The Awakening Aten by Aiden K. Morrissey #TheAwakeningAten @AidenKMorrissey #RandomThingsTours @annecater #HistFic #Review

I am delighted to share my review for The Awakening Aten by Aiden k. Morrissey. My huge thanks to Aiden for my copy of his book and also to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for accepting my request to join the Blog Tour.

Let’s have a look and see what The Awakening Aten is all about…

he Awakening Aten envelops the reader in an Egypt of whispers and fears, of webs within webs, deceit upon deceit. Its themes of murder, intrigue, political and religious conflict, corruption, tomb robbing, war and executions are set against a background of fundamental ideological change.  

Ancient Egypt is seen through the eyes of two families; one royal, the other commoner. Yuya, whose tomb is in the Valley of the Kings, is a foreigner who rises from slavery to become Regent to an infant Pharaoh and thus, the most powerful man in the world’s wealthiest empire. His children and descendants will remain at the very heart of the country’s destiny. Kha is a tomb painter and builder who experiences both the despair of imprisonment and the horror of war. As Overseer of the King’s Works he restores the Great Sphinx, and inscribes the ‘Dream Stela’ placed between its paws, still visible today. Through tragic and deathly events his family and that of Yuya become entwined.  

This is the fictional tale of real people, whose possessions and artefacts can be seen in museums throughout the world. It gives a voice to those people, inspired by their personal items, buried with them 3,000 years ago.

PURCHASE LINK – Amazon UK

If you like ancient historical fiction novels that have a huge amount of factual detail incorporated, then you should consider picking up a copy of The Awakening Aten. It is set in 1420 BCE Egypt and it is the first in a planned 5 Book Series.

I enjoyed this story so much and rather than write a review about the story itself I am writing about the things that stood out for me. It is just that when I try and write a review on the story it sounds so confusing because it is such a big story, and I don’t feel able to do it justice. That makes it sound like the story is confusing, and actually, once you get into it flows wonderfully and makes complete sense!

The story has quite a large cast and the main characters have a mention in a handy list at the front of the book. What I liked about this list was that is was broken down into family groups. The author has also noted which characters are real or fictional.

The cast covers a diverse range of backgrounds from those facing death to the King. In between, there are priests, mercenaries, artists, builders and princes just to name a few. This is where that handy list comes in useful as I started to get to grips with them all.

The story itself charts the lives of the key characters, the roles they play as well as the everyday things. Here the author manages to weave individual stories that gradually build into a far bigger picture.

The research and knowledge are very evident and the inclusion of some very interesting notes from the author adds to that feeling that the details were right. I am not knowledgable in this era of history, I do know bits and pieces like most others but things just felt right as far as I was concerned.

The story itself had so many things going on and though it follows the lives of the main characters, I also felt as though I was getting a grand tour of ancient Egypt and all that was involved at the time. The story has a lot of drama and it is explored through various means. There is murder, corruption, power-struggles, religion, social etiquette, tombs, mummification… in fact, pretty much everything I would expect from this period and then a whole lot more!

This was such a fascinating and very insightful novel with some fabulous detail. Following different families as they made their way through the story. It has left me very eager to read the next in the series.

This is a book that has left me wanting to read more and it is one I would definitely recommend.

I am of Irish heritage and was the first member of my immediate family to be born outside of Ireland. My professional life has caused me to travel the world. I am now looking forward to settling in the North East of England, to concentrate on writing.

A graduate in Law from Leicester University, after working for some years in a commercial environment, I qualified as a Solicitor in 1981.

My career developed in an unusual way and I have lived and worked at various times in Italy, Brazil, the United States, India and Germany.

I have always had a love and fascination for history. A holiday in Egypt sparked a particular passion for Ancient Egypt, especially the latter part of the 18th Dynasty. A history, which Pharaoh Horemeb (Djeser-Kheperu-Ra circa 1319-1292 BCE) tried to destroy and which only came to light following the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922.

‘The Awakening Aten’ is the culmination of many years of research.

I have built up a substantial collection of academic books and novels on Ancient Egypt, its customs, traditions and daily life. I am fortunate to have been able to visit all of the major museums containing artefacts from Egypt throughout the world, as well as spending months in Egypt itself studying the funereal valleys and other sites. All of this supplemented by internet research.

This novel is the first in a plannned five book series, looking at the fictional lives of real people through a period of major political and religious change, spanning approximately 130 years.

My hobbies are reading, which I enjoy as much as I do writing, and taking bracing walks along the North East Coast and in the Northumberland Hills.

Website: http://www.aidenkmorrisey-author.com/

Twitter @AidanKMorrissey

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Cold As The Grave by James Oswald @SirBenfro @annecater #RandomThingsTours #Review

I am so delighted to be sharing my review for Cold As The Grave by James Oswald. I recieved my copy as part of the Blog Tour and my thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for accpeting my request to join.

Let’s see what the bookis all about…

The ninth book in the Sunday Times-bestselling phenomenon that is the Inspector McLean series, from one of Scotland’s most celebrated crime writers .

Her mummified body is hidden in the dark corner of a basement room, a room which seems to have been left untouched for decades. A room which feels as cold as the grave.

As a rowdy demonstration makes its slow and vocal way along Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, Detective Chief Inspector Tony McLean’s team are on stand-by for any trouble. The newly promoted McLean is distracted, inexplicably drawn to a dead-end mews street… and a door, slightly ajar, which leads to this poor girl’s final resting place.

But how long has she been there, in her sleep of death? The answers are far from what McLean or anyone else could expect. The truth far more chilling than a simple cold case…

Wow! 5 Stars! Will, that do? Is that enough for a review? I only ask because I am not sure quite how to articulate my thoughts into some sort of coherent review!!!!!

This is a police procedural with such a creepy and sinister undertone to it. A supernatural air adds to the atmosphere and reminded me of a Victorian gothic story with swirling mists, ominous shapes and shadows, but very much set in the present day.

Following DCI McLean around Edinborough because DCI’s sit at desks working on budgets and reports right? Well, that is where you would be wrong! He likes to get right in the thick of things, getting a feel for the case with his feet firmly on the ground. He is very much like a dog with a bone as when he gets his teeth into the case he does not let go and tenaciously hangs on till the end.

McLean is such a committed copper and his team around him have a similar ethic. In the background, there is a lurking menace, a character that he has a past with. A character with cogs constantly turning and finger in all the pies. While they don’t have a huge physical role as such it is their presence definitely is there. It felt a little like Moriarty to Holmes.

I loved the route the author took with this story, it kept me on my toes and constantly questioning what I thought. The way the victims met their demise was gruesomely brilliant, it sounds wrong to say that but, it was so different and added to the suspense and mystery. Definitely not your usual MOand that added such a wonderful tense feel to the investigations and the overall air of the story.

How the author would get to the ending had me a little concerned until I got there myself, and I am so happy to say he got it so right. I really should stop trying to see ahead as I am often wrong-footed!

Now I know this is quite a vague review to the story and I have picked out some of the things I loved about it. When I finished this book and tried to write a review I crossed and scribbled out so many things, they contained spoilers and hinted too much at what happened. In the end, I decided that picking out some of the key things that worked so well for me.

If you like your crime thriller reads that are dark, atmospheric, mysterious and ominous, with a storyline that has various elements that have been brilliantly drawn together, then this should really be on your ‘Must Read’ list!

Cold As The Grave by James Oswald is a book that gets an ‘Absolutely & Highly Recommended’ from Me!

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Monopoli Blues by Tim Clark & Nick Cook #RandomThingsTours @unbounders @annecater #NonFiction #WW2 #BookReview

I am delighted to be sharing Monopoli Blues by Tim Clark & Nick Cook with you all today. My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for accepting my request to join the Blog Tour and for arranging my copy of this book.

Let’s have a look and see what it is all about…

In November 1944, Sub Lt Bob Clark, a twenty-year old agent with Britain’s top-secret Special Operations Executive, parachuted into northern Italy.

He left behind the girl he had fallen in love with, Marjorie, his radio operator. Captured by the enemy, Bob’s fate hangs in the balance and Marjorie won’t know for six months whether he is alive or dead…

Monopoli Blues recounts the story of Tim Clark’s journey to uncover the story of his parents’ war – and the truth behind the betrayal of his father’s Clarion mission to the Nazis.

When Tim Clark wanted to know more about his parents’ involvement in Special Operation during WWII, he thought it would be a case of simply asking them. His father was not forthcoming with details and his mother very similar. Neither spoke much of their involvement, only odd comments mentioned. The curiosity was sparked however, but a full conversation would never happen.

After the death of his father, Tim decided to embark on a research journey. It involved travelling, meeting with people and meticulously putting together the story of Monopoli Blues. All the pieces found and placed together like a jigsaw. Now when I say meticulous I really do mean it, dates, places, timelines, photo’s and information is amazing. Given all the information that is included I never once felt overwhelmed. The story that is told is so easy to follow and became very addictive reading.

While the story is one of his parents meeting and their life during the war, it is also one of the unknown, survival and courage. From a solid friendship and realtionship followed. The story gives a glimpse into the lives of two people who met during the war.

There are so many things I enjoyed about the story as well as the one about his parents. The photgraphs, snippets from letters, details of missions and other things that I was unaware of. This is where the background of both Authors helped. Bringing history and journalism together to create a fascinating read.

I found myself on the internet looking at various items that caught my curiosity in the book. I love it when this happens!

This is a fascinating book and it is one that I think lovers of WWII History will enjoy. It was a book I flew through and one I would Definitely Recommend.

Tim Clark spent a large part of his career working as a lawyer at one of the world’s leading firms specialising in M+A and corporate work in the UK and internationally, ultimately becoming Senior Partner. Since retiring as a lawyer, Tim has taken on board positions on a number of corporate, arts and charitable organisations, and senior advisory roles at a number of international think tanks.

Nick Cook is an author, journalist, broadcaster and entrepreneur. In 1986, he joined the world-renowned Jane’s Defence Weekly , initially as a reporter, rising quickly to become Aviation Editor, a position he held until 2005. His first novel, Angel, Archangel , was published in 1989 to critical acclaim. In 2001, Cook’s first non-fiction title, The Hunt For Zero Point , was published, reaching Number 1 in Amazon’s Non-Fiction charts. He has also written, hosted and produced two documentaries about the world of aerospace and defence – Billion Dollar Secret and an Alien History of Planet Earth . He lives and works with his wife and two children in London.

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Wolves at the Door by Gunnar Staalesen Translated by Don Bartlett #RandomThingsTours #NordicNoir @annecater #Review

I am delighted to be sharing my review of Wolves at the Door by Gunnar Staalesen and the translation by Don Batlett. My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for my copy of the the book.

This is the second book by this author that I have read and I love his writing, atmospheric and addictive immediately spring to mind. Anyway, before I get too carried away let’s have a look and see what the book is about…

The wolves are no longer in the dark … they are at his door. And they want vengeance… The next instalment in the international, bestselling Varg Veum series by one of the fathers of Nordic Noir…

One dark January night a car drives at high speed towards PI Varg Veum, and comes very close to killing him. Veum is certain this is no accident, following so soon after the deaths of two jailed men who were convicted for their participation in a case of child pornography and sexual assault … crimes that Veum himself once stood wrongly accused of committing.

While the guilty men were apparently killed accidentally, Varg suspects that there is something more sinister at play … and that he’s on the death list of someone still at large.

Fearing for his life, Veum begins to investigate the old case, interviewing the victims of abuse and delving deeper into the brutal crimes, with shocking results. The wolves are no longer in the dark … they are at his door. And they want vengeance.

First off I am going to say that I am so glad there are translators, they give me a chance to read books that I would not otherwise be able to enjoy. Don Barlett doesn’t miss a beat when it comes to reading his translation of Wolves at the Door into English.

This is the latest instalment of the Varg Veum series. Varg is a Private Investigator and is looking into two old cases. The cases are based around those found guilty of child abuse. Now I will say straight off that while the author does not go into excessive detail, it does make the reading a little uncomfortable at times.

As Varg starts to gather the information he needs, he meets various characters and the job of trying to work out the who’s and the why’s begins. The problem with these other characters is that they all seem to have something to hide, or they are holding something back. This increases the tension as I was never sure who I could rely on for being truthful. Given that there are a few characters to follow, I found them easy to remember and to recognise. Varg has the same problem as I did when it came to working out who to trust. I was eagerly waiting for him to work through their stories and remarks so I could better understand the reasons and also the culprit behind the killings and also the attempt on Varg’s life.

The author is fabulous with his descriptions and it added to the slower style of the story adding suspense and a tense atmosphere. While the style of the story is slower the pace of it is not, I hope that makes sense!

I did take longer to read this book than I normally would. Rather than devouring it in one or two sittings, I read over several days. This is because my concentration levels at the time were not brilliant too many other things whizzing around my head. The bonus in doing this was that I was able to think about the story in between reading. I was able to mull over who I thought was behind it all, I had 3 people on my “Suspect list” and yes the actual guilty party was one of them. So I did not actually work it all out completely and I was not able to single out a definite character.

This is yet ano0ther fabulous Nordic Noir from an author who definitely keeps me on my toes. The story is like the cover, dark and atmospheric it is also full of suspense, surprise and with some wonderful descriptions. A book that crime and thriller readers will love.

It gets a “Highly Recommended” from Me!

One of the fathers of the Nordic Noir genre, Gunnar Staalesen was born in Bergen, Norway in 1947. He made his debut at the age of twenty-two with Seasons of Innocence and in 1977 he published the first book in the Varg Veum series. He is the author of over twenty-three titles, which have been published in twenty-six countries and sold over five million copies. Twelve film adaptations of his Varg Veum crime novels have appeared since 2007, starring the popular Norwegian actor Trond Epsen Seim, and a further series is currently being filmed. Staalesen, who has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of Honour) and the Petrona Award, and been shortlisted for the CWA Dagger, lives in Bergen with his wife.

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The Comedy Club by Peter Bartram @PeterFBartram #RandomThingsTours @annecater #Review

I am delighted to share my review for The Comedy Club by Peter Bartram. My thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and also to Peter for my copy of his latest book.

Let’s have a look and see what it is all about…

The Comedy Club Mystery: A Crampton of the Chronicle comic crime adventure

Murder has never been such fun…

When theatrical agent Daniel Bernstein sues the Evening Chronicle for libel, crime reporter Colin Crampton is called in to sort out the problem. But trouble escalates when Bernstein turns up murdered. Colin discovers that any of five comedians competing for the chance to appear on a top TV show could be behind the killing. As Colin and his feisty girlfriend Shirley Goldsmith investigate, they encounter a cast of colourful characters – identical twin gangsters, an Irishman who lives underground, and a failed magician’s assistant. And it’s not long before their own lives are in peril as they battle to crack a code that will lead to a fortune. Join Colin and Shirley for a rollercoaster of an adventure in Swinging Sixties England – where the laughs are never far from the action.

Purchase Link – Amazon

I have read a couple of this author’s Colin Crampton books and it was a pleasure to read about Colin’s latest escapades.

Set in 1960’s Brighton, Colin is a crime reporter for the Evening Chronicle. The murder of Daniel Berstein causes problems for one of Colin’s colleagues who asks for help.

One-liners are aplenty in this book and had me smirking several times. Along with the gags are mentions of songs, films, actors of the day. Their inclusion kept me grounded in the time the novel is set in.

The victim is an Agent for comedy acts, though his shine seems to have lost some of its polish with the death of the Star act, one Max Miller. There is a mystery surrounding this comedian and it gradually comes to light over the story. The murder mystery rolls along at a pace that is suited to the decade of the setting. It keeps Colin on his toes and also means he drags his girlfriend Shirley along for her help.

There is not a huge cast for this book so it is very easy to keep up to speed with who is who and what their role is. Things heat up and the pressure for Colin to get to the bottom of the crime increases and it leads to a serious decision for him to make.

I really enjoyed The Comedy Club. It has just the right amount of humour. think it would have been easy to get carried away with too many gags and it would have taken the edge off of the crime side of the story.

This as a murder mystery with a good cast, a good storyline and the right amount of entertainment. I found myself quickly wrapped up in this and did not want to put it down until I was done! If you like murder mystery novels set in the 0’s then I think you will enjoy this one. It gets a Definitely Recommended from me.

Peter Bartram brings years of experience as a journalist to his Crampton of the Chronicle crime mystery series. His novels are fast-paced and humorous – the action is matched by the laughs. The books feature a host of colourful characters as befits stories set in Brighton, one of Britain’s most trend-setting towns.

You can download Murder in Capital Letters, a free book in the series, for your Kindle from http://www.colincrampton.com.

Peter began his career as a reporter on a local weekly newspaper before editing newspapers and magazines in London, England and, finally, becoming freelance. He has done most things in journalism from door-stepping for quotes to writing serious editorials. He’s pursued stories in locations as diverse as 700-feet down a coal mine and a courtier’s chambers at Buckingham Palace. Peter is a member of the Society of Authors and the Crime Writers’ Association.

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The Gift of Friends by Emma Hannigan #RandomThingsTours @annecater #Review

I am delighted to be sharing my review for The Gift of Friends by Emma Hannigan. My huge thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for accepting my request to join the Blog Tour and also to Headline Review for my copy of this beautiful book.

Let’s have a look and see what it’s all about…

Kingfisher Road – a leafy, peaceful street in the town of Vayhill. But there are whispers behind closed doors. Who is moving into Number 10?

Engaged to handsome, wealthy Justin Johnston, Danielle appears to her new neighbours to have the perfect, glossy life. But not everything is as it seems…

In fact, each of the other four women who live close by has a secret, and each is nursing their own private heartache.

But could a gift be waiting on their doorsteps? And, by opening their front doors, and their hearts, to each other, could the women of Kingfisher Road discover all the help they need?

This thirteenth and final novel from the beloved and inspiring Emma Hannigan is a life-affirming, uplifting story that celebrates the strength and joys of female friendship.

Emma Hannigan was the No. 1 bestselling author of eleven novels including Letters to Daughters, The Wedding Promise, The Perfect Gift, and The Summer Guest, as well as a memoir, All to Live For, which was about surviving an eleven year battle with cancer – facing cancer 10 separate times over the course of those years – and remaining strong, positive and warm. Very sadly, we have now lost Emma in the fight against cancer – she passed away at the end of February 2018.

The Gift of Friends went straight to number one on the bestseller lists in Ireland and has remained there ever since.

As I sit and write this review I feel quite emotional. I am so sad that such a talented and amazing author was taken far too soon. Sad also that it is only now I have read one of Emma’s books, though I do have 3 of her books on my kindle, no excuse! Emotional because of the beautiful story she wrote and also for the words in the Acknowledgments. Having read The Gift of Friends I am determined to read the rest of this authors books.

The Gift of Friends is a perfectly wonderful story. I was warmly greeted by the residents of Kingfisher Road, Nancy, Maia, Pearl and Betsey. A wonderful group of women who alternate between being carefree, friendly, loud, sensitive, bold and just a little bonkers, but in a very good way. They are not backwards in coming forwards with advice or opinion, by that I mean they very much say what they think. Poor Danielle is a little overwhelmed by her new home with Justin and also with the 4 women when they introduce themselves in their very exuberant way.

As much as I felt for Danielle, I couldn’t help but smirk as the author described this encounter. This was the start of a story that had me riveted as I got to know about Kingfisher Road and it’s residents. Danielle gradually gets to know these women and friendship forms. Bonds are built upon and she finds that not only are they able to help her settle in, but that she is also able to help them.

As the story unfolds I began to realise that things are not as rosy as they first appear. There is something that is held back by each of the characters. Even though they are very close I began to realise that certain things were kept secret. It was one of those scenarios that showed that we don’t always know what goes on behind closed doors. Not everything is shared, somethings are so deep and so painful that the owner of them wants to keep them buried, rather than talk of the secret they carry.

This book had me with so many “lump in my throat” moments, and at times that lump broke and left me in tears. It was such an emotional read with serious as well as more lighthearted moments and beautiful friendships. I got to gradually discover the truth about the households and their residents.

This story had such an easy flow to it and a wonderful balance between the more serious and also the lightheartedness. It is such a beautiful read and one I would Highly Recommend.

Emma Hannigan was an Irish author and blogger, best known for writing about her experience of suffering from cancer. 

With a family history of breast and ovarian cancer, Hannigan’s mother and maternal aunt tested positive for the responsible gene, BRCA1. She also received a ‘positive’ result in August 2005, which carries an 85% risk of developing breast cancer and a 50% risk of ovarian cancer. In 2006, Hannigan underwent a bi-lateral mastectomy (or both breasts removed) and a bi-lateral oopherectomy (or both ovaries removed) to reduce the risk of cancer developing to 5%. However, breast cancer soon developed, “in the neck, shoulder and under my arm”, in 2007. After repeated treatment, a tumor always reappeared. She died at age 45 after her tenth battle with cancer.

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Never Be Broken by Sarah Hilary @sarah_hilary #RandomThingsTours @annecater #Review

I am delighted to be sharing my review today for a fantastic book. Never Be Broken By Sarah Hilary is the 6th book in the DI Marnie Rome series. Though I have not read the previous books, I have to say this is bloody brilliant and has left me wanting to read the previous ones. My huge thanks to Anne Cater for aloowing me a spot on the Blog Tour and for organising me a copy of Never Be Broken.

The compulsive, gripping and twisty new London crime novel featuring DI Marnie Rome, from award-wining novelist Sarah Hilary


Children are dying on London’s streets. Frankie Reece, stabbed through the heart, outside a corner shop. Others recruited from care homes, picked up and exploited; passed like gifts between gangs. They are London’s lost.


Then Raphaela Belsham is killed. She’s thirteen years old, her father is a man of influence, from a smart part of town. And she’s white. Suddenly, the establishment is taking notice.


DS Noah Jake is determined to handle Raphaela’s case and Frankie’s too. But he’s facing his own turmoil, and it’s becoming an obsession. DI Marnie Rome is worried, and she needs Noah on side. Because more children are disappearing, more are being killed by the day and the swelling tide of violence needs to be stemmed before it’s too late.

NEVER BE BROKEN is a stunning, intelligent and gripping novel which explores how the act of witness alters us and reveals what lies beneath the veneer of a glittering city.

Now I have not yet read any of the previous books in this series, please notice the word YET! After reading Never Be Broken I will definitely be going back to the beginning. Because I have not read the others it means I can say that it does work well as a stand-alone, BUT I would advise reading these in order if you have not yet done so. While this is a brilliant book, I got little snapshots of past stories. These intrigued me a huge amount and made me wish I had read in order…

This is the 6th in the DI Marnie Rome series, though Marnie is obviously the main character for the series, Never Be Broken focuses more on DS Noah Jake. It has such a dramatic start that immediately grabbed my attention. From that point on I was hooked and eager to know everything. The two main characters of Marnie and Noah are wonderful, I was able to pick up the chemistry between these two colleagues that comes with a series. As I got to know more about Noah my heart really went out to him, I got invested in his character and cared about what was going on with him.

Marnie and Noah are working a case in the Muswell Hill area of London and it leads them to a notorious estate. A residential tower block known for its drugs, crime and gangs. But in amongst this is a small community of those who care. Now as much as this story is about the investigation and also Noah, there is also a very topical point being made. It is about knife crime. A very poignant acknowledgement is made at the end of the book.

Don’t think that this book is all about knife crime, it is about Noah dealing with so much in his personal life. About Marnie being a supportive boss and friend, Noah’s home life and the investigation as well. There is quite a lot going on in this book and all these things were woven together so well. I found that I worried about what could possibly happen next as my mind worked overtime.

Marnie and Jake are such good characters to read. I loved the care and compassion from Marnie and the way that Noah thinks he can cope. His conversations are moving and also heartbreaking… I am not telling who these conversations are with though!

This is a hard-hitting book for so many reasons. As well as the murders and investigations, the author has also included social and economic aspects for the residents, knife crime, racism, grief and anger. I realise I make this book sound very bleak and in some ways it is, but the author has absolutely nailed this by making a convincing, real feeling and addictive read. She has for me written an absolute cracker of a read and this is why I will be buying and reading the previous 5 books in the series. And also why it gets a Highly Recommended from Me!

Sarah Hilary’s debut, Someone Else’s Skin, won Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year 2015 and was a World Book Night selection for 2016. The Observer’s Book of the Month (‘superbly disturbing’) and a Richard & Judy Book Club bestseller, it has been published worldwide. No Other Darkness, the second in the series was shortlisted for a Barry Award in the US. Her DI Marnie Rome series continued with Tastes Like Fear, Quieter Than Killing and Come And Find Me. Follow her on twitter @sarah_hilary.

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The Suspect by Fiona Barton @figbarton #RandomThingsTours @annecater #review

Today I am delighted to be sharing my review for The Suspect by Fiona Barton as part of the Blog Tour with Anne at Random Things Tours. My huge thanks to Anne for the invite and to Fiona and the Publisher for my copy of the book.

Let’s see what the book is about…

Synopsis:

THE NEW MUST-READ STANDALONE CRIME THRILLER FROM THE AUTHOR OF SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLERS AND RICHARD & JUDY BOOK CLUB PICKS THE WIDOW AND THE CHILD


When two eighteen-year-old girls go missing on their gap year in Thailand, their families are thrust into the international spotlight: desperate, bereft and frantic with worry.


Journalist Kate Waters always does everything she can to be first to the story, first with the exclusive, first to discover the truth – and this time is no exception. But she can’t help but think of her own son, who she hasn’t seen in two years, since he left home to go travelling. This time it’s personal.


And as the case of the missing girls unfolds, they will all find that even this far away, danger can lie closer to home than you might think…

Purchase Link – Amazon UK

My Thoughts:

The synopsis did a great job of giving an idea of what I would find within the cover of this book. This is the first time I have read a book by this author and based on what I found with this book, I will be reading more…

Two girls go to Thailand and then go missing. It is the stuff of nightmares for parents. This is something that reporter Kate Waters is well aware of, as her son went there a couple of years ago, and though there is random calls, he is essentially out of touch. When she goes to see the parents of the missing girls, she has somewhat of an advantage given her experience of having a child the otherside of the world.

The author did a good job of portraying the emotions of the parents, helplessness, hopelessness, heartbreak, grief and anger were some that spring to mind. The plot istelf worked along at a good pace and I found myself eagerly turning the pages. I do admit that there were a couple of times where I did guess the outcomes, but that really didn’t matter as there were also some that I didn’t see.

Along with the disappearance of the girls, there is also the story of Kate’s son and their story. Also intertwined is that of the Detective on the case. These add an extra dimension to both the reporting and the investigation. It made me realise that while you are doing your best for others you still have your own life and responsibilities to deal with.

The story is told in very quick snappy chapters that keeps the story moving on. Each chapter is time stamped, and most of them have a subtitle, such as Mother, Detective or Reporter.

The setting of Thailand is not the glossy brochure one the travel agents sell. Instead it is one I am aware of from newspapers and documentaries that are usually the drug and drink filled back streets just off the tourist track. The streets are not for the naive and is one that the girls would not have been prepared for.

I really enjoyed this story and happily read in a couple of days. It is one I would recommend this to readers who like crime, mystery and suspense novels.

About the Author:

Fiona Barton’s debut, The Widow, was a Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller and has been published in thirty-five countries and optioned for television. Her second novel, The Child, was a Sunday Times bestseller. Born in Cambridge, Fiona currently lives in south-west France.
Previously, she was a senior writer at the Daily Mail, news editor at the Daily Telegraph, and chief reporter at the Mail on Sunday, where she won Reporter of the Year at the British Press Awards.


While working as a journalist, Fiona reported on many high-profile criminal cases and she developed a fascination with watching those involved, their body language and verbal tics. Fiona interviewed people at the heart of these crimes, from the guilty to their families, as well as those on the periphery, and found it was those just outside the spotlight who interested her most . . .

Visit Fiona on TwitterWebsiteFacebook

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

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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

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

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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:

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 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

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A Thunder of War BT Poster - Copy

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