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!

 

    bookbridgr.com   2016 NetGalley Challenge 
      Reviews Published    2015 Challenge Participant

 *NOT CURRENTLY ACCEPTING REVIEW APPLICATIONS*
 

Happy Publication Day! Red Days by M. L. Sparrow

Red Days - M L Sparrow

 

ULTRAXENOPIA by M.A. Phipps pre-order blitz

 

I'm super excited that Ultraxenopia, my top read of 2015, is being re-released by Seven Sisters Publishing on August 1st 2017. It has a simply breathtaking new cover image, designed by Nathalia Suellen.

 

 

Don’t stand out. Blend in. Remain invisible. Those are the rules I lived by—the rules I thought would keep me alive. I was wrong.

Wynter Reeves is a law-abiding citizen of the State, a willing conformist whose daily life is haunted by terrorism and oppression. With the constant threat of death hanging over her like a shadow, she forces herself to live by a strict set of rules, all in the hope of ensuring she is never noticed. However, on her twenty-first birthday, as she prepares to take the placement exam that will determine her future within society, she begins to show symptoms of a rare and debilitating illness—ultimately attracting the attention of the State. Taken into the custody of the feared research facility known as the DSD, her worst nightmare becomes reality. Ripped away from the life she knew, Wynter is forced to become the test subject of the mysterious Dr. Richter. Through him, she learns the true and terrifying nature of her condition: a disease called Ultraxenopia.

 

Watch the brilliant trailer here

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Join in the celebration at the release party on August 1st here

 

 

M. A. PHIPPS is an American author who resides near the ocean in picturesque Cornwall with her husband, daughter, and their Jack Russell, Milo. A lover of the written word, it has always been her dream to become a published author, and it is her hope to expand into multiple genres of fiction. When she isn’t writing, you can find her counting down the days until the new season of Game of Thrones.

 

You can make contact with the author v via her official webpage here or via

Facebook Twitter Instagram Pinterest YouTube Amazon Bookbub goodreads

Official Fan Group

She'd love to hear from you!

 

Pre-Order Ultraxenopia at:

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Excerpt: 

“This isn’t how it looks,” I stammer.
A sarcastic laugh explodes from his lungs, echoing through the otherwise soundless bar.
“Really? Because, from where I’m standing, it looks like you’re one of them.”
“I’m not.” The words sound weak and unconvincing.
He pushes the barrel of the gun against my temple, and our faces are so close now that I can feel his heated breath against my lips.
“Why should I believe you?” he growls.
I tense my jaw, spitting my next words through clenched teeth. “If I was one of them, they would already be here,” I hiss back.
The State doesn’t play games. He must know that better than anyone. They wouldn’t waste time sending in a single person when they could more efficiently get the job done by sending a whole team. If I was one of them, the Enforcers would already be here. The State wouldn’t bother with this game of charades.
His expression doesn’t change, but I can see his true reaction in his gaze—the doubt that appears there. He seems to grasp that what I’ve said makes sense, but at the same time, can’t wrap his head around any other reason why I’d be here.
He wavers, and I can feel his uncertainty in the way the point of his gun wobbles against my skin. His eyes remain fixed on mine, making my heart race even faster. I only glance away when I notice a movement to my right. Looking up, I see another man now standing beside us.
“We can’t take any chances,” the man grumbles before spitting on the floor in front of me. “We should kill her to be sure.”
A deep-rooted panic washes over me, the fear like a smoldering and inextinguishable ember. Despite everything I’ve seen, I still have my doubts as to what’s really happening, and I can’t help worrying that this won’t end well. How can it? I won’t even be given the chance to defend myself.
He presses the gun even harder against my forehead, causing me to suck in a sharp breath. Our eyes lock once again.
“How do you know my name?”
I stare at him, trying to figure out the best way to answer his question. His hazel eyes are probing, but I find myself losing focus on his expression. His face has gone hazy, the bar even darker. The nausea from before returns with a vengeance, consuming my entire body and pressing down on me with a force that threatens to pin me to the floor.
I sway, lightheaded.
A strange trickling resonates around us, the sound deafening in the hushed bar. At first, I think I’m imagining it, but then I see the alarming change in his face.
His eyebrows pull together as he looks down, and suddenly, he’s taking a reflexive step back. I follow his gaze once more, my own vision doubling as I take in the tremendous pool of red that seems to surround me.
I watch the blood as it drips from my open wrist, the bandage soaked through and unravelling from its hiding place in the no longer white sleeve.
His eyes snap back to mine, and my every movement feels delayed as I glance up to meet them. The moment I do, the images from my vision flash through my thoughts, reminding me why I’m here.
I see his face. His hazel eyes.
I see his tears.
“I’m sorry, Wynter.”
Any and all light that the bar possessed vanishes in an instant, and the pain I had managed to forget hits me all at once. I gaze at him, concentrating on his face as much as my increasing blood loss will allow. Focusing on his eyes, which continue to stare back at me.
My lips pull into a smile as the darkness rushes to overcome me.
“I saw you,” I breathe.

 

*COVER REVEAL* ULTRAXENOPIA BY M. A. PHIPPS

 

Title: Ultraxenopia
Author: M. A. Phipps
Genre: YA Dystopian Thriller
Cover Designer: Nathalia Suellen
Editor: Catherine Stovall (CLS Editing)
Expected Release Date: Aug. 1st, 2017
Publisher: Seven Sisters Publishing

 

Blurb:
Don’t stand out. Blend in. Remain invisible. Those are the rules I lived by—the rules I thought would keep me alive.

I was wrong.

Wynter Reeves is a law-abiding citizen of the State, a willing conformist whose daily life is haunted by terrorism and oppression. With the constant threat of death hanging over her like a shadow, she forces herself to live by a strict set of rules, all in the hope of ensuring she is never noticed. However, on her twenty-first birthday, as she prepares to take the placement exam that will determine her future within society, she begins to show symptoms of a rare and debilitating illness—ultimately attracting the attention of the State. Taken into the custody of the feared research facility known as the DSD, her worst nightmare becomes reality.

Ripped away from the life she knew, Wynter is forced to become the test subject of the mysterious Dr. Richter. Through him, she learns the true and terrifying nature of her condition: a disease called Ultraxenopia.

 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33806043-ultraxenopia

 

Author Bio:
M. A. PHIPPS is an American author who resides near the ocean in picturesque Cornwall with her husband, daughter, and their Jack Russell, Milo. A lover of the written word, it has always been her dream to become a published author, and it is her hope to expand into multiple genres of fiction. When she isn’t writing, you can find her counting down the days until the new season of Game of Thrones.

 

Author Links:
Official Webpage: http://www.maphipps.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authormaphipps/
Official Fan Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/436191730095124/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/authormaphipps
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13682371.M_A_Phipps
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authormaphipps/
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/MAPhipps
Pinterest: https://uk.pinterest.com/authormaphipps/
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2sF4HC5
BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/m-a-phipps

 

Excerpt:
“Her blood type,” she whispers in a hushed voice to the man. “It’s . . . changing.”
I may not know much about science, or anything medical having to do with the human body, but I know enough to be certain that what she’s saying isn’t possible. Not without unnatural intervention at least.
I gape at the man, but he doesn’t say anything. He doesn’t even seem to react to this news. His eyes follow the code for a while, and his fingers rub his chin as if deep in thought.
When the process is complete, the sphere stops spinning and sinks back to the desktop, landing with a soft thud against the glass surface. Within seconds of touching down, the metal exterior shifts until it’s once again nothing more than a silver bowl filled with blood.
The man straightens up, and everyone in the room watches him in silence, waiting for him to speak.
Including me.
“Fascinating,” he murmurs.
Without warning, he looks over at me, and my heart rate increases when his lips curl into a smile. For some reason, his expression is unnerving.
Moving toward me, his footsteps echo off the floor—the sound growing louder as the distance between us shrinks. His gaze never leaves mine.
Stopping just in front of me, he flashes a kind smile. “Hello, Wynter. My name is Dr. Richter. I’ll be taking care of you.”
Taking care of me?
“Why am I here?” I breathe. My voice is shaky, and the dryness in my throat is apparent in each raspy word. “What are you going to do to me?”
“Shh, hush now,” he whispers. “All of your questions will be answered in time.”
He smiles once again, only breaking eye contact with me to glance down at his hand. I follow his gaze, the fear re-emerging when I see him pull a syringe from the depths of his coat pocket. His eyes flash back to mine, and I know he can sense my fear as well as the piercing screams lodged in my throat.
“But for now,” he croons as he injects the syringe into one of the tubes in my right arm, “you must sleep.”
He takes a step away from me, that disconcerting expression still plastered across his face. I try to say something, but I’m unable to get out a single word before I feel the effects of the liquid as it enters my system. It rushes through me like a cold chill.
I want to fight against it, but it’s hopeless.
As the drowsiness returns to pull me under yet again, the doctor’s smile is all I can see.

Source: http://www.facebook.com/groups/436191730095124

Cover Reveal & competition! Red Days by M. L. Sparrow

Red Days - M L Sparrow

 

About the author:

M L Sparrow is currently the author of four full length novels and two short novellas, as well as a slew of short stories published in various places. Her novella, A Tangled Web, was a finalist in the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.

She will write pretty much anything that pops into her head, no matter the genre, and enjoys keeping her readers guessing as to what she will write next, though you can pretty much guarantee that there will be some degree of romance!

As well as writing, M L Sparrow enjoys travelling and has been to some amazing countries in the past few years, her favourite of which was Japan. She never fails to gather inspiration from her travels and has an endless supply of ideas for future novels…

To find out more check out her website – http://mlsparrow.wix.com/mlsparrow

 

 

You can send your screenshot via any of these methods...

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Pre-order via Amazon:

UK   US


About Red Days:

2017: 235 taken into captivity, 570 slaughtered.

Keiko never set out to be an activist, but when she’s sent on an assignment to Taiji, Japan, the ball is set in motion. Reporting on the brutal yearly slaughter of hundreds of dolphins alters her life.

Over the course of ten years Keiko follows the highs and lows of the campaign to stop the slaughter of dolphins in Japan and attempts to bring change through her articles. Will her efforts and that of many others be enough?

*Though fictional, Red Days is based on a series of true events up until January 2017*

 

 

An excerpt:

Someone had already switched the radio on and she listened to the soft strains of a new song by some up and coming artist as she popped the lid off her cup and leant back in her chair to sip her heavily sweetened coffee, licking foam from her lips.
Susie, the woman in the cubicle next to hers, arrived and called hello over the partition. Keiko listened to the sound of her laptop booting up and then the fast-paced click of fingers typing. Deciding she should do the same, she pulled her laptop out of her bag and rolled her chair closer to the desk. A minute later she was staring at a blank white page wondering what to write.
Thinking back to the documentary, the feelings she’d felt the night before returned. At once she felt as if she could write an entire novel and yet she could write nothing at all. The words were muddled in her brain but refused to flow down to her fingertips. She didn’t know where to start; the documentary had equipped her with an abundance of self-righteous feelings and yet she knew she didn’t know enough to begin the article yet.
As more people arrived, she threw herself into research. Just like the night before most of what popped up at first glance was related to the documentary, however she kept digging and was eventually able to uncover more in-depth information, such as official scientific papers on the lethal levels of mercury in dolphin meat, statistics showing the number of dolphins and other cetaceans killed in Taiji, and several articles predating 2009, as well as a protest in 2007 where celebrity surfers got into the water with a pod of captured piolet whales.
Although the surfers did nothing except form a peaceful, traditional surfers’ memorial circle, the fisherman converged on them immediately, shouting and using wooden poles to prod and harass them.
The morning sped by and she worked through lunch, only looking up when Celine appeared. Sheathed in a tight white dress, she stood in the doorway with a pout.
“Kiki, where were you? We were supposed to go to lunch, remember?”
Swivelling her chair around, she blinked up at her friend. After staring at words on a screen for so long her eyes felt tired and itchy, making her squint.
“I had to go with Georgie from accounting, do you know how boring she is?” Celine didn’t bother to lower her voice and Keiko winced, knowing how gossip spread in this firm.
“I’m sorry, I lost track of time.” Reflexively she glanced down at the notepad she’d filled with looping handwriting, the most important parts decorated with bright yellow highlighter.
Celine glanced down at the notepad too and then at the screen, curling her lips at the distasteful image of a bloody cove with dolphins being pulled out of the water and into fishing boats with curved hooks.
“Ew, that’s horrible.”
“I know right…” she opened her mouth to explain, but was interrupted.
“Turn that off. I don’t know why they even post pictures like that, no one wants to see them.”
“It’s an expose, Celine, the pictures are supposed to be horrific. It’s supposed to make people think and question what’s going on.”
Flicking her hair, Celine sniffed, unconvinced. “Whatever. Don’t forget lunch tomorrow.”
As she walked away, Keiko sighed and rolled her stiff neck. She made herself stare at the image on the screen, bloody and brutal as it was, until her vision began to blur and she had to blink.
Deciding coffee was needed, she stood on legs which were weak after sitting for so long. Up on her tiptoes, she peeked over the partition and asked Susie if she wanted one before heading over to the coffeemaker. A few minutes later, a steaming cup in each hand, she returned to find an email had popped up on her screen. Passing Susie’s coffee over the wall, she sat down and inhaled the bitter scent of burnt coffee, drowning out the noise of the office as she took a moment to relax, looking at the work she’d completed this morning with satisfaction.
After a few revitalizing sips, she checked to see who the email was from. It was Mr. Jacobs, asking to see her in his office in an hour. He probably wanted to check on her progress. She glanced at her work again and wondered if he would think it was enough.
Exactly an hour later, Keiko knocked on her boss’ door and was admitted into the spacious office where Mr. Jacobs sat at his big wooden desk with his back to a window with a view over the city. Fellow high-rises pierced the cloudy grey sky and if you peered into the distance you could make out a slice of the London Eye between two buildings.
Mr. Jacobs was on the phone, but he waved her inside and, covering the speaker for a moment, said, “Sit, sit. I’ll only be a minute.”
Doing as instructed, she crossed her ankles and adjusted her skirt.
Almost ten minutes later, he hung up and turned to her. “Sorry that took so long. Business calls always overrun.” He said the last as if she hadn’t just listened to him talking about golf and arranging to meet for drinks.
Clapping his hands together, he exclaimed, “So what did you think of The Cove?”
She’d been anticipating this question, yet still didn’t have a satisfactory answer. Strange for a journalist, but she often had trouble putting her thoughts into words.
“I thought it was… barbaric and I was amazed that most Japanese people don’t know about it, supposedly anyway. I don’t understand why this is only just coming to light if it has been going on for years. I was also shocked that they continue selling dolphin meat, even though it is proven to have toxic levels of mercury. How can they be so blinkered as to ignore scientific evidence? What will it take to make them see?”
His lips twitched into a smile, “Perhaps a well written article?”
She smiled back, though she thought it was doubtful. “When is the deadline?”
“We’ll sort that out upon your return,” he answered airily, standing up and walking over to his bookshelf, crammed with old books she doubted he’d actually read.
Suddenly his words penetrated. “Return? Where am I going?”
“Why, to Japan of course! I mentioned it yesterday.”
“No, Mr. Jacobs, you didn’t.”
He waved away her words with an impatient hand, “Oh, well, I’m telling you now. There’s a ticket here with your name on it – first class, no less, you lucky girl!”
Keiko eyed the ticket he picked up off the bookshelf with interest. Of course, she’d been to Japan before, in fact her grandparents lived in Wakayama Prefecture not far from Taiji, therefore, it wasn’t the thought of visiting Japan that excited her, rather the thought of a travelling assignment; her work rarely took her out of the office and never further than the outskirts of London. The more stimulating assignments were usually given to employees with more experience. Which made her wonder…
“Why are you sending me? I’m honoured, but this is a big story, wouldn’t you rather send Joel or Danielle; they usually do the big stories?”
“No, no, you’re the perfect person for the job, you’re Japanese so you’ll fit right in. Besides, this could be your big break.”
The closest Keiko had ever come to being discriminated against was in Primary School when a bunch of girls had run around calling her ‘chinky’ and pulling faces, but now she felt her stomach sink. She hadn’t been given this job because of her own merit, but rather because her parents were Japanese and she looked the part.
However, she pushed down the anger bubbling up, forcing herself to look at it from another angle. She had been given an opportunity, no matter the reason, and she would prove that she was worthy.
“Okay,” she nodded solemnly. “When do I leave?”
Frowning, clearly clueless, he lifted a pair of glasses from his desk and perched them on his nose, peering at the ticket in his hand. “It looks like the plane leaves at… 13:45 tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow!” the word came out as a loud squawk.
“It says so right here,” he said helpfully, handing over the boarding pass and tapped a finger upon the date.
She stared at him in exasperation. “But I can’t go tomorrow.”
“Oh, why not? Do you have plans over the weekend?” he seemed genuinely interested.
“Well, no, but it’s very short notice and… I’d need to pack and…” Trailing off, she bit her lip, unsure why she was arguing. “It’s short notice, but I can do it.”
A smile split his chubby face. “Excellent. Take the rest of the day off and go home and pack. I’ll have my secretary email you all the details.”
Standing, she nodded and went to leave, but his voice stopped her at the door. “I look forward to seeing what you come up with.”
“Thank you for this opportunity, Mr. Jacobs.”

 

'

 

 

Review: Handcuffs, Truncheon and a Polyester Thong by Gina Kirkham

Handcuffs, Truncheon and a Polyester Thong: The perfect laugh-out-loud comedy - Gina Kirkham

Published by: Urbane Publishing (18 May 2017)

 

ISBN: 978-1911331711

 

Source: NetGalley

 

Rating: 4*

 

Synopsis:

Meet Mavis Upton. As mummy to 7-year old Ella, surrogate to far too many pets and with a failed marriage under her belt, Mavis knows she needs to make some life-changing decisions. It's time to strike out into the world, to stand on her own two feet … to pursue a lifelong ambition to become a Police Officer. I mean, what could go wrong?

 

Supported by her quirky, malapropism-suffering mum, Mavis throws herself headlong into a world of uncertainty, self-discovery, fearless escapades, laughter and extra-large knickers. And using her newly discovered investigative skills, she reluctantly embarks on a search to find her errant dad who was last seen years before, making off with her mum's much needed coupon for a fabulous foam cup bra all the way from America.

 

Follow Mavis as she tackles everything life can throw at her, and revel in Gina Kirkham's humorous, poignant and moving story of an everyday girl who one day followed a dream.

 

Review:

Based on the author's experiences as a police officer, this book is funny yet touching in parts. Mavis herself is larger than life, getting herself into all sorts of mischief and is all the more likeable because of it. I'm not sure she's entirely believable, but that doesn't seem to matter one bit. 

 

I like that we get to see both sides of Mavis - the police officer and the mum/daughter. Her interaction with her fellow officers is great, I love the banter; it's like taking a step back in time into one of the British comedies of yesteryear. The interaction with her mum is fantastic too, had me laughing out loud!

 

I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants a giggle, likes humorous books and likes a moving story. Thanks to Matthew at Urbane Publications and NetGalley for providing an ARC in return for my honest review.

 

GIDEON: THE BOER BLOOD by MALCOLM COLLEY

GIDEON: THE BOER BLOOD

 

Gideon_Boer Blood

 

THE AUTHOR

 

The author was born in South Africa in1942 and spent his teens of the 1950’s on a small farm just outside Naboomspruit in the Northern Province of South Africa, during which time he came to love the sounds, smells and sights of the bush. He did his basic training with 1st Special Service Battalion in Bloemfontein and has happy memories of army life in the bush. He also spent twenty-five years training in the martial arts.

During his work in a steel mill and underground in a diamond mine, he yearned to be back in the bush.

 

 

THE BOOK

 

By 1902 the British war against South Africa, the so called “Boer War” was over. Paul Kruger, attempted to negotiate a deal with Holland and Germany for arms and ammunition in exchange for gold. The arms and ammunition reached the port of Lorenco Marques but the gold, sent by Kruger, went missing.

Into this chaos of the aftermath of the war, with men, woman and children trying to make it back to the farms, Gideon Barron, an Irishman born in South Africa is accused of helping to steal the gold. Wounded, he escapes but is followed and hunted by his fellow Boers for treason.

 

 

INSPIRATION FOR THE BOOK

 

The disappearance of Kruger’s gold has always intrigued me. There are many stories, myths and legends about the whereabouts of this treasure. In this work of fiction adventure, I have put forward one possibility. I grew up in this area amongst these people whose stories to their grandchildren in the lamplight around the kitchen table, tell of the gold that may have changed the course of the war, told with the bitterness against the English.

Review: Electric Souk by Rose McGinty

Electric Souk - Rose McGinty

Published by: Urbane Publications (23rd March 2017)

 

ISBN: 978-1911129820

 

Source: NetGalley

 

Rating: 5*

 

Synopsis:

Ireland's gone bust, and with it Aisling Finn's life. She flees austerity for adventure in the desert. But the Arabia she finds is not that of her dreams. Everyone is chasing a fast buck, a fast woman and another G&T. Expats and locals alike prickle with paranoia. Debonair fixer, Brian Rothmann, charms Aisling with champagne brunches and nights at Bedouin camps. But is Brian a hero or a desperate expat prepared to go to any lengths to get what he wants? Is this Aisling? Or is he using her as bait? Her only hope is Hisham, a local activist. But where do his loyalties lie? Aisling faces severe peril when the sleazy expat and blood-lusting desert worlds collide, as the Arab Spring erupts. She has to ask, whom can she trust? Can she trust her instincts?

 

Review:

Rose McGinty's debut novel is quite unlike anything I've read before. It's difficult to know what genre I'd class it as because it has elements of many, but I guess 'thriller' is as good as any. The description is breathtakingly good; I can almost taste the fragrant spices and see the jewel coloured pashminas in the hustle and bustle of the night time souk.

The characters are similarly brought to life. Aisling is likeable and believable throughout, Brian is in turn both charming and loathsome and there are plenty of other characters to like and dislike, Mozah and Laila in particular.

Electric Souk is fascinating, frightening, heartwarming, gripping, horrific, and hauntingly descriptive. I found out utterly compelling and read it in two long sittings as I was unable to put it down once I'd started! It will appeal to a wide range of readers.

Thanks to Matthew at Urbane for the ARC, via NetGalley, in return for my honest review.

 

Reading progress update: I've read 50%.

Electric Souk - Rose McGinty

Have been reading this pretty much non-stop since I picked it up. I love how the writing describes the richness of the environment. I can almost picture all the colourful pashminas and shimmering sand dunes...

Review: Last Witness by Carys Jones

LAST WITNESS - Carys Jones

Published by: Aria (May 1 2017)

 

ISBN: 9781786612498

 

Source: NetGalley

 

Rating: 3*

 

 

Synopsis:

Amanda Thorne is on a mission to avenge her husband. Restoring his honour and protecting his legacy will be dangerous, but she will not rest until all those who have hurt her loved-ones have been dealt with.

Her only option is to go undercover in the murky world of the gang kingpin McAllister. So, with her loyal companion Shane by her side, she heads back to Scotland to finish what they started.

McAllister's world is one of seedy nightclubs, drug deals and beautiful women, but he is a hard man to get close to. As Amanda gets deeper and deeper into his dangerous world, what secrets from the past will come back to haunt her, and will she be able to protect the last witness from the truth?

 

Review:

I feel at a bit of a disadvantage as I didn't get the opportunity to read Wrong Number, the prequel to this book, before I started Last Witness. If I had, I think I'd have got to learn more about Will and understood his and Amanda's relationship better; ditto Shane. I think not only would I have enjoyed Last Witness more, but I'd have potentially awarded it a better star rating!

In terms of characters, I found Amanda likeable, if not always believable. I thought some of her actions were questionable at times. especially given her feelings towards McAllister. I just don't think she would have been able to do some of the things she did, given her hatred of him. Shane seems more believable to me.

The plot is good, and I enjoyed the pace of the story. It's gripping and gritty, with quite a lot of romance running through, which gives some light relief. The whole book does feel a little rushed and is only 320 pages long.

Carys Jones has the potential to be a fantastic writer. Maybe I'll enjoy her other books more. I've added them to my TBR so I guess I'll find out soon enough!

Thanks to Aria and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in return for my honest review.

 

Review: Quieter Than Killing (D. I. Marnie Rome #4) by Sarah Hilary

Quieter Than Killing - Sarah Hilary

Published by: Headline (9 March 2017) 

 

ISBN: 978-1472241108

 

Source:  Publisher provided proof copy

 

Rating: 4*

 

Synopsis:

It's winter, the nights are dark and freezing, and a series of seemingly random assaults is pulling DI Marnie Rome and DS Noah Jake out onto the streets of London. When Marnie's family home is ransacked, there are signs that the burglary can have only been committed by someone who knows her. Then a child goes missing, yet no-one has reported it. Suddenly, events seem connected, and it's personal.

Someone out there is playing games. It is time for both Marnie and Noah to face the truth about the creeping, chilling reaches of a troubled upbringing. Keeping quiet can be a means of survival, but the effects can be as terrible as killing.

 

Review:

Another case for Marnie typically means everything else takes a back seat until I've finished it, a few days at the most. For one reason or another, it's taken me a few weeks to finish this one. I found it quite hard to get into the story at the start, it didn't seem to 'grab' me as instantly as the first three in the series had. Then again, I was also struggling physically, so managing to read for any decent amount of time most nights was proving very difficult too. Maybe this was why I had found it such hard going?

 

I loved that we got to find out more about Marnie's and, in particular, Noah's home lives in this book. Finding out a little more each time as well as following along with a new case is brilliant. I really enjoy finding out what makes them tick as people too, and its great to see them in a setting other than work.

 

There are a lot of characters to keep track of in this book, something I'm not sure I managed very effectively all of the time. There are a couple that it would be great to see again in another book some time, including DCS Ferguson. We also see Stephen Keele again here, he is truly vile and makes my skin crawl! Sarah has written him so well! I defy anyone to do anything but despise him!

 

A chilling, gritty case of the kind you rarely hear reported makes for hard reading. Sarah has a unique way of writing so that you feel empathy with the perpetrators too. How does she do that?! That is some talent! Once I got into my stride,I couldn't put this book down. Now, I'm impatient for #5! Thanks to Headline for the proof in return for my unbiased review.

Blog Tour for The Lost Children (D. I. Lucy Harwin #1) by Helen Phifer: My Review

The Lost Children - Helen Phifer

 

Lizzy pulled the covers over her head. Then she realised what was being dragged behind the person with the torch. She rammed her fist into her mouth to stop herself from screaming…

For decades, The Moore Asylum was home to the forgotten children of Brooklyn Bay. But ever since a scandal forced its closure, the abandoned building has cast an imposing shadow. Until now – when an elderly man is found dead, his body strapped to a gurney... 

Detective Lucy Harwin, still reeling from a previous case that ended in the devastating murder of a mother and her child, finds herself on the trail of a killer ruthlessly fixated on avenging wrongs. 

What disturbing secrets lie within the asylum’s walls? Together with her partner Detective Mattie Jackson, Lucy begins to unearth its terrible history, and the horrors endured by the vulnerable children.

As the attacks escalate and a woman is murdered on her own doorstep, Lucy is forced into a terrifying game of cat and mouse with a twisted individual. But can Lucy stop a murderer with nothing left to lose? 

An absolutely terrifying and gripping thriller that will chill readers of MJ Arlidge, Angela Marsons and Rachel Abbott to the bone. 
 
Published by: Bookouture (21 March 2017)
 
ISBN: 978-1786811752
 
My rating: 5*
 
My review:
There are a lot of fantastic female crime writers around at the moment, and Helen Phifer proves she is no exception with this compelling introduction to Detective Lucy Harwin, who I absolutely LOVED from the outset! With her bright red hair, no-nonsense attitude and tattoos, I get the feeling we'd get on like a house on fire! I really like the way we get glimpses of her personal life and past as well as her work life. The same goes for her sergeant, Mattie Jackson. Lucy's personality shines through, and her relationship with Mattie, is brilliantly written. Their are comical moments that are a welcome relief among the chilling terror of the case they are working on. As for Lucy and Mattie...I think they are my new favourite police twosome.
 
The case itself is horrific and told both in the present time and from the perspective of a child in the asylum in 1975. It is completely gripping and I simply couldn't put it down. There are lots of twists and turns, it felt like I was on a rollercoaster! I was utterly mesmerised by the plot and the amazing attention to detail. I can't wait to read the next book in the series and find out what is in store next for Lucy and Mattie.
 
 
Buy The Lost Children:
 
About Helen Phifer

Helen Phifer’s love of reading began with Enid Blyton, before progressing on to Laura Ingals Wilder and scaring herself with Steven King. If she can’t write for any particular reason she finds herself getting itchy fingers and really irritable. She loves reading as much as writing and is also very fond of chocolate, Prosecco, The Lake District, New York, white Zinfandel wine, my children and grandchildren, my friends, porn star martini cocktails, Stephen King, watching scary films, Marilyn Monroe, Melissa McCarthy, Idris Elba, Simon Baker, Spandau Ballet, The Munsters and coffee. In no particular order.

 

Catch the rest of the blog tour here:

Review: Imperfection by Ray Clark

Imperfection - Terry Ray Clark

Published by: Urbane Publications (30 March 2017)

 

ISBN: 978-1911331247

 

Source: Netgalley

 

Rating: 4*

 

Synopsis:

Imperfection is a new crime series featuring D.I. Stewart Gardener and D. S. Sean Reilly, and set in the West Yorkshire city of Leeds.

A haunting message scrawled on the dressing room wall of a theatre: the scene of a murder. It had been written using the blood from the victim, previously drained in a separate location. At the autopsy, D.I. Gardener and D.S. Reilly are shown a riddle carved into the chest of the corpse, informing them there would be more. Their efforts to find out why are continually blocked by a wall of contradiction, with little in the way of evidence to support their cause. Steered back to the scene of the crime and a disused prop room, Gardener and his trusted sergeant find another puzzle. The murderer, it seems, is playing games.

It soon becomes clear to Gardener and Reilly that to find the killer they need to solve the clues, and to do that, they must tunnel their way into the past, where the streets were paved with gold, and to a man who had terrified people before either of them had even been born...

 

Review:

Imperfection is a different kind of crime novel, as we are introduced to the killer early on; we just don't know his identity at first. From the outset, he leads Gardener and Reilly in a game of cat and mouse, leaving seemingly unsolvable clues for them at the scenes of his crimes. Although it doesn't give a specific time period in the book, it seems as though it is set in the past, as there is no reference made to googling the clues! That would have been the first thing I would have done, so I found it rather frustrating that Gardener and Reilly weren't doing so! I felt there was a Sherlock Holmes-type vibe to the story on the whole, which would also fit with being set in the past, but it's just my theory.

I really enjoyed the parts with the killer and all his different guises, but I found some parts rather slow and quite hard going. Usually it takes me a few days to read a book, but I kept losing interest, so it took me much longer to read this one. It didn't surprise me to learn that Ray Clark writes fantasy novels; I'll have to read some.

If you like lots of detail, prefer a train journey over a rollercoaster ride, and have a thing for Sherlock, I recommend Imperfection.

Special thanks to Matthew at Urbane Publications for providing me with an ARC via Netgalley in return for my unbiased review.

Blog Tour for Lie To Me by Jess Ryder: My Review

Lie to Me: A gripping psychological thriller with a shocking twist - Jess Ryder

How can you tell the truth... if all you've ever known is a lie?

Three minutes. That’s all it takes for Meredith’s entire world to fall apart when she watches the videotape of her four-year-old self with Becca, the mother who abandoned her.

Meredith can’t believe what her eyes have seen. Yet what if her memory has locked away the painful reality of her childhood? Can there be any truth in the strange and dangerous story her mother forced her to tell on camera? 

The search for answers leads Meredith to Darkwater Pool, the scene of the murder of a young woman, Cara, over 30 years ago. What could possibly be the link between her mother and the victim?

To find the truth Meredith must search through a past that is not her own. The problem is, she’s not the only one looking…

A dark, compulsive psychological thriller that will keep you up all night. Perfect for fans of Paula Hawkins and Louise Jensen.

 

My Review:

Lie to Me is a tale told from three different perspectives, with the narrator of each chapter named to avoid any possible confusion. As Meredith tries to uncover more about her mother Becca, following her discovery of the video tape in the present time; we also hear  from Cara, the Darkwater Pool murder victim from thirty years ago. We also hear from Christopher Jay, who was Cara's boyfriend at the time of her murder. All this information throws up threads linking the characters together and twists here and there. It was unusual to have the perspective of a murder victim, and I found it interesting getting to know her and find out more about her life and what happened leading up to her death.

 

There are more than a couple of red herrings here and there and a few twists, but among all the death and lies, Meredith's relationship with her lovely father Graeme shines through. It's a welcome relief! The appearance of the fabulous Isobel is great too. I enjoyed the second half of the book much more and it became much harder to put down. For a debut, this is a very readable novel and one I'd recommend to my fellow crime readers. I'm looking forward to seeing what Jess Ryder comes up with next!

 

Special thanks to Bookouture, Jess Ryder and Netgalley for providing an ARC in return for my unbiased review.

 

Lie To Me - Buy it here:-

UK 

Review: Tastes Like Fear (D. I. Marnie Rome #3) by Sarah Hilary

Tastes Like Fear: DI Marnie Rome 3 - Headline Digital, Sarah Hilary, Imogen Church

Published by: Headline (28 July 2016)

 

ISBN : 978-1472226433

 

Source: Publisher 

 

Rating: 5*

 

Synopsis:

The fragile young girl who causes the fatal car crash disappears from the scene. A runaway who doesn't want to be found, she only wants to return to the man who understands her and offers her warmth, comfort, a home. He gives her gives her shelter. Just as he gives shelter to the other lost girls who live in his house.

 

He's the head of her new family.

 

D.I. Marnie Rome has faced many dangerous criminals but she has never come up against a man like Harm. She thinks that she knows families, their secrets and their fault lines. But as she begins investigating the girl's disappearance nothing can prepare her for what she's about to face.

 

Review:

Detective Inspector Marnie Rome feels like a friend I've not seen seen for a while; she's one of my favourite female detective characters and I was really looking forward to getting stuck into another case alongside her. 

 

The way the book starts is quite shocking and immediately awakens your senses. Just like Marnie and her team, you're left wondering who the girl is and what her story is, where she came from and where she has gone.  I was hooked from that first page.

 

We then see how things are in Harm's house. All is fine as long as everything is carried out according to his strictly ordered routine. I found this so darkly disturbing, it really gave me the creeps and made my skin crawl! Sarah Hilary seems to be so good at describing the environment and actions that have that effect. 

 

As Marnie's team do a bit more digging after speaking to witnesses, it seems no one is quite what they seem! The list of suspects grows, with more twists and a couple of genuine jaw dropping moments that I didn't see coming. It's scarily good!

 

Sarah's writing flawlessly flows from one chilling scene to the next, surpassing all but the very best of her contemporaries. 

 

Thanks to Headline for providing an ARC in return for my honest review.

 

 

 

Review: Last Breath (Detective Erika Foster #4) by Robert Bryndza

Last Breath: A gripping serial killer thriller that will have you hooked (Detective Erika Foster Book 4) - Robert Bryndza

Published by: Bookouture (12 April 2017)

 

Source: NetGalley

 

Rating: 5*

 

Synopsis:

When the tortured body of a young woman is found in a dumpster, her eyes swollen shut and her clothes soaked with blood, Detective Erika Foster is one of the first at the crime scene. The trouble is, this time, it’s not her case.

While she fights to secure her place on the investigation team, Erika can’t help but get involved and quickly finds a link to the unsolved murder of a woman four months earlier. Dumped in a similar location, both women have identical wounds – a fatal incision to their femoral artery.

Stalking his victims online, the killer is preying on young pretty women using a fake identity. How will Erika catch a murderer who doesn’t seem to exist?

Then another girl is abducted while waiting for a date. Erika and her team must get to her before she becomes another dead victim, and, come face to face with a terrifyingly sadistic individual.

 

Review:

 

Erika Foster is one of my favourite fictional characters, so everything else stops when Robert Bryndza's latest novel to feature the detective hits my kindle.

 

Erika can't resist sticking her nose into the case, despite it being nothing to do with her. This doesn't endear her to her superiors, so there's an element of friction that's always underlying when she's sneaking around looking for ways to link the murders or searching for clues. 

 

This is a gripping read from the very outset; the author has a brilliant way of grabbing your complete attention, leaving you powerless to look away until you've read the very last page. The only downside is that it's over far too quickly and then it's an agonising wait until the next book in the series is released! 

 

Thanks to Robert Bryndza, Bookouture and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in return for my honest review.

 

Review: The Cows by Dawn O'Porter

The Cows: The Hottest New Release for 2017 - Dawn O'Porter

Published by: HarperCollins (6 April 2017)

 

ISBN: 978-0008126032

 

Source: NetGalley

 

Rating: 5*

 

Synopsis:

Women don’t have to fall into a stereotype.

Tara, Cam and Stella are strangers living their own lives as best they can – though when society’s screaming you should live life one way, it can be hard to like what you see in the mirror.

When an extraordinary event ties invisible bonds of friendship between them, one woman’s catastrophe becomes another’s inspiration, and a life lesson to all.

Sometimes it’s ok not to follow the herd.

 

Review:

Wow! I hardly know where to start! The Cows is a funny, insightful book about female relationships that I just couldn't put down. I ended up reading it in practically one sitting, it's  such a page-turner. I adored the main characters, especially Tara and Cam. They are very well written and both characters are incredibly complex. I wasn't so keen on Stella, but I don't feel I could identify with her very well so I found it difficult to appreciate where she was coming from. The supporting characters deserve a mention too as they played their part well; the author's descriptive writing style bringing them to life right off the page.

As far as the actual story goes, it made me feel happy, sad, and confused, a whole bucketload of emotions. I gasped out loud in shock, shouted at my kindle, laughed out loud, and cringed in places. It definitely doesn't hold back! Fantastic!

I'd like to thank Dawn O'Porter, HarperCollins and NetGalley for providing an ARC in return for my honest review.

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