4*, blog tours, book review, crime thriller

#BlogTour #BookTour 17 Church Row James Carol. @JamesCarolBooks @ZaffreBooks #17churchrow

Today it is my stop on the blog tour for James Carol’s 17 Church Row. I was keen to be on this blog tour because I’ve read a few of the authors books and have enjoyed them, especially The Killing Game and the blurb sounded interesting. I received a copy of the book via Netgalley, I was under no obligation to read the book and all thoughts are my own.

My Review:

Many people are scared about artificial intelligence and where it is taking us, is Alexa really listening in to what we talk about? Does Facebook read our messages and send us adverts for things based on what we’ve talked about with our friends?

It is scary when you think about it, I use Google Maps on my phone so it knows where I go and how long I stay there, let alone all the Google searches I do. Amazon knows and awful lot, I have Alexa and she is regularly used in my house, but what would happen if Alexa had more control over me than I realised?

When Nikki Rhodes decides that moving home might help her heal from the death of one of her twin daughters they start to house hunt and her husband, Ethan, is excited when he finds a new house that has the most up to date security you can get, an inbuilt system that senses what you want before you realise you might even want it, something designed to simplify your life in ways you never imagined. Nikki isn’t so sure but she agrees to the move after meeting the architect who convinces her that the system will be good for them all.

Of course, things don’t go quite to plan. In fact it all goes spectacularly horribly wrong. I read in horror at what was happening and what Nikki had to go through as she questioned her sanity and fought against something that she didn’t know was trying to tear her life apart.

I thought the idea for this book was brilliant, and while I didn’t like Nikki very much I was drawn into the story and wanted to know what was going to happen. I enjoyed reading it and the whole AI angle made me think. I hope that nothing like this could ever happen though!

Blurb:

For fans of J. P. Delaney’s The Girl Before comes a thriller that makes us question our relationship with technology and the lengths we would go to, to keep our family safe.

Three years ago, Nikki and Ethan Rhodes suffered a devastating loss when their four-year-old daughter Grace was tragically killed in a road accident. Ethan, a radio personality, escapes into work, leaving Nikki to care for their remaining child, Bella, who hasn’t spoken since that day.

Seeking a fresh start, the family moves into a revolutionary new house designed by renowned architect, Catriona Fisher. The house features a state-of-the-art security system, along with every amenity you could dream of.

For the Rhodes’ this is a chance to finally pick up the pieces and get on with their lives in a place where they feel totally safe.

But what if 17 Church Row isn’t the safe haven that they think it is?

About The Author:

James Carol was born in Scotland, where he spent his early years. He moved to England in the eighties and has lived there ever since. At various times he has worked as a guitarist, sound engineer, guitar tutor, journalist, and a horse riding instructor.

Broken Dolls, the first Jefferson Winter thriller, was published in 2014 and has sold a third of a million copies and been translated into twelve languages. This was followed by three other Jefferson Winter thrillers and a trilogy of novellas set during Winter’s FBI days.

James has also written three standalone thrillers. The first of these, The Killing Game was shortlisted for a CWA Ian Fleming Dagger award.

When he’s not writing, James can usually be found in his recording studio where he is currently writing and recording the first Dream Nation album.

James lives in Hertfordshire with his wife, two children, a dog and a horse.

17 Church Row by James Carol is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

4*, blog tours, book review, crime thriller

#BlogTour #BookReview Break The Silence by D.K. Hood. @bookouture @DKHood_Author #BreakTheSilence

Today it is my stop on the blog tour for Break The Silence by D.K. Hood. I’ve been a fan of this series from the start and although they can be read as standalone books I would really recommend reading them from the start as that way you can fully appreciate the stories and characters.

I received a copy of Break The Silence by D.K. Hood from the publisher, Bookouture. I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

My Review:

I do enjoy a good story that hooks me in and keeps me reading and wanting to know what happens and who is committing the crimes that some of my favourite detectives are trying to solve.

Jenna Alton and her sidekick Kane are once again looking at another murder spree that has hit the remote American town that they live in, but this time it isn’t so simple because they aren’t completely sure whether the spate of students dying are the work of a serial killer or tragic freak accidents.

Given that this is a crime book I’m sure I don’t need to tell you which one it is, but has the Sherrif and Detective met their match?

Once again D.K. Hood finds twisted and unusual ways of killing her characters and teases the readers with her character’s relationships with each other. I always enjoy reading the authors books and Break The Silence is no different. The books are easy to read and I always get to the end all too soon. Roll on book eight!

Blurb:

Her head throbbed as she stumbled up the stairs. Music vibrating and the sound of partygoers fill her head as she walks into one of the dark, empty rooms. As she sits on the bed, she hears the unmistakable sound of the door locking behind her. She is not alone.

The body of college student Chrissie Lowe lies curled into a ball – long red cuts along her arms suggesting how she had met her death. Detective Jenna Alton is called in to investigate.

Purplish bruising on Chrissie’s upper arms and thighs make Jenna believe there is more to Chrissie’s death than others suspected, and she soon finds herself following the trail of the student’s last few moments, leading her to the scene of a party that had ended just hours before Chrissie’s body was found.

When Jenna hears reports that Chrissie was seen going into the bedroom of a college football star, she knows that finding out what went on behind that closed door could be the key to finding out how Chrissie ended up dead. But then another partygoer dies in an apparent accident at the campus gym just hours later, and Jenna is convinced the deaths are connected.

Facing a wall of silence from the student population, Jenna has to act fast to find the killer, but soon another student is found dead on the campus. As Jenna sends in one of her deputies undercover, she prays that she hasn’t just sealed his fate. Can she find the killer before any more lives are taken?

Fans of Lisa Regan, Karin Slaughter and Rachel Abbott will love this totally gripping page-turner from bestselling crime author D.K. Hood. You won’t be able to put it down!

**Each Kane and Alton book can be read as part of the series or as a standalone**

About The Author:

I’ve always had a wicked sense of humour and was the kid who told the ghost stories around the campfire. I am lucky to have family all over the world and have spent many vacations in places from Paris France to Montana USA and Australia. I use the wonderful memories from these visits to enhance my stories.
My interest in the development of forensic science to solve crime goes back many years. I enjoy writing crime, mystery and thrillers. With many stories, waiting for me to write I’ll look forward to sharing many spine-tingling stories with you.

D.K. Hood is an active member of International Thriller Writers.

Author Social Media Links:

Website: www.dkhood.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dkhoodauthor/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/DKHood_Author

4*, blog tours, book review

#BlogTour #BookReview Ghoster by Jason Arnopp. @JasonArnopp @OrbitBooks @SpecHorizons @gambit589 #Ghoster

Today I’m on the blog tour for Ghoster by Jason Arnopp, I have to admit that this was a strange book that kept me guessing and more often than not, confused, about what was going on. Thank you to Tracy Fenton for asking me to be part of the tour. I received a copy of Ghoster via Netgalley, I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

My Review:

I’m not really sure where to start with this review. Ghoster is a book unlike any that I have read before, in many ways it seemed like a pretty standard book about a girl who fell in love with a boy who was a jerk and who left her high and dry with nowhere to live. Social media and phone use are a prominent part of the story and I felt confident that this book would be a story about how phones are bad and that the moral of the story is that you should use your phone and social media less.

Of course I was totally wrong, although I do think that message is there, but this book is about so much more. The spooky element was not something I had expected, and if I’m honest it was a part of the story that I was really not sure about.

What was great about the book were some of the characters. I really like Kate Collins, the main character who was frankly rather naive and totally obsessive (hence her trying to cut down on her social media use) but also kinda brilliant. Even better than Kate was her best friend, Izzy, someone who was living with the consequences of Kate’s phone obsession yet remained a brilliant friend. I really enjoyed reading the parts with Izzy in it.

This book, despite being very confusing at times, is also very clever, thought provoking and downright crazy. The ending is one that I will be thinking about and trying to work out what on earth had happened for some time to come.

Blurb:

Jason Arnopp – author of acclaimed cult hit The Last Days of Jack Sparks – returns with a razor-sharp thriller for a social-media obsessed world. Prepare to never look at your phone the same way again . . .

Kate Collins has been ghosted.

She was supposed to be moving in with her new boyfriend Scott, but all she finds after relocating to Brighton is an empty apartment. Scott has vanished. His possessions have all disappeared.

Except for his mobile phone.

Kate knows she shouldn’t hack into Scott’s phone. She shouldn’t look at his Tinder, his calls, his social media. But she can’t quite help herself.

That’s when the trouble starts. Strange, whispering phone calls from numbers she doesn’t recognise. Scratch marks on the walls that she can’t explain. And the growing feeling that she’s being watched.

Kate refuses to leave the apartment – she’s not going anywhere until she’s discovered what happened to Scott. But the deeper she dives into Scott’s digital history the more Kate realises just how little she really knows about the man she loves. 

About The Author:

Jason Arnopp is the author of the upcoming chiller-thriller novel Ghoster, The Last Days Of Jack Sparks (Orbit Books) and the co-author of Inside Black Mirror with Charlie Brooker and Annabel Jones.

Arnopp wrote the Lionsgate horror feature film Stormhouse, the New Line Cinema novel Friday The 13th: Hate-Kill-Repeat, various official Doctor Who works of fiction (including the BBC audiobook Doctor Who: The Gemini Contagion) and script-edited the 2012 Peter Mullan film The Man Inside.

Arnopp has also written 2012’s Beast In The Basement, a horror novella available at Amazon, and experimental ghost story A Sincere Warning About The Entity In Your Home.

He is the author of non-fiction ebook How To Interview Doctor Who, Ozzy Osbourne And Everyone Else.

He is on Twitter here, and is represented by literary agent Oli Munson at The AM Heath Agency. He is also represented for film and TV by Lawrence Mattis at Circle Of Confusion.

Check out the author’s YouTube channel here.

Ghoster

Ghoster by Jason Arnopp is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

4*, blog tours, book review, crime thriller

#BlogTour #BookReview Her Last Breath by Alison Belsham. @BOTBSPublicity @MORECAMBEVICE @AlisonBelsham #HerLastBreath #MorecambeandVice

Today I am so excited to be part of the blog tour for Morecambe & Vice Crime Writing Festival. Thank you to Sarah Hardy from Books on the Bright Side Publicity & Promo for asking me to be part of this exciting tour featuring some fabulous crime writers.

I’m reviewing Her Last Breath by Alison Belsham, the second crime book by the author after The Tattoo Thief. The author provided me with a copy of the book, I was under no obligation to review the book and all thoughts are my own.

My Review:

I really enjoyed reading The Tattoo Thief by Alison Belsham, and despite it being one of the most graphic and unsettling books that I have read, I was more than happy to read the authors second crime book, Her Last Breath.

It took me a little while to get back into the characters, mainly police detective Francis and Marni, a civilian who seems to be remarkably good at getting herself stuck in the middle of crimes that occur in her local Brighton.

The fact that the murders in this book didn’t quite match the depravity of the first book says a lot, as the crimes being committed here are deeply unpleasant. I won’t give too much away but if you don’t like graphic and unpleasant killing methods then perhaps this isn’t the book for you.

But if you are more like me then delve right into this story that will have you wondering and reading and holding your breath. The big finale is spectacularly unpleasant, mainly because of where it is set. I am sure that I could visualise and even smell the scene.

Belsham is confident in her writing and we see the characters develop through the book, becoming more real to the readers which makes me emotionally invested in the story. All of which makes a great read, one that is fun to read, but also turns your stomach now and then.

Blurb:

He leaves his victims fighting for life,
And with the mark of death…

After old remains resurface in a heatwave, a young woman is attacked and left fighting for her life in hospital. 24 hours later she dies and a deadly tattoo is discovered on her body.

When another young woman disappears, Detective Francis Sullivan and his team fear a serial killer walks the streets of Brighton.

His team identify a suspect, Alex Mullins, son of his lover, Marni. Can Francis forget their shared past and save the next victim before it is too late?

About The Author:

Alison Belsham initially started writing with the ambition of becoming a screenwriter-and in 2000 was commended for her visual storytelling in the Orange Prize for Screenwriting. In 2001 she was shortlisted in a BBC Drama Writer competition. Life and children intervened but, switching to fiction, in 2009 her novel Dominowas selected for the prestigious Adventures in Fiction mentoring scheme. In 2016 she pitched her first crime novel, The Tattoo Thief, at the Pitch Perfect event at the Bloody Scotland Crime Writing Festival and was judged the winner. After signing with agent Jenny Brown, The Tattoo Thief was bought by Trapeze books and published in May, 2018.

Read my review for The Tattoo Thief here.

For more information and how to get tickets for the Morecambe & Vice Crime Writing Festival go to: https://www.morecambecrimefest.co.uk/

Her Last Breath by Alison Belsham is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

4*, blog tours, book review, debut author

#BlogTour #BookReview The Lost Thumb by Orla Owen. @orlaowenwriting #TheLostThumb #RandomThingsTours @annecater

Today on If Only I Could Read Faster it appears to be twin day, because this is my second review today and both books have featured twins. Thank you to Anne Cater for asking me to be part of the blog tour for The Lost Thumb by Orla Owen.

My Review:

The Lost Thumb by Orla Owen is a quirky book, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started it but it definitely wasn’t any of the options that I had thought about.

This is the author’s debut novel and it is a really impressive first novel in many ways. The story is set in Australia, although that is totally irrelevant because the setting has no part in the story. I only realised that the book was set in Australia when I was about half way through and I realised then that it is really unusual to read a book that is so insular that the outside of the story doesn’t matter.

The other unusual thing with this book is that I have absolutely no idea what year the book was set in. There were no mentions of mobile phones which could be an indication but other than that I really have no idea. I think it would be from the 1960s on, perhaps in the 80s but who knows.

Lara and Luella are twins who live with their mother who controls everything about their lives, the twins have no say in how they live, where they go, what they wear and what they eat. They have no friends and live a colourless life, both literally and figuratively, and this is why the outside world doesn’t seem to matter, because for Lara and Luella it is totally irrelevant.

At times the book was hard to read, the abuse from the mother is shocking and upsetting, the description of the characters emotions was also quite raw. I also felt as though some of what happened was somewhat predictable and that was disappointing, given how different the story and characters were I had hoped that the author wouldn’t follow some predictable storylines.

But that didn’t stop this book from being a very clever debut, one that I enjoyed reading even though at times it made me feel very sad. Orla Owen is an author to watch.

Blurb:

In a small town in New South Wales, Lara and Luella Jeffreys lead isolated lives until the night they are left alone for the first time, and Luella decides to have some fun. 

That evening goes horribly wrong. 

After Luella wakes up in hospital, she’s kept prisoner at home with her mother acting as her warden. Lara is sent to school to keep up the pretence that she is fine, her sister is fine, and the world is fine. Except they aren’t. The local storekeeper, sensing that something’s wrong, pushes her son to befriend Lara but the results of her meddling are deadly…

About The Author:

Orla Owen is a writer, online editor, and author of the novel The Lost Thumb. She’s been writing since she was a child, and in 2016 was picked to be mentored by Sarah Savitt at Virago.

Her writing focuses on the dark and macabre side of family life, the parts that go on behind closed doors.

Before she became a writer, she was an actress and drama practitioner, studying Theatre at Bretton Hall College of the Arts. She has performed at the Royal Court and Edinburgh fringe, as well as working on The Women’s Theatre Workshop mentoring scheme.

Supporting women in writing is important to her, and she was lucky enough to work on a writers’ mentoring scheme, as an assistant to the author Kerry Hudson, at the WoMentoring Project. 

She is currently working on her second novel, PAH, which will be released in early 2020.

The Lost Thumb by Orla Owen is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

4*, blog tours, book review, crime thriller

#BlogTour #BookReview The Essence of Evil by Rob Sinclair. @RSinclairAuthor @canelo_co @Tr4cyF3nt0n #PoliceFiction #TheEssenceOfEvil

I’m delighted to be part of the blog tour for The Essence of Evil by Rob Sinclair. The first book in a new series about Detective Inspector Dani Stephens. Thank you to Tracy Fenton for asking me to be part of the blog tour.

My Review:

As a parent of twins I have to admit that I am drawn to read books that feature twins, especially boy/girl twins. This book might now sound like something that would appeal to a parent of boy/girl twins, given the boy in the story tries to kill his twin sister, but of course this is fiction and not something that could ever happen with my twins (obviously).

Dani Stephens is an unusual character, the consequences of the attack from her brother are something she continues to battle with, years after the attack occurred. I really liked how the author added details of Dani’s traumatic brain injury and the long term consequences on her and her behaviour. This added an element of drama, compassion, empathy, doubt, confusion and mistrust that is hard to achieve in believable fiction.

The book did feel a bit slow at times, and the last 15% was jammed full of action, which was great but I wish the pace had been quicker throughout and the majority of the book less of a slow burner.

But the scene is now set for a thriller series with a strong female lead who is vulnerable and flawed. Roll on book two.

Blurb:

He’s your attacker.

He’s a murderer.

He’s your twin. 

When D.I Dani Stephens returns to work after the attack that almost ended her life, she’s quickly plunged into a horrific new case, as dead bodies are discovered on the streets of Birmingham.

But with no link between the victims, Dani has to get inside a killer’s mind – so turns to the murderer she knows best. Her own twin brother…

But what makes a psychopath? Can understanding her twin help her find a murderer who leaves no trace? As the circle closes on Dani, the clock is ticking and she needs a breakthrough – before she becomes the latest victim.

A heart-stopping crime thriller that fans of Peter James and Mark Billingham won’t be able to put down.

About The Author:

@JigsawPhotographyUK

Rob is the author of the critically acclaimed and bestselling Enemyseries and James Ryker series of espionage thrillers. His books have sold over half a million copies to date with many reviewers and readers having likened Rob’s work to authors at the very top of the genre, including Lee Child and Vince Flynn. 

Rob began writing in 2009 following a promise to his wife, an avid reader, that he could pen a ‘can’t put down’ thriller. He worked for nearly 13 years for a global accounting firm after graduating from The University of Nottingham in 2002, specialising in forensic fraud investigations at both national and international levels. Rob now writes full time.

Originally from the North East of England, Rob has lived and worked in a number of fast paced cities, including New York, and is now settled in the West Midlands with his wife and young sons.

The Essence of Evil by Rob Sinclair is out on 12th September 2019 and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.

4*, book review, crime thriller

#BookReview Tell Me Your Secret by Dorothy Koomson. @DorothyKoomson @HeadlinePG #TellMeYourSecret #bookblogger

It has been a long time since I read Ice Cream Girls by Dorothy Koomson, but I still remember it and how much I loved it. My heart then melted with My Best Friend’s Girl and so Dorothy Koomson earned herself a spot on my favourite author list. I haven’t read every book she has written but those that I have read I have really enjoyed. So I was excited to read Tell Me Your Secret, the author’s latest book.

My Review:

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Tell Me Your Secret by Dorothy Koomson, all I knew was that I had heard about it on various book groups on Facebook and everyone was saying good things. So I wanted to read it too.

This is the most crime book that I have read from the author, a lot of her books have crime elements but this one was totally focused around finding the man who called himself The Blindfolder, who was kidnapping women and forcing them to sit with their eyes closed for 48 hours. If they opened their eyes then he would kill them.

I don’t know about you but I find that concept incredibly creepy and unsettling, especially when I read about the experience from people who had survived the weekend.

I really enjoyed reading Tell Me Your Secret by Dorothy Koomson, the characters are interesting and the writing is confident and believable. This book creeped me out in a way books don’t often do, and was full of twists and turns and happy and sad moments. I will definitely be catching up on the books by Koomson that I haven’t read yet.

Blurb:

The new emotional thriller from the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Ice Cream GirlsMy Best Friend’s Girl and The Brighton Mermaid. Dorothy Koomson, ‘Queen of the big reveal’, is back with a gripping page-turner full of twists and turns. Pieta has a secret.
Ten years ago, Pieta was kidnapped by a man calling himself The Blindfolder who said he wouldn’t kill her if she kept her eyes closed for 48 hours. She never told anyone what happened to her, vowing to move on with her life. But when The Blindfolder starts hunting down his past victims, Pieta realises she may finally be forced to tell her deepest secret to stay alive . . .Jody has a secret.
Fifteen years ago, policewoman Jody made a terrible mistake that resulted in a serial killer known as The Blindfolder escaping justice. When Jody discovers journalist Pieta survived an attack by him, she realises she may finally have found a way to catch him. But that would mean endangering at least two innocent people . . .They kept quiet to protect themselves.
Will telling all save or sacrifice each other?

About The Author:

Dorothy Koomson is the award-winning author of 15 novels and has been making up stories since she was 13 when she used to share her stories with her convent school friends. Her published titles include: Tell Me Your Secret, The Brighton Mermaid, The Friend, When I Was Invisible, That Girl From Nowhere, The Flavours of Love, The Woman He Loved Before, Goodnight, Beautiful and The Chocolate Run. 

Dorothy’s first novel, The Cupid Effect, was published in 2003 (when she was quite a bit older than 13). Her third book, My Best Friend’s Girl, was selected for the Richard & Judy Summer Reads of 2006 and went on to sell over 500,000 copies. While her fourth novel, Marshmallows For Breakfast, has sold in excess of 250,000 copies. Dorothy’s books, The Ice Cream Girls and The Rose Petal Beach were both shortlisted for the popular fiction category of the British Book Awards in 2010 and 2013, respectively. 

Dorothy’s novels have been translated into over 30 languages, and a TV adaptation loosely based on The Ice Cream Girls was shown on ITV1 in 2013. After briefly living in Australia, Dorothy now lives in Brighton. 

For more information on Dorothy Koomson visit www.dorothykoomson.co.uk

Tell Me Your Secret by Dorothy Koomson is out now and is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US.