Claire loves to read!

I'm Claire and I'm a voracious reader. I've loved books all my life and am lucky enough to have lots of time to devote to my favourite hobby - reading!


My favourite genres are crime, police procedural, psychological thriller, suspense, horror, mystery and paranormal; throw in a hint of romance and it'll tick another box. The type of genres I read has been widened considerably by accepting review requests from authors and publishers, so I'm happy to give almost anything a go!   2016 NetGalley Challenge 
      Reviews Published    2015 Challenge Participant


Review: Celebrity Chef Zombie Apocalypse by Jack Strange

Celebrity Chef Zombie Apocalypse - Amanda Horan, Graeme Parker, Jack Strange

Self-published: (5th May 2016)


ISBN: 978-1532987250


Source:  author


Rating: 4*



Celebrity Chef Zombie Apocalypse is the story of the dead celebrity chef Floyd Rampant, who rises from his grave aiming to create a zombie army of chefs who will rule the world, using the human species as the main ingredient in their cordon bleu meals.It is dark, original, and so funny it should carry a government health warning.It is a gourmet feast, an unmissable read, and a black and poignant joke. Part horror story, part political and social satire, it gives the reader a fast-paced entrée of dread, a main course of panic and a dessert of distress.CCZA, as it's known for short, has a cast of unforgettable characters, most of whom meet with gruesome ends. The action begins in Croydon, moves to London, and reaches its explosive climax in the author's home town of Huddersfield.This smart, witty and profound modern day classic works on many levels.



Celebrity Chef Zombie Apocalypse had me chuckling away to myself within the first couple of pages. Floyd is a larger than life character you can't get out of your mind; once met, never forgotten! Supported by an entertaining bunch of lesser characters, he takes us through this highly amusing zombie tale.


Although comedic in nature, CCZA is not for the faint of heart as there are some gruesome scenes too, as to be expected (and relished!). There is a decent plot and a few surprises too. I'd recommend it to fans of horror and zombie books - you'll love it!

Review: Legion (Hell on Earth #2) by Iain Rob Wright

Legion: Volume 2 (Hell On Earth) by Iain Rob Wright (2016-06-02) - Iain Rob Wright

Published by: SalGad Publishing Group (17 May 2016)




Rating: 5*



What will you do when the world ends? That’s a question that needs answering quickly when the gates to Hell open up all over Earth. Taking place across the globe is an apocalypse like no other, as humanity finds itself at war against a smart and merciless foe. Follow the struggles of survival with several characters as things go from bad to worse. Humanity is dwindling.

Vamps has never been anything more than a kid on the streets, but when those streets become a war zone, he and his childhood friends are forced to step up and become heroes—not an easy thing to do for a bunch of gangsters. It doesn’t help matters that a rival gang is also out for their blood and that a group of humans seem to be helping the enemy.

Hernandez is a US Navy Lieutenant with a bright, neatly planned future. That is until the world ends and a chance encounter with a rogue Coast Guard Captain leaves his future in disarray. It will take a lot of hard work, planning, and manipulation to take back the reigns of his destiny, and punish those who have crossed him.

Richard Honeywell is a police office at a time when being a police officer is the least safest thing a person can do. The world is at war, but Richard still has a duty to keep the peace and protect the citizens of the United Kingdom. Yet, how can he do that when his own family are in danger? People are looking to him for leadership, but how do you lead army of civilians to certain death?

The world must come together and fight back against the unstoppable Legions of Hell, because no one is coming to help them. The monsters are real and they will not stop. Welcome to Hell.



I'm a huge fan of Iain Rob Wright's books, but I've somehow neglected to read The Gates, the first in the Hell on Earth series. Despite this, I was able to pick up the threads of the story with each character without any trouble or confusion, but I'll definitely be reading book #1 very soon! Each new chapter was dedicated to a different character, which was clearly stated.This obviously really helped me know who the chapter was going to be about.

The way the chapters picked up the story with each of the characters alternately really helped build the momentum of the premise as a whole; I could see a map in my mind of where all the characters were and what they were doing in their groups to fight the Legions of Hell.


The story itself is one of my favourites by the author. I'm a sucker for anything involving demons. One of my favourite TV shows involves a couple of brothers who drive around hunting demons and other monsters, whilst trying to seal the gates of Hell, so demons plus gates of Hell, fallen angels and the like...welll, you had me at demons, the rest is a very big bonus! I like the writing style, although it's a good versus evil tale it still throws you the odd surprise, and the (human) characters are believable. Personally, I think the author should adapt this into a longer series for all us demon hunter fans.



All Fall Down by Tom Bale

All Fall Down - Tom Bale

Published by: Bookouture (1 September 2016)


Source: NetGalley


Rating: 5*



You tried to save a life. Now you’re fighting to save your own.

It should have been an idyllic day for the Turner family – until a dying man, beaten beyond all recognition, arrives at their home, uttering the words, HELP ME.

Rob and Wendy Turner and their children try to explain away the horrific scene as being in the wrong place at the wrong time, but in the days that follow their lives are threatened in ways they could never imagine.

The family is unaware that they are being watched by someone with their own terrifying agenda, who will stop at nothing to fulfil their own twisted desires.

But when hidden secrets come rushing to the surface, it’s clear not everything is as it seems in this happy family. Are the Turners a victim of circumstance – or does the key to their fate lie closer to home?

Forced to fight for everything they hold dear, can they save themselves before time runs out – or will their act of compassion see them paying the ultimate price…?



I was eager to read this book as I'd simply devoured the author's previous book, See How They Run. This has a similar opening feeling as it starts with a family, just an ordinary family, whose world rapidly begins to unravel. 


Once the hidden secrets started coming and the story became more terrifying with every turn of my kindle page, I simply couldn't put it down! As with its predecessor, I read long into the night, my heart racing, until I reached the mindblowing conclusion.


With All Fall Down, Tom Bale has rightfully earned his place among the best thriller writers. I cannot wait to read his next book, but until then I'll be reading his back catalogue.


Review: Christmas at the Little Village Bakery (Honeybourne #2) by Tilly Tennant

Christmas at the Little Village Bakery: A feel good festive romance to curl up by the fire with (Honeybourne) (Volume 2) - Tilly Tennant

Published by: Bookouture (16 September 2016)

ISBN: 1786810670



Snow is falling in Honeybourne and Spencer is bringing home his American fiancée Tori for a traditional English Christmas with all the trimmings. But when his hippie mum and dad meet her high-maintenance parents, sparks of the wrong sort start to fly. Then Spencer bumps into his first love Jasmine and unexpected feelings come flooding back.

Millie is run off her feet with Christmas orders at the Little Village Bakery and new baby Oscar. Thank goodness her cousin Darcie is here to help her. Although she does seem to be rather flirty with Millie’s boyfriend Dylan.

Will Darcie ever find true love of her own? And is marrying Tori a terrible mistake for Spencer if his heart is with someone else?




Christmas at the Little Village Bakery is a scrummy, hug of a book that just oozes warmth. The  story is touching, a little poignant yet humorous at times, and the cast of characters are a delight. The way they weave together is masterful and getting to know them was a real pleasure. I wanted to move to the village and make friends with them all, and of course sample  baked goods!


This is the perfect feel good Christmas stocking filler for readers of romance. Although it's gorgeously frothy, the writing is great and the story isn't predictable, a definite bonus! Although I've not read the first in the Honeybourne series, it didn't matter as this reads week as a stand alone and the characters are introduced really well. I will be reading book 1 in the not too distant future though!

Danielle Walker's Against All Grain Celebrations by Danielle Walker

Danielle Walker's Against All Grain Celebrations: A Year of Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Paleo Recipes for Every Occasion - Danielle Walker

Published by: Ten Speed Press (27 Sept. 2016)

  • ISBN-13: 978-1607749424
  • Source: NetGalley
  • Rating: 4*



From the two-time New York Times best-selling author ofAgainst All Grain and Meals Made Simple, comes 125 recipes for grain-free, dairy-free, gluten-free comfort food dishes for holidays and special occasions.
When people adopt a new diet for health or personal reasons, they worry most about the parties, holidays, and events with strong food traditions, fearing their fond memories will be lost along with the newly eliminated food groups. After suffering for years with a debilitating autoimmune disease and missing many of these special occasions herself, Danielle Walker has revived the joy that cooking for holidays can bring in Danielle Walker's Against All Grain Celebrations, a collection of recipes and menus for twelve special occasions throughout the year.
Featuring a variety of birthday cakes, finger foods to serve at a baby or bridal shower, and re-creations of backyard barbecue standards like peach cobbler and corn bread, Danielle includes all of the classics. There's a full Thanksgiving spread--complete with turkey and stuffing, creamy green bean casserole, and pies--and menus for Christmas dinner; a New Year's Eve cocktail party and Easter brunch are covered, along with suggestions for beverages and cocktails and the all-important desserts. Recipes can be mixed and matched among the various occasions, and many of the dishes are simple enough for everyday cooking. Stunning full-color photographs of every dish make browsing the pages as delightful as cooking the recipes, and beautiful party images provide approachable and creative entertaining ideas.
Making recipes using unfamiliar ingredients can cause anxiety, and while trying a new menu on a regular weeknight leaves some room for error, the meal simply cannot fail when you have a table full of guests celebrating a special occasion. Danielle has transformed her most cherished family traditions into trustworthy recipes you can feel confident serving, whether you re hosting a special guest with food allergies, or cooking for a crowd of regular grain-eaters.



This is a comprehensive book for anyone looking to embrace a grain free way of eating. There are recipes too suit every pocket, occasion, taste and level of expertise. Perfect for those actively avoiding grains or just looking to cut down on carbs. With fantastic photographs to accompany Danielle's recipes, this book would make an ideal addition to any book shelf.

Reading progress update: I've read 46%.

Games People Play:  A Gritty Gripping Scottish Crime Thriller (Charlie Cameron Series Book 1) - Owen Mullen

Review: The Taken by Casey Kelleher

The Taken: A Twisted, Gripping Crime Thriller - Not for the Faint-Hearted - Casey Kelleher

Published by: Bookouture (5 October 2016)


ISBN: 9781786810779


Source: NetGalley


Rating: 4*



Saskia Frost’s world is blown apart when her dad dies. Without any family, she’s on her own now and up to her eyeballs in her father’s debts. He owed a lot of money to some very dangerous men – Joshua and Vincent Harper. Before long, aspiring ballerina Saskia finds herself lap-dancing in a London club to survive. A club run by the infamous Harper brothers. Saskia is now their property and they’re going to make her pay every penny back.

Teenager Lena Cona has fled a cruel and controlling marriage. She arrives in England with her newborn daughter, desperately relying on strangers for help. But she soon learns that not everyone can be trusted as she finds herself caught in the clutches of Colin Jefferies, a twisted individual obsessed with his ‘perfect dollies’. But when the sickening truth behind them is revealed, Lena is forced to fight for her life - and her baby’s.

When their worlds collide, Lena and Saskia form an unlikely friendship. But with the terrifying Harper brothers on their tail, as well as Lena’s vengeful and violent husband, can they escape with their lives?



The Taken is a gripping psychological thriller that grabbed my attention from the outset. With an emotive plot involving kidnapping and forced marriage, I found it both shocking and compulsive reading, unable to tear my eyes from the page. Having said that, I found some things predictable.


There are enough twists and turns to hold the reader's interest, and the sub-plots with Vincent & Joshua add another dimension to this tale. I'd like to thank Bookouture.and NetGalley for providing me with a review copy, in return for my honest revIew.

Review: The Alchemy of Reality by Andy Echevarria

The Alchemy of Reality - Andy Echevarria

Self-published (January 4 2016)


  • ASIN: B01A7JEV6M



Join us on the ride through a kaleidoscope of mystery and intrigue. In these ten tales of suspense, the lines between fact and reality blur, challenging one's notions of everyday life. Eerie, poignant, and at times inspiring, this collection of never-before-seen stories will transport you to a world where the supernatural abounds alongside the banal, and nothing is what it seems...



This collection of ten short stories contained some that I enjoyed now than others. There were a couple that I feel had the potential to develop into much longer pieces of work, 

Elevator and Wunderkind. On the whole a good read.Thanks to the author for providing a review copy in return for my honest review.


Review: The Killer Inside (DS Jessica Daniel #1) by Kerry Wilkinson

The Killer Inside: A gripping serial killer thriller (Detective Jessica Daniel thriller series Book 1) - Kerry Wilkinson

Published by: Bookouture (September 9 2016)


ISBN: 9781786810533


Source: NetGalley


Rating: 4*




When the body of a woman is found in a locked house, Detective Sergeant Jessica Daniel is called in to investigate a seemingly impossible murder.

Faced with little in the way of leads and a journalist who seems to know more than she does, Jessica is under intense pressure to solve the case fast.

When a second body is discovered bearing the same hallmarks of the first victim, the investigation suddenly escalates. Jessica is on the hunt for a serial killer who willstrike again. Can she get to him before the body count rises? And is she prepared to put her own life in terrible danger to catch the murderer?



I requested this from NetGalley by mistake, eagerly clicking as soon as I saw the author's name and totally missing that it was US only. The Killer Inside was published in the UK as Locked In

I really like Jessica Daniel as a character. She's not one of those completely ballsy female cops who can do it all with an a for attitude. Having said , she is a little bit inclined to wander in without calling for backup, but she's inexperienced and a little immature. I'm hoping she will grow in future books. 

In terms of plot, there were some twists and turns, some red herrings, but I did guess the killer's identity fairly early on.

Thanks to Kerry Wilkinson, Bookouture and NetGalley for providing a review copy.

Review: The Secret Language of Dogs by Victoria Stilwell

The Secret Language of Dogs: Unlocking the Canine Mind for a Happier Pet - Victoria Stilwell

Published by: Ten Speed Press (11th October 2016)


ISBN: 9781607749523


Source: NetGalley


Rating: 4*



Although I'm not an avid viewer, I have seen the odd episode of It's Me or the Dog and like Victoria Stilwell's approach. In The Secret Language of Dogs, Victoria invites us to look at the way that dogs look at us. Confused? Don't be. This is an interesting and insightful guide to reading your dog that little bit better. It's clearly laid out, in language we can all understand, and it helped me look at our dogs in a slightly different light. I'm sure fellow dog mums will love it! 

Review: The Forgotten Woman by Angela Marsons

The Forgotten Woman - Angela Marsons

Published by: Bookouture (11th July 2016) 


Source: NetGalley


Rating: 4*



Two ordinary women. Two damaged lives. One friendship that would save them both
Kit Mason has lived a life of unimaginable pain. An ex-prostitute, she has fled the clutches of an abusive pimp and now finds herself living hand to mouth in a new city, without anyone to help her.

Frances Thornton seems to be living the perfect life. A lawyer from a privileged background, her perfect façade hides the painful secrets that still haunt her.

Brought together by their attempts to conquer their addictions in an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, the two women strike up an unlikely friendship.

But can they find strength in each other – or will the demons of their past catch up with them?



I was intrigued by this change in genre from crime thriller author Angela Marsons. The Forgotten Woman tells the story of the chance meeting of Fran and Kit, and their battles to overcome their demons. 


While I didn't immediately identify with either of the main characters, I could appreciate that they were well written. The backgrounds of the characters was intriguing, particularly Fran's. It felt like the author had drawn on personal experience, or carried out extensive research. Because of this, it was easy to picture the scene playing out in front of me.


I didn't think this was as good as the author's crime thriller series, but that is my preferred genre.

Special thanks to Kitty French and Bookouture for providing a review copy, via NetGalley.







Review: Melody Bittersweet and the Girls' Ghostbusting Agency by Kitty French

Melody Bittersweet and The Girls' Ghostbusting Agency - Kitty French

Published by: Bookouture (13th July 2016)


ISBN-13: 978-1786810397


Source: NetGalley


Rating: 5*



When I first started reading Melody Bittersweet I wasn't really sure what to expect, and was a little dubious. I certainly wasn't expecting the delightfully funny, riotous romp of a tale that ensued. 


Melody is a fantastic complex character, whose personality leaps off the page.Supported by a brilliant cast of secondary characters, Melody quickly became my new best friend and someone to be admired. The laugh-out-loud moments just don't stop!


Well written with an eye for detail, Melody Bittersweet and the Girls' Ghostbusting Agency is a book that really took me by surprise and I have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone who enjoys a damn good read!



Review: Lizzie's Christmas Escape by Christie Barlow

Lizzie's Christmas Escape: A sparkling feel good Christmas romance - Christie Barlow

Published by: Bookouture (21st October 2016)


Source: Netgalley


Rating: 4*



A gorgeous country house hotel, a liberal dusting of snow, a cosy weekend away…what more could Lizzie ask for at Christmas?

Every Christmas Lizzie promises herself that things will change and she will leap into the new year a new woman. And yet here she is again, at the beginning of December and nothing is different. Her girls have grown up and left home, her husbandHenry is slumped in front of the TV and she is alone in the kitchen, seeking refuge in the cooking sherry and talking to her Gary Barlow calendar. She’s also been very diverted by handsome new neighbour Marcus and she knows she shouldn’t be …

So when best friend Ann suggests a weekend away in the country, Lizzie jumps at the chance. Will this Christmas escape give Lizzie some much needed perspective and allow her to mend her marriage? Or will Marcus prove to be too much of a distraction?

A funny feel good festive read about rediscovering the magic of Christmas - just the thing to curl up with on a cold winters night.




This was my first Xmas read of this year and was an ideal way to ease into the cosy, Christmassy feelings these festive books bring about.


I found main character Lizzie likeable and believable, even if I didn't really identify with her very much. Best friend Ann is great too, and the pair bounce off each other nicely. Lizzie did seem a little naive at times, which I found slightly frustrating, but that is my only criticism of the character.


I found parts of the story predictable, but that doesn't really matter with this type of fiction, as long as some things are still a surprise! I like that it is a very human story and definitely not all sugary sweet, so it feels very realistic.


Thanks to Christie Barlow and Bookouture for supplying a review copy, via NetGalley.

Review: Clean Soups by Rebecca Katz & Mat Edelsen

Clean Soups: Simple, Nourishing Recipes for Health and Vitality - Mat Edelson, Rebecca Katz

Published by: Ten Speed Press (6th September 2016)


ISBN: 9780399578250


Source: NetGalley


Rating: 4*



From bestselling author Rebecca Katz comes this collection of 60 recipes for pure, cleansing soups intended to renew and restore.

In Clean Soups, author Rebecca Katz teaches readers how to incorporate wholesome stocks and soups into their everyday eating so they can detox and feel energized year-round. The book includes foundational broths, blended soups, and traditional healing soups, as well as a 2-day cleanse and information that outlines how to incorporate soups into everyday living. Rebecca also lays out the building blocks for creating delicious and balanced soups, guiding readers to create their own concoctions. Rounding out the book are recipes for soup toppers that can be mixed and matched to enhance and change the flavor of every soup in the book.



I really enjoy a good bowl of soup and much prefer to eat pure, unprocessed food as it makes me feel so much better than how I feel if I eat lots of unhealthy, processed foods loaded with strange sounding artificial ingredients.


The recipes included may appear a little daunting to people who aren't used to cooking from scratch, but if they've already purchased the book I'll assume they have the motivation to actually cook the recipes too. Of course, there are lots of nifty gadgets that make it all a lot simpler too.


I've made a few soups from this book and I've really enjoyed them. I prefer a blended soup, so it was different for me to leave some in a chunky style, but I found them very tasty so I've learned that I like chunky soups too, and found them really filling.


The 2-day cleanse detail is a nice added bonus that seems to fit in well with the clean eating ethos and something other soup books probably wouldn't contain, so could well be this book's USP.


Special thanks to Ten Speed Press and NetGalley for providing an ARC in return for my honest review.

Type X (Project W. A. R. #2) by M.A. Phipps, the sequel to Ultraxenopia, my 2015 book of the year, is published today!

Type X - M. A. Phipps

Published by: CHBB Publishing (19th August 2016)





Two years have passed since her willing return to the DSD, and Wynter Reeves is no longer the timid girl who only wanted to blend in. Strong, confidant, and in control of her once debilitating powers, the world trembles at her feet while news of what she’s capable of spreads like fire among the State’s enemies. As the death toll rises and Dr. Richter further warps her into a weapon of war, Wynter is forced to embrace the daunting reality of what she’s become. With the remnants of her humanity hanging on by a shoestring, she must choose between the one sacrifice that could lead to her salvation or the dark path of destruction from which there can be no return.

Torn between two sides of a war she never asked for, will Wynter find her freedom, or will she be doomed to remain a monster forever?



This follow-up to last year's Ultraxenopia had an awful lot to live up to. It was great to finally catch up with Wynter and see what was happening in her life, now that she was back at the DSD.


It was a bit of a shock at first that two years had gone by since the end of Ultraxenopia, but I soon forgot about that as I was immediately sucked into the story. Wynter is now the State's killing machine and seems resigned to this fate, although she does remember some of the person she was before she was turned into a weapon. I don't put spoilers in my reviews and I'm having trouble with this one already! Suffice to say there is lots of action, a few characters from the first book make an appearance, including Dr Richter, who is determined to recapture his ultimate weapon. There are also some new characters that Wynter is rather suspicious of at first. Conversely, people are suspicious of Wynter. She is determined to prove that she is not the monster people perceive her to be.


M.A. Phipps has, again, written a compelling novel that grabs you from the very outset.It is intelligently written and utterly captivating, making it impossible to put down until you have finished the entire book. It is also quite emotionally diverse. I cannot wait to see where the story picks up in book three!



Review: The Woman who Lost her Mojo by Carol E. Wyer

The Woman Who Lost Her Mojo: An uplifting feel good novel about new love - Carol E. Wyer

Published by: Bookouture (23rd September 2016)


ISBN: 9781786810724 


Source: NetGalley 


Rating: 4.5*



Since splitting from her husband, Charlie’s life has been stuck in a rut. Best friend Mercedes will do anything to put a smile back on Charlie’s face and so draws up a bucket list of things to help Charlie recover her mojo.

Sure enough, as Charlie works her way through the list, belly dancing and bungee jumping, she makes new friends and even begins to attract some male attention.

Journalist Jake gives Charlie butterflies but he almost seems too perfect – there must be a reason why he’s single. Perhaps Rob would be a better bet – yes he’s short and he drinks too much - but a girl can’t have everything can she?

The final challenge on Charlie’s list looms large. Can Charlie complete it and prove to herself that life is for living, whatever may have happened in the past? And can Jake get through to Charlie and stop her from settling for the single life or, the wrong man?




I don't read an awful lot of chick lit, but I know I can rely on the Bookouture authors to provide some much-needed light relief when I need a break from my beloved crime and psychological thrillers. Award-winning writer Carol E. Wyers is a new author to me, but I am familiar with her name, having recently found a copy of Life Swap in a local second hand book shop.


The premise of this novel is fabulous; two best friends agree to work their way through each others' Carpe Diem list, their version of a bucket list, undertaking the challenges. As Charlie works her way through her challenges, each more scary than the last, she gets into all sorts of trouble, often with hilarious results. I laughed so much whilst reading this book, it's got such a feel good factor! 


Charlie and best friend Mercedes seem like a couple of women I'd be friends with, and their relationship is so easy to relate to. Other characters simply add to the enjoyment, particularly adorable Bert. My only criticism would be that I worked out very early on what would happen, but I think this is acceptable in the genre, and the only thing that made me give it less than 5*.


Thanks to Bookouture and NetGalley for providing an ARC in return for my honest review.



Currently reading

Safe With Me: A psychological thriller so tense it will take your breath away by K. Slater
Witness by Caroline Mitchell
Love You to Death: An Absolutely Gripping Thriller With a Killer Twist (Detective Ruby Preston Crime Thriller Series Book 1) by Caroline Mitchell
Games People Play: A Gritty Gripping Scottish Crime Thriller (Charlie Cameron Series Book 1) by Owen Mullen
Progress: 46%
A Cornish Christmas: A cosy Christmas romance to curl up with by the fire by Lily Graham