#blogtour House Of Spines by Michael J Malone @MichaelJMalone1 @OrendaBooks #HouseOfSpines

House of Spines blog poster 2017

My Review:

House of Spines by Michael J Malone sucked me right in from the very beginning. Who hasn’t daydreamed that one day they found out that they had an inheritance from some very rich relative that they had never known about?? So when Ran, who was down on his luck and trying to make a living as an author was told that he now owned a very large home in the posh part of town, complete with swimming pool, housekeeper and a very large library, I couldn’t help but be drawn into the story.

Ran was very isolated before his inheritance, his wife left him after he suffered a breakdown and was diagnosed with bipolar, with both parents dead the only people that he had regular contact with were his agent and his neighbour. So a move was something that Ran was happy and able to do and short notice, so short that he didn’t take his medication with him. So when he started to see strange things in his new home and becomes convinced that there is a woman who lives in the lift of his new home we are never quite sure whether the woman is real or whether Ran is suffering another bipolar relapse after stopping his meds.

Malone writes Ran’s descent into madness very well, and it was hard not to get caught up in it at times. Suspicion and paranoia cause Ran to isolate himself further and soon isn’t sure who he can trust. When his cousins attempt to manipulate Ran into agreeing to sell the mansion that has become his home will Ran have the strength to stand up to them?

I really enjoyed reading House of Spines, it’s a cleverly written book that I’m still trying to work out!

Blurb:

House of Spines front

Ran McGhie’s world has been turned upside down. A young, lonely and frustrated writer, and suffering from mental-health problems, he discovers that his long-dead mother was related to one of Glasgow’s oldest merchant families. Not only that, but Ran has inherited Newton Hall, a vast mansion that belonged to his great-uncle, who appears to have been watching from afar as his estranged great-nephew has grown up. Entering his new-found home, he finds that Great-Uncle Fitzpatrick has turned it into a temple to the written word – the perfect place for poet Ran. But everything is not as it seems. As he explores the Hall’s endless corridors, Ran’s grasp on reality appears to be loosening. And then he comes across an ancient lift; and in that lift a mirror. And in the mirror … the reflection of a woman … A terrifying psychological thriller with more than a hint of the Gothic, House of Spines is a love letter to the power of books, and an exploration of how lust and betrayal can be deadly…

About The Author:

Michael Malone Photo

Michael Malone is a prize-winning poet and author who was born and brought up in the heart of Burns’ country, just a stone’s throw from the great man’s cottage in Ayr. Well, a stone thrown by a catapult. He has published over 200 poems in literary magazines throughout the UK, including New Writing Scotland, Poetry Scotland and Markings. His career as a poet has also included a (very) brief stint as the Poet-In- Residence for an adult gift shop. Blood Tears, his bestselling debut novel won the Pitlochry Prize (judge: Alex Gray) from the Scottish Association of Writers. Other published work includes: Carnegie’s Call (a non-fiction work about successful modern-day Scots); A Taste for Malice; The Guillotine Choice; Beyond the Rage and The Bad Samaritan. His psychological thriller, A Suitable Lie, was a number one bestseller. Michael is a regular reviewer for the hugely popular crime fiction website http://www.crimesquad.com. A former Regional Sales Manager (Faber & Faber) he has also worked as an IFA and a bookseller.

 

House Of Spines By Michael J Malone is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US

#blogtour Strategy by Anita Waller @anitamayw @bloodhoundbook

10th Aug- Books From Dusk Till Dawn Rae Reads11th Aug- As The Page Turns Reviews Bits About Books12th Aug- Confessions Of A Reading Addict Turn The Page13th Aug- Sweet Little

My Review:

This is the third Anita Waller book that I have read and I will definitely be reading more. When I heard that the author had written a sequel to 34 Days, I knew that I had to read it. I had really enjoyed 34 Days and was intrigued to know what had happened after.

I have to admit that when I started to read Strategy I did wonder whether 34 Days had really warranted a sequel, was there really enough left to tell about the Carbrook family? Well, I should have trusted the author and the publishers Bloodhound Books, who have a solid reputation for producing excellent books.

I do recommend that you don’t read Strategy until you have read 34 Days as although the book provides plenty of reminders about what had happened in the first book I think that you would miss out, not only on a great read but also truly understanding the story.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Strategy, it really did complete the story from 34 Days and, like the original, it provided plenty of twists and turns. It isn’t a long book but it is long enough to suck the reader back into the lives of the Carbrook family, reminding us what the family have been through and truly caring about what happens to them next and once again Waller hasn’t given them an easy ride.

Blurb:

 

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Strategy by Anita Waller

 

How much can one family take?  
Jenny Carbrook murdered three people to make it look as though there was a serial killer at work in Lincoln, when the only person she wanted to kill was Ray Carbrook, her father-in-law, who had raped her the week before her marriage to Mark, Ray’s son.  
Jenny wrote letters detailing her crimes in order to protect everyone she loved, but was forced to go into hiding before retrieving the evidence against her.  Not only did she leave the letters behind but also her young daughter, Grace.  
Now Jenny has a plan, a strategy, to get the letters back. But it’s not only the letters that Jenny has in her sights…

 

About the author:

anitawaller

Anita Waller was born in Sheffield, South Yorkshire in 1946. She married Dave in 1967 and they have three adult children, Matthew, Siân and Kirsty along with seven grandchildren ranging in age from Brad at 23 down to baby Isaac at 2 ½ years.

She began writing when she was around 8 years of age, writing ‘compositions’ at junior school that became books with chapters.

In 1995 she sent Beautiful to a publisher and as they reached the contract stage the publisher went into liquidation. It was all to do with Eric Cantona and leaping over the barrier – don’t ask!
As a result, the book was consigned to the attic in dejected disgust but in 2013 it was dragged out again for an enforced complete re-type. The original was written on an Amstrad 8256 and the only thing that remained was one hard copy.

Anita is not a typist and it was painfully reworked over two years, submitted to Bloodhound Books who, within three days of reading it, offered her a contract. 31 August 2015 saw its release into the wide world.

Following the outstanding success of Beautiful, she began a sequel on 27 December 2015, finishing it on 19 March 2016. The new novel, Angel, was launched on 7 May 2016.

34 Days followed, with its launch in October 2016. This was a huge success, particularly in the United States. While this, her third book in the psychological thriller genre, was flying out in all directions, she began work on her fourth book.

Winterscroft was a change in genre. It is a supernatural tale, set in Castleton, Derbyshire, and its release date was February 2017.

 While she was writing Winterscroft, it became very clear from reading reviews that a sequel to 34 days was needed, and she began work on that. Bloodhound Books will be launching her latest work, Strategy, on 10 August, 2017.

 So where next? Her current work in progress is going by the working title A Legal Issue, and once again is a psychological thriller.

In her life away from the computer in the corner of her kitchen, she is a Sheffield Wednesday supporter with blue blood in her veins! The club were particularly helpful during the writing of 34 Days, as a couple of matches feature in the novel, along with Ross Wallace. Information was needed and they provided it.

Her genre is murder – necessary murder.

Links:

Amazon page:   https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=anita+waller

Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/anitawaller2015

Website:  http://anitamayw.wixsite.com/anitawaller

Twitter:   www.twitter.com/anitamayw

 Beautiful:

www.amazon.co.uk/Beautiful-Anita-Waller-ebook/dp/B014RCH5WM/

 Angel:

www.amazon.co.uk/Angel-Anita-Waller-ebook/dp/B01DR4USZC/

 34 Days:

www.amazon.co.uk/34-Days-Anita-Waller-ebook/dp/B01IP6YE0M/

 Winterscroft:

www.amazon.co.uk/Winterscroft-Anita-Waller-ebook/dp/B06XMY3JD3/

 Strategy:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1912175487/ref=x_gr_w_bb?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_w_bb_uk-21&linkCode=as2&camp=1634&creative=6738

#review: The Honeymoon by @tinaseskis @MichaelJBooks

 

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The Honeymoon by Tina Seskis

 

My Review:

I had heard a lot about The Honeymoon by Tina Seskis, but not having read any of her previous books I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.

This psychological thriller really does keep the reader guessing. Jemma is on her honeymoon on a beautiful and exclusive island in the Maldives, but it is clear from the start that all is not right with her new marriage, and when her new husband goes missing the reader is unsure whether Jemma’s version that gradually emerges as the book progresses it true, or if she is hiding something.

The book goes back to the start of Jemma’s relationship with Dan when Jemma was really not sure whether he was ‘the one’. As the relationship progresses and we learn more about the backstory I became less and less sure about what was true and what wasn’t. Jemma definitely didn’t seem like a reliable witness.

There are plenty of twists and turns in the book, and I’m happy to admit that I didn’t see the main ones coming. Jemma, as a character was not likeable and there was very little about her that I could like, but that didn’t stop me wanting to know what had happened to her husband and whether she was involved. Another couple on the island provide a bit of light relief, which was welcome.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Honeymoon, I wanted to keep reading and the twists were great and cleverly done. If you like a twisty, turny book then this is for you! It gets an easy 4.5* from me. I’m off to look at Seskis’s other books.

Blurb:

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

Because the man Jemma married a week ago has just disappeared from the island without a trace. And now her perfect new life is vanishing just as quickly before her eyes. After everything they’ve been through together, how can this be happening? Is there anyone on the island who Jemma can trust? And above all – where has her husband gone?

About the author:

Tina Seskis grew up in Hampshire, before going off to study in the beautiful city of Bath and then moving to London, where she has lived on and off ever since.

Tina’s first novel One Step Too Far was released in 2013, and has since been published in 17 languages in over 60 countries. Her latest novel, The Honeymoon, will finally be released on 1st June 2017.

Tina lives in North London with her husband and son.

The Honeymoon by Tina Seskis is out now and available from  Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Book review: The Breakdown by B.A. Paris.

 

the-breakdown

The Breakdown by B.A. Paris.

 

Ok, so I have to admit that in order to read this book as soon as I possibly could I became something of a stalker. Regular readers of If only I could read faster will know that I loved Behind Closed Doors, B.A. Paris’ debut book that was my book of the year 2016. So when I knew that her second book was available to reviewers I wanted it, badly. I don’t normally bother and if I want to read a book and can’t easily get it to review then I pre-order it and wait like everyone else, but I just couldn’t wait to read this book! Thankfully the author herself came to my rescue when she heard how much I loved her first book. So thank you B.A. Paris for helping me get a copy of your book!

My 4.5* review:

The Breakdown had a lot to live up to, I absolutely loved the author’s debut novel Behind Closed Doors, and was desperate to read this book. I was worried that I would be disappointed, as so often happens when you have really high expectations, but whenever I heard from anyone who had read it it was all positive so I was excited to read it.

Cass sees a car stopped on the side of a remote road during a huge storm, she pulls over but worried for her own safety she doesn’t get out of her car and as the driver of the other car doesn’t get out or signal to Cass she decides to drive home and call someone from there. On arriving home Cass gets distracted and never makes that phone call.

When the next morning news spreads of a murder on the very same road Cass is flooded with guilt when she learns that it was the driver of the car that she saw that had been killed. Cass decides to keep it a secret, scared that she will be judged by others for not helping the driver.

With the murder so close to Cass’ isolated home it is not surprising that she feels jumpy but as time goes on Cass is sure that she is being watched and becomes convinced that the killer saw her on that fateful night and is going to come after her.

At the same time Cass starts to find her memory going, her mother had early onset dementia and it appears that the same is happening to Cass. She does her best to hide it but her husband can’t help but get frustrated at her and gradually Cass comes to accept that she is heading the same route as her mother.

The combination of her memory loss and the guilt that she feels over not helping the murdered woman causes Cass to crumble and without the support of her husband and best friend she knows that things would be even worse.

But is everything as it seems?

This book is totally different to the author’s debut which is definitely a good thing, it is an enjoyable and easy to read book, that keeps you guessing and wanting to know what will happen. I felt that the ending was rushed which was a real shame but it gets a solid 4.5*’s from me. I loved how the story took you in and you were never quite sure about what was going on. Now I have to wait for the authors next book!

Blurb:

THE NEW CHILLING, PROPULSIVE NOVEL FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES AND USA TODAY BESTSELLING BEHIND CLOSED DOORS.

If you can’t trust yourself, who can you trust?

Cass is having a hard time since the night she saw the car in the woods, on the winding rural road, in the middle of a downpour, with the woman sitting inside―the woman who was killed. She’s been trying to put the crime out of her mind; what could she have done, really? It’s a dangerous road to be on in the middle of a storm. Her husband would be furious if he knew she’d broken her promise not to take that shortcut home. And she probably would only have been hurt herself if she’d stopped.

But since then, she’s been forgetting every little thing: where she left the car, if she took her pills, the alarm code, why she ordered a pram when she doesn’t have a baby.

The only thing she can’t forget is that woman, the woman she might have saved, and the terrible nagging guilt.

Or the silent calls she’s receiving, or the feeling that someone’s watching her…

The Breakdown is out on 9th February 2017 and is available to pre-order now from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Book Review: The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr.

 

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The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr.

 

My 4.5* review:

I haven’t read an Emily Barr book for years, the first book of hers that I read was Backpack, a book that I loved back in 2001. After that, I read a few more books by the author but then she seemed to disappear under my radar and I actually thought that she had stopped writing. A look at the author’s page on Amazon tells me that she hadn’t disappeared at all.

I heard a bit about The One Memory of Flora Banks and when I realised who the author was I requested it to read on Netgalley and was happy to be approved. This was Emily Barr’s first book aimed at young adults, but as I enjoy reading that genre it didn’t put me off, and I hope that it won’t put you off either. When a friend told me how much she’d enjoyed this book I quickly bumped it up my tbr pile and I’m so pleased that I did.

Seventeen year old Flora is a wonderful character, she copes with short term memory loss by writing on her arms and hands, making sure that when she suddenly finds herself somewhere believing she is ten years old she can quickly see the information that she needs to know. As well as writing on her arms Flora has one tattoo, it says ‘be brave’ which becomes Flora’s moto and at times, her mantra.

Understandably, Flora’s mum is very protective of her but when Flora’s estranged brother is suddenly taken very ill in France her parents decide to leave Flora at home with her best friend while they go to be with him. Unknown to Flora’s parents, her best friend is no longer speaking to her after finding out that Flora had kissed her boyfriend at a party.

Suddenly alone in her house Flora appears to go slightly crazy. She remembers kissing the boy so clearly, yet she has no other memories at all after the age of ten. Believing that only true love would cause her to remember something she becomes obsessed with Drake and determined to find him, even though he is now at university in Norway. Flora proves to be remarkably resourceful and thanks to numerous post-it notes around her home she remembers to keep up the pretence to her parents that she is not alone and all is fine.

I loved the character of Flora, she is so strong and capable, it would be so easy to give up in her situation but instead she fights and she finds ways to get around her short term memory loss. The way that she is written is so believable and real, I have no idea how Barr managed to portray such a complex character so well.

Flora is clearly a special person, everyone she meets seems to be endeared to her and wants to help. This proves particularly useful when Flora manages to get herself to Norway, determined to find Drake. In a completely unknown and foreign world, Flora struggles, the constant daylight confusing her body as well as her mind and unlike home, where she has memories from before the age of ten, here she remembers nothing, relying on the writing on her arms to guide her. She meets some right characters along the way, they soon realise that there is something different about Flora, but they see her spirit and so endeavour to help her where they can.

I could go on and on about the book, the storyline and Flora but I don’t want to give too much away. The book is a joy to read, I just loved Flora’s fighting spirit and how with the help of other’s she is able to overcome her difficulties and fight against her mothers’ control. Flora really has to be one of my favourite ever characters in a book and I hope that I remember her for a long time. Be Brave might just become my new moto too.

I received a copy of The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr from Netgalley but I was under no obligation to review it.

The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr is out now and available from Amazon UK. In America, you can pre-order the book from Amazon US or it is available now on audiobook.

Blurb:

Seventeen-year-old Flora Banks has no short-term memory. Her mind resets itself several times a day, and has since the age of ten, when the tumor that was removed from Flora’s brain took with it her ability to make new memories. That is, until she kisses Drake, her best friend’s boyfriend, the night before he leaves town. Miraculously, this one memory breaks through Flora’s fractured mind, and sticks. Flora is convinced that Drake is responsible for restoring her memory and making her whole again. So when an encouraging email from Drake suggests she meet him on the other side of the world, Flora knows with certainty that this is the first step toward reclaiming her life.

With little more than the words “be brave” inked into her skin, and written reminders of who she is and why her memory is so limited, Flora sets off on an impossible journey to Svalbard, Norway, the land of the midnight sun, determined to find Drake. But from the moment she arrives in the arctic, nothing is quite as it seems, and Flora must “be brave” if she is ever to learn the truth about herself, and to make it safely home.

Blog Tour Review: Blood Lines by Angela Marsons.

 

I am super excited to be part of the blog tour for Blood Lines by Angela Marsons. As you might know I’m a huge fan of the Kim Stone series. You can also read a Q&A that I did with author Angela Marsons and my review of Play Deadalso in the Kim Stone series and The Forgotten Woman which is a standalone book.

But today we are here to celebrate Blood Lines, the fifth book in the amazing Detective Kim Stone series.

 

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Blood Lines by Angela Marsons.

 

My 4.5* review:

If you’re a regular reader of If Only I Could Read Faster then you will know that I am a huge fan of author Angela Marsons and her Detective Kim Stone novels, so it was with much excitement that I started to read Blood Lines.

Blood Lines is book five in the Kim Stone series, and although Marsons has always been clear that they can be read as standalone books, as time goes on I think that the reader would definitely benefit from reading the series from the start. And frankly, if you didn’t you’d miss out on some brilliant books.
Marsons is signed up to write a whopping 16 Kim Stone books and I have to admit that as much as I love the character I am unsure how Marsons will manage to maintain her for that many books. But thankfully she appears to be a long way from running out of steam with Blood Lines.
Book number two, Evil Games, featured a character that was so brilliantly written that she scared the bejeebers out of me. it was one of the best portrayals of a sociopath that I had read. So when I heard that Alex Thorne was to make another appearance in Kim Stone’s life I was even more excited.
For some reason, the relationship between Stone and Thorne just didn’t click for me in the same way and Thorne did not make my skin crawl as she had in Evil Games. This was disappointing for me. I felt that Stone dealing with Thorne and the chaos she was creating took up a lot of the story, but at the same time Stone was the lead detective on a puzzling murder investigation. For me, I think that it would have been better for the story to focus on one of these things, and to save the other for another book, as I felt that neither could be dealt with satisfactorily.
Having said that Blood Lines is still a very good book and will no doubt satisfy the many Kim Stone fans desperately waiting for another book in the series. I was pleased that we got a teeny bit more about Stacey and Kevin, two of Stone’s team but I’d love Bryant and Stacey to feature more.
Marsons is a skilled writer who is able to write in a way that makes the stories flow and feel so real. I’ve said it before but I do feel that each time a new Stone book comes out I get to catch up with a friend. The Detective Kim Stone books have been phenomenally successful and Blood Lines doesn’t let the team down and it gets a great 4.5* from me.
 Thank you to the publishers, Bookouture, for a copy of Blood Lines.
Blurb:
How do you catch a killer who leaves no trace?
A victim killed with a single, precise stab to the heart appears at first glance to be a robbery gone wrong. A caring, upstanding social worker lost to a senseless act of violence. But for Detective Kim Stone, something doesn’t add up.

When a local drug addict is found murdered with an identical wound, Kim knows instinctively that she is dealing with the same killer. But with nothing to link the two victims except the cold, calculated nature of their death, this could be her most difficult case yet.

Desperate to catch the twisted individual, Kim’s focus on the case is threatened when she receives a chilling letter from Dr Alex Thorne, the sociopath who Kim put behind bars. And this time, Alex is determined to hit where it hurts most, bringing Kim face-to-face with the woman responsible for the death of Kim’s little brother – her own mother.

As the body count increases, Kim and her team unravel a web of dark secrets, bringing them closer to the killer. But one of their own could be in mortal danger. Only this time, Kim might not be strong enough to save them…

A totally gripping thriller that will have you hooked from the very first page to the final, dramatic twist.

Blood Lines is out now and available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Review: Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult.

small-great-things

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

If you’re a fan of Jodi Picoult then she is doing a tour of the UK to promote the release of Small Great Things. You can find out more about her tour here.

My 4.5* review:

I used to be a huge Jodi Picoult fan and would read everything that she wrote. I remember desperately trying to get hold of her older books many years ago as I just had to read them. I can’t remember why but that changed and I stopped reading her books a good few years ago now.

I heard a lot of positive things about The Storyteller and downloaded it onto my kindle but never quite got round to reading it. But when I started to hear murmurs about Small Great Things I knew that it was a book that I wanted to read. Picoult and the publishers did a very brave thing, they asked reviewers if they wanted to read a book without prejudice. The readers were not told who the author was, and everything that I heard was positive.

And so I started to read Small Great Things. Firstly there is nothing small about this book, at just over 500 pages it is a long read. The length of the book means that the character development is very good, we spend a good amount of time with the main characters and get to know them well as the story develops. The downside is that it takes a long time to read (for me anyway) and at times I would think about all the other books I want to be reading. But saying that I never felt that the story was dragging. I do feel that the book could easily have been shorter and that this wouldn’t have had a huge impact on the story, but I feel that the book benefited from being longer than average.

Picoult is good at getting the reader to think and Small Great Things is no exception. I did feel that a lot of the situations discussed were more related to certain areas, or states, of America more than the UK. Of course maybe it is possible that I am being naive but the UK doesn’t have the slavery history that the US does and the ingrained racism. Having said that since the Brexit hate crime has increased dramatically in the UK, something that has shocked and saddened me. Maybe Small Great Things should be given to everyone to read, and to make them think.

While some of Small Great Things was a little bit predictable and the end was certainly tied up nicely, maybe a little too nicely, but it is still a very powerful book. The writing is excellent and the research that Picoult clearly put into the book is impressive. The way that she talked about nursing and labour and delivery was spot on and if I hadn’t known better I would have thought that the author had training in that area. I would be interested to know how minorities feel about Small Great Things and the fact that it was written by a white woman.

Yet another accomplished and well researched book from Picoult. Has this book converted me back to reading Picoult’s books? Well yes, it most definitely has.

I received a copy of Small Great Things via Netgalley in return for an honest review.

Blurb:

When a newborn baby dies after a routine hospital procedure, there is no doubt about who will be held responsible: the nurse who had been banned from looking after him by his father.

What the nurse, her lawyer and the father of the child cannot know is how this death will irrevocably change all of their lives, in ways both expected and not.

Small Great Things is about prejudice and power; it is about that which divides and unites us. It is about opening your eyes.

 

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult will be released on 22nd November 2016 and is available to pre-order from Amazon UK and Amazon US.