The Waiting Rooms by Eve Smith @OrendaBooks #dystopian #thriller #suspense #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Waiting Rooms by Eve Smith. I think it was around this time last year that I read this author’s next book, Off Target (Full review HERE). It made such an impression that I immediately bought a copy of The Waiting Rooms, unfortunately, it took me nearly a year to read it. But it was excellent and has left me looking forward to more from this author.

The Waiting Rooms

Decades of spiralling drug resistance have unleashed a global antibiotic crisis. Ordinary infections are untreatable, and a scratch from a pet can kill. A sacrifice is required to keep the majority safe: no one over seventy is allowed new antibiotics. The elderly are sent to hospitals nicknamed ‘The Waiting Rooms’ … hospitals where no one ever gets well.

Twenty years after the crisis takes hold, Kate begins a search for her birth mother, armed only with her name and her age. As Kate unearths disturbing facts about her mother’s past, she puts her family in danger and risks losing everything. Because Kate is not the only secret that her mother is hiding. Someone else is looking for her, too.

Sweeping from an all-too-real modern Britain to a pre-crisis South Africa, The Waiting Rooms is epic in scope, richly populated with unforgettable characters, and a tense, haunting vision of a future that is only a few mutations away.

MY REVIEW

With Covid, Avian Flu and also the threat of resistance to antibiotics fresh in my mind I decided to read The Waiting Rooms. I have read the 2nd book Off Target by this author and it made a huge impression. The Waiting Rooms is an amazing book to read and at times one that can be quite uncomfortable.

This book is set up as having two timelines. One is pre-crisis and the other is a near-future setting. The pre-crisis draws the reader into a world where antibiotics are not working, and infections, diseases and illnesses are deadly for those who contract them. Wave after wave of resistant diseases is killing millions of people worldwide. The race to find alternative medicines and cures is on.

The near-future setting is one that we are sort of familiar with, face masks, no contact and being super careful about being in groups. However, the author has made it a much more dangerous scenario with riots, risks of attack and the dilemma of what to do with people who are too ill to continue with their lives.

While the story in the near future does have medical implications there is another underlying story. How this is connected to the pre-crisis setting is one that is intriguing and shows how things change over the decades. How dealing with one problem can set off a series of events that causes a larger problem in the future. I think this is something we can relate to easily when we look at fossil fuels and other industrial advances against the global climate we live in today. The author has taken a similar route and it is one that is all too easy to be able to realise.

This is a brilliant read. The terminology is basic to understand and the importance of decisions made and that has to be made is one that keeps the story moving. Events and characters have been woven and twisted so that I always wanted to what was going to happen next.

I adored the suspense and thrill of this story, but it also exudes an element of reality. An eye-opener of a thriller and one I would definitely recommend.

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So Pretty by Ronnie Turner @Ronnie_Turner #SoPretty @RandomTTours @OrendaBooks #thriller #psychological #mystery #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for So Pretty by Ronnie Turner. I read this book before Christmas and adored its eerie atmosphere. This book also became one of my Top Reads of 2022! Also, I really have to mention the cover of this book 😱 it is insanely appropriate!

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this amazing book from Orenda Books.

The arrival of a young man in a small town sparks, hoping to leave his past behind him, but everything changes when he takes a job in a peculiar old shop, and meets a lonely single mother… A hypnotic gothic thriller and a mesmerising study of identity and obsession.

When Teddy Colne arrives in the small town of Rye, he believes he will be able to settle down and leave his past behind him. Little does he know that fear blisters through the streets like a fever. The locals tell him to stay away from an establishment known only as Berry & Vincent, that those who rub too closely to its proprietor risk a bad end.

Despite their warnings, Teddy is desperate to understand why Rye has come to fear this one man and to see what really hides behind the doors of his shop.

Ada moved to Rye with her young son to escape a damaged childhood and years of never fitting in, but she’s lonely and ostracised by the community. Ada is ripe for affection and friendship, and everyone knows it.

As old secrets bleed out into this town, so too will a mystery about a family who vanished fifty years earlier, and a community living on a knife edge.

Teddy looks for answers, thinking he is safe, but some truths are better left undisturbed, and his past will find him here, just as it has always found him before. And before long, it will find Ada too.

MY REVIEW

Oh My Goodness!!! What an amazing book this was. The author started with one thing then it gradually morphed into something so much darker than I ever expected, all in a very, very good way I must add.

This story is about two people and the chapters alternate between the two of them. Ada is a single mother and lives in Rye, never quite fitting into this small and clique-ridden village. She is always polite but always on the edge of things.

Teddy arrives and gets a job in an old curiosity/ knick-knack/ random things and objects shop. The owner is a bizarre man, to say the least, he doesn’t speak, he hasn’t interviewed Teddy and seems to lurk in the shadows.

It is natural that these two lonely people should meet and become friends. But there are warnings for Teddy about the shop and of things that may have happened in the past. Ada is aware that something has happened, she doesn’t know the full story though.

This is a remarkable book to read, it is a story that feels frantic at times with the emotions of the characters tumbling across the pages. Then there are quieter, more considered and slower breathing spaces where the author describes this sinister shop and the curios within its doors and behind the windows.

The shop is one of those weird and wonderful places full of things you would expect to see in one of those old museums that is hidden on a back street somewhere. In fact, this place sort of reminded me of a curious and wonderfully bizarre museum I visited on holiday in Ilfracombe in Devon. A place where there are drawers of insects, jars of animal parts and yes even shrunken heads! For me, this book brought memories of some of the objects I had seen, but then the author so brilliantly added a dark and atmospheric air to her story. This at times felt incredibly creepy, sinister and macabre.

The way emotions of the characters and also the way she has made the shop a character in its own right are fabulous. There is a wonderful, almost lyrical way to her writing at times and this almost lulls the reader into a false sense of security.

The storyline itself,m well that is something that I didn’t expect, well I say that, but I did have a feeling where things may go but definitely not to the extent they did.

This is a brilliant book and it is one that I adored from the first pages to the very last. A tense, mysterious thriller that had me hooked. An amazing book and one that I would absolutely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ronnie Turner grew up in Cornwall, the youngest in a large family. At an early age,
she discovered a love of literature and dreamed of being a published author.
Ronnie now lives in the South West with her family and three dogs. In her spare
time, she reviews books on her blog and enjoys long walks on the coast. Ronnie is
a Waterstones Senior Bookseller and a barista, and her youth belies her
exceptional, highly unusual talent.

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The Source by Sarah Sultoon #crime #thriller @OrendaBooks #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Source by Sarah Sultoon. I have had a copy of this book for quite a while now and I am kicking myself for not reading it sooner. The Source is the debut book for this author and my goodness she doesn’t mess about.

I originally won this book in a giveaway that was run last year.

A young TV journalist is forced to revisit her harrowing past when she’s thrust into a sex-trafficking investigation in her hometown.

One last chance to reveal the truth…

1996. Essex. Thirteen-year-old schoolgirl Carly lives in a disenfranchised town dominated by a military base, struggling to care for her baby sister while her mum sleeps off another binge. When her squaddie brother brings food and treats, and offers an exclusive invitation to army parties, things start to look a little less bleak…

2006. London. Junior TV newsroom journalist Marie has spent six months exposing a gang of sex traffickers, but everything is derailed when New Scotland Yard announces the re-opening of Operation Andromeda, the notorious investigation into allegations of sex abuse at an army base a decade earlier…

As the lives of these two characters intertwine around a single, defining event, a series of utterly chilling experiences is revealed, sparking a nail-biting race to find the truth … and justice.

A riveting, searing and devastatingly dark thriller, The Source is also a story about survival, about hopes and dreams, about power, abuse and resilience … an immense, tense and thought-provoking debut that you will never, ever forget.

MY REVIEW

This is a book that I have had on my shelf for far too long and I am annoyed that I didn’t pick it up sooner. This is a fantastic read although it is sometimes hard due to the subject matter.

This is told over two timelines, one from a young girl called Carly and the other is in the present-day from Marie. The synopsis tells well of the two women and of the way they are living at the time. But, what the synopsis doesn’t mention is the way they have been treated over the years.

This is a story that is a tough read as it does deal with sex trafficking and abuse. While the author doesn’t go into any details she definitely gives the impression of how it makes Carly feel.

As a journalist, Marie is looking into stories regarding the sex trade, and she goes undercover to find those responsible. What she and the rest of the newsroom do not expect is an announcement regarding an older story. Operation Andromeda is reopened and declarations are made announcing that mistakes were made. How opportune is this announcement though, the timing feels rushed and it could derail the investigation that Carly is looking into.

Carly is only 14 and has already had a troubled and awful life. A missing father and a drunk mother are not the best way for a young woman to grow up. She also looks after her young sister and does have an older brother.

Marie is a woman who suffers with demons from her past, she has ways of dealing with these but they are getting increasingly more difficult to quiet.

The author has taken the horrendous theme of sex trafficking, abuse, systematic abuse and corruption to the limits. It is one of those stories where you want to say is all fiction, but if you read the papers then you will be aware that this is just not the case. Covering up past allegations, not reporting crimes and trying to hide events is just the tip of a very complex iceberg that the author has built. The trail of corruption rises into some very high echelons of society and government. This makes this very much a political thriller as well as a journalistic thriller that shows systemic corruption at work.

This is a story that feels very wrong when I say it is a brilliant one, but it really is. The story is one that flows and gradually lets out the secrets of the past. While it is laden with awful events it does have a message of hope of things being finally revealed. It is a story of strength and discovering the truth. If you like a more serious and eye-opening story then this is one you should definitely read. It is one I would definitely recommend.

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Unhinged by Jørn Lier Horst and Thomas Enger Translated by Megan Turney @LierHorst @EngerThomas #NordicNoir @RandomTTours @OrendaBooks #crime #thriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Unhinged by Jørn Lier Horst and Thomas Enger Translated by Megan Turney. This is a fabulously tense Nordic Noir, crime thriller and I adored it.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this brilliant book from the publisher Orenda Books.

His colleague is dead. His daughter may be next. It’s time to do things his way…
Two of Nordic Noir’s most accomplished writers return with the explosive, staggeringly complex and
unbearably emotive third instalment in the international bestselling Blix & Ramm series
.

When police investigator Sofia Kovic uncovers a startling connection between
several Oslo cases, she attempts to contact her closest superior, Alexander Blix,
before involving anyone else in the department. But before Blix has time to
return her call, Kovic is shot and killed in her own home – execution-style. And
in the apartment below, Blix’s daughter Iselin narrowly escapes becoming the
killer’s next victim.


Four days later, Blix and online crime journalist Emma Ramm are locked inside
an interrogation room, facing the National Criminal Investigation Service. Blix
has shot and killed a man, and Ramm saw it all happen.


As Iselin’s life hangs in the balance, under-fire Blix no longer knows who he can
trust, and he’s not even certain that he’s killed the right man…

MY REVIEW

I have read a few books by Thomas Enger and I have seen some great reviews about the collaboration between him and Jørn Lier Horst so I was definitely intrigued when I saw this book.

This is the 3rd book in the Blix and Raam series and even though it works perfectly well as a stand-alone but I do wish I had read the two previous books as this 3rd one was so good.

The death of Kovic, an Oslo Investigator sends shock waves through the department. It is also personal for her boss, Blix, as his daughter lives in the same apartment as Kovic. As Blix is involved personally in the case he is not given the job of running the investigation. Good job Blix wants answers and calls in blogger Emma Raam for help. As a journalist, she has access to information and is a real asset to Blix.

This really is a fabulous read and one that I read over one evening. Once started I could not leave it until I discovered the answers. The case is twisted and takes some very bizarre turns leading to such an intriguing read. From hearing a colleague has been killed to ending up being questioned for his role, this is addictive.

There is some interesting information that crops up about Blix, I am not sure if this is something that has been part of previous stories or not, but it gave some valuable insights into Blix. AS it is his daughter that is part of the investigation, it makes sense that he will want to be involved and that he may cut a few corners. It all adds to the excitement of the book.

The working relationship he has with Raam is good, they can bounce ideas off each other. This relationship becomes very strained though. I do like the character of Raam, she is willing to take risks, but is also a little more reserved compared to Blix. I think this is a good balance, it felt as she kept the story grounded.

AS I mentioned earlier, I do wish I had read the previous books, not for previous cases, or details, but because this one was so good.

If you are looking for a new crime thriller series then I would recommend giving this one a go based on how good I think this 3rd book is. This is a book by two Nordic Crime writers and it is brilliant. It is gritty, brutal and such an exciting fast-paced read. It is one I would definitely recommend.

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Off Target by Eve Smith @Evecsmith @RandomTTours @OrendaBooks #dystopian #thriller #fiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Off Target by Eve Smith. This was a fabulous read and one that I adored. It does have a dystopian edge to it, but also it is something that has a scarily possible amount of believability to it.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this book from the publisher Orenda Books.

What if your future was just one modification away?

In an all-too-possible near future, when genetic engineering has become the norm for humans, parents are prepared to take incalculable risks to ensure that their babies are perfect – altering genes that may cause illness, and more…


Susan has been trying for a baby for years, and when an impulsive one-night stand makes her dream come true, she’ll do anything to keep her daughter and ensure her husband doesn’t find out … including the unthinkable.

She believes her secret is safe. For now. But as governments embark on a perilous genetic arms race and children around the globe start experiencing a host of distressing symptoms – even taking their
own lives – something truly horrendous is unleashed. Because those children have only one thing in common, and people are starting to ask questions…


Critically acclaimed bestseller Eve Smith returns with a terrifying, cautionary glimpse of what the future may hold, with a startlingly thought-provoking blockbuster of a thriller
.

MY REVIEW

Off Target is a near-future dystopian thriller that had me hooked. This is a story that is so thought-provoking and in some ways, there are basics of this book that do actually happen. If you could have therapy to remove a gene to prevent your child from developing a serious, fatal or debilitating disease would you go through with it? This is a very basic premise of this book, the route the author took is one that had me hooked as she weaves some serious effects, opinions, outcomes and points of view in this book.

After trying for years to fall pregnant, it turns out a one-night stand was all it would take for Susan to finally conceive. She knows her husband Steve is not going to be supportive of this, well who would be! But changing the DNA so that all the tests come back as the baby is Steve’s is something that is an option in the world that the author has created.

This is a book that absolutely hit me from the first few pages. Changing something is good but changing something that is fundamentally a part of who you are is an entirely different matter. This futuristic world has many advancements, some of these are legal, but with all things legal there are also illegal processes.

For me, the author sets up this story so well, introducing you to the characters, their problems and how things are for those desperate to have a child. The author gives differing opinions, perspectives and viewpoints. She also deals with moral dilemmas as well as ethical ones. All this was incorporated into an absolutely riveting read.

Once the author has her hooks into me, she then turned up the pressure taking a darker and more serious line. It felt like a butterfly effect, where if you change one thing it will affect something else along the way somewhere.

This is a story that is a, WOW!, story, it isn’t that far fetched as you think as some things are already occurring and a quick look on the internet will soon give examples. I must admit I didn’t stray too far on the net because there are many conspiracy theories out there. But, it is an eye-opener all the same.

WHat the author has achieved with this book is to give an insight into a moral and ethical dilemma between her characters. Right or wrong is going to be something the reader will decide on as they read. It certainly makes for some interesting thoughts as I finished the book.

Brilliant story, addictive, insightful, balanced and just so damned good to read and I would absolutely recommend it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Eve Smith writes speculative fiction – mainly about the things that scare her – which she attributes to a childhood watching Tales of the Unexpected and black-and-white Edgar Allen Poe double bills. Previously COO of an environmental charity, she has an ongoing passion for wild creatures, wild science and far-flung places. Twitter @evecsmith; Instagram: evesmithauthor; Facebook: EveSmithAuthor and http://www.evesmithauthor.com.

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The Great Silence by Doug Johnstone #TheSkelfs @doug_johnstone @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours #crime #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Great Silence by Doug Johnstone. This is the 3rd book in the series and features the Skelf Family.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy from the publisher Orenda Books.

The discovery of a human foot in an Edinburgh park, the inexplicable circumstances of a dying woman, and the missing daughter of Jenny’s violent ex-husband present the Skelf women with their most challenging – and deadly – cases yet…

Keeping on top of the family funeral directors’ and private-investigation businesses is no easy task for the Skelf women, and when matriarch Dorothy discovers a human foot while walking the dog, a perplexing case presents itself … with potentially deadly results.

Daughter Jenny and grand-daughter Hannah have their hands full too: The mysterious circumstances of a dying woman lead them into an unexpected family drama, Hannah’s new astrophysicist colleague claims he’s receiving messages from outer space, and the Skelf’s teenaged lodger has yet another devastating experience.

Nothing is clear as the women are immersed ever deeper in their most challenging cases yet. But when the daughter of Jenny’s violent and fugitive ex-husband goes missing without trace and a wild animal is spotted roaming Edinburgh’s parks, real danger presents itself, and all three Skelfs are in peril.

My Review…

From reading the two previous books in this series I knew I was going to be in for a roller coaster ride. I did not, however, expect it to be such an amazing ride!

This is the third book in The Sklef’s series, set in Edinburgh. The Skelf’s are a family of different generations of women and boys are an amazing group. Headed by Dorothy, the family-run not only funeral directors but also have a Private Investigation business.

Dorothy is an amazing matriarch and her daughter, Jenny and granddaughter Hannah are doing a great job. With the family dog finding a foot, an abusive ex on the run and a very strange message the women have their work cut out. As if having all these dynamic women under one roof is not enough, Dorothy also takes in waifs, those who have troubles that just need a safe place and a roof over their heads. Oh, did I mention the big cat that is on the loose around the city?

This is a breakneck speed of a read, one sitting because I couldn’t put it down. I do like the way the author alternates his chapters between the three Sklef women, it kept this reader up to speed with all that was going on, and boy was there a lot. Credit to the author for keeping all these sub-plots in check and not allowing me to get confused. As the women are very unique it is very easy to keep up with who is who and their individual roles don’t their own cases as well as when they all come together.

This story does have a tense atmosphere to it, there is the threat of the big cat lurking, the abusive ex who is making life more than hell for some and then of course there is the body part. The author has so skillfully woven all the dramatic and dynamic plots together brilliantly and it makes for a very intense and thrilling read.

This is a fabulous series and I do think it is just getting better and better. There is more tension and it does have a gloriously dark edge to it. This is a series that I would say you do need to read from the beginning as there are mentions of previous storylines.

This is definitely a tense, fast-paced, dark and gritty glimpse into the world of the Sklef women, they are a fabulous family and this latest book is an amazing read. It is one I would definitely recommend.

About the Author…

Doug Johnstone is a writer, musician and journalist based in Edinburgh. His fourth novel, Hit & Run, is published by Faber and Faber on March 15th 2012. His previous novel, Smokeheads, was published in March 2011, also by Faber. before that he published two novels with Penguin, Tombstoning (2006) and The Ossians (2008), which received praise from the likes of Irvine Welsh, Ian Rankin and Christopher Brookmyre. Doug is currently writer in residence at the University of Strathclyde. He’s had short stories appear in various publications, and since 1999 he has worked as a freelance arts journalist, primarily covering music and literature. He grew up in Arbroath and lives in Portobello, Edinburgh with his wife and two children. He loves drinking malt whisky and playing football, not necessarily at the same time.

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This Is How We Are Human by Louise Beech @louisewriter @RandomTTours @OrendaBooks #jubilantjune #bookreview

I am absolutely delighted to share my review for This Is How We Are Human by Louise Beech. This is an author who doesn’t stick to genres, she explores many emotions. She makes it impossible for me to write a review that comes anywhere close to doing her writing justice!

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the tour and for arranging my e-copy of this book from the publisher, Orenda Books.

Sebastian James Murphy is twenty years, six months and two days old. He loves swimming, fried eggs and Billy Ocean. Sebastian is autistic. And lonely.

Veronica wants her son Sebastian to be happy, and she wants the world to accept him for who he is. She is also thinking about paying a professional to give him what he desperately wants.


Violetta is a high-class escort, who steps out into the night thinking only of money. Of her nursing degree. Paying for her dad’s care. Getting through the dark.


When these three lives collide, and intertwine in unexpected ways, everything changes. For everyone.


Both heart-breaking and heart-warming, This Is How We Are Human is a powerful, moving and thoughtful drama about a mother’s love for her son, about getting it wrong when we think we know what’s best, about the lengths we go to care for family and to survive.

“Though This is How We Are Human is fiction, the premise was inspired by my friends, 20-year-old
Sean, who is autistic, and his mum Fiona. Fiona had spoken to me about how much Sean longed to
meet a girl and have sex. No one talks about this, she said – the difficulties navigating romance often
faced by those on the spectrum. It ’s an issue that I wanted to explore. Fiona and Sean encouraged me
and guided me through the book; Sean regularly consulted on dialogue, rightly insisting that his voice
was heard, was strong, and was accurate. I cannot thank my extraordinary friends enough for their
help and support.” Louise Beech

My Review…

So here is my attempt at a review…

Whenever I pick up a book by this author I know I am going to be in for something special. even though I have not yet read all of her books, I have read enough to know that when I do read one it is going to leave me with tears, This Is How We Are Human is no exception.

The story explores the love a mother and what she will do to give her son as ‘normal’ a life as she can. The story gives a voice to Sebastian who has autism. This voice is the louder one, and opened up my eyes a lot. The story is about what a daughter will do to look after her father.

So, three main characters and each one unique, each one doing what they can, each one doing their best. Sebastian is 20, he has perfectly normal sexual desires, but as he doesn’t have a girlfriend his mother believes she is doing the right thing by hiring an escort for him.

The escort, is doing all she can to keep on top of her studies, look after her father and pay the bills. The only way she can do this is by taking on additional work in the evenings. It is not way she planned for her life to pan out, but needs must.

The three lives are very much intertwined as the author gradually weaves her story. She not only does a fantastic job of bringing them to life, but she also made me care about all three. The character and story of Sebastian is based on the experiences of people the author knew. As I read I was aware that Sebastian’s voice sounded genuine, it had some sort of real and authentic sound to it. This was because of Sean, the person behind the story.

Once again, the author has woven something special. While we try our best not to make assumptions, we try not to be prejudiced, we will and do fail at some point. As much as we try our best to right by other, or to help, there will be a time when we have to stand back. We have to allow life and the natural course of things happen.

This is a story that doesn’t really fit into a genre as such. It is a human interest story, it is a coming of age story, it is challenging the reader to see beyond the labels of society. It also gives some insight into autism, how not only those who are diagnosed with it live, but also how family and other people perceive autism.

This is a special story that has made me once again has me struggling to convey how unique this author and her writing is. I didn’t find this uncomfortable reading at all, I found it emotional and heartfelt. Warm and genuine. The author took a story and created something that was about the people rather than the sex or the autism.

Such an amazing book to read. It s a book that once I began I did not want to put down. I adored this and I would highly recommend it.

About the Author…


The author of Maria in the Moon, The Lion Tamer Who Lost and I Am Dust returns with a beautifully written, powerful and thought-provoking novel that will warm your heart.


Louise Beech is an exceptional literary talent, whose debut novel How To Be Brave was a Guardian Readers’ Choice for 2015. The follow-up, The Mountain in My Shoe was shortlisted for Not the Booker Prize. Both of her previous books Maria in the Moon and The Lion Tamer Who Lost were widely reviewed, critically acclaimed and number-one bestsellers on Kindle. The Lion Tamer Who Lost was shortlisted for the RNA Most Popular Romantic Novel Award in 2019. Her 2019 novel Call Me Star Girl won Best magazine Book of the Year, and was followed by I Am Dust.

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I Am Dust by Louise Beech @OrendaBooks #20booksofsummer #mystery #suspense #mustread #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for I Am Dust by Louise Beech. THis is a book I have chosen to be part of my #20booksofsummer #readingchallenge and what a wonderful book it was.

Let me show you what it is about…

Synopsis

A haunted theatre
A murdered actress
Three cursed teenagers
A secret that devastates them all…

The Dean Wilson Theatre is believed to be haunted by a long-dead actress, singing her last song, waiting for her final cue, looking for her killer…

Now Dust, the iconic musical, is returning after twenty years. But who will be brave enough to take on the role of ghostly goddess Esme Black, last played by Morgan Miller, who was murdered in her dressing room?

Theatre usher Chloe Dee is caught up in the spectacle. As the new actors arrive, including an unexpected face from her past, everything changes. Are the eerie sounds and sightings backstage real or just her imagination? Is someone playing games?

Is the role of Esme Black cursed? Could witchcraft be at the heart of the tragedy? And are dark deeds from Chloe’s past about to catch up with her?

Not all the drama takes place onstage. Sometimes murder, magic, obsession and the biggest of betrayals are real life. When you’re in the theatre shadows, you see everything.

And Chloe has been watching…

Purchase from Amazon UK (this is an affiliate link)

My Review

I have just finished reading this book and there are two words that I think sum this book up “hauntingly beautiful” I wish I could leave that as my review, but as a Book Blogger I know I need to add more to it. The synopsis gives a very good idea as to the story, but, Oh there is so much more it than that!

The story is told in a time slip style. The past goes back to when three teens, Chloe, Jess and Ryan use a Ouija board to contact a dead actress. She was murdered while the show Dust was being performed. The now is the DW theatre, not as popular as it used to be, and there is exciting news that the show Dust will be performed once again.

The author did such an amazing job with this story, I loved the haunting atmospherics that added some amazing tension. The story started with some excitement as the teens started to use the spirit board, this was then built on over the course of the story. Mixed into this was the mystery about the dead actress, Morgan Miller, who wanted to kill her and why.

There is another mystery that also comes into play, and that is what exactly happened to the teens when they walked away from the board? Did it change them? Did they follow the warnings? Well these questions are just the tip of the ice-berg as the author took this reader deeper and deeper into this mystery.

I call this a mystery, and in some ways yes it is, but it is also has a wonderful supernatural theme to it, also there is the murder which adds a crime element, then there is the relationships between the teens, oh and there is also a heartbreaking aspect. I think what I am getting at is that this book crosses genres and that makes it a book that will engage so many different readers.

The story gradually wrapped me up, drawing me deeper and deeper into its pages. I found myself addicted and at times when I was not reading it, I almost felt it calling out to me to pick it up again. It is a beautifully written story, that is heartbreaking and haunting. I loved it from start to finish and those last few pages completely broke me and left me a sobbing wreck.

This is a book that I am pretty sure will be on my Top Reads of the Year list. It is an exceptional read and one I would Highly Recommend.

About the Author

Louise’s debut novel, How to be Brave, was a Guardian Readers’ pick in 2015 and a top ten bestseller on Amazon. The Mountain in my Shoe longlisted for the Guardian’s Not The Booker Prize 2016. The Sunday Mirror called Maria in the Moon ‘quirky, darkly comic, original and heartfelt’. It was also a Must Read in the Sunday Express and a Book of the Year at LoveReadingUK. The Lion Tamer Who Lost was described as ‘engrossing and captivating’ by the Daily Express. It also shortlisted for the RNA’s Romantic Novel of the Year and longlisted for the Polari Prize 2019. Call Me Star Girl hit number one on Kobo. It also longlisted for the Not The Booker Prize and won the Best magazine Big Book Award 2019. I Am Dust is out in 2020.

Links – WebsiteTwitterAmazon Author Page

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Mexico Street by Simone Buchholz @ohneklippo @annecater #RandomThingsTours @OrendaBooks #Crime #Bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Mexico Street by Simone Buchholz. My thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of the book.

Let me show you what it’s all about…

Hamburg state prosecutor Chastity Riley investigates a series
of arson attacks on cars across the city, which leads her to a
startling and life-threatening discovery involving criminal gangs
and a very illicit love story…


Night after night, cars are set alight across the German city
of Hamburg, with no obvious pattern, no explanation and no
suspect.


Until, one night, on Mexico Street, a ghetto of high-rise blocks in
the north of the city, a Fiat is torched. Only this car isn’t empty.
The body of Nouri Saroukhan – prodigal son of the Bremen clan –
is soon discovered, and the case becomes a homicide.


Public prosecutor Chastity Riley is handed the investigation,
which takes her deep into a criminal underground that snakes
beneath the whole of Germany. And as details of Nouri’s
background, including an illicit relationship with the mysterious
Aliza, emerge, it becomes clear that these are not random
attacks, and there are more on the cards…

I have read the first book in the Chas Riley series and they do work well as standalone, but obviously better if read in order to get a proper understanding of Chas.

In Mexico Street the synopsis does a great job of setting the reader up for what is to come. The author has quite a unique style and so does her main protagonist Chas Riley.

Chas is a no holds barred type of character, she is a tough cookie who tends to say what she wants, do what she wants and is in some respects a bit of a closed book when it comes to revealing things about herself.

The case of a body found in a burned out car takes Chas and her team into an area where there is a community that is country-less, refugees who cannot remain in their own country and are not allowed to settle. They are not trusting of the law, of outsiders and of strangers. They have there own ways of doing things and this makes it very difficult to gain the answers Chas needs.

The author weaves a tale that flits back and forth in time giving a backstory to the characters. These are gradually brought up to date and gives the reader the chance to get to know not only the character but also the what matters to them. She also changes perspectives as the story progresses, you get a view from Chas, the investigation as well as from a character. These are well worked to give a good depth to the story.

The story is a mix of the investigation and also from the the dead characters life to the point of death and because of this there are certain things that are not completely finalised. It is that the investigation has been solved but not all the questions are answered, but they are alluded to. Leaves the reader with something to think about.

This is an investigative story that has a different style to it giving it a unique feel. It is detailed and has more than one story-line that are gradually drawn together until they reach a point where they meet. Mexico Street is a crime and investigation read that I would recommend.

I would also like to add that the translation is brilliant.

Simone Buchholz was born in Hanau in 1972. At university, she studied
Philosophy and Literature, worked as a waitress and a columnist, and
trained to be a journalist at the prestigious Henri-Nannen-School in
Hamburg. In 2016, Simone Buchholz was awarded the Crime Cologne Award
as well as runner-up in the German Crime Fiction Prize for Blue Night,
which was number one on the KrimiZEIT Best of Crime List for months. She
lives in Sankt Pauli, in the heart of Hamburg, with her husband and son.

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Deep Dark Night by Steph Broadribb @crimethrillgirl @annecater @OrendaBooks #randomthingstours #orendabooks #deepdarknight #thriller #BookReview

I am delighted to share my review for Deep Dark Night by Steph Broadribb. I have brought the previous books in this series and my plan had been to read them prior to reading this latest one… I really shouldn’t plan because they never go…well…according to plan!!!

My thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for also arranging an e-copy of this book so I can share my honest opinion about it.

Let me show you what it is all about…

A city in darkness. A building in lockdown. A score that can only be settled in blood…

Working off the books for FBI Special Agent Alex Monroe, Florida bounty-hunter Lori Anderson and her partner, JT, head to Chicago. Their mission: to entrap the head of the Cabressa crime family. The bait: a priceless chess set that Cabressa is determined to add to his collection.

An exclusive high-stakes poker game is arranged in the penthouse suite of one of the city’s tallest buildings, with Lori holding the cards in an agreed arrangement to hand over the pieces. But, as night falls and the game plays out, stakes rise and tempers flare.

When a power failure plunges the city into darkness, the building goes into lockdown. But this isn’t an ordinary blackout, and the men around the poker table aren’t all who they say they are. Hostages are taken, old scores resurface and the players start to die.

And that’s just the beginning…

So as this is the first book I have read by this author what did I think? Well before I was even a quarter of the way through I thought “This is such a good book” and then followed by another thought… “Why haven’t I read anything by this author before!”

Deep Dark Night is part of a series and I can honestly say it worked really well as a stand-alone. It also left me wishing I had read these in order because even though there was enough details about past stories it also left me wanting to know more about the two main protagonists.

So the main characters are Lori and JT, they are caught up with FBI Agent Monroe and are involved in trying to catch a Chicago crime boss handling stolen goods. Now I know I am not the only reader who immediately gets suspicious when those three letters, FBI, appear in books and this also goes for Lori and JT.

Now the synopsis for this book gives a good amount of details as to what I was going to expect, but the book itself far surpassed what the synopsis hinted at. This book was full on high pace from start to finish, this was ideal for injecting a sense of urgency to the main plot. It also added drama and suspense aplenty.

I really liked how the author had laid out this story. Not only quick sharp and to the point chapters, but also alternating perspectives between Lori and JT. It was a good way of seeing different opinions and also for the odd personal moment as they thought about home and family. If you have read the books you will know what I am referring to.

This is without doubt a cracking read that I absolutely loved, once I started I was unable to put it down. Ideal for readers who like fast paced, action packed reads and crime based mysteries. This is a book I would definitely recommend.

Steph Broadribb was born in Birmingham and grew up in Buckinghamshire. Most of her working life has been spent between the UK and USA. As her alter ego – Crime Thriller Girl – she indulges her love of all things crime fiction by blogging at crimethrillergirl.com, where she interviews authors and reviews the latest releases. Steph is an alumni of the MA in Creative Writing (Crime Fiction) at City University London, and she trained as a bounty hunter in California. She lives in Buckinghamshire surrounded by horses, cows and chickens. Her debut thriller, Deep Down Dead, was shortlisted for the Dead Good Reader Awards in two categories, and hit number one on the UK and AU kindle charts.


My Little Eye, her first novel under her pseudonym Stephanie Marland was published by Trapeze Books in April 2018.
Follow Steph on Twitter @CrimeThrillGirl and on Facebook facebook.com/CrimeThrillerGirl or visit her website: crimerthrillergirl.com

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