#BookReview: The Killing Game by J.S. Carol (@JamesCarolBooks) @bookouture

51hsfmseivl-_sy346_“A woman walks into a restaurant. Will she come out alive?

JJ Johnson is Hollywood’s favourite publicist. Her word can launch careers – and break them.

But when lunch at exclusive restaurant Alfie’s turns into a fight for her life against a terrifying stranger, she quickly learns this is one situation she can’t talk her way out of.

The twisted individual knows everything about each of the wealthy diners. And soon, it becomes clear that he wants something more than money.

Can JJ find a way out, or risk becoming a victim to a man with nothing left to lose…?”

Oh wow, oh gosh and another whopping ‘oh wow’!  What a book…..heart stopping, edge of your seat, can’t put it down stuff.  Absolutely brilliant!  Blimey…

Hollywood publicist JJ Johnson wines, dines and spins for a living.  And she’s good at it, really good.  So much so that the high and mighty of Hollywood knock on her door on a daily basis.  Whilst out for one of her many business lunches at an exclusive LA restaurant, JJ is caught up in a terrifying  hostage situation.  A heavily armoured terrorist wearing a bomb holds the diners and staff prisoner.  He’s not particularly forthcoming with his reasons for holding Hollywood’s elite captive and he’s not all that bothered who he kills either.  Any excuse will do.  And if you try to kill him, the bomb goes off.  It’s connected to a heart rate monitor so if he dies, they all die.  Can terrified JJ work out what is going on before the terrorists sights land on her….?

This is a seriously exciting, pulse racing read and I LOVED it!  One for my top reads of 2016 list I do believe.  I can’t remember that last time I read a book that was this captivating, this enthralling that I had to put normal life on hold.  I should say that I am a huge fan of James Carol’s Jefferson Winter books so I had high expectations.  Also, a number of my blogger friends read this book earlier in the year and told me how good it was.  They also told me that I would love it so when I say expectations were high, they were really high.  It went so far beyond what I expected.  A sublime piece of storytelling!

The story is told from several perspectives; from JJ’s, from movie action hero Alex King’s and from the TV journalists reporting on the hostage situation from outside.  I loved JJ.  She’s a bottom kicking business woman with somewhat dubious morals  (I guess you have to be being a publicist!) but a lot of heart too.  Her back story was fascinating and provided me with all I needed to understand her character a little more.  Alex King was the perfect anti-hero; completely different to his screen persona and I loved the contrast that real vs. fiction brought.  And then you have the tv news teams to whom it doesn’t matter if people die, providing they get it on film.  They don’t care, they just want to make thrilling television so their ratings go through the roof.  Brilliant!  Each individual account builds the story into a nail biting tale that I couldn’t put down.

Would I recommend this book?  You bet I would.  I don’t need to go to the gym, this book gave me the best cardiac workout I’ve had in a while!  A completely  absorbing read that kept me on the edge from the very start to the very end.  I loved the unexpected violence, the callousness of the characters and their ability to stab others in the back to save their own.  Loved it!

Five out of five stars.

Many thanks to Bookouture, NetGalley and J.S. Carol.  I chose to read and review an ARC copy of The Killing Game.

The Killing Game by J.S. Carol was published in the UK by Bookouture on 13th October 2016 and is available is paperback and eBook formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Goodreads | Bookouture |

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James Carol is the bestselling author of BROKEN DOLLS, the first in a series featuring former FBI profiler Jefferson Winter. The novel was released in the UK in January 2014 to rave reviews and reached number 1 on the Amazon fiction and thriller charts. In addition James is writing a series of eBooks set during Winter’s FBI days. PRESUMED GUILTY is the first of these. Under the pseudonym J.S. Carol, he has also written THE KILLING GAME.

Author Links: | amazon.co.uk | Twitter | Facebook | Website |


#BlogTour | #BookReview: The Girls Next Door by Mel Sherratt (@writermels) @bookouture #helpme

girls-next-door-final“One warm spring evening, five teenagers meet in a local park. Only four will come out alive.

Six months after the stabbing of fifteen-year-old Deanna Miller, someone is coming after the teenagers of Stockleigh, as a spate of vicious assaults rocks this small community. Revenge for Deanna? Or something more?

Detective Eden Berrisford is locked into a race against time to catch the twisted individual behind the attacks – but when her own niece, Jess Mount, goes missing, the case gets personal.

With the kidnapper threatening Jess’ life, can Eden bring back her niece to safety? Or will the people of Stockleigh be forced to mourn another daughter…?

A terrifying, compelling police procedural which will thrill fans of Angela Marsons, The Teacher, and Rachel Abbott”

I am absolutely thrilled to welcome you to my stop (and the final stop) on the The Girls Next Door blog tour which I share with the very lovely Jo over at My Chestnut Reading Tree.  Pop over and say hi to Jo once you’ve finished here, as I bet she’s written a superb review of this fantastic book!

help-me-mel-sherrattHave you ever considered how different your life would be if you happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time?  Teenager Katie Trent ends up in the wrong place.  One moment life is normal, the next she’s witnessing her boyfriend stab another teen. Shock makes Katie react slowly but she manages to be with Deanna, the victim, as she takes her last breath.  Then she runs, runs home and hides from her family, hides her blood stained clothes.  But the attack has been captured on CCTV and Katie, the killer and another two boys are arrested.  Katie’s best friend, Jess is devastated; the girls being more like sisters than best friends.  Six months down the line and several local teens become the victims of savage and cruel attacks.  Are the attacks connected to the murder? Are the Barker family finally seeking revenge?  DS Eden Berrisford and her team are on the case.  Except things are about to get personal for Eden.  Her niece, Jess has gone missing.  Eden watches the CCTV footage as Jess is punched in the face and bundled into a van.  Can Eden crack the case and save Jess before it’s too late…?

This (I’m ashamed to say) is my first Mel Sherratt read and I can safely say that I was not disappointed.  The opening chapters immediately pull you into the story – they’re shocking and unexpected, your heart goes out to the characters involved.  It was very easy to like the teenage characters as they’re brilliantly written but I was surprised by how much I liked them.  The attacks on the female characters are all very humiliating and I really felt for them (maybe it’s that mothering instinct within me).

I really liked Eden Berrisford but found her a little too polished (with her 60s styled clothes and mini with the black and white checkered roof).  Eden’s history with her husband does provide that much needed ‘rough edge’ but I wanted something….more, something darker.  She wasn’t what I expected but, if you read my blog regularly, you’ll know that I love a dark, grumpy detective.  The grumpier and more damaged, the better.  One thing’s for sure, I want to know more about her and eagerly wait for the next instalment.

The plot was interesting and kept my attention from start to finish.  I found the attacks on the teenagers quite harrowing, almost stomach churning but that was where the terror ended for me. Jess’s kidnap ordeal was well written but I never really felt she was in real danger. Saying that, I’ve read several fabulous reviews of this book and they all say the opposite to me; they felt really scared for Jess.  (Maybe that’s the result of too much crime fiction over the years, I’ve become numb to terror!  Uh oh..)

Would I recommend this book?  I certainly would.  I can’t remember the last crime thriller I read that had this much emotion in it.  Yes, it’s a gripping crime thriller but it’s got bags of heart too.  Very enjoyable, particularly the sections written from Katie and Jess’ standpoint.  Bring on the next Eden Berrisford novel please, Mel Sherratt.

Four out of five stars.

Many thanks to Noelle Holten at Bookouture, NetGalley and Mel Sherratt.  I chose to read and review an ARC of The Girls Next Door.

The Girls Next Door by Mel Sherratt was published in the UK by Bookouture on 27th October 2016 and is available in eBook format | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Goodreads | Bookouture |


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mel-sherratt-photoMel Sherratt writes gritty crime dramas, psychological suspense and fiction with a punch – or grit-lit, as she calls it. Shortlisted for the CWA (Crime Writer’s Association) Dagger in the Library Award 2014, she finds inspiration from authors such as Martina Cole, Lynda la Plante and Elizabeth Haynes. Since 2012, all nine of her crime novels have been bestsellers. Four of her books are published by Amazon Publishing’s crime and thriller imprint, Thomas & Mercer and she has a new series out with Bookouture.
Mel lives in Stoke-on-Trent, with her husband and terrier, Dexter, named after the TV serial killer, and makes liberal use of her hometown as a backdrop for some of her books.

Author Links:Twitter | Website | Facebook |


#BlogTour | #GuestReview: The Seven Trials of Cameron-Strange by @JCalumCampbell | @Lizzy11268

51OdMmjfv3L._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg‘Fox stepped swiftly through the door. There was an audible click. And there came the sound of a bolt sliding into place. What follows is the stuff of nightmares…’ Just when the bereaved and troubled Dr Alastair Cameron-Strange rediscovers his life on the other side of the world, the British authorities track him down. They recruit him on a mission which takes him to the farthest reaches of New Zealand, to Xanadu with all its grotesque gargoyles, chief among them Phineas Fox, the American business tycoon whose baleful eye is on the White House. There s something not quite right about Mr Fox, and Cameron-Strange, with the help of the beautiful Nikki, is determined to find out what it is. He survives six ordeals, but will he survive a seventh?

I am delighted to welcome you to my stop on the The Seven Trials of Cameron-Strange blog tour.  The Seven Trials.. is book two in the Cameron-Strange series written by ‘doctor turned author’, James Calum Campbell.  I would like to wish James and Impress Books a very happy publication day.

I am thrilled to be hosting my very first guest review as well! I thought I would start with blogging royalty (as you do!) so today the incredibly talented and very lovely Liz Barnsley of Liz Loves Books shares her thoughts on this exciting thriller.  If you haven’t already, please do check Liz’s blog out – it’s superb, her passion for books and authors shines through.

Over to the lovely Liz…

This is actually the second novel featuring Dr Cameron -Strange and it was an interesting read for me, a very different feel to the narrative within an imaginative and clever thriller that is pacy and engaging.

I had not read the first book – but that didn’t honestly impact on my reading of this one – and I have to say that our main protagonist here was a fascinatingly compelling character, with an intriguing background and set of idiocies if you like. The novel has a Bond feel only not quite, the subject matter is very topical in a lot of ways and the possible “bad guy”, well, I’ll leave you to find out that for yourself. But Phineas Fox – how perfect is that? Yes I know but sometimes you are just immediately wanting to know the person behind the title…

James Calum Campbell has a great way of writing that draws you in, I liked how the plot played out, with an opening that made you just want to know – then taking us back to see how we got there. This is one of those novels that is gripping but not perhaps in the usual ways.

I loved the medical angle it allowed for some beautiful layers to the story, for me this was a fast and satisfying read and one that would certainly bring me back to this author again.

Solid storytelling here. Recommended if you’d like a thriller with a different angle.


Thank you Liz.  I can’t wait to read this one for myself as it sounds fascinating.

The Seven Trials of Cameron-Strange by James Calum Campbell was published in the UK by Impress Books on 1st November 2016 and is available in paperback and eBook format | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Impress Books |


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Photography by Whyler Photos of Stirling

James Calum Campbell was born in Glasgow.  He read Medicine at Edinburgh, and practised in Papua New Guinea, Queensland, and Auckland, where he was Clinical Head of the busiest emergency department in Australasia.   He now divides his time between Scotland and New Zealand.

Author Links:Twitter |