that he seemed…
When the two women eventually meet, a series of revelations challenges everything Paula thought they knew, and it becomes immediately clear that both women’s lives are in very real danger.
Both a dark, twisty slice of domestic noir and taut, explosive psychological thriller, After He Died is also a chilling reminder that the people we trust the most can harbour the deadliest secrets…

My Thoughts:

Paula Gadd lost her son almost seven years ago, her husband has just died. But a stranger asking Paula how well she knew her husband leaves her questioning all she thought she knew.

Straight away I want to mention the cover, how simple, effective and amazing it is. The story itself is far from simple, but it is effective and it really is amazing. I got to meet Paula at the funeral of her husband Tommy, she is still stunned, shocked and in a daze when this random stranger just walks up and asks Paula how well she knew her husband…

By this point I am already hooked, what follows left me on the edge of my seat as the story unfolded. Paula is rocked and as she discovers there are things that her husband has done that she had no idea about. I also got to meet some of Tommy’s family and also the stranger and how she fits into the story. Yes this is vague for a reason, no spoilers from me..

This is a book that is fast paced but one where I forced myself to slow my reading of so I didn’t miss any little detail. The author does the most amazing job of building up tension and suspense and at the same time sows so many seeds of doubt along the way. The plot is deliciously deceptive and twisted, but never once did I feel confused, the writing simply flowed as the story was revealed.

The characters in the story are such a random lot, and yes some I did like, those that I couldn’t make my mind up about and some that completely hoodwinked me. I love the concept of how well you know someone and how the author has used that and then completely turned it on it backside to reveal a world of doubt, mistrust, conflict and finding the truth about the person you thought you knew.

This is the first book I have read by this author, I have now bought a myself a couple more as this was so amazing. If you are a fan of crime, mystery, thriller, and suspense with a good helping of domestic noir then you will absolutely want to read this one. An absolutely fantastic read that I would highly recommend.

About the Author:

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Michael Malone is a prize-winning poet and author who was born and brought up in the heart of Burns’ country. He has published over 200 poems in literary magazines throughout the UK, including New Writing Scotland, Poetry Scotland and Markings. Blood Tears, his bestselling debut novel won the Pitlochry Prize from the Scottish Association of Writers. Other published work includes: Carnegie’s Call; A Taste for Malice; The Guillotine Choice; Beyond the Rage; The Bad Samaritan and Dog Fight. His psychological thriller, A Suitable Lie, was a number-one bestseller, and the critically acclaimed House of Spines soon followed suit. A former Regional Sales Manager (Faber & Faber) he has also worked as an IFA and a bookseller.

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The Choice by Edith Eger #BookReview @PenguinRHUK

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Today I am delighted to be sharing The Choice by Edith Eger, a holocaust survivor and now an acclaimed psychologist. I would like to thank Bishneen Gurwara at Penguin Random House for inviting me to read a copy of this book.

You can purchase a copy of this book at good bookshops or at AMAZON UK where it is available in various formats.

Synopsis:

‘Little dancer’, Mengele says, ‘dance for me’

In 1944, sixteen-year-old ballerina Edith Eger was sent to Auschwitz. Separated from her parents on arrival, she endures unimaginable experiences, including being made to dance for the infamous Josef Mengele. When the camp is finally liberated, she is pulled from a pile of bodies, barely alive.

The horrors of the Holocaust didn’t break Edith. In fact, they helped her learn to live again with a life-affirming strength and a truly remarkable resilience.

The Choice is her unforgettable story. It shows that hope can flower in the most unlikely places.

My Thoughts:

Edith Eger was 16 when she made the journey with her mother and one of her sisters, to join a queue to enter her first concentration camp. This would be the last time she saw her mother. This is Edith’s story. The story of her life. The story of her survival. The story of how she was liberated and then learnt to live.

This is a book of two halves as Edith recounts her experiences of her life. A girl who wanted to dance, her parents, her sisters and first love. Then the how she survived the war in the concentration camps, sharing many thoughts and feelings not from herself but of her sister. Then how to live her life after leaving Europe to live in America.

Sometimes you can move away, but at some point you really do have to deal with the horror of your past.

The Holocaust and Auschwitz are words that evoke so many emotions. Edith Eger tells her story in four parts. The first being about her life, including the camps, up to her liberation, then her liberation, dealing with her freedom and finally how she started to heal herself.

As you would expect I found her time as a prisoner very hard to read. It is something that still brings shock, horror and disgust that any person could be treated in such a horrific and abhorrant way. I did however find that it was the story of her freedom and her healing that caught me by surprise. She then started to piece her life together and learn how to live. This is where the inspiration of this lady really Shines through, even more so than it had previously. To me this sounds slightly wrong but, she trained as a psychologist to help people from various backgrounds. They had many different problems that they struggled to deal with. In meeting and trying to help these people she found that she could also use their experiences to help herself, using her own advice if you like. This took her many years to reach a place where she felt some sort of freedom from her past, but to do that took a huge amount of courage to escape from her own fears and trauma.

This is a stunningly beautiful and candid account from a truly inspirational lady. It is moving and emotional, inspiring and hopeful. The more psychological aspect in the latter half of the book was something that I found very insightful and gave me a different way of looking at things.

This is a moving and important story that I would highly recommend.

About the Author:

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A native of Hungary, Edith Eger was a teenager in 1944 when she and her family were sent to Auschwitz during the Second World War. Despite overwhelming odds, Edith survived the Holocaust and moved with her husband to the United States. Having worked in a factory whilst raising her young family, she went on to graduate with a PhD from the University of Texas and became an eminent psychologist. Today, she maintains a busy clinical practice and lectures around the world.

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The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech @LouiseWriter @OrendaBooks @annecater #BookReview

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I am so delighted to be bringing you The Lion Tamer Who Lost by Louise Beech. This is a beautiful story, and after watching a Twitter video of Louise opening her parcel of finalised copies, I can also say she may be a little excited about the cover being embossed. Yes Louise Beech is embossed! You really need to watch this, its brilliant 🙂

My huge thanks to the fabulous Orenda Books for my copy and also to Anne Cater for my invite to take part in this blog tour. I may have been a little excited in my email back to Anne about joining this tour to help share the book love, this was already a book that was generating fantastic early reviews, there was no way I was going to miss the opportunity to take part.

Synopsis:

Be careful what you wish for…

Long ago, Andrew made a childhood wish, and kept it in a silver box. When it finally comes true, he wishes it hadn’t…

Long ago, Ben made a promise and he had a dream: to travel to Africa to volunteer at a lion reserve. When he finally makes it, it isn’t for the reasons he imagined…

Ben and Andrew keep meeting in unexpected places, and the intense relationship that develops seems to be guided by fate. Or is it? What if the very thing that draws them together is tainted by past secrets that threaten everything?

My Thoughts:

Wishes and dreams are part of life, but what happens when the things you wish and dream for are not as you imagined they would be. Dreams are great, but if you follow your dream for an alternative motive then in reality it isn’t what the dream was meant to be. Andrew the wish-maker and Ben with the dream are meant to be together, but why…

This is a story that I just found myself being captivated with from the very start as I met Ben in Zimbabwe at a lion sanctuary. This is his dream and also a fulfilling of a promise , but I realised that instead of being ecstatic and excited about helping lion cubs, Ben was subdued, there but not quite there. Here was a man with something on his mind, and as the story flitted between Zimbabwe and Hull I discovered a story that just blew me away.

In Hull I got to meet Andrew, a chance meeting allows Andrew to meet and get to know Ben. The story tells of their friendship and then their relationship,also of their feelings for what others may think. Family, relationships, misunderstandings and expectations really do come into play and the author deals with this in such a natural and wonderful way.

There is so much that I absolutely loved about this book, as well as the story line itself one thing that really stood out for me was the attention to detail. As a reader I like settings to be described in as much detail as possible but not in great long passages, this author has the ability to describe in detail in a short and vivid way. Not only did I get an image of the sights and sounds but also of taste and smell, from the mud coffee to the aromas the lions. For me it is the additional little details that are just as important.

Now the story line, it flits back and forward in time and also between Hull and Zimbabwe. The main characters are Ben and Andrew and I really did get to them well, there are other characters that also have major parts to play in the story, but Ben and Andrew are the key characters. The story is about many things, but love and relationships are the main ones. The author deals with Ben and Andrews relationship in such a beautiful way, and also on the flip side the way that a person may think that some may not like same-sex relationships.

The story moved along at a nice pace, building up and filling in details and history of the characters and their families and then suddenly took a route that not only caught me unawares, but also had me with my heart in my mouth. It moved into such an emotionally charged story as the author had me on the edge of tears. I tried my hardest to keep them in check for such a long time and just as I started to breathe normally again I came across three words that had me in a total sobbing mess. There are several parts of the story that had me balancing on the emotional see saw, and I think that many others will be the same.

This is a beautiful, emotional, passionate, wonderful story that had me absolutely glued from the first page to the very last.

An absolute must read for readers who want to experience an author who knows how to take a reader on a fantastic literary journey.

About the Author:

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Louise Beech is an exceptional literary talent, whose debut novel How To Be Brave was a Guardian Readers’ Choice for 2015. The sequel, The Mountain in My Shoe was shortlisted for Not the Booker Prize. Her third book, Maria in the Moon, was widely reviewed and critically acclaimed. Her short fiction has won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting for the Bridport Prize twice. Louise lives with her husband and children on the outskirts of Hull, and loves her job as a Front of House Usher at Hull Truck Theatre, where her first play was performed in 2012.

Follow Louise on Twitter Website

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Avian by Emma Pullar @EmmaStoryteller @sarahhardy681 @Bloodhoundbook #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts today on Avian by Emma Pullar. This is the second in this two book set. You can see my review of the first book Skeletal HERE. I would like to say a big thank you to Sarah Hardy and Bloodhound Books for my invite on the tour and also my e-copy of both books.

Synopsis:

CENTRAL IS LOSING ITS GRIP ON THE CITIZENS OF GALE CITY.

Megan Skyla, who refused to play by Central’s rules and become a surrogate for her masters, has thrown the city into chaos. Corrupting those around her, she and her friends are forced into hiding – hunted by Central, the evil rulers of Gale City. Skyla’s desperate attempts to keep everyone alive ends when they’re kidnapped by feuding gangs.

Skyla cuts a deal and then betrays both gangs. Now there is nowhere left to run. It’s the desert or die. Her best friend, Crow, thinks she still wants to find a way to cure the Morbian masters of their obesity and finish what she started.

But Skyla has other plans. She’s sure there are settlements in the desert, there must be something out there … and there is. Something terrible.

Skyla is about to find out there’s more than one way to bring about change but one truth remains … Central must be destroyed in order to ensure her survival. There is no other way.

My Thoughts:

Before I start my review of Avian I would like to take the time to suggest that you read the first book Skeletal, reading these two books in order will give you an understanding of the whys and hows of the story.

Things for Skyla have changed since meeting her in the first book, changes mentally and also physically as well as being a person of interest for different groups for various different reasons. Skyla has built up a reputation, it is dangerous not only for herself but, also for her companions as the next stage of her journey starts.

This story continues as well as finishes the story of Skyla, though I do hope that at some point the author will write more about this fiery and feisty character. Skyla continues her fight against Central, it is something she is passionate about and is determined to destroy the cruel and unjust ruling body. This puts herself in even more danger and testing her to the limit, oh boy does the author put this character through the mill!

As well as dealing with her self-imposed mission to destroy Central, Skyla also has her own problems to deal with, she is riddled with guilt, and thoughts that niggle as well as fear of what she is doing.

This is another brilliant read from this author as she does such a fantastic job with vivid descriptions and a compelling story line. This is a brutal and harsh place that I am happy to visit from the pages of a book and no further. The journey Skyla and her companions take is very much one that is “from the frying pan and into the fire”, it got bad, then it got worse and then the truth finally reveals itself.

This is a two book series that I would absolutely recommend for readers who like brutal, harsh and regime ridden dystopian fiction. It is descriptive, addictive and looks at a different way of life.

 

About the Author:

dsc_3665_lowres-2.jpgEmma Pullar is a writer of dark fiction and Children’s books. Her picture book, Curly from Shirley, was a national bestseller and named best opening lines by NZ Post. Emma has also written several winning short horror/Sci-fi stories which have been published in four different anthologies. Emma’s latest picture book, Kitty Stuck, has been hugely popular and her novel, Skeletal, and the sequel, Avian, have been described as disturbing and not for the faint-hearted. She also writes articles for an online advice site called Bang2write and dabbles in screenwriting.

 

Follow Emma at:  Amazon Page –  Website – Twitter

 

 

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Five To One by Chris Chalmers @CCsw19 #BookReview

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I am absolutely delighted to be sharing Five To One by Chris Chalmers. I have read one of Chris’s books before, Dinner At The Happy Skeleton, and I was definitely interested in reading another book by this author. To purchase your own copy of these books follow the Amazon Link to Chris’s Author Page HERE.

Synopsis:

EVERY MOMENT STARTS SOMEWHERE

A care assistant with a secret. A gardener with an eye for more than greenfly. An estate agent and an advertising man, each facing a relationship crisis. And a pilot with nowhere to land.

At twelve fifty-five on a sunny afternoon, five lives converge in a moment of terror as a helicopter crashes on Clapham Common. It’s a day that will change them all forever — and for some, will be their last.

Winner of the Wink Publishing Debut Novel Competition Nominated for the Polari First Book Award

‘A funny, often painfully honest and moving story about the absurdity of modern life and the concerns that propel us. Chalmers writes with a sensitivity and wit that recalls Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City’ – Penny Hancock, bestselling author of Tideline

‘A charming novel that’s cleverly structured and consistently engaging’ — Matt Cain, Editor-in-Chief, Attitude magazine

’A poignant study of genuine love in a big and fantastically diverse city’ – BytetheBook.com

My Thoughts:

The prologue for this book is set in the present when a helicopter crashes on Clapham Common. It is there to pick up someone as part of an ongoing publicity stunt when things go wrong. At five to one several strangers are caught up in some form at this crash. Why they were there on that day and at that time is what then follows as the story drops back in time.

First, I love the cover of this book, now as I look at it properly I can see how well it fits in relation to the story.

The author introduced me to a series of characters individually so there are quite a few names to remember, especially as also included are family and friends. As I got to learn about the people and their partners, family, friends I started to build up a recognition as their stories are told. I gradually started to empathise and care about the main characters, about how they lived and some of the things that happen in their everyday lives, their frustrations, anger, sometimes they feel helpless and out of the loop with decisions, or just plodding along in life as everyone else does. While this is about ordinary and everyday people, the author has managed to create characters with substance, at times I disagreed with some actions but could also understand the reasoning behind them.

This is one of those stories that is quiet and subtle as it explores human nature. It looks at various people with diverse lifestyles, with varied backgrounds. All the way through the story they have one thing in common; the crash, it is the way they are led to that time and date that is what this story is about. It is a story about people. What makes them tick. What their dreams are.

I absolutely fell in love with this story, from a slow start getting to know everyone, and then it just transformed. The author has captured the essence of his characters, given them a voice, and given them a chance to change.

This is a story I would absolutely recommend to readers of contemporary fiction and literary fiction. It was an absolute joy and pleasure to read xx

About the Author:

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Chris Chalmers was born in Lancashire and lives in south-west London. He’s been the understudy on Mastermind, visited 40 countries and swum with marine iguanas. His first novel, ‘Five To One’, was winner of a debut novel competition and nominated for the Polari First Book Prize. He has written a diary for 42 years and never missed a night.

Click on a Five-To-ONE-MINUTE-MOVIE for a 60-second intro to the main characters and themes of ‘Five To One’. Or search ‘chris chalmers novelist’ on YouTube, for clips of Chris reading from his other books, poems about Christmas Eve and butcher’s shops, and fox cubs dancing to ABBA. (Yep, it’s as high-brow as that.)

Blog, news and more about his books at Website or follow on Twitter.

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

Sunset Over The Cherry Orchard by Jo Thomas @jo_thomas01 #BookReview

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I am so delighted to be sharing my thoughts today on this cracker of a book, Sunset Over The Cherry Orchard by Jo Thomas. This is my first experience of this author and I have now bought a couple of her other books as I loved this book so much xx

Grab a copy from good book shops or from Amazon UK in various formats CLICK HERE

Synopsis:

Jo Thomas’s new novel invites you to a special cherry orchard in Spain, where sunshine, romance and family secrets are the order of the day. Perfect for fans of Jill Mansell and Carole Matthews, SUNSET OVER THE CHERRY ORCHARD is a heartwarming, hilarious tale that is ‘like the best kind of holiday’ (Lucy Diamond).

It’s time for Beti Winter to dance to her own beat.

After three failed engagements Beti is in desperate need of a fresh start. What better place than the sun-drenched hills of southern Spain?

But it’s not all sangria and siestas. Beti finds work on an old Andalusian cherry farm where there are cherries to be picked, trees to be watered and her fiery boss, Antonio, to win over.

As the sun toasts her skin, Beti finds herself warming to the Spanish way of life. Embracing the art of flamenco, she discovers there is much to learn from the dance of passion. She just has to let loose and listen to the rhythm of her heart.

Jo Thomas takes you there.

My Thoughts:

Beti has always had dreams that never quite reach fruition, something or usually someone lets her down. Wanting to escape the humdrum and monotonous daily routines she decides to take the plunge with her fiance Will. She wants to take a look at a bar in Spain and hopefully start a new chapter in her life. Well what she got was definitely not what she bargained for.

Oh my god I loved this book sooooooo much, I have never been to Spain or seen Flamenco, or tasted authentic Spanish cuisine, but after reading this book I can say it has opened my eyes from the beautiful descriptions and the wonderful writing . The author has managed to give me a glimpse of Spain that I would love to visit.

So to start, Beti…. oh my heart went out to her, unlucky and overlooked, wanting to escape from the expectations and shadows of other family members, so desperate to be someone her parents could really be proud of and for them to be able to shout her achievements from the rooftops. She is just a normal woman who wants more out of life but has not the courage to go for it. Until she finds a Cherry Orchard and Antonio.

The main part of the story I got to know the characters, how they tick and how they become connected. Along with this I also got to know more about Spain and some of its customs and traditions, the everyday Spain if you like and not the loud club scene type, but more just off the beaten tourist track Spain. A place where family, pride, passion and heart is important, it was an emotional rollercoaster of a story with some Flamenco as well.

I loved the idyllic sounding cottage and the sense of community and as for the Orchard, well I could happily help out there. There is a romantic aspect to this story and it is not the twee lovey-dovey style, it is more realistic and for me complimented the rest of the story very well.

This is a stunning and brilliant book that has some more serious themes, but a whole lot more as well. It is beautifully written, wonderfully descriptive and I loved every single moment of it. One I would highly recommend as a must read.

About the Author:

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Jo Thomas worked for many years as a reporter and producer, first for BBC Radio 5, before moving on to Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour and Radio 2’s The Steve Wright Show. In 2013 Jo won the RNA Katie Fforde Bursary. Her debut novel, The Oyster Catcher, was a runaway bestseller in ebook and was awarded the 2014 RNA Joan Hessayon Award and the 2014 Festival of Romance Best Ebook Award. Jo lives in the Vale of Glamorgan with her husband and three children.

Follow Jo on TwitterWebsite

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Perfect Silence by Helen Fields @Helen_Fields @AvonBooksUK #NetGalley #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts with you all for Perfect Silence by Helen Fields. I admit to be being a huge fan of this series and I was so delighted to get approval from Avon Book UK for my copy from NetGalley. You can purchase this book from 23rd August from Amazon UK and it is available in various formats.

Synopsis:

When silence falls, who will hear their cries?

The body of a young girl is found dumped on the roadside on the outskirts of Edinburgh. When pathologists examine the remains, they make a gruesome discovery: the silhouette of a doll carved in the victim’s skin.

DCI Ava Turner and DI Luc Callanach are struggling to find leads in the case, until a doll made of skin is found nestled beside an abandoned baby.

After another young woman is found butchered, Luc and Ava realise the babydoll killer is playing a horrifying game. And it’s only a matter of time before he strikes again. Can they stop another victim from being silenced forever – or is it already too late?

My Thoughts:

So in this latest instalment there are two crimes, both as brutal as the other but in different ways and for ultimately different reasons. A young woman found dead with skin removed from her stomach and back. The second is the use of new drug Spice that leaves users zombified and open for attack.

I have read all the ‘Perfect’ books and always eagerly await the next in the series. This is where I say, yes each could be read as a stand alone but, in my heart of hearts I know that a series read in order works so much better for getting to know the characters and their dynamics within the group settings.

Perfect Silence for me had a slightly different feel to it in the respect that Ava seemed to take more of a lead in the story itself. She had been promoted, she is feeling her way in her new role and finding her feet. She also discovers that protocol and procedure falls directly to her to deal with. She is no longer part of the group as such because she is answerable to her own boss and responsible for the actions of her team. This actually made a lot of sense to me as far as her character development goes and in someway helps to stamp her authority.

So not only is Ava having to deal with a change in role she is also in the firing line from the powers that be, Overbeck in particular has been the proverbial ‘pain in the rear’ and it is a chance to get to know this one a little better. Good old, borderline cheeky / rude Lively is back and is another one I got to see a bit more of. There is a newcomer in the form of DS Graham, and what a nice form he has.

The story or should I say stories are of a bloody and gruesome nature, the authors descriptions does a great job of giving enough information to let your imagination do the rest. The cases are very different in the reasons for the attacks, they are not straightforward and the tension and frustration definitely start to mount.

As I mentioned earlier this for me was more about Ava rather the luscious Luc Callanch, I do have such a spot for him and as much as love his character I was more drawn to Ava. Don’t panic though he is still around and is as supportive as ever. But also he has his only little story going on, it is something I am not going to delve into as I am not as sure about this development in his character yet, but I’m interested to see where that part of his life will go.

So to kind of sum up a little, it is a fantastic next instalment in the Perfect books. If you have not read this series then you need to if you like dark, gritty, compulsive and addictive twisted story-lines. Ideal for crime, thriller, murder, mystery and tension filled suspense readers, it’s not all about the crime as there are things within some of the characters lives that are being brought out more as well, but the crime part is blooming brilliant 🙂

A book and series I would highly recommend.
My Reviews for the previous books:

My review for Perfect RemainsBuy from AmazonUK

My review for Perfect PreyBuy from AmazonUK

My review for Perfect Death Buy from AmazonUK

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About the Author:

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Helen Fields studied law at the University of East Anglia, then went on to the Inns of Court School of Law in London. After completing her pupillage, she joined chambers in Middle Temple where she practised criminal and family law for thirteen years. After her second child was born, Helen left the Bar.

Together with her husband David, she runs a film production company, acting as script writer and producer. Perfect Remains is set in Scotland, where Helen feels most at one with the world. Helen and her husband now live in Hampshire with their three children and two dogs.

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

TH1RT3EN by Steve Cananagh @SSCav #orion_crime #BookReview

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Today I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on TH1RT3EN by Steve Cavanagh. It is available from all good book shops and also Amazon UK.

Synopsis:

‘To your knowledge, is there anything that would preclude you from serving on this jury?’

Murder wasn’t the hard part. It was just the start of the game.

Joshua Kane has been preparing for this moment his whole life. He’s done it before. But this is the big one.

This is the murder trial of the century. And Kane has killed to get the best seat in the house.

But there’s someone on his tail. Someone who suspects that the killer isn’t the man on trial.

Kane knows time is running out – he just needs to get to the conviction without being discovered.

My Thoughts:

So the tag line for this is to the point, if that doesn’t grab you then check out the fabulous authors who also add their comments. I had seen so many reviews for this book from other readers and Book Bloggers that I had to get a copy to see what the fuss was about.

So admission time here… this is the first book I have read by this author, I do have three other books by this author in the Eddie Flynn Series and really must bump them up my TBR to read soon, this one works very well as a stand alone.

Eddie Flynn is a character I absolutely took to from the outset. He is one of those guys that has principles and he stands by them, putting himself in danger in the process. This is what he does to ensure he gets the absolute truth.

Kane, well what a sneaky, despicable and clever character this is. I loved to hate him, even if I didn’t know exactly which one he was on the jury. He is a character that blends in, an average Joe if you like.

Essentially this is a courtroom drama and it is a genre I don’t read that often but, when I do I enjoy them a lot. This felt so different to those I have read in the past because it is courtroom mixed in with thriller and crime that is in the present rather than in the past. In adding the threat in the present the author has managed to up the anti in the suspense, keeping the danger ever present is a great way to build up a sense of suspense for what may happen next.

I love the twist that the killer is on the jury and I did wonder how this would pan out over the story. This is where the author really has worked some imaginative magic. At no point did I know or even guess the identity correctly, I thought it would be a trial and error type of book where I would flit between the characters until I was reasonably sure I knew who it was…… no chance, not even close.

There are so many aspects to this book that I adored and worked for me; the pace, the plot, the characters and the … actually everything worked. It was set out in quick chapters and I liked the extra touch of the individual juror information included when the trial section of the book started.

I think the other good thing is that belief that not all trials are fair, that things can and are manipulated was something that interested me, that evidence can be seen in several ways and from different perspectives depending if you are for or against the bloke in the docks. The author has taken this manipulation to the next level and done it so well.

If you like crime, thriller, suspense and action in a courtroom drama then you should definitely have this book on your radar, it isn’t tied up with loads of jargon or red tape making it a book that you can lose yourself in easily. It is spectacularly deceptive and cleverly written and one that I would absolutely recommend as a must read book.

About the Author:

51nLx9c3RcL._SY200_ Steve Cavanagh is a critically acclaimed, award-winning author and lawyer. He is also one half of the Two Crime Writers and a Microphone podcast. His latest novel, Thirteen, is out in ebook now and paperback in June.

Find out more at Website or follow Steve on Twitter 

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The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton @stu_turton #BookReview

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I bought my hardback copy of The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton back in February, it was a book I spent some of my birthday money on. It has spent the last few months shouting at me to be read and I have now silenced it by finally reading it…. You will want to get our own copy and it can be bought from many book sellers and also Amazon UK I would suggest a hardback as there is a fantastic map printed on the inside front and back covers 🙂

Synopsis:

Somebody’s going to be murdered at the ball tonight. It won’t appear to be a murder and so the murderer won’t be caught. Rectify that injustice and I’ll show you the way out.’

It is meant to be a celebration but it ends in tragedy. As fireworks explode overhead, Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed.

But Evelyn will not die just once. Until Aiden – one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party – can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself, over and over again. Every time ending with the fateful pistol shot.

The only way to break this cycle is to identify the killer. But each time the day begins again, Aiden wakes in the body of a different guest. And someone is determined to prevent him ever escaping Blackheath…

My Thoughts:

Evelyn Hardcastle has been murdered, and murdered and murdered again. How is this possible? Because each day is repeated! Aiden Bishop also re-lives this same day, can he change the outcome? Can he solve the murder?

“How the bloody hell am I going to review this?!!!!”, I said to myself when I finished this book…. because it is just a genius read and flipping fantastically fabulous… sorry for all the f-words, but at least they are all the polite ones rather than the ones I actually thought 😉

When I began reading this book it had already been open for a few minutes as I was busy scanning the map on the front cover. Then as i began the story I thought that it felt a little bit Agatha Christie like. Then a few more pages in I thought Christie didn’t write like this and that was where the similarity stopped and the style of this author came flying out. The setting of a mansion and a cast of characters that any one of which could be the murderer is what made me think Christie. But then as I learned more about Aiden it took on it’s time-loop style. It is up to Aiden to work out all the twists, knots, wrinkles and creases of this story, it is mind mindbogglingly clever….

So to the plot…..I am giving you nothing, nope not a damn thing… Not because I’m mean (some may disagree 🙄) but because I really don’t know how to explain it so that it makes sense, I mean it makes complete sense to me now as I have had time to digest and work out how it all worked out, but to try to explain it to someone who has not read the book would make it ludicrously confusing as I would be jumping back and forward, then I would be mentioning the things that I missed. This is a plot you really need to experience for yourself.

Characters, well there are a few and they are the essential part to this story. They really were a random mixed bunch, from serving staff, to lords and doctors, some I liked some I didn’t and you get a feel for who they are and what they do, but not always realising what their motives are. The one thing I did realise was the only one I could (almost) trust was Aiden, and only because it was his story but even then there is that “what is he hiding” thought.

Oh dear god! I am being so vague with this post it is ridiculous, so lets cut to the chase here. It is a book to be savoured, I took my time with it because I didn’t want to miss a single word in case I missed some crucial detail. I realised this at the beginning as I had to back track to something I had previously missed. If you take your time you will be able to digest the timings and twists as the plot gets deeper and deeper. It is a book that is so cleverly written that it beggars belief. It is one of the books you occasionally come across that is exceptionally and brilliantly crafted, one that left me a little stunned. You can also add into the mix of positives that it is extremely addictive, brilliantly atmospheric as the suspense and fear of the unknown creep and sneak around and it is so well written.

This is an absolute must read for those who love deceptive mystery and murder reads, with a great time loop twist on the classic whodunit style.

About the Author:

Stuart Turton is a freelance travel journalist who has previously worked in Shanghai and Dubai. The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle is his debut novel. He is the winner of the Brighton and Hove Short Story Prize and was longlisted for the BBC Radio 4 Opening Lines competition. He lives in West London with his wife.

Follow Stuart on TwitterBlog

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The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae by Stephanie Butland @under_blue_sky #BonnierZaffre #NetGalley #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae by Stephanie Butland. I received an eARC from Bonnier Zaffre via NetGalley and I have now finally read this beautiful book about how life has more limitations for some people. You can purchase your own copy from Amazon UK, it is available in various formats.

Synopsis:

Ailsa Rae is learning how to live.

She’s only a few months past the heart transplant that – just in time – saved her life. Life should be a joyful adventure. But . . .

Her relationship with her mother is at breaking point and she wants to find her father.
Have her friends left her behind?
And she’s felt so helpless for so long that she’s let polls on her blog make her decisions for her. She barely knows where to start on her own.

Then there’s Lennox. Her best friend and one time lover. He was sick too. He didn’t make it. And now she’s supposed to face all of this without him.

But her new heart is a bold heart. 

She just needs to learn to listen to it . . .

My Thoughts:

This is the story of Ailsa Rae who was born with a faulty heart. She is 28 and only a transplant will keep her seeing her 29th birthday.

Now then, even though the synopsis left me thinking that this would be a sad read, the story that comes out is one that gave me a feeling of the exact opposite. Even though there are moments that are sad, this book is uplifting and heartwarming giving an insight into the life of a person being on the waiting list an also of a transplant patient.

Ailsa has a blue tinge to her, this is due to her heart not working properly, she uses this to refer to herself as Blueheart as she creates and runs a blog. It is a way to keep people up to date with how things are going, but importantly is a guide for people who are in a similar position to herself and for those who may need advice in the future.

The story is mainly of Ailsa and her journey after the transplant and how she comes to terms with starting to live her life. It involves a change in everything and I hadn’t even considered how a person would have to adapt their whole life to basically begin again. I had not really thought that much about how such a restriction on a person’s life would essentially be that person’s life, and that all they had known would have to be changed. This is where the book really worked for me as it opened my eyes to an area that I wasn’t really aware of. I don’t personally know of anyone that has needed to have a heart transplant, so even though I sympathise (this doesn’t feel like the right word to use, but I hope you get what I mean) I really had no idea of the enormity of the changes required. Ailsa has been protected all her life by her mother, wrapped up in cotton wool. It means that Ailsa is not as mature and worldly-wise as you would expect of someone her age. It means that when she starts to live a healthy life she has to grow up, she has to do things for herself and not be so reliant on her mum. So essentially not learning how to live but also to live as an adult.

This is such an emotional story and such a lovely read that I was drawn completely in. I loved the way that the author added blog posts and emails intermittently through the story. The use of the blog was a great way of seeing how Ailsa looked at the world as she interacted with her followers as she asked for advice.

There are so many more things I could mention about this book but I have decided to stop here. There are interactions and friendships, hard choices and decisions to be made that make this quite an emotional book to read also peppered with humour and a lighthearted ness at times. It gave me a chance to see a different perspective to life and how it can be so very different to my own.

If you are after a well written a beautiful heartwarming, eye opener and heartbreaking book then do please read this. I was hooked from the very first pages and did not want this story to end. This is a book that will stay with me and one I would most definitely recommend to readers.

About the Author:

81Trop7ggSL._SY200_ Stephanie Butland is the author of beloved bookshop tale ‘Lost For Words’ and her new novel ‘The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae’, released in ebook and paperback 19th April 2018 (available for pre-order now).

Stephanie lives in Northumberland, close to the place where she grew up. She writes in a studio at the bottom of her garden, and loves being close to the sea. She’s thriving after cancer.

Follow Stephanie on Twitter – Facebook – Website

#LostForWords #TheCuriousHeart #AilsaRae

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share is always appreciated 🙂 xx