#CaseClosed: #October2017 #BookOfTheMonth #amreading #amreviewing #bookblogger #damppebbles

Hello and a warm, squishy welcome to my October #CaseClosed post where I look back on the month just gone and wonder why I didn’t read more books!  I know, I’m letting the side down.  Who needs sleep anyway….? Heh heh!

October was a rather exciting month for me.  Y’all be sick to the back teeth of this soon (maybe you are already!) but I decided to have a bit of a new books and blog tour ban to enable me to make a more substantial dent in the terrifying TBR.  To keep my FOMO at bay I have a list of 20 authors whose books and tours I am allowed to partake in.  So, how did I do in my first month?

In October I was part of FOUR blog tours (compared to my twelve tours in September I think I’ve done alright!):

All four were review posts:

Her Last Secret by Barbara Copperthwaite | Fox Hunter by Zoe Sharp | Anything You Do Say by Gillian McAllister | Murder Game by Caroline Mitchell |

But the blog wasn’t empty, oh no!  I featured these publication day reviews (or as near as dammit to publication day!):

The Visitors by Catherine Burns | Sleep No More by P.D. James | The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell | Two Dark Tales: Jack Squat and The Niche by Charles Lambert |

And I also got to read these beauties, all of which have been sitting on my terrifying TBR for some time encouraging me to cheat on my scheduled reads with their come-hither looks:

The Corruption of Chastity by Frank Westworth | Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart | Final Girls by Riley Sager | The Honeymoon by Tina Seskis | The Dry by Jane Harper | Follow You by Richard Parker |

And last but by no means least, I shared a cover reveal post for the latest book in the Kay Hunter series titled Hell To Pay.  Isn’t it a stunner? Keep an eye out for my stop on the tour in mid-November.  Really looking forward to reading this one!

Hell to Pay Cover MEDIUM WEB

All in all, I have rather enjoyed my first month of being able to choose what I read and when I read it.  I think it’s given me a much-needed boost to my confidence and has reminded me exactly why I love (LOVE!) reading so much.

Saying that there has been one rather negative knock to the damppebbles armour which has caused me a lot of upset.  Two words; Twitter Jail!  Ugh.  Twitter jail, for those that haven’t heard of such a thing before, is more commonly known as Shadow Banning or Ghost Banning.  During the month of October, I have been in Twitter Jail at least once a week and nearly every weekend.  I laughed it off to start with but it got to the point where it became no longer funny.  I could tweet to the masses but I couldn’t speak to an individual or a group of people.  As soon as I added someone’s Twitter tag to my tweet I was silenced.  After a little bit of detective work, I discovered that I share, on average, 102 tweets containing a URL to Twitter on a daily basis, 102 TWEETS!  I thought I could beat the system.  I can’t.  I thought I could find a clever way to get around the problem.  I couldn’t.  So I have come to realise that I can’t share posts like I have been doing which is quite upsetting for me.  I’ve been told to share no more than 20 posts a day.  But how do I go from 102 to 20…..?!  All ideas welcome, I’m reaching out to you dear damppebbles visitor so please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.  At the moment I am considering a spreadsheet which randomly generates 20 blogs a day.  I may be thinking about this waaaaaaaaaay too much……!

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If you’re a regular visitor to the blog or you follow me on Twitter I don’t think my Book Of The Month is going to come as a massive surprise.  I have found a book which may well become my book of the year and it rightly deserves a place on my favourite books EVER list.  That book is…..

giphy (2)

 

giphy (3)

Taddah!

final girls

There we go, no big surprise really.  I fell head over heels in love with this gorgeously creepy mix of crime and horror.  It was absolutely everything I’ve ever wanted in a book and felt almost like it was written especially for me.  I adore it and if you haven’t read Final Girls yet then you MUST!

“I’m so excited that this book exists – it’s perfect and I want everyone to read it so you can all see how awesome it is as well.  Brilliantly addictive, deliciously dark and everything I want in a book! Superb.”

So there we have it, my bookish October in a mere 900 words (or so!).  I may be a little quiet as we start November; I have a number of blog tour reads all bunched together halfway through the month so will be concentrating on getting them all read and reviewed in time.  After that, and I can’t believe I’m actually saying this, I have NO blog tours scheduled – no tours in December, no tours in the New Year.  I know it won’t stay that way (especially as Steph Broadribb and Orenda Books are releasing the new Lori Anderson book in the coming months and that’s one book/tour I ain’t missing!) but it’s quite an exhilarating feeling.

Have a warm and cosy November filled with the very best books.  Tarrah for now!

 

 

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#BlogBlitz | #BookReview: Murder Game by Caroline Mitchell (@Caroline_writes) @bookouture

Murder-Game-Kindle (1).jpg“A serial killer is playing a terrifying game of life or death with his victims. After he captures them, a countdown begins. He marks the time by sending clues to the whereabouts of the women he has taken in three disturbing images: alive, tortured, dead. 

In a race against the clock, East London Detective Ruby Preston must play the twisted killer’s terrifying murder game and decipher the clues before more women die… 

But this isn’t the first time the police have seen such a sickening crime. The notorious Lonely Hearts Killer, Mason Gatley, was put behind bars ten years ago for murdering six women in exactly the same chilling way. Desperate for more information, Ruby persuades her boyfriend, Nathan Crosby, to use his criminal connections to set up a dangerous meeting. Because to catch this killer, she needs to think like one… 

But the closer Ruby grows to the dark and charming Mason Gatley, the more worried her team become. Is Mason really helping her catch the killer? Or is he lining Ruby up to be his next victim?

Fans of Angela Marsons, Rachel Abbott and Peter James will be hooked by this dark and utterly disturbing thriller, packed with twists until the final page.”

I am thrilled to welcome you to the blog today as I am one of seven blogs kicking off the Murder Game blog blitz.  Make sure you check out these other awesome blogs taking part in day one of the tour; Novel DeelightsMy Chestnut Reading TreeNovel GossipChapter in my LifeI Love Reading and I Dig Books (And Dirt).  And the rest of the blog blitz is shaping up rather nicely, so don’t miss out! 

Murder Game is the third book in the Detective Ruby Preston series written by Caroline Mitchell and published by Bookouture.  I am such a fan of this series and have reviewed both of the previous books on damppebbles in the past (click HERE for my review of book one, Death Note and click HERE for my review of book two, Sleep Tight).  My love for Ruby and her tough guy beau, Nathan is pretty darn strong so there was no way on earth I was going to miss this latest instalment.

The first two books shine so brightly for me because they’re exactly what I enjoy reading; a delusional yet completely different serial killer in each book with a pretty consistent M.O.  The killer knows what they’re doing, why they’re doing it and they’re going to keep on doing it until Ruby and DI Downes catch them.  Perfect!  The reader is introduced to another dark and evil mind in Murder Game but this time there’s a rather sinister twist.  Convicted of six murders, named The Lonely Hearts Killer and stuck behind bars for a few more years, Ruby has the displeasure of meeting Mason Gatley.  It seems their latest offender is basing his crimes on Gatley’s from back in the day (DI Downes was a DC at the time so we’re talking a few years ago!).  I loved the tension Gatley brought to the pages of Murder Game.  What a thoroughly loathsome character but I have to confess to secretly enjoying Ruby’s stand-offs with the vile killer!

What makes this series stand out head and shoulders above others is the relationship between Detective Sergeant Ruby Preston and the love of her life, local gangster, Nathan Crosby.  The chemistry between the two characters really sparks and my reaction to them in the first book really surprised me, especially as romantic relationships don’t really work for me in crime fiction (if I wanted soppy stuff I would read romance – that’s my opinion anyway!).  I felt that chemistry was lacking a little in Murder Game.  It certainly wasn’t as full on or as intense as the first two novels and I missed it.

If I’m honest, I felt the entire Crosby family were a little absent in this latest instalment.  Murder Game focuses more on the investigation rather than the relationships between the characters.  With any other series this would have pleased me no end but I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed.  I wanted more of Nathan’s mother and her inherent dislike of Ruby because she’s a copper.  More of Nathan’s caustic, sadistic brother, Lenny who always lends a vile edge to the story.  I really felt their absence.

Would I recommend this book?  Absolutely!  If you’re a fan of the serial killer thriller then you really must read this series because it’s incredibly special and one of my all-time favourites.  I adore Ruby Preston and I adore Mitchell’s writing.

Four out of five stars.

I chose to read and review an eARC of Murder Game.   The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

Murder Game by Caroline Mitchell was published in the UK by Bookouture on 31st October 2017 and is available in paperback and eBook formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Goodreads |

Murder Game - Blog Tour 2.jpg

about the author3

IMG_6478USA Today Bestselling Thriller Author.

Originally from Ireland, Caroline lives with her family, parrot and two dogs in a pretty village on the coast of Essex. A former police detective, Caroline has worked in CID and specialised in roles dealing with vulnerable victims, high-risk victims of domestic abuse, and serious sexual offences. Published by Bookouture and Thomas & Mercer, she now writes full time and all her books have become number 1 best sellers in their categories.

Her fast-paced DC Jennifer Knight thrillers carry a hint of the supernatural and are weaved from Caroline’s personal experiences in the police and paranormal.

Set in Shoreditch, London, her DS Ruby Preston series is described as “terrifying, addictive serial killer thrillers”.

 Caroline also writes psychological thrillers, the most recent, Witness, has been described as “thrilling, tense, exciting, dark and twisted in the best possible way”.

Author Links: | Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Pinterest | Facebook |

#BlogTour #BookReview: Anything You Do Say by Gillian McAllister (@GillianMAuthor) @MichaelJBooks

Anything You Do Say (1).jpg“It’s the end of the night. You’re walking home on your own.

Then you hear the sound every woman dreads. Footsteps. Behind you. Coming fast.

You’re sure it’s him – the man from the bar who wouldn’t leave you alone.

You make a snap decision. You turn. You push. Your pursuer tumbles down the steps. He lies motionless, face-down on the floor.

Now What?

Call 999
Wait for the police to arrive. For judgement, for justice,whatever that may be. You just hope you husband, family and friends, everyoneyou love, will stand by you.

OR:

Run
Stay silent. You didn’t mean to do it. You were scared, you panicked. And no one saw. No one will ever know. If you leave now. If you keep quiet. Forever.

Which is it to be?”

I am delighted to welcome you to my stop on the Anything You Do Say blog tour.  Anything You Do Say is the second book written by Gillian McAllister and was published by Michael Joseph Books on 19th October 2017.

I am absolutely ashamed to admit that I haven’t (as yet!) managed to read McAllister’s debut, Everything But The Truth.  It’s another of my TBR that’s been giving me that come-hither look for a while now but thanks to my need to overindulge in blog tours it’s been left, literally ‘stood up’ on my bookshelf!  I promise, after having read the wonderful Anything You Do Say, to make it a top priority!

Anything You Do Say is quite possibly the cleverest suspense thriller I have read.  The author has managed to write two different stories (albeit with the same characters) in the one book!  Two for the price of one; what a bargain us readers are getting.  Following a night out and a frightening confrontation in a bar, Joanna heads home to husband Reuben.  Traipsing the streets of London she is suddenly aware that someone is following her.  A quick glance tells her it’s the man from the bar, the one that…. Joanna starts to panic, she knows he’s followed her so he can finish what he started.  Utterly consumed by fear and panic she lashes out at her attacker and watches as he falls, head first into a shallow puddle at the foot of the steps.  In a moment of misguided self-defence, Joanna has changed her life forever.  Now, the decision she makes will dictate the direction which her life takes.  Call the police and report the incident or run home to Reuben and pretend it never happened.  Which decision will it be…?

The reader is given a fascinating ‘Sliding Doors-esque‘ look into what happens to gentle, indecisive Joanna as she changes her life forever.  The chapters are headed either ‘coverwhere Joanna decides to run away from what she’s done and hide her crime from everyone, even her husband Reuben or ‘reveal‘, where Joanna dials 999 and has to live with the consequences of that decision.  I found it riveting reading, the differences created; the repercussions of her situation and how it affects absolutely everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) else in her life.  Throughout the reveal chapters, I could feel Joanna’s despair emanating from the pages in front of me.  During the cover chapters, I watched as the decision totally devastated a nice, normal middle-class woman bit by agonising bit.

I’m not sure I liked Joanna.  I wanted to, and I really felt for her but I don’t think we got anywhere near the ‘liking’ stage.  I found her a little too dreamy at times and wanted to give her a good shake so she’d wake up and actually face what was happening to her.  Joanna’s husband, Reuben is also quite a frustrating character.  He’s very closed off to everyone around him, apart from his wife who he adores in his own, special way.  I desperately wanted him to notice that Joanna was gradually falling apart during the cover but he was oblivious.  Despite not really liking either of the main characters I was, however, totally invested in their lives and where, whether it be cover or reveal, they were headed.

Beautifully written and heartbreaking in places; my congratulations to McAllister for the amount of intricate research she has put into this novel.  As a reader, it was incredibly obvious to me how much time and effort had gone in to making Joanna and Reuben come alive. 

Would I recommend this book? I would.  I don’t think I’ve read a suspense novel quite like this before.  It takes a little while to get your head around the fact that you are, essentially, reading two different stories about the same characters but it’s well worth it.  In a perfect world, I would have liked a more surprising conclusion but that’s just me and my personal taste!  Nothing more.  A great read with a very interesting plot which pulls you in and keeps you hooked till the end.

Four out of five stars.

I chose to read and review an eARC of Anything You Do Say.  The above review is my own unbiased opinion.  My thanks to the author and Jenny at Michael Joseph for asking me to join the blog tour.

Anything You Do Say by Gillian McAllister was published in the UK by Michael Joseph, Penguin Random House on 19th October 2017 and is available in eBook and audio formats (with the paperback to follow in January 2018) | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

Anything You Do Say blog tour banner (2).jpg

about the author3

Gillian (1).pngGillian McAllister has been writing for as long as she can remember. She graduated with an English degree and lives in Birmingham where she now works as a lawyer. Her debut novel Everything But The Truth was a Sunday Times top ten bestseller.

Author Links: | Website | Twitter | Facebook |

#BookReview: Follow You by Richard Parker (@Bookwalter) @bookouture

follow you.jpg“Her eyelids were the only parts of her body she could move. The figure spoke, then retreated into the gloom. She couldn’t accept what they’d said. How could she have brought this on herself?

When an online prank goes viral and triggers a spate of gruesome murders, documentary maker Hazel Salter watches in horror. But then a new victim is found, her body bound to a pillar, and its Hazel’s childhood friend, Meredith Hickman. Hazel must find out what happened to her.

Is it one killer or more? Random, or part of a bigger plan?

The police have no leads, but Hazel has a theory – one she’ll stop at nothing to prove. With her film crew in tow, Hazel sets off for the abandoned amusement park where Meredith was found, to solve the crime, bring Meredith justice, and make the documentary of her lifetime. But as Hazel interviews the victims’ families and friends, people start disappearing.

As the death toll rises, Hazel realises someone close-by is targeting her team methodically. Can she uncover the truth before another life is lost, or will the killer get to Hazel first?”

Follow You by Richard Parker is a book I have been wanting to read since it’s release in May 2017.  I had the pleasure of reading Parker’s second Bookouture release, Hide and Seek at the start of September and confessed then exactly how much in love I was with Follow You without even reading a word.  To check out that review click HERE.  I had based my adoration purely on the reviews, the fact that so many readers pointed out how gory it is and that stunning cover (I’m moth-a-phobic, by the way!).

It had a lot to live up and it and it surpassed my expectations!  This is exactly the style of book that I devour.  It has the feel of a horror film in the making (not that I actually watch horror films….ever!), it doesn’t hold back on the detail (some gory) and the reader rarely has a moment to draw breath before the next heart-stopping moment.  I absolutely loved it.

I tweet.  I tweet a lot actually and tend to get into trouble for sharing too many awesome book review posts.  But imagine if a killer took to Twitter with the tag @BeMyKiller.  Would you be tempted to tweet them, to poke the sleeping tiger with a big sharp pointy stick?  No, I wouldn’t either but in Parker’s terrifyingly good story that’s exactly what happens.  After all, what’s the worse that can happen?  It’s just a wind-up, right?  Wrong – wrong with a capital W!  Bait the killer and you could be next.  One of my favourite things about Follow You is the way in which the killer disposes of their victims.  Each method is unique and perfectly in line with the taunting phrase used to provoke the killer to act.  It’s wonderful, gory and so compulsive I couldn’t put it down.

Hazel Salter is the owner of a documentary production company which recently won an Emmy but business certainly isn’t booming.  When Meredith Hickman is murdered after tweeting @BeMyKiller Hazel comes up with a plan – to take a crew to Broomfield and conduct her own investigation.  After all, Hazel has her own theory which the police refuse to consider.  Before they start work on the documentary, the crew settle down for the night at Fun Central, the location where Meredith Hickman’s mangled body was discovered.  Fuelled by alcohol and a hefty dose of bravado, they take to WhatsApp to bait the killer in private.  But the killer is watching…

Chilling, thrilling and completely engrossing.  I adored Parker’s plotting, the speed with which the body count increased and the quite astonishing ways the characters were killed off.  It was a joy for me to read and I savoured every last moment, even the icky ones!  And that staggeringly good ending – WOAH!  It was so beautifully choreographed that I did a little happy dance.  Those final scenes will stay with me for a long, long time.

Would I recommend this book?  Yes, it’s brilliant.  If you want to miss out then that’s your choice but you’ll be a fool to pass this one by (although you may need a strong stomach for certain parts so I know it won’t appeal to everyone).  I’ll happily say it again, I loved it and wish every book I picked up was like this one.  Engrossing, gross and dark – my perfect read.

Five out of five stars

(NB. One day, Richard Parker and Bookouture, ONE DAY I promise – hand on heart – to get the title of this book right; Follow You, NOT Follow Me….I’m easily confused!  My apologies to you all for getting it SO wrong, SO many times in the past. Doh!)

Follow You by Richard Parker was published in the UK by Bookouture on 26th May 2017 and is available in paperback, eBook and audio formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

about the author3

RichardParkerPicRichard Parker was formerly a TV scriptwriter, script editor and producer before turning his hand to penning twisted stand-alone thrillers.

HIDE AND SEEK is his fifth book and is published August 2017.

FOLLOW YOU was his fourth psychological thriller. Reviewers are saying it’s Bookouture’s darkest crime novel to date.

STALK ME was his third and rode high in the UK and US charts.

SCARE ME was his second. Hollywood movie rights have been acquired by major US studio, Relativity Media. Star of PRISON BREAK and screenwriter of dark horror thriller STOKER, Wentworth Miller, has written the big screen adaptation.

STOP ME, Richard’s darkly fiendish debut, was shortlisted for the John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger Award.

Author Links: | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Website |

 

 

 

#BookReview: The Dry by Jane Harper (@janeharperautho) @LittleBrownUK

the dry.jpg“WHO REALLY KILLED THE HADLER FAMILY?

I just can’t understand how someone like him could do something like that.

Amid the worst drought to ravage Australia in a century, it hasn’t rained in small country town Kiewarra for two years. Tensions in the community become unbearable when three members of the Hadler family are brutally murdered. Everyone thinks Luke Hadler, who committed suicide after slaughtering his wife and six-year-old son, is guilty.

Policeman Aaron Falk returns to the town of his youth for the funeral of his childhood best friend, and is unwillingly drawn into the investigation. As questions mount and suspicion spreads through the town, Falk is forced to confront the community that rejected him twenty years earlier. Because Falk and Luke Hadler shared a secret, one which Luke’s death threatens to unearth. And as Falk probes deeper into the killings, secrets from his past and why he left home bubble to the surface as he questions the truth of his friend’s crime.”

Who really killed the Hadler family?  I’ve been wanting to know that since this fabulous hardback ARC came into my possession earlier this year.  Regular visitors to the blog will know what I’m going to say now because I’ve said it time and time again!  Because of my blog tour commitments, I haven’t really been able to ‘choose’ a book for a while now.  From 1st October however that has not been the case!  The number of tours I have committed to has significantly reduced and the one thing I was missing (actually being able to choose my next read) has made a triumphant return to my bookish life.  It’s such a joy for me to select a book, pure and simple.

So I’m picking the books I have wanted to read for some time.  Along with books which have been on my TBR for…..well, too long.  My lovely blogger friend, Jo, over at My Chestnut Reading Tree recommend The Dry to me.  She absolutely loved it so my curiosity was well and truly piqued.  This is one of the books championed by Jo (and several other bloggers) and I can see exactly why it’s loved by so many.

I’m a big (BIG!) fan of crime novels set in small-town America.  It’s one of my go-to settings; I love the secrets, the desperation, the suspicion.  The bumbling local Sheriff, out to either prove his worth or destroy those who have invested their trust in him.  Although The Dry isn’t set in in America it had the same claustrophobic feel to it which I gladly immersed myself in.  Maybe I need to broaden my horizons a little and investigate some Australian crime fiction. Imagine what I’ve been missing!

The town of Kiewarra felt a pretty desolate place, not helped by the local drought causing catastrophic problems to the locals and their livelihoods; mainly farming.  Kiewarra boy made good, Aaron Falk returns to his hometown to attend the funeral of his childhood friend, Luke Hadler.  Luke is mourned yet despised by his smalltown acquaintances for viciously killing his wife and young son with a shotgun, then turning the weapon on himself.  Luke’s parents think differently though and suspect someone else is to blame for the horrific loss of their family.  Luke’s parents know Aaron can clear their son’s name and find the real killer, after all, Aaron is a Federal Agent now.  Reluctantly Aaron agrees to work with local Sergeant, Greg Raco.  He feels he has no choice in the matter when Jerry, Luke’s father, tells Aaron that he knows the truth.  He knows that Luke and Aaron lied…..

There are two separate but beautifully melded storylines to this book; the past where the reader discovers a childhood friend of Luke and Aaron was drowned in the river and the present, the investigation into who actually killed the Hadler family.  Both plots rub alongside each other in a rather mesmerising way.  There are snippets of what happened way back when but with a present narrative alongside.  I was stunned to discover this is Harper’s debut as the story is so intricate and handled expertly.  I was hooked.  Did Luke and Aaron have anything to do with the death of their friend?  Well…

I may have fallen a little bit in love with Aaron Falk.  I don’t think I’ll be the only one.  There are several interesting and well-written characters for the reader to enjoy.  All contributing to a shocking and heartbreaking conclusion which I wasn’t expecting.  All in all this is a stonking debut and I cannot wait to read the next book in the series, Force of Nature.

Would I recommend this book?  I would.  It’s a very enjoyable read which stands head and shoulders above others in the genre.  At times I struggled to put it down and look forward to reading more in the future.  Harper writes crime fiction like a pro.

Four and a half stars out of five.

I chose to read and review an ARC of The Dry.  The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

The Dry by Jane Harper was published in the UK by Little, Brown on 1st June 2017 and is available in hardcover, paperback eBook and audio formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

about the author3

jane harper.jpgJane Harper was born in Manchester in the UK, and moved to Australia with her family at age eight.

She spent six years in Boronia, Victoria, and during that time gained Australian citizenship.

Returning to the UK with her family as a teenager, she lived in Hampshire before studying English and History at the University of Kent in Canterbury.

On graduating, she completed a journalism entry qualification and got her first reporting job as a trainee on the Darlington & Stockton Times in County Durham.

Jane worked for several years as a senior news journalist for the Hull Daily Mail, before moving back to Australia in 2008.

She worked first on the Geelong Advertiser, and in 2011 took up a role with the Herald Sun in Melbourne.

In 2014, Jane submitted a short story which was one of 12 chosen for the Big Issue‘s annual Fiction Edition.

That inspired her to pursue creative writing more seriously, and that year she applied for the Curtis Brown Creative online 12-week novel writing course.

She was accepted with a submission for the book that would become The Dry.

Jane lives in St Kilda with her husband and daughter.

Author Links: | Website | Twitter | Facebook |

Author image and bio © http://janeharper.com.au/About-Jane

 

 

#BookReview: The Honeymoon by Tina Seskis (@tinaseskis) @PenguinUKBooks @MichaelJBooks

the honeymoon.jpg“There’s trouble in paradise . . .

For as long as she can remember, Jemma has been planning the perfect honeymoon. A fortnight’s retreat to a five-star resort in the Maldives, complete with luxury villas, personal butlers and absolute privacy.

It should be paradise. But it’s turned into a nightmare.

Because the man Jemma married a week ago has just disappeared from the island without a trace. And now her perfect new life is vanishing just as quickly before her eyes.

After everything they’ve been through together, how can this be happening? Is there anyone on the island who Jemma can trust? And above all – where has her husband gone?”

I consider myself to be a very lucky blogger at the moment.  I have read some BRILLIANT novels over the last couple of weeks, this one included.  The Honeymoon by Tina Seskis has been eyeing me up from the bookcase for a little while now.  Occasionally it gave me the odd wink and come-hither look but I had to be strong and stick to my blog tour reads.  Not the case now, of course!  Now I can pick and choose what I read and when I read it.  And oh my gosh, I’m so glad I picked The Honeymoon.

Jemma and her husband have finally made it down the aisle and have jetted off to the exotic Maldives for their once in a lifetime honeymoon.  Except there’s a problem.  Jemma’s brand new husband has gone missing.  The blushing bride has somewhat vague memories of the last time she saw her beloved thanks to the delicious and abundant cocktails available on demand.  And oh boy, she certainly demanded!  Paradise starts to look a little more sinister, particularly when Jemma’s mother-in-law arrives to stick her venomous claws in.  What happened to her husband?  Was Jemma anything to do with his disappearance?  If only she could remember….

I loved this book.  It was so easy to read and incredibly hard to put down.  I loved the flashback sequences where the reader is given an insight into Jemma’s relationship with her then fiance.  I have to say, what a weird relationship it is!  At points I wanted Jemma to throw her hands in the air and walk away from it all.  I loved Jemma you see.  Although her neediness to get married did irk me somewhat at times.  But a lot of us have been there, eh girls and boys?  Just waiting for the other half to propose…😉

There are so many suspects, so many possibilities on the table that you can’t help but turn amateur detective.  I had a number of suspects in mind along with the thought that he may have just decided to do a runner!  What I didn’t expect was that ending.  What a shock, I had never considered THAT as an ending.  OK, maybe it’s a smidge far fetched but who cares – it was AWESOME and completely appealed to my darker side!

Would I recommend this book? Most definitely.  It’s got bucketloads of lovely suspense, a couple of rather large twists which will knock you for six and a leading lady I couldn’t help but love (I’m not sure you’re supposed to by the way but I like to break the rules!).  Seskis’s writing is very compelling and I will be making a point of reading more from this author in the future.

Five out of five stars.

I chose to read an ARC of The Honeymoon.  The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

The Honeymoon by Tina Seskis was published in the UK by Michael Joseph Books – Penguin UK on 1st June 2017 and is available in paperback and eBook format | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

about the author3

tina seskis.jpgI grew up in Hampshire, England, where my father worked at Heathrow for British Airways and my mother was in sales. My parents bestowed upon me a certain degree of eccentricity: my dad amongst other things built a boat in the front garden on our commuter belt housing estate, moved us into a touring caravan when our new house wasn’t built, and took us all over the world with his free air travel and limited budget.  I think part of my story-telling is shaped by those experiences.

I studied business at the University of Bath and then worked for over twenty years in marketing, advertising and online sales, with varying degrees of success, before starting to write.

I originally wrote One Step Too Far for my mum, whilst attending a local writing class on a Thursday afternoon. I completed my second novel When We Were Friends (formerly called A Serpentine Affair) in 2011.  It took me way longer to finally get the books published, and One Step Too Far is now available in over 60 countries.

I live in North London with my husband and son, and currently write full-time(ish).

Author Links: | Twitter | Website | Facebook |

Author image and bio © http://tinaseskis.com/about-tina-seskis/

 

 

#BookReview: Final Girls by Riley Sager (@riley_sager) @EburyPublishing

final girls.jpg“FIRST THERE WERE THREE

The media calls them the Final Girls – Quincy, Sam, Lisa – the infamous group that no one wants to be part of. The sole survivors of three separate killing sprees, they are linked by their shared trauma.

THEN THERE WERE TWO

But when Lisa dies in mysterious circumstances and Sam shows up unannounced on her doorstep, Quincy must admit that she doesn’t really know anything about the other Final Girls. Can she trust them? Or…

CAN THERE ONLY EVER BE ONE?

All Quincy knows is one thing: she is next.”

I am feeling quite giddy today.  Giddy because it’s been a long time since a book has resonated with me quite like the mighty Final Girls did.  Having recently turned the last page I feel drained, I feel bereft, I feel strangely empowered, I want to shout from the rooftops exactly how much I enjoyed reading this incredible piece of fiction.  I think it’s fair to say I LOVED Final Girls by Riley Sager!

From the moment I saw that cover, read the blurb and read a couple of early reviews I knew this was going to be a new favourite read.  In a very egotistical way, it feels as though it was written just for me.  I say that because it’s everything I WANT in a book.  You know that age-old advice to wannabe authors?  They say write the book YOU would want to read?  Well, I’m afraid that won’t be happening for me because this is the book I want to read and it’s been written!  I actually feel envious of those that haven’t  read Final Girls yet – I would give almost anything to be able to read this book for the first time again!

Quincy Carpenter is a Final Girl.  Not by choice, no one chooses to be a Final Girl.  There are two other women who lay claim to the title, thanks to two separate massacres several years apart.  Quincy is the newest addition to the exclusive little group and the most reluctant to adopt the title.  She would rather forget everything that happened to her and her friends that fateful night in the woods.  She barely remembers what happened anyway thanks to selective memory loss, and that’s just fine by her!  When the original Final Girl, Lisa Milner, turns up dead in an apparent suicide bid, Quincy is stunned.  She cannot understand why Lisa would take her own life after everything she survived at her sorority house in Indiana.  She’s even more shocked when elusive, mysterious Samantha Boyd – the only other remaining Final Girl shows up at her apartment.  Having hidden from her family and, well, life for years now Quincy cannot understand why Samantha all of a sudden wants to get to know her.  Has Lisa’s suicide brought the two survivors together? Or is it something else completely….?

Where to start..?!  I’m normally a fan of the characters in a book but this time it was more about the situation, for me.  Ninety percent of the time I really liked Quincy, but she also irritated me with her refusal to accept or even acknowledge her past.  For this reason I despised her attorney boyfriend, Jefferson, and Quincy’s negligent mother for encouraging her to look to the future, not the past and suggesting she try her best to be ‘normal’.  Samantha was mysterious from the moment she arrived in the story and I couldn’t for the life of me work out what she was up to.

I absolutely loved the flashback sections where the reader is transported to that night in the woods ten years ago.  There is the most wonderful horror movie vibe about the events of that night which made me feel nervous and apprehensive, despite having a fair idea of what was going to happen.  The pressure mounts as Quincy begins to slowly recall her memories, filling in some pretty frightening gaps and realising what secrets she has kept since that blood filled night.  It’s fantastically written and so very well done.  I loved it!

Would I recommend this book?  Most definitely.  It’s a new favourite and one I will be driving everyone around me crazy with!  I’m so excited that this book exists – it’s perfect and I want everyone to read it so you can all see how awesome it is as well.  Brilliantly addictive, deliciously dark and everything I want in a book! Superb.

Five out of five stars.

I chose to read an eARC of Final Girls.  The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

Final Girls by Riley Sager was published in the UK by Ebury Press on 13th July 2017 and is available in hardcover, eBook and audio formats (with the paperback to follow in January 2018) | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

about the author3

Riley Sager is a pseudonym for an author who has been previously published under another name. A native of Pennsylvania, Riley is a writer, editor and graphic designer who now lives in Princeton, New Jersey.

Riley’s first novel, FINAL GIRLS (called “The first great thriller of 2017” by Stephen King), was published in 2017 in the United States, the United Kingdom and more than twenty countries around the world.

Author Links: | Website | Facebook | Twitter |

 

#BookReview: Two Dark Tales: Jack Squat and The Niche by Charles Lambert @BelgraviaB

jack squat“A pair of disturbing novellas from the master of ‘the literary uncanny’.

In ‘Jack Squat’, unemployed Gordon and his partner Omar see a money-making opportunity helping expats buy homes in southern Italy. But their scheme catches up with them after the first home they sell, curiously built with four entrances but no connecting doors inside, is revealed to have a dark history.

In ‘The Niche’, mercilessly bullied schoolboy Billy Lender finds a hiding place in a nook in the school corridor and begins to hear whispers: the voice of a mysterious friend who will help him to plot a devastating revenge.”

When a call goes out on Twitter for book bloggers who like to indulge in the darker side of fiction, I leap arms waving, into action.  Well, I leap thanks to a lovely book blogger friend tagging me (thanks Kate!).  I adore horror fiction but don’t tend to indulge as often as I’d like.  So I jumped at the opportunity to read this novella of two short dark tales.

The first thing to say is that the paperback version of this book is gorgeous.  Both stories have their own cover and you need to flip the book over to see the cover of The Niche.  ‘Not much good for reading, though’ you may be saying to yourself.  Not the case I can assure you.  The stories are back to back.  The reader can read their first story of choice (in my case Jack Squat) and when finished flip the book over, open the cover of The Niche and off you go again.  My daughter thought I’d finally lost the plot when she saw me reading what she thought was a book upside down!

My preferred story of the two was The Niche.  My heart ached for terrified schoolboy, Billy Lender, as the bullies wore him down with their cruel, brutish behaviour.  My heart sank even further when Billy began to hear voices.  Never a good thing in horror fiction!

Jack Squat felt as though it’s meant to be the lead story in the collection.  I enjoyed it but found certain aspects of the piece bordering on comical.  It may be because I have children and certain bodily functions are hilarious rather than, well, anything else but I couldn’t help but giggle a little.  It is dark, it’s quite gory in places but it didn’t win me over as much as The Niche did.

Would I recommend this book?  I would.  It’s a very quick read which I finished off one Sunday afternoon while the kids were hurtling around the local soft play!  I think I had expected a little more ‘dark’ than I actually got but that tends to be the case with most books I read.  I enjoyed the author’s style and would read another of his books if the opportunity arose in the future.  Enjoyable but didn’t knock my socks off.

Three and a half stars out of five.

I chose to read and review an ARC of Two Dark Tales: Jack Squat and The Niche.  The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

Two Dark Tales: Jack Squat and The Niche by Charles Lambert were published in the UK by the Aarkvark Bureau on 16th October 2017 and is available in paperback and eBook format | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

about the author3

charles lambert.jpgCharles Lambert was born in the United Kingdom but has lived in Italy for most of his adult life. His latest novel, The Children’s Home, described by Kirkus Reviews as ‘a one-of-a-kind literary horror story’, is set in neither country. Earlier books include three novels, a collection of prize-winning short stories and a memoir, With a Zero at its Heart, selected by the Guardian as one of its top ten books from 2014.

Author Links: | Website | Twitter |

#BlogTour | #BookReview: Fox Hunter by Zoë Sharp (@authorzoesharp) #CharlieFox

‘The dead man had not gone quietly … There was a time when I would have given everything I owned to be the one responsible for that.’

“Charlie Fox will never forget the men who put a brutal end to her military career, but she vowed a long time ago she would not go looking for them.

Now she doesn’t have a choice.

Her boss and former lover, Sean Meyer, is missing in Iraq where one of those men was working as a private security contractor. When the man’s butchered body is discovered, Charlie fears that Sean may be pursuing a twisted vendetta on her behalf.

Sean’s partner in their exclusive New York close-protection agency needs this dealt with—fast and quiet—before everything they’ve worked for is in ruins. He sends Charlie to the Middle East with very specific instructions:

Find Sean Meyer and stop him. By whatever means necessary.

At one time Charlie thought she knew Sean better than she knew herself, but it seems he’s turned into a violent stranger. As the trail grows more bloody, Charlie realises that unless she can get to Sean first, the hunter may soon become the hunted.”

I am thrilled to welcome you to my stop on the Fox Hunter blog tour.  Fox Hunter is the twelfth book in the Charlie Fox series and oh my gosh, I am absolutely kicking myself for not finding this series before now!  This high octane, international thriller was written by Zoë Sharp and is available to purchase in print, eBook and audio formats now.

Coming to a series part way through is always a risk.  I do consider myself quite the expert though and rarely find myself reading the first book in a series (the fourth, yes.  Or even the seventh!).  However, at no point, while reading Fox Hunter did I feel I had ‘missed something’.  The author does an excellent job of providing her reader with all the necessary background information to keep the story flowing and the reader engaged.  Does that mean that I will pass on the opportunity to read the first eleven books in this series? No, I would jump at the chance to read more (even if I’m breaking all the rules by reading out of sequence!).

Charlie Fox is my kind of character.  I always swoon a little over a strong, kick-ass, female protagonist and Fox ticked all the boxes for me.  I was glad to see Sharp hadn’t taken the route other authors seem to feel is necessary and given her feisty lead an equally tough male partner of the romantic sense.  I expect that may have been the case in previous novels as a relationship with her intended target, Sean Meyer, is referred to on several occasions.  It all feels very much like ancient history though and Fox is a realist, knowing to leave the past in the past.  Plus Sean’s traumatic accident and head injury mean he’ll never be the same man again.

The plot was fast-paced with some wonderfully choreographed gunfights.  I could easily picture the action in my mind and was drawn into the dangerous world of close protection.  There are several well-written characters who really stood out for me.  Particularly Fox’s newbie sidekick, Luisa Dawson, their loyal escort and driver, Moe and the mysterious Aubrey Hamilton.

Would I recommend this book?  I would.  I thoroughly enjoyed my introduction to Charlie Fox and Sharp’s writing.  I don’t read enough of this type of crime fiction, tending to stick to my serial killer thrillers and police procedurals – what a mistake!  I will be making of point of adding more of the Charlie Fox series to my TBR in the future.  Thrilling, fast paced and well written.  What more could you want!

Four out of five stars.

I chose to read and review a copy of Fox Hunter.  The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

Fox Hunter by Zoë Sharp was published in the UK by Zace Ltd on 12th September 2017 and is available in print, eBook and audio formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Waterstones | Goodreads |

2017 Book Tour Blog.pdf

about the author3

ZoeSharp-copyrightNickLockett2015

Zoë Sharp was born in Nottinghamshire, but spent most of her formative years living on a catamaran on the northwest coast of England. After a promising start at a private girls’ school, she opted out of mainstream education at the age of twelve in favour of correspondence courses at home.

Zoë went through a variety of jobs in her teenage years. In 1988, on the strength of one accepted article and a fascination with cars, she gave up her regular job to become a freelance motoring writer. She quickly picked up on the photography side of things and her photo-journalism took her as far afield as the United States and Japan, as well as Europe, Ireland and the UK. She is now a full-time fiction author and creator of the Charlie Fox series of crime thrillers.

Zoë wrote her first novel when she was fifteen, but success came in 2001 with the publication of KILLER INSTINCT − the first book to feature her ex-Special Forces heroine, Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Fox. The character evolved after Zoë received death-threat letters in the course of her photo-journalism work.

Later Charlie Fox novels − FIRST DROP and FOURTH DAY − were finalists for the Barry Award for Best British Crime Novel. The Charlie Fox series has also been optioned for TV.

As well as the Charlie Fox novels, Zoë’s short stories have been published in anthologies and magazines, and have been shortlisted for the Short Story Dagger by the UK Crime Writers’ Association. Her other writing has been nominated for the coveted Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America, the Anthony Award presented by the Bouchercon World Mystery Convention, the Macavity Award, and the Benjamin Franklin Award from the Independent Book Publishers’ Association.

A keen library supporter and public speaker, Zoë blogs regularly on her Blog page. She also witters on Twitter (@AuthorZoeSharp) and fools about on Facebook (ZoeSharpAuthor). She was formerly a long-term contributor to the acclaimed Murderati blog—alas, now defunct. She’s a regular blogger at MURDER IS EVERYWHERE and also has a presence on goodreads.

Zoë lives in the English Lake District. Her hobbies are sailing, fast cars (and faster motorbikes), target shooting, travel, films, music and reading just about anything she can get her hands on

Author bio © http://www.zoesharp.com/meetsharp.htm
Author image © Nick Lockett

#BlogBlitz | #BookReview: Her Last Secret by Barbara Copperthwaite (@BCopperthwait) @Bookouture

Her-Last-Secret-Kindle.jpg“There are some secrets you can never tell.

The last thing to go through Dominique Thomas’s head was the image of her teenage daughter’s face and her heart lifted. Then the shot rang out.

They were the perfect family. Successful businessman Ben Thomas and his wife Dominique live an enviable life, along with their beautiful children; teenager Ruby and quirky younger daughter, Mouse. 

But on Christmas Day the police are called to their London home, only to discover a horrific scene; the entire family lying lifeless, victims of an unknown assailant. 

But when Ruby’s diary is discovered, revealing her rage at the world around her, police are forced to look closer to home for the key to this tragedy.

Each family member harboured their own dark truths – but has keeping their secrets pushed Ruby to the edge of sanity? Or are there darker forces at work?

This dark, gripping psychological thriller will have you holding your breath until the very last page. Fans of Behind Closed Doors, Sometimes I Lie, and The Girl on the Train will be captivated.”

A very warm welcome to the first day of the Her Last Secret blog blitz which I share with, well, some pretty awesome bloggers.  If you haven’t checked out any of the following then I heartily recommend you do so as they are all absolutely brilliant at this blogging lark; Compulsive ReadersChelle’s Book ReviewsBibliophile Book ClubMy Chestnut Reading Tree and CrimeBookJunkie.  The rest of the blitz also looks to be shaping up nicely with some of my very favourite book blogs taking part, so make sure you catch as many stops as possible!

I was thrilled to hear Barbara Copperthwaite was on the verge of releasing her second book with the mighty Bookouture.  I’m not shy in admitting that I am a huge fan of Copperthwaite’s work; check out my review of Flowers for the Dead and The Darkest Lies if proof is needed!  The bar was set, the standard required was pretty darn high and, Copperthwaite smashed it.

I’m not an overly emotional reader.  I don’t cry at books.  In fact, the last book to make me cry was….let’s see…..oh yes!  The Darkest Lies by Barbara Copperthwaite.  What I didn’t expect was for the same thing to happen again.  I like my books full of blood, guts and as much gore as you can cram in.  People die in the books I read, bad things happen to good people and it rarely (read: never) sets me off in floods of tears.  But Copperthwaite’s writing somehow manages to do something to me that others fail to do.  Once again, I was reduced to a pile of mush as I turned the final page, blubbering my eyes out for one character in particular (OK, maybe two).  Which is strange, seeing as the reader starts at the end of the story.  What Copperthwaite manages to do through the pages of her book is make you fall in love with her characters just a little bit.  I felt completely invested in the Thomas family.  Then the ending happened and WOW!  Just…..WOW!

As a fan of the character-driven novel, I was in my element reading Her Last Secret.  I felt disgust and loathing for husband Benjamin who needs to remove his head from his own bottom and start focussing on his family.  My heart ached for teenager Ruby who was crying (nay, screaming!) for attention from her parents but was sinking further and further away from them.  Young Amber (or Mouse as she’s nicknamed) was beautiful from start to finish and really shone from the pages.  It takes real talent to write a convincing eight-year-old voice but the author has excelled.  And then there’s Dominque; totally flawed, damaged by her past and failing her teenage daughter but oh my gosh, I loved her.

The opening chapter throws the reader straight into the action.  The police are called to a residential street in the early hours of Christmas morning.  Chief Inspector Ogundele doesn’t know what awaits him inside the house, all he knows is that gunshots have been fired.  From there the chapters countdown to Christmas day, giving the reader an insight into the ‘not so perfect’ Thomas family and how they have arrived at such a horrific predicament on what should be one of the happiest days of the year.  Brilliantly executed by the author.  In my view, Copperthwaite’s best novel yet!

Would I recommend this book?  Of course, without a shadow of a doubt!  You’d be a fool to miss out on this one.  Thrilling and heartbreaking in equal measure.  Superb storytelling, compulsive and impossible to put down.  I was hooked and you will be too!

(A very easy) Five out of five stars.

I chose to read and review an eARC of Her Last Secret.  The above review is my own unbiased opinion.

Her Last Secret by Barbara Copperthwaite was published in the UK by Bookouture on 13th October 2017 and is available in paperback, eBook and audio formats | amazon.co.uk | amazon.com | Goodreads |

Her Last Secret - Blog Tour.jpg

about the author3

barbara copperthwaiteWhat people say about Barbara’s books:
“Will have you looking over your shoulder and under your bed… Original, gripping, with a deep psychological impact,” Sunday Mirror
“Enthralling, tense and moving,” Real People magazine
“Totally gripping, and scarily believable,” Bella magazine

Barbara is the author of psychological thrillers INVISIBLE and FLOWERS FOR THE DEAD. Both have been Amazon best sellers. She is also the author of THE DARKEST LIES, and her latest book HER LAST SECRET is out on 13 October.

Much of her success is thanks to her twenty-odd years’ experience as a national newspaper and magazine journalist. She’s interviewed the real victims of crime – and also those who have carried those crimes out. Thanks to people sharing their stories with her, she knows a lot about the emotional impact of violence and wrong-doing. That’s why her novels are dark, realistic and tackle not just the crime but its repercussions.

When not writing feverishly, she is often found hiding behind a camera, taking wildlife photographs.

Author Links: | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Website |