Book Review

After You Fell – JS Lark

I am joining the blog tour today for psychological thriller, After You Fell, by JS Lark. Many thanks to Jane, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources, for inviting me to be a part of the tour and for providing me with a copy of the book.

BLURB:

Creepy, disturbing and genuinely thrilling, this is one page-turner you won’t be able to forget!

As one life ends
Louise’s Lovett’s death was a tragedy.  But questions still swirl about exactly what happened to Louise that day.  Did she fall…or was she pushed?

A new life starts
Helen Matthews’ donor heart saves her life.  But as her new heart beats inside her, Helen feels the pull of its previous owner–despite what everyone is telling her, Helen is certain she has one final message to pass on.

And a dark obsession begins
As the lives of Helen and Louise become ever more entangled, Helen’s obsession gets increasingly out of control.  And the fragile new life she has built begins to fall apart…

after you fell

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

REVIEW:

After You Fell is a tricky book for me to review – it took me a while to get into, and in all honesty, I had just as many questions at the end as I had at the beginning, although to be fair I think this was sort of the point, and it is just my personal preference to have everything in a neat box at the end. If you are a fan of a book that leaves you pondering the facts of the tale after you have finished reading, then this is the book for you.

I love the premise of an organ transplant recipient forming an obsession with their donor, and I suspect if I ever found myself in Helen’s situation, I would want to know who my donor had been and what their life had been like. Hopefully though, I wouldn’t go quite as far as Helen does!

It’s hard to say too much without giving away key plot points, and I really do want you to discover them for yourselves. I must say though that neither Helen or Louise turned out to be who I had initially expected them to be, and actually my feelings about most of the characters changed on numerous occasions throughout the book.

After You Fell is a book that really gets you thinking about a variety of mental and physical health issues, and the evolving plot certainly kept me on my toes right up to the very last page.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

JaneLark_Small VersionJane is a coffee, chocolate and red wine lover, and a late-night writer of compelling, passionate, and emotionally charged fiction.

Jane’s books may contain love, hate, violence, death, passion, a little swearing, and an ending you are never going to forget.

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Book Review

Nothing Important Happened Today – Will Carver

I am thrilled to be joining the blog tour for Nothing Important Happened Today by Will Carver. My thanks to Will, Orenda Books, and to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours, for inviting me to take part, and for providing me with a copy of the book.

BLURB:

A shocking, mesmerisingly original, pitch-black thriller, which, following the critically acclaimed Good Samaritans, confirms Will Carver as one of the most imaginative, innovative and exciting authors in crime fiction.

Nine people arrive one night on Chelsea Bridge. They’ve never met. But, at the same time, they leap to their deaths. Each of them received a letter in the post that morning, a pre-written suicide note, and a page containing only four words: Nothing important happened today.

That is how they knew they had been chosen to become a part of The People of Choice: a mysterious suicide cult whose members have no knowledge of one another.

Thirty-two people on a train witness the event. Two of them will be next. By the morning, People of Choice are appearing around the globe. It becomes a movement. A social-media page that has lain dormant for four years suddenly has thousands of followers.

The police are under pressure to find a link between the cult members, to locate a leader who does not seem to exist …

Nothing Important Cover

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon

REVIEW:

Nothing Important Happened Today is a book that presents a fascinating concept of an apparently leaderless cult, but at the same time is also a book that teeters on edge of being either totally weird or completely brilliant. Read on to see what side I came down on.

Having studied religion throughout school, college and (briefly) university, the names of the cults and their leaders that came before The People of Choice were familiar to me, and yet despite my past studies, the book presented a new theory to me of what it is that makes a cult. I don’t think that I had ever properly considered before that the people on the inside don’t think of themselves as being part of a cult, rather that it is people on the outside that attach this label. This new idea alone would have been enough to keep me reading, but the more I read, the more I was absorbed into this damning look at the world we live in, and it’s obsession with appearance and social media “likes”.

Whilst the description of each of the cult members is cold and almost clinical, there is somehow still something deeply emotional about it. The use of numbers as identifiers, and on the whole never revealing the names of the members, resonates with real life. If you saw the story on the news of nine total strangers committing suicide at the same time at the same place, sure, you’d remember the story, but honestly, how long would you remember their names for? It is this realisation that makes this book compelling, if not always comfortable, reading.

Trying to unravel the who, the how, and the why behind the supposed cult of The People of Choice kept me thinking even when I wasn’t reading and was trying to get on with my own life – this book just stays with you as you try to work out how these people are connected, and why they would do what they did. Even when I thought I knew, honestly, I didn’t!

So, going back to the question of whether this book is weird or brilliant – quite frankly, it is brilliant. It is a real head-scratcher that goes far deeper than your average whodunit. If you like a thoroughly thought-provoking read, then this is the book for you.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Will Carver 2Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series. He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age eleven, when his sporting career took off. He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company. He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, and lives in Reading with his two children. Good Samaritans was book of the year in Guardian, Daily Telegraph and Sunday Express, and hit number one on the ebook charts.

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Book Review

Violet – SJI Holliday

I have an absolute cracker of a book for you all today as I jump on board (pun intended) the blog tour for Violet by SJI Holliday. Many thanks to Susi and to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to be a part of this tour, and for providing me with a copy of the book.

BLURB:

When two strangers end up sharing a cabin on the Trans-Siberian Express, an intense relationship develops, one that can only have one ending…

Carrie’s best friend has an accident and can no longer make the round-the-world trip they’d planned together, so Carrie decides to go it alone.

Violet is also travelling alone, after splitting up with her boyfriend in Thailand. She is desperate for a ticket on the Trans-Siberian Express, but there is nothing available.

When the two women meet in a Beijing Hotel, Carrie makes the impulsive decision to invite Violet to take her best friend’s place.

Thrown together in a strange country, and the cramped cabin of the train, the women soon form a bond. But as the journey continues, through Mongolia and into Russia, things start to unravel – because one of these women is not who she claims to be…

‘Holliday’s evocative writing is reminiscent of early James Herbert’ Fiona Cummins

‘One of the most gifted and entertaining psychological thriller writers in the business’
Steve Cavanagh

You can order your copy of Violet HERE

Violet Jacket

REVIEW:

I try so hard not to judge a book by it’s cover, but, as I am sure you all do, I make plenty of assumptions based on the title and blurb. My mum is a fan of the saying, “When you assume, you make an ass out of u and me,” and she was not wrong there! For some reason, I was 100% certain that our narrator would be Carrie, so when I turned to chapter one to discover that it was in fact Violet herself, I found myself with absolutely no idea what direction the book was going to take. This was just the first of many unexpected twists and turns that were to take place, and I’m not just talking about the ones taken by the train.

Right from the stomach churning prologue, I was completely hooked by this book that just drips with tension and intrigue. I spent the whole time I was reading not knowing if I was coming or going . Who could I trust? What was true and what was a lie? Who was it we saw in the prologue? I tied myself up in some serious knots trying to work out just what was going to happen next (I couldn’t, not even right up near the end).

Although this book had the potential to be incredibly dark and intense, the inclusion of Carrie’s email communications to her friends and family provided a little light relief, and a moment to breath, before you were thrown back into the suspense.

Aside from the tension of the story, I loved reading about the girls’ experiences riding the Trans-Siberian Express, and their time in Ulaanbaatar (Mongolia) and Irkutsk (Siberia). I have never ventured that far from home, and probably never will, but Susi’s descriptions, aided by her own experiences, made me feel as though I was taking Carrie and Violet’s journey with them, and witnessing all the sights, sounds and smells that they did.

This is the first of Susi’s books that I have read (and I believe my first Orenda publication too) but it certainly won’t be my last. I am so happy to have discovered such an amazing author.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Susi author photoS.J.I. (Susi) Holliday is a scientist, writing coach and the bestselling author of five crime novels, including the Banktoun Trilogy (Black Wood, Willow Walk and The Damselfly), the festive chiller The Deaths of December and her creepy Gothic psychological thriller The Lingering. Her short story ‘Home From Home’ was published in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and shortlisted for the CWA Margery Allingham Prize. Encapsulating her love of travel and claustrophobic settings, her latest novel, Violet, explores toxic friendships and the perils of talking to strangers, as well as drawing on her own journey on the Trans-Siberian Express over 10 years ago. All of her novels have been UK ebook number-one bestsellers. Susi was born and raised in Scotland and now divides her time between Edinburgh, London and as many other exciting places that she can fit in.

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Book Review

Hunter’s Force – Val Penny

Val Penny makes a welcome return to my little blog today, as I join the blog tour for her third Edinburgh Crime Mysteries book, Hunter’s Force. Many thanks to Val, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources, for inviting me to take part in this tour, and for providing me with a copy of the book.

BLURB:

Hunter by name – Hunter by nature.

Can DI Hunter Wilson keep Edinburgh safe when he is the hunted?

Detective Inspector Hunter Wilson is woken in the early hours of the morning by a call from his son. Cameron’s flatmate was murdered. Why would anybody want to kill a young woman recently arrived in the city? 

Hunter must call in the new Major Incident Team (MIT) to lead the investigation due to the reorganisation of police services. Hunter’s ability to be involved, however, is put in severe doubt when someone from his past decides to take revenge on him. He goes missing, and his team have no idea where to look for him. Who would want to stop Hunter in his tracks? 

Meanwhile, Hunter’s team must work closely with the MIT, with or without him, to solve the murder in this taut crime thriller.

Hunters Force Cover

PURCHASE LINKS:

You can purchase copies of all the Edinburgh Crime Mysteries books at the links below:

Hunter’s Chase

Hunter’s Revenge

Hunter’s Force

REVIEW:

Having read Val Penny’s previous books, I knew I was taking a risk when I picked up Hunter’s Force to start reading at nine o clock at night. Cue one very light night/early morning as I devoured this book from cover to cover in one sitting. Once I started reading, I just couldn’t stop.

The book marks the welcome return of all my favourite characters on both sides of the law, and I instantly felt invested in the book, and eager to find out what everyone had been up to since the previous book. I was particularly pleased to find Jamie and Frankie are still bumbling through life, providing light relief in what could otherwise have been a heavy read. I really hope these lovable rogues continue to feature in the books as I am just as attached to them as I am to any of Hunter’s team.

The subject matter of this book is not always easy to read, but is handled with care and feels particularly relevant given recent events. The action kept me on the edge of my seat, but at the same time as being full of drama, I found that as the story unfolded it also generated a lot of conflicting emotions.

You don’t need to read the previous books in the series to enjoy this one, but I would thoroughly recommend reading them. Read my reviews of Hunter’s Chase and Hunter’s Revenge for more information.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Val Penny 2Val Penny is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and two cats. She has a Law degree from Edinburgh University and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, lawyer, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer. However she has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballerina or owning a candy store. Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories and novels. Her crime novels, ‘Hunter’s Chase’ Hunter’s Revenge and Hunter’s Force are set in Edinburgh, Scotland, published by Crooked Cat Books. The fourth book in the series, Hunter’s Blood, follows shortly.

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GIVEAWAY:

Win a .mobi or PDF of Hunter’s Force by Val Penny (Open INT)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter link below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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Book Review

Geraldine – John Mead

It’s time to welcome John Mead back to my blog today, as I join the tour for Geraldine. Many thanks to John, and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources, for inviting me to join the tour and for providing me with a copy of the book.

BLURB:

Hatred is such a nasty thing – we all deplore it in others but do not necessarily recognise it in ourselves. At what point does resentment, jealousy, betrayal or humiliation turn into anger and then grow to an all consuming hatred? Hatred can be slow, taking years to fester, or can explode in seconds – it can linger for a lifetime or wither in seconds of its conception.

Inspector Matthew Merry and Sergeant Julie Lukula have to deal with the consequences of violence and murder on a daily basis and in the case of Gerry Driver they both see that hatred is the prime motive. But is it, as Julie thinks, one of a series of hate crimes that has led to this killing? Or, is Matthew right in saying, ‘Driver’s death is undoubtedly a hate filled crime but I’m just not convinced that there are sufficient links to suggest it is part of a pattern of hate crimes.’

Only time and their investigation, which takes as many twists and turns as the Thames does along it course through London and past Wapping Old Stairs, will tell.

Geraldine Cover

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

REVIEW:

Some of you will remember that when I reviewed The Fourth Victim, John’s previous book, there were a couple of little areas that niggled at me, and unfortunately these remain present in Geraldine. For me, I found that references to the characters’ race, appearance, and sexuality were overly used, and there is a lot of head hopping that at times made it a little tricky to follow. I also struggled somewhat to identify who the main protagonist is intended to be, although events at the end of the book lead me to assume that all will become clear if John writes a third book set in this world.

I realise that this may all sound as if I didn’t enjoy Geraldine, but in fact this is not the case. These areas were sufficiently pushed to the background by an intriguing, well thought out story about a group of issues that are sadly all too relevant in our current lives – hate crimes, acid attacks, gang violence. John captures the emotions surrounding the pain suffered by some of the characters so well and I was really drawn into their individual stories. As with The Fourth Victim, it was these supporting characters that I really fell for, more so than the two leads. I was pleased to see the return of many familiar faces, and I found a particular growing affection for both Harry and Kathy as the story unfolded. I would be interested to see what comes next for these characters in particular.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

The Fourth -Author PhotoJohn was born in the mid-fifties in East London, on part of the largest council estate ever built, and was the first pupil from his local secondary modern school to attend university. He has now taken early retirement to write, having spent the first part of his life working in education and the public sector. He was the director of a college, a senior school inspector for a local authority, and was head of a unit for young people with physical and mental health needs.

He has travelled extensively, from America to Tibet, and he enjoys visiting the theatre, reading and going to the pub. It is, perhaps, no surprise that he is an avid ‘people watcher’ and loves to find out about people, their lives, culture and history. When he is not travelling, going to the theatre or the pub; he writes.

Many of the occurrences recounted and the characters found in his novels are based on real incidents and people he has come across. Although he has allowed himself a wide degree of poetic licence in writing about the main characters, their motivations and the killings that are depicted.

John is currently working on a series of novels set in modern day London. These police procedurals examine the darker side of modern life in the East End of the city.

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GIVEAWAY:

Win 3 x Paperback copies of Geraldine by John Mead (UK Only)

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter link below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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Book Review

Sacrificing Starlight – David Pipe

I am stepping away from what has seemed to be a spate of fantasy book reviews just lately, and venturing in to another of my favourite genres, in the form of the crime thriller, Sacrificing Starlight by David Pipe. Many thanks to David, and to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources, for inviting me to take part in this tour, and for providing me with a copy of the book.

BLURB:

Time’s running out for DCI Hunter. His wife and child are missing, perhaps even dead. Unable to pursue those responsible he’s transferred to the wild landscape of Cornwall where another child has disappeared.

Alice Trevelyan’s father has his own agenda and wants retribution for the loss of his little girl and metes out his own violent justice.

Will Trevelyan help or hinder?

Hunter has to make his move if he wants to save Starlight.

But can anyone in this remote location be trusted?

You can order your copy of this book here.

Sacrificing-Starlight_eBcov_FINAL (2)

REVIEW:

At first glance Sacrificing Starlight may appear to be a simple police procedural. However there is much more to this thrilling book than meets the eye. David Pipe weaves an extremely tangled web, as both the book’s hero, Hunter, and the reader are left wondering just who can be trusted and which side everybody is on.

Although the book centres around the difficult subject of a child sex ring, it is written in an easy style, and I found myself flying through the chapters. In fact, I was so caught up in the story that I read it from cover to cover in a single day. The writing style did change through the book, switching from structured to frenetic as the action moves between cool, calm Hunter, and frenetic, half-crazed Ben. I really enjoyed this, and found that it helped me to get right inside the characters’ heads.

Just a little warning to the men out there – there are one or two scenes in this book that made my eyes water, so goodness knows what they will do to you! I wish you luck!

I found that there was more I wanted to know about Hunter and the situation that he finds himself in during this book, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that this isn’t the last we have seen of this enigmatic character.

ABOUT  THE AUTHOR:

Sacrificing Starlight - Foto 27.09.16, 09 25 51 - KopieDavid Pipe was born in 1949 in a small Essex village. He attended a local grammar school then the University of Hull where he took a B.Sc in chemistry. He worked in the pharmaceutical industry in England and South Africa before studying for a PhD in organic chemistry at Imperial College. After spells at universities in Geneva and Mulhouse he joined the oil industry in Germany where, aged 53, he gratefully took a redundancy package. Following a period of self-employment he wound down his business, eventually giving it up to scratch the writing itch which has produced Sacrificing Starlight, a timely reminder of the risks our children face and Henry’s Tale, where ghostwriting for his furry friend he describes the emotional growth of a puppy on the rollercoaster of life, compressed into a few weeks because puppies learn faster than their staff.

When he’s not writing David spends his time travelling, reading, swimming and jogging. He is married and lives in Hamburg with his wife and their Border terrier Henry.

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Blog

The First Lie – AJ Park

Today I am taking part in a promo blitz for a book that I am very excited to read – it is potentially going to leapfrog it’s way to the top of my TBR pile so keep your eyes peeled for a review coming soon. Judging by the blurb though, it’s definitely not one to read when you actually are home alone!

BLURB:

We’ve all had sleepless nights thinking about it.
You’re home alone. Someone breaks in.
In defending yourself, you end up killing the intruder.
Now you’re the one the police want.

That is the situation that criminal barrister Paul Reeve arrives home to find.
His wife Alice stands in the bedroom, clutching a bloodied letter opener in her shaking hand.

“What have you done, Alice?”
“I didn’t have a choice…”

We would all believe the person we love most.
But would we all make the same choice Paul and Alice make next…?

The First Lie - cover v5

PURCHASE LINKS:

Amazon UK

Amazon.com

Waterstones

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Karl Vadaszffy Headshot

After studying literature, linguistics and Spanish at university, AJ Park trained as an English teacher and actor. He has edited magazines and taught English, Media Studies and Drama in secondary schools in England. He was also a competitive fencer for seven years.

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