Wednesday, 28 June 2017

The Fourth Monkey by J.D. Barker blog tour with extract

Brilliant. Complicated. Psycopath.

That’s the Four Monkey Killer or ‘4MK’. A murderer with a twisted vision and absolutely no mercy. Detective Sam Porter has hunted him for five long years, the recipient of box after box of grisly trinkets carved from the bodies of 4MK’s victims. But now Porter has learnt the killer’s twisted history and is racing to do the seemingly impossible – find 4MK’s latest victim before it’s too late…

With echoes of the films Se7en and Silence of the Lambs, THE FOURTH MONKEY is a rollercoaster-paced reading experience which will have you white-knuckling the pages at every heart-pounding twist and turn.

Extract - Chapter 1:

Don’t stop reading. I need you to understand what I have done. — Diary
 Day 1 • 6:14 a.m. 

1 There it was again, that incessant ping. I turned the ringer off. Why am I hearing text notifications? Why am I hearing anything? Apple’s gone to shit without Steve Jobs. Sam Porter rolled to his right, his hand blindly groping for the phone on the nightstand. His alarm clock crashed to the floor with a thunk unique to cheap electronics from China. “Fuck me.” When his fingers found the phone, he wrestled the device from the charging cable and brought it to his face, squinting at the small, bright screen. CALL ME — 911. 
A text from Nash. Porter looked over at his wife’s side of the bed, empty except for a note — Went to get milk, be back soon. xoxo, 

 He grunted and again glanced at his phone. 6:15 a.m. So much for a quiet morning. Porter sat up and dialed his partner. He answered on the second ring. “Sam?” “Hey, Nash.” The other man fell silent for a moment. “I’m sorry, Porter. I debated whether or not to contact you. Must have dialed your number a dozen times and couldn’t bring myself to actually place the call. I finally decided it would be best just to text you. Give you a chance to ignore me, you know?” “It’s fine, Nash. What have you got?” Another pause. “You’ll want to see for yourself.” “See what?” “There’s been an accident.” Porter rubbed his temple. “An accident? We’re Homicide. Why would we respond to an accident?” “You’ve gotta trust me on this. You’ll want to see it,” Nash told him again. There was an edge to his voice. Porter sighed. “Where?” “Near Hyde Park, off Fifty-Fifth. I just texted you the address.” His phone pinged loudly in his ear, and he jerked it away from his head. Fucking iPhone. He looked down at the screen, noted the address, and went back to the call. “I can be there in about thirty minutes. Will that work?” “Yeah,” Nash replied. “We’re not going anywhere soon.” Porter disconnected the call and eased his legs off the side of the bed, listening to the various pops and creaks his tired fifty-two-yearold body made in protest. The sun had begun its ascent, and light peeked in from between the closed blinds of the bedroom window. Funny how quiet and gloomy the apartment felt without Heather around. Went to get milk. 

 From the hardwood floor his alarm clock blinked up at him with a cracked face displaying characters no longer resembling numbers. Today was going to be one of those days. There had been a lot of those days lately. Porter emerged from the apartment ten minutes later dressed in his Sunday best — a rumpled navy suit he’d bought off the rack at Men’s Wearhouse nearly a decade earlier — and made his way down the four flights of stairs to the cramped lobby of his building. He stopped at the mailboxes, pulled out his cell phone, and punched in his wife’s phone number. You’ve reached the phone of Heather Porter. Since this is voice mail, I most likely saw your name on caller ID and decided I most certainly did not wish to speak to you. If you’re willing to pay tribute in the form of chocolate cake or other assorted offerings of dietary delight, text me the details and I’ll reconsider your position in my social roster and possibly get back to you later. If you’re a salesperson trying to get me to switch carriers, you might as well hang up now. AT&T owns me for at least another year. All others, please leave a message. Keep in mind my loving husband is a cop with anger issues, and he carries a large gun. Porter smiled. Her voice always made him smile. “Hey, Button. It’s just me. Nash called. There’s something going on near Hyde Park; I’m meeting him down there. I’ll give you a call later when I know what time I’ll be home.” He added, “Oh, and I think there’s something wrong with our alarm clock.” He dropped the phone into his pocket and pushed through the door, the brisk Chicago air reminding him that fall was preparing to step aside for winter.

About J.D Barker:

J.D. Barker is the international best-selling author of Forsaken, a finalist for the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a Debut Novel. A strong emerging voice in the horror and crime world, J.D. Barker will be setting the bar high for a new wave of serial killer thrillers with #4MK.

Monday, 26 June 2017

I Know My Name by C.J. Cooke

I Know My NameI Know My Name by C.J. Cooke
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Komméno Island, Greece: I don't know where I am, who I am. Help me.

A woman is washed up on a remote Greek island with no recollection of who she is or how she got there.

Potter’s Lane, Twickenham, London: Eloïse Shelley is officially missing.

Lochlan’s wife has vanished into thin air, leaving their toddler and twelve-week-old baby alone. Her money, car and passport are all in the house, with no signs of foul play. Every clue the police turn up means someone has told a lie…

Does a husband ever truly know his wife? Or a wife know her husband? Why is Eloïse missing? Why did she forget?

The truth is found in these pages…

This is one of those novels that is not what it seems initially. On the surface you have a mystery of how a woman ends up on a beach in Greece with no recollection of how she got there and no memory of who she is. After a storm wrecks her boat she is washed up on the beach and found by a group of writers who have come to the island (which is apart from them uninhabited) to find themselves in their writing. The group seem to want to help Eloise or at least some of them appear to.

Back in England Lochlan Shelly's neighbour calls him at work to say that his wife is missing and his two children Max and Cressida who should have been at home with her were in fact found alone in the house by the neighbour. The story then slowly unfolds told from the perspective of Eloise and Lochlan interspersed with occasional chapters being told by Gerda and Magnus (Eloise grandparents) and a couple that give some insight into Eloise childhood. Each perspective is crafted well, Eloise battling her amnesia and her desperately anxious desire to piece together how she got to the island of Kommena and the driving force to get home wherever that may be coupled with her unease with the people who have found her on the beach. Lochlan's perspective shows the confusion and desperation of not knowing what has happened to his wife and exposes his insecurities and betrayals.

Beautifully descriptive in parts and good characterisation propels this forward; to say anything more really would give away the essence of this novel and possibly spoil it - it does become apparent what is going on but really not until right at the end. Very enjoyable novel and deserves 4 stars.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, 23 June 2017

One Step Too Far by Tina Seskis

One Step Too FarOne Step Too Far by Tina Seskis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Tina Seskis's stunning debut novel, One Step Too Far, is a gripping and haunting psychological thriller.

An apparently happy marriage. A beautiful son. A lovely home.
So what makes Emily Coleman get up one morning and walk right out of her life? How will she survive? And what is the date that looms, threatening to force her to confront her past?
No-one has ever guessed her secret. Will you?

This was well written and intriguing at the start - why would someone (Emma/Cat) who appears to have a perfect life suddenly decide one morning to plan to disappear? I liked the characters who were crafted well, the lovely Angel and the mixed bag of flawed flatmates that Emma/Cat finds herself living with.

Emma/Cat's somewhat meteoric rise in her new job was a bit of a stretch but the pace was steady through the novel and stayed just this side of believability.

For me this was not a page turner, it just didn't have the elements of suspense to elevate it to be one of the greats. There wasn't the suspense and clever intrigue to put this in the same class as Girl on a Train. It had good humour, albeit sometimes more dark than uplifting and allowing the reader to mistake Charlie for the son was quite inspirational. I didn't quite buy into the 'twist' which I almost felt was a panicky last minute invention where the writer felt 'Oh I need to add a twist' and came up with something which didn't really fit and was a bit lame.

This is a nice pleasant holiday read with no real fireworks, enjoyable but not particularly memorable - this gets 3 stars from me.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Her Perfect Life by Sam Hepburn

Her Perfect LifeHer Perfect Life by Sam Hepburn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A brilliantly twisty psychological thriller for fans of I Let You Go and Behind Closed Doors.

How far would you go to create the perfect Life?

Gracie Dwyer has it all: the handsome husband, the adorable child, the beautiful home and the glittering career. The perfect life.

Her new friend Juliet doesn’t exactly fit in. She’s a down-on-her-luck single parent with no money and not much hope.

So just what is it that draws Gracie and Juliet together? And when the cracks start to appear in Gracie’s perfect life, can both of them survive?

Unfortunately I found this one really hard to get into and the frequent character switches were confusing but I did stick it out to the end and the twist was worth the wait. I felt the novel could have been a lot shorter which would have made no difference to the impact at the end.

The story centers around the friendship of two women, one appears to have everything, the other nothing. It is told from the perspective of Gracie and Juliet but I didn't much like either one of these characters so it was hard to care about them or keep reading.The novel is also peppered with extracts from a diary from the past by someone called Pauline Bryce. The task then is to discover who this person is and how she fits into the lives of these two women.

Trying to guess who or where the author of the diary inserts was does keep the reader going but as I said it is a bit drawn out. Once things start to connect the pace did pick up but to be honest it was only determination to finish that stopped me giving up half way through which really would have been a shame as the twist at the end, for me, was totally unexpected. It is for this reason that I have awarded this 4 stars.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, 19 June 2017

The Bucket List to Mend a Broken Heart by Anna Bell

The Bucket List to Mend a Broken HeartThe Bucket List to Mend a Broken Heart by Anna Bell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Abi's barely left her bed since Joseph, the love of her life, dumped her, saying they were incompatible.

When Joseph leaves a box of her possessions on her doorstep, she finds a bucket list of ten things she never knew he wanted to do. What better way to win him back than by completing the list, and proving they're a perfect match?

But there's just one problem - or rather, ten. Abi's not exactly the outdoorsy type, and she's absolutely terrified of heights - not ideal for a list that includes climbing a mountain, cycling around the Isle of Wight and, last but not least, abseiling down the tallest building in town . . .

Completing the list is going to need all Abi's courage - and a lot of help from her friends. But as she heals her broken heart one task at a time, the newly confident Abi might just have a surprise in store . .

Typical chic lit and a humorous holiday read, nothing too heavy to digest in this lighthearted book.

Being dumped before her years anniversary Abi is feeling very Bridget Jones ish and shuts herself away in her flat to consume her bodyweight in trash food and weep in front of old movies. Once Joseph drops off her belongings and she is forced to go through them she comes across his bucket list of things to do before he's 40 and she comes up the crazy plan to do them herself and try and win him back.

Anna Bell takes us on the bucket list journey and her new friendships that she makes along the way especially the lovely Ben who helps her complete the tasks.

It's about love, friendship and discovering herself for Abi and eventually the realisation that maybe what she thought she wanted wasn't what she really wanted at all.

Well written with some good bits of humour this book easily sits with the good chic lits out there, maybe not as polished and as funny as the Sophie Kinsella's but still an enjoyable read. Easily gets 4 stars from me.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

The Brazilian by Rosie Millard

The BrazilianThe Brazilian by Rosie Millard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Following a sensational scandal at one of London's most desired postcodes, Jane and Patrick decide to escape the gossip with a family holiday to Ibiza, their eight-year-old son George in tow.

Also on the island that week is a TV reality show involving an eccentric artist, a horny It Girl, a Brazilian footballer and a famous magician.

As hapless celebrities are picked off one by one, Jane is desperate to be on the programme, leaving childcare in the not so capable hands of a teenager.

One lesbian escapade and an explosive row over hair removal later, the contestants of Ibiza or Bust leave the island with more than sand in places they never knew existed...

Very easy read and perfect for holiday lazing beside the pool.

I had read Rosie Millard's The Square and this one is just as enjoyable. Good characterisation and another really likeable 'grown up' 8 year old for me steals the show. Loved the antics of these flawed characters and brilliant humour and irony dominates this very likeable novel.

Jane and Patrick go on a 'family' holiday to Ibiza with their adorable son George, Jane enlists the help of a neighbours 17 year old daughter Belle to be the nanny for the duration of the holiday paying for her flight and promising to pay her £500 in the bargain. Belle desperately wants to save for a music festival she wants to go to with her boyfriend and so agrees. Jas her boyfriend works for Philip Burrell and when he tells him he's going away for a week maybe two (he doesn't tell him where) Jas and Belle hatch a plan for Jas to go to Ibiza as well and they can meet up in the evenings and go clubbing.

Also on the island that week is a TV reality show with B list celebs including an ageing artist Philip Burrell, a magician Jasper the Wizard, a TV financial advisor Alan Makin, an It girl Cresta who is married to Moo a celebrity farmer also on the show, Nigel and Jocelyn presenters of a holiday show, Gemma a celebrity estate agent and the surprise appearance of a well known Brazilian footballer Francesco Villa. Philip Burrell the artist and Alan Makin the advisor both live on the same square in North London and hate each other.

These 'celebs' spend the next week or so forced together eventually voting against each other until a winner is picked on this reality TV show Ibiza or Bust.

Good comedy moments in this novel and like The Square the characters are very real and believable, great observational writing with great wit and expertly written . Has to have 5 stars from me. Loved it

I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Mad by Chloe J. Esposito

Mad (Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know Trilogy #1)Mad by Chloe J. Esposito
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In this compulsively readable debut, set between London and Sicily over one blood-drenched week in the dead of summer, an identical twin reveals the crazy lies and twists she'll go through to not only steal her sister's perfect life, but to keep on living it.

Alvie Knightly is a trainwreck: aimless, haphazard, and pretty much constantly drunk. Alvie's existence is made even more futile in contrast to that of her identical and perfect twin sister, Beth. Alvie lives on social media, eats kebabs for breakfast, and gets stopped at security when the sex toy in her carry-on starts buzzing. Beth is married to a hot, rich Italian, dotes on her beautiful baby boy, and has always been their mother's favorite. The twins' days of having anything in common besides their looks are long gone.
When Beth sends Alvie a first-class plane ticket to visit her in Italy, Alvie is reluctant to go. But when she gets fired from the job she hates and her flatmates kick her out on the streets, a luxury villa in glitzy Taormina suddenly sounds more appealing. Beth asks Alvie to swap places with her for just a few hours so she can go out unnoticed by her husband. Alvie jumps at the chance to take over her sister's life--if only temporarily. But when the night ends with Beth dead at the bottom of the pool, Alvie realizes that this is her chance to change her life.
Alvie quickly discovers that living Beth's life is harder than she thought. What was her sister hiding from her husband? And why did Beth invite her to Italy at all? As Alvie digs deeper, she uncovers Mafia connections, secret lovers, attractive hitmen, and one extremely corrupt priest, all of whom are starting to catch on to her charade. Now Alvie has to rely on all the skills that made her unemployable--a turned-to-11 sex drive, a love of guns, lying to her mother--if she wants to keep her million-dollar prize. She is uncensored, unhinged, and unforgettable.

When this arrived unexpectedly I was really excited, looking at the front cover and reading the blurb I couldn't wait to get started, so I did, straight away! I read this book in 24 hours, as soon as I started I was hooked and needed to get to the next chapter.

This book is set over the period of a week and oh my word does a lot happen, I had to keep reminding myself that it was just a week, which when you read it will agree that that is insane!

'Mad' is such an easy book to get into, Chloe's writing is almost conversational and flows well, I guess this is because it is written in the first person, you feel you know the main character very well. Our main character is Alvina, a identical twin of a sister she hasn't seen in two years, who now lives in Sicily.

Alvina is the 'poorer' sister, the 'outcast' of the family, the one that no one loved and this is evident through flashbacks in the book. Her behaviour most of the time is unacceptable, but at times I was warming to her in the book, feeling sorry for her and starting to perhaps understand at times why she was the way she is, however this does wear off at I read further into the book. She is not particularly very likable and if you are looking for a lovely protagonist this book is not for you.

Beth, Alvina's sister wants her to go and visit but Alvina cannot think of anything worse, that is until she loses her job, gets kicked out of her flat and has no money. She is then on the next flight to Sicily.

I won't go into too much detail from here as I don't want to spoil it for you. What I would stay is that I was very surprised about this. At times I was unsure what genre it was as there are elements from women's fiction, thriller, erotic fiction and even has humour in it. I think that is a major asset this book has as it could appeal to many audiences.

I really, really enjoyed the first half of the book and as I said I couldn't put it down, towards the end though and I suppose indicates how the book got it's title 'Mad' it got a bit far-fetched for me and perhaps loses reality. However, it did not spoil the enjoyment for me and I continued to whiz through the novel. This is not like any book I have read and I really enjoyed it for that reason, I hope to get my hands on the next in the series as I can't wait to find out what Alvina gets up to next one.

I would recommend this as a summer beach read, it is highly addictive and will have you racing through it.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

The Devil's Poetry blitz


Questions are dangerous but answers can be deadly.

Callie’s world will be lost to war – unless she can unlock the magic of an ancient manuscript. She and her friends will be sent to the front line. Many of them won’t come back. When a secret order tells her she can bring peace by reading from a book, it seems an easy solution - too easy. Callie soon finds herself hunted, trapped between desperate allies and diabolical enemies. The Order is every bit as ruthless as the paranormal Cadave

Callie can only trust two people – her best friend and her ex-marine bodyguard. And they are on different sides. She must decide: how far will she go to stop a war?

Dare she read this book? What’s the price - and who pays it?

Commended in the Yeovil Prize 2016, this is an action-packed blend of adventure, fantasy and love story.

Book Information

Title: The Devil’s Poetry
Author: Louise Cole
Release Date: 13th June 2017
Genre: YA Thriller
Publisher: Kindle Press
Format: Ebook Goodreads Link: Amazon Link:

Author Info:
Louise Cole has spent her life reading and writing. And very occasionally gardening. Sometimes she reads as she gardens. She can be seen walking her dogs around North Yorkshire - she's the on
e with a couple of cocker spaniels and a Kindle. She read English at Oxford - read being the operative word - and hasn't stopped reading since.

In her day-job she is an award-winning journalist, a former business magazine editor and director of a media agency. She writes about business but mainly the business of moving things around: transport, logistics, trucks, ships, and people.

Her fiction includes short stories, young adult thrillers, and other stuff which is still cooking.

Her YA and kids’ fiction is represented by Greenhouse Literary Agency and she is also published on Amazon as one of the Marisa Hayworth triumvirate.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story by Alexander Freed

Rogue One: A Star Wars StoryRogue One: A Star Wars Story by Alexander Freed
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Go beyond the film with a novelization featuring new scenes and expanded material.

As the shadows of the Empire loom ever larger across the galaxy, so do deeply troubling rumors. The Rebellion has learned of a sinister Imperial plot to bring entire worlds to their knees. Deep in Empire-dominated space, a machine of unimaginable destructive power is nearing completion. A weapon too terrifying to contemplate . . . and a threat that may be too great to overcome.

If the worlds at the Empire’s mercy stand any chance, it lies with an unlikely band of allies: Jyn Erso, a resourceful young woman seeking vengeance; Cassian Andor, a war-weary rebel commander; Bodhi Rook, a defector from the Empire’s military; Chirrut Ïmwe, a blind holy man and his crack-shot companion, Baze Malbus; and K-2SO, a deadly Imperial droid turned against its former masters. In their hands rests the new hope that could turn the tide toward a crucial Rebellion victory―if only they can capture the plans to the Empire’s new weapon.

But even as they race toward their dangerous goal, the specter of their ultimate enemy―a monstrous world unto itself―darkens the skies. Waiting to herald the Empire’s brutal reign with a burst of annihilation worthy of its dreaded name: Death Star.

This is the novelisation of last Christmas’s blockbuster movie of the same name. It is written by Alexander Freed who previously penned Star Wars Battlefront: Twilight Company and follows a ragtag band of rebels trying to steal the plans to the Death Star.

The novel flows naturally and at a good pace, it introduces the characters we see in the movie and provides interesting backstories, certainly in the case of Cassian Andor. It is easy to see why Freed was given the chance to write this particular novelisation, as he is able to build on the war-like novel he had previously written, he is certainly honing his craft in the sci-fi war genre.

If you enjoyed the film then you will enjoy the book regardless of the fact that it suffers from a lack of surprises (but that is only due to it already being a film). You get to see all the characters from the movie and all the action, only in a little more detail as well as understanding their motives a little better. It is always nice to see the return of characters from the original trilogy, and with the Tarkin moments being written very well it makes it all the better (needless to say, it really gets good when Vader arrives on the scene).

Overall, this is a good companion piece to the movie that offers a few extras for those of us that eat up anything canon, and one that I would recommend you read. However, if you are short on time the film is probably the best way forward.

I give this 3.5 stars but this has been rounded up to 4 for Goodreads and Amazon.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Battlefront - Twilight Company by Alexander Freed

Battlefront - Twilight CompanyBattlefront - Twilight Company by Alexander Freed
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The bravest soldiers. The toughest warriors. The ultimate survivors.

Among the stars and across the vast expanses of space, the Galactic Civil War rages. On the battlefields of multiple worlds in the Mid Rim, legions of ruthless stormtroopers—bent on crushing resistance to the Empire wherever it arises—are waging close and brutal combat against an armada of freedom fighters. In the streets and alleys of ravaged cities, the front-line forces of the Rebel Alliance are taking the fight to the enemy, pushing deeper into Imperial territory and grappling with the savage flesh-and-blood realities of war on the ground.

Leading the charge are the soldiers—men and women, human and nonhuman—of the Sixty-First Mobile Infantry, better known as Twilight Company. Hard-bitten, war-weary, and ferociously loyal to one another, the members of this renegade outfit doggedly survive where others perish, and defiance is their most powerful weapon against the deadliest odds. When orders come down for the rebels to fall back in the face of superior opposition numbers and firepower, Twilight reluctantly complies. Then an unlikely ally radically changes the strategic equation—and gives the Alliance’s hardest-fighting warriors a crucial chance to turn retreat into resurgence.

Orders or not, alone and outgunned but unbowed, Twilight Company locks, loads, and prepares to make its boldest maneuver—trading down-and-dirty battle in the trenches for a game-changing strike at the ultimate target: the very heart of the Empire’s military machine.

This novel offers a unique perspective on the Star Wars universe, focusing on a band of unremarkable people who form the rebel unit Twilight Company. This is not to say that Battlefront Twilight Company is an unremarkable story, quite the opposite, this normalcy, is what makes it so remarkable.

The story takes on the feel of the TV show Band of Brothers, although the setting makes the characters more reminiscent of the Marine troop in Aliens. With much of the narrative focused on the characters within Twilight Company, we experience a very close-up and at times uncomfortable view of rebellion life and the hardships they go through. And although the novel at times lacks that Star Wars feel, slowly but surely, we begin to care for the members of Twilight.

The novel does a good job of tying together several major battles seen in the movies with its own original conflicts. It is also another example of the Star Wars universes expansion, introducing several new planets and species. Several highlights in the book are the creations of Gedren (a profound and solemn Alien), Governor Chalis (probably the most interesting character), Prelate Verge (a sadistic sycophant in the service of the Empire) and a brief appearance from Darth Vader.

Ultimately, the novel is a very good story of non-force users doing there bit against the Empire. One of the only criticisms of the novel is that it takes time to get going, but this could be because it introduces so many new characters and tells a Star Wars story from an unfamiliar perspective. However, I have no problems with recommending this book, written by Alexander Freed to any other Star Wars fan.

I have given this 3.5* which has been rounded up to 4 for Goodreads and Amazon.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

What Alice Knew by T.A. Cotterell

What Alice KnewWhat Alice Knew by T.A. Cotterell
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

How far would you go to keep a secret?

Alice has a perfect life – a great job, happy kids, a wonderful husband. Until he goes missing one night; she receives a suspicious phone call; things don’t quite add up.

Alice needs to know what’s going on. But when she uncovers the truth she faces a brutal choice. And how can she be sure it is the truth?

Sometimes it’s better not to know.

I didn't really enjoy this book. It promised so much and delivered so little. The writing was good and the story line could have had good mileage but I felt the author's characters were flat and unrealistic and he asked the reader to accept some scenarios that really were not believable.

It's essentially about a murder that takes place early on in the novel and the rest is how those involved find their lives changed forever and tests loyalty against truth and justice. There is a heavy slant on art as Alice is a celebrated portrait artist (the author studied Art History at university) and it seems she spends her time comparing and contrasting events to fit in with artistic views of seeing deeper into the canvas of life/humanity and bases her views and judgements accordingly.

I skim read a lot of this book so that I could pass irrelevant annoying passages to try and get to the nitty gritty of the novel although there was none really. It became as much about Alice atoning for mistakenly accusing her best friend of theft and ruining her life and her striving for perfection as it did about an unfortunate accident involving her husband and how it changed their lives. The author had so much to work with but he just didn't deliver.

I didn't like Alice or any of the characters; she came across as selfish and self possessed, the author made much of her love of her family and concern for their well-being but in truth she spent little time with them being self absorbed in her painting and seeing little around her. I didn't like Ed who was also wrapped up in his work as an obstetrician and more concerned with his reputation and social standing than his wife and family. Both the characters were under developed and lacked any qualities that would create a connection to the reader (or indeed a credible connection to each other) or invoke empathy. Random sub plot of Alice's family and that of her school days didn't do anything to lift this rather boring novel. It poses the question of how far would you go to protect someone you love but really falls short on reality. The ending was in my opinion just not believable especially since Ed gets off scot-free and it begs the question why she feels she has to become the victim in all this, her action even at the end is not selfless to protect those she loves it comes across as someone who wants to be seen as a martyr.

Really didn't like this one at all and can only give it 2 star rating.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Ragdoll by Daniel Cole

Ragdoll (Detective William Fawkes, #1)Ragdoll by Daniel Cole
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A body is discovered with the dismembered parts of six victims stitched together, nicknamed by the press as the 'Ragdoll'. Assigned to the shocking case are Detective William 'Wolf' Fawkes, recently reinstated to the London Met, and his former partner Detective Emily Baxter.

The 'Ragdoll Killer' taunts the police by releasing a list of names to the media, and the dates on which he intends to murder them. With six people to save, can Fawkes and Baxter catch a killer when the world is watching their every move?

Its rare in my opinion that a books lives up to its hype but this one really does. Right from the start the author kicks you on to a high speed thriller ride and won't let you off until the end. Every chapter builds on the suspense and pushes you on this roller coaster of a ride experience. Gory killings/murders, breakneck fast speed and likeable flawed characters all make for a great piece of storytelling.

How can you better the opening discovery of six victims a body part from each sewn together to make one horrific complete body which the press nickname as 'The Ragdoll?' Surely this is the culmination of the story? I wanted to know who these victims were, why they were murdered and what the significance of stitching them together was. This alone makes you read on but there is so much more to this clever plot to come and it was great fun getting there with plenty of blind alleys and red herrings along the way and good dollop of humour that brings this all together. Daniel Cole didn't disappoint far from the discovery of the 'Ragdoll' being the culmination of the story it's really only the beginning.

I loved Wolf the deeply damaged and at times vulnerable Detective who is assigned to the case and his former equally damaged partner Detective Emily Baxter. All the team assigned to this case are realistically crafted characters that work well together. Lots of curve balls in this clever plot made it almost impossible for me to put this one down.

I have to say that I didn't and possibly couldn't have guessed the twists and the ending to come - great mastery of storytelling and 'showing' the reader as the true horror unfolds - brilliant. What a finish or was it? Can't wait to read the next one to find out ........oops.......can't say anymore you'll just have to read it!

If there was any fault with this book it was really only that there were times when things became a bit confusing as the point of view changes within some of the chapters and for this reason I have given the novel a 4.5 star rating. It has been rounded up for Goodreads and Amazon.

I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, 2 June 2017

I See You by Clare Mackintosh

I See YouI See You by Clare Mackintosh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When Zoe Walker sees her photo in the classifieds section of a London newspaper, she is determined to find out why it's there. There's no explanation: just a grainy image, a website address and a phone number. She takes it home to her family, who are convinced it's just someone who looks like Zoe. But the next day the advert shows a photo of a different woman, and another the day after that.

Is it a mistake? A coincidence? Or is someone keeping track of every move they make . . .

I had this book on my shelf for quite a while and never got round to reading it. When I realised the paper back had just been released I thought this would be a great time to read and review it.

I have never read any books by Clare Mackintosh but was excited to start after hearing such great things about her books. This captured my interest right from the beginning, I think the premise is something most people can relate to, a commute, a journey that someone takes every day. We follow Zoe Walker, a women who takes the same route to work, sits in the same carriage of the train, at the same time of day.

Zoe is on her commute one night and is reading the free paper, when she turns to the classified section and sees an image of herself staring back up at her, this is what she things, although the image isn't clear and she doesn't seem to wearing her glasses. When she arrives home she mentions it to her family, who although agree that the photo is like her don't think it is actually her.

As days pass things don't seem to add up to Zoe and she begins to mention her concerns to the local police, who are investigating a series of crimes in the area. Kelly a British Transport Police Officer takes a special interest in the case and pursues it.

This was a good read, it had good pace and kept my interest throughout. I think the subject matter is relevant and many can relate to the situation. When you get to a part of the book you suddenly see little clues that had been planted throughout the story and were all being nicely tied together. I read this quite quickly, over a weekend and working full time this doesn't happen often. That to me is a sign that it kept me interested and that I wanted to find out what happened.

I give this book 4.5*, for me rounded up to 5 for Amazon and Goodreads, it was excellent, however in places I found it a little far fetched and that it ended a little sudden after all the building of the plot. Overall though I would recommend this to others.