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: Wool (Wool trilogy #1) by Hugh Howey

Wool Omnibus (Silo, #1, Wool, #1-5) - Hugh Howey

Published by: Arrow (25 April 2013)


ISBN: 978-0099580485


Rating: 3*



In a ruined and hostile landscape, in a future few have been unlucky enough to survive, a community exists in a giant underground silo.

Inside, men and women live an enclosed life full of rules and regulations, of secrets and lies.

To live, you must follow the rules. But some don't. These are the dangerous ones; these are the people who dare to hope and dream, and who infect others with their optimism.

Their punishment is simple and deadly. They are allowed outside.

Jules is one of these people. She may well be the last.



This first book in the Wool trilogy has very good reviews and a little quote on the front cover proclaiming it to be "the next Hunger Games", so my expectations were high as I delved into this gift from my hubby (on our wool anniversary!).


Initially I found it quite tough to get into and ended up abandoning it and restarting a few times before persevering and getting past the first few chapters. After that, I found it hard to put down! Once Jules appeared on the scene it became much more appealing, more interesting somehow and seemed much more animated.


Some of the points in the book didn't quite add up. It seemed to take an awfully long time to get between the lower and upper floors. I realise everyone would've needed to walk as there was no lift facility, but it seems excessive. 


Having said that, I really liked most of the characters, especially Lukas, Jules and Solo. For me, these guys really made the book. I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the series, Shift.

Reading progress update: I've read 293 out of 542 pages.

Wool Omnibus (Silo, #1, Wool, #1-5) - Hugh Howey

Review: Miss Wrong and Mr Right by Robert Bryndza

Miss Wrong and Mr Right - Robert Bryndza

Published by: Bookouture (15 December 2016) 


ISBN: 978-1786811080


Source: NetGalley


Rating: 4.5*



Natalie Love has worked hard to have it all. She runs a successful London theatre that's about to host one of Hollywood's leading stars, Ryan Harrison. She’s pretty sure she’s found her man in yoga boyfriend Benjamin, despite his annoying habit of saying Namaste! every time he speaks. And her eccentric, glamorous Gran is always on hand to offer sage advice and steaming bowls of goulash. Life in the bright lights of London has always been Natalie's escape from her chaotic country family in rural Devon and Jamie, the childhood sweetheart she left at the altar fifteen years ago. Until he turns up at her theatre door... Jamie is in town producing a West End show and with rivalry suddenly clouding old feelings, this isn’t quite the reunion Natalie was expecting. Will Benjamin prove to be Natalie’s perfect match? With Ryan turning her head, Natalie is more confused than ever. And what about Jamie – could he be her second chance at first love?



I'm a big fan of the author's crime series but have only just discovered his romcoms through finding this available on NetGalley. I don't generally read much chick-lit but do enjoy the odd bit of light relief from my regular crime/horror/psychological thriller type books every once in a while! 

The author has a great way of building characters that seem so real, and Natalie is no exception. I adore her Gran, she's an absolute delight! I like both Jamie and Ryan, can't choose between them. No wonder Natalie's so confused! 

There are some real laugh out loud moments here as well as some that will make you chuckle to yourself or even just smile. I know I'll be checking out Rob's other offerings in this genre to see what I've been missing out on! Thanks to Bookouture, NetGalley and the author for the ARC in return for my honest review.



Review: Dark Water (Detective Erika Foster #3) by Robert Bryndza

Dark Water - Robert Bryndza

Published by: Bookouture (17 October 2016)


ISBN: 978-1786810694


Source: NetGalley


Rating: 5*



When Detective Erika Foster receives a tip-off that key evidence for a major narcotics case was stashed in a disused quarry on the outskirts of London, she orders for it to be searched. From the thick sludge the drugs are recovered, but so is the skeleton of a young child.

The remains are quickly identified as seven-year-old Jessica Collins. The missing girl who made headline news twenty-six years ago.

As Erika tries to piece together new evidence with the old, she must dig deeper and find out more about the fractured Collins family and the original detective, Amanda Baker. A woman plagued by her failure to find Jessica. Erika soon realises this is going to be one of the most complex and demanding cases she has ever taken on.

Is the suspect someone close to home? Someone is keeping secrets. Someone who doesn’t want this case solved. And they’ll do anything to stop Erika from finding the truth.



When one of my favourite authors has a new book scheduled for release, I'm more excited than a kid in a candy store! So, I couldn't wait to get my hands on Detective Erika Foster's third outing, having been super impressed with books 1 and 2.

The action starts from the very first page, when we're drawn into the sinister goings on at the original crime scene, as the body of a young girl is dumped into the water. This scene was so well written, it really gave me the shivers!

Fast forward 26 years and Erika Foster wants to find out who killed Jessica Collins. That it's a tough cold case receiving media attention thrusts more focus onto Erika, piling on extra pressure. This story has so many twists and turns! The author is a masterful storyteller who is adept at leading you up the garden path and in the wrong direction! At one time or another I think I suspected almost everyone except Erika herself! 

I really enjoyed catching up with Foster's colleagues,  Peterson and Moss, again, and getting to know Erika a bit more. Her sister, Lenka also makes an appearance, together with her children.

The only downside was that I seemed to read this book far too quickly, as I read it in one sitting! I cannot wait to meet Erika Foster again; I hope it isn't too long. Thanks to Bookouture, NetGalley and the author for the ARC in return for my honest review.

Review: Safe With Me by K. L. Slater

Safe With Me: A psychological thriller so tense it will take your breath away - K. Slater

Published by: Bookouture (1 November 2016)


ISBN: 978-1786811066


Source: NetGalley


Rating: 3*




Anna lives a solitary existence, taking solace in order and routine. Her only friend is the lonely old lady next door. She doesn’t like to let people to get too close – she knows how much damage they can do.

Then one ordinary day Anna witnesses a devastating road accident and recognises the driver as Carla, the woman who ruined her life all those years ago. Now it’s Anna’s chance to set things straight but her revenge needs to be executed carefully …

First she needs to get to know Liam, the man injured in the accident. She needs to follow the police investigation. She needs to watch Carla from the shadows…

But as Anna’s obsession with Carla escalates, her own secrets start to unravel. Is Carla really dangerous or does Anna need to worry about someone far closer to home?

A compelling, gripping psychological thriller.



Despite liking the blurb on the back cover, I initially found this book quite hard to get into. I found the way the timeline kept shifting between the present time and the 'event' some years previously quite distracting. The timing in general seemed problematic too. Although Anna got up early for work, it quickly seemed to be the afternoon. There were also general inconsistencies and/or unexplained things occurring like the smell at Anna's - was it real or did she imagine it? There seemed to be various disappearing and reappearing cats!

This book definitely made me think.

The last third of the book was altogether more gripping, meaning I could even forget most of what had previously bothered me about the writing. Even though not all the questions were answered by the time the book concluded, it was a pretty good read. Thanks to Bookouture, NetGalley and the author for the ARC in return for my honest review.


Review: Love You to Death (DS Ruby Preston #1) by Caroline Mitchell

Love You to Death: An Absolutely Gripping Thriller With a Killer Twist (Detective Ruby Preston Crime Thriller Series Book 1) - Caroline Mitchell

Published by: Bookouture (13 November 2016)


ISBN: 978-1786810854


Source: NetGalley


Rating: 5*



Women who’ve had to give up children for adoption are being killed. A knock at their front door begins a nightmare from which they will never wake up.

Detective Ruby Preston and her team must hunt down a disturbed individual before someone else is taken. But just when they think they’ve made a breakthrough, Ruby receives a sinister email, and the case takes a terrifying personal twist.

When bodies start turning up, staged in perfect, domestic scenes, Ruby realises they’re chasing the most frightening serial killer she has ever faced.

Can Ruby catch the killer before they strike again? Or will her troubled past catch up with her first?



I'm a huge fan of the author's Detective Jennifer Knight series, and I'll admit I was a little surprised when I heard she was introducing a new character series.  I was expecting this book to be more or less the same as those in the Detective Knight series, but I couldn't have been more wrong! I absolutely love Ruby Preston! She's strong, feisty, with a personal interest in the case that she is determined to solve.

Her complicated relationship with ex Nathan is a highlight. Will her head rule her heart? The battle within her is brilliantly written, as are Ruby and Nathan as characters.

Protagonist Lucy is absolutely terrifying! I rarely get scared by anything I read but she gave me the shivers! Hats off to Caroline Mitchell for getting the detail in the characters just right. I really feel I got to know them and was watching the story unfold alongside them.

I struggle with insomnia, and actually read this from cover to cover in one sitting, completely oblivious to the outside world! I'm totally in awe of this author's massive talent and I'm so looking forward to DS Ruby Preston's next case.

Thanks to Bookouture, NetGalley and the author for the ARC in return for my honest review.

Review: Games People Play Owen Mullen

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

Self-published (15 February 2016)


ISBN: 978-1519126351


Source: Author provided review copy


Rating: 4*



On a warm summer’s evening thirteen month old Lily Hamilton is abducted from Ayr beach in Scotland, taken while her parents are yards away. Three days later, the distraught father turns up at Glasgow PI Charlie Cameron’s office and begs him to help. Mark Hamilton believes he knows who has stolen his daughter. And why. Against his better judgement Charlie gets involved in a case he would be better off without. But when a child’s body is discovered on Fenwick Moor, then another in St Andrews, the awful truth dawns: there is a serial killer out there whose work has gone undetected for decades. Baby Lily may be the latest victim of a madman. For Charlie it’s too late, he can’t let go. His demons won’t let him. The stunning first novel in a gripping mystery series. Games People Play will have you guessing to the very last line.



While I do read a lot of crime thrillers, they tend to mainly be police procedurals, so getting to know Charlie Cameron, P.I., was a real treat. He's a well written character who I warmed to from the beginning. He throws himself into the case like a man possessed, determined to find out what happened to Lily. The twisting tale that ensues is gripping. I found it really hard to put down, I was desperate to find out what had happened, so I read through the night until I reached the conclusion. I'm so pleased I got the chance to read a review copy of Games People Play and I can't wait to read the next book in the series.


Review: A Cornish Christmas by Lily Graham

A Cornish Christmas: A cosy Christmas romance to curl up with by the fire - Lily Graham

Published by: Bookouture (28 September 2016)


ISBN: 978-1786810755


Source: NetGalley


Rating: 3*



At last Ivy is looking forward to Christmas. She and her husband Stuart have moved to their perfect little cottage by the sea - a haven alongside the rugged cliffs that look out to the Atlantic Ocean. She’s pregnant with their much-longed for first baby and for the first time, since the death of her beloved mother, Ivy feels like things are going to be alright.

But there is trouble ahead. It soon emerges that Stuart has been keeping secrets from Ivy, and suddenly she misses her mum more than ever. 

When Ivy stumbles across a letter from her mother hidden in an old writing desk, secrets from the past come hurtling into the present. But could her mother’s words help Ivy in her time of need? Ivy is about to discover that the future is full of unexpected surprises and Christmas at Sea Cottage promises to be one to remember. 



With this book I was expecting a cosy, festive read with lots of detail about the gorgeous setting of Sea Cottage and the surrounding countryside and coast. What I actually got was something entirely different. This was originally entitled The Postcard, which is entirely more apt. Yes, the story takes place in Cornwall, and at Christmas, but neither of these have any great relevance on the main point of the story. It could be set anywhere in the world and at any time of year! That said...I did find Stuart's jam making an amusing aside, and I found both Stuart and Ivy interesting, well written and believable characters.

I enjoyed some aspects of the story more than others and I felt the ending was a little rushed, but I would read another book by this author. Thanks to Bookouture, NetGalley and the author for an ARC in return for my honest review.

Review: The Gift by Louise Jensen

The Gift: The gripping psychological thriller everyone is talking about - Marie-Louise Jensen

Publisher: Bookouture (15 Dec. 2016)


ISBN-13: 978-1786810977


Source: NetGalley


Rating: 4*



Jenna is given another shot at life when she receives a donor heart from a girl called Callie. Eternally grateful to Callie and her family, Jenna gets closer to them, but she soon discovers that Callie’s perfect family is hiding some very dark secrets …

Callie’s parents are grieving, yet Jenna knows they’re only telling her half the story. Where is Callie’s sister Sophie? She’s been ‘abroad’ since her sister’s death but something about her absence doesn’t add up. And when Jenna meets Callie’s boyfriend Nathan, she makes a shocking discovery.

Jenna knows that Callie didn’t die in an accident. But how did she die? Jenna is determined to discover the truth but it could cost her everything; her loved ones, her sanity, even her life.



Although I initially found this book quite hard to get into, when Jenna began to see snippets of what she perceived to be Callie's memories, I started to get much more interested. I had heard of cellular memory before, but not seen it explored in any detail like this and I found it fascinating. 

The story is different from other psychological thrillers as the subject matter starts from a very unusual place, which I liked, but I did find the storytelling somewhat repetitive. At first I really felt for Jenna, she seemed such a strong character. I started to find her a little irritating when she just couldn't resist poking her nose into every aspect of Callie's life, even though I would probably have done the exact same thing!

The last third of the book gets very dramatic and I found it difficult to put down, as unforseen secrets are uncovered and family members are found. I can't reveal whether the ending is a happy one for Jenna, but it's certainly heart-pounding!

Thanks to Bookouture, NetGalley and the author for the ARC in return for my honest review.


Blog tour for Witness by Caroline Mitchell

Witness - Caroline Mitchell

Published by: Thomas & Mercer (20 December 2016)


ISBN-13: 978-1503941502


Source: Netgalley


Rating: 5*



To Rebecca it was a brave decision that led to her freedom from domestic abuse. To Solomon it was the ultimate betrayal. It’s been ten years since Rebecca’s testimony saw Solomon locked away. Enough time for the nightmares to recede, the nerves to relax; enough time to rebuild her life and put the past behind her. Then one day a phone rings in her bedroom—but it’s not her phone. Solomon has been in her home, and has a very simple message for her: for each of the ten years he has spent in jail, Rebecca must witness a crime. And, to make matters worse, she has to choose the victims. Fail to respond and you get hurt. Talk to police and you die. Ready to play? You have sixty seconds to decide. As the crimes grow more severe, the victims closer to home, Rebecca is forced to confront a past she had hoped was gone forever.



This book starts simply enough with one phone call. From that moment on, Caroline Mitchell's deliciously dark words seemed to weave a magical spell as I was unable to stop reading until I'd followed Rebecca to witness each horrific crime until the last one loomed large in front of me. This stand alone thriller is my first read of Caroline Mitchell's that doesn't feature police procedural and I really like the difference. Soloman's planned manipulation of Rebecca is chilling. It really made me stop and think. The story is gripping, thrilling and mesmerising, with characters that get right under your skin. Rebecca is strong yet flawed and vulnerable; Soloman is evil but also a victim of a difficult childhood, so in a way had some of my sympathy. So complicated! What a corker you've written here Ms Mitchell! Thanks to Thomas & Mercer, Netgalley and the author for sending an ARC in return for my unbiased review.

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.

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