5*, book review

Review: I See You by Clare Mackintosh

I See You
I See You by Clare Mackintosh

This book isn’t out for ages but I couldn’t wait to read it and I couldn’t wait to tell you all about it! An easy 5* review.

‘Out of all the books that I read in 2015 my absolute favourite was I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh. It was a book that left the reader reeling. If you haven’t read it then you should. Now. And once you’ve finished you’ll have plenty of time to get excited about Mackintosh’s second book, I See You, which is released on 28th July 2016.

I was so excited to read I See You that as soon as I heard that ARCs were about I had to get one. Thankfully the publisher, Little Brown Book Group, UK, took pity on me and I managed to get hold of a very early copy which I had to immediately start reading.

I do wonder how Clare Mackintosh found writing I See You, her first book had such a phenomenal reaction that I would imagine it’d be a really hard act to follow. The risk of scores of disappointed fans must have played on her mind. Yet despite such pressure, (and yes, I am assuming here) Mackintosh has once again produced an excellent read.

Totally different to I Let You Go, I See You is based in London and tells the story of normal people, caught up in extraordinary circumstances. I really don’t want to give too much away so I won’t say much about the plot, but wow, what a concept. I also really liked Kelly, the police officer trying to piece the puzzle together and hope that she will feature again in Mackintosh’s books. And as for the ending….where is part two?!!!

Brilliant writing, a fantastic plot, believable characters and I have little doubt, another hit for Mackintosh.

Thank you so much to the publishers for giving me a copy of I See You via Netgalley in return for an honest review.’

I See You will be released on July 28th 2016 and can be preordered from Amazon UK and Amazon US now.

book review

Becca – Blogger in the Spotlight

Thank you so much to Portobello Book Blog for having me as their blogger in the spotlight today.

Portobello Book Blog


Very pleased to welcome a blogger today who has come up with a fabulous name for her blog. Becca blogs at If Only I Could Read Faster – something lots of us book bloggers wish I think!

Thanks for agreeing to be part of my Blogger in the Spotlight feature Becca. First of all, would you tell me a little about yourself?
Thanks for having me! I’m 39, although by the time you read this I will probably be 40. I have two wonderful children, five year old twins. I’ve done various jobs in my time, but I’ve always had a job working with either people or animals. I’m dyslexic and as a child reading was difficult, but although I’m slow I’ve always enjoyed it. I’m currently helping to teach my children to read which is challenging but I so so so hope that they both grow up to love…

View original post 1,007 more words

4.5*, book review

Review: Bloq by Alan Jones

Bloq by Alan Jones

So before I put my review I need to apologise for being awol. I have been going through it health wise recently and it all caught up with me and I needed some time to recover. I’ve had more needles either taking blood out or putting drugs in than I can count, I’ve had procedures under sedation and an operation under general anaesthetic. My poor body doesn’t know whether it is coming or going. I have been reading, as much as possible, my trusty Kindle joining me on all hospital visits. I feel battered and bruised but hopefully on the up!


So, without further ado, here is my 4.5* review of Bloq by Alan Jones.

I wasn’t really sure what to expect from Bloq, I’d heard lots of positive things about it but didn’t actually know what the story was about. When the book started a body was being buried, multiple profanities were used, and I really wasn’t sure where the book was going.

Turned out it was taking the reader on a journey through the dark side of London and the story of Carol, a middle class Scotland girl who got caught up with the wrong crowd. The book tells the story of Carol, but also of her father who is attempting to save his daughter and bring the baddies to justice. Bill’s journey takes him to places that he never imagined he’d go. It becomes apparent that he is incredibly proficient at all he turned his hand to, perhaps too adept. At times I wondered how an average man learnt the things that he did and knew how to do all that he did. But that didn’t dampen my enjoyment of Bloq.

There are plenty of twists and turns and although you’re fairly sure where the story is going to go I did not know how it would take me there. Overall Bloq is an easy to read, gripping story of an ordinary man who finds himself in an extraordinary situation.

Thank you to the Author, Alan Jones, for giving me a copy of Bloq in return for an honest review.

You can buy Bloq from Amazon UK and Amazon US now.

3*, book review

Review: The Girl With No Past by Kathryn Croft

the girl with no past
The Girl With No Past by Kathryn Croft.

Here’s my 3* review of The Girl With No Past.

‘The Girl With No Past tells the story of Leah, a girl with a dark secret in her past that is having a huge impact on her life. She is a loner, she has no friends and emerses herself in books, both at work and at home.

The chapters are all told my Leah, some while she is at high school with friends, a boyfriend and clearly a bright future ahead. The majority of the chapters are telling us about Leah’s life now, a time where she is consumed by guilt but is slowly starting to realise that she wants more from her life.

The Girl With No Past is an easy read, you don’t need to think about it, although I did want to know what had happened in the past and who was seeking revenge on Leah now.

The story lacked oomph, Leah was not very likeable and I never really cared all that much about what had happened. It was fairly predictable too.

But saying that I quite enjoyed reading it, it isn’t a book that I will remember in a few months time, but I’m certainly not sorry that I read it and would read more from the author.

I received a copy of The Girl With No Past from the publisher, Bookouture, from Netgalley in return for an honest review.’

The Girl With No Past is available now from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

5*, book review

Review: See How They Run by Tom Bale

see how they run
See How They Run by Tom Bale

I really enjoyed this book and have given it 5* to this fun read.

‘I was just about to start reading another book when I saw a post by Kim Nash, who works for publisher Bookouture, on Facebook. She was telling us how she read See How They Run and compared it to how she felt reading Angela Marsons Silent Scream. I knew then that I had to read this book.

And so I did, very quickly! The book starts off brilliantly with a bang. Alice and Harry go to bed one night as new parents and wake up in the middle of huge crime ring, with all their lives at risk. The book takes us on a journey as Alice tries to protect her baby girl Evie, and Harry tries to find Alice and Evie. There are twists and turns and the reader never quite knows who they can trust. You do have to accept that this book isn’t really all that believable at times and just go along for a thrilling ride.

I didn’t want to stop reading See How They Run, I had to know what was going to happen and why Alice and Harry got caught up in it all in the first place. It was an easy read but a very enjoyable one and I’d definitely recommend it!

I received a copy of See How They Run from Bookouture via Netgalley in return for an honest review.’

See How They Run is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US now.

book review

Review: The Widow by Fiona Barton

the widow.jpg
The Widow by Fiona Barton

‘The Widow had been sat on my TBR pile for some time, I now remember hearing others talk about it and how good it was but when I started reading it I couldn’t remember what I’d heard about it. I wish that I’d read it sooner.

The Widow tells the story of Bella, a little two year old girl who goes missing from her front garden. The story is revealed by different characters in the book, and moves back and forth in time. Often this doesn’t work, it can be confusing and stop the book from flowing. No problem at all with that with The Widow, I had no trouble keeping track of the story.

I enjoyed reading the point of view of all the characters who helped to tell the story, and try to work out just what had happened to little Bella and who had been involved. I thought that it was a really good read, I enjoyed reading it and wanted to know what would happen.

A definite 4* read from me.

Thank you to the publishers of The Widow for a copy of the book via Netgalley in return for an honest review.’

If you want an easy but enjoyable read that will keep you guessing then The Widow is for you. It is available from Amazon UK now.


Q&A with Angela Marsons

I am so excited to share a Q&A with Angela Marsons. Angela is the author of the brilliant Detective Kim Stone novels. I have read and reviewed all four of the Kim Stone books and I’ve given them all 5* which is pretty impressive. She has also written two other books, The Middle Child and My Name Is which I have yet to read.

Angela thank you so much for joining us at If Only I Could Read Faster!

1. Can you tell us something about you that we, your readers, don’t know about you?

I rode a moped until I was almost forty years of age. I am terrified of moths and heights which I know makes me a bit of a wimp!

2. Do you have any strange or quirky writing habits?

I’m not sure about quirky or strange but I do still like to write the first draft of my books with pencils and A4 notepads. Each time I start a new journey I have to have a new box of pencils and some brand new colourful notepads.

3. How do you come up with the names of your characters?

For me the name has to match the character traits that I’m trying to convey. When I was looking for a name for my main character it had to be short, sharp, to the point, one syllable, no fuss – a bit like the character herself and once the name Kim came to me I knew it was the right one. A name like Felicity would not have suited the sharpness of her character. My characters have been known to change names half way through a book if their personality has changed or developed beyond what I originally had in mind.

4. Are any of your characters based on you?

Ha, not really. There are elements of Kim that I suppose come from me. Before being lucky enough to write for a living I managed a diverse team of 70+ security officers at Merry Hill shopping centre. It’s not a job you can do without a certain level of directness. However, I do like to think I have slightly better social skills than Kim.

5. Have any of your books had an alternative ending that you didn’t end up using? If so can you tell us any of them?!

The ending in Silent Scream with regard to the relationship between Kim and Lucy was going to be very different. Initially, I had planned that Kim was going to help Lucy in an altogether different kind of way (by ending her misery) but as I was writing the book my gut started to react unfavourably to this idea and the very notion of writing it began to make me angry, always an indication that I’m taking the wrong path somewhere. As the relationship between them grew I knew that I had to end it differently and as soon as I thought about what Kim does for Lucy I knew it felt right.

6. What research did you do into the character Alex, in Evil Games who was a psychopath? How did you find it writing about that character? 

I have always been interested in the sociopath/psychopath personality. I am intrigued by a person that is unable to feel empathy for other human beings. To research I read a lot of books on the subject and trawled the internet for more background information. I really enjoyed writing about Alex (quite worrying I know) but it was enlightening having that freedom to explore the personality of someone without conscience.

7. What is the most surprising thing that you learnt while writing Play Dead?

Play Dead was not an easy book to write. The idea had been in my head for quite some time but when it came to putting it onto paper this one would not behave itself. When I sent it off to my editor I was convinced she was going to send a note back saying ‘start again’. Luckily she loved it and I learned to trust in the process. Each journey will be different and some will be harder than others but I learned to trust that it will work out in the end.

8. A lot of Play Dead takes place in what is commonly known as a body farm. And what research did you do into what goes on in a body farm? Is there a body farm in the UK?

There isn’t a body farm that I know of but perhaps that’s a good thing. I did my research by reading about the facilities in America. I spent a great deal of time reading up on the type of experiments they do and the results they are hoping to achieve.

9. Would you donate your body to a body farm?

Yes, I think I would. If anyone can learn something useful from my body after I’ve gone then that’s a good thing.

10. D.I. Kim Stone is such a wonderful, but complicated character. If a movie of your Kim Stone books were to be made who would you like to play her?

The picture in my head is Kate Beckinsale from the Underworld films. Her attitude is SO Kim Stone in those films and I think she is a fabulous actress. And I’d have Bradley Walsh to play Bryant.

11. You are mainly known for your Kim Stone books but you have written other books before, can you tell us a bit about them and why we should read them? I have them on my kindle ready to read but haven’t quite got there yet.

My other two books are stories that explore human relationships and subjects that I find intriguing. I have always been interested in the ‘why’ of people’s actions. I want to know what drives them and these two stories gave me the opportunity to do that. My Name Is focuses on a friendship that builds between two very different women who both suffer with alcoholism. The Middle Child explores the complex relationships between three sisters raised in a physically abusive home.

12. If you were going to be stuck on a desert island who would you want with you? You can choose three people.

a. a character from one of your books – It has to be Kim Stone – she is very resourceful.

b. a character from someone else’s book – Jennifer Knight from Caroline Mitchell’s books. She has paranormal abilities and could let someone know where we were (I’m assuming we haven’t got phones!)

c. someone famous that you don’t know in person or on social media. Aaron Sorkin. He wrote The West Wing (my favourite program) and I would love to have him as a captive and grill him.

You can also choose one book to take. Disclosure by Michael Crichton.

13. And finally can you tell us where people can find you on social media?

I’m @WriteAngie in twitter and Angela Marsons Author on Facebook.


If this Q&A has inspired you to read some of Angela Marsons’ books then you can buy them all on Amazon UK and Amazon US. You can read my review of Play Dead, the latest DI Kim Stone books here.

book review

Review: The Real Book Thief by Ingrid Black


real book theif
The Real Book Thief by Ingrid Black

So I’ve been a bit quiet recently. Two reasons for that, firstly I have been away enjoying a rare holiday. Sadly there was very little reading time during said holiday. Secondly I’ve been reading a book that took me a loooong time to read which I will review soon.

I had never heard of the author Ingrid Black until a few weeks ago when word spread in the book world about a disturbing tale of plagiarism. Ingrid Black, it turned out, was the pseudonym for two authors who together had written three books. The books had been published some time ago and were now out of print but a particularly observant reader noticed that a newly released book bore a striking resemblance to the first novel by Ingrid Black.

A simple tweet lead to the story unfolding, and a sad story of how one woman stole Ingrid Black’s books and made them her own, making thousands selling them on Amazon. The supposed author had been active on social media and was a member of an online book club that I belong to. I know many who read and reviewed her books, who supported her and helped to boost her sales.

Ingrid Black wrote an article about how the deceit was discovered, it was an article that shocked many. This short book is a longer version of that article, and makes for interesting reading. I admire Ingrid Black immensely for how they have handled this situation, but it does make me question Amazon and how easy it seemed to be for someone to steal the work of another. I truly hope that this situation is a one off, but sadly I doubt that is the case.

If you are into books then this is well worth reading. It is short so won’t take long, but I am sure that it will make you think.

The Real Book Thief by Ingrid Black is available from Amazon UK now.